Things to Say to Survivors


You’re not a mental health professional (unless you happen to be a counselor of some variety). As a friend, acquaintance, or partner to a survivor, you can’t–and probably shouldn’t–try to manage someone’s mental scars. Healing is a long, complex process, and even professionals with years of study always know to personalize their approach to their patient/client rather than trying to ram them through a one-size-fits-all technique.

But the pernicious thing about mental scars is that they are difficult wounds to see, and despite our best intentions, we (both the survivor and those peripheral to survivors) may accidentally reopen them. The probability of this occurring is probably directly proportional to the amount of entanglement with a survivor: I would hazard a guess that an acquaintance is far less likely to encounter an issue than a partner.

The last thing survivors need when this happens is for the other party to exacerbate the issue with a poorly informed choice of words. So I’ve gathered some suggestions for what to do and not to do to avoid making the situation worse.

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Can you not?


An article in the Examiner headlined “Butch Lesbian Mistaken for Male Ejected from McDonalds” is positively ripe for deadly facepalms. Emphasis mine:

The LGBT community’s crusade to make bathrooms gender-neutral has claimed its first casualty, and it is one of their own.

Excuse me, I have to go puke in a (woman’s) toilet.

It’s bad enough that we have turds panicking over something that shouldn’t be an issue, but let’s toss incompetent media coverage into the mix too. After all, it’s only a casualty if it’s a cis person who’s harassed in the washroom, right?

The study focused on people who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming/genderqueer in the Washington, DC area and found that an overwhelming majority — 70 percent — had experienced some sort of negative reaction when using a bathroom.

Again, old stats, but I doubt the trend has changed. If anything the Genital Police are even more zealous nowadays. But it’s still not a problem, at least for the Examiner, until a cis person has been targeted.

Oi vey.




Bathroom Bill selfie protests still make their point at the expense of trans folk


So-called “bathroom bills” are all the rage these days, legislation that attempts to regulate what washrooms trans people are “supposed” to use. They often feature rhetoric about predators claiming to be trans women to access women’s facilities, or how women would be uncomfortable around “people with biologically male [sic] characteristics.” This prompted bathroom selfie protests wherein trans folk took pictures of themselves in facilities where they clearly don’t fit in, a move praised by Joe Sands on our own network.

However, this is not the strategy I can endorse to protest these absurd attempts to police washroom access by trans folk.

The bathroom selfie campaign only works because the people participating in it “pass” as cisgender. I don’t mean to say that gender conformity is bad per se, but those of us trans folk who get by on our day-to-day without getting clocked are not and were never the targets of transphobic bathroom bills–not until someone somewhere is Orwellian enough to literally require genital inspections prior to entry to a washroom. We can shock on-the-fencers into seeing, correctly so, that men would be required to use the women’s washroom and vice versa, because those same ignorant on-the-fencers overlooked the rather obvious fact that some trans folk are binarist conformers who are trying to blend in, not stick out.

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Sexy Story Time: The Look


Hello interwebs,

Brief preamble: This is a short piece of erotica featuring one of my favourite kinks written by yours truly!

Probably NSFW. Ads disabled even though there’s no sexy images (can’t be too careful with puritans).

Stay hot & bothered lovelies,


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Breaking news: Canadian politicians disagree; this is apparently newsworthy?


Hello interwebs!

Over in the Glorious Commune of Canuckistan, there’s a bit of a shuffle going on around one of our political parties–actually, two of our political parties. They share the same name and colour, but they’re different, I promise you.

That would be the New Democratic Party (of Canada) and the New Democratic Party (of Alberta). For anyone not in the know, Alberta is a province and its government would be vaguely comparable to a State-level government, but other than sharing a name and flag and colour, the Albertan NDP are not by any means accountable to the Canadian NDP. They are separate elections covering different levels of government, and they have platforms that highlight their disagreements. Despite the differences between the two parties, they are both stereotyped to being the “Socialist” party of Canada. As a Socialist, I disagree, but right now that’s not important.

