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Pie and Moral Purity

syrens:

Worth a read. (And it talks about baked goods!)

Originally posted on Pie It Forward:

((This is the text of the speech I was planning on giving at Ignite Ann Arbor on Friday, November 7th. Due to a conflict, I had to cancel my appearance, but I wanted to share the speech regardless.))

For 2 years I’ve been giving away free pie, mostly to people but also to the occasional dinosaur.

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The whole idea is that I made the pie, but I needed countless people to plant fruit trees, harvest wheat, churn butter, drive produce trucks, and install electricity in my house first, so how can I claim that the finished product is 100% my effort and 100% mine to hoard to myself? It’s not.

pie flow chart

In order to pursue this dream, I quit a stable job in the non profit sector, throwing away my first shot at health insurance and a stable income.

As a four time college drop out, by all rights I should…

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If you’re in Canada and would like to do something at least slightly concrete to support trans human rights here (or, heck, even if you’re NOT in Canada but would like to lend your support), particularly given that today is Trans Day of Remembrance, here’s something you can do:
 
Right now, Bill C-279 (read the whole Bill here) is in Committee, and has been since June 2014.
The bill, as drafted, will amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity as a prohibited ground of discrimination as well as amending the Criminal Code to include gender identity as a distinguishing characteristic protected under section 318 and as an aggravating circumstance to be taken into consideration under section 718.2 at the time of sentencing (both of these sections pertain to hate crimes).
 
This is not the first time a private member has put forth a bill to protect the human rights of trans people in Canada. I would personally appreciate it if the bill actually made it through and became law this time.
 
To that end, I encourage you all to take part in PSAC’s letter-writing campaign and email members of the senate (PSAC offers this list, along with a handy letter-template to help you out) urging them to support C-279 as currently drafted and to pass it with all speed.
PSAC’s list also includes the few senators who have twitter handles and/or facebook pages, so that you can contact them through those channels as well[1].
 
Okay. Some of you are going to be thinking “What the heck good is this going to do?” when being race and sex are already protected under the human rights code and yet the majority of people who are remembered at TDoR are women of colour. And that’s a really valid question.
Trans activist Morgan M. Page points out that:
 

“TDOR is about the combination of three factors: transmisogyny, racism, whorephobia. Across the board, those we remember on TDOR were trans women of colour engaged in sex work. This tells us where our activism needs to be. We need another day to mourn those we lose to suicide, illness, and neglect.”

 
Writing letters in support of Bill C-279 will help put legislation in place that will mitigate microagressions like employers refusing to let someone work front-of-house at their job. It will also mitigate more macro discriminations like doctors refusing to prescribe day-to-day meds due to “discomfort”. Legislation like what’s proposed by C-279 is definitely important. But it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
 
Other things you can do (a list collected from a couple of folks on Facebook):
- Support sex workers rights – Sex workers need to work safely and be protected by legislation instead of being targeted and criminalized.
- Support anti-racism programs & actions – PoC face much higher rates of police & state violence (both in the immediate, physical sense and in the legislative sense).
- Support mental illness and suicide intervention programs – Trans people have much higher risks for mental illness and suicide.
- Support youth homelessness programs – Because breaking the cycle of parental abandonment and youth poverty can completely change people’s lives.
 
 
Thanks,
Ms Syren.
 
 
[1] EDIT: FYI, and not that this is going to shock anybody[2], but when you write to Don Plett, you’ll probably get a slimy, condescending reply dripping with enough ignorance and transmisogyny to make you want to fucking scream before the end of the third paragraph. So, y’know. Forewarned is forearmed…
 
[2] Except, apparently, me – who figured he’d at least have the sense to keep his bigotry really vague in any reply he chose to make.
 
 
Votive Candles in the Dark

There’s another young woman missing in/from Ottawa, Ontario.
This message came signal-boosed on facebook and I’m passing it along:
 
Casandra (I have no last name to go on, but her mother is Michelle Simoneau Turner, so they may share a last name) has been missing since November 17th, 2014, and was last seen at Colonel By high school.
She answers to the name Cassie.
She has a slight build. 5’7″ and about 100lbs.
Here hair is long on one side – dyed black, but with blond roots – and is shaved on the other.

