Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Yesterday morning I caught a few minutes at the end of a program called Pororo the Little Penguin that at first seemed fairly dead-on in its portrayal of a character with an eating disorder. So, naturally, descriptive triggers follow in the recounting of it.

What I saw started with a pink beaver character (named Loopy according to the Wikipedia article) moping, looking at herself in the mirror and sighing that she is 'chubby'. Then her friends come over for lunch and are enjoying themselves, while she quietly sips a drink through a straw instead of eating. While doing so she visualises herself expanding in size as she drinks, and puts even that away.

While she is lamenting that she is chubby and should not eat or drink anything, her friends are admiring a model in a magazine she has lying around. When they notice she is upset about her weight, they try to tell her she is not chubby but she does not believe them.

And then... it all falls apart. She says she wants to be thin and pretty like the model in the magazine and the polar bear tells her if she wants to be thin she should exercise, and that dancing is great exercise. They all get up and dance happily.

~ fin ~

Speaking as someone who hasn't experienced it first-hand, that seemed an accurate and distressing portrayal of someone suffering from an eating disorder, immediately followed up by what is just about the worst possible response you could give in that situation presented as a permanent solution. From everything I've seen personally and elsewhere, eating disorders pretty commonly include obsessive exercising as part of their manifestation, so advising someone in any stage of one that exercise will solve eir problems is more likely just adding to them.

aesmael: (probably quantum)
Not the reason I expected to be a first or early prompt for writing a post linking to FWD/Forward but...

This post? It's wrong. Infuriatingly, enragingly wrong. I hope that's just for rhetorical purposes.

Not the bit saying it is hard to confront people on their use of language, and I wouldn't disagree about it being harder taking the extra step of opening oneself up to that defensive hostility which so often arises when people are called on the ways their unexamined habits perpetuate systems of abuse and oppression, but to say changing one's language use is easy in such a derisive mocking way?

Oh dear. No, no it isn't. For most people, particularly the abled, language is a deeply ingrained automatic part of themselves. These words they use, they don't think about them most of the time and attempting to make a shift in long established usage is a very difficult habit to change. Words that rise up unbidden as part of commonplace speech as natural as breathing, words that have a lifetime of casual use behind them, words which are used pervasively in the surrounding environment as if they are ordinary acceptable terms?

No, not easy. Simple maybe. As simple as 'just say no'. As simple as uninternalising the messages I have picked up and believing myself to be a person of worth. 'Just change your mind', 'I know they were wrong and hurtful, so I can stop believing what they said of me'. It is simple, but it is not easy, and mistaking conceptual simplicity for ease of action has tripped me up many times in trying to recover... so. It quite aggravates me to see someone saying that because the concept of checking and altering one's habits of thought and action is simple, the doing of it is correspondingly easy.

What it takes in my experience and observation is mindfulness and sustained effort. Not slipping up is difficult. Try removing religiously based language from your non-technical vocabulary because it isn't your belief system; I've been working to control my vocabulary since primary school and it is still difficult to remove compromise words like 'darn' and 'drat' and 'bloody'. I'm fortunate I suppose that I never picked up most (not all, definitely some slipped through) ablist and homophobic and sexist language and was committed from a young age to not doing so, but it doesn't actually get easier as life goes on. Those words are normalised as part of our social discourse, they still get embedded in our lives and presented as language for our brains to pick up on and parse and use.

Quitting isn't so easy, no, but I have no fondness for people saying it is too hard even to try. Not for something like this when the message is "Please try to be less hurtful and more respectful in what you say, please be more mindful of others". Not the easiest thing to do, fine, but I'd say it is less than the minimum required of trying to be an ally, and well worth doing in itself. Pfah.
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
When your post was guest-posted at Womanist Musings I was sickened enough to want to stop following that blog for airing your views, for your paternalistic pre-emptive dismissal of anyone who might disagree with you as 'fun-fems' or male-identified, for the condescending superiority dripping from your every word. Your argument was barely comprehensible, but as near as I could make it out, is roughly 'If you contracted for sex in advance and were unable to fairly renegotiate or back out that would be rape, therefore all porn is objectively rape at all times and anyone who disagrees is unworthy of engagement because they've been patriarchally brainwashed'.