In the past provincial election, the Albertan NDP won a crushing majority in the Legislature and busted a 44 year winning streak from the “Progressive” Conservatives (bearing in mind that the Albertan PCs were still further to the political left than American Democrats). In the last federal election, the Canadian NDP were reduced to third party status down from official opposition, and now the Canadian NDP are fighting over the carcass of their unsuccessful campaign. There’s a leadership election calling for its current leader, Mulcair, to step down–but there’s also a bit of a thrash occurring over something called the “Leap Manifesto.”

Why yes, intelligent commentators, I agree: Be immediately suspicious of anything called a “manifesto.” In short, it’s an announcement of to-be-debated policy points, some of which are left-wing economic issues and some of which are environmentalist (i.e. anti-heavy industry [oilsand]) issues. An intelligent person might assess the manifesto point by point rather than reflexively convulsing at the thought of objection to building more pipelines through First Nation land but whatever, you do you, Notley. You are representing the Texas of Canada, after all.

Anyway, I don’t know why the fuck the media is having a heyday over this. Two levels of government disagree on policy? Oh my goodness! Say it ain’t so! A shattered third-party political group thinks it needs to rebrand following its devastating losses? Fucking radical!

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the Canadian NDP decide what their platform is going to be for the next election, as long as they figure it out before it starts. I see no reason why the Albertan NDP can’t look at federal policy and disagree. I mean, Alberta has a long history of bitching about its treatment by Eastern Canada (sometimes fairly, other times not so much), regardless of which federal party held power, why would that change simply because we voted in a new government? The new federal government still budgeted under the assumption that Alberta would be the rest of Canada’s sugardaddy too.

I for one appreciate that the two parties are arguing openly. It speaks to me of a much healthier democracy that the fiefdom Our Glorious Infallible Overlord former Prime Minister Stephen Harper ran. At least this way we can actually assess what our delegates are doing for us.

Stay sexy & informed lovelies,



Good ideas couched in woo and bullshit


Hello lovelies, Shiv here again, this time for some catharsis.

This is another more personal post–not much in the way of references or data. It is also information that is peripheral to my nasty break-up and I’ve hit the point where I need to… I don’t know. Vent, I guess.

So, I’m a skeptic atheist. I can generally be described by terms like “empiricist,” or “rationalist” at times. I tend to prefer that something go through an experiment where variables have been adequately controlled before I call the result actual bonafide knowledge, and not just an educated guess. Sometimes they’re just regular guesses, not so educated. Either way, the line that clearly demarcates the two states–knowledge and various degrees of guessing–is whether or not we have good data to back it up. Someone could be guessing and still be correct, but we have no way of verifying the accuracy of that guess without data.

Against my better judgement, I dated a hippie. My ex checks off enough points on a long list of hippie stereotypes that at some point I probably should have decided she had a poor way of structuring her own knowledge.

She wasn’t my first front row seat to woo. Admittedly I hadn’t dated someone who actively perpetuated woo, as an instructor of woo things, but I knew all the scripts almost as well as she did. The reason I didn’t mind (other than the part where she was attractive) was that my experience of woo often had a good idea at the root, but just embellished it in layers of bullshit. I could still learn the material and just dismiss the spiritual stuff as a metaphor for what was really going on, much in the same way an atheist can dismiss the Bible’s premise whilst still admitting there is merit to a handful of the fairytales present in that book.

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The literally gay agenda

Queer Pop Mafia put up a kickstarter for The Gay Agenda:


An elegant, thoughtful, and practical personal planner spanning a full calendar year; 52 weeks minimum, maybe more. In addition to standard features, the distinguishing aspect with this annual agenda is a beautiful presentation of people, events, and ideas that we find appropriate for the first-ever, official Gay Agenda.

Important ideas, vocabulary, and history will be highlighted, figures we admire and respect will be introduced, and relevant issues will be mapped out in ways that motivate a critical mass towards a society with equal rights for all. Nothing less. And perhaps a whole lot more.

As you can imagine, publishing is very expensive. The vast majority of our fundraising goal is dedicated to the production, printing, binding, and distribution of The Gay Agenda.

26 original ink drawings of LGBTQ figures and allies from present and past, each accompanied with a biographical narrative. We call these the “People pages.” Here is an example…

Hopefully it doesn’t drown out trans voices, as gay-centric projects tend to do. I suggested Janet Mock. Consider the likes of Sandy Stone or Laverne Cox! Then it might be accused of being a trans agenda. A transgenda, if you will.

