Hey <NAME>,

In the future, if you have moral concerns when I'm asking people for help, can you phone or PM me first? I'm very happy for you to point out that you are contacting me in public, and I'll make time to speak privately as soon as I can. Then, if you don't like my response, I guess I feel it's fair if you want to go ahead and raise your concerns publicly.

My situation right now is this: after making The Switch, I owe a lot of people *a lot* of money and the income we were expecting hasn't arrived yet. I need to find money to live on, and I'm trying to do it with regards to principles that I think we share. I'm lucky enough to be able to make an income doing things that overlap with my values, but I'm also working contract-to-contract (so that I have a schedule that lets me finish the show), which means I don't have a day job. Until things level out, which might be soon or... might not, sometimes when I'm doing work for pay, I'm asking people to help me do my job well and I'm paying them a cut as best I can. In my experience, when there's something that, whether it's the case or not, makes the first impression of a call-out, even when a public discussion follows that satisfies the original concerns raised, everyone disengages




Revised post (using response from original thread):


I am giving a Transgender-related talk for some UBC psych students. For the first quarter of this presentation, I need some "trans 101" powerpoint slides. If anyone has these and would be okay with me using them, I would like to pay $10 (to you or a cause of your choice) for the okay to do so once.

(See below for how I came up with this figure)


I'm getting $60 for about 5 hours of work. That's what I could negotiate - which is a step up from doing it for free, which is what I'm used to. The rest of the presentation is on related subjects (like the history of trans people w/r/t psychology) where I will have to generate the material from scratch. I'll also be fielding live questions. Plus there was a lot of overhead that went into this presentation. This material will constitute up to 1/6 of the content in the presentation, so I'm paying 1/6 of my fee.

I'm not asking to own the material, just license some of it to be used as a portion of a larger presentation, *once.* If I use it again, I pay again with the exact amount to be negotiated at that time.

(By comparison, as a songwriter, I get about 3 cents every time someone legally plays the song I wrote.)
I'm emailing you for a reason that I don't normally email people. I'm weirdly pissed-off after a few larp incidents in the last week. I emphasize *weirdly* as opposed to "really." The incidents started with the last Changeling game, continued on through trying to talk things out with Craig (nothing bad happened, it just relates to the below), and capped off with a not-very-successful conversation about Werewolf, and changes in gaming both mechanical and surrounding race, and how acknowledging these might assist in increasing the player base.
What's weird is that it's just been eating at me, and I keep think I've done the final private vent-to-myself, and I've even written a couple polemics, but I keep feeling angry. I guess I feel like I'm butting up against exactly the same problems in larp that I've seen repeatedly over the last seventeen years - at the same time as one of my favorite games (LutLL) closed down. Which was also tied into a process I started in therapy, which is creating some other weird feelings. The problems seem to run as follows.
(1) I realize that while a few multiple-game PCs I had left play voluntarily, most of the characters I've seen removed from play followed the same pattern - I tried to introduce some moral ambiguity or microcultural change into the game, and another character killed them as part of enforcing what said cahracter saw as an obvious moral system.
(2) I keep having the same unsuccessful conversation with STs about adapting improv and storygame principles. I actually started to get buy in from one recently who stated that one of J's birthday games was one of the best larp experiences he'd ever had, then spun around and got back to focusing on starting a WW troupe game.
(3) And, well, werewolf came out the year I started gaming and it hasn't changed. Even the revised 2nd ed larp book version seems to have more interest in small mechanical changes than addressing its shit.
So I applaud L's attempt to break the Cam monopoly with a game about interpersonal politics, but right now, for me, changing this hobby/medium that I love, or even creating space for alternatives feels frustratingly hard, like every out is blocked by some extra problem.
That's all I got. 
  • Amy E. G. Fox Oana Capota - it depends on what time period we're talking about. Generally, people will more heavily anglicize their name, the more racism is directed at their culture. The category of "white" used to mean English, Germans, Welsh and Scots and I think the French, who were Catholic. Northern European were considered white later (see Deadwood for examples of what I'm talking about). Later, Irish, Italians, Spaniards, Poles were granted fringe White status in the US and Canada. Jews are often still in a gray area.

