Animal Farm on Steroids

A small boy’s father abuses and rapes his mother. This goes on for years until the mother kills herself. The boy can’t imagine being a man. Men hurt. He doesn’t want to be one so he changes his name, his clothes, his hair, and becomes a girl. Girls might get hurt, but they aren’t rapists.

A girl is molested by her uncle. For years he sneaks into her bedroom and rapes her. Finally, at age thirteen, she decides to tell her father, hoping he will stop his brother from doing these things. She works up her courage and goes to him. He looks at her like she is insane and tells her to stop making up stories. He tells her that if any of what she says is true, it’s because she asked for it. He tells her that girls are for men to have sex with so she should just grow up and go with the flow. Feeling destroyed, she determines that she will not be a woman. She changes her name, her clothes, her hair, and becomes a man. If she isn’t a girl, then she can’t be hurt.

A young boy feels alienated from his peers. His parents divorced when he was five, and he hasn’t felt quite right since. His mother and her new husband are extremely conservative. They make him go to church four times a week, which he hates. The church tells him homosexuality is a sin and that homosexuals will die in the fiery bowels of hell. He knows he likes boys, and is scared that he might go to hell. His father is more supportive, but he only gets to stay with his father every other weekend. There is a group of kids at his school who tell him that he doesn’t have to be a boy. He can become a girl. He can change his identity. He decides to do this. At least if he becomes a girl then he won’t end up in hell for liking boys.

There are many reasons why biological males wish to be female and vice versa. For many, the desire to be something different comes from a place of pain and trauma. The change in identity becomes a way to deal with the hurt, an attempt to heal a wound that feels almost too deep to ameliorate. It is difficult not to sympathize with the person in this situation, to feel empathy and compassion for their pain. It is from this place of compassion that most people support identity changes. It is automatically assumed that someone who is making such a change must need to (otherwise, why would they do it?), and why not support this?

What has followed is that well-meaning people, in an attempt to show compassion for victims of trauma, label their bathrooms for “those who identify,” or cheer in victory when a trans person is elected or appointed into a place of power. Yet I very much doubt that when Unitarian churches added “or those who identify” to their female bathrooms they gave much thought to the female who had been raped and didn’t want to share an intimate space with a male, even if that male was traumatized as well. I very much doubt it was their intention to sweep thousands of years of male oppression under the rug when they allowed males into this female-only space. Unfortunately, though, that’s exactly what they did. And this is a problem.

What is essentially eliminated in these actions are the thousands of years of normalized violence against females (usually by heterosexual males). (There has been so much hand-wringing and exclaiming over the sheer numbers of #metoos, when really, what should be surprising is if there are any women left who haven’t experienced some form of violence or oppression.) The real tragedy is that oppression and violence are common. It is normalized in most places. It results in continuing trauma and violence against anyone who doesn’t conform to strict norms and often excused by systems that exacerbate and were created to keep things the way they are. Most of the time, the need to change one’s sexual identity is because of this normalized violence and oppression. If we didn’t live in a world where fathers raped mothers, or people think homosexuals should burn in hell, or uncles (or fathers or brothers and on and on) molested children, there would likely be no need to cut off breasts or penises to escape the pain.

Yet some men decide they want to become women, and although they may be doing so because they were the victims of violence, for whatever reason they use their reaction as an excuse to be controlling and violent. This very vocal and very abusive group of males who call themselves trans women are violent and abusive to anyone who supports female-only spaces or anyone who calls for an end to violence against women, or even anyone who has the temerity to suggest that they have experienced sexual violence, as if the violence of the trans person is the only violence that counts, and if they speak out about their own personal experiences, they should have more violence done to them. These trans activists have managed to get all the progressives to agree with them, using the compassion people feel for those who have suffered trauma and pain to get them to automatically jump on board with anything trans, without really putting any kind of critical thought into what is being done. Any statements questioning the means of acceptance of trans people are automatically labeled transphobic. Any questions on the subject are automatically shut down. Any attempt to engage or explain is stopped through force with name calling, threats of violence, and in some cases, actual violence. Any stories of one’s own experiences of pain and trauma are belittled and shamed. These perpetrators of violence and threats are males who have decided that they are female and therefore they want access to female experience and female spaces, and they don’t like being told no. When females question their intrusions into female experiences and spaces, their response is decidedly male when they start talking about committing rape or murder against those who would dare to question them.

