Bi Any Means Podcast #138: Queer Disbelief with Camille Beredjick

My guest for today is Camille Beredjick. She’s a journalist who blogs about LGBTQ rights on the blogs GayWrites and Friendly Atheist. She has a new book out called “Queer Disbelief” that explains why atheists should care about LGBTQ rights. Today we talk about her back story, her work, and the new book.

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The #MeToo Conversation Erases Trans People — My First Article for HuffPost Opinion

CN: Sexual Assault, Transphobia

The Me Too movement has given many women the courage to speak up about their experiences with sexual assault and has opened up a nationwide dialogue about consent and sexual misconduct in our culture. As with many mainstream feminist movements, however, the movement has been silent at best — and hostile at worst — when it comes to the experiences of transgender people.

Take, for example, actress Rose McGowan’s encounter with a trans woman at a Jan. 31 speaking engagement. During an appearance at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in Manhattan, Andi Dier stood up and challenged comments McGowan had made on RuPaul’s podcast “What’s the Tee?” last year. “They [trans women] assume,” the actress said on the podcast, “because they felt like a woman on the inside . . . That’s not developing as a woman. That’s not growing as a woman, that’s not living in this world as a woman.”

“Trans women are dying,” Dier said during her confrontation with McGowan, “and you said that we, as trans women, are not like regular women. We get raped more often. We go through domestic violence more often. There was a trans woman killed here a few blocks [away].” The confrontation erupted into a shouting match between the two, ending with Dier being escorted out of the venue and McGowan having a public breakdown.

To be fair, McGowan did say trans women are women during her talk, and she acknowledged the alarming rates of sexual violence against trans women.

Shortly after the encounter, allegations of sexual misconduct against Dier came to light, some of them dating back to 2010. However, instead of focusing on transmisogyny and sexual assault against trans and gender-nonconforming people, most of the media focus was on McGowan. This, unfortunately, is just one example how trans and gender-nonconforming people’s stories are far too often ignored.

Read the rest here.

(BTW, I already had to mute a TERF on Twitter who accused me of saying cis lesbians have to fuck trans women, even though I said nothing of the sort.)

I Can Only Take You So Far — My Latest for Splice Today

As a bisexual genderqueer person in a world where sexuality and gender are still seen as strict binaries of gay/straight and man/woman, I had some explaining to do when first coming out. I love educating people most of the time. That’s why I write about sexuality and gender for various websites, talk about those issues on my Bi Any Means Podcast, and did a presentation on non-binary gender identities at last year’s American Humanist Association conference. I lost count of how many people have walked up to me at conferences and sent messages thanking me for what I do, so apparently I’m doing something right.

However, sometimes people treat me as not just a source of information, but the ultimate source of all things LGBTQ rights. For example, a few years ago a Facebook friend messaged me and asked what I meant when I said I was genderqueer. I explained it to her, and she seemed to get it, but then she started asking about asexuality and pansexuality. It probably wasn’t her intention, but I got the impression that she expected me to educate her about all the letters in LGBTQIAA. I wanted to scream, “Google is free!”

Read the rest here.

Bi Any Means Podcast #136: Bisexual Activism with Miles Joyner

My guest for today is Miles Joyner. They are a twenty-something bisexual non-binary college student who runs the Miles the Bisexual Facebook page where they share memes, articles, and blog posts about bisexuality. Today we’re going to get to know Miles a bit more and all the stuff they do.

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Dodge Ram’s Super Bowl Fail

Another Super Bowl has come and gone. Another over-hyped football game, another excuse for Americans to pig out, another bubble gum pop halftime show full of cheap thrills, and another parade of commercials promoting the American Dream through gross commercialism. Now it’s time for everyone to gather around the water cooler to talk about this year’s celebration of American capitalism.

This year’s Super Bowl commercials were the usual collection of hits (Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman rapping, David Harbour’s Tide ads) and misses (Bud Light continuing to try to make “Dilly dilly” a thing). One commercial that got people talking was Dodge Ram using an old Martin Luther King Jr. sermon to sell trucks. On the surface, everything looks good: a montage of teachers, soldiers, barbers, and first responders serving their respective community while Dr. King says, “You don’t have to know the theory of relativity to serve.” However, given the context of Dr. King’s legacy, the commercial is an ultimate failure.

Americans like to remember King as a neo-liberal hippie-dippie “Let’s love everyone” kind of person. He may have preached nonviolent resistance and dreamed of a world where his children would be judged by their character instead of their skin color. However, history has watered down Dr. King’s radicalism in order to make him more palatable to the general public, ultimately molding him as the Respectable Negro prototype.

