Celebrating July

English: Fireworks on the Fourth of July

English: Fireworks on the Fourth of July (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s July.  Ready or Not will be out this month (depending how horrible some of my mistakes are between here and the end of the book — a few days to another week or two!) and my birthday all in the same month!

To celebrate this Love or Lust is free, everywhere I can set it to free, all month.  Amazon should set itself to free automatically sooner or later (I don’t have control of the price below 99¢); Nook doesn’t like the word free unless it’s a public domain or I personally strike a deal with their marketing division or something that would involve buying a really nice dress I can’t afford and speaking businessese.  Everyone else ought to be reflecting a 100% discount as of yesterday.

Hope everyone is enjoying the summer.

Rad Fem and the things we learn …

My but what a fascinating education I’ve got recently.

My recent reblog about a trans lesbian being treated rather poorly by a cis lesbian, blah blah blah, let’s all be nice to each other (Cliff Notes version) … Well, the auto-twit about it got replied to by a group/blog – I’m still working out just who/what this is – @GIDwatch (sensitive and kind hearted souls may wish not to follow that link) calling me a “rapey prick pushing #cottonceiling”.  I had to look up cotton ceiling which lead me to discover a phenomena known as radical feminists, which after discussing it with friends I learnt was actually something else called “rad fem”.  It’s apparently rather rude of those women to spell the words out since, it would seem, they’re typically not very nice at all and the people who’d been known as radical feminists first want nothing to do with them.

Wow, these women are … something.  Ever seen PCU?  You know the Womynists (or is it Wymenists?  Whatever)?  Yeah, I get the impression some of these women saw it, and didn’t realise that it was a joke.

It seems to be a sort of misogynist AND misandrist group of phallophobics.

No, really, I’m trying to be nice, but follow the logic they seem to use:  All men are rapists, because [somehow] having a penis makes you a rapist.  Also they are adamant that possession of a penis, or the former possession of one, or having a Y chromosome regardless of anything else makes you a man and … I don’t know, maybe now you’ve got some kind of ghost penis – I couldn’t really follow some of that argument if my life depended upon it.  Essentially trans women aren’t women to the extent that they fight very hard against trans rights (they seem to be quite unaware of the existence of trans men).

The misandry is pretty covered by that.

Now the misogyny.  All women are victims and should hide from men.  Not the exact words, but essentially the root of their arguments.  See, they don’t seem to realise that women are the equals of men and can stand up to them, can prevent rape, etc.  Which is more misandry, they’re the sort that hurt ending this ‘rape culture’ they like to go on about by perpetuating it in all the worst ways, as they believe that only men can rape (or seem to at any rate, which is just as bad really); and by absolving everyone of responsibility – their arguments are dangerous for both sides because they give the women the idea that their being raped is inevitable, and the men are given an excuse to believe that they just can’t help it and it’s part of their nature so they may as well …

As an author I love to learn things about people.  This is the first time since reading about what the Nazis, Spanish Inquisition, and Salem witch hunts got up to that I rather regretted the discovery.

I really wish I could understand what makes these women so afraid, and so hateful.  Were they, perhaps, raped or molested?  Are they just bitter and petty by nature?  I wish I could think more charitable things about them, but their words are just that:  bitter hateful, cruel.  They are so harsh to men, and to trans women, to women who should dare to speak in favour of those two groups, etc.

And this just in:  YES they DO believe that only men can rape.  They replied to a twit I made.  Fascinating.  And their rationale for this does seem to indicate a phallophobic attitude.  Again, fascinating.

Frankly, I feel that things like this really hurt feminism on a couple of grounds.  First off, by being your stereotypical man hating feminazi by the definitions of those who hate feminists you legitimise the criticisms of feminism.  Secondly there’s the aforementioned dangers in belittling women as unable to protect themselves, and in belittling men into mindless rape machines but barely contained by aught but the diligence of women.  You hurt the men who are raped and trying to seek justice, or the women raped by women who might be trying to do the same.

Hatred and the denial of the rights of others is no way to have power; it’s how to shed power.  If you fear a thing, that thing controls you.  If you fear not a thing, it has no power over you.  Love is a tool that lets you share in power – any control that someone or some group you love has over you is given freely by yourself because it means you respect and trust.

