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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New Paste Magazine Article and Two Podcast Guest Appearances

Hey y’all!

Last weekend I was at the 76th American Humanist Association conference, so I forgot to share my latest Paste Magazine article and two podcasts I was on.

My latest Paste Magazine article is “Can You Really Change Someone’s Mind?” It goes into the science of changing people’s mind (spoiler alert: it’s complicated).

I was also on The Gaytheist Manifesto last week in a panel discussion on Pride Month, and the Inciting Incident to read two blog posts I wrote last year about the Pulse shooting.

Enjoy!

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.

Bi Any Means Podcast #100: Reflections on Podcasting with Callie Wright

 

This is the 100th episode of the Bi Any Means podcast, and to celebrate I’ve invited Callie Wright from the Gaytheist Manifesto to join me today to talk about our adventures in podcasting since we both started our shows around the same time. We’re going to talk about all the ups and downs of podcast, and how it’s changed both of our lives.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #100: Reflections on Podcasting with Callie Wright” on Spreaker.

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The Biskeptical Podcast #23: Debunking Transgender Myths

CN: Transphobia, Sexual Assault

Today’s show comes from our friend Ingrid who suggested we talk about myths surrounding being transgender and transitioning, which is exactly what we do on this episode. We get into the science behind gender identity, deconstruct what sociologists actually mean by “gender is a social construct” (spoiler alert: it’s complicated), and, yes, explain why there’s no comparison between Rachel Dolezal and being trans.

Listen to “The Biskeptical Podcast #23: Debunking Transgender Myths” on Spreaker.

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How Trump Will Fail Transgender Youth – My Latest Article For The Humanist

Last Wednesday the Trump administration overturned Obama’s transgender student protection directive, which ordered schools to let transgender students use whatever bathrooms and locker rooms match their gender identities. Thirteen states sued the Obama administration soon after the directive was issued in May of last year, and then federal judge Reed O’Connor of Texas issued an injunction to block it. According to the New York Times, President Trump had decided to leave the injunction in place, but then changed his mind and overturned Obama’s directive altogether.

It’s been reported that the Trump administration sees trans-bathroom rights as a state issue, not a federal one, hence the decision. “Schools, communities and families can find—and in many cases have found—solutions that protect all students,” said Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Many conservatives, including Students and Parents for Privacy member Vicki Wilson, applauded the president’s decision to protect girls from sharing bathrooms and locker rooms with young men who they say are “struggling with these issues” (even though, as I’ve mentioned before, trans people are not confused). DeVos says anti-bullying policies will still remain intact, but is that enough to protect trans youth? Studies suggest that anti-LGBTQ legislation does the exact opposite.

A study recently published in JAMA looked at the relationship between legalized same-sex marriage (prior to the 2015 Supreme Court decision) and suicide attempts among LGBTQ youth. “Same-sex marriage policies were associated with a 7 percent reduction in the proportion of all high school students reporting a suicide attempt within the past year. The effect was concentrated among adolescents who were sexual minorities,” the study reports. “As countries around the world consider enabling or restricting same-sex marriage,” the researchers conclude, “we provide evidence that implementing same-sex marriage policies was associated with improved population health.” While the report only focuses on marriage equality and not transgender bathroom policies, this study suggests that government limitations of LGBTQ rights in general further stigmatize LGBTQ youth and could lead more LGBTQ youth to attempt suicide.

Click here to read the rest.

Bi Any Means Podcast #87: Trans Rights, Inciting Incidents, and the PC Lie with Marissa McCool

rismccool

My guest for today is Marissa McCool. She’s the co-host of the Inciting Incident podcast, and is the author of several books, including her latest, “The PC Lie: How American Voters Decided I Don’t Matter.” Today we’re going to get to know Ris and all the great stuff she’s doing.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #87: Trans Rights, Inciting Incidents, and the PC Lie with Marissa McCool” on Spreaker.

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Not Another Milo/Free Speech Article!

By OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

CN: Transphobia

I know, I know, you’re all sick and tired of hearing about that little shit Milo Yiannopoulos and his freeze peach. However, let me see if I can break it all down for you.

First let me clear something up: I don’t believe in banning people from speaking at colleges just because they’re controversial.

I’ll explain whether or not this applies to Milo in a second, but first I want to say that when it comes to your normal everyday “controversial” speaker like Christina Hoff Sommers or Dave Rubin, I don’t believe banning them from college campuses is the answer. It only fuels the whole “anti-free speech on campus” hysteria. Instead, I suggest attending their talks, fact checking all they have to say, then tell them why they’re wrong during Q&A. Sure, they might get defensive and mumble something about snowflakes, but it’s not really about getting them to change their minds; it’s more about changing the audience’s mind.

