So I tried a domestic violence women’s group


Verdict: The candles smelled nice. Content Notice for yet more clueless trans-antagonism.

Damned by faint praise, right?

In lieu of the non-existent counseling resources provided by the province and in lieu of private practice I presently cannot afford, I decided to attend a women’s group for DV survivors. There were some pretty horrifying stories and I identified a few features in these abusers that they had in common with each other–and my ex. So I guess I got something out of it.

The materials I’ve been accessing appear to be mostly right when put to the test. Abusive ideations might have a diversity of origins but their actual behaviour is fairly predictable, with a fairly small amount of variation. When it was my turn to speak, practically half the group said “wow, she’s a narcissist,” and I hadn’t actually mentioned my amateur hypothesis, so that was affirming. The facilitator also gently chided me for playing down my abuse, because I said I was grateful she hadn’t hit me (a white lie–I didn’t want to explain I was kinky to people who are still recovering from battery; nonetheless, the physical bruises were consensual). That was a necessary call out and I’m glad she did it.

But there were a few problems.

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FTM Podcast: You’re So Brave


Hello lovelies,

Today I’m recommending a podcast about trans issues from two FTM perspectives. They cover a lot of similar material that I do. If listening to podcasts works better for you than reading blags, I definitely recommend this resource if you want to learn about more trans stuff!

You can find them on Soundcloud or also the Youtube link below:

Episode one covers the term “cisgender,” cis privilege, and also the problems with the bathroom bill selfie protests.


Hawking angers Trump supporters with big words


[Edit: I’ve been told this was satire. Consider me duped.]

Stephen Hawking was, for whatever reason, queried on his opinion of Donald Trump, which he gave thusly:

Speaking to a television interviewer in London, Hawking called Trump “a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator,” a statement that many Trump supporters believed was intentionally designed to confuse them.

I don’t know about intentionally, but conservative mentalities do seem to be prone to… well, you know.

Moments after Hawking made the remark, Google reported a sharp increase in searches for the terms “demagogue,” “denominator,” and “Stephen Hawking.”

“For a so-called genius, this was an epic fail,” Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said. “If Professor Hawking wants to do some damage, maybe he should try talking in English next time.”

Later in the day, Hawking attempted to clarify his remark about the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, telling a reporter, “Trump bad man. Real bad man.”

You know. 


Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose uses misogyny as dismissal tactic


In issue #1,900,445 of “politician puts foot in mouth,” the interim Conservative leader, Rona Ambrose, takes to criticizing Trudeau by ‘joking’ he is the “first female Prime Minister.”

In her speech, she mentions a not unfair history of prominent Conservative women in Canadian government. Yes, it’s true, the Conservative party has had a few female leaders. That’s great. Then she goes on to speak of the first female Prime Minister (Kim Campbell), interrupting herself with a ‘joke’ about how “You would think Trudeau was the first.”

Soooo in a speech about how your party empowers women, you decided the best way to take a dig at the PM is to insult him… by suggesting he is a woman.

People have accused me of being biased by saying I only cover Conservative stupidity. But guys, seriously, they make it so easy.

Do we still have to parse out how this “joke” is sexist? Ambrose, I’mma use the smallest words I know. Your joke works like this:

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Why I report on so many negative things


One of the few woo peers I have that was separate from my abusive ex is vaguely aware of what I’m going through. In true woo fashion, she tried to offer some advice: “Of course you’re wilting, Shiv, you surround yourself with so much negativity. Stop being such a draaaag, woman.”

Said peer is an able-bodied cisgender white woman who is conventionally attractive and in a heterosexual relationship with a man who makes a handsome salary. Like most woosters who advocate for separating oneself from “negativity,” she has enough privilege given her circumstances that it truly doesn’t matter who is in office, because she’ll never be the target of discriminatory legislation. She can afford to pretend the government doesn’t exist.

I’ll concede that tracking political idiocy is definitely not an emotionally nourishing activity. It absolutely takes its toll on me. However, I feel that the work of advocating, educating, signal boosting, etc. is more important than the cost it takes on me.

To start, I am my own boss. FTB is a fairly hands-off network. There’s an agreement not to “punch-down,” and as long as you’re not as egregious as tf00t, you’ll generally never hear from the rest of the network in a formal capacity. We’ll disagree openly from time to time but this isn’t considered a problem on a free thought network (go figure). But there’s no time cards and no accountability for the volume of material we produce. The point is, I get to apportion how much time I spend researching stupidity to report on it. If I feel like I need to allocate more time to self care, I will. It’s that simple. I can put myself on med leave any time I want, for as long as I want. Some of the silly stuff I report on, like Good Music to have Stuck in Your Head or Fun Things to Try in Kink, are a way of me continuing my blag while blowing off some steam.

Second, I’m frequently accused of being a democratic crusader. I take the notion of democratic participation very seriously, and it puts people off when I blast them for their apathy. The process of voting means empowering someone to make decisions that affect law; that people make this vote without thoroughly investigating their candidates is absolutely appalling to me. And I definitely lose a few friends every time I mention not voting at all (which is different from casting an “abstain” on your ballot) makes one complicit in whoever is chosen. We have the power to empower a representative. I say, recognize that power, and use it wisely. Which brings me back to reporting on political idiocy.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: We’re all fucking idiots about something. But we at least have the power to choose what kind of idiot we want in office. Someone who antagonizes the development of nuclear energy, in my mind, is preferable to someone who antagonizes the development of minority rights and protections. So I’ll cast my vote for environmentalist parties who don’t support the nuclear industry, despite believing in arguments in favour of it, because they’re more likely to bolster (rather than shit on) my rights, and the consequences of having explicit rights outweigh the consequences of a solar-hydro-wind power grid.

