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Gabriel D

[ website | Kitsune Bowie ]
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My Planned Parenthood Story: I Needed Support [07 Jul 2011|03:11pm]


I was 14. I was shy, insecure, and seeking approval from whomever would give it to me. While visiting family friends out of state, I was pressured into having sex for the first time, with a man 7 years older than me.

The next month, I skipped my period. Terrified, I called Planned Parenthood for an appointment--I wanted a pregnancy test, fast. My best friend's mother drove me out and waited outside for me. I was too ashamed to tell my own mother.

When I got to the office (I'd picked one outside my neighbourhood to avoid running into someone I knew), everyone was pleasant and tried to put me at ease. We talked about my options if it ended up I was pregnant, and then we did the test. It was negative. The woman helping me told me it may be a hormone issue preventing my period, and advised me to see an endocrinologist. I thanked her profusely--and grabbed some condoms on my way out. The whole thing was free, because I was not working and had no independent income.

It was an experience I am thankful for--everyone was so accommodating; what could have been an awful experience was made less so by the helpfulness of everyone there.

I wouldn't have died without Planned Parenthood, but I would have been scared, waiting to see if my period came back, unsure if I was pregnant. I might have had to find and purchase a home pregnancy test by myself--or even with my mother, whom I still have never told the whole of this story.

Every day, Planned Parenthood provides low-cost and no-cost family planning services and care to people across the US, and cutting funding to it is the wrong thing to do. Among others, it would negatively impact the lives of young people of colour like myself, struggling to make it in a society that doesn't support us.

Read the rest of the My Planned Parenthood Carnival posts here, and tweet about it using the hashtag #MyPP.

And please consider donating to Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette or a Planned Parenthood near you.
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Language matters (Yes, even when you are joking...) [31 Jan 2011|02:19pm]
[ mood | aggravated ]

Okay, y'all, here's my thoughts: language matters.

When you make a sexist joke, and use the word "cunt:" that matters. When you jokingly use the word "nigger:" that matters. When you make jokes about "trannies:" that sure as fuck matters.

For every person who hears that and recognizes the joke, there will be one person who takes that as a sign that those words are acceptable. These are all words that have been used in the past to hurt, to injure, to incite violence. They have a history, and you cannot use them as though they do not. Nothing exists in a vacuum, least of all hateful language.

After the recent shooting in Arizona, many right-wing pundits argued vociferously that the actions of this gunman must be utterly divorced from the political climate in which they occurred. If we listen to them, every single hateful word, every incitement towards violence, every murderous image doesn't matter.

This morning, a friend of mine posted a picture of Hillary Clinton standing at a podium. Behind her was a poster with the word Count on it, but she stood in front of the "o," and the resultant image said Cunt. The tagline said "1,000 words: This picture's worth 'em." When someone objected, my friend started ranting about how Clinton is a "dumb bitch."

They then related a (second-hand) anecdote of a young woman who reportedly said that her teacher sexually harassed her to get him fired so that he couldn't fail her. He called this "women [getting] a free pass." My friend has no thoughts on whether any sexual harassment actually happened to her, and if so, whether she did right in reporting it. The only concern here is for the teacher who now has a permanent record.

Several others chimed in, bringing up the "some people take things too seriously" argument, the "but it's funny" argument and the "you pointing out how hurtful this was is divisive and counter-productive" argument (my favourite!!).

Rather than continuing to post in a comment thread where I am clearly being both ignored and utterly devalued as a person, I am making this note. There, I said: "I just want to weigh in as saying that I agree with B-- 100%. This is another in a series of tiny pricks, bleeding us dry of our rights and dignity. The privilege you enjoy allows you to laugh at something like this--the oppression I suffer obliges me not to. It's not funny; it's just painful and sad."

I have a vagina, and your language/behaviour tells me that's shameful and something to laugh at. Food for thought: the person who gave birth to you also has/had a vagina. Your partner may have a vagina; some of your siblings or your parents siblings may have vaginas. Does that make any of them less of a person worthy of your respect?

If you answered yes, you should re-think whether you belong in society, because no marginalized person is safe with you. I, for one, will be perfectly happy without your "friendship."

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Race affects you--why The Last Airbender was important [29 Jan 2011|08:03pm]
[ mood | energetic ]

A friend of mine posted that the recent Hollywood blunder, The Last Airbender, renewed their interest in social politics. A friend of theirs commented that they disagreed: they didn't believe that the casting of TLA could actually be seen as racist. It got bad fast, but I came in a couple hours later and added this:


@[Name of person] For what it's worth, I disagree. Race is always an issue, whether we (people of colour and our allies) say so or not. And so: why shouldn't we say so?

