Throwback Thursday: Honda Civic, A Love Story

Throwback Thursday posts are posts I have previously written on other sites, such as Livejournal, Science Based Sex, Queereka, Skepchick, or Skeptability. They are reposted here sometimes on Thursdays. This post was originally posted on Queereka on September 19th, 2012. Since this post I have gotten married, and my spouse now identifies as genderqueer. Language reflects their identity at the time.

When I was married my wife and I shared a car. We had a 2004 Honda Civic in the last 2 years of our relationship, shared between us. We really saw no reason for us both to have a car, since we were generally together. When it was clear we were breaking up it was also clear that I needed to have a car of my own, so I found another Honda Civic.

This Civic coupe was 11 years old when I got it, and in fairly good shape. With less than 100K miles on it, a sun roof, an after-market CD player and radio, and a bright red color that made me feel like I was driving a sports car. The car was a very clear symbol of new freedom and possibilities.
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Throwback Thursday: Honda Civic, A Love Story

Getting My Beloved Beverage Back

Until last October it was pretty rare to see me without a Diet Pepsi in my hand. I was a deeply devoted fan of the stuff, and had been for many years, ever since my days working third shift in dorms and through many years of overtime hours in a terrible, boring office job.

Then last fall Pepsi Co. decided to discontinue the use of aspartame in many of its products, including Diet Pepsi due to declining sales that Pepsi Co. thought were due to people’s fears about aspartame’s safety. Those fears are completely unfounded but that doesn’t stop people from believing things. They replaced the sweetener with sucralose, a newer artificial sweetener.
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Getting My Beloved Beverage Back

Throwback Thursday: Fuck That Comic

Throwback Thursday posts are posts I have previously written on other sites, such as Livejournal, Science Based Sex, Queereka, Skepchick, or Skeptability. They are reposted here sometimes on Thursdays when I think they are applicable to current events. This post was originally posted on Queereka on August 5th, 2013.


This comic has been turning up on my Facebook page lately, generally by well meaning straight people. I’ve seen it about a half dozen times already. Each time I get a little more angry. Why does this comic piss me off? It’s a celebration of marriage equality, right?
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Throwback Thursday: Fuck That Comic

Grief Is Weird

CN: Pulse shooting, sort of. Pet death. Particularly for my poly family, this is about Jordan.

Grief is fucking weird.

The tears finally came. I’ve “teared up” more times than I can count since Sunday morning. Finally, now I have cried. Sobbed. Certainly not for the last time, but the first comes with some relief.

It was triggered by a fucking commercial for dog food of course. Because although I have not talked about it much, a dog I love enormously passed away in April. Jordan was an incredibly sweet, loving, happy dog who lacked significantly in the brains department. My metamour and I joked that we wished Boyfriend would love us like he loved her. She was a big dog, and insisted on cuddles from Boyfriend by trying to be a lap dog. He never said no, as far as I saw. It filled me with joy to see them together, because it was compersion every time. Beings I loved, loving each other.


This picture is of Jordan (black) and Bailey (brown). I take shit photographs, and Jordan refused to be in good photos for me, so this is the only one of her I have. My family got a few in the last few days of her life (because then she’d hold still) but they’re too hard for me to look at.

When I slept in Boyfriend’s bed, Jordan slept between my legs, pinning me down very effectively. When I came home to the family house she would greet me with pure joy at my presence, while the other two dogs show more complicated feelings*. She was pure hierarchical polyamory – loving Boyfriend most of all, but happy to share cuddles with any of the rest of us otherwise. I miss her so much.

So now, today, the grief I have been trying to deal with since Sunday morning let loose…. over my grief for Jordan’s death. I didn’t get to say goodbye to her. I miss her so much.

Grief over any one thing brings up our other grief over others. This is normal, I’m told. But today, while heartbroken and angry over a hate crime in Orlando I finally broke down in sobs over the death of my family’s wonderful dog.

*Not that complicated. Bailey is willing to graciously accept my scritches and Babs hates me with every fiber of her being until I have been in the house for at least a half an hour, then she insists on cuddles.

