Trans Day of Remembrance 2017 — A poem

I rarely write poetry, but I wanted to write something special for Trans Day of Remembrance this year, and I came up with this:

Here’s to lying

to mothers, fathers,

sons, daughters,

friends, lovers.

Here’s to crying

in locker rooms, bathrooms,

homerooms, living rooms,

and bedrooms.

Here’s to thinking of dying.

Here’s to finding,

“There’s a word for that?”

Here’s to trying

forbidden clothes.

Here’s to eyeing

nosey dressing room attendants.

Here’s to realizing

the truth.

Here’s to crying,

“This is me!”

Here’s to realizing

blood don’t mean shit.

Here’s to eyeing

the blade, the gun

the noose, the pills.

Here’s to finding

family among

freaks, geeks,

sissies, butches,

mamby-pamby

he’s, she’s, they’s

US!

Here’s to relying

on open homes

open doors

open hands

open minds

open hearts.

Here’s to defying

the numbers, figures,

stats, bets,

odds and sods

stacked like rocks

thrown against us.

Here’s to surviving.

 

Bi Any Means Podcast #124: Confessions of an Ex-Muslim with Yasmine Mohammed

My guest for today is Yasmine Mohammed, co-host of the Secular Jihadists from the Middle East podcast. She grew up in Canada in an extremely conservative Muslim family, and was in an arranged marriage with an Al-Qaeda agent. She escaped both the marriage and Islam, and her memoir about her journey, “From Al-Qaeda to Atheism,” will be released this December. Today we’re going to talk about her story, plus a little bit about what the Left and Right get wrong about Islam.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #124: Confessions of an Ex-Muslim with Yasmine Mohammed” on Spreaker.

Subscribe via iTunes

Subscribe via Stitcher

Subscribe via Spreaker

Support the show on Patreon

Bi Any Means Podcast #123: Inter-tradition Dialogue with Alex Moreschi

My guest for today is Rev. Alex Moreschi. He’s an ordained Episcopalian minister who currently works in hospice care, and is a co-host of the No Religion Required podcast. One of his biggest passions is reaching across the proverbial aisle to people of different faiths…and no faith at all…to work together for common goals, and today we’re going to talk about that.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #123: Inter-tradition Dialogue with Alex Moreschi” on Spreaker.

Subscribe via iTunes

Subscribe via Stitcher

Subscribe via Spreaker

Support the show on Patreon

The Mental Health Guide To Handling Call Outs — My Latest for Ravishly

Let’s face it: being called out sucks. We like to think we’re “woke” and know everything about smashing the white supremacist cis-heteronormative imperialist ableist capitalist patriarchy. We log onto Everyday Feminism religiously, and our bookshelves are overflowing with Ta-Nehisi Coates and Audre Lorde. We’ve got our shit together, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. We’re still human, and we’re all still giant fuck-up machines (as I once heard Yvette “The SciBabe” d’Entremont say), so call outs are inevitable in social justice activism.

Sometimes it’s over a simple boo-boo, like unknowingly saying something ableist. Other times, it’s over a giant fuck-up, like the time I demanded emotional labor from people in a couple of feminist groups. Either way, realizing your shit stinks as much as the next person’s still sucks.

It doesn’t help if you are in any way either mentally ill or neurodivergent. I have depression, anxiety, and Autism Spectrum Disorder, so I never know if someone is calling me out to hold me accountable or just to be holier-than-thou.

A lot has been said about toxic call-out culture among certain social justice activists where they put you through ideological purity tests and shun you if you fail. I once thought I was the target of such a witch hunt a little over a year ago. As I mentioned earlier, there was an incident where I demanded emotional labor from people in a couple of feminist Facebook groups. When they called me out on it, I wrote an angry blog post about “toxic feminists,” and then got called out on that blog post a few months later. Instead of backing away and thinking about what they were saying, though, I felt like they were attacking me and had a panic attack. It wasn’t until a trusted friend pulled me aside and told me I was in the wrong that I changed my tune. For the next month, I laid low on social media and started researching how to process call outs while staying mentally healthy, and here are some tips I picked up along the way:

Click here to read the rest.

The Biskeptical Podcast #36: It’s Mueller Time!

Today we talk about the indictments against Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, and George Papadopoulos. We read through the indictments in all their glorious detail, and talk about whether or not this is the beginning of the end of Trump. We also take a look at the upcoming 2018 election and whether or not it’ll restore some sanity to this existential crisis we’re all living in.

