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Making This Body Mine

My navel piercing was exhilarating.  I got it the last time I was in Miami, surrounded by my Miami friends who had no idea why I’d just signed up for such a feminine-coded body modification.  Having friends there made the event exciting; having Ania made it safe.  I faced the needle with enough nervousness that I had to fill out the “I’m the right age” form twice.

Ania has a picture of the face I made when it went in.  I’m not sharing it.

Afterward, though?  The soreness commingled with a heady endorphin rush that I should have expected but most definitely did not.  I was giddy with delight.  If we weren’t already at our financial limit, I might have signed up for another piercing then and there, in that euphoric haze.  I’m looking forward to that feeling again.

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Making This Body Mine

7 Better Ways to Prevent Eugenics than Banning Abortion

In response to the horrible bill banning abortion in the case of disability, I would like to propose 10 much more effective ways to combat eugenics. Ones which will actually help.

  1. Fight for Better Accessibility

One of the biggest barriers towards integration into society and thus the biggest source of “misery” is the lack of accessibility in our world. What is infuriating is that it doesn’t have to be that way. In a world where almost every person carries around a tiny computer more powerful than what was used to send man into space, the idea that we don’t have the ability to make this world easier to navigate for people who can’t see, or hear, or have mobility issues, is a little ridiculous.

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7 Better Ways to Prevent Eugenics than Banning Abortion

This is Not How to Do it

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a controversial abortion bill Thursday that, among other things, would ban the procedure if it is sought because the fetus was diagnosed with a disability or defect such as Down syndrome. – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/03/24/indiana-just-banned-abortion-if-the-fetus-has-down-syndrome/

Ok let’s get one thing straight. The solution to one group being oppressed is not to take away the rights of another group. You are not helping disabled people by taking away the rights of people with uteri. This is not a solution. 

All this bill will do is increase the number of people having unsafe medical procedures, and increase the amount of disabled children who end up in abusive homes. Forcing someone to have a child they don’t want doesn’t end ableism. The parents forced to care for a child they would have rather terminated are more likely to resent the child. Forcing people who are bigoted against a group to raise a member of that group may eventually lead that person to reevaluate their bigotry but at what cost? Children shouldn’t be forced to live with abuse just so someone can learn a lesson eventually.

With the high rates of murder of disabled children, a bill such as this is basically creating a situation where these events are even more likely.

Taking away a person’s bodily autonomy reinforces that that is an ok thing to do, and that idea is exceptionally dangerous to disabled people. We are already dealing with too many people who think we don’t have a right to control our own bodies. Parents who think it is ok to drastically alter their children’s bodies without consent, people who think it is ok to forced disabled people to have abortions against their consent, and the fact that disabled people have an 80% chance of being sexually assaulted (higher for female presenting disabled people). Even in less extreme circumstances, people who think it is OK to touch or force their help on people using assistive devices like wheelchairs or canes.

What’s more, there will be living breathing disabled people harmed by this bill. People with disabilities are more likely to be poor. They are more likely to be struggling. Bills that limit access to abortion have a disproportionately higher impact on people living in poverty. They can’t afford to fight legally for special exemptions. They can’t afford to go to another state to get access to the health services they mean. Moreover, the decision to terminate a disabled child, may be directly influenced by their own knowledge of their ability to care for one, whether it be because they lack the physical energy necessary in some cases, or because they lack the financial resources to be able to properly provide for them.

All this bill does is further restrict and take away the rights of women and people with uteri, and put more disabled people in harms way. Remember, a disabled woman is still a woman. If you take away her rights as a woman to defend her rights as a disabled person, she still ends up with a loss of rights.

This is Not How to Do it

Orcs for Justice

For those who don’t know, Dungeons and Dragons is, crudely, the tabletop board-game version of games like World of Warcraft and EverQuest, and I’ve played it for many years.  The enjoyment I derive from this game is so thorough, through the several editions that I’ve played, that I’ve written my own campaign setting.  Those who know what that phrase means know that this was no small undertaking, and the world’s current, approximately finished state is the culmination of a decade of effort and countless revisions.

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Orcs for Justice

Wandering Through the Desert

On my drive back home, I caught a CBC program with an author discussing her new collection of short stories, which included the church as a unifying theme. The conversation surrounded how when the author started going to church, there was a great deal of embarrassment. How she used to almost hide behind trees to make sure no one would see her. That brought the conversation to what she called “seekers”; the people who due to a loss of some kind, either a funeral, a job, a diagnosis, suddenly found themselves searching for comfort and meaning. She quoted another author who said: “I don’t believe in God but I miss him”.

While the radio conversation was infuriating in many ways, it made me think back to another conversation, one I had had with my father.

When I started university, it was with the certainty of one whose faith had never been seriously challenged. I had questioned a lot in high school and as a child, but always relating to specifics and details. Even when the specifics of my faith modified and changed, they always existed within the Catholic framework. I was Polish Catholic. That was who I was.

At first, the biggest barrier to church was the fact that most of them in Ottawa seemed to have their masses early in the morning, or required bussing some distance. I finally settled for a church that was on campus and across the street from my residence. I went with my roommate who was also Catholic.

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Wandering Through the Desert

Those Three Words

CN: Allusion to past emotional abuse and suicidal ideation

I rarely tell my partners that I love them.

Well, that’s not true.  I rarely tell them uninitiated.  It’s easy for me to say “I love you, too,” sincere yet mechanical, in response to “I love you.”  Once a relationship reaches the point where “I love you” is a thing we’re saying to each other, that exchange becomes commonplace: the affirming background hum of two people who care deeply for one another.  It’s easy enough that just having my love for a person on my mind when a totally different person, jokingly or accidentally, tells me they love me is sometimes enough to bring it out.  The mortification that follows is rarely worth the laugh.

But starting that trade is much harder.

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Those Three Words

What is Anti-Eugenics in Practice?

I’ve previously written about the difference between eugenics and pro-choice, and how the thought process that goes into the decision to abort a disabled fetus is both a symptom and a perpetuation of systemic ableism.

What does it mean in practice to oppose eugenics, however? If aborting a fetus on the basis of disability is harmful, how do we address that? Do we make it illegal? Do we restrict a person’s ability to make that decision by eliminating the ability to know in advance whether a child has a disability or not?

How can you oppose eugenics and still remain pro-choice. Isn’t it wrong to shame people who get abortions for the reasons they get abortions?

Let me make it clear. The right to bodily autonomy is such that any restriction, even for the best of intentions, is a violation of bodily autonomy. Regardless why someone is getting an abortion, the ability to do so safely and without barrier is essential. All people should have the right to access an abortion without shaming. Continue reading “What is Anti-Eugenics in Practice?”

What is Anti-Eugenics in Practice?