She looks caucasian. She has one piercing in her left ear (and probably a matching one in her right, though I can’t tell from the pictures).
Going by the pictures her mom provided, she tends towards black clothes with spike sand skulls. Meaning, fellow spooky people, that she’s one of ours.
 
I realize that not everyone who disappears wants to be found. But I would dearly like to know that this kid is safe and warm, whether or not she’s home.
 
Her mother is asking that, if you have any information, to please contact her at: 613-324-5978
 

 

 

 
Please spread the word and help if you can.

So I wrote a letter to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne with regards to bill #C36 and what she can do to protect her sexworking constituents and make sure these laws, too, gets struck down as soon as humanly possible.
 
A lot of people are doing this – hard copy letters, emails, even tweets – and it’s a bit of an informal campaign at this point.
There’s a templete available here if you’d like to write to your provincial/territorial Premier on the same subject.
You may also find some inspiration in Nikki Thomas’s impassioned open letter to Kathleen Wynne – I know I did. Likewise, POWER’s press release on the subject of C36 may offer further insights.
 
You can probably find a contact form or appropriate email address by googling “Office of the Premier” + your province or territory. That’s how I found Kathleen Wynne’s contact information.
 

Sexworkers are not “disposable people”. They are not “non-people” either. They have agency and they have rights, the same as everyone else in this province and in this country. Their lives matter and that doesn’t stop just because someone with a lot of power finds their work distasteful. (Me)

 

Please refer this bill immediately to the Ontario Court of Appeal for a constitutional reference, and do not pursue prosecutions until they determine its constitutionality. (Nikki Thomas)

 

Red Umbrella Image:
Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

syrens:

So this is a really good and insightful article. It’s about fundamentalist Christianity, but can be applied – perhaps not at all surprisingly – to the branches of Radical Feminism that are trans exclusive, whorephobic, and similar. I find this line particularly telling: “At the root of these various fundamentalism is, I believe, a mindset that values ideology over people.” Sound familiar? Do please go and have a read. We may be able to glean some insights from this with regards to how to deal with people who hold this particular mindset.

Originally posted on R.L. Stollar //// Overturning Tables:

argument_poster

There is an article by Race Hochdorf going around Facebook entitled, “The Tyranny Of Fundamentalist Language.” It is provocative, insightful, and (in my opinion) spot-on. The heart of Race’s piece is the following statement:

It is impossible to debate a fundamentalist….because their very language psychologically traps them into their frames of mind.

In saying it is impossible to debate fundamentalists, Race is saying that fundamentalists — to borrow a concept from Robert Jay Lifton‘s idea of totalism — load the language. They use language in a radically different way from most society, which enables them to control dialogue. They use “thought-stopping cliches” (which is also a term Lifton uses). Race explains that,

That’s why it’s impossible to debate with a fundamentalist. By replacing “my” with “God” and melding beliefs about authority with authority itself, fundamentalist vocabulary has left no room for humility, reason, openness, doubt or change.

This…

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Originally posted on Dented Blue Mercedes:

Whether anybody wanted the conversation right now or not, it’s become time to have a conversation about BDSM, gender and entitlement.

Over a week ago, Jian Ghomeshi, the then-popular then- CBC commentator, appeared to be coming out of the closet about engaging in what he referred to as “rough sex (forms of BDSM),” and claiming to be fired because of workplace discrimination.  The post read as sincere and from the heart (and badly timed because of his father’s passing), so we wanted to believe him.  For anyone who cares about sex and gender minorities, there was a temptation to circle the wagons and voice support.  There was a lot of discussion about the human right to one’s own sexuality, but then…

“Wait, what was that about allegations…?”

It took a moment before people realized the problem with not first hearing out and supporting the women who had spoken out about…

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syrens:

Also, this whole damn thing is heartbreaking. For a lot of reasons. A LOT of reasons. Not the least of which is that I’ve done that kind of math and it is AWEFUL to have to do that kind of math. :-( (Glad I’m not there anymore).

Originally posted on Captain Awkward:

Here there be dragons. And bees.

