It’s Foolish to Think of the Saving of Obamacare is a Victory

Many Democrats are celebrating the defeat of the Republican’s attempt to “repeal and replace” Obamacare this morning. What the hell are Americans celebrating?

I’m an American ex-pat working for the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. I’ve been a health care provider in the US system for 29 years before coming to the UK. If you’re a citizen here, you get free healthcare at the point of service. It’s true that your hospital may not have:

hospitals
  • a football field
  • a swimming pool
  • a basketball court
  • a grand piano

But you do get good quality health care.  That’s my opinion as a provider and as a patient.

hospitalstay

But that’s not just my opinion, it’s a fact. Health care in the UK costs less and has better outcomes than in the USA.

You’ll have US politicians speaking out of both sides of their mouths. They’ll stand there flag waving, saying America is the greatest country in the world, while saying America can’t afford to do what the rest of the civilised world already provides for its citizens. They’ll say this while spending more on defence than China, South Korea, Italy, Germany, Japan, France, India, Iraq, Australia, Brazil, Israel, and the United Kingdom combined (and Donald Trump wants to spend 54 billion dollars more).

If you’re an American citizen, do you feel safer? Since September 11, 2001, the United States has spent 4.79 TRILLION dollars on two wars and the so-called “battle on Islamic terrorism.” Do you feel like the world is a safer place making that kind of investment?

If you’re celebrating Obamacare, you’re like this guy:

nobike

He might be happy that he’s got a car to drive, but he’s still driving a clunker.

Now that’s not to say say that the NHS is perfect. It’s underfunded and stressed, but what do the people being served by it fear? They fear the NHS becoming something that mirrors the US health care system.

I understand why people are relieved that the health care they have now won’t be taken away, but celebrate. Being screwed over a little less is no reason to celebrate. This should be a wake-up call, not a party.

Thinking About Safe Spaces, Dawkins, and Intersection of Privilege and Atheism

The genesis of this post is from a comment I left on The Thinking Atheist Podcast page. The host, Seth Andrews, invited various people on his podcast to talk about “Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces.” One of the guests was Bill Ligertwood, a conference organizer with the Imagine No Religion conference

So here’s where I come from. I’m a white trans woman. I’m middle class. I went to college before transition and have a decent life making decent money. I don’t worry for much in terms of material things. I lived and grew up in mainly white culture (my grandfather was a Klansman). I never met another transgender person (the opposite of transgender is cisgender) until after I transitioned. Being a trans woman, I was male-identified at birth. Up to the point of transition, I’d been enmeshed in men’s culture. Positionally in terms of socialisation, I was seen as a member of “white cis bro culture.”

Living in Indiana, I was one of those “libertarian” Republicans that believed life was a level playing field and that if you just applied yourself, you’d succeed. This wasn’t a belief I had tested or reasoned; it was just a feeling I had. Back then, talk of privilege wasn’t commonplace in my circle of friends. I certainly didn’t spend any of my time thinking about it. When I transitioned, I lost cisgender, heterosexual and male privilege and had to actually confront the loss of something I didn’t think existed.

So when I’m talking about “white cis bro culture”, it’s essentially a discussion about white, cisgender, heterosexual, male privilege. It’s not just displayed at atheist conferences but in the atheist community as a whole.

The last atheist conference I attended was the Secular Women‘s conference, but I stay way away from conferences for the most part because they are rife with white cis-het bro culture.

I don’t go to conferences that invite Michael Shermer, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, or Lawrence Krauss as guests. Not because I have a problem with their scepticism, but a problem with their displays (Shermer, Dawkins, Krauss, Harris) of sexism/misogyny/islamophobia.

From the interview:

Andrews: “You wanted to weigh in on this because you have an opinion, a perspective. You approached me and said ‘I want to talk about the challenges that I’m facing in this culture when it comes to conference organisation.’ You’re finding it harder to do what you do, in what you might call an ‘offence culture.” A ‘taking offence’ culture. You want to flesh that out for me?”

