Scrappy Deviation Thu, 08 Aug 2019 02:14:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 108304901 Prepping While Progressive: A Practical Perspective Thu, 08 Aug 2019 13:00:59 +0000 The post Prepping While Progressive: A Practical Perspective appeared first on Scrappy Deviation.


Content Notes: Posts about prepping on this blog include discussion of possible emergencies, including both natural disasters and human created ones. I strive to write gently on these things and not use unnecessarily frightening imagery or descriptions.

There is a strong association in our culture between prepping, or the process of preparing for emergencies, and right wing ideologies. There are many reasons for this, including distrust of the government, a tendency towards individualism, and toxic masculinity. However, there are good reasons for progressives to take preparation seriously and a surprisingly large number of us are doing so. Kitty Stryker has written about her prepping and websites like The Prepared are gearing their information towards a broader audience than just right wing extremists.

Another serious barrier to prepping among the general population is the idea that one has to spend a huge amount of time and money to do it. I see prepping as harm reduction (okay, admittedly I see many things as harm reduction) and really any amount of preparing for an emergency is worth doing. It may not be feasible for most people to build and fully stock a bomb shelter, but it is almost always worthwhile to make sure you have plans for how to deal with the most likely emergencies in your area.

A large part of my philosophy of prepping is that it is better to do something than nothing. If the idea of preparing for an apocalypse is too overwhelming for you (it certainly is for me) that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense to prepare for a power outage. If having two weeks of food and water in your home is outside of your financial or space capabilities, see if having three days worth might work for you. In general, any move you make towards being more prepared, no matter how small or how slow, is better than no progress at all.

In the past few years, as I’ve been connected with people all over the country and the world through social media, I have seen many friends go through weather or other emergencies. Watching the news is all it takes to see people experiencing hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, ice storms, power outages, and other emergencies. I choose to prepare not for end of the world scenarios (also sometimes called “Shit Hits The Fan” or SHTF situations), but instead for these much more common and likely emergencies.

I also focus on the emergencies most likely to happen in my geographic location. A ton of prepping advice out there is focused on bushcraft and outdoor survival and I love learning about that stuff since it’s what got me interested in the first place. However, I live and work in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the country. The odds of me ending up unexpectedly hiking long distances through the woods is pretty low. On the other hand, there’s a very good chance that I will need to hunker down through a major blizzard once every few years, and a reasonable chance I’ll need to walk home across the city in a situation that shuts down public transportation, such as the big power outage that impacted the northeastern US and Canada in 2003. Those are the kinds of situations I want to be well prepared for before I start worrying about unlikely things like alien invasions or nuclear war.

Of course, your area will have different risks than mine. My friends who live in earthquake or hurricane prone areas will have different prepping needs than me. A key to good prepping is to think about what the most likely risks are and to prepare for those first. If you’re in an earthquake zone prepare for earthquakes. If your town floods fairly often prepare for floods. This may seem obvious, but it’s shocking how many people prepare for nuclear winter when a forest fire is much more likely to threaten them.

It’s also good to note that knowledge and skills are at least as important as having stuff. A huge complicated medical kit isn’t useful without knowledge of first aid and knowing the layout of my city and how to get home on foot would be essential in a no-transportation situation. Learning skills and gaining knowledge is time consuming, but often much less expensive than buying things in the age of YouTube tutorials. Plus, many skills are useful in every day life or small-scale emergencies as well as big ones. First aid training can prepare you to be helpful in emergencies of any size, from a broken arm at the park through to a massive terrorist attack.

One of the biggest differences between my progressive philosophy of prepping and most of what I see in the right-wing advice is a desire to share with community. I believe that the more people who are prepared for emergencies the safer we all are. If my neighbors do half as much preparing as me because I encouraged them to store some batteries, food, and water, we’re far better off than if they did nothing because I avoided discussing it with them. I have considered the risks and benefits, both to me and those around me, of being secretive. I’ve decided that being open about my decision to prepare is worth the risk because I care about my community (both locally and globally) and I want those around me and those I care about at a distance to consider what they can do as well. I do not believe, as many right wing preppers do, that this will lead to people around me choosing not to prepare and instead just killing me for my things at the first sign of danger. Instead I think that openness will lead to more people thinking about what they can do and leading us towards safer, more prepared communities.

