I know I’ve told this story before, but my abusive ex refused to let me take birth control. I was on the pill until he found them in my purse.
I went to the Student Health Center—they were completely unhelpful, choosing to lecture me about the importance of safe sex (recommending condoms) instead of actually listening to my problem.
Then I went to Planned Parenthood. The Nurse Practitioner took one look at my fading bruises and stopped the exam. She called in the doctor. The doctor came in and simply asked me: “Are you ready to leave him?” When I denied that I was being abused, she didn’t argue with me. She just asked me what I needed. I said I need a birth control method that my boyfriend couldn’t detect. She recommended a few options and we decided on Depo.
When I told her that my boyfriend read my emails and listened to my phone messages and was known to follow me, she suggested to do the Depo injections at off hours when the clinic was normally closed. She made a note in my chart and instructed the front desk never to leave messages for me—instead, she programmed her personal cell phone number into my phone under the name “Nora”. She told me she would call me to schedule my appointments; she wouldn’t leave a message, but I should call her back when I was able to.
And that was it. No judgment. No lecture. She walked me to the door and told me to call her day or night if I needed anything. That she lived 5 blocks from campus and would come get me. That I wasn’t alone. That she just wanted me to be safe.
I never called her to come to my rescue. But I have no doubt that she would have come if I had called. She kept me on Depo for a year, giving me those monthly injections in secret, helping me prevent a desperately unwanted pregnancy.
I cannot thank Planned Parenthood enough for the work they do.
1.) It’s not hard to figure out what to do, there are plenty of resources.
People say you have to get it right, do your research, but … what else are you supposed to research? It’s not like people with more pigment in their skin have completely different personalities than those with less, any more than any individual. It’s frustrating when I can’t even figure out what the heck people are talking about.
Bam. Research step one done for you.
2.) Writing characters of color/minorities is a good thing.
I don’t like the notion that fantasy authors are under some kind of obligation to present ethnically diverse worlds. I’m English, and a fair sized part of English history consists of unwashed beardy white people in mead halls. If I’m inspired by my own history and cultural heritage, then that’s what I’m damn well going to write about. I’m not writing about some other culture just to appease the people who think there aren’t enough black characters in fantasy, or whatever. You want it, you write it. Nothing to do with me.
3.) Your all White Fantasy Land Didn’t Exist in Real Life:
…the rather medieval one has more diversity than real medieval Germany probably had […] In a world with medieval means of transport, it just doesn’t seem natural to me to mix dark-skinned people with blue-eyed blondes in one setting. I just try to give the people a colour that fits the place where they live.
You mean like the people from Africa and the Middle east who began to take over Southern Spain, as well as the Jews who were pretty well spread out throughout Europe, the Middle Easterners they would have met on the Crusades, and the incoming Mongol Hordes who spread to the very edges of Eastern Europe before the empire finally collapsed? Don’t forget that Turkey is right there, and the silk road would have gone from Song Dynasty China, through India, and ended in Turkey before moving further westwards into places like Germany. Also the attempts at the Franco-Mongol alliance would have been pretty interesting. (That’s about the 13th century - arguably smack dab in Middle Ages Europe and definite contact between France/Christian Europe and the Mongolian Empire.)
Unless you’re writing everything in the far reaches of Denmark or something, historically speaking, I call bullshit on people who have societies that are only all white ever, because it’s just inaccurate. Consider the relative closeness of Northern Africa to Spain, or Turkey to the rest of Europe, the conquests of Alexander the Great, the Crusades, Slavery existing in Europe, including England, the slave trade, imperialism, Pax Mongolica, The Silk Road, Jewish Diaspora, the Islamic Empire vs The Holy Roman Empire, Egypt, Algeria, China’s sailing across the world, The Maruyan/Gupta Empires of India, tea trades, Columbus sailing in hopes of finding China, etc, etc, etc.
4.) I mean I just don’t believe you anymore. It’s unrealistic. Seriously guys.