Ligertwood: “Yea, sure. Well, we’re talking about safe spaces, and what we’re trying to do, obviously, at a conference is create one. We’re trying to create a safe space for people of our persuasion. In other words, unbelievers, atheists, what have you, a place where they can come and not be worried about someone finding out, ot worried about someone that’s going to take a strip off them because they’re not believers. So that’s, first of all that’s what I think we’re trying to do. What makes that really difficult now is that it doesn’t seem to take much to make it is that actually quite safe, unsafe just because somebody takes offence to something that one of the speakers said once in a tweet or whatever, years ago, months ago, days ago, hours ago, it doesn’t really matter. It just seems like people take offence to almost anything these days and it seems like once you go off the path, once you go stray from the dogma, which is what I thought we were all interested in doing, is straying from the dogma. But once you stray from this new dogma, you’re in the out group. People will boycott our event. People will boycott anything you’re at are because you said something or someone said something about you and it’s instantly, yeah, the safe spaces isn’t safe anymore, so people won’t come.”

Taking that apart, I read that as:

“Just because Dawkins made sexist comments with ‘Muslima,’ people shouldn’t boycott our conference if we invite him.”

First off, a boycott is a form of free speech. Secondly, dogma is misused here by Ligertwood. According to Merriam-Webster, dogma is:

  • 1. a : something held as an established opinion; especially : a definite authoritative tenet b : a code of such tenets c : a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds

  • 2. a doctrine or body of doctrines concerning faith or morals formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church

It seems like Ligertwood is using 1a and c in reference to his point. Fleshing that out in the context of Dawkin’s Muslima comments makes no sense. What is the dogma here? Is it the “new dogma” to acknowledge sexist tweets of thought leaders in the atheist/sceptic movement?

There’s an underlying message that Dawkins is a magic man with knowledge so unique, it can only be gained by listening to him. That may have been true in 1975, but it isn’t now. I’ve stated before that there seems to be a Jekyll and Hyde side to Dawkins. Attendance at a conference (or buying of a book of his, for that matter) supports both his Jekyll and his Hyde. There’s the brilliant evolutionary biologist who wrote “The Selfish Gene.” But then there’s the crotchety old grandpa who will tell you that sexism isn’t that bad because Muslim women in Saudi Arabia can’t drive or that “mild paedophilia” isn’t harmful.

I don’t buy cakes from bakers who won’t make wedding cakes for gay men for the same reason (no matter how delicious they are). That isn’t a rejection of the baker’s confectionary skill, but their bigotry. There are plenty of other “bakers” in the atheist community that are not sexist that I can (and do) give my time/audience with/money to.

Ligertwood seems to be angry that people will “boycott” his conference because of “tweets.” He seems angry that another person’s free speech (boycott) will make his job of conference organizing harder. Given that conferences generally cost to attend and are not mandatory, I’m not sure where his beef is with me exercising my own free will over my own pocketbook. Yes, I’m an atheist, but I value my own time, talent, and treasure enough to take it to places and spaces that value me. Mr Ligertwood won’t have to worry about catering to me for his conference. I’ll stick with listening to my favourite atheist podcasts (The Thinking Atheist, The Atheist Experience), reading Greta Christina, and supporting people involved with Secular Women. That’s as far as I’ll dip my toes in the atheist community because I don’t have to do any more than that. Support isn’t something atheist communities or conferences are owed.

Atheists are a marginalised community, even though it’s hard for many cis white men to comprehend. The only thing I can work out with Ligertwood is that his frustration might stem from his own privilege. There is such a thing as “Christian privilege“, and those things impact atheist’s lives.  The truth is hard for white cisgender men who have never had to face up and acknowledge their own privilege in other areas. Would Ligertwood be against atheists who refuse to shop at Hobby Lobby or eat Chick-fil-A? Boycotts are a powerful change agent. But Ligertwood’s words seem to express that old saying that “when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

Bernie or Meh, The Clinton Path to Defeat

I’ll say it up front, I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter that:

  • thinks Sanders has a very narrow path to the nomination (almost impossible).
  • will vote for Clinton if she’s the nominee.
  • thinks Democrats and the Clinton campaign are setting themselves up for a massive defeat in the fall.

