Imagine No Religion 2- A Recap

Okay, I’m back! With a nice little bundle of posts for the coming week.

First things first, though, as promised, I wanted to write a little recap of the Imagine No Religion 2 conference, and a few of the things that stood out to me over the course of what was, all in all, a pretty awesome weekend.

As good a time as I was having, though, my brain has a hard time turning off, as does the parts of it that get irked by certain attitudes. Given that during most of the weekend there wasn’t much opportunity to respond to any of the things that got to me, and very little time before the next thingy that required my attention began requiring my attention, I had little recourse but to just settle those thoughts in some little corner of my brain and wait for a chance to get into them. This is that chance.

So… structuring this as several little mini-posts, here’s Everything I Wanted To Say At Imagine No Religion But Didn’t Get A Chance To Rant: [Read more...]

The “Gender Atheist” vs. The Transgender Atheist

The morning of my birthday, April 5th, began as always. I recognized waking reality, assessed the relative pain in my back and neck, stretched, and paused to stare blankly out the window for a moment or two before fumbling for my glasses and, per my ritual, reaching to the coffee table by my bed for my laptop to check my e-mail, facebook, twitter, and the blog’s moderation queue. That morning’s twitter, though, was not like most morning twitters.

That morning, I was greeted by tweets from Cathy Brennan.

Brennan, in case the name isn’t met by you with immediate, horrified recognition and a shiver down your spine (as thunder claps and the horses whinny), is one of the most vocal, adamant and bitter of the transphobic wing of radical feminism. She has effectively devoted the entirety of her “career” to her obsessive hatred of us and her inability to reconcile her worldview with the fact that we exist and are, well… human. One of the most odious of her actions, and the one that most succinctly sums up what she’s all about, was co-spearheading an initiative to lobby the UN for removing gender identity and gender expression from their 2011 LGBTQ human rights declaration.

She failed. I hope that stings her. [Read more...]

An Open Letter To Stephen Ira

Dear Stephen,

So I wanted to write you about some of the things we’d been tweeting about in regards to the relationship between atheism and privilege and stuff, and found that a lot of things I was thinking were important to say were… well… things I felt were really important to say, and I started thinking it might be worth doing this as an open letter instead, for the sake of getting my thoughts out there into the larger discussion.

I would like to make it clear that the reason I’m writing this, and addressing it to you, is not because I regard you as any kind of adversary, or intellectually “inferior” to me, or in need of “conversion” to my beliefs, or anything nasty or hostile like that. It’s actually very much the opposite. I’m writing you because I respect you, and respect your intelligence, and very much enjoy having you as an e-friend, and am proud to have you as a brother and comrade in our trans-feminism movement. Honestly. Unlike people like Be Scofield or Amy Dentata, with whom my exchanges felt frustrating and pointless, and where debate didn’t seem to be in good faith, I feel like with you we can at least be open to listening to one another and doing our best to understand one another’s positions. [Read more...]

Lovebombing The Vulnerable

A couple weeks ago, on St. Patrick’s Day, I went to visit a friend of mine (also a trans woman) for lunch. It was a rather long bus ride, so we had a nice long chat. I mentioned the fact that actually, we’d met once before (I’m all super good at remembering faces and names), really briefly, at the Trans Alliance Christmas Party.

She asked me, “So how long did you last there anyway?” assuming that I too would have found the party awful. I had no idea why, so I quizzically said I’d stayed a few hours, and asked why she asked. She mentioned something about the table she’d been at. And some stuff about what she took to have been an insidiously concealed motive behind the entire event.

You see, my table was way way way at the back, with a small group of people I already knew and trusted. This friend of mine was not so lucky, and ended up seated with some of the party’s hosts, and noticed some very spooky things.

The thing is, some kind of a Christian church had some fairly heavy involvement with the party and dinner. One of the LGBT friendly ones, I’m not sure. I’d already known about that, but my understanding had been that the church’s role was simply in financing and preparing the meal, and possibly helping rent the space, and that they’d made an agreement to be respectful of people’s beliefs and not do any God-bothering. Though it turns out that was not the case. Apparently the meal had been provided by Kaitlyn Borgas (who I’ve mentioned before). Apparently the money stuff had all come from the Trans Alliance Society and private donation.

So what the hell had the church been doing there? [Read more...]

German Trans Girl Forcibly Institutionalized

Remember when I wrote about the 11 year old trans girl whose absentee father was trying to have her committed to involuntary inpatient psychiatric care because he believed she’d been “brainwashed” by her mother into having a female gender identity?

In some of the most appalling, disgusting news I’ve ever heard, the German courts have ruled in favour of the father, forcing her into the custody of psychiatrists who will, theoretically, attempt to “cure” her transgenderism. [Read more...]

Spot The White Savior

So there’s this person called Amy Dentata.

She thinks atheism is racist, and didn’t like my “God Does Not Love Trans People” post.

So she wrote a response. More or less same kind of argument Be Scofield made.

But Amy Dentata doesn’t play fair. In the exchange that followed in the comment thread, she deleted two of my responses to her criticisms.

I’m not keen on people playing the “thou must not speak ill of religion” game, and especially not keen when they decide to simply DIRECTLY silence discussion.

Unfortunately for Amy, I’m not an idiot. I saved my comments. And I have a blog of my own. This was the exchange that would have been: [Read more...]

Confessions Of A Post-Modernist

It’s true. I’m a post-modernist. We walk amongst you! OOOoooOOOooo! *spooky fingers*

Okay, but seriously…

One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot this week is the difficulty of having a set of values, beliefs or personal identifications that don’t always comfortably intersect, and that finding a safe space for one aspect of who you are or what you believe will often leave you vulnerable to having other aspects attacked or demonized. Like feminists who dislike trans women and skeptics, trans women who dislike feminists and atheists, and atheists who dislike trans women and feminists.

Well, it’s not exactly a big secret that the skeptic community really isn’t keen on post-modernism and post-modernists, and like to treat them as a bit of a universal punching bag, to the extent that simply describing something as “pomo” is enough to theoretically discredit it. Within this community I frequently see post-modernism straw-manned as some kind of airy-headed, woo-supporting, pseudo-intellectual nonsense that is so wholly committed to radical relativism that it is completely unable to bother taking a stand on anything at all.

That’s a pretty piss-poor, and not very educated or skeptical, understanding of what post-modernism is or is about. Post-modernism was where and how I learned to think, and to do so critically. It taught me to value questioning assumptions, to understand the difference between what I want to believe and what I ought to believe, to understand how perceptions can be distorted and how the process by which we come about our beliefs and conclusions is not always as neat and tidy as it appears, and to look for the unconscious or implicit motives and biases of whomever or whatever is making a claim. In other words, it taught me skepticism. [Read more...]

On Being A Feminist, A Trans/Queer-Rights Advocate And An Atheist/Skeptic At The Same Time, Or: How To Be Hated By All Your Friends & Allies

On Friday, Russell over at The Atheist Experience, aware of how nervous I was about the potential backlash my God Does Not Love Trans People post could receive (due to the hostile reaction I received on Twitter just for mentioning the possibility of writing it), put up a little post asking his readers to help support me in the event that I did get trolled or attacked by religious believers or apologists.

That’s not quite what happened. [Read more...]