Proposition 60 looks great at first glance. I wouldn’t fault anyone who doesn’t know anything about it for voting “yes” if that’s all they knew about it. I can easily imagine myself getting suckered into voting for it if I didn’t have such strong connections to the sex worker communities. But the fact is, it’s a lousy law, the latest in a long string of attempts by the AIDS Health Foundation to profiteer off the fear of sex and the stigmatizing of sex work. I want to talk about why it’s a lousy law here, but I want to do more than that, too: I want to use it as a demonstration of why it’s important for everyone in this country who works for a living to pay attention to the organizing efforts of sex workers and support them.
This piece was originally read at the Godless Perverts Story Hour, on August 27 2016 at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco. [Note: Includes a lot of discussion around body image, especially having to do with the nude statues of Donald Trump.]
I think it’s fair to say that I don’t usually feel much in common with Donald Trump. On the contrary, merely the feel of his name on my tongue arouses a visceral loathing and makes me want to go wash my mouth out with some kind of astringent fluid. Like a lot of people, I’ve been making myself sick with anxiety watching every little twitch and spasm of the graphs on FiveThirtyEight, not merely with the horror that something could happen to make him president, but that so many people think that he’s a legitimate candidate at all.
In short, I don’t like Donald Trump.
Continue reading “Seeing Myself in Donald Trump’s Image”
Something happened this month that’s made me think a lot about the men’s rights movement. I’ve been thinking about how deeply I loathe them, and how, for all its failings, feminism remains one of the most important tools in navigating my own gender.
Below is the image of a t-shirt from the t-shirt and schwag site Redbubble:
Atheists and skeptics have provided some great commentary in the past couple of weeks Jill Stein’s anti-science crankery. It’s much needed: Stein has been let off the hook for far too long as someone who may, at worst, be kind of naïve, but is basically decent at heart. But her attempts to pander to anti-vaxxers using the well-worn “I’m just asking questions” dodge, in addition to a truly bizarre rant alleging that WiFi is destroying our childrens’ minds, has made a lot of people look askance at her. Even Dan Arel, who had previously supported her, finally threw up his hands in disgust.
But something has gotten lost in all the delightful fisking of Stein’s anti-science fear mongering, something which is at least as harmful, if not more: Both Stein and the Green Party have lousy positions on sex work.
Comment policy: Comments telling me to “show you the evidence” of TJ’s racism will not be published; if you haven’t been convinced by Martin Hughes’s thorough, science-based critiques, you’re so deep in denial that it’s not worth my time to try to convince you. Similarly, comments that are primarily insults or just telling me to “kill myself” will be tossed straight down the hole.
Watching atheists start to talk about — or desperately deny — the racism of “The Amazing Atheist” (aka TJ Kirk1) has made me feel both despondent and hopeful about the future of organized atheism. I’m flashing between extremes after recovering from a week where I’ve already spent a lot of time depressed as fuck.
I’m not going to go into laying out reasons that Kirk’s videos were racist. First of all, that should be both obvious and unsurprising to anyone who’s familiar with Kirk’s history or thinks about racism on any level deeper than “the KKK are bad people.” Second of all, Martin Hughes has done a much better job of tearing Kirk apart than I ever could. The masterful skill of his writing in his original piece and then in his follow-up after Kirk responded with a 37-minute tirade makes me envious. It also gives me hope. Knowing that we have people with that degree of skill and integrity still willing to speak up in our communities means that we may yet heal ourselves of the disease that “The Amazing Atheist” represents. Have no doubt: He is a disease, and if left untreated, he and his fans may kill any hope that atheism can make the world a better place.
Continue reading “Something is Rotten in Atheism: The “Amazing Atheist” and Secular Racism”
I’m going through kind of a scary time, financially speaking. The company that I work for is struggling, and decided to boot me off the payroll and hire me back as a part-time “contractor.” That means that where I was getting over $2,000 a month take-home pay, I’m now getting $1,000, and over $300 of that will have to go into COBRA payments.
It’s been kind of heartwarming to see corporations and artists boycotting the state of North Carolina to protest the passing of HB2. Born out of mass panic about trans people having the right to use public restrooms appropriate to their gender, the law bans cities and counties from granting any rights or protections to LGBT people that aren’t already in state law. It’s just the kind of hateful shit that you’d expect from the state that kept sending Jesse Helms back to the Senate decade after decade.
Like virtually every person on the planet with some sort of a conscience, I was appalled by the massacre at the offices of the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo last year. How could you not be? It was an act of appalling violence. But the evidence that Charlie Hebdo had a mean-spirited and racist streak piled up so quickly in my social media that I never wanted to declare “Je suis Charlie.” The same conscience that made me sickened at the murders of 12 human beings made it impossible for me to join in solidarity with the magazine they worked for.