baratron: (poly)
Yesterday was a little surreal. First of all, a friend who I've known for 15+ years outed themselves as non-binary and planning to start a medical transition approximately 5 hours before we were due to meet in person. Of course, I have no problems whatsoever with a person changing their name and pronoun (as I said, sometimes I feel like the only person in the bi/poly community who isn't non-binary or genderqueer*)- but I usually expect to find out a bit sooner than the day we're meeting for the first time in seven months! It helps to practice the new name and pronoun for a bit by myself so I don't accidentally blurt out the wrong one with the person present.

As it was, I blurted out the wrong name within minutes, and didn't even mean to - I was trying to say "Grant", but my stupid noun aphasia (caused by high doses of venlafaxine, which is otherwise a really good medication for me) cut in and substituted the friend's old name. Just great. Fortunately, friend has indeed known me for 15+ years and has been aware of what my mental health is like when inadequately medicated, and could agree that annoying side-effect beats the state I used to be in.

Then the friend (who may out themselves here if they wish) and I went out for dinner with Shifty and two of his cow-orkers. They were all hideously late owing to their charity work being extremely disorganised, and I was very glad I wasn't sitting in the restaurant by myself. The cow-orkers asked how Shifty and I had met, we started talking about Elder Scrolls Online and the UESP Guild, and it turned out that one of the cow-orkers has been using the UESP wiki since Oblivion (2006). And he was basically fanboying at me for running the UESP Guild and knowing the site owner.

Meanwhile, my friend was talking about their wife and girlfriend, and I was talking about Grant and "my husband, Richard". I mentioned things like when the three of us go out for dinner, how they always pick the same thing and then one of them has to switch so they can try more dishes - that they don't just have the same taste in women. While not explicitly at any stage using words like "polyamory" or "open relationship".

The dinner was nice and it was not too stressful, but I was feeling pretty wiped out by the end. I seem to be fighting some sort of throat infection, which is attempting to ruin my holiday and can sod off any time now.

*I am bigender rather than non-binary or genderqueer, so I am female except when I'm not. I have somewhere between a few hours and a few days of raging gender dysphoria per month where my entire body is Wrong, and the (actually bi but scared of women) gay man in the back of my head comes out. And the rest of the time it's just fine and I want to be addressed as "she/her" and recognised as A Female Geek Doing Nerdy Things. The conclusion I've come to is that my social and political gender is female, but my sexual gender is male.


Mar. 20th, 2014 03:51 am
baratron: (endurance)
I'm feeling less awful than I was a couple of weeks ago. I've got my exhaustion under control now, I think. But I ran out of one of my antidepressants over the weekend and had to ration it, and am now back to depression with no concentration span. Argh.

Here's some links I've been wanting to post:

Buzzfeed: 15 Comics For Anyone Struggling To Explain What It Means To Be Queer. I'm going to post about webcomics in general when I get around to it. (Please don't post me circular-shaped pieces of card labelled "Round Tuit", it won't actually help even if it's funny).

Milkshakes - adorable women loving women comic from Tumblr. Click on the first picture to get it to zoom, then use the arrow keys to read consecutive pages.

Buzzfeed: 17 London Underground Maps You Never Knew You Needed. Yes, I know I'm a big dork, but these are amazing. Especially the Daily Mail Tube Map.

Female Armor Bingo. For feminist gamers.

BBC News: Rainfall. Pictures from around the world.

BBC News: Pandas on Tour. A single photo of more papier mache pandas than you're likely to see in one place at once.
baratron: (pokemon fan club)
My web browser is lagged to hell and back, so it's once again time to clear out the links that are cluttering up my tabs.

Warning: Do not click while eating. THIS is literally just round the corner from where I live. It explains A LOT about why there are suddenly humungous traffic jams in Kingston. It's because there's a "bus-sized" "fatberg" blocking the drains, and Thames Water is doing emergency engineering work to try to get it out. EWWWW.

xoJane: My Starbucks name is Rebecca. As someone who has a deep-seated phobia of telling strangers her name, I really empathise with this article. And the comments. Oh my.

Worst Album Covers of All Time. Okay, one of these is clearly female body-hair shaming, and one of the others is non-conventionally attractive woman shaming, but most of the rest? WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

Having said that, there's nothing wrong with that Orleans album cover apart from the fact that one of the men does not have a beard, and one of the others has a hairless chest.