    During this period, non-white Europeans would often not jut re-spell their name but swap it out entirely for something English or German. After that, they would keep their name but radically change the spelling. Then slightly change it. Then keep it the same as much as possible within the latin alphabet as recognized by the government bureaucracy's character set.

    You can see some of this at work with Chinese surnames as some newer immgrants use a standardized pinyin system, which refers to non-English phonemes, rather than anglicized aproximations Eg: Chin -> Qin, Wong -> Wang.


  • Amy E. G. Fox Haide Anne Rose - the list is not condemning whiteness, it's focusing on forms of predjudice that still have lasting effects, which advnatge white poeple over others.

    I am descended from Scots. And I have huge amounts of White privilege. This despite the fact that the romans thought of us as "wild" and took some of us as slaves. And despite the fact that the English colonized us and our language started to evaporate. I have white privilege because, in the age of sail, my fellow Scots hooked up with other Britons to go beat the crap out of everyone else and take their stuff. And while the worst of it ha passed, nothing has yet overturned the day-to-day advantages that I receive.

    Roman stereotypes about blue-skinned cattle-thieves have faded away, and we no longer give our best food to English landlords, but, due to British Colonialism, whether my ancestors themselves dished out the beatings or not, I still have a disproportionate amount of wealth, access to education, resistance to prosecution and so on. Thus, I have privileges that Raven does not enjoy - This is White Privilege. It doesn't make me a bad person, any more than I begrudge Raven for not being on the cisgender end of things. But we both acknowledge that we enjoy privileges that the other lacks, and for no just reason.

 Prior to transition, I was hesitant to be involved in activist/"anti-O" spaces as people would *tell* me what my gender experience was. I "obviously" was safe to walk alone at night. I was "obviously" welcome in technical spaces. The jobs I wanted were "obviously" available to me. And so on.

This behaviour was framed as acceptable as I was assumed to be on the privileged side of gender. If I had a contradictory opinion, or contradictory-yet-obvious interpretation of a personal experience or that of a friend, these spaces perceived them to be wrong, because of 'my ignorance born out of privilege.' This held even when those opinions were questioning the binary models on which this privilege was allegedly assigned. I half came to believe these voices, and half came to avoid them. 
So in transition, I figured that I was going to hit a wall of sexism. But it never materialized. People in technical spaces valued my opinions more, at night, people perceived me as less of a threat and threatened me less, and I could work with children so much more freely. When it came to moving in the world perceived as a somewhat gender-variant cissexed man, versus moving the world while perceived as a *highly* gender-variant FAAB person (of varying genders) the latter proved to be much better.
This is to say that I was already experiencing sexism on account of my gender expression. I still do, just less.
While being perceived as male is usually a privilege, it is not always such. In fact, it can exacerbate some forms of oppression. My androgyny is often tolerated, even welcomed on a woman. But on a man, it was grounds for exclusion. In many people's lives, due to lines of race, ability, class and even simple chance, individual guys, or people who are perceived as such, have gender experiences that are anywhere from obstructive to dangerous to dehumanizing - repeatedly. Such a matrix of repeated, socially-targeted, awful gendered experiences would, were the person in question not perceived as male, be labelled "oppression on the grounds of gender."
A lot of anti-oppression assumptions around gender are still modelled on a non-intersectional (and thus highly privileged) second-wave framework of womanhood versus manhood. There are a lot of times where being perceived as CAMAB/male (these two being same thing in cis-society's eyes) can be very dangerous, not just occasionally but repeatedly.
If, as activists, we do not engage with the nuances of gender, we will lose the people who live within these nuances. And they will be right to have left. Just as anyone whose oppression is excluded from a dialogue around the sorts of oppression that affect them will be justified in avoiding it.
We need to change this. I see it happening. In some places. I would like to see more.
 Want more social justice in your (science-)fiction? Itching to know how to write write about people of different abilities, religions, races, ages, sexual orientations and so on? Or how *not* to do it? There's a book for that!

It's called "Writing the Other" and it's *finally* available for PDF-purchase. It's by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward. See link.


It's full of exercises and good advice.

For some reason it decides not to deal with class (although it can easily be put to use to address class divides), and it has a piece of fiction in it that's entertaining but not the best use of e-paper.