To love your trans sister is simply to respect her.  You don’t have to like that she has a penis; you certainly don’t have to have sex with her!  That’s the voluntary control.  You allow her to tell you who she is and you give her the control of that by accepting who she is and show her the love and support she needs (remember, oppressed groups really ought to stand together).

Let’s look at history.  At slave societies, especially the one of the American South just before the civil war.

Who was actually in control there?

On the surface it would seem to be the slave owners.  They certainly were on paper, and they had the guns and educations, etc.  So obviously they’re the answer, aren’t they?  Yes, sort of, to a point.

See, they feared the slaves – some of them.  Those who respected the slaves had less fear; not no fear, just less.  See by respecting them, and some did so just keep with me on this as explaining that would be a very long post by itself, that group of slave owners had the respect of their slaves.  With that respect was a lessening of the fear of rebellion and uprising, BUT they still had to fear the slaves of those disrespectful slave owners.

The disrespectful slave owners were in terrible fear.  They were outnumbered something fierce by a bunch of people who were, by necessity, in pretty damned good shape and who might have known the terrain pretty damned well within a certain range, and who by necessity probably were better suited to survive in it than the owners.

Fear is why the slave owners tried so hard to oppress the slaves.  That fear ruled them.

Slave revolts in the ancient world were less common.  This is due to “slavery” being a rather different thing there, something far closer to an indentured servitude, for one thing.  Still they were slaves, and property.  But they did often have respect.  They could earn wages; they were sometimes the doctors or lawyers; their status as slave brought protections that some enjoyed and others chafed at the lack of freedom, but could buy their freedom since they were allowed to have money … Rome didn’t tend to fear its slaves until it adopted a model not so different from the American south.

Slavery is stupid.  Seriously.  No human should ever own another for any reason and in any capacity. The point of the history lesson is to show that we have to respect one another.  Right now LGBTQ and women are like the slaves.  Society has laws in place to hold us down to deny and reject who and what we are and to oppress that.  We’re chiselling away at that, but it’s there, little by little the members of the community and their family, friends, and supporters.  The fight is fought by those who are first class citizens – our underground railroad, so to speak, if we wish to carry the slavery comparison – as well as by the second class and downtrodden.  That’s important, too.  LGBTQ need the straights and the cis, because together the numbers may or may not be equal, but it’s not like the slave owners with the clear advantage of numbers going to the slaves – in a democratic world we have to respect each other and that class of the people around us who might see as ‘the enemy’.

It’s fine in a political campaign to say as you will about Communism, or Democrats, Republicans, Populists, etc.  That’s the point of political campaigns (though, even there, more might get accomplished if there was more and better mutual respect between parties and voters – mud slinging clouds issues and wastes time that could be spent on real solutions).  But when fighting for rights, when fighting for acceptance, we need to look around to see who are friends are.  Women are 51% of the population, as I recall, but I believe that’s world-wide.  There’re parts of Amereica, for examples, where we are in fact a minority.  And 51% is not a big advantage; we, therefore, should embrace and cherish those men who would stand with us and say “these women deserve respect, equality, etc” rather than pushing them away with cries of “rapists”.  After all, love is not sex; a lesbian can love a man as her brother, as her equal, as her friend … that love need not be romantic and sexual, that’s clearly for some lucky woman somewhere.

Trans, bi, it doesn’t matter.

“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

I don’t care if you’re Christian or not … I’m not.  Doesn’t change that it’s a good concept.  Love that which you feel is divinity, and love your neighbour.

Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

Udanavarga 5:18

Is another good one.

I think I’ve wandered down a tangent.

Back to the point I’d wanted to make:  I didn’t know what a rad fem was, now I do and wish I didn’t.  I’d like to think they were doing something positive, but they rather strike me as a sort of anti-male KKK analogue as I simply cannot find anything in their comments and essays that speak otherwise; they don’t even empower or support women in any meaningful and positive way!  I’m saddened by that, just as neo-nazis, Klansmen, and other groups whose foundations are built in hatred and fear … until they find love and joy they can’t know peace, and fear and hatred are anathema to love, joy and peace … thing is, if you can find them, love, joy, and peace are often far more powerful and can rather banish the hatred and fear.  It’s one thing to dislike; several of them seem to be lesbians, so fine they’re not crazy about men and penises – to each her own – but dislike and hatred are different things, dislike is a preference whereas hatred is a desire for harm.

My … I can get rather preachy when I’m riled about something, can’t I?  I suppose there’s more of myself in Lauren’s character than I tend to realise.

