Dear Fellow White People: RE Justine Damond Shooting

Dear fellow white people who are shocked and angered by Justine Damond’s murder.
Dear fellow white people who are outraged that a woman was shot by the very police she called for help.
Dear fellow white people who are devastated that a beautiful yoga instructor and bride-to-be’s life was cut short by trigger-happy cops.
Dear fellow white people who are in disbelief an unarmed person would be so carelessly and ruthlessly gunned down by those who are supposed to “protect and serve.”
Where were you?

Where were you when Charleena Lyles was murderer by Seattle police after calling for help?
Where were you when Philando Castle and Sandra Bland, both pillars of their communities, were ripped away from their families and friends by police brutality?
Where where you when literally thousands of unarmed Black folx are murdered by U.S. police?

Dear fellow white people who are demanding “hashtag justice for Justine.”
Dear fellow white people who are appalled that a law abiding person could end up a victim of police violence.
Dear fellow white people who are frantically asking “how is this even possible in my country?”
Why weren’t you listening?

Why weren’t you listening to the cries for justice for Eric Garner, or Mike Brown? Or at least Tamir Rice who was just 12 years old?
Why weren’t you listening to Black and Latin Americans when they told you police violence was a serious and institutional problem that affects all of us?
Why weren’t you listening to Black parents when their young children were routinely terrorized by cops in their own neighborhoods?

If we’re just now getting angry,
if we’re just now paying attention,
if we just now started to care about police brutality.
If we are heartbroken over the death of Justine Damond,
but unmoved by the death of Jordan Edwards.
Please, let’s save our tears.

This is not to say Justine Damond deserved to die. No, she absolutely didn’t.
This is not to say we can’t be saddened or even enraged by her death. No, we absolutely should be.
Nor is this to say that white people have lost the right to be upset over the wrongful shooting of other white people.
And I am sure that Justine was wonderful person who will be missed.

However, we do not get to be outraged over the murder of seemingly wholesome, fair-skinned, conventionally attractive, blonde lady,
while simultaneously ignoring the systemic radicalized violence faced by Black folx, Latin folx, Indigenous folx, and other people of colour.

And as a special note to my fellow white people who are making racist comments about the police officer who shot and killed Justine Damond, kindly go fuck yourselves.
Because I know you’re the same fuckers who say shit like, “all lives matter” and, “stop making everything about race!”
So, sit down and shut the fuck up. You sure as hell don’t get to pretend racism doesn’t exist and then garner sympathy by being a racist piece of shit.

If you would like to read more about this story, I recommend Shaun King’s article on Daily News, “Police brutality jumped a racial fence with Minneapolis cop shooting of Justine Damond” here.

Dear Steve Scalise, Karma’s a Bitch

This article is meant to parody the typical Conservative response to mass shootings. Links to real news sources are posted below.

Early this morning, at a GOP charity baseball practice session, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot by a lone gunman in Alexandria, Virginia. Two members of the Capitol Police, a congressional staffer, and a lobbyist for Tyson Foods were also shot. These five injured parties were hospitalized. The gunman, identified as James Hodgkinson from Belleville, Illinois, was reportedly killed by law enforcement at the baseball field. (Source 2)

Hodgkinson was 66 years old, an entrepreneur, politically active, and leaves behind a wife and daughter. His motives are unknown at this point, although some people suspect me have have suffered a recent mental break. Currently, the only thing we can do is wait for some sort of explanation for this tragedy, and send our thoughts and prayers to the victims. (Source 1)

Rep. Steve Scalise underwent surgery this morning and remains in critical condition. In addition to being the House Majority Whip, Scalise has been an opponent of gun control measures, and also has ties to known white supremacists.

In 2016, Scalise interviewed with CNN’s Jake Tapper and aggressively opposed then President Obama’s new gun control policies, calling them “executive overreach,” and claiming the U.S. already had adequate gun control measures and protections (Source 6). Watch the full interview here:

In 2002, he spoke at a European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) conference about “the most effective and up-to-date methods of civil rights and heritage related activism.” EURO was founded by former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, and is recognized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). (Source 3)

Steve Scalise claims he “didn’t know” EURO was a white supremacist organization, nor did he know it was founded by David Duke, and says speaking at this 2002 conference was a “mistake” which he “regrets” (Sources 3 & 4). However, EURO was a well-known racist hate group in 2002 according to a spokesperson for SPLC, and this conference was also on an “Anti-Defamation League list of extremist events for that year” (Source 3).

Scalise continued to defend himself by claiming he has spoken to many different groups with different ideologies, and “when people called and asked me to speak to groups, I went and spoke to groups” (Sources 3 & 4). He also said he did not have a scheduler on staff in 2002, nor did he have “the benefit of Google” (Source 4). It should be noted Google’s internet search engine not only existed in 2002, but was growing in popularity.