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Why Shocking Violence Doesn’t Indicate Mental Illness Wed, 07 Aug 2019 21:11:23 +0000 The post Why Shocking Violence Doesn’t Indicate Mental Illness appeared first on Scrappy Deviation.


CN: Discussion of gun violence and terrorist acts.

I want to go after the idea that mass shootings are caused by mental illness here for a bit. They’re not, and we keep saying that, but I think a deeper examination of WHY committing this kind of horrible crime doesn’t mean the shooter is necessarily crazy is warranted. I want to preface this with an acknowledgement that I’m open to input here and please let me know if I’m off on something or have missed something. I’m not a psychologist but I am thinking a lot about this and want to help reach a better understanding of this issue.

Violence is not inherently indicative of disordered thinking. There are healthy and/or reasonable reasons to participate in violence – defending yourself, defending your loved ones, participating in violent sports (martial arts etc), being a soldier, punching Nazi’s, etc. Violence is an extreme, but not disordered, activity in and of itself and our culture does not label someone mentally ill purely for participating in violence.

Beliefs that are in line with the culture (or subculture) that one lives in are also not disordered. This is why religious belief is not mental illness – it is not confused or wildly out of line with your culture or teachings. So beliefs, even extreme beliefs, that are in line with a culture of white supremacy and toxic masculinity are not disordered beliefs. They are wrong, and harmful, but not disordered by any definition of mental illness.

Participating in hate crimes or terrorist acts, even extremely large and deadly ones such as mass shootings, does not indicate that someone has disordered thinking. Their thinking may be immoral and based on wrong beliefs, but it’s entirely understandable without a framework of mental illness. They are behaving in a rational way given the cultural context they are in – they have been taught that they or their loved ones or their country are under serious threat from POC, women, liberals, etc. They have been taught that their duty as manly men is to respond to those threats with violence. They become radicalized in places like 8Chan to believe that they will be celebrated as martyrs for doing harm to those they see as a threat.

Mental illness doesn’t come into it. Insanity has actual literal meanings, in both the medical and legal sense, and nothing about a mass shooting means the shooter is insane or mentally ill. They are behaving in a way that is understandable without believing that they are crazy.

But it sure is easier and comforting for some people to think “Well, he’s crazy” than it is to think “Gosh, maybe our culture is so fucked that this seems like a rational thing to do for some people.”

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I Have Siblings Everywhere Mon, 16 Jul 2018 02:42:49 +0000 The post I Have Siblings Everywhere appeared first on Scrappy Deviation.


I am working a summer fellowship 800 miles from home this summer. I moved almost 6 weeks ago to a small town where I knew no one. This town does not have a gay bar. Surprisingly, my trans community found me.

Before coming here I was convinced I would make connections through the kink community, or maybe the local Ingress community. I tried both groups pretty much as soon as I arrived, and for various reasons found both a bad fit. The (very cishet) local kink community didn’t seem thrilled to have another guy around, and Ingress folks don’t meet up in person as much outside of big cities and like to use slurs on their group chat apps.

I barely considered the local skeptic and atheist communities. They are barely present in the area, and what little there is appears to be run by white men… I didn’t even give it a try.

After about 2 weeks I tried the local Unitarian Universalist church. This was by far the most friendly place I have found in the area. The community was incredibly welcoming and nice to me, excited to hear about my environmental work and share their community. However, they have minimal activities during the summer, and the community was largely much older than me. Incredibly sweet, but not likely to be people to hang out over beers or coffee of an evening. Still, I will go back on any Sunday that I’m free and I’m glad they’re here.

I did not think to look for trans folks in the area before I got here. Frankly, I assumed there wouldn’t be many, or that they’d be difficult to find, super busy, or otherwise unlikely to become my new friends. I was completely wrong.

In my first few days here, out looking for my nearest Ingress portals, I discovered a house a half block from mine with a big rainbow flag out front. A week later, looking closer, I realized the small planters in the yard carried four small trans pride flags. A week after that I spotted two people walking out the front door as I walked by, and rushed over to introduce myself.

