Not in Canada

CN: Police Brutality, Violence against Black and Disabled people,

Yesterday a black man with a cognitive disability was accosted and then violently beaten by cops. These days, it seems like every day brings a new story along these lines, except this time, it happened in Ottawa, Canada.

We unfairly and unjustifiably pride ourselves on being better here in Canada. I’ve even had angry people messaging me telling me I am being unfair and spurious in claiming that racist police violence happens here.

They had 5 cops against 1 man.

He was on the ground when they beat him with their sticks.

They beat him so badly, he may not live.

They beat him despite people in the area telling them he was disabled.

They beat him because they didn’t see him as human.

This happened in my city. This happened in a neighbourhood close enough to mine to be one I pass by regularly.

We need to start paying attention. We need to get off our fucking high horse and stop patting ourselves on the back, because better than the genocide that is going on in the US isn’t good enough. Because ignoring the genocides going on within our own borders because the body count isn’t going up as quickly as it is in the US, ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH!

WE NEED TO DO BETTER.

This happens in Canada, and turning away and pretending it isn’t happening is the same as condoning it.

UPDATE: Abdirahaman Abdi, the Somali-Canadian man who was violently beaten by cops in Ottawa has died. His brutal assault is now murder. May he rest in power, and may his family get justice for what was done.

Not in Canada
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Privacy and Abuela

Privacy, bodily autonomy, personal space isn’t a thing for older Hispanics.

When I was little and there was company coming over grandma would yell at us to clean our room. It didn’t matter that it was clean. No, it had to be immaculate. It had to look like two small children (my younger brother and I) weren’t occupying that space.

If it wasn’t cleaned to her standards, she’d close the door. I’d ask why and I was told, “you know how people are. They might open the door and then see the mess.”

I heard this again when mami was teaching me how to cook rice and she’d arranged the rice in a neat mound in the pot when it was done cooking. I would never do that. She’d tell me to. I’d ask why and she’d say “presentation is important because people might open the pot”

I mean who the hell would care if the rice wasn’t arranged nicely? I only cared about it being cooked properly. (When I was learning, I always added too much waer and it would end up “amogollao”)

Who were these nosy ass people judging me about my unmade bed and messy rice?
Family, of course.

I learned family had a right to everything about me. I got my first period when I was 11 and my grandmother called everybody to tell them that “el gallo ya canto”. I got calls from my godmother in NYC congratulating me on finally becoming a “Señorita”.

I lived with my mom, my grandparents and my two brothers. My tio M* lived with is until he died when I was 8. The room I shared with my mom and younger brother was the master bedroom of the house. It had its own bathroom, but no door, instead it had a beaded curtain (no kidding!).

Grandma would walk in the bathroom all the time. It didn’t matter if I was showering or on the toilet because “we both have the same stuff”.

Sometimes, when I had the room to myself, I’d close the door. Grandma would yell at me because “decent young ladies” don’t close their doors. I was 12.

Once a boy who liked me walked me most of the way home. We passed by several older people who knew my grandpa (in our town people knew who you were by your “pinta”. They could tell who your “people” were by your coloring!)
I knew they would have all sorts of stories about A’s* granddaughter walking alone with a boy. So as soon as I got home I told my grandma that a boy from my class (and I made sure to emphasize how much I did not like this boy) had walked me part of the way home. Because if I didn’t tell her, she’d hear about it next time she went into town and I’d get yelled at.

I was forced to hug and kiss relatives I didn’t want to. I’d be shamed into doing it.

I told myself I would be different with TJ. For the most part I am, but then I have company come over and even though my apartment is clean, I start freaking out because a child’s messy room will be used as proof of how “malcri’a” TJ is; how shitty I am as a mom.

I know it’s all bullshit. I know that the people who matter won’t care about that stuff. I mean, a lot of this privacy and bodily autonomy stuff is tied into a lot of social justice issues and most of my friends are social justice minded. So rationally I KNOW that my 6 year old’s messy room won’t be a big deal. In fact, a child that age should have a messy room.

But in the back of my mind, I hear my tiny but scary grandma telling me to clean up. It’s the same voice I hear whenever I try to ignore abuelitas in the street when I have my earbuds on. It’s the same voice who tells me to keep my legs together when I’m wearing a skirt. It’s the reason why even though I’m an atheist I still ask my grandma for “la bendición”.

Because old habits die hard and disrespecting abuela is a no-no.

Note: Initials were used to protect family’s privacy (take that nosy family!)

Privacy and Abuela

Fake Goths

It’s been a few months since the whole Cathy Brennan is a fake goth thing started. It had died down. And then some friends were locked out of their accounts for 24 hours for months-old posts. So it began again.