Every time a little black child sees a film where all the black men are drug-dealing thugs and the black women are hookers, what does that tell them about their heritage, about their family and friends? We internalize media messages. When there are no positive representations of black people, what does that say? Indeed, sometimes there are no representations of black people, full stop--what does that say?

What all of that says to me as a young black person is that, despite the struggles of my forebears, despite the senseless deaths and the political murmurings, despite the strides we have made as a society, me and my people are still second-class citizens.

I would urge you [the person I wrote this in response to] to read and reflect on "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack." I wish I could make it required reading for everyone. When our media and government tells us that we are unworthy, we take this within our own selves and let it govern our views, our behaviours and actions. Race affects so much of what happens to us every moment of every day. It's just far more invisible to white folks than it is to the rest of us.


A couple of further points made that I have thoughts on: first, my friend pointed out that it looks a lot like the director of TLA--a person of colour (POC)--is participating in the oppression against POC, and I agree. Just the other day, a larger-bodied person tried to fat-shame me on the bus, in front of hir friends. In the call-out, ze even acknowledged that they themselves were fat. It is not at all uncommon for us to police the communities we are a part of, and I think this stems from some sort of internalized hope or wish that we will be acceptable if we help in the oppression of our fellows.

For a famous (and possibly inflammatory, sorry) example, think of a literal one: the Jews engaged by the Nazis to police the Jews in the ghettos. Jews who were treated better because the helped the Nazis to oppress their own people.

Next point I want to expand on is the hyper literal idea of harm. When my friend said that this film was harmful to POC, their friend responded by asking (rather sarcastically) whether lynchmobs (ouch--really?) stormed out of theatres and murdered POC after watching TLA. This is a straw-man argument: physical harm is not the only kind of harm there is.

The argument often paired with this one is that TLA is fantasy, fiction, and no one will really assume from it that all dark people are bad guys and all white people are good; but we live in a society that constantly reinforces just that message. In churches, on television and in magazines, even into the halls of Congress--there are those who would tell you to believe just that. They may not phrase it that way, but that is the message at the root of what they say. To pretend that a movie is not just one more reinforcement is disingenuous; it's a hurtful lie.

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A Narrative of Sexuality... [17 Jan 2011|02:58pm]
[ mood | pensive ]

(Warning for discussions of sex and sexuality, and a child's exploration of the same... Please do not read if you think this will make you uncomfortable. When I say sexuality, I mean sexual orientation and kink, and when I say sex I mean sex and gender identity. You've been warned.)

I have kind of a crap memory, and the flow of time is... nebulous at best when I try to remember my childhood. This is what I am relatively sure of, although it may not be 100% accurate.

I have been thinking about this because I was reading through a discussion on Fetlife about transpeople and this gate-keeping notion that to be a "real" transperson, one must have known since a very young age that one was trans. This whole narrative is an attempt to sort out for myself what has been an odd and ongoing process of learning about myself. Not everyone's narrative has been at all like this, but everyone has a narrative, and this is mine.

*

As far back as I can remember: my father's relatives, with whom I am closer than with my mother's, give me practical Christmas gifts. I get lots of clothes. I am slightly frustrated by how much pink there is--I've never really liked the colour. I wear them anyway. I also am given lots of Barbies.

Age six: I discover some of my dad's porn stash. He has a small-ish collection of fetish magazines, mostly black and white spreads of women in rope bondage outside. I sneak them out of my parent's closet and flip through them. At six, this was not about sex for me--I merely loved the aesthetic.

Age nine: it has been a year since my dad died. I spend time mourning him and looking through photo albums with my mom. Later, she will remove any nude photos of my parents that they took before I was born, but for the time being, some of the photos are flirtatious shots of my mother pregnant, or of my dad standing in the doorway in only socks. This tells me that perhaps nudity and non-standard bodies are not shameful. I haven't learned to hate myself yet.

I begin kissing boys. Really only one boy, and we hide in closets to do it.

Age ten: I begin exploring my own body. I don't touch my own labia or clitoris, but I rub against things to stimulate myself. I don't have orgasms, but I engage in self-bondage (though I don't know that's what it's called).

My period starts. It is inconsistent and heavy by turns.

Age thirteen: I began exploring anal play by myself and inserting things into my vagina.

I come out as lesbian and then bisexual. This is the first time I have even thought about sexual orientation or gender identity.

Age fourteen: while visiting friends, I am sexually taken advantage of by a family friend. It hurts and he leaves directly afterward.

I have by now learned to hate my body. I question my gender identity and present butch. i identify as transgender.

I start to struggle in school, begin threatening self-harm and try to kill myself with pills. I am put in counselling. I am too afraid to bring up my gender identity issues, and consequently get nothing from counselling. My psychiatrist weighs me and focuses on my weight at the start of each visit. After several visits, I stop going to see her. When my depression lessens, I stop counselling as well.

