Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

It’s not unreasonable to expect to be treated fairly, equally and without bigotry.

This is a defence I see all too often, and it’s pretty despicable. All too often in my life it comes up about the little things that make it damn clear that my self is not accepted, things like forms asking for ‘gender – m/f’ and so on. According to this particular defence of bigotry, I can’t expect services to bend to fit me; due to my so-called ‘abnormality’, I should bend to fit them. I should bend to fit with society’s narrow-minded ideals, at whatever cost to myself.

Or, another place it crops up is around terminology. Apparently we can’t expect language to change to acknowledge our humanity and our experience, and we can’t expect people to change their language so as not to cause us pain because we’re apparently not ‘normal.’

Normal is constructed as something people should aspire towards, so as not to cause trouble and disrupt the social order. It’s not. If the social order cannot serve all people, regardless of the demands of meaningless ‘normality,’ then it needs to be disrupted. It is not unreasonable to expect society to change to accommodate all its members, and to be honest society should want to.

No matter how much it seems to be, society is not a monolith that exists independent of the people in it. We construct society around us. Yes, the scars of history lie heavy on us and on the society that has evolved down the generations – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be changed. It evolved through the actions of people – a lot of bigotry can be traced back to historical roots that were instigated by people – and that means that we can steer it away from the broken-down mass of kyriarchal pressures riddled with bigotry and violence that it is now.

To do that, though, we need each other. We need to look around us and realise that the kyriarchy is hurting and killing ourselves and each other. And then we need to realise that defeatism will only defeat us.

It’s not unreasonable to expect society to change to accommodate the people it shoves to the margins, and for a person to say this about an axis they have privilege on is harmful. The privileged’s words have more weight anyway, and the more this is said the more the immovability of society is constructed, the more privilege can shore itself up by thinking that it can’t change and shouldn’t have to try.

It’s not unreasonable to be hurt, and to demand that people stop hurting one. It’s not unreasonable to demand one’s rights.

We are all connected, and frankly we have no reason to deny others decent treatment, fair, equal and without bigotry. That is an attack, and so is defending others who hurt people in the name of kyriarchy with the feeble cry of ‘it’s unreasonable.’ There is no excuse for bigotry, and the only slight justification is genuine lack of knowledge – but that can be cleared up with a short conversation, a quick google. There is no excuse for denying people the things granted without thought to others because of who they are. There is no excuse for services meant to help us refusing to acknowledge our selves. There is no excuse for people who bear us no ill-will beyond the poison the kyriarchy has dripped into their brains from birth to refuse to stop using words that hurt us. Once the problem is brought to light, it is not unreasonable to expect that solving it should be the next step.

Slow process? Well, yes, it probably will be. But it’s not an unreasonable demand.

To read the papers at the moment is to get a most unsettling feeling of being in an uncontrollable vehicle hurtling towards something bad. Now, I have been and will almost certainly remain rather quiet about this because I am not an economist and my understanding of this boils down to the words, ‘Not good…’ It’s possible that in a year or two, when we’ve found out a bit more about how screwed we are, I’ll fully understand and be able to dissect the issues with a fishknife.

At the moment though, I’m wondering how this is all going to affect normal people. If there is another massive problem, will it be us who will be called upon to clean up after capitalism’s worst excesses again? If we are – is that possible? Or will the rich and the powerful’s attempts to use us to pay their debts drain us dry – and if so, what will happen then?

I’m too good at predictions of doom. But right now, we’re seeing capitalist systems again careering too close to the edge. And that, combined with the frankly frightening trend towards regarding people as more expendable than capital, could be disastrous.

They’re saying that Britain is a ‘safe haven’ because we’ve kept our AAA credit rating – but are the British people safe? Is that safety only for British finance, while British people find themselves paying for it? And anyway, in a globalised world we can hardly be said to be safe; our involvement in other countries’ finance is already affecting us, and many people are predicting a greater effect for it. It can be said that virtually all countries are intricately, inescapably linked to each others’ financial fates, since the global market has tied us all together so effectively in a complicated web of borrowing, lending, imports and exports. At the same time, we still think of ourselves as separate and think that problems can be contained in a single place. The excesses of capitalism in this globalised economy are fast waking us up to the fact that they cannot.