Here are some examples:

A long time social justice activist, socialist, Green, and civil rights lawyer was cyberbullied on social media by a group of trans-activists and their supporters. The bullies called her a TERF (“Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist”). They called her a “Nazi.” They called her a “rapist.” They called her a “racist.” They called her a supporter of “genocide” and a hateful bigot who deserved to die. Several people contacted her employer in an unsuccessful attempt to get her fired from her job. The reasons for these hateful actions were that she had written that people who are born as female are oppressed on the basis of being female, and that males often do not recognize this. That’s it.

A woman ran for the school board in Minnesota, hoping to fix problems like lead in drinking water and improving the quality of education. She also took a strong stand against school bullying, including on the basis of gender identity. Because she expressed gender-critical views, within 24 hours of announcing her candidacy, bullies began attacking her. On social media she was called a “loathsome snake” who spreads “venom” and “hate.” One person told her to go home and masturbate. She was threatened with death. Ultimately, she dropped out of the school board race because she couldn’t focus on the issues that were important to her.

The reality is that women have experienced violence at the hands of men for as long as there has been civilization and men pretending to be women are no exception when it comes to perpetrating violence.

What has happened is that a rather large number of people who support these people who have attempted to change their biological sex identity, in their attempt to be “supportive,” automatically presume that anyone who questions the policies and actions of trans persons must automatically be “transphobic,” and that they can have no valid purpose or argument. The efforts to be inclusive have turned truly bizarre. Major midwife groups have changed their guidelines to take women out of their language, changing “woman” to “person” in order not to exclude transmen (women who consider themselves men (as if somehow they are no longer women, so using the word woman would exclude them)). Young males decide to become females and are then allowed to participate in sports as females, their male physical bodies and strengths notwithstanding. A city in Canada passed an ordinance where misgendering someone can get you fined. Parents give children as young as four irreversible sex hormones because the child thinks they might be a boy instead of a girl or vice versa (apparently a child can make a decision this drastic this young, but they don’t have the judgment to drink alcohol before they’re 21?). It is the world of Animal Farm on steroids. Say it is so and it is so, even when reality says otherwise.

When actress Rose McGowan spoke out about the abuse she suffered and that millions of women suffer daily, a trans woman screamed her down. He disagreed with some remarks she had made in the prior year stating that the experiences of trans women are not the same as biological women. Essentially, his argument was that his experiences and those of others like him should override all others’ experiences of trauma and abuse. Rather than support McGowan in her willingness to come forward and describe her experiences as an assault survivor, Seattle Arts and Lectures cancelled her speech. In today’s world, speaking one’s truth about an experience that half the population lives with on a daily basis isn’t enough. That experience must be truncated by the male experience and if it isn’t, it will be silenced.

We must not conflate the taking care of those who have been traumatized with the desire of abusers to act with violence and cruelty against those they want to control. The mistake so many well-meaning people make is to assume that because someone is trans that they are automatically to be supported and that their version is the only truth. People must stop claiming that speaking out for women, calling for protection of female-only spaces, and ending violence against women is transphobic. Just because someone calls a person a transphobe doesn’t mean that person is a transphobe. People must stop believing that describing our experiences somehow negates those of a trans person who has been harmed. It is possible for the two to exist simultaneously. It is even possible to understand that the two are sides of the same coin. However we will never get to that discussion as long as those who have some genuine criticism to offer are automatically shut down (or shouted down, or beaten down, or shut out). There are real issues around transgenderism that should be discussed without fear of repercussion against those who think there are major problems with allowing men into women-only spaces, with making biological changes to children, and with erasing women by claiming that biological sex is a choice and social construct and not biological reality. This doesn’t discount those who have experienced abuse and trauma, it just adds a sorely needed dose of reality to a world that increasingly seems hell bent on insanity.

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That’s so Gross, Mom

This is how conversations go in our house:

My oldest daughter was singing “Can’t go to bed ’til you’re legally wed, you can’t you’re Sandra DEE!” I said, “You can’t even go to bed after your legally wed. Just don’t go to bed at all. Or wait. You can go to bed after you’ve been wed for ten years.”