The Democratic Party seems to want to have a fight with Bernie Sanders. Today’s post from the Hill:

Bernie’s not a Democrat. What are we worried about? Why would Bernie want to play nice?” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). “I’m just saying if a person doesn’t even want to conform to be Democratic, it’s kind of hard to say, ‘OK, all of a sudden you have to do all these things.’ ”

Sanders isn’t a Democrat? Huh. I guess then they didn’t count him as a Democrat from 2008-2010? He wasn’t a Democrat when Obamacare passed by 1 vote? The reality of this election cycle is that to win, Hillary Clinton supporters need Sanders supporters. Sanders may not be a Democrat, but a very large portion of HIS SUPPORTERS ARE.

There are no super-delegates in the November general election. Clinton my be on the verge of clinching the nomination of the Democratic Party, but she may also be heading for a massive defeat in the fall.

Trump could just rerun Obama’s 2008 ad:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGqD8-a-REQ]

The ad said:

“The Washington Post says Clinton isn’t telling the truth. […]

“But it was Hillary Clinton, in an interview with Tom Brokaw, who quote ‘paid tribute’ to Ronald Reagan’s economic and foreign policy. She championed NAFTA –- even though it has cost South Carolina thousands of jobs. And worst of all, it was Hillary Clinton who voted for George Bush’s war in Iraq.

“Hillary Clinton. She’ll say anything, and change nothing. It’s time to turn the page. Paid for by Obama for America.”

Since 1994 Ohio has lost 320,000 manufacturing jobs since NAFTA was enacted. You can argue whether or not those job losses were from NAFTA, but what I don’t think is arguable is how effective a talking point it is in states that have been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs.

If Trump keeps hammering Clinton on her support of NAFTA and the Iraq War, while stoking anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment, he has a very good shot at becoming the next President of the United States.

Clinton and the Democratic establishment aren’t going to win over Sanders voters by falsely labeling them as violent. They won’t win Sanders voters over by painting Sanders as a lonely outsider, effectively aligning his voters out in the cold with him. Say 2/3 of Sanders voters do vote for Clinton, and most Republicans vote for Trump? Trump would win Pennsylvania and Ohio. Clinton’s ahead in the polls in Florida by 1 percentage point.  I have a  question for establishment Democrats. How’d that whole letting Florida decide the election in 2000 work out for you?
 

Iain Lee, Tabloid Media, and What Racism Means

If you follow me on social media or on this blog,  you’ll know I’m a fan of talk radio. I found a new talk show network forming in the UK called TalkRadio, so I gave their shows a listen. One of the shows in particular caught my ear. Iain Lee hosts a show on the network that I’ve come to really enjoy listening to. I even sent him an email telling him (and have told his producer in tweets) on how much I like the show. Lee seems  to be a very honest host that really puts his heart and vulnerability into his show/art.

The last few days Lee has been under attack by British media for supposedly being racist. Lee was on a game show (for charity) and this happened:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdX1DLZzYyg]

Lee defended himself quite well on Monday’s show (May 2, 2016), saying that he thought the girls where in a corner-shop and it was nothing more than that.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxQvndPbLEk?t=931]

On Tuesday night’s show, a caller phoned in to engage with Lee concerning what is referred to as casual racism. I found his treatment of this caller to be rude, and dismissive. He wouldn’t let the caller get his point across, and even used the dictionary argument.  Going on a radio show as a caller always puts the the caller at a disadvantage. The radio presenter always has control over the call and the conversation, and I felt Lee was harsh and refused to listen to what the caller was saying.

