We have a meeting between the chronic problem in leftist organizing and the overall online culture war, which shuts down discourse. Discourse ideally (1) creates ideological synthesis while (2) preventing emnity. In other words, it creates a "true unity" where people support the result because they feel heard. In this regard, neither candidate is doing their duty.

I see the Sanders campaign creating discourse including a variety of voices, having open town halls, adapting to BLM, and engaging a varied mass audience (yes to 1) but failing to structure itself to avoid creating hostility with potential allies (no to 2). By contrast, Clinton's campaign pushes a practical and well-tested manuever of an experienced federal politician pushing moderation as a means to incremental change, using strong old-media messaging to unify democrats against the shambling hungry corpse of what was once the Republican party (yes to 2) but in sticking to message, blows at adapting to criticism (no to 1).

I see the Clinton campaign pulling the manuever favoured by the centre-left and well-off middle aged feminists of demanding unity without putting in the work to create it (and by "work" I mean, changing a few sentences in policy and public speeches), then patronizing or or dismissing critics. (confer: the CFS) I see news articles pushing Clinton as The Only Choice, prominent old-school feminists patting me on the head for not being mature enough to support a woman in the White House (who, if they like policy, were oddly silent on the Greens since their 1996 inception, and if they liked electability over policy, curiously failed to support McCain/Palin) and a clear media push to say that Sanders' campaign can't engage voters of colour despite poll numbers that refute this. I see that even this article conveniently omits that the protestors in the photo were mostly organized by a Latino rights group with some pretty legit grievances.

Then the Sanders "campaign" reacts by turning up the rage and. I use scare quotes as it's more pushing/enabling/harnessing an anarchic social media structure, thus creating a hurricane of vitriol, and ignoring any responsibility for what it's created - which is kind of crap leadership. Nevermind that the rage past a certain point not only just makes people bunker down, it also makes it increasingly difficult to have peace talks later, as outlined two paragraphs down.

This is what happens all the damn time on the left. And it can be fixed. In this case, prior to proper negotiations this could be amended if:
- Clinton stopped ignoring criticism, tweaked her policy, and provided something concrete to indicate that this wasn't lip service (like naming some prospective cabinet ministers or a VP with a better track record - what's Elizabeth Warren up to these days?). While I love Bernie and really don't like Clinton, if she took the necessary five minutes to do this after she almost certainly cinches the nomination, I would take my US passport and go deliver some campaign signs for her. Hell, I'd campaign for any centre-left candidate who was willing to grow a pair of gonads and use the unity they demand to push some innovative policy.
- Sanders used some autocratic power (which, whether he likes it or not, is the province of the head of the Executive Branch) to ask people to either engage in civil discourse or GTFO. As Trump has shown, the culture they create is something that populist candidates are going to be increasingly responsible for going forward. Sanders needs to grasp this and act accordingly.

Like with any other climate of growing hostility, the ideal solution is for candidates to sit down and figure out how to make peace and combine their strengths. Hopefully, this could start in one month, after the last primary.
I remember being harassed a a CFS women's caucus, which was part of a larger "progressive organization's" strategy to misgender me as a means of... actually I don't know what they thought that would accomplish. Deeply antagonizing people is not a good way of getting them to say "let's keep paying these people large amounts of money." This was 2007-2008, and I'm now 33.

I've had people say that what we did to push Lu's Pharmacy to admit trans women was "letting the patriarchy win."

The next time someone makes some kind of arument that ends in "believing women are equal is the definition of being a feminist," I may fold my post-bac in women's studies into a paper airplane and chuck it at them.

Back in the early 2000s, prior to transition, I was unable to access the books on gender in the library at the SFU Women's Centre (this was before Nadine Chambers' trans-friendly term), which delayed my coming out... as a woman. This delay had some psychological and medical consequences for me, and also prevented me from being able to fully be of use to my community.

Fortunately, I was able to find hep elsewhere - eventually.

For me, that's still a raw point with conventional women's organizing - even "trans-inclusive" organizations (I use scare quotes as "not kicking us out" is, in my opinion, not the same as "including us") there's still the assumption that it's on trans women to sort out our gender issues Somewhere Else while cis women and CAFAB trans folks can use the informational resources and community for help. Once trans women have done the most gut-wrenching and often dangerous part, *then* we're welcome to come in... for support. But that's kinda late, y'know?

To question whether one needs a clear gender identity before accessing a gendered space (or at least for CAMAB folks) is a political frontier in women's organizing. Disputing it is almost sacriligeous, at least judging from the reaction one gets. But it's actually really weird when you think about it. Consider: we have youth programs that will admit trans girls, but they rarely have a mechanism in place so that trans girls can come out in the first place (and then survive), which means that even in trans-inclusive girls' orgs, most trans girls are effectively barred from entry - not by the overt actions of the organization, but by its conscious inaction in the face of a hostile society.