I get really angry with hetero/cis/binary/sexual folks complaining about Pride. I’ve never been to one – and will be missing my local one this year because of an out-of-town trip – but that’s besides the point.

A common complaint is that we’re ‘shoving it in their faces’. If I may put it crudely – bullshit. My heart bleeds. Not.

For one, it’s pure hypocrisy.

Apparently they believe that the hetero, cis, binary, sexual norm is not shoved into everyone’s faces daily. I suppose that the fact that every compulsory primary school reading book features only normative characters is just coincidence, is it? What about the abundance of normative PDA? That’s just an exception I suppose. Oh – and the media emphasis on normative relationships? I guess that’s just representation. And surely the stigmatisation of non-normative identities has nothing to do with it? /endsarcasm.

Most of us had normativity shoved down our throats from an early age. We sung songs about normative relationships, watched programes, read books, saw films about normative relationships. We saw only the normative represented positively. Often we never even saw the non-normative at all.

That is having an identity shoved into your face. Not a group of people coming together one day of the year to celebrate who they are and try to cast a bright flare through the dark clouds that hover over their path.

For two, they’re complaining about something that has grown up as a reaction to oppression – oppression perpetuated by them. Really not their business objecting. Objections from within the community are fine, but from without?

Oh hey there kyriarchy, I saw you a mile off.

People within the gender and sexuality norm do not get to interfere. Simple as. How hard can it be? If your privilege has made you think that people being themselves are shoving stuff in your face, you need to examine your privilege rather than their motives. It stinks the whine of the privileged person who just can’t accept that the oppressed people have needs too. We need to be recognised as the equals of anyone else. We need to resist our erasure at the hands of the privileged. And one way we’re doing that is through Pride. Is through throwing up a light to our youth so that they can find themselves. Is through taking the aspects of us that the kyriarchy hates and celebrating them defiantly. Is through sticking a finger up at the dominant norms and saying ‘We exist too!’

So if the privileged people think we’re shoving it in their faces, they need to examine why they think that and why we need to do what we do in the first place.

Something of the same applies for any situation in which the marginalised – on any axis – are accused of shoving their selves into the privileged’s faces. In a lot of those situations, though, there’s the additional point – if the privileged are allowed to do it, the marginalised should be. If you don’t object to hetero-perceived PDA – don’t claim that gay-perceived PDA is bad. Because that’s just perpetuating oppression.

Again, posting has lapsed to sporadic, and I apologise – I’m in the middle of exams, but it’s not like I’m not having time for anything but revision.

*   *   *

This is a personal post, and is intended to apply to me and only me.

I honestly have no idea how to walk the line between my comfort (being out) and the possible consequences. I’m now in a situation where I don’t have to declare gender – and haven’t declared birth name – but would feel a lot more comfortable declaring who I am. I haven’t done so yet, and am extremely undecided about ever doing so, because I am afraid that bringing my self to the attention of people in positions of authority would put a black mark against my name.

This is the line we have to walk. Until we declare ourselves, we are held not to be our selves, we are held not to exist – but we are allowed to survive, hidden away behind the panels of the kyriarchy. When we declare ourselves, we risk everything – being labelled a freak, being denied, being rejected, hurt, discredited or worse. Until we pull the panels away, we don’t know what the place we will enter is – a room full of soldiers in kyriarchy’s service, or a room of healers, or whatever – unless someone is already there, finding out.

So as more of us come out, more of us will come out because there could be a voice in the room beyond the panel saying, ‘I don’t know if any of us are in there, but I am out here and it is livable,’ and we will come out because we want to see daylight. Don’t write it off as a trend. Just because we were walled in here, too scared to break out, does not mean we never existed. Do not make the mistake of taking the dominant group’s view as fact, when all other groups have hidden in the woodwork.

(more…)

If a person is polyamorous/married to someone of the same legal sex, records it on the census and the ONS ‘corrects’ it, are the ONS’ results accurate?

NO.