Casual racism isn’t always something the person engaging in it even knows they’re doing. Everyone has implicit biases, and sometimes those biases cause us to engage in behavior that we’re not even aware of. He posted after the show on Twitter that the earlier caller had made the observation that black people can’t be racist:

Actual tweets at Storify

FireShot Capture 46 - Editing 'Iain Lee Show _ - https___editor.storify.com_57294eca936b6de4593cf642

The natural response when being called out on pretty much anything in life is a reflexive denial. White people (cisgender heterosexual males) especially don’t like being called racist. Even overt racists don’t think or say they’re racist. But I wasn’t even SAYING Lee is a racist. I was critical of his treatment of someone that was trying to explain casual racism to him.  By criticizing him for his rude treatment of a caller, supporters of Lee have accused me of cyber-bullying.

FireShot Capture 47 - Editing 'Iain Lee Show _ - https___editor.storify.com_57294eca936b6de4593cf642

Even though as soon as Lee asked me to stop tweeting him, I did, I’m a bully. I do understand how difficult it is for white people to hear something they said or did might be racist. I learned this the hard way. I wrote a blog post  in which I typed out the “N” word fully. Soon after I was taken to task by people of colour. I had to listen, because as a white person myself, I’m not the arbiter of what is, or is not,  racist.

For many white people being called racist is something akin to being called a child abuser or a rapist in terms of the public shame. Casual racism isn’t using the N word or lynching someone, it’s a hell of a lot more subtle than that. My issue wasn’t with Lee’s game show performance, but his dismissal and rude treatment of someone that called him on his privilege or the possibility that he MIGHT have been casually racist. As a friend of mine said of Lee’s reaction, it’s as if someone stepped on your foot and the following conversation ensued:

Me: “Excuse me, I believe you just stepped on my foot.”
Them: “ARE YOU CALLING ME A CLUMSY MONSTER??”
Them: “ARE YOU SAYING NOBODY EVER STEPPED ON MY FOOT??”
Them: “IT’S CROWDED GET OVER IT!”
Me: “But you’re still standing on my foot.”

Regardless, I wish nothing but the best for Lee. Lee stated that he has blocked me because he’s struggling with depression. I hope he feels better soon.

 

 

James O’Brien on Jeremy Corbyn: “I Believe in Faeries”

Listening to the podcast of the Thursday edition of LBC’s James O’Brien’s radio show, I was surprised that he’d admit that he might be wrong about The Labour Party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Previously he’d said that Corbyn supporters were akin to people who “believed in faeries.”  He’s repeatedly said that Corbynites were not pragmatic, that Corbyn isn’t electable, and the end of the Labour Party was near if he wasn’t put down.

Then came the Oldham West and Royton by-election on Thursday (December 3rd, 2015):

_87033653_oldham_vote_624

Now O’Brien is starting to ask if all the media is wrong about Corbyn.

I don’t think that the British public has had a change of heart since the national election in May. Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership mandate because people are looking for an opposition party.  Corbyn voted against the Iraq War and he’s anti-austerity,

In the USA many people support Bernie Sanders, for the same reason that many people in the UK support Corbyn. Blair/Brown’s “New Labour”  party of the 00’s moved the Party to more centrist right corporatist party in the same way that “New Democrats” transformed the Democratic Party in the 90’s  in the USA.

It’s hard to tell if this revolution in politics will be sustained or win elections in the coming years, but as per normal the revolution will NOT be televised.

 

No My Bits Aren’t Your Business or Your Trans Advocacy

Recently I read the en(Gender) post,”Guest Author: Zoe Dolan, When Political Correctness Hits Below The Belt.” Helen Boyd states in an introduction to the piece:

Here’s a controversial piece from Zoe Dolan, lawyer, author, and friend, in a smart piece about why, when it cones to dating – amongst other things – talking about genital surgery is important.”

If this piece was a post strictly concerning intimacy and talking to a potential partner in frank terms about sex with a trans person, then I’d agree it was a “smart piece.” Unfortunately it does not stay within the boundaries of negotiating intimate relationships. The post opens up with:

The conversation goes like this:

Him: Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?

Me: Yes, I have a vagina. Yes, I have a clitoris, and also labia majora and labia minora. Yes, I feel sensation and I can have orgasms — both vaginal and clitoral. And yes, I self-lubricate; but who ever said no to a little coconut oil?