Okay, so I disagree that pornography (by which you apparently mean human-acted visual pornography) is innately rape (which does not mean I think it is never rape, or don't have strong issues with lots of it), find your arguments lacking, be sickened by your presentation, and get that out of my system by ranting to friends and lovers. Fine.

And then, this. Cut for intense transphobia and rape apologism from a feminist )
aesmael: (just people)
So you're participating in a thread where your main argument is that being a cis heterosexual man who is interested only in cis women and not ever in trans women, and that this is perfectly fine because it is your orientation...

... and then someone says, incidental to her actual argument, that given what you've expressed in that thread, probably most trans women wouldn't be interested in you anyway - you actually have the gall to call that an ad hominem? So you think it is just peachy to repeat at length that you only want cis women and trans women who don't disclose are being immoral and deceptive, but if anyone suggests that trans women might find that attitude offensively unattractive, you claim you're being subjected to an unfair personal attack?

Try getting a sense of proportion before the next time you have an urge to reiterate the beliefs that get trans people murdered.

And all these cis people, feminist and otherwise who have such a problem with the possibility that maybe you'll accidentally have sex with a trans person and feel violated, then perhaps what you should do is confess up-front to everyone you want to flirt with that you would be bothered by them being trans. There's a better chance you'll find kindred spirits than someone carrying icky trans cooties, bah.

[because don't click on links which outrage [livejournal.com profile] auntysarah]
aesmael: (Electric Waves)

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Recently the organisation Autism Speaks released another video. You can see it by following this link here. A transcription of the audio can be read here. This is the outcome of "[a] press release [from August that] encouraged families to submit videos of autistic individuals for a PSA that would "shine a bright spotlight" on autism."

Naturally I and a whole lot of other people take issue with this supposed public service announcement[1]. It wouldn't be fair, though, to attribute the views expressed in that video to all members of families of autistic people, nor even necessarily to all people who contributed footage to the final product. abfh|Whose Planet Is It Anyway? points out that people have felt deceived by this request and the results:

Would the contributors to the "I Am Autism" video have agreed to participate if Autism Speaks had admitted at the outset that it was planning to demonize autistic kids as embarrassing burdens who destroy their parents' marriages and dreams?

Well, at least one parent who posted a comment on the video's YouTube page, under the name BarrysDaughter, made it quite plain that she felt deceived by Autism Speaks' request for video contributions from parents. She wrote:

"I do have 2 autistic children and a husband on the spectrum. When they first suggested a video I was eager to send them one till they outlined what they wanted.

My children and husband don't want or need to be CURED what they do want is people to treat them the same as anyone else, stop the bullying and put more staff in schools to support them…"

My problems with the video. It is not addressed to autistic people. Indeed, the request for videos and the result of this request, despite being purpotedly for an autistic advocacy organisation, does not acknowledge the existence of autistic people. They don't talk to autistic people, they talk to the families of autistic people. They don't acknowledge that autistic people may have desires, or acknowledge anything as being a problem for autistic people which those people might want something done about. No, they address the desires of families of autistic people, they talk about what families of autistic people want for their own benefit, they talk about the suffering of people who associate with autistic people, they describe the autistic community as 'people who know autistic people'.

There is a tremendous failure of empathy on display in their selfish wish to eradicate autism from existence. Do not pretend they speak only of those to whom terms like 'low-functioning' or 'severe' are applied when they use words like

"I work faster than pediatric AIDS, cancer, and diabetes combined. And if you are happily married, I will make sure that your marriage fails. Your money will fall into my hands, and I will bankrupt you for my own self-gain. I don't sleep, so I make sure you don't either. I will make it virtually impossible for your family to easily attend a temple, a birthday party, a public park, without a struggle, without embarrassment, without pain. You have no cure for me."

Is there any moderation in that? Any room for them to say "Ah, but we do not mean you who are 'high-functioning'? (by which is meant "Your life is easy, you have no problems and no relevance to this subject, so be silent")" It is a plain statement of what Autism Speaks considers autism to be - a debilitating and horrific condition which must be eradicated. No acknowledgement of the voices of autistic people. Rather, those are described as stolen away, so that others can pretend to know what these voiceless unfortunates want and claim desires in their name.

