Chadwick Moore, Loser

I come to bury Chadwick Moore, not to praise him!

Chadwick Moore is, so far as I can tell, no one of any importance whatsoever – much like me. Nonetheless, he attracted attention with his call for the FBI to investigate Grindr. You may know Grindr as a dating app that focusses on gay men and makes it easy to hook up for one night stands and semi-anonymous, short term sexual relationships. But did you also know that it’s an evil Marxist plot to steal your freedoms? It’s true!

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Wins

A while back Mano posted about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a younger woman running against an establishment Democrat (also the 20-year incumbent) in the NY-14th’s primary. For a number of reasons her candidacy was considered a minor referendum on the DNC’s willingness to run away from its base in selecting and supporting candidates.

Ocasio-Cortez was given little chance of winning, but win she did. The real questions now are, will the DNC take any lesson away from the loss of Rep. Joseph Crowley in this primary, and if so, what will they learn? Vox’s commentary on the race concludes with this bit:

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Why I Don’t Write Much About Popular Denigration of Trans Autonomy

First, law school requires a lot of effort, and so does building a family, so there were a few years when I legitimately didn’t have time to go around reading much on the internet. What turned up on Pharyngula constituted a large percentage of that. But more importantly, I spent years addressing this stuff back when the world was less connected and there were fewer noted cis supremacists who bothered writing about trans* people. Seriously, as far as critiques of written work or audio/video appearances went, I spent a decade speaking mostly about Janice Raymond, Mary Daly, and Germaine Greer. I’ve read so. fucking. much.

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My Optimal Test Taking Approach

All this talk about Murray and IQ has reminded me of a great time I had one day in fourth grade taking a standardized test. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are institutional uses to which those test scores are put. I think there are good critiques we could make about the uses of those scores, but the critiques are already out there in the field where people actually study this stuff. If policy makers haven’t yet listened to those critiques to come up with better policies that does suck, but we have to take responsibility for our actions in the world we live in now, not the world we might like to occupy.

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Sounds Good, But Then I Don’t Speak Portuguese

I’m very interested in this article at the New York Times about Edge of Desire. While this bit

Gathering nightly to watch the television show in a graffiti-covered living room has become a ritual for the residents at Casa Nem, a refuge in downtown Rio de Janeiro for transgender and gender-nonconforming Brazilians, who view the story of Ivana’s transition to Ivan as the first dignified and nuanced portrayal of people like them in the country’s mainstream media.

sounds very promising, I’m quite well aware of how The L Word was phenomenally popular in my circles (and, yes, I watched quite a bit of the show) without ever communicating much that was real about the average experience of being a queer woman in the US because of the same biases towards wealthy and urbanite subjects that plague US television generally. It might be a great show, it might be mediocre but getting lots of positive attention because expectations were so low that even mediocre is better than most Brazilian trans folk hoped to see during their own lifetimes.

Though it’s unlikely, if you have actually seen the show and know something about the Brazilian context your comment will be particularly welcomed.

On the Corner: The Birth of Intersectionality

Intersectionality as we know it today was given life by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor and social theorist. In the talk that brought the metaphor of the intersection into public discussion, she first noted:*1

in race discrimination cases, discrimination tends to be viewed in terms of sex- or class-privileged Blacks; in sex discrimination cases, the focus is on race- and class-privileged women.

She then explained some of the consequences of this:

This focus on the most privileged group members marginalizes those who are multiply-burdened and obscures claims that cannot be understood as resulting from discrete sources of discrimination. I suggest further that this focus on otherwise-privileged group members creates a distorted analysis of racism and sexism because the operative conceptions of race and sex become grounded in experiences that actually represent only a subset of a much more complex phenomenon

But why not simply include Black voices in feminism and women’s voices in anti-racism and call it good? For Crenshaw, it was because the effects of multiple oppressions are not merely linear increases, not merely additive.

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Modeling Gender & Sex Without a False Middle

There have been many attempts to create a model that simplifies gender, sex, and sexuality enough to easily communicate important concepts without either simplifying it so much that the concepts are lost altogether. Now that we know something about social models, let’s look at a model I shared some time back on Pharyngula’s (now obsolete) Thunderdome.

The model came up in response to the suggestion of the Genderbread Person as a teaching model. As I noted then in other words, the metaphor is not the concept, so all models will fail to communicate some aspects important to a concept. The question is whether there is a better metaphor available. As a teacher or someone attempting to articulate a concept, the responsibility is still on you to know the limits of the metaphor and be able to address questions, ambiguities, and extensions. If you aren’t aware of a metaphor’s limits and able to address them longhand, using any model is risky. If you are, any model is adequate, but the models that minimize those longhand conversations are better than ones that only somewhat reduce them.

It’s with this in mind that (many years ago) I abandoned the Genderbread Person and adopted a different model, one that permits a shorthand visual model to combat multiple myths at the same time.

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