“Yes, I’m calling for Mr. I. P. Freely?”

I feel like I should apologize for being so lax in posting here.  But given that I have a grand total of like five loyal readers, one of whom is my mom, I’m gonna skip that part.

***

Anyone who’s followed this blog, or anyone who knows me for that matter, understands my feelings on the recent North Carolina bill.  I won’t rehash them here (except to say: DOORS, PEOPLE!)

Instead, have a round-up of links going over other people’s thoughts and feelings on it:

 

Bathrooms, Baked Goods, and the Mockery of Religious Freedom

Amy Butler, Talk With the Preacher

Religious freedom is just that: freedom. Note that we don’t call it “religious comfort.” In other words, yes, government should protect my right to practice my religion, but it’s not society’s obligation to make that practice easy or carefree. If your faith prevents you from sitting on an airplane next to a woman who isn’t your wife, then move to another seat. If your faith tells you you can’t go to the same bathroom with some people, then figure out how to order your life so that you use the bathroom in a place that seems appropriate for you. If your faith tells you you can’t sell wedding cakes to certain people, don’t go into the business of selling wedding cakes.

 

The Lie Behind the Transgender Predator Myth

Libby Anne, Love Joy Feminism

Laws barring trans bathroom access don’t just keep trans women out of women’s bathrooms, they also keep trans men in women’s bathrooms. In other words, it is now the law for the man in the image in the above tweet to use women’s public restrooms in North Carolina. This means that cisgender men could take advantage of laws barring trans bathroom access to enter women’s bathrooms dressed as men and claiming to be trans men. Doing this wouldn’t even require dressing as a woman.

 

The Disgusting Hypocrisy of the Anti-Trans Bathroom Movement

Benjamin L. Corey, The Official Blog of Benjamin L. Corey

For real. This is actually how dramatically they switch sides when it goes from protecting their rights compared to someone else’s rights.

Regulating bathroom rights? Great solution!

Regulating gun rights? Nah, laws never work. Besides, most gun owners are no threat to anyone.

 

10 Things Scarier Than a Trans Person in Your Bathroom

Erin Wathen, Irreverin

As best as I can tell, the pro-segregation set believe that allowing transgender people to use the restroom of their choice, creates a public safety threat for women and girls. It’s very much a “they are coming for your wives and daughters” vibe out there. Which, clearly, overlooks the fact that anywhere in America provides a public safety threat for women and girls. If we’re going to talk about rape, let’s talk about college campuses. Let’s talk about the military. Let’s talk about football players and domestic violence. Let’s talk about a culture that worships masculinity, objectifies women and glorifies violence–all adding up to a pervading world of male entitlement that is, always and everywhere, a danger to your wives and daughters.

 

Heels

Fred Clark, Slacktivist

It’s simple cause-and-effect, you see: Corporate HR must be allowed to ask any job applicant if they’re gay “because we don’t hire that kind of people,” otherwise your daughter is going to be attacked by a man in a trenchcoat hiding in the stall next to hers. If two women dining together in a public restaurant can’t be interrogated about whether or not they’re a couple — and denied service if they say yes — then grown men will start using the girls showers at the local YWCA and there will be nothing anyone can do to stop it.

 

Getting Them Where It Hurts: A Huge Porn Site Just Blocked NC IP Addresses

Captain Cassidy, Roll To Disbelieve

It’s that all the campaigning they’ve done, all the many millions of dollars spent, all the hours passionately preaching about the evils of LGBTQ people generally, all the persecution and harassment they dole out to a group that never meant them any harm at all, all the training they give their children in how to persecute and harass that group, all the tantrums they throw, all the threats they make to starve themselves for bigotry, to raise arms against the country they claim to love and even to ragequit that country by trying to secede from it, and all the smears and lies they tell with their biggest Jesus smiles on their faces, are being spent to wage a war that they have already lost and that is being lost harder every year.

 

HB2: Louie Gohmert’s Lie, And What It Reveals

Captain Cassidy, Roll To Disbelieve

Allowing these Others to roam unfettered and uncontrolled by their superiors will cause them to rise up in bloodlust and fury to vent their natural, animal urges on the beautiful, virtuous cisgender (or white, or Christian, or American) women that those Others desire above all their own women. And all that stands in the way of this orgy of rape are the good, godly cisgender (or white, or Christian, or American) men who refuse to let it happen.

 

HB2: The Real Bathroom Panic That Right-Wing Christians Are Totally Ignoring

Captain Cassidy, Roll To Disbelieve

There is, please allow me to stress, not one scintilla of evidence that trans women pose any kind of threat to ciswomen in bathrooms, nor that bathroom bills cause the slightest uptick in harassment of ciswomen by either trans women or cis men.