They were both super friendly – an older trans woman, A, and her cousin, heading out for the day. They greeted me warmly and said we should have coffee sometime soon. I promised to leave a note with my contact information soon…. which I promptly and repeatedly forgot to do.

A few days after that I was in the nearest big city for Pride weekend. During the Dyke March, which I watched from the sidelines* wearing my trans pride flag, a young person called out to me. A few days later I got a note under my apartment door. Apparently that young trans guy, E, lives in my neighborhood and is friends with my downstairs neighbor!

E and I hung out a few days later, sharing drinks and conversation. He’s at the very beginning of his medical transition, and wanted to hear from someone with some experience. I found him to be great company, interesting, smart, and caring. A few days later he had me and 3 other delightful trans guys from the area over for a really great dinner. Who knew there were 5 of us close enough to sit down for a meal?

Then tonight I got a knock on my door in the evening. My downstairs neighbor (are they my fairy godparent‽) was at my door, saying there were people there to see me. Apparently the lovely folks I’d met around the corner wanted me to come over for cupcakes!

So tonight I got to hang out with A. When I got to her house I saw the rainbow flag on her porch had been replaced with a full size trans pride flag. I got to hear her stories about her days as a roadie, see the wardrobe she is clearly deeply proud of, and the old English bicycles she restores, and the stunning art photography in her room. She shared with me an incredible book of photography of trans women and cross dressers from the 1950’s and 1960’s.** We ate cupcakes in celebration of her wife’s birthday, and watched an episode of Pose.

When I moved here I assumed I would be alone. Instead I have found that trans people (of all ages!) are fucking everywhere. These days, we’re not hiding anymore. We’re hanging flags from our porches and windows, wearing them over our shoulders, and making sure we are seen. In our decision not to hide, we are finding each other. Everywhere I look I have siblings as delighted for a connection as I am.

My trans identity is one of the best blessings I have in my life. For a long time I thought of it as a struggle, and it sometimes has been one. But this summer it has been only a delight. Meeting people like me, and discovering the ways in which we are similar and different, has been a joy. I could not have met E or A if I had not come here, and both of them are a reminder that anywhere I go I might find family flying that flag.

* This march asked those who don’t ID as dykes to cheer from the sidewalks in solidarity, rather than participate directly.

**Casa Susanna by Michel Hurst (Editor) and Robert Swope (Editor)

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My Trans Pride Flag Wed, 20 Jun 2018 01:42:43 +0000 The post My Trans Pride Flag appeared first on Scrappy Deviation.


My flag was purchased by Spouse more than 2 years ago, along with a rainbow flag and a nonbinary one. It’s a full size lightweight nylon trans pride flag, with 2 brass rivets. It’s starting to fade, but my affection for it only grows.

This flag has been my cape through Pride celebrations, the J20 protests and the Women’s March on Washington, plus about a dozen street protests in Chicago. It waved proudly on a pole when Spouse took it to a beautiful trans rights protest. It hung on the end of my bunk when I was a counselor for trans kids at summer camp last summer, and adorned my co-counselor for a camp event.

It’s been washed once. It needed to be, especially after that long weekend in DC last year. Gently washing it didn’t remove the original fold lines, they’re still there along with a thousand new wrinkles – kind of like me.

This flag currently hangs in the east facing window in my summer apartment. I am working 800 miles from home this summer, in a tiny town where I know nobody. When I got to my little apartment it was crystal clear where the flag would go – proudly covering the place where the sun will come up each day. After what I’ve gone through hanging a pride flag in the window is a joy. It’s barely visible from the street, but I don’t care. I know it’s there, and when I wake up in the morning my flag glows with sunshine.

This weekend I am going to Pride in New York City, and the weekend after that I will protest in Washington DC. My fading but proud flag will ride my shoulders again, through that and all summer. As it, and I, become increasingly worn we will keep flying with pride.

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Trans Antagonism in Star Trek: Discovery Thu, 08 Feb 2018 09:30:50 +0000 The post Trans Antagonism in Star Trek: Discovery appeared first on Scrappy Deviation.