BBC Nature News: Wolf howl identification technology excites experts. ARROOOO!

Pervocracy: I just figured out why I get patted down every time I fly! Anger-making, but also funny: like all the best rants.

More about how I am some other time.
baratron: (gaming)
It's Wednesday, and I have actually READ BOOKS THIS WEEK (!). So I should do that Wednesday reading meme thing. Unfortunately I'm exhausted and have lost coherence, AND still have another 2 hours before I can go to bed. Gods damnit.

So have some links that have been sitting in my browser for weeks:

people say I'm gonna regret this, I say fuck you. A Reddit thread in which a user boasts about his tattoo of an illegal drug... which turns out to be so not the molecule he thought it was that it would make anyone with A-level chemistry laugh their arses off. Mmm. Yeah. Benzene rings are tricky little buggers, aren't they?

On similar lines (perhaps), A Simple and Convenient Synthesis of Pseudoephedrine From N-Methylamphetamine. "In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to obtain psuedoephedrine in many states because of its use as a precursor for the illegal drug N-methylamphetamine (also known under various names including crystal meth, meth, ice, etc.)" "A quick search of several neighborhoods of the United States revealed that while pseudoephedrine is difficult to obtain, N-methylamphetamine can be procured at almost any time on short notice and in quantities sufficient for synthesis of useful amounts of the desired material." Given that it's published in the Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry, somehow I doubt this is real... But any organic synthesis route can be reversed, so... I dunno. I laughed anyway.

Groovy glasses. "Ok let's see if that thing with glasses chicks suddenly becoming super weird feminine when they whip off their glasses works". You kinda have to go all the way to the end to find the really funny pictures.

Introducing 'SheZow,' The 'Transgender' Superhero Cartoon That Will Destroy America And/Or Entertain Some Children. I liked this review. Haven't bothered watching any of the cartoon clips though.

How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement. I have a vague feeling I may have linked to this before, but it's worth reading if you have enough spare time to read the whole, very long, article, and are not already in a stabby mood.
baratron: (mages guild)
Still don't have any spare brain to write commentary, and in fact today I hurt so much that even typing is an effort. So here are some links presented without comment:

Me And The Abstracted Persona of the Anti-Ism Community At Large. A couple of years old, and triggery for me by halfway through.

Certain Propositions Concerning Callout Culture, Part Three. Parts One and Two are good too, but they mostly say things that we already know. Whereas this points out a few home truths that people May Not Like.

The battle against 'sexist' sci-fi and fantasy book covers. I'm fairly sure I've linked to Jim C. Hines' website before, but it's awesome to see a big organisation like the BBC report on it.

Studies Raise Questions About Safety Of Personal Lubricants. I take it that everyone reading this already knows that nonoxynol-9 Is Evil, but there are a few alarming surprises in the article.

Five organisms with real super powers that rival their comic book counterparts.

Crime Against Nature: an inclusive children's book. Digital version available free.
baratron: (bi_pride)
This story is amazing, and pretty much the definition of intersectionality: How My Korean Mother Gave Me the Courage to Transition. The author is a male-to-female transsexual who was adopted from Korea as a baby and now lives in the US. She found her birth family and came out to them.

Warning: You will almost certainly blub before the end. Have tissues handy.
baratron: (wolfy)
Pink Science, '50s-Style. Interesting comparison of a "Lab Technician Set For Girls" to the hideously gendered "Chemistry" kits of today.

What Milgram’s Shock Experiments Really Mean: Replicating Milgram's shock experiments reveals not blind obedience but deep moral conflict, from Scientific American.

Maps of the 2012 US presidential election results, organised in a number of ways. Interesting but slightly freaky.

Positive pregnancy test diagnoses man's cancer. From Reddit, apparently.

BEST VIDEO OF THE ENTIRE YEAR!!! Two very good dogs teach you chemistry. This is beyond amazing. If you have ANY interest in chemistry or dogs, or even if you don't but you don't actively dislike dogs, WATCH THIS VIDEO.
baratron: (bi_pride)
I realised last night, I'm on page 37 of my novel and there hasn't been a single female character yet. Not one with actual dialogue. One's mentioned in passing and the other is a horse - I hardly think this counts. The only exception would be if you don't know that I Only Write Slash and assume that the first-person narrator is a woman. Damn!