In 2014, The Washington Post interviewed David Duke on whether or not Saclise was aware of Duke’s connection to the 2002 EURO conference. Duke said he did not know for sure if Scalise knew “what the conference was,” but that Scalise was asked to speak by “two of Duke’s longtime associates.” (Source 4)

Additionally, Steve Scalise was likely aware of who David Duke was prior to his 2002 EURO conference speech, given a 1999 statement he made about Duke. When interviewed by Roll Call regarding Rep. Bob Livingston’s (R-La) resignation and the possibility of both David Duke and himself filling that newly vacated House seat, Scalise said he embraces many of the same “conservative” views as Duke, but is far more viable.” (Source 5)

Sources:

  1. Jose Pagliery, “Suspect in congressional shooting was Bernie Sanders supporter, strongly anti-Trump,” CNN, June 14, 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/14/homepage2/james-hodgkinson-profile/index.html
  2. Tal Kopan and Eric Bradner, “GOP House Whip Steve Scalise in critical condition after shooting at baseball practice,” CNN, June 14, 2017,
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/14/politics/alexandria-virginia-shooting/index.html
  3. Molly Reilly and Ryan Grim, “House Majority Whip Steve Scalise Spoke At White Supremacist Conference In 2002,” Huffington Post, Dec. 29, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/29/steve-scalise-euro-conference_n_6392036.html
  4. J. Scott Applewhite, “Rep. Scalise: Speech At White Supremacist Gathering ‘A Mistake I Regret’,” NPR, Dec. 30, 2014, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/12/30/373955103/rep-steve-scalise-i-went-and-spoke-to-any-group-that-called
  5. Niels Lesniewski, “What Scalise and Vitter Told Roll Call About David Duke in 1999,” Roll Call, Dec. 29, 2014, http://www.rollcall.com/218/scalise-vitter-talked-to-roll-call-about-david-duke-in-1999/?dcz=
  6. “CNN: Scalise Blasts Obama’s Gun Measures,” CNN, Jan. 6, 2016, http://scalise.house.gov/press-release/cnn-scalise-blasts-obama%E2%80%99s-gun-measures

What the Anti-Trans Bathroom Debate is Really About

After the White House rolled back protections for trans public school students (click here for link to news story) the “should trans people be able to safely use public bathrooms” debate has raised its ugly head yet again. And frankly, this debate is absurd. I cannot believe we are still debating whether or not trans folx are ‘permitted’ to take a piss in a public toilet. Like, are you fucking kidding me? Why are we discussing this? How is this even an issue? The level of bigotry required for this to be a problem for someone is truly terrifying.

prostest this shit

Image Description: An elderly white, feminine-presenting person with a walker holding a sign that reads, “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit!”

Those promoting this specific form of transphobia claim their concern is primarily with protecting children and preventing sexual assault. It’s obvious to me, and most other queer folx, this so called “bathroom debate” is not about protecting children or preventing sexual assault at all. Nor is it really about trans people using bathrooms. However, before I explain what the “bathroom debate” is about, let’s first explore these transphobes’ claims.

First, these transphobes argue they just want to protect “The Children.” But by “The Children” they mean their children; specifically, their cis, straight, and usually white children. But setting aside the fact that these people completely ignore the existence of trans kids (something I will circle back to), let’s dig into this “but what about The Children?” argument:

download (2)

Image Description: Mr’s Banks from the TV show The Simpsons. Text reads, “Won’t somebody please think of the children?”

So, what exactly are these people trying to protect their kids from? Well, for one, they want to protect “The Children” from being “scandalized” by seeing genitalia (specifically, penises) in the women’s bathroom. My question here is, what the hell kind of bathrooms are you and your family using? While I primarily use the women’s bathroom, I have also used the men’s and gender neutral facilities. And I can honestly say I have never seen genitalia in any public bathroom – ever. My dad even used to take me in the men’s room with him when I was a toddler and there was never a problem. Okay, a little boy walked in on me once, but I think he was just as scandalized as me. So, this is really not an issue… unless these people are trying to see genitalia in public bathrooms. In which case, they’re the perverts; not trans folx who just need to take a leak. Also, if people with penises really are flinging themselves all about in men’s rooms, why are we comfortable with little boys being exposed to that? Sure, many toddlers go in the women’s room, but by 8 or 10 most kids can use public bathrooms while their guardian waits outside. So, it’s acceptable for little 10 year old boys to be flashed in the bathroom, just not little girls? That’s pretty fucked up. It’s almost as if this argument isn’t about protecting “The Children” at all… Hmm…

Another argument these transphobes make is they don’t want their children to be “confused.” Confused by what? That all humans pee and poop? Aside from the occasional mirror check, peeing and pooping is literally all that goes on in public bathrooms. Unless of course I missed the memo about all the bathroom orgies? Which would be sad, because I’m down for an orgy… although, not in a public bathroom. That’s gross.

download (3)

Image Description: A black, masculine-presenting person. Text reads, “Girl that’s nasty.”