I have sex with a friend months later. Unsure of what's normal, I am ashamed that I can't enjoy vaginal sex.

Age sixteen: I stop presenting masculinely. I identify as genderqueer.

I am seeing an endocrinologist, who tells me that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. This explains my inconsistent periods and weight issues.

Age nineteen: I have a seemingly man-phobic (man-disliking?) boss. After several trans-phobic comments she makes, I am too stressed to keep working there. I leave to focus on classes and my other job.

I get into the local kink community. I am shy and inexperienced. I do little actual play, but make a lot of great connections.

I start counselling again, which I have been doing on and off since I first went six years before. We don't discuss my gender identity, but instead work on my depression.

Age twenty-one: my depression has been coming and going for months at a time. I have changed counsellors twice. With the second and third I feel comfortable discussing gender identity, and after a few months, begin hormones. I identify as transgender.

After years, I finally begin exploring anal play again, something I enjoy where I don't enjoy vaginal sex. I have a small web of play partners and friends with benefits, and I am overall feeling pretty good.

I am impatient for top surgery, but do not have the capability to pay for it. This is a source of minor frustration.

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My wish list [21 Dec 2010|05:43pm]
[ mood | cold ]

I figured I should post what I want here, for easy distribution.

Laptop Cooling Pad
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Fabric in black, green or grey
Yarn Any yarn at all. I'm not kidding. Superwash is nice.
Tulle or Nylon Netting in dark colours
Satin ribbon in black, green or grey
Black Silk Floral Brocade Corset in size 38
Double Front Compression Shirt (Scroll down) in size 2X
Powell's Gift Card
D&D Rulebooks
Dr Horrible Comic
Done the Impossible
Serenity Blueprints
Daria: The Complete Series
Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories
Torchwood Season 1
Star Trek DS9 Complete Series (There is no one who loves me this much and has the money to spare...)
Doctor Who Series 1
Doctor Who Series 2
Doctor Who Series 3
Doctor Who Series 4
160 GB iPod in Silver
Glee Season 1
The Mighty Ducks Film Box Set
The Big Lebowski
Jane Eyre (Masterpiece Theatre - 2006)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Someone 'borrowed' my copy and never returned it)

Adult-ish stuff: Do not click if this makes you uncomfortableCollapse )

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Hormones, Job Hunt & Jogging [05 Nov 2010|12:12am]
[ mood | calm ]

Bit of a life update...

I went to Trans Clinic on Tuesday and got my prescription for T. I'm really excited to start, but I'm having money issues--I'm short about 9$. Hopefully, this will be fixed tomorrow. If not, I will have to wait until the 16th, and in the mean time I will have to push back/re-schedule two blood draws and a TC appointment. (Major hassle.)

Applied for a position at Dungarvin, and for the Project Coordinator position that VIA has out. Haven't heard back yet, but it's only been since Monday/Tuesday. I have another couple of leads to follow. Need to talk to A about grant-writing for the Queer Scouts. Be great if I could write for a living. Oh well.

I've started jogging everyday, following the Walk to Run coaching program on the Nike+ website. I'm seeing some real progress, but I'm worried about the step up next week. I need a good post-run routine--I've started icing my legs/joints, but I need a flavour of Gatorade I can palate and a good protein-full snack for afters... I feel pretty good, though.

I've been trying to keep busy with several things a week, without overloading and shutting down/withdrawing. Fine line, but I haven't been getting so depressed, so I'm not avoiding hanging out with my friends. I feel sometimes I'm trying too hard to hang out--too clingy? No one's complained, and my new mantra is that I need to trust my friends to tell me when we have an issue. If they don't feel they can voice things, it's not as good a friendship as I'd like. I want honesty, even when it hurts.

I need another US#7 40" circular for a project I've planned. Also, I need to wind some of the skeins into balls--they are not really very portable this way. I've been a bit knit obsessed recently, but without knit capability. :(

----------------
Now playing: Maroon 5 - Secret
http://foxytunes.com/artist/maroon+5/track/secret

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Obama, Gibbs and ignoring the base [11 Aug 2010|12:42am]
[ mood | tired ]

Liss over on Shakesville posts: Obama Finally Gets Angry. This was my comment:

"The lack of appreciation or recognition for what Obama has accomplished has left Gibbs and others in furious disbelief."
Gibbs: WaaaahhhhWaaaaaahhhWaaaaaahhh!!! The evil bad liberals stole my lolly!