Him: Wow. That’s amazing. Thank you for being so open. I’ve been curious but afraid to ask.

First off, what’s the context of this hypothetical concersation? Dolan doesn’t give lay out a scenario in which the questions are asked. Is this man a potential lover that you’re on a date with? Is this question being asked by a co-worker that is “just curious?” The context matters.

Dolan continues, saying:

I’ve written before, and I maintain: my view is that there’s no shame in the human body. We all have one.

Nevertheless, a politically correct script of deflection dominates public discourse when it comes to sex change surgery. This condescension shames people into believing that questions arising out of natural curiosity are somehow overly intrusive, and that inquiring about the medical aspects of being transgender is wrong.

First of all, there’s an assertion underlying here that trans bodies are surgically created bodies. Dolan repeatedly conflates M2F transsexuality and transgenderism. Trans bodies can be surgically created, synthetically created through hormone therapy, or by winning the genetic lottery. Dolan is correct that there should be no shame in talking about the human body, but context matters because respecting a person’s body matters. Context matters because a right to personal privacy matters.

Recently I met this anonymous fella at a music show:

PicsArt_1440107060971

He told me that he thought trans women were women and he respected them. He then asked me if I’d had “the surgery.” I’d literally known this guy for minutes. He also informed me that I needed to smile more. I’m in a long term monogamous, committed relationship. I’d given him no signs that I was interested in him in any way. In this context, this man was being disrespectful.

I don’t and haven’t ever publicly stated the state of my genitals, because I don’t believe that’s something I personally feel the need to share or that should be up for public consumption. If you ask me about the state of my genitals when I’ve not expressed an interest in you, you’ve crossed a boundary and are being disrespectful. Some similar violations of privacy and personal boundaries/space without consent are:

  • Women that are visibly pregnant being “belly touched.”
  • White people touching an African American’s hair
  • People with physical disabilities being “helped” without being asked

Dolan states:

While the privacy that others may choose deserves respect, there is fallacy in the proposition that everyone should know better than to pursue understanding of a subject to which they have yet to be exposed.

After all, I myself had no idea what sex change surgeons were capable of these days until I asked and found out. So how can I hold regular people to a higher standard and expect them to know what I, as a transgender person, once did not?

Indignation exacerbates at least four problems created by muzzling discussion of sex change surgery. First, silencing talk about the procedure undermines its medical necessity for many of us who identify as transsexual. In the United States, we are now required, like anyone else, to carry medical insurance; yet, although more and more insurers are developing policies that cover transgender genital surgery, many have historically excluded coverage for an operation they deemed “cosmetic.” Tell that to a transgender person wincing every time they have to go to the bathroom, weeping at their body in the shower or the mirror or trying to explain their sex to a potential intimate partner. 

There’s no muzzling of discussions of sex change surgeries. If one is interested, they only need a web browser to educate themselves. I hate being so repetitive, but again it’s context of the inquiry that is disrespectful. Trans people should not be asked to educate cis-gender (not transgender) people, with their own bodies as the curriculum of that education.

Sorry, I’m not your trans101 sex education doll.

Millionaire Was Misgendered, I Was Triggered (From Martine Rothblatt to Me)

This morning I decided to watch a Ted Talk that featured Martine Rothblatt. Martine’s life story is incredible. The Washington Post said of her:

Let’s be clear: Martine Rothblatt is just plain more of a lawyer than anybody else in this town.

The 60-year-old grandmother and CEO of United Therapeutics, the Silver Spring-based biotech she founded to help save her younger daughter’s life, banked $38 million last year. It made her the nation’s highest-paid female executive. It also made her the nation’s highest-paid transgendered person, as she had sex reassignment surgery in 1994.

She is an amazing person, living an amazing life, doing amazing things. Yet someone that is interviewing her, who is in obvious awe of her and her accomplishments, misgenders her. No amount of wealth, prestige, or accomplishment stops this from happening.

I’m well past being triggered by being misgendered, but there was a time in my life that it would literally send me into a depression. Even though I’ve learned through Schema Therapy to deal with those triggers, it still has impact. At times it still feels like the person I see isn’t the person that everyone else does. At times being visibly trans still weighs on me.