I guarantee these same people opposing trans folx safely going to the bathroom are also brainwashing their kids with archaic, unfounded ideas about sex and gender essentialism. (Click here for more information on essentialism.) These are the people who teach their kids sex and gender are the same thing, and there are only two – “male and female” – because god says so. And anyone who doesn’t force themselves into this rigid mold is going to hell. Talk about confusing. Sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, and biologists will all tell you sex and gender are not the same thing, and there are more than two of each. So, just because these people refuse to open their minds, and therefore are incapable of providing their children with accurate information on sex and gender, doesn’t mean they get to exile all trans people so their kid never questions this brainwashing. (Click here for link to more information on the differences between sex and gender)

And to circle back to trans kids (because they do actually matter) – they’re being told they have to use a bathroom that makes them uncomfortable, unsafe, and that does not match their gender. Trans girls are being told they have to use the boys’ bathroom because they are a boy – even though they’re girls – is not okay. Trans kids face enough bullying, transphobia, microaggressions, mental health challenges, and other abuse. The last thing they need is to be forced to use a bathroom that is potentially unsafe and traumatic, or at best, awkward and uncomfortable.

The last line of the what-about-The-Children? argument is usually, “I don’t feel comfortable with unsupervised men being in the bathroom with my wife and/or daughter.” Ignoring the paternalistic undertones of this statement, it sort of sounds like [cis] men are the problem. It sounds like even these overly-conservative transphobes don’t trust men to behave themselves around women. To which every woman and feminine of center person sarcastically says, “you don’t say!” Although, you certainly won’t hear these conservative, “god made men superior” -criers, binary gender roll adhere-ers admit men pose a serious threat to women. Oh no. These are the same ‘concerned’ men who blame women for their own sexual assault because of what they were wearing or how much they drank… But I’ll come back to this issue later.

willy-wonka-so-you-dont-want-to-be-sexually-assaulted-have-you-tried-like-not-getting-raped

Image Description: Willy Wonka from the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Text reads, “So, you don’t want to be sexually assaulted. Have you tried, like, not getting raped?”

So, if men are the problem, why are these people attacking trans women and femms for using the women’s bathroom? Oh, unless they’re misgendering trans folx, equating women with vagina/uterus owners, and are therefore referring to trans women going about their normal bathroom business as “unsupervised men.” (Hint: this is exactly what they’re doing.)

The only counter-argument to make here is that trans woman are women. This is not something that is open for discussion, as this is simply a fact. However, those who insist on being transphobic assholes and saying trans women are not “real” women, don’t get to exclude trans folxs from public facilities simply because they insist on being transphobic assholes. Not to mention, equating women with vagina/uterus owners reveals their true views on women. If she doesn’t have a vagina for them to put a dick in, or uterus to make a baby with, she is not a useful/real woman.

Now, these people might reply by saying men and women are inherently different on a biological level, and it’s not just about having a vagina/uterus. Well, that’s pseudoscience that has been disproved many times over. There are very few significant biological or genetic differences between what we have traditionally classified as “male” and “female” sexes. Given that there are only a few percentage points difference between human and chimpanzee DNA, it is ridiculous to think there are gaping biological differences between people with penises and people with vaginas. Also, studies have shown folx from different sex categories may function differently, but there are very few inherent biological or genetic differences. Much like how people from different cultures or geographical regions function differently but are still very similar on a biological and genetic level. (Click here for a summary of study on the differences between men and women’s brains.) Additionally, conceptualizing sex as a binary thing is empirically false, as more than two sexes exist. (Click here for further information on intersex.)

The second main argument these transphobes make is that women and children need to be protected from sexual assault. Yes! Finally, conservatives are acknowledging sexual assault is a pervasive problem in our society. But wait, how exactly do these transphobes think banning trans folx from public bathrooms will prevent sexual assault? First, they claim allowing trans people to pee in public toilets undisturbed will also allow cross-dressing [cis] men to easily and covertly sexually assault women and children.

