Defending the indefensible

You’ve probably heard by now that a number of beaches in France have banned the burkini. Far from a rational response, these policies are absurd, sexist, racist, immoral and entirely indefensible. And yet, I see many arguments even from so-called free thinking people defending this policy.

Excuse #1: The French have been victims of a string of terrorist attacks and are scared

This might be a reasonable explanation for how the owners of these beaches thought this was a great idea, but it does not actually excuse the policy. A random Muslim on the street is no more culpable for the Nice or Paris attacks than I am for the routine Planned Parenthood terrorist attacks carried out by self righteous white Christians. It is racist to presume that every brown-skinned person is complicit in the attack because they are not, AT THIS EXACT SECOND, protesting or otherwise condemning the violence. That is a backward and perverted idea of justice.

They’re people. They have errands to run and chores to do. Even though every mosque goes on record to condemn a terrorist attack the moment it happens, this is not enough. Brown people who are on their way to the grocery store? They’re complicit in the violence! Taking time to do housekeeping or paying the bills? Tacit approval! Engaging in self care–including trips to the beach? That’s practically an endorsement! Arrest! Deport! Publicly humiliate!

You wouldn’t try to argue I’m complicit in poverty because I don’t donate 100% of my earnings to shelters. You shouldn’t try to argue that because Muslims may have spoons invested elsewhere they agree with terrorists, particularly when they do adhere to your ridiculous demands and condemn the attacks anyway. Neither Muslims nor brown people should have to prove their humanity to you.

Fuck off. Fear does not justify irrationality, it causes it. Have some fucking perspective. After all, many of the victims at Nice were Muslims.

I have a question. What does the burkini ban actually solve? Are you intercepting finances directed towards ISIS? Disarming dangerous people?

Oh, here’s a good one, Excuse #2. “Liberating women.”

Excuse #2: We’re liberating women.

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Cishet kinksters expecting GSD minorities to protect their privilege

Benny over on The Orbit did a repost of one of his pieces. In his post, Benny more eloquently expresses than I ever could the sheer boiling rage I get from the “closet culture” that the cishet kink community exhibits.

The fear of the cisgender heterosexual kinkster is that someone, usually someone from work, school, or family, would see them with “weird” people out in public and suddenly realize this obviously means they must be a big pervert. This fear, the idea of not seeming “normal” is terrifying. They claim they could loose their jobs, spouses, children. Being even seen with us has the chance of taking away their enormous privilege.

Worse, they believe we have a responsibility to protect that privilege. In order for them to maintain their comfort and ability to keep jobs (jobs we could never get) we must appear normal or not show up. In order for them to have access to kinky communities without risk the rest of us – the queers, the trans* people, and the weirdos with facial piercings and green hair – need to change ourselves or stay home. They want privileged access to kinky spaces just like they have privileged access to everything else.

FUCK THAT. A trans* kinkster has no responsibility to be someone they are not just to protect the next person who walks through the door from the tiny chance that they might have to explain why they’re at the same coffee shop table with a man in a skirt. Every day that we leave the house we have to explain ourselves. Cisgender newbie? Welcome to our fucking world. That’s the way we’re treated all of the time.

Ra-fucking-men, Benny. Right there with you.

-Shiv

Jason Kenney generously runs a charity dedicated to himself

My best friend Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney is running a non-profit called Unite Alberta. Is he building homes for the homeless? Fundraising for disaster relief? Providing resources for battered spouses? Starting a pro bono legal network for civil rights prosecutions? Pushing awareness for prostate cancer?

Nah. He’s financing his campaign for the leadership of the “Progressive” Conservatives without subjecting himself to oversight from regulatory bodies–because it’s not a campaign organization–it’s a “non-profit”:

And the vessel for all of this, Jason Kenney assured us, would be a non-profit that would carry out his campaign. Even his campaign website says Unite Alberta is a non-profit corporation. Except Unite Alberta Ltd. isn’t a non-profit at all.

When you do a corporate search and pull what’s publicly available for Unite Alberta Ltd. you see that it is a “Named Alberta Corporation” with the corporate access number 2019802210.