The ONS’ results are blatantly inaccurate and the ONS is guilty of researcher bias. Yes, bias. Erasing the entirety of who people are is bias. I have also found that non-binary people’s responses will be ‘corrected’ too. Bias. Bias and the most obvious sort of erasure.

Do I have to tell statisticians, I, who did a half-arsed GCSE in statistics and gained only a B, do I have to tell statisticians why bias and adjusting results is wrong? Do I really? It appears I do.

So here’s the lowdown. Investigator bias is a real problem because it means that an inaccurate picture emerges. If the research is important and likely to be used for important purposes – which this is – this produces huge problems. Research that builds upon it is wrong. Conclusions drawn from it are wrong. Policies based on it are wrong. Trends identified by it are wrong. EVERYTHING ABOUT IT IS WRONG. You may think that people in these situations are such a minority that it doesn’t matter, but really and truly EVERY INACCURACY MATTERS.

In this case, it matters to people’s LIVES. We are who we are, and we are human, we are here, we matter. Taking a rubber to the records when you present them to the world denies us our existence. Your altered data will mean that the world will continue to revolve in a way that excludes us, and since officially we don’t exist we are virtually prevented from seeking redress with any kind of official backing about our existence. Your altered data will give people the backing they wanted to continue to try to push us out of the existence that is our birthright as humans.

We have been written out of the past, and we are being written out of the present. Our youth are dying, hurting, despairing because they are cut off from any acknowledgement of their existence. We are constantly hit with censure, with official backing, for trying to exist as our selves. We are erased every time we open our eyes by every second that ticks through the clock.

We exist.

A cis guy I know told me this story to illustrate how accepting he is of gender non-conformity. It’s paraphrased, because there were a lot of interruptions from me.

Hell, I know a chick who I thought was a dude! Hung around her for years, I just thought she was a dude – dressed like a dude, acted like a dude, everything. Then one time she took her shirt off and… yeah.

My instant question – Did this person ever say they were a girl?

Well, she was [hand gestures] and – [interrupted by me. Ten minutes later, after a bit of wriggling…] She didn’t say it…

Then, my friend, how do you know? If this person truly identified as a girl, I’m not sure it’s likely you would have hung around with this person for that long without someone correcting you on pronouns, for a start. You can’t just make these assumptions based on anatomy. Sex is a broken category system anyway; we don’t know where things begin and end, we can’t generalise it to the whole population, we invented it based on a collection of symptoms, we originally used it to mean gender.

The whole story is playing into the trans/non-cis-people-as-deceivers trope. If this person is a man, my acquaintance was being profoundly disrespectful and harmful by misgendering him. If this person is non-binary, the same applies (with the added caveat that I really want to meet that person because I know no non-binary, and don’t think I know any non-cis, people in meatspace). If this person is a girl, well, that works out well for everyone because my acquaintance hasn’t been being cissexist and his friend hasn’t been misgendered – except for all the time before he ‘found out.’

So in honour of this acquaintance of mine, here’s a guide for cis (and non-cis??) binary people running into someone (name, here, of X) who doesn’t fit with their binary view of the world.

