Say Her Name: Ma’Khia Bryant

The details are sketchy at this point and a number of important things, including how to spell her name and even her age are being reported differently in different places, but from the best information I have right now (which could easily change later):

A foster child, 15 years old, whose name was Ma’Khia Bryant, was being bullied and attacked by other foster kids, probably other girls. She called police for protection. At some point before police arrived (possibly even before she called them?) she acquired a knife to use in self-defense. When the police arrived there was some sort of altercation between Ma’Khia and at least one other girl. At this point she may or may not have been still holding the knife. It’s even possible that someone else had taken the knife from her, but I don’t consider that likely.

Police seeing a physical altercation with a knife involved shot to kill Ma’Khia, the girl who called desperate for protection. She is dead.

I don’t give a god damn if Ma’Khia had the knife in her hand and was swinging it: she was in state custody (unless this detail is also wrong, I fucking hate how different stories are saying different things, but none seemed to say that she **wasn’t** in state custody, it’s just that some stories don’t mention foster care at all), and the state owed her better. Even if there was an immediate necessity to protect the other child because Ma’Khia was swinging the knife, that only backs up responsibility from the cops to the foster system that shouldn’t have put her in that situation to begin with.

To make matters worse, the Mayor of Columbus, Ohio where Ma’Khia was killed called her a “young woman” who “lost her life”, probably between the couch cushions.

Ma’Khia was not a young woman. She was a child, a girl. It’s bad enough that the mayor would say such a thing, but it is much worse than that in that there is a long trend of Black children being treated as adults to maximize the blame that can be placed upon them while white young adults are called “children” or “teenagers” to minimize the blame that can be placed on them. Kyle Rittenhouse is a perfect example of the latter.

I’ll keep watching things, but FUCK THIS SHIT. I’m so sick and tired police violence. I’m so sick and tired of the government killing the people it has a duty to protect.

Transsexual, Transgender, Trans… and that damn asterisk

I’ve been asked again about why I sometimes use an asterisk after the word “trans” when describing the broader transsexual and transgender community (which, tbh, aren’t even thought of that anymore so much as just “the trans community”). Me being me, I didn’t just throw up a link, but I attempted to write again what it has meant in my life. I like this version, so I’m copying it from where it was originally written over to here. This way, hopefully, this bit of community and individual history is less likely to get lost, and maybe next time I can simply offer someone a simple link instead of spending 3 hours collecting my thoughts on the topic again.

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llyris, daulnay, & Iran give us a lesson in correlation and causation: Part 2

And here we are, part 2 of our extravaganza. We’ll focus on daulnay’s comments for a bit. First I think it important to acknowledge that this is daulnay’s first comment in that thread:

This is an anecdote, and also data; an outlier data point that needs to be accounted for.
A member of my family, who I’ve known well their entire (20ish years) life, is transitioning (M->F). At age 6, they were drawn to female characters. Throughout childhood (and beyond) when they played computer games, they would make a female character. They strongly resisted coaching to conform to male stereotypes, like stiff-upper-lipping pain or putting up with discomfort. A few years after puberty, they became more and more depressed, then suicidal. They described feeling that the body they were in was wrong, and felt life was unbearable. After starting transition, the suicidal urges disappeared. They’re much happier, and planning to live a long life.
For her relatives, this lifts an immense dread. The family she sees day-to-day is very accepting, and she’s found a larger trans community online. Where there was despair, now there’s bright hope for the future.
This is what transition is about, not a ‘social contagion’ but fixing something fundamentally askew.

This comment is clearly a statement of support for PZ’s OP, and for trans* liberation in general. When daulnay later asserts being an ally to trans* people, there’s a reason for that. They do seem to be speaking up in favor of gender liberation and against ATR (Anti-Trans Reactionary) philosophies at least some of the time. But I’m not here to praise good daulnay comments, but to criticize the bad ones. Trans, genderqueer, non-binary: lend me your ears.

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Embarrassing admissions that don’t really embarrass me anymore: part the first

Before we go any further, I don’t actually know that there will ever be a part 2, but who knows, I’ve had lots of embarrassing moments in my life so maybe someday we’ll have a part 3,246. Might as well start out the naming convention with room for growth, then, eh?

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llyris, daulnay, & Iran give us a lesson in correlation and causation: Part 1

So by placing this here, I’m guaranteeing that it will be missed by many, but again I have to say some things that feel inappropriate as a comment (lest they take up too much space) and also might risk being lost on the internet if I ever wanted to track them down again at a later date. So here we are, making an OP out of molehill, again.

The need to say these things arises out of a thread over on Pharyngula. It’s this one, if you couldn’t guess. While PZ’s OP is fine and most of the discussion is as well, a few things crashed together destructively. I think this is important to tackle because it is an example of how people who think of themselves as allies can get called out for good reasons, but the imprecision of everyday language makes it hard for anyone to get past the fact of calling out to actually learn any lessons from it. Trans folk may think that people aren’t honestly trying to be on their side (because, frankly, we’ve seen a lot of bad faith arguments and it can be hard to tell the difference between “bad faith deployment of misinformation” and “good faith repetition of misinformation”) when, yes, they are trying. People working to be allies may simply not understand the lessons on offer and conclude that some is – wait for it – being hysterical. They may even quit listening. And this too is not entirely outrageous since merely being trans doesn’t guarantee that one is a good or even reasonable source of information. Being trans doesn’t prevent someone from saying stupid shit about being trans or about cissexism.

But in this case there is a problem (or two), and a huge one (or two), with things embedded in the comments of Ilyris & daulnay, and I think this needs discussion.

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On Hasbro’s Potato Head Be It

Conservatives: Gender is all about the penis. If you were born with a penis, you’re a man. If not, you’re a woman. These are the inevitable facts about gender encoded in the laws of biology. You can’t change that by just calling yourself by a different name or using a different pronoun, and I won’t submit to your linguistic fascism, not even if you attempt to enforce it through cancel-culture economic terrorism!

Also Conservatives: This no-dick, extruded-plastic root vegetable is a man: how dare you disrespect him by removing his proper title? Next you’ll be calling this nutritious, starchy gentleman “it”! FOR SHAME. Call him “Mister” or I shall boycott your company forever!



What Cissplaining Isn’t

I had a professor (not an adjunct, full Phd) who was a great anthropologist, feminist & activist. I’m not pretending to know a tenth of what she knows about anthropology, but the course was on gendered violence – a topic I do know a lot about – and she had obviously thrown in some stuff about violence against trans people without bothering to read or understand it. I would guess that she got some feedback about needing to included in a course about “gendered violence” but just wasn’t interested in studying trans people (fair, everyone has their own speciality and interests).

I don’t mind that she didn’t know anything about trans experiences of domestic or sexual violence, but when she got to the one week of the course where we were talking LGBTQI she said some things that were **obviously** wrong. Badly wrong. I was wondering where she got her info …

… then she cited me.

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