“That’s so gross, Mom.”

Then I amended and told her seriously, “Aw well, someday you’ll go to bed. Just don’t do it too soon, and don’t do it with too many people, and use protection.”

“That’s so gross, Mom.”

Then I said, “If you’re with a guy and he says he wants to have sex and you don’t want to have sex, and he says not having sex will cause his penis to shrivel up and fall off, or his testicles will explode, don’t believe it.”

“Wow, Mom. No one would say that. That’s so gross.”

“No. It’s true. It’s been said. But don’t believe it because it’s a lie.” I said this with assurance, just in case she was thinking of believing some lie about a shriveled up man part.

“It sounds fake. I would never believe anything as stupid as that.”

Good thing, daughter of mine.

Violence, Murder, and Hatred of Homosexuals

Homophobia needs a new name, a good and ugly name to describe what is really going on when someone hates a gay person.  Homophobia is too sanitized.  It’s just a phobia, like arachnophobia (fear of spiders) and claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces).  No.  Hatred of gays needs to speak for what it really is–hate, intolerance, cruelty, VIOLENCE.  It needs a word that encompasses the fear, but also everything gays have suffered because of who they are.

Too many people think homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, like a person would volunteer for exclusion, violence, and pain, as if they could become heterosexual if they really wanted to.  Such “reasoning” is taken a step further to conclude that if a person chose their “lifestyle,” everyone’s hating them for it is okay.  What a load of crap.  Even if it were true that a homosexual made this “choice,” why does that make it okay to beat, kill, exclude, or otherwise bring them harm?  It doesn’t.  No matter how you cut it, homophobia is simple hatred.

So let’s make a new word, one that encompasses what is really going on.  Homo-abhorrence, homo-detestation, homo-disgust, homo-hatred, homo-malevolence, homo-repulsion, homo-revulsion, homo-animus, or homo-repugnance all come to mind.  I’m sure there are others.   Maybe if people who don’t give the issue much thought would consider what is really going on if we called a spade a spade and stopped using an easy, sanitized word like homophobia.  Maybe they would realize it means violence and hatred.  Maybe then they would understand why it has to end.

Lowering the Glass Ceiling

See this piece on Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lara-m-gardner/lowering-the-glass-ceilin_b_128346.html

I would like to take you on a journey of the imagination…

Imagine that Sarah Palin is not a woman, but a man.  We’ll call him Mr. Palin.  Mr. Palin has been mayor of a small town in Alaska, and governor of that state for less than two years, a state whose entire population is less than that of most US major metropolitan areas and in this position.  In this position, Mr. Palin is being investigated for questionable conduct.  Imagine that he obtained his passport within the last couple of years, and that he considers foreign policy experience living next door to another country.  Take it further and imagine he believes the earth was created in a few thousand years, that dinosaurs roamed the earth with humans, and that creationism should be taught in public schools.  Suppose also that this man believes women should not have the right to choose, and that rape victims should pay for their own rape kits.  Imagine Mr. Palin hunted moose from a helicopter and sought removal of environmental protections for polar bears. Imagine he has no knowledge of financial markets, the cold war, weapons systems, or Middle Eastern history.  Imagine all of this and more.

If this were true, and Sarah Palin were a man, would he have even been on the longest list of potential US vice-presidential candidates for any political party?  It would be unthinkable.

Why are the standards for this woman running for vice-president so much lower than they would be for a man?  Shouldn’t the standards be the same?  To determine whether someone did not get a job because of something other than merit, simply slip whatever that person is not into the position in your mind and ask yourself whether the same standards would apply.  If there are disparities in the standards required between two people seeking the same position, it is quite likely that discrimination is occurring in some form, even if it is allowing someone to be worse at something in an effort to pretend there is no -ism taking place.