Representation really does matter

Jaye:

Role models are important.

I think any character can be identified with by any reader/viewer/listener, but every now and then it’s nice to encounter one you can truly relate to on a personal level.

Originally posted on A Transgender's Journey:

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres (Photo credit: ronpaulrevolt2008)

So I didn’t really have much to say last week.  Partly I was just a little down, partly I just couldn’t get any kind of thoughts in order, and finally I just don’t think I had a whole lot to say.

This time, however, yes I do.

Representation.

In media, it’s safe to assume that no demographic ever looks good unless they’re children.  Look at even the old white man on Wall Street in the news — if it can be helped he’s as stereotypically rich white man as they could find.  What picture does this paint about Wall Street professionals?  Where’s the women, the non-whites, the youngins?  Go to the New York Stock Exchange, they’re there … how many?  Who cares, the point is they’re never on the news if it’s a casual story about the economy.

Nah, forget the news.  Let’s look…

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[Reblog] Cis Lesbian Dismissal of Trans Lesbians, and Why it’s Wrong

Rather beautifully put, I thought.  Though I do tend to find that referring to things as hetero-privilege, or cis-privilege, white-privilege is often a bit short sighted.  I’m not sure it’s a privilege to not always think things through properly or to simply be unaware of an issue or to not be able to quite wrap your head around it.

An example — my own editor is, psychologically, quite androgynous despite identifying as female and as such can at times be rather confused about things that matter to cis-men or cis-women alike around her and some aspects of transgenderism don’t quite … click … for her without a little hand-holding and analogy to help her fathom whatever concept is in question.  She’s not suffering from this disease of cis-privilege, there’s room to even debate if she is or is not cis for one thing, she just doesn’t understand because it’s not her issue.  She’s bisexual and her issues are not those of the homosexual nor the heterosexual people around her and just as those trans and cis friends of hers must explain things to her, she in turn must explain her androgyny or bisexuality to them.  Do they, then, suffer trans-privilege or homo-privilege in addition to the others purportedly possessed of cis and hetero privileges?

This isn’t to say that there isn’t some privilege extended to men, to cisgendered of either side of the binary, to heterosexuals.  This is rarely anything that can be helped by the individual, only by society and its expectations.  This is the man being, perhaps, more likely to get a job.  The white person who isn’t watched by security as closely in the department store.  The person dressed in a fashion that suggests wealth being treated with greater deference than the one who, by their clothes, may well be poor.  The cisgender who is taken more seriously at work and who is never asked to go to a special restroom at their job or asked for ID by some zealous clerk when taking a pee in some public facility.  Cis and straight, regardless of race, are not denied their basic civil rights by any country in the western world that I can think of.  That is privilege.

Still, regardless my pet-peeve on the overuse of ‘privilege’ in our language these days, this post makes a fantastic point:  If you cannot accept a trans-woman as a lesbian or a trans-man as gay then you are being a) quite sexist and/or b) you are saying that this person whose sex and gender simply do not match is not who and what they say they are.  Are we so insecure in our own gender-identities, are we so ashamed or proud of our sex and our sexuality, that we should deny others their right to be who and what God made them?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cis Lesbian Dismissal of Trans Lesbians, and Why it’s Wrong

Ying posed the following scenario/question: “Recently, I heard a lesbian woman comment about a trans woman (who happens to be a lesbian). She said the transwoman was not “really” a lesbian like she was. It was upsetting to me. No one can define another person’s identity, right? It seemed so petty, too. What skin is it off her nose anyway? What are your thoughts on people not accepting a trans person’s sexual orientation as being valid?”

Something to consider is going into this is that even though many of the LGB portion of our acronym are supportive and allies, that makes them no less cisgender. Just like any non-LGB person, they’re acting from a position of cis privilege, and don’t understand the implications of their actions, because, frankly, they don’t have to think about it much. We pop up once in a while, in a single circumstance here or there, and that’s generally the extent of it. And while they’re our allies for political purposes, I’ve come to find in my experience that LGB people are often woefully ignorant of the issues of the transgender community they support. Which is no surprise, really: We’re a vastly smaller group, a minority within our lgbt minority, so appropriately less time is spent on issues relating to us. (Just a shout-out to the LGBTU student group at The University of Akron, as they break this trend and give trans issues a much larger chunk of the spotlight than we deserve by population, because they’ve recognized the importance of these topics. Well done on them)