Apparently, cross-dressing [cis] men will be able to sneak into the women’s bathroom unnoticed amidst a crowd of trans folx, assault a couple cis women, and disappear with all the trans folx before anyone can say shit about it. But even if that were to happen, which is highly improbable, these cross-dressing men are cis men, not trans people. So, even in this far fetched scenario trans people are not the problem, cis men are. And the many people who have been sexually assaulted by cis men are all like:

stupid

Image Description: Comedian Kevin Hart holding a microphone saying, “I gotta stop saying ‘how stupid can you be?’ I’m beginning to feel like people are taking it as a challenge”

You know who is actually likely to rape women and children? Fathers, boyfriends and husbands, teachers and coaches, the creepy neighbor, that perv-y uncle, youth-group leader, a boss, or that long-time family friend you never felt comfortable around. (Click here for more information on perpetrators sexual assaults.)

And even when a [cis] man wants to rape a stranger, he doesn’t need to cross-dress and sneak into a public bathroom. What planet do these transphobes live on? [Cis] men don’t need a ruse to sexually assault people. Women and children are regularly sexually harassed and assaulted in public spaces. Street harassment is a daily occurrence for many women and feminine-presenting folx. Fucking Br*ck T*rner committed his rape behind a dumpster. And just to drive a nail in the coffin of this absurd argument, Oklahoma State Senator, Ralph Shortey, voted for a piece of anti-trans legislation and then was caught in a hotel room with a minor (click here for the story).

The second way these bathroom bill assholes think trans folx using public bathrooms encourages sexual assaults is that it will give sexual predators a free pass because “they can just claim they’re trans.” Um, no.

download (4)

Image Description: 3 elderly white, feminine-presenting people talking in a living room. Text reads, “that’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.”

Providing legal protections to trans people when using public bathrooms doesn’t negate existing laws which make assault a criminal act. Cis men and women using the men’s and women’s rooms aren’t legally allowed to assault people in the bathroom. And if a trans person assaulted anyone I’m positive they would be arrested. However, there are no reports of trans people assaulting anyone in public bathrooms. (Click here for article linking to various Trans Rights organizations’ statics) However, white cis men get away with assaulting people all the time. So, it’s not trans people getting a free pass, it’s white cis dudes. (For examples, Google any of the following names: Donald Trump, Casey Affleck, Bill O’Reily, Woody Allen.)

Of course, to non-bigots all of these “anti-trans bathroom” arguments make zero sense. These transphobes’ claims of wanting to protect “The Children” collapse with the slightest breeze like a poorly made souffle. And preventing or reducing sexual assault and trans people’s natural bodily functions have fuck all to do with each other.

If these people were actually concerned about “The Children” they would be concerned about all children, especially the most vulnerable children. Not only would I venture these assholes don’t actually care about poor kids, Black kids, undocumented kids, and kids suffering from abuse, they obviously don’t give two shits about trans kids. Never mind the fact that 92% of trans adults in the U.S. attempted suicide before 25 (click here for data from the Trevor Project). And never mind that an estimated 20 to 40% of homeless youth are trans, LGB, or otherwise queer (click here for data on homelessness in the LGBTQIA+ community). These people still want to force trans youth into unsafe bathrooms and locker rooms that do not match their gender and where they are often bullied and assaulted. So much for protecting “The Children.”

As bad as the “but what about The Children?” argument is, I am most disgusted by the supposed sexual assault prevention claims. Dear transphobic assholes, stop weaponizing sexual assault to promote your anti-trans bathroom bills. Stop pretending to care about sexual assault victims to justify your transphobia. You don’t give a flying fuck about sexual assault victims, you hypocrites!

I’ll believe these fuckwits care about preventing sexual assault, when they stop protecting/defending their own white cis rapists (for examples Google Donald Trump, Casey Affleck, Bill O’Reily, or Woody Allen). Or when the assholes making these transphobic laws stop assaulting people in bathrooms themselves. (More Republican Lawmakers Have Been Arrested For Bathroom Misconduct Than Trans People.) I’ll believe they care about victims and survivors when they start sentencing rapists to more than a few months in jail (Google the Brock Turner or Stacey Rambold rape cases). Or when they actually start holding [cis] men accountable for sexual assault. Or when they start believing folx who say they were raped. Or when they stop normalizing rape in our pop culture. Or when they stop giving boys a pass on assaulting girls because “boys will be boys.” Or when they stop sweeping sexual assault and pedophilia under the rug in religious organizations (for example, the Duggar family). 

So, if the “bathroom debate” isn’t about protecting “The Children” or preventing sexual assaults like its proponents claim, what exactly is this shitty, dehumanizing debate about? It’s actually very simple; this “bathroom debate” is about excluding trans people from public spaces. It’s about making it even more difficult to exist while being trans. It’s about continuing the oppressive systems trans and gender nonconforming folx are living under. It’s about dehumanizing trans folx in order to maintain our current cis supremacist society to the benefit of cis people.