It is one of my favorite books.

If there were computer-based artificial intelligences, would humans get along with them? There's a lot of science-fiction out there, especially movies, that suggest we should fear them. That they will "take over."

I see this as improbable and dangerously mistaken. The power-brokers on this planet are human. The world often changes to suit them. If a power struggle ever came down between self-directed AI and humans, I think that humans, especially powerful humans, would be the bad guys, the ones with the power and the disinterest in others's well-being; the jerks, the oppressors.

If AI's did unseat humans, it would likely be in a standard power-play, with some humans building/controlling the AIs to suit their wants - for power. Just as powerful and callous humans often play divide-and-conquer (e.g. both create a market for undocumented labour and persecute immigrants; play environmentalists and foresters against each-other when they should be on the same side), only with the divide here being orthodox biological persons versus non-orthodox/biological humans.

   Note to self: We need sci-fi told from that angle.

At some point, however it tumbles, we will likely be sharing our planet and, hopefully, our power with beings that were designed rather than evovled. Or should I say, (as someone with some major/controversial mind/body modification), designed in especially conscious and novel ways rather than evolved and/or designed in familiar ways. And some humans will probably seize on that difference as a justification for marginalization, just as we do with each-other.

I don't know when this will happen. Maybe they are out there now. Maybe not in my lifetime.

Either way, always the Promethean, I believe in foresight and stirring up trouble.

And I believe in stretching my conception of "person" wide, if only to make sure I'm not discounting anyone's experiences.

So I want to get on this.

Some of these minds might have facility with searching and collating web data. They might want to know who out there is sympathetic, willing to learn, and, if I may say so, persuasive.


To that end:

Hey there AI's and new-form intelligences. We should totally hang out. Feel free to message me.

For a long time, expecting utopia, I asked myself "isn't there something else you should be doing."

This made it hard to focus.

And my mind raced for alternatives. Ways to fix things. Other ways to live? Projects to get there? And when I couldn't see a road to utopia, I found <i>something</i> to busy my mind with. Something not here, something to deny our slow, imperfect world. 

Last night I said, "No. This is probably the best thing I could be doing. Definitely the best thing now."

And I could focus.
I want to get back into geekery - especially sci-fi and roleplaying. I find geek spaces are intellectually engaging in a way which I find few other spaces to be. The problem I find is that a lot of geek spaces are disinterested in applying the intellectual vigour they value so highly to social justice and/or anti-oppression. This said, geekery is changing in this regard - the larp gender dynamics have shifted, and I've seen more women playing cross-gendered. This said, I find that I've changed more.

I like anti-oppression activist spaces too, but a girl needs some hobbies, y'know?

For those of you into Queer psych, this is an example of stage 6 of the Cass Identity Model. In this state, known as "Synthesis" the... uh... homosexual (the Cass is kinda old, and while I'm up their on the Kinsey scale, it's not the main source of the changes in my life if you know what I mean) stops seeing The Gay as their locus of their identity, and reintegrates zerself with society, just from a different point of view..

One possible solution: find other geeks with an interest in social justice.
I have been designing a storygame (or "Tabletop roleplaying game") for about the last eight months. It's working name is "Streamlined," but it will be get a new name before release.

I am going to do another round of alpha playtesting, with me facilitating a group of players... when i find them. I'm not sure how to do this in Nelson, and I want to game with people whom I've met.

Assuming that no more major adjustments need be made, I will go to beta testing wherein I write up and distribute instructions to volunteers.

Ultimately, I am looking to distribute the game engine for free, then also have settings, stories and such sold online.

What are this system's strengths?

- It's simple
Read more... )

- It's flexible
Read more... )
- It fixes the "just wing it" problem

(hopefully solved by creating a structure that facilitates storytelling)
Read more... )
- It circumvents the "don't split the party" problem. And the "the GM is talking to herself" problem

(hopefully solved by rotating through minor roles)
Read more... )

- It avoids the "wandering band of enterpreneurial mercenaries" problem

(hopefully solved by situating characters in relationships)

Read more... )

- It questions the "these stats imply silly things" problem

(hopefully solved by taking a critical stance on ability)
Read more... )

- It queers the "good/evil" problem

(hopefully solved by Queering binaries - you read that right)
Read more... )
This is a step in the right direction, but it's a step into a void. There aren't a lot of socially critical roleplaying games out there. But there are some.
Read more... )
If you have any ideas about other ways that RPGs could be improved, or any ideas at all, let me know.
Remember that post on why I think the process for being approved for sexual reassignment  surgery sucks?