I actually saw a real life example of this not too long ago. I attended the Women in Secularism 4 conference back in September, and one of the speakers was Wendy Kaminer, who spoke about the whole Regressive Left Is Stifling Free Speech On Campus Thing. We all gave her a chance to speak (even though we all had resting bitch face), and then when it was time for Q&A, a few people got behind the mic. One woman said, “I’m a biracial bisexual college student, and you don’t know what I go through, so don’t tell me to get over it!” Kaminer then explained that all she meant was “making things less socially acceptable is better than legislating things.” (There’s some debate about whether or not this works, but for now I’ll just share this ACLU article that talks about it.)

Now here’s why Milo’s case is different.

This past December, Milo spoke at the University of Wisconsin where, at one point, he projected a picture of a transgender student along with her name on the big screen and then openly mocked her. He called her a “tranny,” said she was a man trying to get into a women’s bathroom, and ended the rant by saying, “I’d almost still bang him [sic].”

To me, that’s not a “free exchange of ideas.” That’s just flat-out bullying, and there should be consequences.

The funny part is even the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man says free speech has consequences. According to articles 10 and 11:

10. No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.

11. The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law. [Emphasis mine]

Now here’s where things get tricky again: “established by law.”

While doing research for this blog post, I came across a Vice article about the trans student Milo attacked. Near the end of the article, there are two opposing viewpoints about whether or not Milo’s attack falls under the “abuse as defined by law” thing. First is ACLU senior staff attorney Lee Rowland who says:

“. . . when a visiting speaker chooses to use a speech to attack the identity of an audience member, he is the one who bears moral or legal responsibility for those words.” Trying to hold a university liable for that “would be a death knell for controversial speech on campus.”

On the other hand, National Women’s Law Center director of education Neena Chaudhry says:

Kramer could have a legal basis for arguing that the school should have intervened when Yiannopoulos began to target her directly. According to Chaudhry, the question at hand is when free speech crosses over into harassment. “There’s a legal obligation for schools to address such harassment, and that includes when it’s by a third party,” Chaudhry says.

To me it’s a case of harassment, but I know that I’m not a legal expert, so I could totally be wrong. (Maybe I’ll get Andrew Torrez on the Biskeptical Podcast to talk about it.) In the meantime, I suggest to everyone that if Milo’s coming to you town, email the Dean of your local college, remind him/her of Milo’s past, and say, “You want transphobia on your campus? ‘Cause that’s how you get transphobia on your campus!”

Bi Any Means Podcast #86: Autism, Bisexuality, and Fundamentalism with Mason Lynch

My guest for today is Mason Lynch. He’s a computer programmer who lives in Washington state, and he blogs at Casting Large Shadows. He has also contributed to the Patheos blog Removing the Fig Leaf where he wrote about his struggle with sex negativity and body shaming in a conservative Christian homeschooled environment. So today we’re going to get to know Mason and hear about his journey.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #86: Autism, Bisexuality, and Fundamentalism with Mason Lynch” on Spreaker.

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Between Fear and Bravery: Being Queer in a Small Town — My Latest Bitopia Article

Two strangers pass each other in Target. One is an old man pushing a shopping cart, and the other is wearing Revlon candy-apple lip butter, a black t-shirt that says “Proud to be Genderqueer and Bi,” baby blue nail polish, women’s capris, and women’s flip-flops. The two exchange glances. The old man keeps looking, not knowing what to say, while the other looks back and thinks two things: “That’s right, go ahead and say something” and “please don’t stare at me, sir.”

That sums up being a bisexual AMAB genderqueer person living in a small town. I walk the line between being out and proud, and secretly wishing to run back inside the closet. Some days I want to walk down the street yelling: “Ask me about my pronouns!” Other days I just want to say: “Um, I just want to use this gender-neutral bathroom and go home.”

Despite all the recent progress made towards transgender equality in my home state of Maryland — the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 and the more recent transgender birth certificate law — it’s still hard for me to be an out and open queer person. Maryland is considered a blue state, but there are some areas that are quite red. For example, I live in a small town in Maryland’s Eastern Shore region. It’s a beautiful town full of art, culture and probably the best coffee shop in the world. And yet it’s still a small town, so when it comes to LGBTQ equality, the general attitude around here is: “I’m okay with it as long as I don’t have to see it.” Hence, the LGBTQ community is almost underground around here.

Click here to read the rest.

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