Grief Is Weird

A Well Founded Fear of Violence

CN: Discussion of Orlando shooting, the shooter himself, hate speech, and my own fears about violence.

Drunk, loud, and belligerent. That’s what the news is saying those who had run into the shooter at Pulse said about him. He’d previously been thrown out for being drunk, loud, and belligerent. These facts are leaving me even more freaked out. See, I work in the service sector, and I work at night.

I work with drunk people.
I work with loud people.
I work with belligerent people.
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A Well Founded Fear of Violence

Multifaceted Causes, and Many Ways to Work Against Violence

CN: Discussion of the attack at Pulse in Orlando, violence and mass murder, hate speech, gun issues, politics, queerphobia, transphobia, racism. Brief mentions of domestic violence, sexual assault, suicide.

A personal note: I’m actually a bit too heartbroken right now to reasonably express my emotions about this situation. I sometimes go a little cerebral in the face of tragedy. If this post about causes and solutions is badly timed for you because it is so soon, that is completely legitimate and I encourage you to read it later.

24 hours after the horrific mass murder in Orlando Florida yesterday my news feeds and social media feeds are a mix of sorrow, fear, and arguments over the causes of and solutions to this kind of horrific event. My friends, along with the rest of the internet, are discussing (with various levels of anger) causes and solutions, and often bitterly disagree about what those might be.

I submit this: It is possible for an event to have many causes, and for all of those causes to be real contributing factors. It is possible to work for multiple solutions to violence and for many or all of those solutions to be good and important causes.

I believe that homophobia and queerphobia in American culture and politics contributed to this mass murder. I believe that because I see violent and hateful rhetoric put forward by political and media figures every day. I hear slurs against my people thrown about by customers in my workplace and people on the street. I read incredibly hateful messages against queer people online constantly, including those that make very clear how many of my fellow Americans want queer people dead.

I believe that homophobia in Muslim communities contributed to this mass murder. I believe this because my Muslim and ex-Muslim friends and loved ones have told me about the homophobia they have experienced in those communities. They have said clearly that they do not want this homophobia erased in this conversation and that they believe that the rhetoric in Muslim communities contributes to violence. I believe them.

I believe that extremism fueled by religious intolerance contributed to this mass murder. I believe that because the perpetrator apparently said so himself. I’m certain that the media will focus on this aspect as a primary cause and that we will learn more in the coming days about his religious beliefs and messages. Some media outlets and politicians will pretend that this is the whole story, and they are wrong, but I will not pretend it is not part of the story.

I believe that toxic masculinity contributed to this mass murder. An important part of toxic ideas of manhood is the idea that violence is an appropriate solution to one’s problems. We know that this killer had a history of spousal abuse and violent rhetoric consistent with toxic masculinity. The idea that picking up a weapon makes one more of a man is a deeply held tenant of patriarchy, and one that I believe contributes to the culture of mass shootings in America and this one in particular.

I believe that the easy availability of guns, and especially extremely deadly assault weapons, contributed to this mass murder. While guns do not create a desire to kill, they make the process much easier. Guns like the AR-15 used in this case are especially effective at killing and injuring many people shockingly quickly. In fact, they are created to do just that. That they are so easy to acquire contributes to the frequency and death rates in this and other similar cases.

It is likely also true that transphobia, transmisogyny, and racism contributed to this mass murder. Pulse is not just a gay bar, but one frequented by the Latin community and was full of people of color on Saturday night. It was not just a gay bar, but also one that featured trans and drag performers. While all queer people are at an increased risk of being victims of violence, queer people of color, trans people, and especially trans women of color are at much higher risk. I cannot ignore the possibility that this club was at higher risk because of these issues. Racism and transphobia are real causes of violence and must be seen as part of this picture.

The causes of violence in general, and this attack in particular, are multifaceted. I believe the solutions are too. A major part of the arguments I have seen today have been over what is “the right way” to prevent things like this in the future. I do not believe there is “a right way” but instead that many struggles can lead towards a future with less violence.

It is crucial that we fight queerphobia in all of its forms from all of its sources. We must fight against oppression in politics, in all religious communities, and in culture. Decreasing hatred of LGBTQIA people decreases our risk of violence. Pretending that queerphobia comes from only one community (Christian churches for example) isn’t helpful, since the sources of queerphobia are legion. When we call out homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia we are working against violence.