What they are doing, is not helping. Help would be to reduce the stigma of autism. Help would be to not portray it as some malevolent force which steals otherwise 'normal' children and hides them behind a monstrous facade. Help would be not be not comparing autism to a fatal illness. Help would be acknowledging the existence of autistic adults. Help would be pushing for the ready availability of accommodations that will aid autistic people and others with disabilities. Help would be publicly speaking out against the vast number of sham 'cures' which do nothing, or worse, so that people do not go bankrupt on the false hope of rescuing their family from the hell you have convinced them autism dooms them to. Help would be supporting health care reform so people do not have to worry about going bankrupt for medical reasons. Help would be listening to autistic people instead of speaking over them.

Not all of those things are entirely absent from their website on inspection, but they have a long way to go if they ever want to be a resource and organisation for the benefit of autistic people. Right now they look more like an organisation focused on eugenics to eradicate a segment of the population. I'm sure they don't see it that way. I expect they believe the best outcome for autistic people would be to cease being autistic and eventually cease being born, instead of whatever each autistic person considers eir personal preferred outcome. Accommodation and support I think benefits everyone, while the current state of Autism Speaks' rhetoric does not.

Further responses to this video and the organisation behind it can be found here: http://autisticbfh.blogspot.com/2009/09/solidarity.html

[1] Also annoyed by people who leap on the statement that among faith, technology, prayer, herbs and genetic studies people will also fight autism with voodoo, as something outrageous. Though I would not be surprised to learn either that this was included as an example of desperation, still voodoo despite being a religion associated with black people rather than white is not any more or less silly a thing to call on than, say, Christianity.

aesmael: (haircut)
This whitewashing thing, taking stories written by, featuring or about people of colour and twisting them, recasting so at minimum the heroes are replaced with white people and at maximum... well.

It is a pretty pervasive and appalling practice -- the link above is by no means exhaustive.

There are a couple of reasons commonly given to justify these practices. One is to claim it is not the fault of the company producing the work, they are merely doing what sells. Perhaps, but to say "We do this because racism is profitable" is far from what I would consider a laudable business practice, and it doesn't much help the argument that proper capitalism* would eschew oppression because it is economically disadvantageous, either.

Another is to say race doesn't matter, at least to them. Perhaps so, but if it really is the case then why is there a trend to recasting people of colour as white and not so much the other direction? Why change the settings of stories to be white and Anglo if this doesn't matter? And if it matters so little to the people making these things, then why not cater to the people for whom it does matter by leaving the stories, characters, settings, etc. intact? Really, if people don't care about race, then why keep replacing people of colour with white people?
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
Note: Originally posted at [livejournal.com profile] feminist_rage

So we have a post at Bad Astronomy, where it is announced a new probe to Mars has been named Curiosity and that the name was bestowed by a sixth-grader named Clara Ma. Some of her essay was quoted:
Curiosity is an everlasting flame that burns in everyone’s mind. It makes me get out of bed in the morning and wonder what surprises life will throw at me that day. Curiosity is such a powerful force. Without it, we wouldn’t be who we are today. […] Curiosity is the passion that drives us through our everyday lives. We have become explorers and scientists with our need to ask questions and to wonder. Sure, there are many risks and dangers, but despite that, we still continue to wonder and dream and create and hope. We have discovered so much about the world, but still so little. We will never know everything there is to know, but with our burning curiosity, we have learned so much.


What do we get? Some commenter complaining that "I for one am tired of this PC campaign with cutesy names for major important science missions. Jesus, I’m surprised she didn’t call it My Pretty Pony or Hanna Montana."

What? What can he* possibly draw from that to be called cutesy, to be saying apparently on no other basis than her age and gender that she is some frivolous airhead whose every contribution is automatically worthless? It doesn't seem to me to be from the name itself, or what she wrote in favour of it, so it sure looks like he is just expressing an opinion young girls are automatically worthless, attributing to them the most devalued interests and expressions he can think of.