Spoilers for Star Trek:Discovery S1E14 (release date 02/04/2018). Content notice for trans antagonism.

One of the most common euphemisms used for surgical procedures related to gender transition is “sexual reassignment surgery” or “SRS.” It is probably the most commonly known phrase for these surgical procedures after the even more obnoxious “sex change surgery.” Although I don’t personally find SRS to be a particularly useful term (I prefer to call each medical and surgical procedure by its technical name), I recognize that it is a commonly known one and many people, including many trans people and medical professionals who work with us, use it.

During the most recent episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “The War Without, The War Within,” we learn more about what has happened to Ash Tyler, a Starfleet Lieutenant, and Voq, a Klingon loyal to the martyred T’Kuvma. It seems that Tyler’s appearance, memories, and personality have been surgically implanted upon Voq, in an apparently incredibly painful procedure.

Tyler, in explaining this, translates the Klingon phrase for the experience “a species reassignment protocol.” Additionally, a Starfleet doctor explains to Commander Saru “The patient now presents as Ash Tyler.”

I am frankly furious that the writers of ST:DISCO decided to use this kind of language to describe the experience. Even beyond the fact that they threw away a valuable depiction of PTSD and replaced it with this mess, they chose to do it using language that seems to intentionally compare the experience Tyler/Voq has undergone to the experience of transgender people.

Voq didn’t undergo this process because he deeply identified as a human. He stole the appearance, memories, and personality of a non-consenting human prisoner in order to infiltrate a group of people he wanted to harm. His identity as a Klingon never changed, nor did his values. He only underwent this process in order to trick Starfleet into thinking of him as one of them.

Voq’s behavior is exactly what those who oppose transgender people believe we do. They believe that trans women are men pretending to be women in order to infiltrate women’s spaces and do them harm. They believe that trans men are faking our identities in order gain power. To use language for Voq’s experience that immediately calls to mind gender transition is to implicitly equate Voq’s violation of Tyler, his infiltration of Starfleet, and especially his attempt to kill Michael Burnham with the experience of transgender people.

If the writers of ST:DISCO really wanted to use this plot line they could have used any other description of this procedure. They could have skipped over attempting to directly translate the Klingon phrase for it at all, simply describing it without naming it. They could have called it a “species overlay process” or a “body and memory swap” or any one of many other options. They chose instead to use a phrase that calls to mind the medical procedures that make so many people in our current culture deeply uncomfortable, and to amplify rather than decrease that discomfort.

Many people, including me, had great hope that ST:DISCO would finally be a show in which we could see queerness represented. The inclusion of an out, loving, interracial gay couple brought so many of us hope and joy. The fact that Stamets and Culber are played by gay men known and beloved for their previous work by queer audiences was even better. When the show fell face first into the “Bury Your Gays” trope by brutally killing Dr. Culber I was deeply disappointed. Now, after episode 14, it is clear that the writers for ST:DISCO are not only willing to kill their gays, they are happy to throw trans folks under the bus too.

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It Turns Out, I Wasn’t A Bad Kid Wed, 10 Jan 2018 19:49:57 +0000 The post It Turns Out, I Wasn’t A Bad Kid appeared first on Scrappy Deviation.


This story is sponsored by Chas Swedberg. I am grateful for his generous support of The Orbit through our Kickstarter campaign.

Until my 30’s I didn’t know I was autistic. Like many autistic adults I was not diagnosed as a kid because the criteria for diagnosis, and the cultural expectations around autism, meant that no one could put the correct name to who I am. I was perceived as an intelligent and highly verbal little girl – not at all what teachers, therapists, and my parents thought of when they heard the word “autism.”

Without correct language to describe me a lot of other labels were put onto me instead. I struggled enormously socially, and since I was awkward and weird the blame for the bullying I received was put on me. As I entered middle school I was seriously socially delayed and tried everything I could think of to make or keep friends.

Assuming people didn’t like me because I wasn’t interesting enough, I lied dramatically in an attempt to seem interesting. Unsurprisingly, the stories I created didn’t actually work to attract friends, but they did manage to harm my family, and eventually caused my social situation in school to become so bad that my parents switched my school to another.