In all seriousness, this really makes me want to cry. (The fact that I am short on sleep and my eyes hurt certainly isn't helping...) 2008 was my first chance to vote for president, and I had such high hopes. Someone in the thread accused Liss of ignoring real accomplishments or some such in favour of frothing at the mouth and tearing Obama down. Liss doesn't do that, but I feel like I might. I feel very betrayed, not only at the tanked economy and the continued lack of action on that front, but also on healthcare. I have OR state insurance (for only another month...) but my brother- whose health is poorer- does not. Additionally, everyone hailed the closing of Gitmo, but the story didn't end there, because it wasn't really closed. It was stalled and shuffled and brushed under the rug- by THIS administration.

When someone reminds me to be grateful for all the wonderful things this president has achieved for me (an end to racism! an end to sexism! the saving of tons through improved healthcare!), I feel like simultaneously hitting them and busting out in tears. My family lives on food stamps. I stole toilet paper from a public restroom today so that we would get that much closer to my mom's pay day, even though we're still going to run out before we get there. I am hungry all the time near the end of the month. My cats get sick and I have to choose between rent and care for them, or gas money to work for my mom and care for them, or food and care for them.

I was promised a better tomorrow, only to find it was the same old shit all over again.

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Writer's Block: a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma [12 Jul 2010|12:46am]
What message would you put into a fortune cookie?


Don't be afraid to take care of yourself. Trying times call for your strength.
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Burqa Ban? No, thanks- I'll take equality instead. [11 Jul 2010|03:27pm]
[ mood | grumpy ]

Daylight Atheism has a post from a month ago called Simo Says that I have been wanting to blog on for a bit. (If you follow that link, trigger warning for possible hateful language towards Islam and Muslims and dramatised hatred of Jews.)

Click for postCollapse )

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Is an HIV Vaccine in the future? [09 Jul 2010|01:05pm]
[ mood | cheerful ]

Pulled from AIDS Walk Portland. Trigger warning for mention of rape and assualt of children.

The Body reports: Discovery of Antibodies That Kill More Than 90% of HIV Viruses Gives New Hope for Vaccine

2 broadly neutralizing antibodies were discovered in the cells of a 60-year old African American gay man- called Donor 45 in documentation- that may lead to future development of a vaccine that would be effective against 91% of HIV strains. Researchers will now have to focus on how to create such a vaccine. There is also the possibility of using the antibodies to create a treatment that- along with existing anti-retroviral drug therapy- would be much more effective in suppressing the virus in those already infected, and a drug that could prevent mother-to-child transmission.

This news comes just 10 days before the International AIDS Conference, which researchers and advocates hope will help keep the focus on research and development as an important tool in the fight against this global pandemic, even in the face of a continued economic crisis.

I am particularly excited by several suggested possible uses in an article from The Wall Street Journal. If we could prevent mother-to-child transmission... I'm almost giddy at the thought!

Of course, treatment and prevention are not the only concerns in the pandemic- culture is still a part of it. As long as people think that this is not an issue they face, they will not get tested, and may unknowingly infect others. As long as the myth of a cure found in the rape of virgins persists, children will continue to be affected. As long as pharmaceutical companies try to milk profits out of health care and denying drugs that could save lives but are prohibitively priced, people will need to choose between food, housing and their meds. As long as governments continue to allow discrimination against men who have sex with men under the guise of safety, people will continue to attack, hate and ignore GBTQIP people, and to treat HIV as an issue that only queers face.

It is important that we continue this research and that we find these treatments, but the culture shift needs to happen, too.
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Action Item: Save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani [09 Jul 2010|12:53am]
[ mood | apalled ]

Pulled off of Shakesville because it is fucking important. Please help.
[Trigger warning for violence.]

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is a 43-year-old Iranian mother of two children, who is facing death by stoning after she was delivered a death sentence for adultery by a judge invoking "judge's knowledge," a provision in Iranian law that "allows for subjective judicial rulings where no conclusive evidence is present." In other words, some judge had a gut instinct she's guilty, despite a lack of evidence and her children's testimony to the contrary, so now she's going to be killed on his hunch.

Rage. Seethe. Boil.

Sakineh has already received 99 lashes and spent five years in prison for her alleged crime:

Speaking to the Guardian, her son Sajad, 22, and daughter Farideh, 17, say their mother has been unjustly accused and already punished for something she did not do.

"She's innocent, she's been there for five years for doing nothing", Sajad said. He described the imminent execution as barbaric. "Imagining her, bound inside a deep hole in the ground, stoned to death, has been a nightmare for me and my sister for all these years."

Under Iranian sharia law, the sentenced individual is buried up to the neck (or to the waist in the case of men), and those attending the public execution are called upon to throw stones. If the convicted person manages to free themselves from the hole, the death sentence is commuted.