Later on he attributes her selection to being Asian, so at least he is being efficiently bigotted? As we all know, 'political correctness' means we favour people on the basis of gender, ethnicity etc. first and only then consider if they personally have any merit, right? That belief so far is the only way I have been able to make sense of his claims, apparently that she was selected first and we just got, what, lucky that she hadn't picked the name My Pretty Pony? Am very skeptical this would have played out the same if she had been a boy, or had a perceived masculine name, since it is so much more acceptable for a boy to be thought of as holding serious interests.

Also v. unimpressed with all the people doubting she wrote that essay herself.

*self-titled as 'man' in naming, so I feel safe in attributing gender.

Edit: Now I want to scream. Am behind on my astronomical news, catching up on reading and now seen the news on two other sites which are getting the same criticism.
"At least it wasn't named Fluffy Miss Muffybunny..... (Note: NEVER give young girls unilateral naming power over anything other than rabbits or horses....)"

"So when is NASA going to stop letting little girls and fake talk show hosts name their spacecraft?

Now I am waiting for the Hanna Montana mission to Jupiter.

Or maybe the Jonas Brothers space probe to Venus."


What are these people THINKING? That she won the competition and then got to call it whatever she wanted? How does this make sense as a criticism of her being the person to name it otherwise? I just... it seems like all people are seeing is 'young girl names Mars rover' and their minds leap straight to 'frivolous', 'obsessive' and 'irritating'.

I just hope the awesomeness of the prize makes up to her for any flak she may cop personally. Well, that and that people would stop being oppressive, bigoted arseholes.
It seems Obama is doing what I feared and not what I hoped. I wish I could at least be surprised or feel betrayed, rather than merely disappointed.
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
When an autistic person is pointing out the most prominent organisation claiming to advocate for autistic people contains none among its leadership and in fact has as its mission the eradication of autistic people from the population, the subject at hand is in fact not whether this was expressed in the best way. The subject at hand is actually a serious problem which would really be helped by people addressing.
aesmael: (tricicat)
when government or other organisational members speak of wishing to block 'child pornography' online what they mean is 'pornography from being viewed by people under the age of 18' (and in at least this context, everyone else too, as well as a whole lot of other material).

Edit: To follow up the above, under the proposed scheme everything rated MA15+ or above would be subject to mandatory blocking from everyone in Australia using the internet. You can see what that means here or look at the classification guidelines directly here. For easy reference, it is similar to prohibiting everyone from being able to access material with a US 'R' rating.
aesmael: (just people)
Two days ago, from when I begin typing these words, that was the declared Australia Day. I've not been enamoured of this day in celebration of white (our) colonisation, as I've not been of the United States' Thanksgiving, and felt no inclination to be celebrating it.

Prior to the day, suggestions of changing the date to something a bit less... blatantly colonialist were on my mind. It seemed a decent idea, though one I'd expect to get more resistance than support in the public or political eye.

And then we get this:
In the Sydney subrub of Manly, hundreds of youths draped in "Aussie pride" livery wore slogans declaring "f--k off we're full" as they smashed car windows and ran up the famous Corso targeting non-white shop keepers.

A 18-year-old Asian female in one of the cars was showered with shattered glass, giving her numerous cuts to her arms. She was treated on the scene by ambulance officers.

A taxi driven by a Sikh Indian was also targeted while an Asian shopkeeper was reportedly assaulted.

Groups of men jumped up on cars chanting race hate to the terrified passengers within, and were heard singing "tits out for the boys" at passing girls and yelled "lets go f--k with these Lebs".

What started as chants of "Aussie Aussie Aussie" at 1pm (AEDT) had in an hour had developed the potential to resemble Cronulla Beach in 2005.

And this:
"It was a mix of hoodlums who had obviously been drinking as well but, to me, there was also an underlying element of racism dressed up as nationalism," Dr Burridge, a senior lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney, said.

"When they were gathering on the [oceanside] beachfront, that's when they were screaming out 'If you're Aussie and you know it clap your hands' and 'If you're white and you know it clap your hands'."