But there is plenty of evidence that right-wing, straight, cisgender Christians are already a big danger to both transgender people and cisgender people in bathrooms.

 

HB2: A Strangely Incomplete Crusade

Captain Cassidy, Roll To Disbelieve

There’s really only one conclusion I can draw from the demands that transphobic Christians are making.

They want to be able to better and more quickly identify trans people by making their movements in vulnerable places more obvious.

And I can only assume, based upon their behavior and words, that they want to more easily make this identification for the purposes of abusing and harassing people they have decided are their enemies.

 

Why Breitbart’s Anti-Trans Top Twenty-Five Bathroom Predator Stories Are Bunk

Libby Anne, Love Joy Feminism

At the risk of being repetitive, allowing trans people to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity is not a new thing. Before the backlash against the trans bathroom access bills (a) it was generally legal for trans people to use the bathrooms they felt appropriate and (b) trans women generally did use the bathrooms they felt appropriate. Yes, they risked getting harassed, yelled at, or facing violence, but trying to end that harassment is literally the only change trans bathroom bills make to the status quo.

 

What It’s Like To Use A Public Bathroom While Trans

Nico Lang, Rolling Stone

“People did come to my aid. The police came. The EMTs came. They put a tube in my throat. The police officer says, as I’m sitting in the gurney, ‘This never would have happened to you if you weren’t wearing a dress and trying to fool men.'”

 

After North Carolina’s Law, Trans Suicide Hotline Calls Double

Samantha Allen, The Daily Beast

 “We know that stigma and lifetime discrimination influence suicide rates, whether we’re talking about transgender people or another marginalized group,” she told The Daily Beast. “Policies like HB 2 are not solving a problem—they are actually making things worse.”

“Those Countries” and the Man in the Bagel Shop

(CN: violence, death, death of children, torture, rape, religious extremism, Islamophobia – all content notes are doubled and trebled if you click the links)

The morning after the attacks in Paris, one of my husband’s long-time customers took the opportunity to complain about “those people” and their terrorism.  “We’ve put up with it for too long,” he grumbled.  “We should just bomb their entire country and be done with it.”

SpouseMan gave him a puzzled look.  “France?”

“No, not France,” the man said, as if this were obvious.  “The country they came from!”

The look of puzzlement deepened.  “Belgium?”

Because of course, the ringleader of the attacks was a native-born Belgian citizen, and at least four of the attackers were French.  But that’s not what the man in the bagel shop meant, was it?  We know what he meant.  Insofar as he was capable of understanding that the Middle East is in fact made up of several different countries, each of which are, well, different, he meant Syria and Iraq.

Syria and Iraq are, after all, where Daesh* is currently operating out of.  Syria and Iraq are where European-born young men like Abdelhamid Abaaoud go to be transformed from disaffected, dissatisfied youth into zealous terrorists.  And Syria and Iraq are where Daesh carries out massacres against minority populations, tortures teenage boys, murders innocent civilians (including small children), uses horrific violence to impose their own interpretation of religious law on others, recruits and kidnaps children to brainwash into child soldiers, rapes captive women and girls with impunity…

…huh.  Y’know, the more I read about it, the more the people of Iraq and Syria start to look like the victims of this hate group, not evil masterminds who need to be bombed to rubble.

Here’s the thing.  When the terrorists attacked in Paris, the city responded in beautiful, humbling ways, ways that remind us what it is to be human and to rely on each other.  Parisians came together to help each other – taxi drivers gave rides for free to those stranded, total strangers opened their doors to one another.  Most of us would not normally invite strangers to stay in our homes, for fear of theft or violence; in the wake of horrific atrocities, however, human compassion and the need to help the victims (and protect others who might otherwise become victims) prevailed over fear.  It was beautiful, and we knew it was beautiful.  We celebrated it as beautiful.  The messages were clear: love triumphs over fear.  We will not give in to bullies or let their victims go undefended.

Now contrast that with how we talk about “those countries.”  Contrast that with how we talk about the Syrian refugees.

Let’s talk about how French victims of violence are given open doors, while Syrian victims of even worse and longer-lasting violence are turned away.  Let’s talk about how people from “those countries” are automatically viewed with more suspicion than Europeans – even though most of the attackers were from Europe!  Let’s talk about how Parisians overcame fear to let total strangers into their home, but we’re too cowardly to help refugee children for fear that there might – might – be wolves in sheep’s clothing among them.

These rejections – US citizens and the governors of US states trying to keep out the victims of Daesh’s violence and tyranny – are happening in the wake of the Paris attacks.  Think about that.  With one hand we praise Paris’s Open Doors; with the other we slam our own shut.  Our governors use excuses; they cite the one attacker in Paris who came to Europe on a passport, likely posing as a migrant.  This narrative conveniently ignores, again, that the other attackers were European citizens – will we also be closing our doors to visitors from France and Belgium?