...Five years ago when Sakineh was flogged , Sajad was 17 and present in the punishment room. "They lashed her just in front my eyes, this has been carved in my mind since then."

Mohammed Mostafaei, an acclaimed Iranian lawyer volunteered to represent her when her sentence was announced a few months ago. He wrote a public letter about her conviction shortly after. "This is an absolutely illegal sentence," he said. "Two of five judges who investigated Sakineh's case in Tabriz prison concluded that there's no forensic evidence of adultery.

"According to the law, death sentence and especially stoning needs explicit evidences and witnesses while in her case, surprisingly, the judge's knowledge was considered as enough," he said.

International pressure could save Sakineh's life. Please take a moment and, if you have a blog, blog this story. Write your senators and representative and ask them to make noise on Sakineh's behalf.

Sign the Free Sakineh petition here.

And send a letter to the US State Department to urge action. Here is my letter, which you are welcome to borrow:
Dear Secretary Clinton:

I have recently become aware of the imminent death by stoning of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani in Iran, the result of a judge's proclamation despite a lack of evidence for her alleged crime. As I am aware of and resoundingly support your emphasis on women's rights worldwide, I am hopeful that there will be a swift response to this appalling human rights violation, and I strongly encourage you to take a bold stance on behalf of the women of Iran.

Sincerely,
Melissa McEwan
Indiana

From the UK? Find your MEP here.

From Ireland? Go here.

Elsewhere in Europe? Check here.

New Zealanders look here.

Australians here and here.

Amnesty International USA has started an online action on this case. Please visit this site to take action and submit an appeal to the Supreme Leader of Iran and the head of the Iranian judiciary to ask that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's death sentence not be carried out!
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Today in Rape Culture: No concern for missing rape victim? [08 Jul 2010|03:09pm]
[ mood | morose ]

(Trigger warning for discussions of assault and rape)

Rape charges against Beaverton man dismissed after two months in jail

KOIN 6 News is reporting that Mohamed Garare, a Kenyan-born man living in Beaverton, was released from prison because the woman accusing him has disappeared. According to the police, she went out to smoke while they were taking her statement and never returned. She subsequently failed to show up and testify in court. All charges against Garare have been dropped.

Garare had this to say about his release:

"I've been angry for 58 days now, but I'm out and I don't hold grudges, but at the same time she needs help. She needs help before she harms someone else's life, she should get therapy or she needs to go to jail to learn a lesson."

The article goes on to note that:
"The worst part for Garare though, was calling his mother every night from jail, he said."

I do not know either Mohamed Garare or the (nameless) woman in the article. I do not know if Garare is a rapist, or if the woman was raped. That's not the comment I wanted to make on this story. The comment I want to make is about the lack of concern for the (alleged) victim. Because she is not here to tell her part of the story, I do not know if she lied or if something else is going on.

But let's look at the worst case scenario. The worst case is that she has been kidnapped, tortured and murdered- and probably raped as part of that- in some sort of retaliation for her report and the subsequent arrest and jailing of Garare. I'm not saying that's the case here- I have no way of knowing- but it is a possible scenario, and I think that needs to be acknowledged.

If the (alleged) victim lied, that is a serious concern, and there should be some consequences. But since she is not around to explain, let's not all assume she was playing us for fools. Let's not all assume that she's a horrible person who just wanted to send some poor man to prison and then run off.

The article is treating this situation as if this woman's failure to show up in a court room means that this man is wholly innocent and she is a great big liar, a liar who does not deserve our concern. What if she is scared of retaliation? What if she is actually in danger? What if she doesn't want her family to know, because of the shame often attached to rape? I hasten to add that this shame is often misdirected at victims, instead of laid at the feet of the ones solely to blame: the perpetrators. The rapists.

If Garare is innocent, then I am truly sorry for his suffering, for the abuse he probably experienced in prison, for those 2 months of lost life, and the loss of his job and apartment. Those are hard things to face, and I respect his ability to let go of the anger- but can't we spare a little of this concern and care for the (alleged) rape victim who is, as far as I can tell, still missing?

Then again, why would we care for the victim in a case like this? After all, she's only a woman. Those're a dime a dozen, at 55% of the US population. And, really, isn't it her fault for getting in a car with two men she didn't know? She should have known better.

Let me tell you, here's why we should care:
  • because this could be you
  • because this could be your mother, your sister, your aunt, your cousin
  • because events like this highlight our society's disregard for the right of a female-bodied person to hir own body
  • because everyone should be free from the fear of rape
  • because rape is just as serious as any other crime
  • because life is important
  • because the victim's life could be in danger

Any I've forgotten? Put 'em in the comments. I want to hear what you have to say- but trolls will be deleted with extreme prejudice. Rape apologists will be refuted and/or deleted. Be respectful.
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Why I am fat (and why BMI is bad) [06 Jul 2010|10:54pm]
[ mood | depressed ]

I've always been a bit on the big side in terms of belly. I am not particularly tall, but I am heavy, and have been since I can remember. I carry most of my weight in my belly and breasts, and very little in my hips or thighs.

