Bi Any Means Podcast Bonus Episode: We’re All Complicit

Because I already booked this week’s guest before the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, I took a page from Marissa McCool’s book and decided to do a special bonus episode, free of charge to the patrons, to talk about what happened.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast Bonus Episode: We’re All Complicit” on Spreaker.

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Don’t Just Look For The Helpers–Be A Helper!

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”–Fred Rogers

Whenever tragedy strikes, we remember Mr. Rogers’ words and spread his message all over social media. We take comforting knowing that there will always be people who care and will stand up when things are wrong. However, it’s no longer enough to just look for the helpers; in this day and age, we have to be helpers as well.

Just look at everything happening right now. Trump’s threatening North Korea on Twitter. Nazis are marching in Charlottesville, VA. Police officers who murder unarmed black people are getting off scot-free. Flint, MI still doesn’t have drinkable water. Malaysia is hunting down atheists.

What you are doing about it?

Seriously, what are you doing? Are you just sitting there watching everything unfold on your TV or computer? Are you saying, “That’s sad,” and going back to eating your dinner? Are you doing the John Mayer thing and just waiting on the world to change? Or are you saying, “Fuck this” and doing something?

Now look, I know what you’re thinking. You’re just one person, and these are global systems of oppression that have been operating since forever. You’re probably like me, also, in that you have limited resources. You either live in a rural area far away from a city, you don’t have a lot of money, you have some sort of disability (mental illness counts), or you have a hectic schedule. I totally sympathize with you. I live in the middle of nowhere, I’m trying to find a stable income, and I struggle with mental illness. I’m not blaming you for your situation. I’m just saying that there are things you can still do.

Join a local progressive group. Write to your local newspaper. Start a podcast. Donate your money or time to worthwhile causes. Pester your elected officials using either 5 Calls or Resistbot. Support local candidates that are fighting against the Trump regime. It may not be much, but at least it’s something.

The point is if enough of us get together and get our hands dirty, we can actually change things.

HASTEN THE REVOLUTION BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!

Bi Any Means Podcast #109: Catching Up with Marissa Alexa McCool

Returning to the show today is Marissa Alexa McCool. She’s the host of the Inciting Incident podcast, and co-host of the Cis Are Getting Out Of Hand and Doubting Dogma. She’s also the author of several books, including her latest one “Voice in the Dark.” A lot has happened since Marissa was last on the show back in February, so today we’re going to find out what she’s been up to.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #109: Catching Up with Marissa Alexa McCool” on Spreaker.

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Respectability Politics, Not Identity Politics, Are Hurting Secular Activism –Latest Splice Today Article

A couple of weeks ago I went to the 76th annual American Humanist Association conference to give a talk called “WTF is Genderqueer?” They loved it! I lost track of how many people came up afterwards and thanked me for explaining it in a way they could understand. The conference also gave me the chance to catch up with old friends Sincere Kirabo, Matthew Facciani, and Diane Burkholder; meet online friends for the first time like Ashton P. Woods, Conor Robinson, and Desiree Kane; and make new friends like Rajani Gudlavalleti and Greta Christina. It was a great weekend that recharged my activist batteries, and made me feel accepted in the broader secular humanist movement.

Unfortunately, not everyone there received the same amount of love.

Several talks and presentations focused on racial justice, and while I thought they were all terrific, not everyone agreed. Not only were there white tears during Q&A sessions (which are always expected), but apparently someone on the AHA board walked out of Woods’ talk because they “didn’t want to hear another angry black man.” Allegedly this same individual gave Gudlavalleti a lot of shit about her presentation on racial justice with Robinson (who didn’t receive any push back even though he said the same thing Gudlavalleti did). Also, Kane (who spent seven months at Standing Rock) told me someone said to her, “If you all at Standing Rock didn’t burn stuff and leave so much garbage behind, maybe the cops wouldn’t have shot rubber bullets at you.”

If you spend enough time on YouTube, you’d be convinced “identity politics” are ruining secular activism. I disagree: respectability politics are the real culprit.

Click here to read the rest.

Bi Any Means Podcast #105: Race, Harm Reduction, and Humanism with Rajani Gudlavalleti

My guest for today is Rajani Gudlavalleti, racial equity trainer and board member of the Foundation Beyond Belief. Here’s what her bio says: “Rajani Gudlavalleti is a second-generation, South Indian-American queer humanist woman residing in Baltimore, MD. Rajani works at the intersections of social justice, public health, and the legal system, providing contract and consulting services as an organizer, evaluator, trainer and writer. Currently, she is a community organizer for the BRIDGES Coalition for safe drug consumption spaces in Baltimore City, and a facilitator with Baltimore Racial Justice Action. Rajani co-founded Baltimore Asian Resistance in Solidarity in February 2015, and explores her multiple intersecting identities on her website, charmingly-hyphenated.com.

In March 2016, Rajani joined the board of Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB) bringing with her over a decade of experience in social justice work. FBB provides humanists opportunities to engage in service work, such as volunteerism and giving, and advocates for compassionate secular action throughout the world.” So today we’re going to get to know Rajani and all the stuff she’s doing.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #105: Race, Harm Reduction, and Humanism with Rajani Gudlavalleti” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #103: Nazi Punching, Tone Policing, and Racism and with Ashton P. Woods

Returning to the show today is Ashton P. Woods. He is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Houston, and is the co-chair of the Black Humanists Alliance, which we talked about the last time he was on the show. Today we’re going to talk about some recent stuff going on with tone policing, free speech, and racism.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast” on Spreaker.