The last thing I want to say is three days ago on June 6, 2017, Kenne McFadden, a 27 year old Black trans woman, was murdered. McFadden is the 12th trans person of colour to be murdered in the U.S. this year alone (click here for link to the news story). So, excuse me while I don’t care about your discomfort at the thought of pissing next to a trans person.

cis tears

Image Description: A white, non-binary presenting person with short brown hair wearing a blue shirt and tie holding a much that says, “cis tears.”

If you are interested in reading more about this issue, please click here for an article by Laverne Cox titled, “It’s Not About Bathrooms: Laverne Cox on the Attack Against Trans Rights.”
Or click here for an article by a trans woman named Mari Brighe titled, “What Really Happens When a Trans Woman Uses a Public Restroom.”

I’m a Millennial and Fuck You

download-1

Cover of TIME Magazine featuring a white, feminine-presenting, read-headed person laying on their stomach taking a selfie. The issue is titled, “The Me Me Me Generation: Millennials are lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents: Why they’ll save us

Hi, I’m one of those so called “privileged,” “over-sensitive,” and “lazy” millennials, who refuses to find gainful employment, sits around watching Netflix all day, only cares about internet memes, spends all my time looking at my phone, has a five-second attention span, and is essentially illiterate. And I am so damn sick of people from previous generations shit-talking millennials for having to make the best of shitty situations they contributed to and/or created in the first place!

Millennials are constantly hearing things like, “millennials don’t work hard enough,” or “millennials want to live at home so they can sit around all day and do nothing,” or “millennials are so entitled; they never want to earn anything.” Yeah, us millennials simply lack the ambition to get good, high-paying jobs. Our low wages have nothing to do with baby boomers voting in politicians who completely deregulated the economy, causing college tuition and the cost of living to rise exponentially while wages simultaneous stagnate. And we love having to live at home well into our twenties, or even thirties. It’s just great living with our out-of-touch parents who still treat us like children even thought we do work full time, pay our bills, pay taxes, volunteer, have relationships, have kids, and host of other adult things going on in our lives. Also, how dare we feel entitled to things like a livable wage, health insurance, paid maternity leave, and a couple weeks of paid time off every year when we work forty plus hours every week. How dare we think because we provide quality, full time labor to our employers (who profit from our labor) we should “just be handed” money, health insurance, and a short vacation once a year… It’s not like we’re earning any of that by working… oh, wait.

Even if we’re not entitled, lazy little leeches, we’re still over-sensitive little cry-babies who can’t function in the real world. We’re just a bunch of sissies who need ‘safe spaces’ and ‘trigger warnings.’ Unlike our parents and grandparents, we don’t understand that the world is a rough place. Back in their day, they could say all kinds of racial slurs and call “the gays” f*gg*ts and none of their cis/het, white friends or family would get upset. Hell, they could even racially segregate public spaces to keep those so-not-over-sensitive white feelings in tact. Why do we millennials have to take bigotry and discrimination so personally? What wimps! Creating safe spaces where we can take a short break from racism and queerphobia? Asking  trigger warning be included in classroom content that is likely to trigger PTSD episodes for those who have suffered various forms of trauma? Pussies!

But, let’s not talk about how the same people bitching and whining about us weakling millennials demand every stranger tells them “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays,” or freak out because Starbucks Red Cups don’t have little pictures of Baby Jesus on them, or can’t handle being called “white,” or think “cis/het” is a slur. Really people? How the hell are millennials the over-sensitive ones when you can’t even handle being called white? Like… you are white; you are cis/het. Seriously, what’s your issue?

So, excuse me for being shitty at people who condescendingly explain why I should shut up and accept the colossal mess they helped create. Excuse me for feeling cheated after spending almost $200,000 on a university degree, yet still being unable to land a well-paying job. Not because I’m unmotivated, but because those jobs simply don’t exist. Excuse me for feeling “entitled” to be able to pay the rent on my one bedroom apartment, buy groceries and gas, and have health insurance while working forty plus hours a week. Excuse me for believing I don’t deserve to be abused by bosses even though I do my job extremely well.

And on top of all that, I spend some of my free time trying to make the world a slightly less terrible place and being more socially aware, so excuse me if I binge some Netflix shows every once in a while to unwind. Only to then be made fun of for caring about social/ political/ economic/ environmental problems by the very people who helped create and perpetuate those problems.

“Stupid Millennials” are the most highly educated, yet most underpaid generation. Oh, and we also tend to be more socially conscious, have more diverse circles of friends and family, and donate a higher percentage of our measly income than older generations. So, yeah, fuck you!

/end rant

How to Protect your Privacy under Trump Regime

cyber-security

Image Description: a digital image of light blue padlock with wires or lines spreading off of both left and right sides on a darker blue background.