No, of course we won’t.  We’re singling out Syria.  We’re singling out people from “those countries,” those countries that aren’t like us, those countries where Islam is the primary religion, those countries where everything is strange and foreign.  Those countries where everyone is clearly suspect and the victims’ lives and safety don’t “count,” and we should have just bombed them a long time ago.  Why on earth should we stick our neck out to help people from those countries?  It’s not like they’re real people.

We are playing into the terrorists’ hands.  We are supporting their bullying; we are telling their victims “there is no safe space.”  Daesh doesn’t want us to take in refugees; it doesn’t want the people it’s currently terrorizing to think that things will be any better for them if they leave.  They want their victims to feel helpless; bullies always do.  And we are helping it happen.

And here in the West, our callous lack of concern for Syrian children, our stated belief that their lives don’t matter as long as we avoid any possibility of risk, is part and parcel of the very attitudes that drove Europe-born terrorists like Abaaoud to join Daesh in the first place.

 

*Much like the Friendly Atheist, I’m considering using Daesh exclusively instead of ISIS or other terms, because fuck them that’s why**

**SpouseMan, upon hearing the threat to “cut out the tongues” of those who refer to it as Daesh, immediately began chanting “too many tongues!  Too many tongues!  There’s too many tongues on the internet!”

 

 

Delicious Foodstuffs

There’s more serious stuff I should probably be writing about, but I just started on a new team at work and it’s ridiculously stressful and I would rather focus on calming fun things right now instead.  Like cooking!  It’s not quite Autumn yet (and here in Florida it doesn’t even remotely feel like it’s even close to Autumn yet) but it’s close enough for wishful thinking, so I made a delicious Autumn-y soup-and-bread meal the other night.  If anybody would like deliciousness, the recipes are below the cut.

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Curious Translator Microbes

Maybe there’s some kind of translation problem.

Maybe, when I write things like “if you are from the site in question, you are not welcome here,” it’s being run through some sort of faulty Universal Translator or something, so that the people from SKA are reading something completely different.

Something like “please share your opinion with me, I’m super interested.”  Or “yes I would LOVE to have the same argument for the billionth time with people who purposefully misunderstand everything I say!”  Or my personal favorite, “I would be THRILLED to educate you on the history of your own website, that totally sounds like a productive and enjoyable use of my time.”

(I actually, no-shit-I-can’t-make-this-up, got a comment from someone using the name “Not A Troll.”  Like, wow.  That is just SUPER convincing.  It is a known fact that trolls must own up to their trollish nature, so if someone claims not to be one, welp, case closed I guess.  *all of the eyerolls*)

So let me try again.  Maybe if I’m more explicit, we can get around those pesky translator microbes.  If you are coming here from SKA?  I do not care what you have to say.  I really don’t.  I’m done with you.  I’m done trying to teach you logic or basic human decency.  I’m done trying to give you the benefit of the doubt.  I don’t care if you think you have a legitimate gripe.  I don’t care if you’re really nice deep down inside.  I don’t care if you think I’m a big mean meanyhead.  I don’t care if you think you’re holding out some tantalizing promise like “oh I’ll totes be on your side, just answer some questions for me!”  Answer your questions your own goddamn self, I’m not here for you.

I don’t even really care if you’ve suddenly seen the light and want to apologize.  I’m not the one you need to apologize to.

I don’t care.  I don’t fucking care.  I will not answer your questions, I will not engage your assertions.  Your comments will not get through the moderation filter.  I am not here for you.  I don’t like you, I don’t believe for two seconds that you’re operating in good faith, and I don’t want you on my blog.

Fuck off.

Stalking, Doxxing, and Threats

Now that I’m actually using this blog again, I’m gonna start off with a small personal update (for the few people who actually know me from real life!)  The AC situation has been… alleviated.  Somewhat.  

If you’re not aware, my AC broke a few days ago, and long story short, for the price of fixing it we might as well get a new one.  It’s academic though, as we don’t have the money to do either, so we’ve just been over here melting in the Florida summer heat.  (It’s really awful, y’all.  We’re sweaty, sticky, stinky, and cranky.)  All of our windows are the kind that crank out, too, so a window unit isn’t much of an option. 

Today, however, my dad showed up with a couple used standalone units that he got for cheap – they only have a vent that has to go to the window, and the rest of the window can be covered with saran wrap or trash bags or something.  They’re ugly, noisy, and they smell kinda weird, but – if they’ll keep the house cool I won’t complain.  (Much.) 