Here, we have a woman running for vice-president who is grossly underqualified.  Those who support her claim that her position as a vice-presidential candidate is evidence of women shattering the glass ceiling.  Actually, the opposite is true.  Allowing her to take a position for which she is not qualified and giving her extra points for being a woman is the ultimate in sexism:  it is using gender as a qualifier rather than merit.  Beyond the obvious arguments against her abilities, her position as a vice-presidential candidate assumes on some level that a qualified woman could not perform the job.  Sarah Palin’s place on the Republican ticket does not shatter the glass ceiling, it lowers it.

little bits

I’m in the middle of so many books.  About ten I think.  This non-sequitur comes from nowhere, as non-sequiturs are apt to do, the sort of thought that has probably been floating in his brain for a bit and is finally expressed seemingly out of the ether.  I am in the middle of so many books too, I tell him.  Later I think that I would have finished these books, but I’ve been fucking instead.  Quite a lot actually.  I could have said that. He would have chuckled.  He would have known what I meant.  But that response only came just a bit ago when I was reading one of the aforementioned books.  Actually, this is a new one.  I’m already in the middle of how many books?  Maybe five or six instead of ten.  Then I found one of my favorites yesterday while sorting through boxes, one I have been wanting to read lately, one I went searching for a few weeks ago and did not find.  So this book moves to the top of the pile in the bathroom and will go with me when I’m a passenger in the car with him or have to go somewhere and wait.  I will finish it quickly because it has been tickling my brain begging me to read it again.  In fact I had to stop myself from buying another copy because I knew this one was nearby.  I just had to search further into the boxes.  And I did that.

I do not like packing.  I do not like moving.  It’s worse this time because I already did it once last month and it lasted several weeks.  I’m down on stuff, but these are things I did not finish or sort or have to decide whether they go to Hawaii or storage for another country I hope.  I have to pack so things can be shipped without breaking.  So far this hasn’t been too terribly difficult because the belongings are not breakable.  My friend, Noelle, helped me with breakable things at the old house, so I’m hoping not packing breakable things will remain not too terribly difficult.

Okay, I know he got his own post a few days back, but Chet Baker…baby.  I’m listening to Chet Baker in Paris.  I’m so in love with that voice.  Man says Chet made the ladies’ panties wet.  You know, I can see it.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), heroin and cocaine addiction isn’t exactly attractive, so I don’t think he would have done much for my panties, but still.  The man can sing and blow a horn.  Man told me a joke that goes What does a trumpet player use for birth control?  His personality.  This may be true, unless one is Chet Baker.  He could have the worst personality and that voice and face would go a long way to alleviating any personality flaws…like drug addiction for instance.

Well time to go investigate iphones.  Yes, I know.  How cliche’ is that to go and get an iphone right when they come out?  I don’t care.  My contract is up with Sprint and my phone is broken, so I’m going to get an iphone to go with my ipod and macbook.  Then I can write all of them without capital letters on the fronts of their names.  The computing world’s version of e.e. cummings.  Brilliant.

Get a Grip

I have been hearing all the pundits and dj’s on the radio talking about the “explicit” Miley Cyrus photos in Vanity Fair.  On and on and on.  One woman on NPR just would not shut up about how horrible it was, how sexualized she was, how taken advantage of, what a wretched human Annie Lebowitz was, how Miley was being exploited, how her parents were to blame for this travesty.  Just listening to her was enough to make me want to punch the radio.

I get Vanity Fair.  It arrived in the mail.  Curious what all the fuss was about, I opened to the photos.  What the fuck? I heard from one radio commentator how the photos with her dad were incestuous.  What a load of crap.  What kind of culture do we live in that a father sitting as this man is with his daughter is considered incestuous?  It says more about the people who automatically assume sexuality between two people of opposite sex than it does about the objects of this photo.  There is nothing incestuous about it.  It is intimate, yes, but that does not make it sexual. And why shouldn’t a father and daughter be intimate?  It is healthy; it doesn’t mean they are going to fuck.

Regarding the photo of Miley’s back, it depicts her as the woman she is becoming.  There is nothing pornographic about it.  Again it says so much more about the people who find a photo like that disturbing and their own twisted views on sexuality than it does about Miley.  The photo is sensual.  Her back is beautiful.  She is lovely and growing into a woman.  Why is it Americans find it so disturbing that a young woman of 15 could possibly have a sensuous body?  Why does sensuality automatically equal sex?  And why is it wrong for someone to view this photo and want sex with this woman just because of her age?  Our sexuality doesn’t magically turn on at age 16 or 18 when we can suddenly legally “consent” to certain activities.  We are born sexual beings.  The fact that our culture finds sexuality abhorrent is a problem with our culture, not the peoples’ bodies in the culture.