U.S. law enforcement officials and politicians have been vocal about wanting more access to U.S. residents’ phones, social media, email, and other private digital communications and information. Fourth Amendment rights are being undermined when it comes to our private digital information, and our new Supreme Leader, The Orange One, has been very clear about his intentions to expand government surveillance even farther.

However, digital communication and social media are essential tools in resisting a modern fascist regime. So, we need to beef up our digital security. Here are some steps to take to help protect yourself:

  • To a large degree, you’re in control of what personal information you disseminate. Be smart about what personal/private information you share, who you share it with, and how you share it. Some basic things you can do are:
    1. Give out as little personal information to as few people as possible. Don’t hand out your phone number, address, or email to just anyone. Don’t offer additional information to law enforcement, government officials, banks, employers, websites like Google or Facebook, or private companies you do business with. If someone does not ask for it, don’t give it. And avoid revealing personal details about yourself, like your sexuality, your political affiliations, ethnic/national background, etc., when you are at work or otherwise outside your trusted group of family and friends.
    2. Keep your social media privacy settings tight. Don’t automatically set all of your Facebook posts to public, don’t use your last name in your Twitter handle, that sort of thing. There’s no need to make it easy for people to Google you and see what you’re up to.
    3. Don’t post online about protests or rallies you plan on attending. Tell family and friends privately about your plans instead, or use encrypted communication to communicate with other protest-goers.
    4. Don’t advertise where exactly you live or work. If you live or work in a smaller suberb of a large city, just say your live/work in that city.
  • White People: Be mindful what you say online or in public. The NSA and other surveillance programs use computer programs to comb for suspicious words and phrases. If something you say ends up being flagged and investigated further, not only will you be monitored by the government, so will your friends and family.  So, if you make a joke about doing some sort of harm to a certain tiny-handed individual, you might just bring attention to your non-white family and friends. And while your own white privilege will likely protect you, the same cannot be said  for your non-white family and friends. Please keep this in mind.
  • Phone (including texting) and email communication is not automatically secure. If you want to tighten up your phone and email security, you’ll want end-to-end encrypted communication. This means that only the sender and receiver will be able to see the un-encrypted message, and the email or phone company can only see the encrypted version as it is transmitted through their systems.
    Two apps to use for end-to-end encrypted phone communication are WhatsApp and Signal.
    And for email, Tutanota and ProtonMail are good choices. Both use end-to-end encryption and they are based in Germany and Switzerland, respectively, both of which have good privacy laws. Please be aware, however, that if you send an email to to someone not using an end-to-end encrypted email provider that email is no longer secure.
  • It’s also important to avoid being tracked, both online and in person. Keep your GPS on your phone turned off, and turn off the location history so Google, Safari, or whatever browser you use cannot learn or transmit your daily activities.
    There are several things you can do to avoid be tracked online. One, install a browser extension that blocks websites from tracking your visits (some options are uBlock Origin and Privacy Badger). Two, prevent others from knowing your internet search history by using browsers like DuckDuckGo. Unlike Chrome, FireFox, or Safari, this browser doesn’t record your searches; it also works well with Google. And three, consider encrypting all of your online activity by setting up virtual private network (VPN).

Most of these tips are from Timothy Summers’ article, “Protect your privacy during Trump’s Reign: A hacker’s guide to being cyber-safe,” published on Salon.com on December, 11, 2016. Click the link above (on the article’s title) to read all of his advice.

Liberation through Lesbianism

Image Description: two interlinked female gender symbols, which each consist of a circle with a plus sign attached to the bottom, on a rainbow pride flag background.

First of all, a disclaimer: I’m not lesbian. I’m bisexual, meaning I am attracted to genders similar to, and different from, my own. For me personally this translates into attraction toward feminine and masculine presenting folx. Yet for the vast majority of my sexually active years, I mostly had relationships with men – mostly straight, cis men. (No, this does not mean I “used to be straight,” because sexual behavior does not determin sexual orientation.) The reason for this is because it was honestly eaiser. We live in a hetero-normative society, so hetero-normative relationships are easier to enter and sustain. They’re not better or healthier; there are just more opportunities to be in one. My current, and most serious, relationship to date, however, is with a woman. Sure, I hooked up with women in the past, but those never turned into anything serious. So, having a female significant other is a new experience for me. 

It hasn’t exactly been a Hollywood movie where I date a girl for the first time when I go off to college, she reveals the wonders of the glorious vagina (note: not all women have vaginas), and I find sexual liberation. Nor did I ever expect anything like that. In fact, it’s always felt remarkably normal. But over time I have slowly noticed some differences between being in a committed relationship with a man and being in a committed relationship with a woman.