I haven’t been locked out but I’ve had several posts removed for calling Cathy Brennan a fake goth. (update: as soon as I published this, I discovered I was locked out from posting for 24 hours)

Fake goths aren’t persecuted. There aren’t people outside of Hot Topic waiting for scene kids to come out to then beat them. No one is doxxing fake goths, there isn’t legislation stopping fakers from using the bathroom.

Yet, fake goths can report a post and have it taken down immediately.

Facebook recently removed a post from The Body is not an Apology simply because it was standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
The Kinfolk Kollective and Son of Baldwin pages were unpublished for a few days.

Meanwhile Facebook doesn’t remove violent imagery, it doesn’t remove sexism, racism, transmisogyny and homophobia. Fake Goths can doxx trans women and that is totally fine.

Gender Identity Watch could harass trans women and Facebook did nothing about it. I can’t find GIW on Facebook so I’m hoping it’s been removed but how many times did it have to be reported before Facebook did anything?

On the other hand, posts calling Cathy Brennan a fake goth were removed almost immediately. It does not escape me that a white woman can so easily have posts removed.

We all know Facebook is racist as fuck. We all know that white people are racist. I don’t care that she’s posting pro-BLM stuff on her page. She benefits from the racist system Facebook has set up. Her privilege as a white woman is being used when she decides “fake goth” hurts her delicate feels.

Trans women, particularly trans women of color, don’t get that luxury.

All this to say that CATHY BRENNAN IS A FAKE GOTH.

Fake Goths

More Cat Immodesty

Two loyal Mandesty readers alerted me to this video on Facebook. I must admit I was very hot and bothered.

I mean, just look at that adorable face! Those whiskers! That little orange face.

Untitled
Immodesty is very hard work, apparently

Readers, this isn’t the first time that immodest men and their cats have been featured on this blog. When will we say enough is enough? The purr-fect time is meow.

Untitledh

A friend of a reader has bravely offered to keep this young man in her bedroom so he won’t lead others into sin and temptation. She is a crusader for Mandesty!

More Cat Immodesty

New York, New York

One of the best things about becoming a blogger has been meeting amazing people who have rapidly become my family. We’re all united by similar struggles – poverty, disability, abusive pasts or histories, – and some struggles unique to specific individuals – racism, parenting. We try and help each other out as much as we can: with information, ideas, fundraising when applicable, and occasionally, like with other family members, by showing up and lending a hand when things get tough.

I have one such friend in the New York area. This person is really an inspiration to me. With everything she’s been through she has done a magnificent job raising her daughter to be a confident kid who loves the things about herself that the world tells her she should hate: her skin colour, her Neurodivergence, her gender.  This friend has been here for me and Alyssa when times were hard: staying up late with me when I was struggling with crohn’s and couldn’t sleep. Being there for Alyssa as a representative of the same heritage when it seemed like her own family might reject her.

We’ve been there for each other when discussing disability, and we’ve shared tips on working with difficult doctors. But like with most of us struggling with disability, things have gotten a little more complicated lately. Doctors are ignoring a serious symptom, and trying to get them to pay attention to it is exhausting. To add injury to injury, a misstep on the train has left my friend with an injured leg that slows her down.

Those familiar with New York know that if the things you need to do are spread across the city, getting anything done can take several hours. Add an injury and a young child, and it gets a whole lot worse.

New York is fairly close to where I live. Close enough to drive to in one day. Those who have been following our story though, also know that Alyssa and I are currently in a marginally more difficult situation. Since her graduation, Alyssa is no longer getting paid. She’s been diligently looking for a job: everything from the work she is qualified for –scientist for the federal government, assistant professor, teaching work, positions at universities, labs, anything – to part time work to help pay the bills at stores, pet shops, groceries, admin assistant, anything and everyone who might hire her.

In the midst of all this, we are also working on figuring out exactly what needs to be done to allow her to change her name and information, while fighting the clock on her immigration application this summer.

Have we mentioned it has been a busy summer?

I have the time and the inclination to go to New York. Not for long, just long enough to help out for a week or so. Help take care of my friend and her daughter, chauffer them around for a little bit so they can run their errands without having to spend multiple hours in the baking sun, make some ready meals for them so that she doesn’t have to worry about getting dinner ready in the middle of her exhaustion, and maybe, just maybe, knock a few doctor’s skulls around to help get them to take things seriously.