Listen to “The Biskeptical Podcast #36: It’s Mueller Time!” on Spreaker.

Subscribe via iTunes

Subscribe via Spreaker

Subscribe via Stitcher

Support the show on Patreon

Bi Any Means Podcast #122: The Satanic Temple with Lucien Greaves

My guest for today is Lucien Greaves of the Satanic Temple. Founded in 2013, the Satanic Temple’s mission is “to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.” They run several campaigns including the Satanic Temple Veterans Memorial, the After School Satan Club, and the Protect Children Project among others. So today I’ll be chatting with Lucien about everything they do.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #122: The Satanic Temple with Lucien Greaves” on Spreaker.

Subscribe via iTunes

Subscribe via Stitcher

Subscribe via Spreaker

Support the show on Patreon

Beyond the “Atheist Movement”

Happy Halloween!

Sorry I haven’t been blogging much lately here. Money’s tight, so I’m focusing more on paying freelance writing gigs. But I do want to mention something that’s been on my mind lately.

Today’s episode of The Thinking Atheist podcast is about whether or not the “atheist movement” is dying. I haven’t had the chance to listen to it yet, but because I’m part of the Outrage Brigade, I’m gonna tell everybody what I think without hearing what others have to say first.

(Just kidding, Seth.)

But seriously, the pessimist in me thinks the movement is on its last legs. From Elevatorgate to MythCon, it seems like the whole scene’s been on a gradual decline. Maybe it was always like that, but it’s only nowadays that everyone’s showing their true colors. Either way, sometimes I wonder if all the alarmist “The Atheist Movement is Dead, and the Alt-Right Killed It” articles were right all along.

On the other hand, the optimist in me thinks the movement is stronger than ever. In the wake of MythCon, several prominent atheists have spoken out against Sargon of Akkad’s hateful rhetoric, including David Silverman, who promised not to invite any shitlords at next year’s American Atheist con. So maybe we’re finally getting serious about trolls and shitlords? Who knows.

Then there’s the realist in me that, I think, has the perfect middle ground: to go beyond the atheist movement.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not divorcing myself from the atheist movement. Through blogging and podcasting, I’ve met so many amazing activists like Callie Wright, Marissa McCool, Sincere Kirabo, Jessica Xiao, and others that I don’t just consider to be my friends, but also my family. I’ve also met a lot of amazing fans that message me to thank me for doing what I do. In fact, a few months ago a young transman reached out to me and Callie during a crisis. I wouldn’t have been able to be there for him without being part of the atheist podcast community, so I can’t leave now.

What I mean is doing activism outside of the atheist community as well as inside it.  Fighting religious dogma in our society is still important to me, but so is fighting racism, sexism, and anti-queer bigotry. I can only do so much within the atheist movement silo, which is why I write for social justice websites like Ravishly and The Establishment. I want to build a bridge between secularism and social justice.

Which is why I’ve already made a New Year’s Resolution: to extend my activism. I hope to do a workshop with members of the LGBTQ Humanist Alliance about secular humanism at next year’s Creating Change conference (hopefully we’ll hear back from them tomorrow), and I want to schedule talks in my hometown about LGBTQ rights. I’m also pitching workshop ideas to a few atheist conferences about LGBTQ rights and social justice, and getting more of my feminist freelance writer friends on my Bi Any Means podcast.

Basically at this point in my life, it’s no longer about rubbing shoulders with the big names in the atheist movement. Sure, it’s nice to hug Hemant Mehta and smoke cigarettes with Yvette d’Entremont at PASTAHcon, and have Lucien Greaves tell me he loved my “WTF is Genderqueer?” talk from this year’s AHA conference, but that’s not my top priority. What means the most to me is when someone emails me thanking me for my recent article about gender dysphoria and non-binary people, or when someone reaches out to me to talk about trying to figure out their gender identity, or somebody saying, “Thanks for explaining this whole transgender stuff in a way I can understand.” That, to me, makes the most impact, not brownie points from the big names.

Plus, in the age of Trump, the last thing I need is to be part of a self-congratulating circle-jerk while people are scared about losing their jobs, their homes, and even their very lives. While I’m forever grateful for the platform the atheist community has given me, now it’s time for me to do something good with it.

So here’s the going beyond the atheist movement and getting shit done in 2018!