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So Del has a post up called “Sometimes You Just Gotta Open Your Mouth” wherein he talks about a lot of things – primarily mortality – but, at the beginning, specifically about feeling overwhelmed when faced with the blank blogging-page.
I can relate.
There’s a zillion things that I feel like I “should” be blogging about here on Syrens – Bill C36 and its (negative & appalling) effect on sex workers’ rights and safety; Jian Gomeshi and the situation where predators sometimes use an identification as kinky to hide their abusive behaviour; Bill C279, which would protect gender identity under the Canadian Human Rights Act and enshrine it from protection against hate crimes under the Criminal Code as well, and which is currently being held up in the senate by one or more Conservative senators who – apparently – are hoping it’ll die (AGAIN) before being passed, due to another election; … Along with my own growth/struggles/you-name-it around poly, power exhange, and personal sexuality.
So I sat down over waffles this morning and “just opened my mouth” onto a piece of paper. And what came out – surprisingly or otherwise – was another discussion of loneliness.
I often joke to people – my friends, anyone who reads this blog, y’know: people – that I’m “the most monogamous poly person I know”. I admit that I’m starting to wonder if I’m not shooting myself in the poly foot by saying stuff like that. :-\ Between this and the slight possibility of my wife getting yet another person in her romantic life (ye gods…), I wound up thinking about loneliness and how it relates (sort of…) to polyamoury. Basically, I wound up thinking about Fear Of Abandonment and how loneliness makes assholes of us all by messing with our ability to feel empathy, among other things.
Look, I don’t have a study to back this up (though the loneliness stuff I linked to, above, isn’t far off), but I’m developing this theory that Fear Of Abandonment makes people incredibly self-absorbed. I’ve talked about this before, although possibly not on this blog, about how the fear of (and pre-occupation with) What Other People Think of us, and how (not IF, but how) people feel about us can lead us to believing that every little thing is some kind of a referendum on whether So-And-So likes us for real or not.
 
Someone didn’t send a thank-you note after that thing, that time? Clearly this is because They Don’t Really Care about me, and has nothing to do with their work-life being kind of overwhelming at the moment.
 
Someone didn’t text me back immediately? Clearly this is because they’re punishing me [in a really passive-agressive way] for some unknown Thing for-which They Are Going To Leave Me with all haste, and which couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that I texted them while they were on a date, at work, or possibly driving.
 
Someone didn’t come to my birthday party? Clearly this is because They Hate Me and has NOTHING to do with the fact that they’d made plans to do something else six weeks ago, while my party invitation was kind of short-notice.
 
Seriously. Captain Awkward is FULL of stuff like this, so I heartily recommend that you go and read it if you need more examples. But do you see what I mean? Starhawk wrote something – in either Dreaming the Dark or Truth or Dare – about being “King Nothing”, about how being the Most Hated is, in a weird, backwards, upside-down way, kind of like being the Most Loved.
It makes sense.
For those of us who secretly, or not-so-secretly, believe that we are worthless, that we’ll never be worthy of love and kindness, that being wanted isn’t really something we understand as possible… knowing ourselves to be the Lowest Of The Low is, in a way, a chance to be special in some way. Being the “Best Loser” is still being the best something, right?
 
Gawd. Even just writing that down. It feels so self-pitying, so very much an unneccesary (“unneccesary”?) cry for sympathy and attention and what-not, so very, very “poor little rich girl” to be sitting here with my neuroteypical brain that does not pre-emptively re-absorb its serotonin, that doesn’t plague me with disturbing thoughts of how nobody would miss me if I just happened to die on day, y’know, “by accident”, that the people I love would be better off, and happier too, without the burden of my neediness[1] always weighing on them.
And yet I beat myself up – often emotionally, sometimes physically – on really bad days when I’m so overwhelmed with shame that I slap my own face, tear at my hair, claw at my skin, while my Jerk Brain puts on the skin of someone who woould never hurt me like this, and laughs inside my head. While my self-loathing rages and screams at it Are you happy now? Are you happy now? If I hate myself enough, will I be worthy of your crumbs? If I hurt myself enough, will your indifference feel like love??
 
