Bizarro World

“If the catacombs were good enough for the early Christians, then I can survive Obama’s America”

An increasingly common narrative amongst the contemporary American evangelical movement is that of the persecuted Christians. Good men and women whose religious rights are increasingly trampled by a dominant secular, atheist, liberal majority who are trying to bend and subvert their beliefs to their amoral godlessness. The questions of gay marriage or birth control or abortion aren’t matters of protecting the human rights of those with same-sex attractions or the reproductive rights of women, but instead an instance of violating the religious rights of Christians, one of which is apparently the “right” to impose one’s own moral doctrine on everyone else, and to force one’s particular religious ethics into public space and law. [Read more...]

Being Welcome

My process of developing an understanding of privilege, power and the social dynamics that go along with them has been mostly guided by my lived experiences, and by conversation, marked largely by individual moments that led to individual insights, or shifts in perspective. [Read more...]

Trigger Warning

A couple days ago I was mindlessly killing some time and unboredifying myself by clicking the random button at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. After awhile of this, a certain comic pulled up. The caption read “Who says money can’t buy happiness?” and, in the panel, an enthusiastic, smiling man was handing a syringe over to another man, raising his fists in joy, while saying “here’s your heroin!”.

It was, to put it mildly, a little bit triggering. [Read more...]

The Exceptionalization Of CeCe McDonald

Until recently, my feelings about CeCe McDonald, the young trans woman of colour who was violently attacked in Minnesota by a group of men (at least one of whom was a neo-nazi) shouting racist and transphobic slurs, charged with murder for defending herself, and ultimately convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 4 years in a men’s prison, had been primarily governed merely by sympathy and empathy (albeit very strong). I absolutely respected her reaction to the attack, the refusal to submit to being a victim. But truthfully, those kinds of situations occur very quickly, are not really governed by coordinated thought, and none of us really know how we’ll react until we’re actually living it. Also, I would understand, and refuse to judge, any trans woman who had the opposite response, such as surrendering to the attack. We are presented very frequently with representations of ourselves as victims, to such an extent that we often end up thinking of it as basically an inevitability… to such an extent that should we be attacked, our response could very easily and understandably be simply resignation and the desire to get it over with. Trans women of colour in particular live under the burden of the victim-narrative, being hardly represented or reflected in our culture at all outside of that status.

I sympathize and empathize with CeCe. I feel very genuine sadness and anger in regards to what happened to her. But recent statements from her to her supporters have allowed my feelings to grow from simply understanding the tragedy of her circumstances, and feeling an emotional connection to them, to deep admiration. CeCe isn’t simply a victim of shitty circumstances and a broken, racist, cissexist culture and legal system. She’s more than that. CeCe is a badass, and far more intelligent, selfless and politically savvy than the blogosphere really gave her credit for.

Personally, I feel the need to accept accountability for how my own fucked-up racial biases played into the distorted narrative we built around her. In retrospect, I can’t help but feel saddened and a bit disgusted by how few of CeCe’s own words and perspectives were included in the discourse surrounding her. The same old awful stories play out over and over again, even where we most ought to know better. [Read more...]

East Hastings: A Love Story

The first thing I’d notice, the first thing signaling arrival in the stretch of Hastings street between Abbott and Main that comprised the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, was always the smell. It usually was a vague combination of industrial cleaning products, cheap native cigarettes, urine and stale, dirty clothing. Or maybe (aside from the unmistakable urine) that’s just what my brain associated from the collage of sensory information that made that part of the city so distinct from the rest.

The second distinction that becomes clear is the people. It’s not a categorical thing, like you would expect. Not as much about style of dress, or age, or racial demographics, or the various details of presentation that signify class or occupation, though all those things are certainly present in the information once you get past the immediate sense of difference. It’s mostly about movement. [Read more...]