So that’s good.  Hopefully it’ll tide us over for the rest of the summer; with any luck, by next summer I will finally be in my dream job (I should get my certification back TOMORROW, you guys!!!), and we can afford to get the damn thing replaced. 

Anyway.  On to the main topic.  (TW: rape threats, threats of violence, threats to loved ones, stalking, doxxing)

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Abuse and Parallels

(tw: abuse, of course; victim blaming)

Let me spin you a scenario. 

Person A has authority over Person B.  In theory, Person A is supposed to take care of and protect Person B, and only use the power zie has over Person B in Person B’s best interest; in practice, Person A abuses hir authority.  Zie places unreasonable restrictions on Person B, invades Person B’s privacy far and beyond what hir authority would normally allow, verbally berates Person B and makes Person B feel inferior, and demands immediate, unquestioning obedience and deference from Person B.  If Person B gives any pushback at all, asks questions, tries to claim that Person A doesn’t have the right to do these things, or even just doesn’t react quickly enough or in exactly the right way that Person A wants, Person A hurts Person B physically.  If Person B does anything wrong, even if it’s a minor wrongdoing that normally would merit a mild punishment followed by forgiveness, Person A flies off the handle, punishes Person B – often physically – in extremely disproportionate ways.  Sometimes, if Person A is having a bad day, zie will look for any excuse – or just make one up – to take it out on Person B. 

Not always, of course.  Sometimes Person A is having a good day, and then Person A treats Person B with basic respect and courtesy.  Which is nice, but Person B can’t relax when this happens.  Person B knows that this good mood could end at any time, and Person A could lash out again – and knows that there isn’t anything Person B can do to predict or prevent this. 

Person B is afraid.  Zie feels helpless, like there is no recourse – sometimes Person B tries to go to other authority figures, to show them what Person A is doing, but they always give the same response: what did you do to provoke it?  “Why did you talk back?  You know zie hates it when you do that.  You shouldn’t make hir so angry” – which ignores the fact that people should be allowed to talk to authority figures or question their rules without fearing violent reprisal.  “Well, why didn’t you just give hir what zie asked for?  Then zie wouldn’t have gotten so angry and hurt you!”  Ignoring that Person A demanded something zie had no right to, and that Person B shouldn’t have to give in to bullying demands in order to keep from getting hurt.  “Ok, but be honest, you did break a rule.”  Even when that’s true, small errors and small wrongdoings merit small punishments.  The fact that someone does something wrong doesn’t mean that it’s suddenly okay to do anything you want to them, and Person A’s punishments are undeservedly harsh and often unpredictable, fueled more by uncontrolled rage than any sense of justice or teaching.

 

Responses like this put the burden on Person B to manage Person A’s cruel and unpredictable moods and reactions.  Person A is given no responsibility for hir own actions – instead, zie is treated like a force of nature rather than a human being.  Like something that can’t be expected to exercise any self-control, and so everyone around hir must watch their step or else they might provoke hir.  Person A, by virtue of hir authority and power, can do whatever zie likes with no accountability nor repercussions, and all Person B can do is try to stay out of hir way, and brace for the inevitable attacks. 

And god help Person B if zie ever tries to actually stand up for hirself and to fight back against such treatment.  Punishment for such rebellion will be swift and brutal, and zie knows perfectly well that other authority figures who should be stopping this treatment will instead say that zie deserved it for being disrespectful.

Now.  Pop quiz.  Did I just describe a child living with one parent who is abusive and another parent who’s an enabler… or did I just describe the relationship between black people, the police, and the media/society? 

And if we as a society can recognize how toxic and harmful and cruel the first version is, why can’t we see it in regard to the second? 

(Inspired by this video and the comments underneath it.  And, of course, all the fucking dead people in the last few weeks and months and years.)

True Story

Me: I was really upset last night.  Like, in a really bad place.  So a friend of mine had me play a video game for catharsis, and… long story short I may have broken his keyboard by throwing it across the room (and traumatized his cat.)

Hypothetical Other Person: Wow, Kristy, that sounds like some really poor anger management.  Maybe you ought to seek help for –

Me: The game was Endless Staircase.

HOP: …Oh.  Oh.  Oh you poor dear.  Are you going to be okay?

 

Andrew described the Endless Staircase game to me and I was all like “oh, I’m a big girl, I can take it, bring it on.”  Completely forgetting, of course, that I’m the same “big girl” who shrieked her head off every single time she saw Slenderman in the videos.  Every.  Time.

On the plus side, by the time it was done, I was so relieved that it was over that I didn’t have any energy left to be upset and stressed any more.

On the minus side, we still haven’t found the volume control button from the keyboard and the cat may never forgive me.