Free Thoughts #3: Grown-Ups

A few days ago, The Telegraph posted this apparently innocuous little article entitled “The 50 Signs You’re A Grown-Up“.

Normally, I don’t take things like this particularly seriously. But this one kind of hit a nerve. Mostly because it sort of calcifies a rather horrible message I’ve been getting my whole life.

Namely, that to be an adult, a grown-up, you have to conform to a VERY specific kind of life. A life that is furthermore almost wholly defined by hetero/cisnormative expectations. Appearing on the list? Get married. Have kids.

What of those of us who can’t? [Read more...]

The Unspeakable

Yesterday morning, on the third day of her trial, CeCe McDonald accepted a bargain for reduced charges and pled guilty to one charge of second degree manslaughter, with a probable sentence of 41 months. Three and a half years in a men’s prison, where she will undoubtedly be again subjected to exactly the forms of assault that landed her in this position, along with worse and more devastating forms, for refusing to die where so many women like her do. Like Brandy Martell. Like Paige Clay. Like Coko Williams.

Those names are from the past month alone.

CeCe had the will to survive an attempt on her life motivated by hatred of her gender and race, fundamental elements of her being. To them, she was simply the wrong kind of person, something that couldn’t fit into their worlds, and they wanted to make her go away. For daring to refuse the narrative of unremarkable- no, simply unremarked upon- death imposed by our present system on women like her, that system’s direct arm chose to punish her survival. The criminal justice system in the United States, and their media, had already sent a clear and horrifying message for years that the lives and deaths of trans women of colour simply don’t count enough to bother investigating or reporting. But now an even darker message has been sent: Don’t you dare survive, either. Yours is to suffer, and we will ensure it regardless of what you do. [Read more...]

We Have Enough Martyrs

“So many transgender women of color are attacked and violently killed.  In this case, CeCe is basically being prosecuted for surviving.” – Billy Navarro Jr.

A couple nights ago I read this compelling piece by twitter-friend and colleague Erica Inchoate, regarding the curious silence from certain prominent figures in the trans community, such as Dean Spade, on the prosecution and incarceration of CeCe McDonald. CeCe is currently being charged with second-degree murder on account of one of her attackers being inadvertently killed as she defended herself from a group of white, cisgender men against a violent hate crime, clearly motivated by her gender and race.

What followed was a conversation on twitter regarding why the trans community seems comparatively so much more invested in those trans women of colour who lose their lives to such violence than those who survive, those who are still living with those risks, and those who are presently suffering from the injustices inherent in the system that produces this violence, like CeCe. Why, exactly, do we seem so much more keen on “remembering our dead” than fighting for our living?

And whose dead? Whose living? [Read more...]

But Seriously, Prostitution Is Not Sex Slavery

As I mentioned a couple days ago, Taslima Nasreen has now joined Freethought Blogs, and I (and the rest of us) are well and truly honoured and excited to have her. I really do have an immense amount of respect for her.

But yesterday she wrote a post that I find I absolutely can’t leave unexamined. As much as Taslima may be a hero of mine, I can’t allow that to excuse what I consider to be deeply problematic (and potentially destructive) statements. One of the great beauties and strengths of atheism and skepticism is that we have no popes or saints. Our heroes are at all time available to be questioned, and their assertions always available to be critiqued. And sometimes those assertions demand such critiques. This is one of them. [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...]

There Is No Behind Our Backs

I get a bit frustrated on occasion with how much us transy types limit ourselves when discussing the issue of passing. We hold ourselves back from really getting into the thick of what it suggests and implies, how it operates, what it means about concepts of minority status and privilege in a general sense beyond just what it means for us, what it means in terms of cisnormative assumptions that “passing” is even really possible in the first place not just what it means that it is, etc. Complicated and loaded enough as it is, so much seems to get so regularly left out of that discussion. [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...]