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What Activist Burnout Looks Like — My latest for Splice Today

It looks like having a moment of panic every time you hear your phone ding because you’re afraid either trolls are threatening to beat you up on Twitter, or an argument in the comment section of your Facebook page has turned into an ugly shouting match.

It looks like staring at a thought-provoking article you found on either The Establishment or Everyday Feminism for five hours and debating whether or not to share it online because you’re afraid someone will accuse you of being a stupid SJW who hates white people (even though you are white).

It looks like wanting to hide in shame because when you tried to explain the complexities of modern feminism—including valid criticisms of it—all you get in return is a bunch of guys replying, “Feminism is cancer, you cuck!”

It looks like having to take a bunch of deep breaths about half an hour before correcting someone who says, “Black Lives Matter is a hate group.”

It looks like not getting anything done because you’ve spent the entire day explaining to a Facebook friend you don’t think all white straight cis men are inherently bad.

It looks like wanting to punch a baby in the face whenever someone demands you validate your gender identity with a peer-reviewed science journal article.

It looks like wanting to punch a baby in the face whenever, after explaining to someone the science behind gender identity, they respond, “Transgenderism is a mental disorder!”

It looks like gaslighting yourself and wondering if maybe they’re right and you’re just a special snowflake and not a transgender person.

Click here to read the rest.

Okay, Fine, I’ll Weigh In On The Nazi Punching Debate!

First, let’s define what I mean by “Nazi.” I’m not talking about just your typical run-of-the-mill conservative, or even anyone who disagrees with me. I’m talking specifically about the Alt-Right. Just go to any of their Twitter accounts, and you’ll see things like “Protect white purity,” “White genocide is coming,” and “1488.” If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a Nazi.

Now when it comes to punching Nazis, it’s complicated. As a humanist, I prefer nonviolent resistance. I’d much rather show up to protest, vote the bastards out of office, and write articles that debunk all the Alt-Right stands for. I’m not a dude-bro classical liberal a la Dave Rubin, but I do think one of the best ways to combat hateful speech is with more speech. By that I mean I don’t believe in just letting the magical Free Market of Ideas naturally take care of things; I believe in standing up and screaming, “That’s the biggest crock of shit I’ve ever heard in my life!” That’s why I write and do my podcasts.

Having said that, though, I know that if a group of Nazi punks come after me and try to beat the shit out of me, a well-thought out argument isn’t gonna save my happy ass. If they start swinging, I’ll swing back. That’s not vigilantism; that’s just self-defense.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, can we actually work on resisting the Trump regime?

Why I’m No Longer a Social Justice Warrior

On my first post here on FtB, I wondered out loud if I was a Social Justice Warrior. Many things have happened since then–conversations, fuck-ups, emotional breakdowns, the election, etc.–and I’ve changed a lot since then. One of the major changes is that I am no longer a Social Justice Warrior.

I’m a Social Justice Mage!

Like many people, once I discovered the Dark Lord cursed our land into making everyone believe we live in a free society while the marginalized still get trampled on–which was around the same time I realized I’m queer and trans–I grabbed my sword and decided to fight back. I fought against every troll I could find, but the trolls ended up being stronger than me. I even attacked a few peaceful citizens who weren’t trolls. I had more battle scars than victories.

That’s when the Mages found me.

They took me in and taught me all their secret spells and ancient wisdom. They taught me that trolls often disguise themselves as genuine seekers, and there’s a spell that can help me identify who is a troll and who is just a confused human. They also taught me that not everyone can be a warrior; only those who  have the strength and proper training can do battle. But that doesn’t mean I can’t help. In fact, Mages help battle the Dark Lord’s trolls in special ways, whether it’s teaching secret magic to warriors (who have to go through a vetting process first), or hitting the trolls with surprise magic attacks.

The Mages also taught me not to get involved with every battle. Some trolls are immune to certain magic, like Rational Argument Magic, so it’s best for either a warrior or a rogue to do the fighting. Also, magic takes time to master, so I need a lot of practice before I can do battle. In fact, sometimes the Mages have to stop me and say, “You’re not ready for this battle. Let us handle it.” It’s a bit disappointing at first, but after watching the Elders fight, I quickly realize they were right.

So yeah, if you don’t see me on the battlefields of Twitter and Facebook, it’s because I’m with the Mages learning magic. Don’t think I’m giving up the fight; I’m just fighting in my own unique way.

Bi Any Means Podcast #94: Humanist Service Corps with Conor Robinson

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My guest for today is Conor Robinson, program director of Foundation Beyond Belief and director of the Humanist Service Corps. The Humanist Service Corps is an international secular humanist volunteering program that services communities throughout the world. It started as Foundation Beyond Belief-sponsored yearlong international service trip called the Pathfinders Project, and from that experience came the Humanist Service Corps. So today we’re going to learn about everything they do, plus a little bit about Conor himself.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #94: Humanist Service Corps with Conor Robinson” on Spreaker.

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