I have a place to stay, and my hope was to be able to take advantage of my Costco membership to get groceries for her that I could also live on while I was there! I’m asking for help with gas and cost of food and potential incidentals (parking?). Any donation would be greatly appreciated. I will also do what I can to promote Young, Sick, and Invisible while there, and maybe just maybe take advantage of the post office to finish sending out the books for the IndieGoGo (between the money needed for shipping and the [totally justified] post office strike it’s been rough getting all the packages sent).
Please help if you can and are willing. If you want to help, but can’t donate, please share this fundraiser and post in the hopes that someone else might be able to.

Thank you everyone.

PS: The link above is to a Youcaring page. If you would like to help out but are unable to donate to the youcaring link you can also paypal us here.

 

New York, New York

Dear Nintendo: Let My Son Play Pokemon (Guest Post)

The following is a guest post request from a mother who wants to play Pokemon Go with her child, but can’t because of some of the many ways it is inaccessible to people with disabilities. Her identity will be kept anonymous for reasons of safety and consideration. The following is an open letter to Nintendo. 

Hey Nintendo, some people have disabled children who would like to play Pokemon Go.

Even though the premise of your game is awesome, it could be improved upon with more accessibility.

As the parent of an autistic child (who is intentionally keeping things vague for the sake of this post because I’d rather my son disclose information about himself publicly whenever he personally feels it is appropriate to do so and can consent to it) who enjoys playing Pokemon with his mother, and as a mother who grew up playing Pokemon games of her own, the Pokemon franchise has always been one that has allowed us to bond and spend quality time together. I man the controls, and when my son indicates a preference in one or more Pokemon, I try to incorporate those into our team. (Once we attempted to bring the three legendary birds to the Elite Four in LeafGreen because he liked them a lot. That might have been when type disadvantage was best illustrated, bringing three Flying when the first Trainer specializes in Ice. Moving along…) Based on what I’d read about Go, I thought it would be one of the most awesome games ever to play with him when it came out.

And then it came out.

Continue reading “Dear Nintendo: Let My Son Play Pokemon (Guest Post)”

Dear Nintendo: Let My Son Play Pokemon (Guest Post)

Pokemon Go? Not for me.

So as is everyone else on the entire planet. I was super excited about Pokemon Go. A whole new era of Pokemon catching, and on my phone? I was so excited. I downloaded the app, installed started it up. Oh it needs GPS, of course it does. Well living where there is no cell signal for the GPS to work, I decided to try it in town. I went to my local Barnes & Noble  before a doc appointment. Sweet it’s finally working.

Now I had read about the concept of it before, I had read and watched press stuff for it. I was so excited. Then it fully hit me while trying to actually play. This game is not for me. As a disabled person who is not able to walk long distances and uses assistive devices either a walker or a cane. I can’t just walk around for hundreds of yards to find Pokemon. When this finally hit me I was pretty devastated. I tried at the Doctors office and in that parking lot as well. But all the Pokemon were so far away. My heart sank.

If I had a motorized scooter that would be one thing. Frankly since I had to save money and get help paying for my walker there is probably no chance of me getting something more expensive anytime soon. I have a wheelchair that we got from Value Village, it is missing the foot rests and one arm rest, but I guess I could get asked to be pushed around. That just doesn’t sound very fun or comfortable (given the state of my current wheelchair). If I could wheel myself around that would be awesome. Since I can’t I am stuck.

It really hurts, this game I have loved since 6th grade, that I started playing on my Gameboy Color, that I collected cards with my friends with. That I have played for well over a decade. The newest version of this game is not for me. Frankly it’s not for many disabled people. Not only having physical disabilities as I do, and chronic pain, I also have mental disabilities, PTSD and anxiety to name a couple. This means even if I could roam around places where there are lots of people trying to catch these pokemanz. I would probably only be able to do it for a little while. My spoons would start getting eaten up fast (my energy and ability to be around people).

If I am having these issues, I know other people are too. Either because of physical limitations, safety, or social ones. Anyone with very bad anxiety, or other issues with crowded places, people, ect. We don’t get to play this game. It is very obvious after reading even more about how it works that you not only have to be able to walk/move long distances, but you also have to be able to be around people where you have the GPS available.

I can’t even go around my house, or the trails and woods around my house to catch Pokemon. A place where there is few to zero people, a place I feel safe. It seems I will be waiting for Pokemon Sun and Moon and just play the old fashioned way.

Frankly this is all I ever wanted out of a Pokemon game. Pokemon Snap (for the Nintendo64) was my first glimpse into this. Wandering around and trying to catch a glimpse of different Pokemon so you can get pictures of them. Pokemon Go was the next step! An ARG (Alternate Reality Game), where I can find Pokemon in my town, around my house! This was so exciting. Which is why it hurts so much to realize I can’t play this game. This game was made for able-bodied people or people with the money to have the assistive devices they need. It was made for neurotypical people who don’t have problems being around people and in crowded places.