When I bring this up, the response I get is often that there are resources available Somewhere Else and that trans people (or rather trans women) can use those until they come out to the standards of the women's organization. (Unless they're genderqueer, in which case they experience sexism, trans-misogyny, transphobia and... no direct support) The people saying this usually overlook that the T* resources are almost always smaller, poorer, open less, and more geographically dispersed.

Imagine if LGBT organizing took this approach - only providing people with access once they've already clearly and publicly come out. We wouldn't get a lot done. The beauty of more flexible spaces is that you can get/give support now and make up your mind later.

One might ask: "How are we supposed to have clearly deliniated women's spaces when people aren't out as women?"

Another might answer: "If your 'woman' can't be clearly deliniated, how can you have clearly-deliniated women's space?"
Often, we encounter two women's organizations. One's activism acknowledges and supports the opinions and rights of intersex people, sex workers, trans people, intersex people, and same-sex abuse survivors. The other's does not.

The inclusive organization points out the failures of the organization whose idea of "women" only includes "women who agree with us."

The latter rebuffs these criticisms. They claim that the inclusive organization is being "divisive."

After all, we are all on the same side. We both support (some) women's rights. But for you to criticize us, is to slow down women's rights.

This is like an invading army claiming that a resisting army, in fighting back, is warmongering.

After all, we are on the same side. We fight for peace. But to fight us is to create war.
Nelson occasionally makes me chew my own flesh. When I question exactly how a given multilevel-marketed health product purges toxins (dioxin? lead? excess levels of sugar? what exactly? how?), or when I raise my eyebrows at how it was "never inhabited by Aboriginals but was rather a place of migration for healing" or "they were extinct" (making it easier to mine silver without paying royalties to the Snixt).

And when I use the phrase "rule of thumb."


So it's clear - the term "rule of thumb" probably comes from carpentry or any trade with rough measures (you can "rule" i.e. "measure" an inch with your thumb). It does not come from English or American law regarding wife-beating - as far as anyone can tell, there is no such law. Also: other European languages that use the inch but do not have ties to British common law use the same phrase.

And understandable misunderstanding. But here's the catch: when someone tells me that I shouldn't use the phrase "rule of thumb" because it, hundreds of years ago, referred to wife-beating, they often *do not* want to hear that this assertion is in error. I don't know how to approach this. I try to do it tactfully. And I'm a pretty tactful person at the more impolite of times. But people get defensive, offended.

How do I explain this? How do I encourage sound historical methodology?

Or do I go on the offensive? Do I offer a wager, say $20 and giving them one week or one month to find the statute?

Do I take up the trickster's stance and say something more outrageous, like how the word "street" actually stems from "razed village?"

Gah! Being progressive doesn't mean simply accepting whatever vaguely-progressive assertion first reached your eyes or ears.

Women-only pharmacy reverses policy excluding transsexual and intersexed women

Also see the Femininjas's Website

I still have some concerns about whether the gentrification issues have been addressed, but this, at least, is good news.

I understand they need volunteers, and this is a good time to make change.
(This is part of why I have a lot of  respect for transgendered people in general)

Part Three: Making a Very Hard Decision
Read more... )

Part Two: Your Bodily Identity Interacts with your Developmental Experience

Here I take a less general approach. I will try to use my own more transsexual/body-related experiences to walk you through this.

People have told me "I can't really imagine being in that situation of wanting to change my sex."

I think that most people can. It's just that most people overlook that they have an internal identity that is harmonious with their body.

So don't imagine wanting to change from how you are to how you're not. Don't try to imagine going away from your sex. Instead, imagine going the other way, towards yourself. Imagine being who you are now, but with the body of the wrong sex. Imagine being far away from your current sex, and thinking about going home.

In the following, I am not speaking for everybody. I am tryning to give you one example.

Right? Let's go.
Mental exercises follow. )
It's nice to get to the point where you can look in the mirror and see yourself on a regular basis. Not "Oh fuck, it's that dude again."

Instead, it's just me.

I think of ways to explain this to cissexed* people. Why this is important. How they can understand. I'm getting there.

Part One: People have gender orientations much like they have a sexual orientation.
Read more... )

The Cass identity model of coming out.

It's somewhat outdated, culture-specific, and doesn't apply as much to transgendered people (i.e. both transsexual and gender-variant), but it's good.

6 am and awake since 4:40 ish.

Woken up by a variant of an earlier dream: I'd been a negligent pet owner and the sickly abandoned rodents bred and bred and bred until they produced too many sick offspring to count - and it was my fault.

Hard to get back to sleep after that.

When I'm awake, what swirls around in my head like nothing else - and what has, for years, swirled around in my head like nothing else - is this feeling of being unable to speak.

The  most common form of this is my tendency to run into bands of old-fashioned lefty discourses that tell me (usually indirectly but occasionally to my face) that I have no right to be saying what I'm saying - that my mouth is selling us out. Might as well write it out.

One of them 11.5-hour days at the office.

