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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We’re Not Alone in This Fight: My Latest for Splice Today

Besides having anxiety attacks over whether or not people will accept me as a non-binary trans person, I also had them all last week in trying to decide if I should attend a town hall hosted by Republican Rep. Andy Harris (MD-1). On the one hand, this would be a chance to make my voice heard and push for change. On the other, the Eastern Shore doesn’t take kindly to progressive queer trans people, so I was afraid I’d get hurt. I texted my friend Jim—a seventysomething hardcore progressive anti-theist who doesn’t take shit from anyone—to come along with me, and he agreed.

We arrived at Chesapeake College just after five to see a huge line outside. Jim and I chatted with people from Talbot Rising who were holding protest signs, which meant we weren’t able to get seats inside, so we stood in the back of the auditorium. I had a question for Harris written down on a piece of paper, but unfortunately missed the deadline to submit it.

The meeting began with a pastor reciting a Christian prayer (roll of eyes), followed by the Pledge of Allegiance (another eye-roll since it included “Under God”). Then Harris came onstage. He began with a short slideshow to make everyone believe that Obamacare ruined America, but the audience wasn’t having it. They booed, yelled, and demanded Harris skip the slideshow and go straight to the questions. At one point he told one woman in the audience, “Ma’am, if you don’t stop yelling, I’m going to ask you to leave,” but he quickly shut up when we all yelled in unison.

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Click here to read the rest.

Bi Any Means Podcast #88: The Resist Podcast with Danielle Muscato

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Returning to the show today is Danielle Muscato. She’s a trans woman and an atheist activist who is starting a new podcast called The Resist Podcast, which is focused on social justice activism to fight back against Donald Trump, fascism, and the alt-right. So we’re gonna catch up with Danielle and find out what all she’s been doing lately.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #88: The Resist Podcast with Danielle Muscato” on Spreaker.

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Signal Boost: Two Conference Calls and Volunteer Opportunities from the AHA

Just want to mention three things the American Humanist Association is doing right now in the wake of Trump’s inauguration:

1). Tomorrow, January 29th, at 3 pm Eastern, Callie Wright and I will host a conference call on behalf of the LGBTQ Humanist Alliance for LGBTQ people to talk about how we’re feeling and what we’re concerned about now that Trump is our official new president. The number is 712-770-4010, and the access code is 484987.

2). On February 1st at 7:30 pm Eastern, the AHA will host a conference call about the Dakota Access pipeline. Desiree Kane will start the call by giving everyone updates on the situation there, and then there will be a Q and A session. Use the same number and access code as above.

3). The AHA is partnering with NARAL Pro-Choice America, Trans United Fund, and Showing Up for Racial Justice as part of its social justice initiative. If you want to help, contact Sincere Kirabo.

(As a personal aside, shortly after the election, Sincere told me the AHA received countless emails from people wanting to volunteer.)

Bi Any Means Podcast #84: Rational Politics with Gleb Tsipursky

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Returning to the show today is Gleb Tsipursky. He contacted me a couple of weeks ago to mention a new project he’s working on called the Rational Politics project which gathers thoughtful citizens of all political stripes devoted to fighting post-truth politics. According to the press release he sent me, “We see these political methods as one of the worst problems for our global society in terms of how important, neglected, and solvable it is. In addressing this issue, we aim to use best practices in communicating and marketing both to get people to care about truth in politics and to provide them with the tools and resources to use evidence and reason in making wise political decisions that will benefit our society as a whole. To do so, we are launching the post-lies movement to bring us from our post-truth present into a post-lies future.” So I invited Gleb to come back on the show to talk about the project.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #84: Rational Politics with Gleb Tsipursky” on Spreaker.

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