Dr Burridge said an 18-year-old woman was traumatised when three teenagers jumped on the car she was in and smashed two windows.

The youths went on to jump over other cars and damage shop awnings as they ran through the area chanting "Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi" and "Aussie pride".

"When I was on the beach there was a bunch of them ... and these are teenagers -15, 16-year-olds - with slogans on their backs and postcodes with Penrith and Londonderry," she said.


And yet we get this sort of response:
But Commander Darcy from Manly Local Area Command said the group, most of whom were not from the area, were no worse than a rowdy "old cricket crowd".

"To suggest that there were racial overtones there is, I think, way over the top," he said.

"I personally gave them a good looking over, just assessing them. There was an intensity there that no doubt would be confronting to some but at that stage they hadn't crossed the threshold of criminality."

I'd point out that racist slurs are not exactly unknown in cricket, but that still seems a rather inappropriate comparison. Since I don't dare hope these reports to be false, I'll hope instead Commander Darcy was ignorant of the details at the time this statement was made, and / or quoted out of context. Not a hope I am confident of seeing borne out, but it would be nice.

To understate: I don't like this. Something, probably a whole lot of somethings, need(s) to be done. Australia Day, as it stands, I am inclined to think ought not continue. We might move it, we might attempt rebranding, but I think incidents like this are reflective of national identity and narrative and those need changing before any national symbol-day would cease to be associated with racist violence.

Personally I'm inclined to give up any sort of nationalist holiday, even one moved or under attempted rebranding. Might try establishing something new before phasing out the old to avoid association but I really am at a loss for devising some positive value celebration that would not readily be coopted for white nationalist violence.

Ah well. 'Tis always a long project, not a near future fix, and hopefully better minds than mine will conjure better ideas - I don't pretend to think I'd by myself overcome the world, not tonight.

Edit: I've missed a lot which ought have been said, concerning especially Indigenous issues, but though too weary now to form well my own words want not such to go without acknowledgement. So we reproduce as stand-in this comment here:
I don’t really think it’s appropriate to identify and celebrate another day, until we actually honestly address the problems that resulted from both colonisation and federation. The jingoistic blah that surrounds Australia Day offends me, but unless we partake in some genuinely honest self-appraisal as a nation, an alternative day will be just as bad.

Urk

2009-01-24 21:39
aesmael: (tricicat)
There's a case in Canada where it appears, absent testimony to bolster charges of abuse, a Mormon leader has been charged under a law banning polygamy instead.

[livejournal.com profile] lost_angelwings showed me some news about this last night, in which it was claimed prosecutors had been reluctant to invoke this law for fear it would get overturned when challenged. Naturally I found myself hoping it would be removed because of this trial, and hopefully these suspicions of abuse gotten to the bottom of more directly.

Unfortunately I did not realise just how strict the law in question is. Yet another obstacle forcing reconsideration of life plans, and more immediate reason to hope it is struck down.
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
Avatar, that's a show I have been wanting to watch for a while now. Just lately [livejournal.com profile] lost_angelwings has informed me a live action film is to be made from the series and, as appears to be something of a tradition, many of the characters have been cast as white in stark contrast to their original depiction.

So, um, yay? I have not even been paying attention or looking and I can name a few off-hand this has happened to, like Dragon Ball, Speed Racer and Earthsea, so it is not hard to see a trend. Because we all know white people need as many breaks as they can get in the film industry, right? If race does not matter there should have been no problem casting to match characters' original conception, surely not such a thorough problem unless we want to pretend white people are just plain better actors. And if it does matter, well, there's even less excuse then.


Icon (plus others) from here, thanks again to [livejournal.com profile] lost_angelwings for the link.
aesmael: (tricicat)
Recently there has been an outbreak of outrage, since it became more widely known that the UK LGB organisation Stonewall (their website describes the organisation as being for the rights of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals) lists someone named Julie Bindel as a nominee for their Journalist of the Year award.

Most of my information regarding this has so far been sourced from [livejournal.com profile] auntysarah. Her posts so far can be found as follows: Down With This Sort of Thing Too; Bindel's Found Us; Bindel/Stonewall Update; Second Letter to Stonewall.