  1. Don’t get angry. Seriously. X is not trying to fuck with you. X is most likely looking like X does because X likes it. It’s quite simple, really.
  2. Don’t knaw at it. There is no reason why you should be assuming anyone‘s gender at first sight, whether they fit into your idea of the binary or not. X is no different.
  3. Don’t worry. It doesn’t matter. Honestly. In most situations, gender is totally irrelevent. If you don’t know X, gender may well be made clear during introductions and if not it’s not that important. If you get a pronoun wrong, apologise, remember the preferred one, and move on. If you do know X, chances are you’ve either been told or are in a position to ask.
  4. Don’t ask unnecessarily. Sometimes you seriously don’t need to know. Situations like these are when you’ve seen X on the other side of the road, going the other way. Or are passing X in the shop. If you’re never likely to have to talk to or about X, there’s no need to ask. However, if you are going to be more closely acquainted with X, by all means ask, but…
  5. Don’t be too loud about it. Asking is always the best, if you’re not told, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to walk up to someone and say, ‘What gender are you?’ at the top of your voice. You take X aside and say in a quiet voice, ‘Excuse me, I apologise if this is intrusive; would you be comfortable telling me what your gender/pronoun is, since I’d rather not get it wrong and make a dangerous mistake,’ or something along those lines. Do so in a non-threatening way – don’t stand between X and a way out of the conversation if X desires it. If X turns out to be cis and binary and takes offense, don’t put yourself in danger. There are some cis binary folks who can be quite aggressive when their privilege is called into question. Leave the situation, find a friend, stress that you were trying to be considerate, stand close to authority figures.
  6. Don’t mess up. Once you know X’s gender/s/non-gender/s and pronouns, remember them. If you slip, apologise and move on. Respect X’s self-knowledge. If X has chosen not to tell you, respect that as well.
  7. Don’t comment on genitalia. Ever. Unless you’re dating with an eye to a sexual relationship, and even then you should wait for X to be comfortable talking about X’s genitalia.
  8. Don’t ridicule, Other or police X’s self-expression. See the first point.

I have probably missed many things out, but it covers quite a few of the gross breaches of human decency I’ve come across myself. I’ve seen a lot of these tropes happen, mainly to myself, and read about all of them happening to other people. Ignoring these basic points leads to a lot of really shitty situations, including my acquaintance’s little story above.

At least I’m pretty sure he’s not seeing me as binary… I just wish he’d learn that I’m not an isolated case and that he needs to apply the principles he uses to deal with me respectfully to others.

Quick personal post – TW for discussion of hatred of non-heterosexuals.

So, yonks ago, this happened. This girl, who states openly that she is a homophobe, is in my psychology class. I keep getting put in a group with her. This makes me extremely uncomfortable for obvious reasons – I am non-heterosexual, hatred of non-heterosexuals is likely to coincide with hatred of non-cis folks, I am non-cis. There are ridiculous numbers of rumours about my sexuality going around, I don’t know what she’s heard, I don’t know what she believes, I don’t know whether she’s stumbled upon the truth from the many people I am out to.

I said to myself that I would keep my head down and hope that the teachers didn’t group me with her for group work, and that if they did I would do something about it. It’s happened twice now in quick succession. I have the email addresses of my teachers. I want to email them asking them politely to not group me with her.

However, there are problems. Do I tell them why, out myself to people in a position of authority over me? Do I not tell them why and risk them thinking me a petty feuder? What will happen if I send them? They’ve known her for years, me for months. She seems to be a bit of a favourite pupil, and while I’m not an unfavourite I’m still an unknown quantity. What if either of the teachers are heterosexist? I know one of them is cissexist, since she managed to trigger me her very first lesson, so that doesn’t bode well. What if they want to speak to her about it?

This is literally just a personal ramble, putting down into the void of the internet my feelings around the issue. I have no idea what I’m going to do. I might send an email to my favourite of the teachers and ask her to sensitively explain it to the others…

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Yay for a day devoted to consumer capitalist expressions of lurrrve… (heterosexual of course). Or rather, boo. Valentine’s Day, how do I hate thee, let me count the ways.

Firstly, well done for marketing the day as a day for everyone who isn’t part of a happy couple to sit in front of a TV crying. I’m noticing this among het cis female friends particularly – they’re using Valentine’s Day as an excuse to shame themselves for their looks, their weight and their personalities that somehow have prevented them finding a boyfriend, going off into the ‘forever alone’ idea. This discomforts me – I hate to hear people putting themselves down, especially in the kyriarchal, fat-shaming, heteronormative, misogynist, slut-shaming language they’re using. This is for anyone who is blaming themselves for the lack of companionship they desperately want;

You are worthy. No matter where you fit in our defective beauty standard, or our defective intelligence standard, or our defective gender standards, or our defective standards of worth; you are worthy. You are worth celebrating. If you want a companion and you are going to conduct that relationship in a respectful, consensual, enjoyable way, then you are worthy of one. And you don’t need to use the language that marginalises you, that puts you and others down. Leave the oppressive language.