For one, I’ve felt less pressure to make myself look “hot.” Yes, we find each other attractive, but I don’t worry about her making rude little comments about my body. Instead of, “eww! Why do you have a random long-ass hair on your back? Lol,” it’s, “hey babe, you have a random long-ass hair on your back. Do you want me to pluck it for you?” And while our behavior toward each other’s bodies might not work for everyone, there’s no denying she is less critical of my body then men typically have been. She understands women’s bodies aren’t perfect – probably because she has one – but that doesn’t disqualify our bodies from being beautiful. 

However, the two most significant differences I’ve noticed between being with a woman and being with a man are (1) a lack of gross entitlement in my partner, and (2) a far lighter demand on my emotional labor.

My girlfriend does not act entitled to my body. She doesn’t assume I will have sex with her whenever she wants. She doesn’t assume I will do all the cleaning and house work even though we both work full time, and she certainly doesn’t expect me to clean up after her. She doesn’t pressure me to be friends with her friends, or demand I take her side in a debate. She doesn’t act entitled to every minute of my time, and think my entire universe revolves around her needs. She knows I’m always there for her for the important stuff, but she’s also aware I have obligations to other people and myself.

This substantially lessened demand on my emotional labor now that I’m with my girlfriend actually just hit me today. I was reading an article about how men expect the women in their lives to manage their emotions for them, and I was like, “that’s spot on! I used to have to do that all the fucking time! But now I don’t… Why is that?” The reason is twofold: One, I actually don’t have a ton of men in my life these days. I was never one of those people who only had female friends; I just kind of hung out with whomever I clicked. But lately, I just don’t have a lot of guy friends. Maybe it’s because I’m not in college anymore, my office is all women, and there aren’t that many dudes in my circle. Or maybe it’s because my tolerance for sexism and men’s bullshit has shrunk to miniscule ammounts, so all my male friends decided to bail rather than confront their sexist behaviors. I don’t know.

Reason number two should be pretty obvious: I’m no longer romantically or sexually involved with men. Therefore, the interactions I do still have with men are far less intimate. For the first time I am able to hold all the men I know at a distance if I so choose. And you know what? It’s been pretty great. Yes, I still experience harassment and abuse from male clients, male relatives, male acquaintances, and even male stangers. But when I go home at night I get a break.

I no longer come home to someone I have to mother, coddle, or play therapist to. I am no longer my significant other’s emotional landfill where they dump all their negative emotions and unprocessed feelings, expecting me to magically take care of them. I am no longer an emotional punching bag on which the man who claims to love me can take out his anger. I don’t have to worry about brusing my girlfriend’s fragile male ego. I can be direct with her, and that’s so refreshing. 

All this is not to say my girlfriend is faultless, but when she’s being an asshole I can tell her, “hey, you’re being an asshole,” without fear of having to deal with an angry display of male dominance. And can I be completely honest? I feel incredibly free without men. I didn’t realize how heavy the burden of performing emotional labor for the men in my life was until I wasn’t carrying it around anymore. I can’t say I particularly miss having men in my personal life. I deal with enough abuse from male clients at my job. Just today, I had a client throw a bitch fit because I was talking to my boss for a minute while I was on the phone with him. Never mind I had already given him 20 minutes of my time listening to him ramble incoherently, like always. Never mind that he wasn’t saying anything at that time. Never mind I was talking to my boss. Never mind he regularly talks over me, ignores me, and hangs up on me. He got shitty because someone didn’t prioritize his delicate man feelings and dared to refocus their attention off of him for a moment. Then he took that anger out on me and my boss. This is what men do, and I certainly don’t miss coming home to that.

When I studied feminist philosophy, I learned about something called “Political Lesbianism,” which essentially argues the solution to our patriarchal society is for women to simply abandon it and cut themselves off from men (or perhaps cut men off from women). Aside from the obviouse feasibility issue, Political Lesbianism is a branch of Radical Feminism that I have found to be particularly welcoming to Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists. Often, cis women holding this ideology don’t view transwomen or transfeminine folx as “real” women. Political Lesbianism also de-emphasizes the importance of intersectionality and solidarity with other social justice movements. It’s more of a, “fuck you, I’m leaving” mentality, than my preferred, “fuck this, let’s join forces and dismantle this unequal society” mentality. 

While I don’t believe Political Lesbianism is the solution to our patriarchy problem, I am starting to think part of the idea might be applicable to my personal life and the personal lives of many queer feminine of center folx. When I’m asked if I would consider ever dating men again (for now, let’s ignore the biphobia in that question), I say no. Obviously, I don’t plan or want to end things with my girlfriend. But beyond that, I am really enjoying not dealing with men, their entitlement, and their demand for my emotional labor.