When you ask a registry agent to explain whether there is any way that Unite Alberta could be a non-profit the answer is a steadfast no. Based on the first two numbers of the corporate access number (the 20) there is simply no way Unite Alberta Ltd. could be a non-profit.

It’s worth pointing out that if Kenney had registered Unite Alberta as a non-profit society he would have been obligated to file his financials with Service Alberta at the end of the year and we’d be able to do more than just take Kenney at his word when it came to how much money his campaign had raised and spent. It’s a far more transparent organizational structure and one Kenney didn’t choose.

It’s also worth pointing out that any gifts that Kenney receives while he is a sitting MP would have to be declared to the federal ethics commissioner. Any professional service that is provided would have to be done and paid for at market rates or it would have to be declared. Remember Kenney hasn’t resigned his seat and is currently still drawing a federal MP paycheque while campaigning all over Alberta to be leader of the Alberta PCs.

So why is Kenney saying on his website and in the media that Unite Alberta is a non-profit when it clearly isn’t? I haven’t the faintest idea but inquiries with Kenney’s legal counsel about the discrepancy went unanswered by press time.

Bah. Details. You want transparency from the same party that “misplaced” $29 billion? Ridiculous! Just more red tape to cut through!

Must be some of that good Christian charity he wants to bring to government.

-Shiv, Fashionable Communist, Annihilator of Man

The politics of transphobia: We’ve been here before

Over on the TransAdvocate, Cristan Williams examines the history of the “bathroom panic” as the flashpoint of discrimination for minorities in the past century. She finds, unsurprisingly, that the same tactics used to justify discrimination of Black people, Jewish people, and Gay people are identical; as is the rhetoric used today to paint trans women as predators and disease carriers.

During the rally, CCS co-founder Danny Holliday told the crowd that the “leaders” of the trans rights movement were pedophiles who enjoyed having sexual intercourse with animals.

Political discourse situated around the minority use of bathrooms has featured significantly in numerous social equality struggles, from the fight to preserve racist Jim Crow laws to the sexist battle to keep the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) from being ratified. Rhetorical themes featuring bathrooms, privacy, and safety concerns are integral aspects of a specific and identifiable political dialectic used to incite, promote, and sustain the fear that an oppressed group may well rape, molest, harass or infect the majority group should equality between the two groups come to pass. In contemporary times, this political dialectic features prominently in narratives supporting North Carolina’s recently passed law mandating that transgender people who’ve not been able to amend their birth certificate use the restroom assigned to them at birth rather than the restroom that matches their transitioned status, irrespective of legal identification or phenotype. Proponents of laws like North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill” assert that these laws are needed to ensure that A.) the privacy of cisgender people is respected[1]; B.) without these laws, rapists will dress in drag in order to molest little girls in the restroom[2]; and, C.) transgender people are actually perverts and pedophiles who need to be prevented from accessing women’s restrooms[3].

I first wrote about the ways in which contemporary anti-equality discourse situated around trans issues closely resembled the sexist discourse used against the Equal Rights Amendment in a 2013 Autostraddle article. In doing my research for the article you are now reading, I came across the work of Gillian Frank, PhD, a visiting fellow at Princeton. I reached out to Frank to help me better understand the ways in which the very discourse currently focused upon the trans community was used against other marginalized groups throughout American history.  What follows is my interview with Frank and a review of the ways anti-equality groups have historically cast oppressed groups as voyeurs and/or perverts, warning the public that should an oppressed group have equality, bad things may happen in public bathrooms.

You can read the rest here and support the TransAdvocate as a patron here.

-Shiv

Alberta to teach history properly — no more whitewashing

The NDP have announced they will be launching a program ahead of updates to the curriculum which involve teaching Albertan/Canadian history more accurately by including primary sources from First Nations–an uncomfortable move to genocide deniers, since the primary sources describe in great and meticulous detail the abuse perpetrated by European colonials as well as the racism that persists today. The program is to help teachers employ the new curriculum who may be uncomfortable admitting the history of brutal abuses of Indigenous populations by white Canadians.