The primary objection is that Julie Bindel is transphobic and deserves no award or nomination to honour her journalism, especially not from any organisation which claims to support the rights of queer people.

Some of what she wrote in 2004, in which she makes her disrespect for the lives and identities of trans people:
It's not all bad news, however. The British Columbia supreme court in Vancouver recently overturned an earlier decision of the human rights tribunal that Vancouver Rape Relief had breached the human rights code when it refused to allow Kimberley Nixon, a male to female transsexual, to train as a counsellor of female rape victims. In 2002, Nixon had won $7,500, the highest amount ever awarded by the tribunal, for injury to "her dignity".

The arrogance is staggering: having not experienced life as a "woman" until middle age, Nixon assumed "she" would be suitable to counsel women who have chosen to access a service that offers support from women who have suffered similar experiences, not from a man in a dress! The Rape Relief sisters, who do not believe a surgically constructed vagina and hormonally grown breasts make you a woman, successfully challenged the ruling and, for now at least, the law says that to suffer discrimination as a woman you have to be, er, a woman.

I am incandescent with rage at this nonsense, fed up with radical feminists pushing the absurd idea that the motivation for trans people to transition is a desire to conform to ridiculous stereotypes of gendered behaviour. It is plain wrong to attribute this shallow caricature of a motivation to trans people; for anyone to do so suggests ey is either ignorant of the subject or speaking from bigotry or malice. Bindel also, by the way, expresses disappointment in the existence of butches and femmes.

In 2007 Bindel tried to distance herself from some of the language she used in the previously linked article (such as the phrase 'man in a dress'), but the core of her ignorance (or lies, pick one) remains:
Feminists want to rid the world of gender rules and regulations, so how is it possible to support a theory which has at its centre the notion that there is something essential and biological about the way boys and girls behave? As someone who spurned dolls and make-up as a child, I find it deeply troubling that, had I gone to one of the specialist psychiatrists while growing up and explained how I did not feel like a "real girl" (which I did not, because I wanted to be a lesbian), I could be writing this as a trans man.

Again, this is not true. In at least most cases transsexuality is about remapping body to match body image, not a desire to act out stereotypes of gendered behaviour, or a belief that behaviour dictates gender and prescribes sex.

That she claims criticism of trans people is forbidden among liberals is a bit hilarious.

If, as she says, "My concerns about the increasing acceptance of "transsexuality" as a diagnosis are based upon my feminist belief that it arises from the strong stereotyping of girls and boys into strict gender roles[,]" then she can go home comforted by the assurance this is not the case.
During the debate I argued that sex change surgery is modern-day aversion therapy treatment for homosexuals. The highest number of sex change operations take place in Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death. Sex change surgery, therefore, renders gays and lesbians "heterosexual".

And this is bizarrely wrong. The situation in Iran is dreadful, and those laws need to be changed, but to generalise the situation there to everywhere else is ridiculous. There are some people, even trans people, who argue the purpose of transition is heteronormativity, but that position is bigoted whoever claims it. Again, Ms. Bindel seems to be entirely ignorant about what a trans person is, acting as if transition is something always forced upon people and not a choice made or actively pursued.

Forbidding people and to transition and requiring they be treated for a 'psychological problem'? That would be more like aversion therapy, forcing people to live and suffer in ways deeply distressing to them.

I probably could have let those quoted portions of her articles stand as they are, but I did not feel right presenting them unaddressed.

For those who would be in the area, there is a protest organised:

Date: Thursday, November 6, 2008
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Location: Outside the Victoria & Albert Museum
Street: Cromwell Road SW7 2RL
City/Town: London, United Kingdom

There is also a petition which can be signed; I signed a couple of nights ago.

Finally, like many people, I emailed Stonewall last night:

Very disappointed to see Julie Bindel nominated for Journalist of the Year. With the views she has printed and publicly expressed about trans people she would be a better candidate for Bigot of the Year. Or would Stonewall be equally disposed to nominate someone who argued that some other segment of the population should be erased from existence? I would hope not, although if not that would suggest Stonewall as an organisation is specifically transphobic, rather than merely callous to the situation of those outside the boundaries it has declared for its scope.