(Why yes I did just shamelessly recycle a pun I made elsewhere on FtB)


Breaking news: GamerGate is garbage; water is wet

A Baldur’s Gate expansion features a side character with no real significance to the plot, who has an optional bit of dialogue in which they reveal the origin of their name–they constructed it out of necessity because they transitioned. GamerGate responds predictably, so predictably you could punch out a bigot bingo card:

I'm sure you're emotionally devastated right now.

I’m sure you’re emotionally devastated right now.

Content Notice — transphobia, misogyny, hate speech, nasty slurs, NotAllMen, etc. etc.

Our first vacuous timewasters meaningful contributors are two Steam user reviews–as far as I know, these can only be accessed if you also have Steam. They are quothed thusly:

Look, I have no problems with LGBTQ. None.

But please keep your ideology out of a classic game. Don’t force us to buy into controversial topics. We are trying to escape that crap.

Look, guys, he can’t be a bigot. HE SAID HE WASN’T A BIGOT, ERGO PROPTER HOC. Or something like that. That’s how logic works, right?

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Visibility isn’t necessarily what trans folk are asking for


Hello interwebs,

It shouldn’t be surprising, being the imperfect person that I am, that I had no idea Transgender Day of Visibility was even thing. It was apparently celebrated on March 31st as a response to the fact that the only other established “trans day” thing was the Trans Day of Remembrance, in which it was observed that the rate at which trans folk are murdered is alarmingly high–especially if they were black and/or sex workers.

I still have no idea how to feel about TDOV. On the one hand, it’s totally rad to spend the day signal boosting your favourite artists, creators, authors, etc. who happen to be trans. On the other, increased visibility does not always translate into securing rights or changing societal attitudes. After all, of the murders committed in the USA that were classified as hate crimes against Gender & Sexual Diverse victims in 2013, 72% of the victims were trans (67% black trans women). As far as I know, that trend has not broken. The numbers are low, if anything, if for no other reason than some trans victims being reported by ignorant media as cross dressing cis folk and therefore being missed in the count for trans stats.

So, I mean, yeah–it’d be nice if I could get some signal boosting when I get my novel published. But I’m honestly a bit more concerned about fundamental things like, you know, not being arrested for going to the washroom. I’m by no means opposed to a day of visibility, but it seems a bit silly, much in the same way that cis gays in America were jumping for joy that they could marry while murder trials are still unironically invoking “trans panic” to get the defendant off hate crime & first degree murder charges.

Let’s celebrate the progress that’s been made, but let’s also do so in a way that acknowledges how much more work still has to be done.

Stay safe & stay sexy lovelies.


Clearing my throat in front of a microphone


I usually go by Sam when I can manage it (and thankfully, I can usually manage it). I’m an ex-Muslim immigrant femme in Psychology and really good at punctuation-less internet jokes (although you don’t know this yet). I’ll be posting about a ton of different topics. One of my favorites is social justice, whether in theory or practice. Another topic that’ll likely be a bigger project than a single article is moral capital; its prevalence and usage; certain features of it that we, as a society, seem to increasingly have trouble with (for example, the use of -isms as pejoratives); and how it interacts with social justice. Some other topics I’d like to discuss are abuse in social justice communities, labels and identity politics, and cultures of effective compulsory forgiveness. These topics are often going to intersect on both superficial and deeper levels. I’ll also periodically analyze different media, mostly tv shows.

More about me though:
– I’m just coming out of a years-long depressive thing and trying out “better”.
– I’m learning to be okay with tomatoes.
– I really like lists and semi-colons – a proclivity for using the full range of punctuation available is oddly attractive to me (although strategic use of the absence of punctuation is also attractive, but in a different kind of way, and only as long as it’s strategic).
– I’m actually a social justice walrus.

(that’s me winking at you)

And finally, because someone might need this reminder (that I am also learning to tell myself when it applies): Today is an okay day. It doesn’t need to be amazing to not be terrible. Today, I have everything I need and it is easy to live.