While reading Let's Move Part II on Shakesville (trigger warnings for abuse, disordered eating and fat-shaming), something occurred to me: I find comfort in food. I've not thought about it a lot, and certainly never thought about why. I think it has a lot to do with my dad. Yes, I was large before he died, but in a baby fat, big-boned sort of way. My dad and I were really close, and his death devastated me. At a time I needed him most, he was- obviously- not there. My mom was broken up and not dealing too well on her own. She took his savings and we lived off that for a bit, and most of it was spent on junky food.

I'm not blaming my mom, but she is an awful cook- she knows it, too. My dad was the cook in the house, and with his death, my mom began to resort to tv dinners and pre-packaged foods. I associate good food with great family times before my dad's death. Every Thanksgiving, we would go to my Aunt Do's house, where cousins and cousins' cousins from the South would fly in and we would have amazing food. I loved my Aunt, and when she died, everything changed. That year, we had Thanksgiving at my house. While my dad's friends were showing up, he died. That night, I had tv dinners at a friend's house.

My mom doesn't process emotions well. Hell, I probably don't process emotions well- I like to pretend they are not there, because feeling them hurts. That Thanksgiving, I lost my dad- but I also lost my mom to a certain extent. What I had left was food and the memories of being with large, loud, loving family that I associated with food. Therefore, food=good.

As things went along, I was teased more and more for my size. I was unhappy. I ate junk food that my mom bought. I got bigger. I was teased. You can see where this is going. The school lunches certainly didn't help, but they were free, and we were poor (still are, really).

Then, I was diagnosed with depression at 15. I had threatened to kill myself, and my mom had promptly found me a therapist. She put me on anti-depressants. Every time I went to see her, she would make me remove my sweater, empty my pockets and take off my shoes, and then she would weigh me. I was struggling with my gender identity at the time, and I didn't feel like I could talk to her about it. I started eating only jelly sandwiches and sleeping a lot. I weighed 180, and was 5'4". I got better on the anti-depressants, and stopped taking them. My weight went back up, but I was happier.

I became a vegetarian, and took dance classes 3 days a week. I weighed 220 and was 5'5".

Because of my family's current state of financial affairs, I cannot take dance classes. I eat whatever is handy, usually from a box. I weigh 275 and am 5'6".

I am looking at attempting to transition, but I am afraid that my weight will be an issue. I'm afraid that the doctor will see my size and warn me about diabetes, that that will be the obstacle that postpones transition indefinitely. I'm afraid that no one will find me attractive. Some days, I worry that I am too fat and ugly and emotionally fucked up for anyone else to love me. I am afraid that I am incapable of being in a romantic relationship. I have sex with people who want to, even when I'm not sure I want to, because I think that I should feel lucky anyone wants me. Some days I am fine. Some days I am really not fine. I still suffer from depression, and that voice inside that tells me I'm too fat. It's a voice internalised from 8 years of abuse at the hands of children and youth, from media telling me I'm not good enough.

Mrs Obama, not all obese children will be fixed with exercise. Please do not tell parents and society that fat-shaming is okay- it's not.

2 Lucky Person Lucky People | Rub My Tummy!

Important Reminder [04 Jul 2010|06:02pm]
[ mood | irritated and humourless ]

Hey, for those just wandering by: this is a reminder that I am a "humourless" feminist and anti-racist. I am a Black female-bodied queer person who does not shave anywhere on my body. ANYWHERE.

Therefore, when I am having a discussion of racism in the mainstream media, and your only contribution is the phrase "Indians have hairy pussies," I will remove your input.

Furthermore, if you are not my friend and I look at your profile and do not like what I see, you will find yourself blocked so fast it will make your fucking head spin.

This is my slice of the internet, and I do not have to listen to bullshit I do not want to. Honest opinions and debate welcome- bullshit not.

See also: this.

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Update on Suspiciously Sitting While Black and Autistic [29 Jun 2010|09:48pm]
[ mood | and drained ]

(Trigger Warning for repeating racist language and descriptions of violence)

Neli finally gets to speak up for himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBHKQRF9eNM&feature=player_embedded

TranscriptCollapse )

Take action: http://avoiceforneli.com/?p=76

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Check This Out: A blog round-up [26 Jun 2010|02:38am]
[ mood | tired ]

(Trigger Warning for eating disorders, fat-shaming and abuse) A 3 part interview on BodyLoveWellnes called A Dose of Reality: My Exclusive Interview with Biggest Loser Finalist, Kai Hibbard Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Disability in Pop Culture: I Know Where the Black Stork Comes From Anna on Forward makes some good points about the "broken body" trope we all see in films and television, and may not even recognize if we are currently able-bodied and neurotypical.