It is crucial that we fight toxic masculinity in all of its forms. The idea that the path to strength is through violence creates enormous harm, and we must work against it and against all patriarchy. When we speak out against domestic violence and rape we are working against the kind of pressures that contribute to mass shootings in general and this one in particular. When we fight the patriarchy we are working against violence.

It is crucial that we work for gun control. The current situation of easy access to highly deadly weapons is not working. It puts everyone at risk, through public violence, through tragic but preventable accidents, and through increased risk of suicide by people with easy access to firearms. There is no reason why someone should be able to easily purchase an AR-15. When we work towards legal changes in gun regulations we are working against violence.

It is crucial that we work against Islamophobia. After cases like this the violence and threats of violence Muslim and perceived-to-be-Muslim people experience in America increase noticeably. My Muslim and ex-Muslim friends fear reprisals against themselves and their families from angry people who seek to respond to violence with more violence, often targeted at completely unrelated people. Worse, political and media figures feed this fear and anger by equating Islam with terrorism and talking about things like banning Muslims from coming into the United States. When we fight this rhetoric we are working against violence.

When we work to combat racism, transmisogyny, ableism, and oppression in all of its forms we are working against violence. When we reach out to care for our grieving and frightened friends and loved ones we are working against violence. When we find better, healthier ways to deal with conflict we are working against violence. When we work to heal communities and individuals we are working against violence.

There are many ways to work to prevent the next mass shooting and the next hate crime. I have not covered them all here, not even close. As communities of people who wish to see a world without violence we must work towards all of these goals and more. As individuals we will work on those issues that we are best suited to, or most driven to work on. This is as it should be. Arguing over which is “the right way” to work against violence isn’t helpful. Instead, let’s do the work.

Multifaceted Causes, and Many Ways to Work Against Violence

Where To See Benny!

I’m in the midst of finals right now, so it will be a few more days until I have anything of substance here, but I wanted to let you all know there are some upcoming events you can see me at!

Twisted Tryst is a kinky, sexy, and clothing optional camping events June 9th to the 12th in Indiana. There is a second event in August in Michigan which I highly recommend, but am not 100% confirmed for yet. I will be attending and on staff, but not speaking or teaching this year. We get up to all kinds of shenanigans at camp! This camp is not an overtly social justice space, but there are enclaves of SJ people and radical inclusivity is at the core of Tryst’s mission. It is also definitely not an atheist space (in fact, it’s pretty heavy on spiritual woo) but I’ve always been accepted there as a woo-free atheist anyway. There are still spaces available for more campers and the very NSFW link is here.

Debauchery is a kinky, sexy, and social justice friendly hotel event in North Carolina June 17-19. I previously wrote about this event here. On the 18th I will be presenting a workshop called “Non-Monogamy Without Negotiations.” Getting tickets at this point might be hard, as they’re sold out, but it is sometimes possible to get one transferred if someone else needs to give up their space so email the organizers if you want to attend this. Their text only (no sexy pictures) website is here.

CONvergence is a science fiction/fantasy/geek/skepticism/awesomeness convention on June 30th to July 3rd near Minneapolis Minnesota. I will be on five panels: Science of Sexual Fluidity, Spoilers: A Love-Hate Relationship, Consent Culture in Steven Universe, Ingress Strategy, and Gasoline Is So Last Century. I will also definitely be cosplaying. I love CONvergence and I’m thrilled to return this year.

I hear some sort of rumor about an online OrbitCon coming before my fall classes start… 😉

Finally, I will be attending Skepticon on November 11th to 13th in Springfield Missouri. Skepticon is a free skeptics convention with a heavy social justice bent. I attended last year and wrote about my experience. I’m not speaking or running workshops or anything, I just look forward to seeing awesome people and enjoying being in such a great space again.

That’s it for now! I hope many of you will make it to at least one of these events. If you do, say hi as long as I am wearing no communication badge, or a green one. I really love the communication badge system and some of these events use them, which is fantastic.

Where To See Benny!