These lies were a big deal, and broke down trust between myself and my parents completely. I was already struggling with emotional development, academic achievement, and pretty much every other facet of my life. The destruction of any trust in my family lead to many years of fighting, struggle, and broken relationships. In my own mind, and in the ways in which my parents and every institution around me responded, I was a Bad Kid.

Being a Bad Kid is incredibly hard to recover from. Everyone around you sees you through that lens. Once a kid is seen as “troubled” or “delinquent” or anything similar it is almost impossible to get back to being normal, or having anyone see you as a success. This view of me, by myself and others, eventually lead to me being institutionalized, and then eventually kicked out of that institution as I approached my 18th birthday.

Only in my early 30’s did what happened during those years become clear to me. As soon as the word “autism” was applied to me I began to see the whole experience in a new light.

I was not a bad kid. I was an autistic kid in a system that could not recognize me as such, and did not support me in any of the ways I needed to be supported. In place of accommodations and understanding I was given blame.

It wasn’t my fault.

My relationship with my parents is quite good now. In part this is because we worked hard to repair things between us in my 20’s, but a large part of it is also that we now have the language to talk about how things were when I was a kid. Finding the language to describe my difficulties was nearly as healing for my mother as it was for me. As I learned that my failures were not my fault, she also learned that they were mostly not hers either.

I try to remember this when dealing with other people. I know now that bad information at a critical stage can lead to a cascade of impacts that seriously harm someone’s life. It’s not always easy to avoid assuming the worst about someone who does something harmful, like telling elaborate lies that hurt those around them, but I try.

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“Create No Garbage” and Other Flawed Heuristics Sat, 06 Jan 2018 21:52:00 +0000 The post “Create No Garbage” and Other Flawed Heuristics appeared first on Scrappy Deviation.


Awhile back Buzzfeed video made this video about trying to make no trash for a month. The young woman who made the video tried to eliminate her garbage creation for a whole month. She apparently did this mainly by choosing foods that don’t include packaging (bulk foods, produce, etc) and by composting food waste. She also talks to experts on waste about the quantities people create.

I’m torn about this kind of stunt. Decreasing trash is in a general sense a good idea because a lot of packaging materials are excessive and therefore require excessive resources to create, and moving trash around uses resources. But landfills are less of a problem than people think, and trying to solve environmental problems on an individual (rather than systemic) level can result in making decisions that may actually increase environmental impact. In particular, when we respond to environmental issues on an individual level by applying some simple heuristic, such as “create no trash,” we may instead create other problems.

There many heuristics people use to make environmental decisions. Many people eat organic food, despite complicated issues around the environmental impacts of organic farming. Others choose to focus on eating only food from their local area, which is also complicated. In general living in cities is a good choice, but growing urban areas need to be built in environmentally friendly ways to avoid unnecessary harm from urbanization.

Within environmental science communities there are a variety of ways we look at the environmental impact of human activities. Scientists and organizations can do life cycle assessments to examine the actual impacts of products and services. This process allows people the inputs and outputs of product or service and compare alternatives to each other to figure out what the differences will be between different choices. While doing a full life cycle assessment for every day consumer purchases is impractical, it can be a useful tool. It can be used by companies when deciding between purchasing two different products on a large scale, or for organizations to decide between processes. It can also help consumers when life cycle information is available, such as when someone examined purchasing books in stores vs online.

I would love to see more life cycle information available to consumers. Instead of labeling our food with heuristic information, such as “organic” or “non-GMO,” we could choose to use a formalized life cycle method to indicate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with a product, or the environmental toxicity level. I would love to see more accurate information provided to consumers so that we can make more environmentally friendly decisions.

However, ultimately the responsibility for environmental impact needs to be seen on a more society wide level. Since heuristic decision making is so deeply flawed, the options that become available to consumers are decided on a bigger corporate, government, and systemic level, better decision making needs to be made on those larger levels. Rather than individual consumers trying to create no garbage for a month, companies can and should work harder to minimize the impacts of the products they sell. Often that will include creating less packaging, which will create far less waste on a large scale and do a lot more good.

