Skeptisuck – Harriet Hall Time

HJ doesn’t do comments at his blog, but his recent article about Harriet Hall – concluded with a simply told bit of news that makes the more well-loved end of the skeptisphere a lot less lovable – cries out for comment.  If you wanna rip on Harriet Hall, or her pals Steven Novella and David Gorski, or whatever, I invite you to make the comments on this post into your mosh pit.

Trans Day of Visibility Challenge

Don’t do one thing H*rry P*tter related for 24 hours, out of respect for the people whose lives Jowling Kowling Rowling is trying to destroy.  I’m not gonna say you have to never again enjoy the thing that you devoted 45% of your young life to just because the author is shit, but making her intellectual property publicly visible is giving free advertisement – making her money, helping her do harm.  If you do anything HP-related, do it in private, and maybe as a personal sign of solidarity and respect for victims of transphobia, just hang it all up for 24 hours, even within your private time.  Contemplate the world of art and imagination that does not flow from that particular source.  You can do it, kids.  I believe in U.

RIP to Harry P fans, but…

…I’m different, as the meme goes.  You know we’re two minutes to tumblr bios that read “Terflepuff” “Terffyndor” and such, right?  I’ve never been so glad to avoid all fandom shit like the plague.  (This post may seem frivolous given our political moment, but bear with me.)  I feel the worst for people who let that stuff replace xtianity in their liberal hearts.

Cultural Potterians.  People who related every incident of moral importance in the news to ostensible lessons or wisdom found within the holy texts.  People who invested twenty years of their young lives framing everything they encountered in terms of baby wizards and their foes.

Good luck replacing your religion guys.  I really do mean that.  If you went that far in the first place, you’re the kind of person who really does feel most comfortable having a bedrock fiction to believe in.  Maybe look into Unitarian Universalism or one of the progressive xtian denominations out there.

The original version of this post over on my tumblr account ended with saying that nihilism is the alternative for those brave enough to free themselves from the need for comforting narratives.  This being an atheism-themed blog network, I feel the need to retool that, but to say atheism is an alternative rings false, when all the mainstream atheist orgs are represented by intellectually shallow creeps that avoid the darker aspects of facing reality by replacing it with evopsych justifications for culturally xtian biases and comforts.

Anyway, on the FtB, I like to think we know better than to hold up heroes of any kind.  It’s safer than having stars which can fall, when you get used to it.

EDIT TO ADD:  Given FtB’s recent output, maybe the alternative to comfortable fictions is collecting or creating knives.  Blacksmithing is unavailable to those of us living in apartments, but maybe we could make shivs and brickbats.  Yeah…

Gender Anarchy

Yesterday was International Down With Cis Day, a good time for reflection on one’s relationship with the kyriarchy. A while ago I brought some discourse into an AFAB NB person’s casa that resulted in a burned bridge, but also left me unsatisfied. All around, a bad time, and my fault. Wrong place and time to wax socratic.

What I wanted was an answer to a doubt. A position one holds in life is strongest when one has considered and accounted for ways in which that position can be attacked – especially from within.

Transfeminine people have long been smeared with the idea their gender expression is just a sexual fetish – “autogynephilia” theory and such. This doubt is external in terms of systemic medical discrimination and internal in that it turns a transwoman’s natural sexual feelings into a source for wondering “am I just a pervert?” and delaying treatment for dysphoria.

To my thinking the transmasculine version of this doubt is this: In a world that is drenched in misogyny, “woman” is an insult. If you are AFAB but feel insulted or uncomfortable when people treat you as a woman, how can you tell if that’s actually gender dysphoria, nonbinary or agender feels, or if it’s just a natural result of living with misogyny?

On a DWC discussion with somebody, we came to an answer that pretty well satisfies me. This question has been kicking around the back of my head for about five years now and I’m glad to be more or less done with it. The answer lies in gender anarchy.

Basically, you shouldn’t be required to have a set reason for your gender expression. Consequently, any reason is valid, and that includes a reaction to misogynistic abuse. So what if you only disidentify with womanhood because the world is a misogynist hellhole? It’s like being asexual because of sexual abuse rather than a biological imperative: still valid.

The line of thinking that led to the question in the first place had a baked-in assumption that there are correct and incorrect reasons to be trans. What foolishness. Gender anarchy now!

The Invisible Queer

Content Warnings: Suicide mention, Less than positive trans stuff.

Trans Day of Visibility, right?  A lot of trans people don’t love this occasion for a lot of reasons, and that’s fair.  Anybody should be allowed to be as invisible as they want to be.  Invisibility is by definition part of passing, which is the trans dream.  It is hard to argue with its usefulness to the people that it’s useful for: knuckleheaded cis people who need reminders of trans people’s humanity, and baby trans folks who need to see that life is possible – given their high rates of suicide.

Where do nonbinary, agender, and genderqueer people belong?  In a sense we’re trans, so should we be visibling out right now?  If we want to sure.  As for me, I’ll just reflect publicly on what being genderqueer means to me…

Or not.  It’s kind of personal, isn’t it?  It’s in my head, waiting for a future that is never going to come, like so many other things.  Sayeth my problematical inspiration, “Don’t dream it, be it.”  But I don’t have powerful dysphoria pushing me to make the choice between a life of facing bitter and extreme prejudice or living with crushing pain.  (And be real – passing isn’t possible for everybody, open and sometimes murderous prejudice is what I’d get.)

If it can be a dream for me, that’s enough for now, I think.  I might feel differently next year, if the ‘rona don’t take me out first.  Who can say?  In the meantime, ya might catch me in sequined shoes or wearing costume jewelry.  Just a little something to let you know what’s up.