You’d think I’d just denied the holocaust or something. Get a grip. All I said was that I’m going to write about my own cultural experience and anyone who thinks I should do otherwise for the sake of political correctness can bugger off.
This isn’t even about being PC this is just not being wrong about everything.
The past month or so has been incredible for transgender rights victories, and I want to acknowledge this moment. We’re seeing the kind of movement on trans issues that I’ve dreamed of – our community is finally winning the protections we need. I think this has a lot to do with the ways trans folks have shared our stories and organized for our rights, including at online spaces like Feministing.
On Sunday, Nok Yonlada, who is trans, won a provincial election in Thailand. This means a lot in terms of visibility, to have an out trans woman representing constituents as an elected official. Argentina made trans health care a human right and gave folks the right to legally change their genders without the approval of a judge or doctor. In the US, the The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced they will hear claims of gender identity-based employment discrimination, meaning trans and gender non-conforming folks have employment protections at the national level for the first time. The Department of Justice released national standards to prevent prison rape that include specific provisions to protect trans and gender non-conforming folks. These standards were developed with community input and are an important step in addressing the high rates of sexual violence experienced by incarcerated trans folks.
These victories in the political arena are huge. The trans community is at square one when it comes to winning the rights we need to be able to participate in society without facing massive amounts of discrimination. Winning protections from workplace discrimination means we can actually get jobs. We obviously need to address the high rates of incarceration faced by trans folks, but protections for those behind bars could make a big difference in people’s lived realities. These are the first steps towards being full human beings under the law, whose experience of discrimination is valid and who deserve just as much access as everybody else.
The US isn’t close to Argentina yet, where they’ve got this wild idea that health care should be a human right. We need to continue fighting for basic protections, including from discrimination in housing and public accomodations. But ideally this moves us towards the point where we win positive rights, like the right to determine our own genders without having to go through gatekeepers.
I think these wins have a ton to do with trans folks standing up and telling our stories. In the past few years, an increasing number of trans and gender non-conforming writers have popped up online. We’ve shared our own experiences on trans-focused blogs, broader queer and trans sights, and spaces like Feministing that aren’t explicitly organized around LGBT issues. Community groups and individuals have also talked to the press, and insisted on accurate coverage. And, like the rest of the social justice internets, we’ve used these new tools to take action. While organizing for a trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act was unsuccessful, it galvanized the community and created a megaphone for our issues in a way that probably led to the EEOC victory.
I believe this increased visibility has been vital to the wins we’re seeing right now. You don’t start winning rights just by demanding them. Victories require that your needs are respected, that they’re seen as valid and legitimate. Basically, groups of people needed to recognize that trans folks are human beings deserving of the same rights as everyone else. And that didn’t happen by accident – it happened because we stood up and demanded it, loudly, over and over again. Every time a trans person tells their story, it has the potential to humanize our whole community. Being out can be dangerous for trans folks, and it’s not something I would encourage anyone to do in a way that does not feel safe and supported. But those of us who have been willing and able to share our experiences have gotten to see people’s minds change.
These victories have been inspiring to watch. But at the same time, the trans community is still facing heartbreaking violence. In the past month Brandy Martell was shot and killed in Oakland. CeCe McDonald was found guilty for defending herself against a transphobic attack in which someone tragically lost his life. Recent wins don’t undermine these tragedies in any way. In fact, it’s all that much harder to see the most marginalized in our community facing violence at the same time that we’re winning victories. Changes in our laws don’t mean people automatically stop hating us. Sometimes increased visibility can mean increased violence. We have to continue working to change people’s minds while we also work to change the laws. Trans women of color continue to face the worst transphobic violence. So we have to continue working deliberately to lift up the voices of trans women of color, to make sure the community most impacted can speak for themselves and humanize themselves.