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How Do We Support Survivors in a Sea of Triggers? Thu, 30 Nov 2017 18:20:28 +0000 The post How Do We Support Survivors in a Sea of Triggers? appeared first on Scrappy Deviation.


CN: Sexual harassment, sexual assault, abuse.

Like many of my friends I am glad that many serial abusers and harassers, in a range of powerful positions, are being named and actually facing real consequences these days. I want those who perpetrate these crimes to suffer consequences for their action, and I am grateful to have seen an increase in support for their accusers.

However, this atmosphere of constant discussion of abuse in media, social conversations, and online comes at a cost for many of us. Especially for survivors of exactly the kinds of crimes that are being talked about on a daily basis the incessant stream of accusations, discussions, and media attention can be draining and deeply painful.

I am a multiple experience sexual assault survivor. On a day to day basis an occasional news story about sexual assault, or a discussion about harassment on a friend’s Facebook wall is a fairly manageable experience for me. Mostly I want to be supportive of other survivors and can often wait to read such things until I am in a good frame of mind (Content/trigger warnings really help this). I have occasionally been pretty seriously triggered by media but that’s not a common experience for me.

But that is my experience in the old world, the one in which weeks or months would go by between reports that various powerful men were being accused. I got a chance to heal a little between major news (or personal) stories about harassment and assault. Once I got more involved in social justice and feminist movements I definitely became a bit more raw – I heard more about people’s experiences, so I struggled a bit more with them. Until recently this was manageable.

Frankly, lately it isn’t.

I’ve been struggling with depression and fear that is deepened daily by report after report of harassment and assault. Every time I pull up my Facebook page, my Twitter feed, my podcasts, any radio, or glimpse the TV in the lobby at school I am faced with experiences that remind me of my own. There were no trigger warnings on the conversation around the table at Thanksgiving dinner, nor any way to catch up on other news without also getting a flood of these stories.

Throughout all of this I have still had to go to work and go to school, fulfill my household obligations, and otherwise act as if everything is fine. It’s not fine, I’m not fine, and things are slipping. I am certain I am not the only one struggling like this. This moment is painful for many survivors.

So my question is this: How do we support survivors of harassment, assault, and rape in moments like this where the world is a sea of discussion about the topic? Obviously not talking about it isn’t helpful, because a lack of attention is part of what got us here in the first place. When we are, as a culture, having this necessary conversation, what should we also do to ensure that we are not unnecessarily re-traumatizing those we wish to support and protect?

Some of us have our own experiences very much at the forefront of our minds right now, but few places to discuss those thoughts that actually feel safe. If you are emotionally able to be a place to just listen to the thoughts of the survivors in your life, say so. Be prepared to listen without judgement, or an attempt to fix things. Frankly, being a survivor right now can feel oddly isolating and lonely, and if you can just listen right now it would be great if you would.

On the other hand, many of us also need some space away from the topic entirely. If you can create social spaces to talk about ANYTHING ELSE, that may really help the survivors in your life. Be explicit about the fact that you’re creating a “no talking about the news” kind of zone, and focus conversations on other topics for awhile. Doing so in a way that actively seeks to include survivors helps.

If you are able or willing to do these things, remember that you may not know who the survivors in your life are. If you are able to reach out in a way that is somewhat public, and let folks know you want to create these kinds of spaces, that’d be really helpful too.

Do you have other suggestions about how to support survivors right now? I’d love to hear them.

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Erasure During Pride Month Fri, 09 Jun 2017 05:22:00 +0000 The post Erasure During Pride Month appeared first on Scrappy Deviation.


CN: Specific examples of erasure of asexual, aromantic, fat, disabled, and elderly people. Discussion of erasure generally. Brief mention of kink.

I often experience pride month, pride events, and pride media not as a fantastic celebration of a community that includes me, but as a reminder that I’m not the right kind of queer. The erasure of a whole variety of queer people is deeply alienating for many, and that erasure can feel especially stark during June.

Yesterday this video from the fitness company Equinox came up on my Facebook feed. It is purported to be the alphabet of the LGBTQA community. The video is well designed and has some good things about it, but the entire thing was ruined for me by the very first line:

“I consider myself and advocate and an ally.”