For example, during the Baltimore Uprising of 2015, many white commentators rung their hands and said, “Martin Luther King wouldn’t have wanted this.” It’s true that King didn’t condone the race riots of the 1960s, but he stated publicly he could not condemn them either because “a riot is the language of the unheard.” In his 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” he condemned white moderates for constantly telling him, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action” (even though now white moderates use King’s nonviolent resistance example to perpetuate respectability politics). And in his 1967 speech “The Three Evils of Society,” King reminded listeners that “capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor – both black and white, both here and abroad.”

Interestingly enough, the sermon that Dodge Ram used for their ad, “The Drum Major Instinct,” has something to say about advertising:

Now the presence of this instinct [to join the crowd] explains why we are so often taken by advertisers. You know, those gentlemen of massive verbal persuasion. And they have a way of saying things to you that kind of gets you into buying. In order to be a man of distinction, you must drink this whiskey. In order to make your neighbors envious, you must drive this type of car. In order to be lovely to love you must wear this kind of lipstick or this kind of perfume. And you know, before you know it, you’re just buying that stuff. That’s the way the advertisers do it.

Of course this is nothing new. Capitalism has a history of using yesterday’s revolutionaries as today’s marketing gimmicks (Che Guevara shirts, anyone?). Hell, as we’ve seen with Kylie Jenner’s tone deaf Pepsi ad, marketers can even use today’s fight for liberation to sell products! If the French Revolution occurred today, I have no doubt Coca-Cola would put guillotines on their cans in order to make a profit.

I can only imagine what next year’s Super Bowl ads have in store. Malcolm X selling shampoo? A Taco Bell commercial starring a hologram of Sylvia Rivera? Angela Davis driving a Ford? The possibilities are endless at this point, and that’s what scares me.

How Dogmatic Perfectionism Nearly Killed Me — My Latest for Ravishly

When I was a Christian, one of my favorite books was The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. He was a former Franciscan priest who struggled with alcoholism for most of his life. Through his struggles he came to believe that God’s grace was big enough for a ragamuffin like him, and that he didn’t have to do anything to earn God’s love. Because of this amazing grace, he was finally able to be okay with his own imperfection.

“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story,” he wrote, “the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.”

While I am no longer a Christian — mostly because I read all the parts of the Bible Manning didn’t mention — I still love the idea of embracing my inner ragamuffin. Like Manning, I’m a walking paradox. I love and I hate. I’m peaceful and I’m violent. I’m honest and I’m hypocritical. I fight for liberation and I perpetuate systems of oppression. It’s just now, at 34 years old, that I’m beginning to be okay with it. As the old song goes, “I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger.”

Click here to read the rest.

Bi Any Means Podcast #134: Skepticism and Social Justice with Cory Johnston

My guest for today is Cory Johnston. He’s the main host of the Brainstorm Podcast, as well the podcasts Skeptic Voices and The Hardcore Skeptic Examines. Today we get to know Cory a little bit more, plus talk about why there’s such a huge rift among skeptics about social justice.

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A State of Contradictions — My Latest for Splice Today

In front of the Talbot County courthouse in Easton, MD are two monuments. The first is a statue of Frederick Douglass, the great civil rights leader born right here. The second is a memorial of the Talbot Boys, members of the community who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. These are monuments commemorating the legacy of a man born into bondage, who was viciously beaten for learning how to read, who eventually escaped from his shackles, and who dedicated the rest of his life to liberty and human rights, and another dedicated to the memory of those who fought to keep men like Douglass in shackles. To know Maryland is to understand the symbolism of these two monuments standing side by side.

Read the rest here.

Bi Any Means Podcast #133: Atheism and Asexuality with Emily Karp

My guest for today is Emily Karp. She was one of the co-hosts of the Recovering from Religion Podcast, and currently blogs about asexuality and fandom at luvtheheaven.wordpress.com. She’ll be co-presenting a workshop at this year’s Creating Change conference about asexuality, so I’ve got her on the show to talk about ace visibility in both the atheist community and the LGBTQ community.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #131: Top 10 Favorite Episodes of 2017

Today on the show I’m counting down my top ten favorite episodes of 2017. It’s a similar structure to last year’s best of 2016 episode, but because Spreaker doesn’t list most downloaded episodes in numerical order anymore and I’m too lazy to do the math myself, I decided to just list my personal favorite episodes from this past year instead. That way I can highlight episodes that didn’t get a lot of downloads.

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