Secondly, not everyone is heterosexual. Not everyone is binary. Not everyone is monogamous. Outside of the internet, I have never come across any Valentine’s Day paraphernalia that acknowledges the existence of non-heterosexual folks. Seriously, Valentine’s Day, our love is just as worth celebrating as any other. Implying otherwise reinforces the heterosexist dialogue surrounding romance, the heterosexist dialogue that entwines itself in our lives from ridiculously early ages and poisons our youth’s minds. As for folks outside of the binary, we get relegated to our normal position in society – not existing! Isn’t it fun? And the same for polyamorous folks – polyamory doesn’t exist either! This is for everyone made invisible by the Valentine’s Day dialogue;

If you love, and you love consensually, respectfully and enjoyably, then your love is beautiful and worthy of celebration. No matter how many people are in your relationship or what gender/s/non-gender/s they have. No matter how you conduct your relationship. The erasure is wrong; a day for lovers includes you too. You too are a part of the rainbow of humanity.

Thirdly, not everyone wants a relationship. Relationships aren’t any kind of compulsory life step. They’re just one branch of the river that is life, and some of us will go down it, others will head off elsewhere. It’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t make us freaks for not wanting it. This is for everyone who shakes their head in bafflement at all this stuff;

Don’t worry. You’re not a freak for not wanting what our entire culture says that you should want as a part of a normal life course. You’re another manifestation of the beautiful diversity of the human experience, and you are worthy because of it.

Fourthly, sexism. Gender essentialism. Guys can’t buy bras! Girls, don’t get too soppy! Guys, humour her! Girls, buy new underwear for your man! You should be having sex tonight, dammit, it’s Valentine’s Day, damn what you actually want! Shut the hell up, advertisers, writers, anyone talking about this in these terms. You’re adding to a creepy, misogynistic, binarist, cissexist, heterosexist culture, and that’s not good.

Fifthly, COMMERCIALISM! CAPITALISM! CONSUMERISM! We’re meant to become zombies to red-packaged, overpriced trinkets that are supposed to symbolise love, in all its weirdness and diversity and complexity. Talk about reductionism. You will consume, the media repeats, and we fall for it because we think that love is expressed by the box of chocolates when it is really the person handing over the box of chocolates that is expressing love. But then, in a capitalist culture, it makes sense to conceptualise love as something that involves spending loads of money on someone. Look, it says, I’m willing to spend the fruits of my slavery to capitalism on you. This is how much I love you.

Sigh. Comrades, if you want to do things on Valentine’s Day, do it and enjoy it. Just be prepared for the inflated prices. But remember, it’s really just another day. There’s nothing you can do on Valentine’s Day that you couldn’t do any other day of the year. The media Valentine’s Day machine is harmful, so do your own thing on your own terms. And remember to honour yourself and others, respectfully, consensually, enjoyably.

Trigger warning for sexual harassment and apologism.

Just had the joy of listening to my mother rant for half an hour about today’s society and how we’ve all become ‘namby-pamby,’ because of the ‘nanny state.’ Oh, and sexual harassment. I hate these conversations. It started when I mentioned my earlier joy of sitting on a table with a bunch of peers in a ‘discussion’ of airbrushing, listening to the women saying, ‘I’d like to be airbrushed,’ and the men saying, ‘Doesn’t affect me, I’m not stupid.’ And then… my mother got onto her soapbox about the lack of robustness in today’s society, especially with regard to sexual harassment. So because I’m too passive-aggressive/anxious about our relationship/mindful of the cracks in it to say all this to her face, I’m going to deconstruct her arguments online.

‘I gave as good as I got.’ But why should you have got in the first place? Yes, it’s nice that you had a coping mechanism, but not everyone can do that – and why the hell should you have had to? You were in an environment where it was normal, so you learned to cope in a way you thought was normal. That doesn’t make the sexual harassment right.