Bindel did not to the best of my knowledge make such an argument. If she had perhaps it could be said she was being honoured for her work concerning the queer community and with no regard to any other aspect of her life. Instead she argues that many members of the queer community be denied their rights, be stuffed back into the closet, and their identities further invalidated. She would have many gay men made to live as and pretend to be heterosexual women. She would have many lesbians made to live as and pretend to be heterosexual men. This is reprehensible, and no one who advocates such a position should be honoured by any organisation claiming to represent lesbians, bisexual persons or gay men.


Not long after, I received the same form reply so many others have:

Dear Johann,

Thank you for your email.

Julie Bindel was shortlisted for a Stonewall award in recognition of her journalism during the last 12 months which often brings a lesbian perspective into the mainstream press.

The awards nominating panel are not endorsing everything she has ever written. A nomination in any category does not mean that the awards panel agree with all of someone’s opinions. Stonewall recognises that some people may disagree with shortlisted nominees.

Regards,

Stonewall


[letter not presented entirely unedited - I reduced the spacing between paragraphs and changed the font]

Now composing a further and not at all pleased reply.
aesmael: (just people)
This is not right. A system that so fails and neglects those who have damaged themselves in its service, does deserve their service. It needs to be fixed. People do not deserve to be abandoned or fobbed off for financial convenience.

And the stigma surrounding mental health issues needs to go away.
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
[livejournal.com profile] osakadensetsu brings to attention the recent gassing of Muslim children at a Ramadan service in Dayton, Ohio.

This sure looks like a hate crime, especially following the recent distribution of an anti-Islam DVD in newspapers, so why are police dismissing the possibility when no evidence for any other motive has been made known?
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
In response to a post elsewhere about the proposed Swedish law to make sterilisation mandatory for trans people undergoing surgical transition, this was posted:
Apparently I'm alone in thinking this is a good idea. At least, in one regard.

The whole "pregnant man" scenario just sickens me, and I'm almost as liberal as they come regarding transpeople.

If she wanted to be a man, then she should take whatever comes with being a man, and that includes the inability to become pregnant. This entire thing was so bleeding obviously done just for the 15 minutes of fame it's disgusting.

Conversely, however, if there were a way for a transgirl to get pregnant, I would be all for it. Women can get pregnant, it's only natural.

So this has nothing to do with my opinions on transpeople having children. What it does have to do with is someone wanting to become a man and refusing to take everything that comes with it.

Sex isn't a buffet, people. You don't pick and freaking choose what tidbits you'd like to partake in. Ugh.


Fortunately laws are not made on the basis of what sickens you. Or they should not be. Whose threshold would we use, after all? If laws were made on the basis of what sickened others, trans people might not be allowed to have surgery at all, or perhaps HRT. Or maybe same-gender romantic / sexual relations would be forbidden. So might eating seafood - my sister finds that pretty sickening.

The way you go about disrespecting Thomas Beattie's identity just because he did something you do not approve of with his body is pretty disgusting. It sickens me, a little, to see you saying such things while talking about how 'liberal' you are.

What in the world would be natural - and here I mean something like 'occurring without human technological interference' about a trans woman becoming pregnant? It is far more natural for a trans man to give birth, as that requires less interference in biology.

I hope you are never in a position to enforce on others your prejudices about what people should and should not be allowed to do with their bodies.

Addendum: Oh, and I see you have decided they - Thomas Beattie and his wife - "obviously" made a new person for the attention and not for, oh, any of the reasons they actually gave. I have some important information to impart to you: people are not necessarily different for your entertainment or to secure your attention. Indeed, it often has nothing whatsoever to do with you. Reminds me of seeing last night on the 'news' talk about The Veronicas caught on film kissing and people speculating they were doing it for publicity.

Really, deviance from the norm does not exist in order to be a spectacle for public entertainment.
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
A couple of days ago I made a post (NSFW thanks to the subject of this post) pointing at some interesting discussion on religion. Being tired at the time I mostly wanted to show people so if I had something to say later they would be familiar, or leave their on thoughts on the subject.