F–k Anti-Science

Last week was a really, really rough week. Worse than usual, even. Scary terrible things happening, and very suddenly and unexpectedly, as is usually the case with scary terrible things. Lots of complex and intense feelings I didn’t know how to handle. Lots of memories of really awful things that happened to me in the past deciding they’re not keen on being ignored right now. Lots of stuff that had been building up all Spring kind of arriving at a bit of tipping point into badness. And the terrifying realization that having spent almost my entire adult life as an addict means I never actually learned how to deal with rough patches like this. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, or how to get through this, or how to cope. Just kind of have to make it up as I go along.

On Tuesday I met up with my BFF at the comic book store, and we went to sit in the nearby park for a bit and talk. She noticed that my knuckles looked rather red, and asked if I’d been punching the wall or something. I hadn’t, but it kind of occurred to me that I totally did find a punching bag of sorts that morning on the internets in the form of a nice argument against someone promoting dodgy anti-science attitudes of the lefty-academic, post-structuralist vein. The idea that science is this nasty “Western” imperialist concept that pretend it knows everything and thinks it’s the One True Path and disrespects other “ways of knowing” and tries to colonize everyone’s minds and get us all to fit into some particular Western conceptual framework and blah blah blah.

I got a tad more aggressive than usual.

I’m not sure, however, that aggression is an inappropriate response to these attitudes. [Read more...]

Blogathon: 21st Hour

Damn.

The birds outside are being total jerks right now. You have like no idea.

I also think it’s important for you to know that my favourite Marvel characters are totally Dr. Strange, She-Hulk, Mystique, Magneto and Emma Frost, while my favourite DC characters are Barbara Gordon, Commissioner Gordon, Renee Montoya, The Doom Patrol, Wonder Woman, Vandal Savage, Lex Luthor and Zatanna. And maybe Dick Grayson. He’s really warming on me lately.

Right now my brain is functioning quite strangely. Sleep dep and all. That stuff.

And as it happens, I’ve lately been questioning the concept of “neurotypical” lately. [Read more...]

Blogathon: 6th Hour

I just got back from tracking down a pack of cigarettes, and I am totally, completely soaking wet.

It is a very, very rainy day here in Vancouver.

One thing I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately is sex workers’ rights and sex worker feminism. Given how both trans women and sex workers are often denigrated and attacked by precisely the same branches of feminism (the ones that often believe protecting women’s choices and autonomy takes a back seat to conforming one’s life to a particular political agenda, and that somehow a person themselves can be anti-feminist in nature, simply for attempting to survive… and that happily push the boot even harder against the necks of oppressed groups if those groups don’t fit into a particularly narrow vision of feminism. And that is barely even the tip of the iceberg in terms of the issues and motivations involved), it seems only natural for trans women and sex workers to cooperate. This is added to by how much overlap there is between our communities… the number of trans people who are sex workers or former sex workers, and the number of sex workers and former sex workers who are trans. [Read more...]

Blogathon: 4th Hour

So… I kinda really, really, really dislike the writing of J. Michael Stracyznski.

For those not familiar, he’s a TV show and comic book writer. For TV, he’s probably best known for his personal project Babylon 5, which broke TV tradition in being the first serial drama to have it’s total, complete story arc planned in advance. And actually successfully told the complete story before being prematurely canceled.

He also was one of the head writers on The Real Ghostbusters cartoon. Which, if you’re around the same age I am, you undoubtedly remember. It was the one with Egon, Peter, Ray, Winston, Janine and Slimer, even though they didn’t look anything like the actors who portrayed them in the movie (the cartoon was unable to acquire legal rights to those actors’ likenesses). Not the stupid other one with the gorilla.

His current project in comics is working on the Before Watchmen series. He’s doing the Dr. Manhattan and Nite Owl mini-serieses, if I recall correctly. I won’t be reading them. I’m only following Darwyn Cooke’s Minutemen (because Hollis Mason is my favourite Watchmen character, and Cooke is a great writer) and Silk Spectre (because I love Amanda Connor’s art, and really enjoy comics with well-written female protagonists). I might take a look at Brian Azzarello’s Rorschach and Comedian, though. MAYBE.

But, for J. Mike (all J. Mikes are horrible), I never saw Babylon 5 (I liked Deep Space 9 better), and aside from Ghostbusters, my first encounter with him was reading his comic Rising Stars. [Read more...]