In other words, I can’t afford to pretend the government doesn’t exist, because its agents–from emergency responders to bureaucrats who have my history on file–have the power to antagonize me. So I want a government that says, “that’s not okay.” Not a government who is willing to give a free pass to police officers who arrest me for having condoms on my person, or a government who doesn’t prosecute the EMT who decides my life isn’t worth saving because of my genitals.

These are not things cis people typically think about, certainly not what woosters think about when they tell me to stop being a “drag,” so I have to make it apparent that these are the issues that affect me and the democratic process means they won’t stop being issues until enough people start to care about it such that it becomes their voting issue too. Trans people, being a tiny minority, can’t do this alone.

In other words, I take this shit so seriously because I can’t afford to be apathetic. The status quo is stressful enough as it is. If I can get even one cis person to add trans issues to their voting docket, then I have done my job as an activist. I’ll keep going, obviously, because we need more than one vote to get anywhere, but you get what I mean.

Having the option to ignore the government? It means you have privilege. It means your rights aren’t a hotbed of debate, where there is a very real possibility someone could enter office with an agenda to put you down. I freely admit that my mental health would improve in the absence of this, but the sad truth is that ignoring them doesn’t actually make the consequences of a discriminatory government go away. When I hear, “just let it all go, maaan” what I actually understand is “I can afford to ignore the government, why can’t you?” They go on to try and guilt-trip me into thinking I have a choice. “You always have a choice, maaan” is one of the more common and infuriating ideas perpetuated by woosters. You choose to be upset. You choose to be oppressed. What are you complaining about? I’ve never had any anxiety when going to the bathroom. Clearly you’re stressing yourself out over imaginary problems.

Well, my “choices” are: 1) Participate in democracy and do what I can to choose and boost the least awful disaster of a political party; or 2) Smile and sing kumbaya while I subject myself to the mercy of the majority who has a history of sucking ass when it comes to treating minorities equitably. My rights won’t write themselves into existence. Maybe that’s easy to forget when yours have already been secured.




Just kidding, Alberta MLA reinstated after Facebook incident


A few days ago, Derek Fildebrandt was suspended from the Wildrose caucus for approving a double-whammy homophobic and transphobic comment. Now he has been reinstated:

Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt is back in the Wildrose caucus.

The party said in a news release that the decision was made by a majority of Wildrose MLAs after Fildebrandt committed to change his use of social media.

Ha ha, just kidding guys! You thought the Wildrose were more tactful than that. HA!

At a news conference Monday, Jean [Wildrose leader] said the Facebook incident was the latest of several missteps on social media. He wouldn’t specify the nature of the previous incidents.

Could it be that your MLA is a total dickweed, just like you and the rest of your babble-thumping hick party?

Alberta’s official opposition is a joke. With any luck it will stay that way.


More religious institutions receiving public money request “conscience” exemptions


Guys, I am getting so fucking sick of Catholic institutions receiving public funding but refusing to play by public rules:

Covenant Health is a Catholic organization that runs publicly funded hospitals in Edmonton and continuing-care facilities across the province. In February, Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith said Covenant Health would not allow patients to end their lives with the help of a doctor in its facilities.

So we sailed way past, “this individual practitioner does not want to offer euthanasia,” which is fine, and into “euthanasia is never happening under this hospital.”

This is a public institution. Governed by public, not Catholic, law.

Yet, the Catholics have openly stated they will be even more obstinate than that:

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Good music to have stuck in your head: Mother Mother


It is often joked that one of Canada’s exports is musicians. I’m happy to say that my favourite Canuck indie rock group appears to have no plans to move away. Nonetheless, I’m all too eager to share their products:

How dare you suggest part of the reason I’m interested in them is that they’re all hipsters! Perish the thought!!


Let’s play Nation States with Shiv


Waaay back in high school, my friends and I formed a region on the text-based government simulator called Nation States. It’s a free web game where you make a fictional nation and respond to legislative issues, and watch as the game produces a text summary of your nation based on your choices. It abstracts three areas of performance: Civil Rights, Economy, and Political Freedom. It assigns you a classification based on your performance. I revisited the website and made a new nation, Shivistania. You can make the entire game just logging in once every few days, responding to issues, and watching your wacky nation change.

There is also another optional way to add to the game. You can join regions and participate in UN-esque mock debates with other nations. You’re given one of the default regions when you make your first one, but I’ve gone ahead and made Bloglandia. I want to invite the readers at FtB not only to make their own Nation States, but to come join me at Bloglandia. Password is “FTB.”

So, here’s the idea: the minimum commitment is that you’ll log on every so often, could be as little as once a month for a couple minutes, resolve your issues, and that’s it. By joining the region, the rest of us can observe your shenanigans. Or mine, for that matter. :)

I will moderate another optional form of participation. Every few months, Bloglandia will have some kind of crisis, and we can all do a bit of nation roleplay to see if/how the region settles it. Absurdism is the regional theme. For instance, quoted from my nation summary:

Average income is 22,706 Open-handed Spanks, and distributed extremely evenly, with practically no difference between the richest and poorest citizens.

Yes, spanks for everyone. Equality’s important!

The regional “crises” will have an absurdist bend to them as well.

I recommend going to your Settings and finding your Telegram filter. I filter all recruitment messages. There are many of them, and it is quite spammy.

Anyway, see you kooks in Bloglandia!