So what does this mean for the lesbian in question? Well, she’s invalidating our trans lesbian’s identity, plain and simple. By saying she’s not ‘really’ a lesbian, she’s implying an awful lot, and none of it is good. First and foremost, let’s go ahead and define “Lesbian”: a lesbian is a woman* who is attracted exclusively to other women*. Pretty simple definition, right? Well the two key elements are “Woman” and “Attracted exclusively to other women”. By saying she’s ‘not really a lesbian’ she has to be excluding our trans lesbian from one of the two criteria: and since, presumably, the trans lesbian has been with, or is currently with another woman, and has shown no interest in men, we can assume that ‘Attracted to other women’ is true. This means the only remaining conflict is in fact, our trans lesbian’s womanhood. There’s no other way around it. (Continues here)

Updates and contemplations

Frankly this post isn’t really about anything in particular.  I just had some things to share.

First the important one:  Ready or Not is looking more and more like it will not be ready until around the anniversary of Love or Lust‘s publication (end of June).  I’m sorry, it just didn’t come out half so cleanly in its first draft as Love or Lust had so the editing is going a bit slower, and too there’s the several weeks’ delay while I was in hospital or recovering — my editor takes a very interactive approach to the process (for which I’m grateful) instead of just assuming she knows what my idiot mistakes are supposed to say.  Regardless work should progress well from here and I’ll announce a release date the moment I have a really good idea when that will be.  Sorry for the delays, I am; I’ve anxiously awaited a sequel more than a few times in my life, and I really appreciate the messages asking after the next book and stating how you’re looking forward to it.  It’s possibly the most heartening thing an author can get.

Next is a contemplation on surgeons.  Plastic surgeons work hard to minimalise scarring, and even have tricks for removing ones someone/something else left behind.  Why is this technique not taught to all surgeons!?

I was looking down at my belly full of laparoscopy wounds (yes, plural … 5!), where a damnedable drain thing was, and then the gash showing the neighbourhood of the problem which took me to the emergency one fateful Tuesday afternoon and realise that the former half-dozen scars are dimpling and then the gash is like six inches long and near my hip … glad I don’t go in for skimpy bikinis!  And I’m not so self conscious as to now avoid two-pieces, but good God, could these not have been done in a cleaner way so that they can’t be seen?  Ah well, I suppose it’s better I’m alive than flawless, which I wasn’t anyway — I’ve my share of childhood scars, I was quite the active little thing.

Finally a comment:  Frozen was seriously, undeniably, unabashedly one of the awesomest movies I’ve seen in awhile and certainly continuing my newfound adoration of Disney animated films.  Tangled, Brave, Frozen, Princess and the Frog … I love this new trend of the princess being the hero of the story, and I love how in Tangled and Frozen the prince charming was not a prince (though they were charming … in their ways) and were heros, I love the equality of that.  Most of all, though, I simply love the phenomenal storytelling that is going into these.  Frozen really took the lead, though, there was something simply beautiful about it, I swear to you I cried at more than one point watching that movie … albeit, not for long (thank you Olaf, I love you!!).  And for those wondering, I didn’t see it until recently — movie tickets in this town are obscene, but we have a second run cinema that finally got it … c’est la vie.

In The Midst Of A Horrific Massacre, What This Mother Did For Her Children Is Amazing.

Originally posted on Kindness Blog:

During the tragedy that was the Westgate Mall massacre in Nairobi last year, one mother did something so brave, the world will never forget it. Her name is Faith Wambua-Luedeling. She was with her young son and daughter when the gunmen began open firing at the shoppers.

Faith Wambua-Luedeling

She pressed her children to the ground in the mall, helping them play “dead,” even as gunshots continued to ring out.

To soothe her children while the shooting was still happening, Faith sang to them.

“We were just lying there — there would be shooting going on, then it would stop,” she told NBC News. “There were times I could hear the bullet casing dropping on the floor near us. We could smell the gunpowder and we would really be scared.”

Even though Faith was terrified herself, she did what she could to keep her children safe. New York Times photojournalist Tyler Hicks…

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A bit about myself

I suddenly feel inclined to discuss something.  Much of what I’m going to say could probably be guessed by those who keep up with this blog, but for the rest of you …

Why don’t I talk a lot about myself except in abstract?  Why do none of you know if I’m black, white, green, or pink?  If I’m male, female, transgendered?  Gay, straight, bi, other?  Tall, short, fat, skinny?  Big busted, well hung, or any of that other nonsense?