‘These days, there’s no joking in workplaces and all the cameraderie is gone because people can’t take a joke!’ Erm – sexual harassment is a joke? WAIT NO. A JOKE IS FUNNY. SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS NEVER FUNNY. Sexual harassment promotes cameraderie? Well, this is a patriarchal kyriarchy, Mother, so yes – but that doesn’t make it right. And also, a lot of things have changed now. Consumer capitalism is a few stages further on. We’re all expendable servants of the machine, so that does tend to lower morale. Besides that, no joking? What, so it’s impossible to joke about things that aren’t sexual harassment? WAIT NO. There’s plenty of things that are ACTUALLY FUNNY and that don’t involve SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

‘There will always be creeps.’ There will always be creeps in a patriarchal kyriarchy. We don’t know about the post-kyriarchy because GUESS WHAT, people like you are ACTIVELY HINDERING the process of demolishing it.

‘There’s nothing wrong with a bit of joshing between consenting adults.’ Well, yeah. I agree with you. Personal autonomy, consent… yeah, if people want to say stuff like that to each other and make sure consent is enthusiastic and informed, fine. But do people go around saying, ‘Are you okay with me making comments and passes of a sexual nature that will be crude and possibly cruel?’ NO. They don’t. So it’s NOT between consenting adults because consent means KNOWING WHAT’S GOING ON AND SAYING ‘YES!’ TO IT. And consent would mean that it wouldn’t be harassment, either, because harassment is definitely not consensual. Someone being harassed may ‘josh’ back because that’s literally the only solution that doesn’t involve losing the job. Seriously, if you think that’s consent, that’s fucking terrifying.

Sometimes I really can’t stand my mother. I like her as long as we stay away from politics and social justice as topics of conversation, but if we start talking about that I get incoherent rage attack and just sit there digging my fingernails into my hands and wanting to leave. She’s sizeist, cissexist, binarist, classist, sexist and ableist at the least. This is why I can’t fucking talk to her about who I am. I’m just so glad I managed to escape those attitudes.

I… have been making this list for a while, although it’s still very incomplete. However, I decided to post it in response to a close family member’s total fail. It starts out fairly general, then gets specific to my own situation. It’s a list of things that will get someone blacklisted as a person not to be trusted if I hear or hear about them. Generally I just note them in my own head, but I’ve been trying to get them down on paper computer.

If you do one or more of the following;

(more…)

So we get to keep a lovely high VAT rate, but the rich will get their taxes cut again? Oh lovely. Thanks, Dave, George. You’re really dedicated, aren’t you? To your own fortune, that is…

This is a terrible thing to happen; a Democrat Congresswoman in Arizona and many others were shot by a gunman during a ‘Congress on Your Corner’ event to communicate directly with voters. Several are now dead, including a nine-year-old child. It’s thought that the shooting may be linked to a culture of violence among certain factions in America’s right, fostered by the violent rhetoric of some Republican leaders such as Sarah Palin. The shooter has been identified as a young cis white man, who will no doubt be painted as a fringe element where people with less privilege, especially people of colour, would have been taken as a representative of their group.

And more evidence of the tuition fees plans falling apart. Really, I can’t see any reason for continuing with them, except bloody-mindedness and Tory ideology, frankly.

I appear to be almost incapable of telling my family important things, and I’m wondering whether this stems from when I was getting picked on in primary school and I was told to stop being a soft target. That’s when I can trace my discomfort talking about my own feelings from, anyway, it may be where my problems talking about things with family comes from as well.

Trigger warning for cissexism, binarism, transphobia and discussion of transphobic(/homophobic) violence.

So, a friend of mine’s been bleating about how hard it is for her to get used to my new name (which I changed yonks ago…) and how nobody cares that I’m agender…

Of course nobody cares (we’re talking in meatspace here). That’s because nobody acknowledges it as a possibility. Nobody cared that I was agender when they told me I was my assigned gender. Nobody cared that I was agender when I told them to stop using The Name That Shall Not Be Spoken and they didn’t. Nobody cared that I was agender when they insisted on me using gendered public toilets. Nobody cared that I was agender when they assigned me a gender at birth and tried to force me into it, in thought, word and deed. Nobody cared that I was agender when they objected to the way I dressed and used my body. Nobody ever cared.