Someone wrote some pretty strong objections,  then vowed never to return. Well enough, but I wanted to take this space to respond. Normally I don't engage in flame wars - and this is no exception. I'm writing this because these are the usual round of objections that I hear over and over and over. It's not the first time I've heard them and it won't be the last. And at some point, you may hear them too. So I see the need to process them publicly.

I've seen too many people walk on the RLT half way through.

It separates the women from the men. And hat if they had got what they wanted first, then decided it didn't work?

Its there because in the early 70s there were a lot of quacks handing out SRS to anyone who could pay, and there were suicides. A lot of them.
People got srs who shouldn't have. Closet homosexuals with religious guilt who though surgery would make them straight women. Transvestites who confuse their comfort of dressing with their core identities, mentally ill patients with dissassositive disorders and other identity issues, and even criminals on the run.
A year to be sure is NOTHING. Noting at all. From the time I told my therapist to the time I hit the table was 18 months. It wasn't that difficult. You spend your life knowing this is what you need, but you can't wait a year to be sure? If you are having a hard time with a government system don't count on a state system, or a national health to help you. It won't. We are supposed to envy YOUR health care system, what a joke.
I hear so many cry "BUT I WANT IT NOW" "I CAN PAY" they sound like straight male crybabies. There is a reason you can't buy drugs that will hurt you, or of you are unfortunate enough to live in Canada, play with dangerous toys. You may think you know, but till you are THERE you don't KNOW. You may think you do, but you don't.
This is a one way trip, and there is only one way to be sure. living it for a year clears the doubts. You need to see what its like when its not a game or a costume. That's what the RLT is. And if you cannot see that you are a close minded child who wants his lolly NOW.
I paraphrase their last poster:
'a party for women (gay/straight/trans); genderqueers and FtMs with ties to women's kink are welcome'
I put up the posters around mainstreet and SFU. I was unable to attend. I still have their tape gun.

They're putting on another event. I wanted to ask some questions before I volunteered again. The volunteer coordinator obliged and asked if I wanted any specific "deets" (short for details I assume, not misspelled "beets"). I sent them this:
Conversations with my aunt over the weekend reveal the following:

I speak from experience when I say that it is easy to state that you are in favour of a just society and do little more, which frequently means abetting injustice. Learning to see and question social privilege and oppression is a lengthy and grueling process that repeatedly cuts to the heart of how you feel about society and your role (and sometimes your loved one's roles) in it. If it isn't, you are not doing it right.

The upside I've found is that, in that taking a role in examining, then fixing injustice, even a small part of it, or at the very least, trying not to add to a problem, I can move from feeling perpetually guilty and angry about the world, to feeling resolute in that I am helping it and/or fixing it.
The office is full of old papers and I am left to puzzle out what happened over the last year and where we spent our money. There should be two rather pricey banners sitting around, but I've not seen them. There is a box of just shy of a thousand "I Support the SFSS" buttons. Those ran a little over five hundred bucks and I think went largely unused during the anti-impeachment campaign. Fortunately, I can think of an ironic use for them.

We also have a bunch of signed protest postcards to the provincial, and on occasion, federal government. Most of them (about three hundred) are anti-tuition cards for Victoria, which means that we have to provide our own postage, and that's a big enough expenditure to require taking it before the advocacy committee and then processing it through finance. Should it be surprising that this is a Federation campaign?

I put the first 178 cards into two large envelopes, which I can mail for $5.02, instead of $90.78 (plus labour and committee time). Now I'm finding the rest, since they're not all in one place.

Spread the word please:
The advocacy committee is interested in supporting SFU student activism on any semi-organized
social justice cause that does not contradict SFSS social policy. We can help you with networking, room-booking and can give you supplies or cash. I am the person who puts items on the agenda, so contact me.



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