As I said before, I don’t regret transitioning, but I understand it. Even when you’re a person of extreme wealth and privilege, being visibly or openly trans is a challenge. For once, that fact is oddly comforting.

WTF Comedy, Twitter Mobs, and the End to the Everlasting Podium

If you listened lately to people who have well established media outlets to speak from, pitchforks and torches are out of style. They would have you believe that the @ and # of Twitter are the new implements of mob justice.

Concerning the Twitter outrage over newly designated Daily Show Host, Trevor Noah, comedian Jim Norton said:

“[Noah] also neglected to take into account that Western culture as a whole has become an increasingly reactionary mob of self-centered narcissists who all have their own personal lines drawn in the sand. A comedian is fine unless he crosses their particular line, which, of course, in the mind of a self-centered narcissist, is the only line that matters.”

and

“I read the tweets he was ‘under fire’ for, and some were funny, some weren’t. The thread that connected them all for me is the embarrassment I feel for anyone claiming to be offended by them. They weren’t vicious or written to be harmful. And everyone reading them knows that. But knowing his tweets weren’t intended to be harmful isn’t important when people who list ‘victim’ as their occupation smell blood in the water. Because their outrage is a lie and their motives are transparent. They are simply using his tweets to get their dopamine drip.”

Comedians make a living off of outrage, mockery, and controversy. Oddly, It’s considered an outrage for comedians to be held to to account for their jokes or their words.

In an interview on WTF podcast Marc Maron said:

“That context of really following through with an earnest critique, or well founded intellectual critique, and following through with a reasonable discussion around the possibilities of the implications of what you’re saying is just fucking gone. So if you’re going to, you know, present it to the animals on Twitter, if you’re going to say “here’s some meat”, and expect anything different than a frenzy. And it’s a shame because the sort of time it takes to process and have a reasonable conversation about aesthetics or socio-political meaning, it’s very limited. It’s insulated. It’s not going to happen on Twitter, really. Twitter is all frenetic. And in those moments you don’t realize these are just idiots sitting at home. This is not some sort of structured debate on anything. And you’re dealing with a media platform that feeds on controversy.”

It’s not the comedians who say fat shaming, sexist, homophobic or transphobic jokes that are the problem. The problem, in their mind, is the common, stupid “animals” of Twitter who criticize. Never mind that it’s “just a joke” has been the justification bullies have used for centuries.

Additionally there’s an underlying suggestion that there are no boundaries to comedy. That just isn’t true. In the 1970’s it was acceptable to make ethnic or racial jokes:

Today it’s unheard of for someone to make jokes about someone outside of their own race or ethnic heritage. Ask Michael Richards what doing that in today’s comedic landscape will do to your standup career. Comedic boundaries change over time. The world isn’t humourless because of a lack of Polack jokes.

Zoe Tur, who’s recently taken the brunt of her own Twitter controversy, pointed Jamie Fox (via Twitter) to Damon Linker’s post, “The shameful shaming of Twitter’s digital mobs” at The Week:

Twitter is an ideal medium for mobs because it is so democratic. Countless thousands mulling about an agora of infinite expanse, each person given the same 140 characters with which to pronounce, denounce, show off, and shine in a glaring public spotlight. To begin with there are only one’s own followers. But there’s always the chance that a well-timed, sufficiently clever and cutting tweet will get retweeted by a follower with more and better-known followers, launching the comment into a wider circle of readers who might retweet it again, and again, and again.

According to Andy Warhol, everyone will get to enjoy 15 minutes of fame. On Twitter, everyone gets 15 seconds to ride a viral wave. It’s that promise of attention and approval that provokes so many to pounce the moment they see an easy target for humor, mockery, and abuse. It’s standard-issue one-upsmanship raised to the millionth power. If you run in left-wing circles, you’ll jump on something that offends the left. The same holds for the right, and for dozens of other political-ideological-cultural factions. It’s the world’s largest high school cafeteria, with every member of every clique vying to become the most popular kid in the group.

after Foxx made transphobic jokes at the expense of Bruce Jenner. Of course when Tur was criticised for her critical social commentary, Tur said of those who dared question her as:

“condemning any diversity of thought” and characterized their criticism as a “form of violence toward women.”