And then when I told them they had to start caring, because like it or not I was this way, suddenly they cared enough to try to stop me. They cared enough to tell me I was just bizarre. They cared enough to tell me I was hurting myself with this delusion. They cared enough to wish not to know. They cared enough to try to force me back into my assigned gender.

If I’d never told anyone, nobody would have cared. Binary, cis gender is a custom more honoured in the breach than the observance. Nobody cares that I am because nobody believes that I am. They care that I am not like them, not that I am what I am. And so often, violence greater than I have ever known is inflicted upon trans and non-cis people – because people do not care for what we are (people; worthy, awesome, wonderful people), but for what we are not (cis, binary gendered, gender normative people).

And it’s hard for you, J.? It’s really that hard for you? It’s harder than coming out is, is it? It’s harder than explaining my name change, is it? It’s harder than dealing with people’s cissexism, binarism, transphobia and homophobia, is it? It’s harder than never being acknowledged to exist, is it? It’s harder than looking at everyone, wondering if someone will hurt me because I don’t conform, is it? It’s harder than hearing about people similar to me being killed, devalued, demeaned, raped, injured, denied their human rights, is it? It’s harder than knowing I’m vulnerable to that kind of thing too, is it?

No. It’s not. Quit trying to cissplain at me. And don’t laugh at my need not to be known as my assigned sex. It’s not a laughing matter. It’s a fucking crying matter, because due to people just like you, it’s not gonna happen. I made it as easy as I could on you. I didn’t demand a pronoun change (although it makes me cringe every time I hear the wrong pronoun). I don’t go to you for support and a shoulder to cry on over my issues, even though I should do because I need the help. I’ve never gone apeshit on your ass over the name thing. I’ve never gone apeshit on your ass over your cissexist, binarist bullshit either, for that matter, but one more time and I fucking well will.

Oh, the cissexist tropes. How you make me miserable. I just wish there was a hope in hell that you’d read this, J.

Anybody raising a child has to be cognisant of the fact that there is a very real possibility that that child could be non-cis. Anyone, anywhere, anytime. Sadly, all too many don’t. This is vital. Anyone who comes into contact with children or intends to do so (or doesn’t) needs to read that post. Children are incredibly vulnerable to subtle signals, and the signals sent out by most parents about gender mess most kids up. Non-cis children suffer the most, but even though it is their existence being privileged, cis children suffer through being constrained, not being allowed to explore – and childhood is a time when nothing is certain, nothing should be written in stone.

I was raised in a manner consistent with a non-normative person of my assigned gender. It was never acknowledged that I could be anything else. It still isn’t, actually, even though I’ve been out to my parents for a while now. The messages I got were more positive than some – for example, it was made exceptionally clear to me that me turning out to be homosexual would be embraced by my family. But turning out not to be cis? Never even thought of. Mind you, I’m really not sure my parents knew anything about trans people before I came out.

I’d love to send Dreki’s post to my parents. Unfortunately, most privileged people don’t react well to having their privilege called out, even though as Dreki says parents are the ones that need to have their problematic attitudes called out the most. They hold the well-being of our next generation in their hands, after all, and we’d really rather they didn’t mess any more of us up. Which is why I content myself by posting the link and hoping that someone else’s parents or prospective parents read it, and save another child from misery.

This isn’t a licence to go over to Dreki’s space and spout cissupremacist bullshit. Nothing gives you a right to do that. I doubt that most people who read this blog are inclined to do so, but this is the internet. If you don’t like, your first thought should not be to attack. If you feel put on the defensive over it, close the window and have a cup of tea or a nap, then think about it some more. Don’t react in a stew of defensiveness, because you will regret it; if you go on the defensive, you’re almost certainly not thinking about it. Cissupremacy hurts all of us, and it starts with children. It hurts them and warps them into hatred. No-one should want that for anyone. In the long run, acknowledging that some children will turn out non-cis will do everyone good.

Eventually I would love to see a world in which children are never assigned a gender, where they feel free to explore and to find their own gender/s or lack of in their own time. Until then, we will have to work towards it by emphasising that cisness is not the only option.