Alberta teachers uneasy with tackling one of the darkest chapters of Canadian history in their classrooms are getting specific training.

Alberta will become the first province to establish a training regime for all of the province’s teachers to instruct in First Nations, Métis and Inuit history and perspectives.

“We know from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that there are some wounds that we need to heal,” Education Minister David Eggen said Wednesday. “We all live together with First Nations, Métis and Inuit culture. It’s important for all of us to have that education — turning some unfortunate past into a positive future for all.”

The provincial government will spend nearly $5.4 million during the next three years to provide professional development to 42,000 teachers, superintendents and other school staff. The move is to complement an ambitious reworking of Alberta’s school curriculum during the next six years, which Eggen said will include more First Nations, Métis and Inuit history and perspectives.

Staff from the centre will highlight information and resources from Alberta in particular, said director Ry Moran. It’s important students understand what transpired in their own backyard.

Alberta had 25 residential schools, the highest number of any province, Moran said. Many were concentrated in the Edmonton and Calgary areas.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission spent six years collecting stories and evidence of systemic assimilation, and physical, sexual and emotional abuse of indigenous people at the schools. The institutions were complicit in governments’ attempt to isolate indigenous children from their families and eliminate their culture and languages.

A truth and reconciliation centre survey found 30 per cent of Canadians haven’t heard of residential schools, Moran said.

Teachers need professional development and the right resources to empower them to tackle the difficult subject in age-appropriate ways, he said.

“Some teachers are a little reluctant to teach (human rights) issues. They don’t want to make mistakes, and they don’t want to offend anybody. And they also don’t really have a full sense of history themselves,” Moran said.

The public also needs to understand the abuse and neglect still affects survivors’ children and grandchildren today, Moran said.

Colour me impressed. This is the sort of substantive change I want to see. Hopefully it isn’t the first thing to go when Alberta carries on with its tradition of shooting itself in the foot every election.

-Shiv

Liars citing liars

This is starting to get exhausting:

Earlier this year, the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) issued a position statement rejecting transgender kids. Now, the fake medical organization that exists solely to oppose abortion and LGBT equality — not to be confused with the legitimate American Academy of Pediatricians — has published a more extensive manifesto denying the reality that some kids are transgender and benefit from being respected in those identities.

ACP’s thesis is founded on false statements that begin appearing by the second sentence of the document. Here are 14 claims the ACP makes about kids’ gender identities that are either unsupportable or directly contradicted by the available research:

Fucking seriously. I’m so done. No amount of fact checking penetrates these fucking brickheads, and there are rubes who will blindly accept the ACP’s myth-riddled manifesto. You can’t take a sieve and claim you have a fucking bucket!

At the core of it all, once again: Disagreement over what constitutes a good outcome. Cisgender child, or happy child regardless of their gender? ACP thinks the lens of analysis should not be ethics or psychiatry, but normativity. 

Read the rest here. I’m gonna snap soon. We have had this conversation over and over and over and over and over. And thanks to the ACP, we’ll keep having to have the conversation over and over and over again, and it’ll keep going nowhere, because critical thinking is in short fucking supply apparently.

And unlike myths about conceptsthese fuckers are influencing the lives of people. Real kids. They’re antagonizing proven healthcare models that help trans people function. This isn’t just some bogus creationist getting facts about physical sciences wrong, this is a lobby trying to pound a certain class of people into the ground. They would see us straddled with widespread discrimination and an illness eating us up from the inside to be treated with torture and shame. That’s their idea of medicine–treating cancer with snake oil and polio with bloodletting. Let’s bring back the quackery of humors while we’re at it and restore the good ol’ days when people still died of fucking dysentery.

Jesus H Christ.

-Shiv

Nationwide study: “Heartbreaking” levels of violence against Queer youth

It’s tempting to respond to this article with a scathing “you don’t say” but it is, at least, contributing to a body of data which confirms what anyone woke is already aware of. It’s an American study that reports on violence trends against Queer youth, and the outcomes aren’t pretty.