In Honour of Anger Sparky posts about honouring anger and how it can save lives on Womanist Musings.

(Trigger warning for assualt by a police officer) All Kinds of Fucked Up Liss over on Shakesville warns us that "serve and protect" sometimes means what the cops say it does.

Slut-Shaming Britanny Ann on A Bookish Beemer points out the racial component missing in this article in the Christian Science Monitor. The CSM article is still a good discussion of slut-shaming.

In Stop stereotyping sexuality, sheesh!, Leah points out the ways that neurotypical individuals often react to finding out their (potential) partner is autistic: infantilizing or demonizing.

stuff white people do: think that racism is okay if you're being ironic about it. macon d points out recent examples of racism that are excused (mostly by white people) because they are "meant ironically."

Quotation of the week: W.E.B. DuBois macon d shares a really great quote (it's a bit long, but totally worth the read).

Will Media Report Fl Shooting as Gender-Based Hate-Crime? Jennifer points out the last two decades' sexist shootings, and the media's biased reports erasing sexist motivations.

What Are You Doing To Elevate My Black Body? Renee of Womanst Musings looks at how some Whites look to Black people to spoon-feed info to them, taking an armchair activist approach to anti-racism that doesn't include any real action- just talk.

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed To Work! Ampersand reposts a funny list of things (potential) rapists can do to prevent sexual assault.

Stop saying illegal! The Feminist Texican reminds us why Othering language reinforces racism in the immigration reform debate.

Another Juneteenth Disaster: This Time In the GLBT Community Renee of Womanist Musings calls out Chuck Knipp and the GLBT people and clubs that support his racist performance.

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Neli's Story [18 Jun 2010|09:28pm]
[ mood | sad ]

Here is a link to the website created by the mother of Reginald Latson- I encourage y'all to donate and sign the petition to get justice for him.

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Suspiciously Sitting While Black and Autistic [17 Jun 2010|02:10pm]
[ mood | grumpy ]

This is a post from over on Shakesville. I encourage y'all to head over and read the thread of comments- some really great points are brought up there.

[Trigger warning for violence.]

Via Feministe comes this HuffPo post about an 18-year-old African-American young man with Aspergers, who was assaulted, arrested, and is presently institutionalized as a result of suspicious sitting behavior.

Reginald 'Neli' Latson was sitting on the grass under a tree, early one morning, in front of the library, waiting for it to open. About 400 feet from where he sat was an elementary school where kids were arriving to start the school day. Someone from that school called police shortly after 8:30 a.m. to report "a suspicious person sitting outside the library, possibly in possession of a gun". There does not seem to have been any reason for the caller's suspicion that Neli had a gun in his possession (he didn't), nor does there seem to have been anything "suspicious" about Neli other than his complexion.

This call set in motion a cascading series of events in which police ordered eight schools locked down; Neli, who did not know police had been called, tired of his wait and moved on toward the nearby high school; he was confronted by a County Sheriff's deputy who also worked for the school district; and a physical struggle ensued between Neli and the deputy.

Neli says the officer threatened him; he tried to walk away, and the officer grabbed him from behind, choked him, and sprayed him with pepper spray. Neli took the pepper spray from the deputy and, according to the police report, sprayed him in return and fled. The deputy sustained a broken ankle which required surgery.

The police say Neli "attacked and assaulted the deputy for no apparent reason." That seems rather against the odds, given that Neli was not expecting any trouble, while the deputy was actively looking for a suspicious, possibly armed, person meeting Neli's description. Of the two, the one primed for aggression was the deputy. But perhaps, purely by coincidence, Neli "attacked and assaulted" the deputy "for no apparent reason."

The story gets worse from there. Neli was charged with malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer, assault and battery of a law enforcement officer, and knowingly disarming a police officer in performance of his official duties. When Neli's mother, Lisa Alexander, reported him missing several hours later, she learned he was in custody and being questioned.

Police would not tell her why, would not allow her to see her son, and seemed uninterested when told Neli is autistic. They held the young man in isolation for 11 days without bail, allowing his mother to visit him only once.

His condition has deteriorated considerably during his incarceration, according to his mother. He has been transferred to a state mental hospital for a 30-day evaluation period. Ms. Alexander has set up a web site, A Voice for Neli. There, his mother tells a bit of the story of Neli's life and of her and her husband's struggle to secure for him the services and educational support he needed.