Whew. Yeah. So that’s the inside of my brain for you.
But I was talking about loneliness and how it can make you really self-absorbed.
I wonder if everyone who deals with loneliness, who is afraid of being abandoned, ditched, replaced “as soon as Someone Better (and wouldn’t anyone be better?) comes along”, if we aren’t all secretly carrying around that same horrible, cruel, world-devouring voice that never stops telling you you’re bad, it just changes up the volume periodically.
 
At Unholy Harvest this year, I got to take part in a ritual. It was a really good ritual, and I hope that we get to have another one next year[2]. Part of that ritual involved partnering up and one of you saying “I love myself. I love myself.” and the other acknowledging it, saying “You love yourself”. It was so easy, when my ritual-partner said that she loves herself, to respond with a grin and “I know. You love yourself!”
But I don’t know. Maybe she was faking it just as much as I was, and her confidence and her 1700-lumen smile that actually does light up the room, are just a cover-up for the same loathing and self-directed rage that are gnawing at me all the damn time.
All I know is that when she said “You love yourself” to me, I laughed in that awful “this is actually a living nightmare and I just told a really big lie” kind of way.
 
I have no idea how to like myself better[3]. Every time I see someone make a note of how they’re resolving to treat themselves with as much compassion and care as they treat their friends, I wonder if it would be okay for me to do something like that, or if acting like I’m mean to myself, publically acknowledging that I’m mean to myself (I am mean to myself, and acting like it doesn’t count because I’m not taking a razor to my own arms is… possibly part of how I’m doing it?), if, given that I spend most of my days cooking good home-food, making different kinds of art, going for walks and/or doing yoga, and getting in a number of more-than-occasional hot baths (you know, living the life I actually want and getting to do it in spite of my own income being kind of uncertain?), it isn’t a little bit ridiculous to act like I’m entitled to, I dunno, also believing that I deserve that stuff. Or something.
I don’t know.
I don’t know how to like myself better. But I think I need to.
I think I need to.
 
 
Take care,
Ms Syren.
 
 
[1] … Er… Mostly. I’m not suicidal. Not suicidal thoughts. Not suicidal ideation. DEFINITELY not PLANNING anything. But that “burden of my neediness” thing… That eats at me sometimes. :-\
 
[2] Although heaven and earth know I’m not up to facilitating it at this point… Maybe I can figure something out?
 
[3] And I mean that in the sense of “like myself more” but also in the same sense meant by phrases like “laugh yourself healthy”. Funny how that works out, isn’t it?

poor persecuted pervert?

syrens:

In lieu of, say, “J is for Jian”, I thought I’d just reblog this well-thought-out piece by Andrea Zanin. Go read, it’s awesome.

Originally posted on Sex Geek:

There’s a scandal breaking in Canada. It’s about BDSM. Or is it? I’m not so sure.

Short version: Jian Ghomeshi is a wicked popular CBC host, and the CBC just fired him without disclosing why. He’s retaliating with a $50 million lawsuit (unheard of in non-litigious Canada) and a demand for reinstatement. On Sunday, he made a Facebook post which discloses that he’s kinky and about to be defamed by an unnamed ex-girlfriend and several other past dates she’s recruited, who will insist that his behaviour was non-consensual. A couple hours later, I heard about a semi-recent xoJane article by Carla Ciccone detailing some very creepy behaviour on the part of an unnamed “Canadian C-list celebrity” whom many speculate is Ghomeshi. This article has apparently earned her a serious thrashing by trolls. Later Sunday evening, the Toronto Star posted an article detailing their interviews with four women who are remaining…

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syrens:

Good article. Go read it.

Originally posted on Metro News:

If a tree falls in the forest and no one files a police report – did it make a sound?

Some of the thousands of people weighing in on the Jian Ghomeshi affair seem to be convinced that if a woman who’s been sexually assaulted doesn’t go to police with her allegations, she couldn’t possibly have been assaulted.

Setting aside for a moment the weird paradigm under which police reports dictate reality, let’s just think about the horrifically intimate crime of sexual assault.

Think about being groped, molested and raped, and then think about whether you’d want to give the detailed play-by-play to a whole stable of complete and mostly male strangers.

Think about having to relive the encounter over and over as you make your way through the court process, facing down thinly-veiled skepticism and often open judgment along the way.

As a reporter and feminist, I consider, debate…

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