A day where we've paid for our delegates to attend the CFS meet only  to discover that one - no two - of the five - oh, no six (apparently someone is coming from SFU-Kamloops... yes, that's right, the Kamloops Campus) - people that we're sending to Friday evening - no,  Thursday afternoon - meeting in Nanaimo (it is still to my knowledge in Nanaimo - check back tomorrow for changes) cancel on the day of.

I run around to our constituency and activist groups to drum up volunteers for a paid trip, and by "paid," I mean that the SFSS covers basic costs. I go to Out-on-Campus, SFU's Public Interest Research Group, the First Nations rooms and... the Women's Centre.

                I will shake your right hand
                       to verify the absence of weapons.

See... there are these two sets of people and I belong to one of them, or so I'm told. Apparantly most everyone does, and those who don't really should. And there are and were things that go along with these.

Talking with Alex and he says that men don't know what they're doing as men

I have a large index of gendered culutural icons, so take a browse. I've sorted out the few okay ones from the not so okay ones.... A whole lotta sorting' that, mostly sorting into the trash on both sides, but it seems a little more trash on the male side.

                                          ¿What am I supposed to be doing?

The male roles are, unuseful, plusunkosher. Kings and knights and bandits and gentry and fisticuffs and bluecollar obselesced by Society XP™ if not actively defecated upon in conversation. This does not bother me in itself, but I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to pick a role out of stack M, but the pile's looking a bit anemic. Grandpa's doing the best, dad just isn't around, uncle got locked up with priest (who was not well thought of anyway) for reasons we shall not discuss, and people ore looking at male teacher in the same light. Brother's messy and kind of immature, so is son. Husband, a larger, hornier version of the last two, is the butt of sitcoms. Boyfriend is clingy or insensitive.

                                     I am missing the latest deck for Gender the CCG
                               geeks and feminisminormasculinorwhateverism together at lash

I don't mind this. I just feel a bit lost when it comes to self-conception. What model am I supposed to follow?
           What about sex?
What genuinely feel-good male idioms are there for sex? Casanova? No (Anachronism). Stud? No (Jackass). Swinging bachelor? No (Aids).  Then what? The closest thing we have is, I guess, a hippy who may have seen his friends sprout fangs and sell stocks, but... makes up for it with(?)... salvages what's left through(?)... a toke and an egalitarianmoonbutterflyrainbowkarmarollinthesack now and then.
               - thanks for showing up, here's your towel and a gift certificate to home depot.

Fuck! Really! Or not! What now?! Who now!?

I don't know. More to come.


As pointed out by Rye Bunny, girls are poor

The issue of differential incomes is... tough. It's fairly clearly dodgy when you have men and women in the same job with the same credentials and the girls get paid less than the boys. It used to be that this was flat-out legal, that you could pay women assembly-line workers a lower hourly wage than men (and children less still). Nowadays, the reason for this tends to be that women ask for and/or accept lower salaries than do men. Some would say that this is fair game, but it strikes me as a bit exploitive, kind of like going camping and saddling one person with most of the gear.

Then there is the issue of "equal pay for equal work." A nurse (teacher, secretary) needs six years of training and has a union job with benefits and salary worth 'x,' where 'x' is enough to take yearly vacations in Florida and put down a mortgage on a house. Most nurses are women. Let's say a specialist doctor (professor, lawyer) with an "equal" education (equal in years? in stress? in hours of studying? in the cost of education?) makes 1.5 times 'x'. Is the nurse underpaid? I really don't care. People making a salary of x or greater are amazingly wealthy in the context of history and the globe. They really don't get my sympathy when they want more money - better or more effective working conditions yes - but not cash. Besides, the nurse could've gone into stockbroking.

Comparing or levelling incomes from the perspective of who's worth more is a can of worms. Better and simpler to go with the marxist-feminist solution and remake the economy from scratch, or just provide everyone with the basics, thus undercutting the material threats of sexism. The alternative, to have calls for salary levelling based on utility-of-work will see me, the unpublished writer of far greater skill than Steven King, calling for his advances for my novels-in-progress (calling for them from who?) as well as a benefits package for being a basically nice guy.

When it comes to differences in income, the question should be one of poverty and job risk, not priviledge. What fraction of women are poor and what fraction men? Who is more likely to be laid off when they don't sleep with the boss? Who is less likely to be hired in the first place because the boss wants someone they think is hot? Maquilas pay sub-survival wages to poor women, is this exploitive of the women or unfair to the unemployed men? While men tend to be more likely to be homeless for extended periods, women are way more likely to be living below the poverty line, to have de-skilled jobs, to work in the community for free1,  and to have to support kids with pay and scarce free time.

In conclusion, we need to genetically engineer a society of uniformly gray-skinned communist hermaphrodites2.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Graham Amy Fox

1 What about unpaid housework? Women report more hours of unpaid work in cooking, cleaning and childcare, but men tend to classify mowing the lawn, fixing the deck and de-grouting tile (I am not making this up) as “leisure.” I suppose there is always the university residence solution of “no one cleans up after themselves.”

2 Who will form a brutal caste system on the basis of eyebrow shape



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