Lisa Alexander is searching for legal representatives for her son who have a good understanding of his circumstances. She is also asking that people sign this petition, which she hopes to use to interest national radio shows and/or TV news networks in reporting her son's story. The local news reports which have been printed thus far have come from the police.

As of 5:36 a.m. PDT (US time) there were 317 signatures on the petition. Ms. Alexander is hoping for at least 1000.

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Cool info about pronouns! [15 Jun 2010|10:15pm]
[ mood | bemused ]

Recently, I had someone ask me about gender-neutral pronouns and my personal version of the gAyBCs. I wanna post that here and see what y'all think.

Here goes:
There's more than GLBT? What do all the rest mean?

I'm going to define these for you separately. Please bear in mind that they may mean different things to different people, and are entirely self-identified. If someone fits the definition but doesn't define that way, that's fine for them, and others should not define them as that. For my purposes here, gender is mental/societal and sex is physical genitalia.

GLBTQQIPA
Gay- a male-identified person attracted to other male-identified people. Also an umbrella term used to refer to all the other terms (sometimes harmfully).

Lesbian- a female-identified person attracted to other female-identified people.

Bisexual- a person attracted to both female- and male-identified people.

Trans(gender/sexual)- trans is an umbrella term. Transgender individuals are transgressing gender boundaries, and may present male, female or other. Transsexual individuals are usually in the process of changing primary and/or secondary sex characteristics to suit their gender identity. People often lump "transvestite" in here, but that is disrespectful, and I ask people not to. (I also prefer the term "crossdresser," as I feel it is more respectful.)

Queer- this one's harder. This can mean genderqueer (outside of the binary gender system) or sexually queer or anything else that the person identifies it as. Also an umbrella term used to refer to all the other terms.

Questioning- someone exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity, re-examining traditional heteronormative societal expectations, etc.

Intersex- a person born with ambiguous genitalia or hormonal imbalances who exhibits primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of either (binary) sex. Often have surgery performed by doctors to more easily assign one gender.

Pansexual- a person who is attracted to other (consenting human adult) people, regardless of gender identity.

Asexual- a person who has relationships that do not require sex for fulfilment. Some do not enjoy sex and do not have it, some will have it for their partner's sake.

I've never heard ze / hir before. Is hir pronounced her or slightly differently?
Hir is pronounced like here.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutral_pronoun#English
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heteronormativity
http://www.smyrc.org/
http://questioningtransphobia.wordpress.com/
http://www.transactiveonline.org/
http://cripwheels.blogspot.com/
http://twitter.com/#/list/kallandar13/queer-transresources-news
http://queersunited.blogspot.com/

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Racism... boo. [15 Jun 2010|12:46am]
[ mood | annoyed ]

Just discovered this guy- a racist jerk, pretending to back his racism with ridiculous "science." He and his readers nauseate me with their blatant racism.

A comment worthy of mention on Stuff White People Do under the heading "blame black people for perpetuating racism":

"I’m saying that in the bible GOD says that we should forgive and forget, no matter how bad the sin is, AND blacks today are in no way the same blacks that were in slavery, and yes there are ALOT[sic] of white people who need to shed their misconceptions about black people. Now I remember a post of your[sic] that was a letter to your mother talking about how you “educate” your children about the way that white people think about them. I believe that doing this is complete wrong. To teach them that white people hate them is teaching them to put their guard up and look at white people as if they can’t be trusted. And if they grow up having these beliefs then they will teach their childen[sic] and thus they will teach their children after tham[sic], therefore keeping racism alive." Quote found here: http://abagond.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/if-blacks-ran-hollywood-like-whites-do/#comment-21580

By the same commenter, a quote that may qualify for mention on the same site or another anti-racist site:
"I believe that maybe you are right, I may be a little ignorant to the amount of racism in todays[sic] society because of the way I was raised, and my religion, ever since I was a child I’ve been babysat by african american[sic] women, my best friend was Mexican/Puerto Rican.
[...]
So like I said, I am one of those people who truly DOES NOT look at someones[sic] race as a factor in the type of person they are. So I may be blind to alot[sic] of they racism in the world today, but I would rather be ignorant, and love everyone the same, than pick out all the flaws in everyone."
Quote found here: http://abagond.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/if-blacks-ran-hollywood-like-whites-do/#comment-21581

I bet y'all are tired of listening to me rant about race, right? If you answered "yes" to that, you may want to find another blog to read, because racism affects me, and I will probably spend some time writing about it. I know that I probably benefit from colourism, and from the fact that many people have trouble judging my race by looking at me, but I am still affected by racism.

Note: I don't want to deal with trolls, so I am screening comments for this post if you are not on my friend's list. Be warned, I may delete any comments I find inappropriate.
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