The paradox of the massive cutting by the Government and their idea of the ‘Big Society’ is pointed out to the Government. Maybe they’ll actually listen when it’s their pet idea at stake and someone who they like saying it. The key word in that sentence is maybe, with a pessimistic inflection on it.

Yesterday I read an article about a couple, one of whom lives in France. His parents are trying to use a Napoleonic law that allows parents to challenge their offspring’s marriage even if said offspring is a legal adult to try to prevent them marrying. Why? His fiancée is Chinese, and they think she’s only marrying him for the Visa. Talk about bloody xenophobia. This is the stereotype of all people of other countries, especially women, especially from Eastern countries, as prepared to marry anyone just to be allowed to immigrate, a stereotype that rejects out of hand the idea that there could possibly be mutual cross-cultural love and reveals a degree of nationalism. Also – they’re both adults. No Napoleonic law should be able to change that – why is it even still on the books? If they want to marry each other, they are, as my grandmother would say, big enough and ugly enough to make that choice. No matter the reasons for the marriage. Comes down to autonomy 101.

Stating the obvious here; unemployment is linked to mental health problems and Wales has been hit particularly hard by this because Wales has been particularly hard-hit by unemployment. I have massive privilege in this respect as I am comfortably in education; that doesn’t mean I can ignore the issue. Neet status (Not in Employment, Education or Training) in youth often has a massive impact on future prospects; the longer people are out of work, the longer they are likely to stay out of work, and this effect is particularly pronounced in young people. Young people who didn’t ask to be coming into adulthood through a recession and savage Governmental cuts.

Trigger warning for self-harm and violent metaphor.

Anger is a hard emotion. It can lead to a person doing something they’d never normally do, can lead to inappropriate actions/words, can lead to succumbing to social norms in an effort to get the point across. It can be ugly, destructive, self-harming. It can hurt and hinder.

It is also valuable. Anger, properly managed, directed and used, is effective. It works. Anger is a motivation, a spur to actually tackle an issue rather than letting it slide. Anger is a wake-up call; if you see someone who is angry, you wonder why they’re angry and then maybe you open your eyes and you join them. Anger can even be beautiful.

And we have a right to our anger. When someone treads on us, we have a right to be angry at them. We do not have a right to physically retaliate, but we have a right to safely and constructively express our anger.

Not expressing anger can hurt even more than the original pain that spawned the anger. If it is suppressed, it can boil inside, searing away beneath the bones of our existence and eating into our deepest selves. I have done that. I bear the scars, the scars that resulted from a poisonous brew of hiding, of pretending, of denying and of suppressing negative emotions.

Some of us are trained not to express anger by the kyriarchy. We are told that our anger harms our cause. We are told that we become less sympathetic when we are angry. We are told that we have no right to be angry, because no travesty has occurred. We are told this from an early age, and many of us internalise those messages. Some of us manifest anger destructively, either because that is how we have been trained or because we are reacting against the messages we received earlier. Kyriarchy does not allow for constructive outrage. It runs on destructive rage expressed by those it elevates and suppressed rage from those it denigrates. For the elevated, destructive rage serves to intimidate those they stand on the shoulders of into compliance. For the marginalised, we are not supposed to express our anger because our anger is dangerous.

Our anger is dangerous. The kyriarchy fears our anger. It fears it so much that it tries to train us to deny it.

No more. Every time a person realises the machinations of kyriarchy and its effects, every time a person allows themself that anger at the sheer injustice of it, we become more powerful. It happens often, but not nearly often enough. Once that realisation has been gained, the kyriarchy tries to make the person suppress it again. The person battles through kyriarchal shit every day, every time they try to do something; thus the kyriarchy tries to intimidate us. But we will not be intimidated.

We will not be intimidated. We stand together, united in our strength. The kyriarchy tries to divide us. Sometimes it succeeds – but there are always enough of us standing there to prove that we will never go away. We will never go away, until the kyriarchy must blink and slinks away, to be shunned by all people for ever more.

We are powerful. Sometimes, the slings and arrows the kyriarchy sends us become too much – for some of us. The wounded retreat behind the battle lines to the meagre protection we can offer, but we are still there and still fighting. We, the whole, the many.