To the People Saying We’ll Survive Trump

1-yozfh5nygzkxmhjpn_h8lg

Image Description: Crowd of people standing and a few are holding signs. One sign reads, “this is not okay,” and the other sign reads, “fear…” and the rest of the sign is unreadable.

[TW: discussions of, and references to racism, Islamophobia, colonization, xenophobia, racialized violence, transphobia and other queerphobia, misogyny, sexual violence, ableism, and various types of hate crimes and bigotry]

This is to all the people telling members of various disadvantaged and oppressed groups to “calm down,” that we all just need to “come together,” and that if conservatives “survived Obama,” we’ll “survive Trump:”

SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.

Do not fucking tell us to calm down. We’re entitled to feel however the hell we feel. Do not tone police our reaction to President Toddler Hitler-lite. You have no idea where we’re coming from, and you clearly are not bothering to try to understand our very precarious situation. You’re blinded by your own privilege, so shut it.

And don’t you dare tell us we need to come together with Trump and his supporters. We are not obligated to unite with people who hate us, are bigoted toward us, and who terrify us. Trump and his supporters don’t get to be raging xenophobic, misogynistic, racists for a year and a half and then expect everyone they hate to be all hunky-dory and just fall in line. Fuck that!

How hell do you not understand that asking a person of color to set aside their own rights and well-being to make peace with a white supremacist is a giant slap in the face? Or how expecting Muslims, immigrants, or refugees to forget about all the hate and discrimination they faced from Trump and his supporters for the sake of your personal comfort is just plain heartless? Or how simply asking the LGBTQIA+ community to overlook the fact that Mike Pence and many Trump supporters think it’s perfectly acceptable to torture the f*ggot out of queer kids may cause actual trauma? Seriously, where the hell do get off asking these things of people?

Do not tell us we’ll live or we’re overreacting, because here is a list of people who will literally not survive the Trump-Pence administration:
1. Black folx and other PoC who will face increased racialized violence from police and white p*wer groups.
2. Native North Americans and Indigenous people whose land, water, and other resources will be polluted and stolen by the government and corporations.
3. Latinx people who will be racially profiled by ICE, many of whome will be illegally detained in inhumane facilities.
4. Undocumented immigrants who will likely be hunted down, rounded up into concentrated areas (does this sound vaguely familiar?), and deported.
5. Muslims who will be stigmatized even further, face an increased threat of violent hate crimes, be racially profiled by law enforcement, and who may have to register as Muslims (you know, like Jewish people in pre World War II Germany).
6. Refugees who will not be granted asylum in the U.S. Refugees who are running for their lives and have no where to go.
7. People with mental illnesses, disabled folx, and those who otherwise depend on state assistance for lifesaving healthcare.
8. People with pre-existing health issues and anyone else that relies on the regulations set forth in the ACA to obtain lifesaving health insurance coverage.
9. Any person who needs, or will need, access to affordable reproductive healthcare, including contraception, abortions, STI testing, reproductive-related cancer screenings, etc.
10. Trans and genderqueer folx who need accessible, legal avenues to change the gender identity on their legal documents (birth certificates, passports, state-issued photo IDs, etc.)
11. LGBTQIA+ folx who need access to safe transitional housing, to mental healthcare, to legal protections for their civil rights, and who will face increased rates of hate crimes.

If you don’t believe me, check out the links below. There are reports of trans suicides, racial violence, and violence against Muslim women.

And do not compare our terror and protests of Trump’s presidency to people’s animosity toward President Obama. Most people were angry about Obama’s presidency because they were racist. A few people may have simply been upset their candidate didn’t win, but let’s be honest, most of them were just racist assholes.

Those of us freaking out about Trump aren’t doing so because we’re sore losers, or because we’re bigoted assholes who are scared of losing our privilege. We’re freaked out because we know we’re about to face a living nightmare of hate crimes, police violence, and a loss of civil rights. We’re not shitty because other people might take a few steps toward equity and social justice, thereby narrowing the gaps in our social hierarchy and reducing our own privilege. We’re shitty because we’re about to take a giant step backward.

So yeah, sit your damn ass down and shut the fuck up!
Preston, Dominic. “Reports claim ‘at least 8’ trans youth died by suicide after Trump’s win,” Pink News. Nov. 10, 2016. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/11/10/reports-claim-at-least-8-trans-youth-committed-suicide-after-trumps-win/

Boyer, Ashley. Facebook Post screenshot via Kat Blaque. Nov. 10, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/kat.blaque.5/posts/1218259301582221

@Toure. Tweet screenshot via Shaun King Facebook page. Nov. 11, 2016. https://www.facebook.com/shaunking/photos/a.799605230078397.1073741828.799539910084929/1195912750447641/?type=3&theater