This country is so puritanical, I can hardly stand it.  Grow up people.  Humans are sexual beings.  How do you think we procreate?  I believe so much of the sexual vioence in this country comes from repressed rage at unexpressed and disallowed sexuality.  There is also the assumption that anything without clothes is automatically ready to fuck.  Put a male and female together, even a parent and child, and if they are touching or in any way intimate, they are automatically ready to fuck.  Take a sensual photo of a young woman’s body and she is being exploited to fuck.  It’s crazy.

I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind.  America is such a mess, any voice of reason is lost in the din.  I can say this though, Miley Cyrus’s photos were beautiful, intimate, sensual, and in no way incestuous or pornographic.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is the one with the problem.  Those people should head into therapy and try to figure out what that problem is.

Letter Again to Love Guru

Well, I received a letter last week from a well-meaning young fellow.  I have to say I am impressed with his fortitude in contacting me.  He is obviously an intelligent person who knows when to ask for help.  Here is his request:

HI love guru i dont know ur reputation but having studied ur letters it made me relaxed and confident enuf to share my problem with u. The problem is that due to bipolar sickness and other problems i feel that i may am lagging behind than my other fellows in mental growth at this time i am doing my masters in digital communications but believe me in social activites and day to day living i spend my most of life in room and have gained very less experiences well thats another problem. My love problem is that i dont feel to marry or engage coz i dont feel mature enuf but ma parents insisted me and after rejecting a few proposals i accpeted one. But that was due to pressure. Now its 4 months since i engaged to a girl. That girl is sincere to me as i am the only man in her life but u know i dont like her much. i dont think about her that much. i respect her she is quite descent and mature girl but i wanted a lil funky girl so that she brighten ma life. ne way now tell me wat to do she is not a type of ma beauty choice. i m very worried these days. tell me wat should i do please.  Ali

To begin, Ali, I would suggest a bit of grammar school.  This would help you immensely in your ability to communicate.  Perhaps improvements in your communications will improve your social skills.  However, because you are a man, a bit of leeway will be accorded to you.  We women know how easy it is for men to revert to their caveman ways, and grammar is not something that appeals to cavemen.  Cavemen prefer banging things with lumps of rock and grunting. This is certainly not conducive to correct articulation.  I understand this.  However, practice your grammar.  Considering your mental problems, you need all the help you can get.

Regarding your love question…Ali, shame on you!  You have a perfectly lovely woman who is willing to put up with you, keep you in your private quarters, and feed you.  What more is it that you want?  She isn’t “beautiful” enough?  If you do not think she is pretty enough, I would suggest the problem is not with her, but with your eyes.  The solution is simple.  Go and find a stick and poke your eyes with it.  Once you are blind, you will not notice what your woman looks like.  An alternative is some wood glue.  Simply rub some glue along your lids.  This will cause them to stick shut, thereby increasing the strength of your other senses.  You will notice the lovely perfume your woman wears, the sounds of the music she plays, the tastes of the food she has made for you, and the feel of the softness of her skin.  Who needs sight when these other senses are so visceral?  Your woman loves you and wishes to keep you near to her.  Simply return to your quarters and all will be forgiven.  Kiss her feet, pour perfume all over your body, and shave.  Then beg for her forgiveness.  She will be so happy to see you, she may even feed you more than once a day.

Unfortunately, if your girl drove you out to the side of the road somewhere, she is over you and nothing you can do will change her mind.  I realize you are suffering from mental delusions in the form of bipolar disorder, but you need to get yourself under control!  How?  It’s simple.  You need to have a beer and watch some football.  You said you do not think of her much as it is.  I am sure the walk alone started you on the way to forgetting about her, but your mental disorder likely interfered.  I assure you the beer and game will complete the exodus of this person from your mind.  You will wonder why you needed to write to me in the first place.

Good luck, Ali.  True love really can be yours if you follow my simple advice.