Pokemon Go was not made for me, and it really fucking sucks.

Pokemon Go? Not for me.

Content Notice or Trigger Warning

TW/CN: This post will be talking about specific triggers and content to address the need for TW’s and CN’s. We are touching on a lot here but no details.
Slight Spoilers for Mad Max: Fury Road

Why not both!?

In all seriousness though this is going to be a blog about Trigger Warnings and Content Notice/Warnings.

Trigger warnings are for those of us who maybe have PTSD or other adverse reactions to things that trigger us due to past experiences. This can be because of any manner of things. Trauma is a very individual and personal thing. PTSD is something many of our Veterans have, you can also get PTSD from rape and abuse, you can get it from a horrible car accident, maybe you were in a natural disaster. This said everyone’s triggers are different. If everyone has such wide varied triggers why should you care?

Because you can still minimize harm for people by using things we widely know cause someone to be triggered. Let’s talk about being triggered. Anyone watch Mad Max: Fury Road? When Max is seeing things that are not there, when he is having these “flashes”. Those are akin to what I have experienced as flashbacks. Flashbacks are when someone with PTSD gets triggered and will basically relive an event, or parts of it. This can be very scary and be visual and auditory hallucinations that are SO REAL when it is happening. Flashbacks and nightmares and other adverse symptoms of PTSD can also re-traumatize us. (I will be writing a more in-depth post on just Mad Max: Fury Road and PTSD blog post!)

Trauma doesn’t go away and trauma will re-traumatize us again and again. Getting triggered and having flashbacks or hallucinations can and will re-traumatize us. This is why Trigger Warnings are so important.

Let’s talk about that minimizing harm again. This is what Trigger Warnings do. They minimize harm. Content Notice/Warnings do around the same thing, but are not specific to PTSD related issues. Content Notices are great for content that you know might be harmful to a marginalized group or persons. This is where things like a Content Notice for racism, sexism, homophobia, maybe violence towards animals. All come in handy and can help people that have to deal with enough of this bullshit, that maybe they don’t want to deal with it right now.

TW’s and CN’s are about minimizing harm, but more importantly it is about letting us choose what we consume. Regardless of what is is, maybe a news article, or a movie, or even a book. I have the right and responsibility to myself to choose to not consume media or new that deals with rape, assault, domestic violence, violence in general. As someone with PTSD I know this doesn’t end well and I choose and have a right to my own health, mental well-being, and physical safety.

Here is a list that someone else has started that is trying to gather common triggers and things that would need warnings or notices. This is a pretty great basics list as well as many specific ones that are still widely common. If you would like to learn please go look so you can try to make your content sharing safer.

http://privilege101.tumblr.com/triggers.html

Content Notice or Trigger Warning

Rant: Fellow White People – We Need to Talk About Racism

I wrote a post responding to some of the objections I had seen the Black Lives Matter demands at the Pride Protest, specifically those relating to Police presence. I wanted to continue addressing further objections that I have seen raised. Specifically those dealing with a misunderstanding of racism.

It is not surprising that the majority of people, and white people in particular, don’t fully understand the concept of racism, especially those people who are white. Like many subjects at school, what we were taught wasn’t actually the truth, but a simplification that was meant to act as a primer to make the truth easier to understand as we developed our understanding of difficult concepts. As we grow in specific subjects and develop our interest in them, we begin to piece away at the earlier lies to reveal more complicated truths – the end goal of evolution is not a human being but rather survival and procreation – the solar system is not simply made up of 8 planets and the sun – actually you can find the square root of a negative number but the answer is an imaginary number, also imaginary numbers are a thing – we teach half-truths because we need to build a foundation on which our eventual understanding can be based as a launching off point.

The trouble with this when it comes to matters of social importance, like racism, is that the majority of people, and especially those in positions of power, never move past an elementary introduction into concepts that have a daily impact on countless lives.

In school we are taught that racism is the discrimination or prejudice against a person based on their race. We are taught about triangles who make fun of a circle for being different, or use the examples of grizzly bears encountering panda bears for the first time. We try to explain this difficult concept to children by appealing to their internal sense of fairness and empathy by making them think about how much their own feelings would be hurt if someone were to make a decision about them based on something like how they look.

Continue reading “Rant: Fellow White People – We Need to Talk About Racism”

Rant: Fellow White People – We Need to Talk About Racism