The New York Times‘ offensive article about Lorena Escalera was a reminder that we can have our identities undermined and attacked even in death. Though the article stood out partially because we’ve seen less of this sort of offensive coverage lately. When I first joined Feministing a few years ago, it seemed like every trans-related article was about a death, and they all included the wrong pronouns or were offensive in some other way. We’ve seen a real shift in the way the media talks about trans folks – they’re actually starting to do their job and report responsibly and accurately. I think the credit absolutely goes to trans writers and organizers and our allies, who wrote blog posts, tweeted, emailed, and called news outlets whenever these offensive stories came out.
There’s a culture shift, at least within the social justice internets, that’s happening at the same time as these rights victories. When I first joined Feministing three years ago, the community could be super transphobic, and this was not a rarity for feminist blogs. There were some badass trans folks and allies holding it down in the community, but the transphobic voices got pretty loud too. Since then, attitudes on trans issues have shifted in this space and on other blogs as well. We see less controversies around transphobia within the blogosphere. Instead, folks are getting behind trans issues. I was inspired to see how many people got angry and took action about the NYT Lorena Escalera article. While the paper didn’t retract the story, there was a ton of outrage and action take on Facebook and Twitter; Feministing’s call to action was one of our most highly trafficked posts this past month. Our post about Argentina’s new laws also received a ton of page views, which tells me trans issues have become a focus for our readers.
There’s still a ton of work to do to shift the culture as a whole. Hell, lefty communities have a lot of work still to do to be less transphobic. Just because I’ve seen changes on some blogs doesn’t mean they’ve all become paradises of trans inclusion. But increasing awareness and involvement within social justice communities is the first step. Allies who will take action on trans issues, and who will speak up for trans folks to their friends, are absolutely necessary to influence larger groups of people.
It’s partially because there’s a growing community who will speak up for trans rights that victories like the EEOC ruling are possible. Policymakers need to be pushed by their constituents to take action on issues. And they need a base of supporters who will stand against those who oppose trans rights. Political change doesn’t happen without cultural change. These recent trans wins have a ton to do with culture shift within organizing communities, including the social justice internets.
Similarly, we’ve got to use these rights victories to continue our culture change work. We need to build off the legal recognition of our humanity, taking this opportunity to increase positive visibility for trans folks.
I feel blessed to be a small part of this moment. I know I’m standing on the shoulders of elders who fought for me before I even knew I was trans. I feel incredibly lucky to be one of a number of trans advocates who are telling our stories at this moment when our laws are starting to shift. Getting to see change within lefty communities has been a gift as well. It sucks that this hard work still needs to be done. And these victories don’t at all downplay the tragic realities the trans community still faces. But this is an important moment in the history of trans rights. It’s important to acknowledge the hard work that’s led us here. It’s important to celebrate these victories. And it’s vital to use them to build to even more wins.
those ships that follow you everywhere wherever you go and manifest themselves in all the music you listen to and movies/tv shows you watch and eventually you can’t even live a normal life because everywhere you look you see your ship looking back at you
On Saturday, Sanesha Stewart, a transwoman of color living in the Bronx, was murdered in her own apartment. She was 25 years old. Her accused killer, Steve McMillan, had known her for months, yet when he was arrested, he claimed to have been enraged to find out that she was what the media coverage called not really a woman. He stabbed her over and over again in the chest and throat. She tried to fight him off; there were defensive wounds found on her hands.
On Tuesday, eighth-grader Lawrence King was in a classroom in Oxnard, Calif. He was openly gay, and often came to school in gender-bending clothing, makeup, jewelry and shoes. According to another student, it was “freaking the guys out”. One of them shot Lawrence in the head. He was declared brain-dead on Wednesday.
It is easy to look at cases like this and think, how tragic. How random. How senseless. But then, you forget how easy it is to kill a transgender person. You forget that all across this nation, faith leaders of all stripes, men and women who claim to speak for God Himself, call us sinners, call us abominations, call us evil.