A few simple reasons.

First off, I’m not a very public person, really.  I like my privacy.  I feel that talking over much about myself where my writing or just general thoughts (which, in a quite round about way, is the same thing) don’t extend is to open my front door and throw wide my curtains and invite you all to stare at me.  I can’t do that; I’d go mad.

Secondly, for philosophical reasons.  I know there are people who would buy my book if they knew I was a blonde, or a redhead, or a brunette, or if they knew I was a lesbian … or not one.  They feel they should support authors of a certain demographic.  That doesn’t empower anyone.  There’s no reason not to read the works of a cisgendered heterosexual white man beyond them not being any good or not your cuppa.  Just as there is no special reason to read the works of a pansexual half-black/half-Chinese transgendered man beyond the sheer enjoyment of his work.  I’m not going to run out and buy a book just because it was written by a Martian.

I want my work judged on its own merit.  If I’m, in some extent, a mystery, then you cannot judge it on me.  You have to read it and make up your own mind.  Is this coercive?  I can’t see how!  If you can’t bring yourself to read something by a woman, or by a non-woman, or by a porcupine who has a thing for radishes … make up your own mind what/who I am and go on.  I’m sure I can’t avoid slipping clues about myself into my writings and commentary.

For example, I may as well be honest on one point:  Yes, I am a woman (who’s surprised?).  I can’t imagine I come across often or clearly as a man given that I simply do not understand men whatsoever beyond some very dear and wonderful ones I have the distinct pleasure and honour to know and call friends — some very old and exceedingly dear ones; these are the men I put into my works — not wholesale, just in concept and manner, the odd quirk or personality trait might be borrowed from a couple of guys I know.

No, I will not answer my racial ancestry.  I will not answer my hair colour (though I may have said it in an off-hand way once).  I will not answer if I prefer the ladies or the gentlemen when I get ready to cuddle and caress and enjoy intimate company with another person.  I will not name my religion, though I recently did say I am not Christian (I’m sure that did surprise a few people … for what it’s worth I was raised in a Christian family and do have a great respect for Jesus and His teachings).  I will not answer what organs and anatomy might be found inside my panties.  I possibly have said I drive a truck; I will not say what brand.  I … none of that.  Frankly it’s no one’s business but my own and those who know me intimately, for another I simply do not think that humanity will get anywhere if we keep pigeonholing each other and ourselves and our interactions — if you’re going to buy my book just because you now know conclusively it’s by a woman … please don’t, please read the blurb and then the sample — see if it’s something you’d like to buy and that you would enjoy and then purchase it.

The one thing I’ll always admit to:  I am Homo Sapiens, and that’s all that anyone ever need know about the personal and intimate details of any author, director, actor/actress, singer, songwriter, musician, magician, whatever.  When we can look at one another and see nothing but a human, and a few pragmatic details (I mean, a redhead’s complexion versus a black person‘s … you might be slightly more inclined to remind the redheaded friend to not forget her sunscreen) then I’ll believe that humans are an evolved, enlightened, and intelligent species.

A WIP thing

So a friend of mine, Shannon, did this and talked me into it.  I’m not really sure how applicable it is to my only concrete work in progress, since Færie Patrol is so very much a “I’ll jot down a few words if I suddenly get a bug” status right now.

Still, it’s cute, it can’t hurt, so what the hell, right?

Continue reading

Depilatories and details of hair removal

Jaye:

Good advice.

Why AREN’T depilatories scented or something?!

Originally posted on A Transgender's Journey:

Veet

Veet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While I’ve known men who I envied to no end for their extraordinary lack of body hair, it’s safe to say that a lot of women who fate mixed up and dropped in a body meant for a man want/need to remove excess hair.  Nothing wrong, I suppose, if you wish to be a bearded lady, or if you’ve a fondness for hairy pits/legs/arms/etc.  Whatever makes you feel pretty is fine by me, but for me I like to look and feel smooth — though I’ve spent years letting myself have thick hair on my face, legs, etc. in an effort to, even just a little bit, feel masculine (it never really worked, I just tended to think I looked even worse … c’est la vie).  So we need to remove hair.  Probably a lot, and from awkward to shave places — to say nothing…

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