The first nationwide study to ask high school students about their sexuality found that gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers were at far greater risk fordepression, bullying and many types of violence than their straight peers.

“I found the numbers heartbreaking,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, a senior official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes a division that administered the survey.

The survey documents what smaller studies have suggested for years, but it is significant because it is the first time the federal government’s biennial Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the gold standard of adolescent health data collection, looked at sexual identity. The survey found that about 8 percent of the high school population described themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, which would be about 1.3 million students.

These adolescents were three times more likely than straight students to have been raped. They skipped school far more often because they did not feel safe; at least a third had been bullied on school property. And they were twice as likely as heterosexual students to have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property.

More than 40 percent of these students reported that they had seriously considered suicide, and 29 percent had made attempts to do so in the year before they took the survey. The percentage of those who used illegal drugs was many times greater than their heterosexual peers. While 1.3 percent of straight students said they had used heroin, for example, 6 percent of the gay, lesbian and bisexual students reported having done so.

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Self care Saturday, August 20: ENEMY SIGHTED (Don’t tell Iris)

TRIGGER WARNING: Squirrel terrorism

A local couple made the news when their engagement photo was subject to a terrible act of terrorism. Warning–images may be graphic, viewer discretion is advised.

An Edmonton couple’s romantic mountain engagement photo shoot got a little wild when a nut-munching ground squirrel stole their shot.

squirrel

Their remains have not been located (B.D.F.K. Photography)

Our thoughts are with the victims on this somber day.

-Shiv

By what measure of “effective”?

While reading some of Julia Serano’s work, there was one statement she made about the battle between gender-affirmation treatment models and gender-antagonistic treatment models pointed out by anat in our comments that made me take a second (actually fifth or sixth) look: (emphasis mine)

We can continue to debate the efficacy of gender transition, or of gender-reparative versus gender-affirming approaches, and each side will be able to find statistics to support their side of the argument. But what is really driving this debate is a difference of opinion with regards to what constitutes a “good outcome.” Trans activists and advocates like myself generally think that a good outcome is a happy child, regardless of whether they transition or not, or whether they grow up to be transsexual, non-binary, gender non-conforming, lesbian, gay, bisexual, etcetera. Trans-antagonistic and trans-suspicious people (who constantly cite “80% desistance”) seem to think that a good outcome is a cisgender child, and they seem to be willing to make transphobic arguments and subject transgender and gender non-conforming children to clinically ordained transphobia (i.e., gender-reparative therapies) in order to achieve that end goal.

I’ve certainly tried to explain how frustrating the media can be when it comes to covering trans issues, including trans research. In addition to the media, trans women* have to contend from misinformation perpetuated by religious fundamentalists and/or TERFs as well as academics whose work is completely imbecilic. Common among the many, many groups that antagonize trans women is a refrain that transitioning doesn’t “fix” anything, sometimes citing (when they remember evidence should back up their claims) a Swedish longitudinal study following two cohorts of transgender women over the course of several decades. The Swedish study found that many of the health outcomes of trans women were still poor after transitioning, including gender affirmation surgery.

The problem, of course, is that the numerous trans-antagonistic lobbies didn’t actually finish reading the paper. The primary author of the Swedish study, Cecilia Dhejne, is not pleased with the way her work has been hijacked by motivated reasoners:

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How authoritarian faith caused an HIV epidemic

Rawstory has a comprehensive review of Scott County’s HIV epidemic, charging that Mike Pence’s negligence, belligerent refusal to assess scientific evidence, and sanctimonious grandstanding are major contributors to the County’s state of decay. It’s a long but worthwhile read. It introduces a number of extremely useful and effective public health concepts that have been governing more successful healthcare systems for decades. It also demonstrates that breaking the poverty cycle is complex and multi-faceted. Deteriorating mental health, trauma and violence, addictions, a lack of education, health complications compounded by no healthcare, teen pregnancy, epidemics–the list goes on, and it’s not a cheap list to fix.

Content Notice for brutal, sociopathic classism and ableism:

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