You forget that at best the media depicts us as something to be pitied, something that our families must be strong and overcome. At worst, they depict us as abnormal, exploiting our bodies for ratings, exploiting the public’s fear of us for shock value.
You forget that on a good day, law enforcement agents are neglectful of us, and that far more frequently they join in our harassment. You forget the transwomen of color who are rounded up on suspicions of prostitution. You forget the beatings that go uninvestigated. You forget the molestation and rape we face when we are arrested.
You forget the medical establishment that drains our wallets for the therapy and hormones and surgeries they tell us we need. You forget the way we are then refused treatment when we are dying, dying of treatable diseases, dying of easily patched wounds.
You forget that, by the law of the land, it is legal in the majority of states to deny us employment, to deny us service, to deny us housing. You forget the shelters and the rape crisis centers that will not allow us through their doors. You forget that many of us do not even have family to turn to when we are at our most desperate.
You forget that the leaders of our own community have told us that it is not time for us to have rights, that it is not pragmatic for us to be considered worthy of the same respect as other human beings. You forget that in our own circles, it is considered a negative thing to be too flamboyant. You forget the way our pride parades have been derided by our own community. You forget the scorn heaped upon drag queens by other gay men. You forget the fear to be seen in public with a friend who is considered too open, too queer.
You forget the way it seeps into the minds of transgender people, too. You forget the way a transsexual will shout that she is not a crossdresser, as if there were something wrong with that. You forget the catty names we call each other if we don’t “pass”.
You forget how many of us take our own lives every year.
You forget because the noise is always there, a constant drone in the background. Every newspaper piece that calls a transwoman “he” instead of “she”. Every talk show host who spends an hour talking about our genitals. Every childish taunt about “looking like a tranny”. Every transperson who talks about themselves as “true” transsexuals. Every activist and politician who tells us “now is not the time”.
You forget too, how easy it is to kill a person of color, with myths about “gangstas” and lies about immigrants. You forget how easy it is to kill a person living in poverty, cutting off her welfare because she is supposedly being paid to breed. You forget how easy it is to kill a sex worker, with sex-shaming language, slinging about slurs like “hooker” and “whore”.
You forget the message hidden inside every single one of those statements.
“You are less than I am. You are not worthy of the rights and respect that I am worthy of.”
“You are not human.”
It is very easy to kill something that you do not see as human.
The above article is an update. Her mother went to appeal to keep her out of the psychiatric ward and lost. She will be institutionalized because of her expression of her gender. She will be held until she conforms to male gender and then released to foster care, not her mother who was supporting her.
Please, if you haven’t signed the petition, sign it, reblog it, ask your friends to sign it. We’ve managed to get 40K signatures for a pageant model, we’ve only gotten 11K for a little girl about to have her life ruined. Lets get on the ball and spread the word.
“And then, the day before I graduated from college, the news flooded my inbox: in Kansas, Dr. George Tiller had been shot. Point blank. In the head. In his church.
Welcome to America. You don’t know shit.
One of the things that was most different, and most complicated, about this country was the vehemence and violence of its anti-abortion politics. In Australia, where I grew up, there are people who are deeply anti-abortion. There are anti-choice organizations, and there are protesters with signs outside clinics. But clinics don’t get bombed. Australia doesn’t have to pass laws mandating where protestors can stand outside clinics to ensure they don’t prevent patients from getting in to see a doctor. Australia’s abortion laws aren’t ideal, but we don’t have mandatory penetrative ultrasounds and we don’t require doctors to lie to patients about what abortion does and we don’t have politicians going around saying that the state should force a rape victim to carry her rapist’s baby. And where I come from, people don’t get shot over abortion.”—
Other Fandoms:The same person cannot be in more than one ship.
Whovians:People assume that ships are a strict progression of one character loving another, but /actually/ from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of steamy smutty ... fandom-y orgy ...and stuff.
Avengers:And there came a day… a day unlike any other… when Earth’s mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat… to fight the foes who dared to sink our ships… on that day, The Avengers were born.