Tur, Maron, and Norton share one in common. They all have a well established media platforms to broadcast from. The democracy of Twitter is a threat to that podium. The only valid commentary seems to be one that has a lens that’s pointed out away from themselves.

Their outrage at the “outrage machine” would be comical if they weren’t trying to stifle criticism and debate. It shows an arrogance and lack of respect for their audience. After all, we’re “just idiots sitting at home.”

As ugly as Twitter can be at times, it’s still one of the best places for debate and critical analysis. Twitter’s 140 character limitation is only limiting discussion if your reading comprehension only goes one tweet deep.

If it’s true that Twitter can’t take a joke, social commentators like Tur, Maron, and Norton can’t take criticism pointed at them. Regardless of the cries from those of who swim in oceans of privilege and media access, Twitter and other social media commenters will continue to hold social commentators accountable for their commentary. We aren’t going to be silent and we aren’t going away.

Public Trials, Free Speech, and the Right to Name Your Rapist

Recently I was involved in a discussion with Twitter user @schnookiekins concerning people who publicly name people they say raped them. He supports Michael Nugent’s statement that:

“allegations of rape should be reported to the police, not to bloggers.”

as if it’s an either/or situation. I don’t know of a requirement that compels victims of rape, by the state, to report their perpetrators to the police. Many people have written about why victims don’t report rape, so I’ll leave that there (*smirk* though I do wonder why men don’t report domestic violence? *smirk*).

Shookienis writes:

(The %2 @schnookiekins is speaking of is the 2% to 8% rate of rape claims being false claims)

This is a very well worn argument that I’ve used in the past myself. It’s something I uttered when Sophia Banks took to Twitter to accuse Laurelai Bailey of rape. At the time I thought it was wrong for someone to accuse another person online, but my thoughts have evolved.

In reality, there’s no such thing as a “trial in the media” or a “trial on Twitter”. That line of reasoning is wrapped up in a logical fallacy (Black/White fallacy).

A trial is a legal proceeding that judges a person’s guilt or innocence. A public accusation on Twitter isn’t a legal proceeding, it’s a public statement. Being that it’s not a legal statement (but can be used later in legal proceedings), unless it’s illegal speech (libelous speech), the accusation can be (both ethically and legally) made. If it is illegal speech (defamation cases are civil, not criminal law), the accused does have legal recourse. But the burden of proof for a civil case is MUCH LOWER than a criminal case.

If it isn’t illegal speech, the victim has a free speech right to publicly accuse their accuser in any public forum they which they deem appropriate.

As a bystander, I don’t have to have an opinion concerning the the validity of the claim to support it being made. I can also support the accused in following through on a libel claim.

Am I missing something?

Am I wrong here?

Trans Women Who Want To Destroy Gender

I have to admit, self identified trans women who want to have a “world without gender” really do confuse me. Below is one such transwoman:PicsArt_1421276786852

If there is no gender, how can one identify themselves as trans anything? And if you do and you see sex as an unmovable binary, it would seem to me that you’d have to say that you’re a male trans woman. If you say that, aren’t you implying that gender and sex are different and that “woman” is your gender identity? Even if you claim there’s a difference because you spell it differently (“transwoman@, not “trans woman”), how is that not appropriation?

When people say they want to “destroy gender”, the same question that Cristan asked keeps popping into my head:

abolish-gender-terfs

What does abolishing gender look like? Does it look like this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSnbGf17_Hg&feature=youtu.be&t=14m47s

Again, how does that work? Realistically, how does one sit in a chair made of plastic, speaking into a microphone made from metal and plastic, serve up images on a plastic and metal computer, and look out of glasses made of plastic, while demonising it? How does one say abolish gender, while calling themselves a transwoman? What am I missing?

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