Instead, what I found the next morning was this comment, titled 'Silly':
You're a silly little skirt, aren't you?

This is why we shouldn't let the girls in.

I do not know this person. I do not know how he came across my journal or what the point of this comment was except apparently to belittle me. I do not even know how he came to the conclusion I am female as I am not in the habit of claiming a gender (userpics perhaps?). I do know he self-describes as a misogynistic, would-be pornstar (speaking of which, the userpic used to make the comment is pornographic).

The comment itself does not particularly bother me except as a driveby whose author I do not get to dismember; what infuriates me is what it signifies. People do not get to live their lives without being harassed. There is no formula women can follow but good fortune to avoid being belittled or worse by strangers who think one fact about them undermines the entire worth of their existence.

And they should not have to. People should not have to take special steps to avoid being victimised by others. It ought to be a rare and shocking occurrence, if it must be one at all. This enrages me. This disgusts me. This is unacceptable. People should not have to fear violence and violation on the basis of who they are. People should not have to worry that others will treat them as less of a person because of the kind of person they are. And people should not have their voices silenced or dismissed just because the matter at hand affects them personally and they are therefore biased.
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
The first story was about the horrible, 'shocking' treatment people sometimes receive, such as a woman left to die on a hospital floor, a man who was hit-and-run and then ignored laying on the road in a daylit New York street, or the boy who was tipped out of his wheelchair and ordered to stand up to be searched.

As soon as I saw the segment advertised I made a bet with myself, that the people - person, since I only saw the first example advertised beforehand - would be white, and perhaps a member of some other socially sympathetic class. Because this sort of thing happens all the time and seeing it spoken about made me wonder what about this case was getting it airtime?

Far as I could tell I was right, all three individuals appeared (from grainy video footage) to be white. The first two were I believe classed as elderly, the last a teenaged or young adult male in a wheelchair, sets of person generally classed as helpless and to be pitied.

Point is cynicism about what it takes for media to notice a problem, and even so still regarded as isolated shocking incidents and how could this happen in the United States? My whole life I have seen problems talked about and people ask 'How could this happen here, in this nation of wonderfulness?' (and in case you are wondering, I mean Australia too and probably several other nations) and while I suppose many people find this nationalistic ethnocentrism charming and perhaps even spurring-to-action, it gets rather tiring seeing such things portrayed as shocking, surprising when they go on happening all the time and are not really very hidden and oh goodness the people involved generally have to be some form of acceptably pitiable to even be noticed.



The second story, the first words I heard were from a video interview: "At what point do you stop defending paedophiles?"

I imagine most people can tell this is a rather loaded question in the present society. As far as I could tell, the matter in question involved a man who had served fourteen years in prison for child sex abuse, had after release been accused of abusing a young girl and, I surmise, this story had been prompted by his recent release from prison relating to that matter.

I make this supposition because the man being interviewed pointed out that the man in question had served out his previous prison sentence, had in fact been in prison two and a half years for the more recent matter of the girl despite not having been convicted for it, and that the girl in question had in fact fingered someone else as the guilty party (presumably a factor in his release).

At this point the host interrupted to say "But he has a track record." Which apparently trumps such trivial details as evidence and who the victim accuses and whether he has actually been convicted for the crime in question. This hysteria troubles me, in the way people who have served their sentences are not then permitted to live their lives after, and convicted in public sentiment forever after. See this case, where based on what I heard it seemed the host was insisting this man must somehow be punished, be held in prison, be prevented from living his life despite the matter having been looked into legally and his having been released rather than convicted of it and there being someone else accused of the crime.
aesmael: (tricicat)
Venting annoyance. There is an ad for an internet company in which the spokesman touts its ability to keep his grandmother occupied and distracted, managed out of the way. Before that ad, I was favourably inclined toward the company.

There is an insurance ad I have been hearing on the radio recently. In it a woman explains that being over 55 she is a far better choice to insure than a 25-year-old because when she throws a party she typically calls a few of her closest friends, rather than texting a few hundred people.

I am fuming all over again.

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aesmael

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