This video BEGINS with one of the deepest and most common erasures in the queer world. The inclusion of cisgender heterosexual allies and the erasure and alienation of asexual, aromatic, and related identities is consistent and deeply harmful. The fact that cishet people literally come first in this video is deeply flawed, especially because there are much better options for the “A” in the queer alphabet.

This could have been mitigated if there was, at any point, an inclusion of ace spectrum people in the video – but none appeared. As far as this company and the community center they partnered with are concerned allies are part of the community, and ace folks are not.

Three other groups of queer folks who are frequently erased from the community, ignored, and forgotten are also absent from this video. These are groups people whose bodies are generally seen as unattractive, undesirable, unsexy. Fat people, visibly disabled people, and older people are utterly absent from this video, just as we (I’m fat btw) are so often absent from visual media. Queer communities are simply no better about this than the general culture, and this video makes no attempt to include anyone who isn’t commercially attractive.

As a fitness company it is clear that Equinox is trying to promote itself as a specific kind of environment. They want to say that this is a place where you won’t have to share a locker room with anyone you may not find attractive. The use of only commercially attractive people in a video like this has several effects – it sends the message that “real” LGBTQ people are thin/muscular, young, and able bodied, and it sends the message that fitness spaces like Equinox are also only for those who are the same.

There are things I like about this particular video (it’s highly racially inclusive, pretty, and definitely not femmephobic). I liked the inclusion of SM without making it all cishet (because cishet kinksters aren’t queer, but queer kinksters totally are). I liked the inclusion of nonbinary people, since they are often also left out. However, the things it celebrates are largely those that are already celebrated in every other pride event and media thing I see. Those that are absent are the ones that seem to be absent so often.

Ace spectrum people are a part of the LGBTQA community. Hell, they are right there in the name. Queer fat people, disabled people, and older people are part of the LGBTQA community. They deserve to be seen and included. My fat ass is just as queer as the gay model who gets into a viral video. My over-60 and over-70 friends are just as queer as a young androgynous blue-haired waif. My friends who use mobility devices deserve as much recognition in their queerness as a professional dancer does.

It’s time for the erasure to stop.

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Not Just Flipping Burgers Wed, 07 Jun 2017 13:00:05 +0000 The post Not Just Flipping Burgers appeared first on Scrappy Deviation.


When people discuss raising the minimum wage some argue that people should not be paid more for “just flipping burgers.” Often their image of a low wage job is something they consider easy, and they don’t really think about all of the awful parts of those jobs. They imagine “flipping burgers” to be like cooking a meal in their own kitchen, not an 8 hour shift on their feet in a hot kitchen. They don’t imagine hauling out big bags of greasy dripping trash to a dumpster several times a day. They don’t know that you have to smack that dumpster a few times before opening it, or you’ll end up with a rat jumping out at you. They don’t think of the manager who keeps cutting their hours, and thus their pay, every time things slow down.

Those who disparage low wage workers don’t know about the aspects of those jobs that never appear on the job descriptions. They don’t know about the hotel housekeepers who are constantly sexually harassed by guests. They don’t know that the night auditor at that same hotel has to try to get the passed out drunk guest up off the hallway floor almost every night. They never realize that the cashier at the grocery store has to listen to that guy with no boundaries tell his entire life story every week, and she has to smile while he does it and look like she cares the whole time because her boss is watching.

They don’t have to hear “I guess it’s free then!” every single time an item doesn’t scan. Every time. All day. All week. All year. They don’t have to try desperately not to scream in the face of the next person who says it, and laugh like the joke is clever.

The person who says “minimum wage is supposed to be for high school students and low-skill workers” doesn’t understand the skill it takes to carefully de-escalate the customer who throws a full-blast tantrum because he has just been told “no.” They do not recognize the problem solving skills required to calculate the fastest way to get from your second work shift of the day to the daycare center to pick up your kid on time.

They think that because a job doesn’t require a college degree it doesn’t require skills, because they don’t recognize the things these employees do as skills. They believe the work is easy because if they see these jobs at all they only see a few moments of a long shift in a long week.

All work should be paid a living wage, because after fighting off rats in the alley the burger flipper should get to have a good meal too.

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