This is doubly annoying since it's fanfiction, so I'm stuck using the characters who exist in canon. In the scenes with the Blades (the Emperor's bodyguards), I've tried to use the female ones, but there are only two of those. Even worse - and for this I really am a bad feminist who won't be getting any biscuits, my original character Alix moans about a couple of female Mages Guildhall heads. Both of them are incredibly annoying & incompetent in the game: one, who only cares about her own research, not about the welfare of her fellow mages; and another, who has virtually no magical ability whatsoever and only got the job because of who she knew.

This really sucks and I don't know how to fix it. There is a female alchemist, and Oleta, the country's best Restoration trainer, who both have to be written into the chapter I couldn't face writing - oh, and a woman town guard. That's about Chapter 3 of this, if the novel was structured like that. Oleta comes up again in the second-to-last chapter when Alix is completely broken following [MAJOR SPOILER]. There's also a female archivist in the Mages Guild Library who has a part somewhere around the middle. Apart from those, I'd be adding women for the sake of adding women. Hmm.

In other news, I will be at neither the bisexual activists' weekend nor Birmingham BiFest. My body is beyond broken right now. In fact, I've had so much time for writing due to being completely unable to sleep because of pain :/ Right now I can walk about 5 m, and it's fricking agony. Dragging my arse into College today for the first time in two weeks, then home to collapse with the laptop. Urgh.
baratron: (endurance)
I haven't been writing in my journal because I've been writing (crappy) fiction instead. Apparently, I entirely lack the spoons to write coherently about my life, or to be social with friends; but I can write coherent fanfic. Go figure. I miss being extroverted whenever I flip into introversion, since it's so alien to my "normal" state, but it rarely lasts more than a few months.

Hardly anyone has apparently read my last dose of crappy fiction, so here is a link to the livejournal post that explains it. Don't worry about not being familiar with the universe, I've written it in such a way that it should be obvious who the good guys and bad guys are, and why exactly Martin spends the whole game desperately needing A Nice Cup Of Tea and A Cuddle. None of which he gets, by the way. Just more and more books.

If you're not into even vaguely erotic fiction, or if you are but are traumatised by reading it when it's been written by someone you know, or if the canon trauma and dubcon would be upsetting, then you have an excuse. I just can't believe that applies to all the people who still read my livejournal except for 3.

Still rather unwell in the head. Have been to the doctor, who suggested increasing the dose of venlafaxine very slightly, and taking a "drowsy" antidepressant to help with the sleep problems. I'm not sure if it's helping, but I do seem to have slept slightly better the past couple of days.

Rudery )
baratron: (angry)
Look what happened in the middle of this thread!

Honestly, I could weep, but not for myself - I've had decades to get used to misogyny in geek venues. No - I'd be weeping for all the 14 year old girls on the forum who have to put up with constant dick & rape jokes (not least of all, people referring to "being raped" when they are killed in the game by an overpowered enemy), and then are told that their gender doesn't even matter.

Oh yes, and in case it isn't obvious - the last thing that'll help here is anyone I know registering a new account and rushing to my defense. I don't need defending from idiots!

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

baratron: (test tube)
I wanted to forward a link which [ profile] skibbley posted today, as it's actually rather impressive. The National Health Service trust for a relatively small area of the UK (200,000 people) actively tried to find out how many transgendered people were living in the area so that they could improve their services. It's surprisingly well-designed, and clearly acknowledges all the limitations, yet manages to draw several useful conclusions and recommendations nonetheless.

I especially like the bits about hitting GPs with a cluebat, and making sure all of the healthcare workers in the Trust are using the same guidelines and criteria. The points about how the majority of trans people become "stealth" post-transition and the increase in the number of children with gender dysphoria presenting for treatment are particularly worth a provider of healthcare noticing. It is important that trans people who retain some of their original body parts (e.g. prostates & cervices), are offered the appropriate screening in a sensitive manner, and it's important that a coherent policy exists for dealing with children too young to consent to surgery that is more useful than "send them away until they're 18". 

Obviously, the document isn't going to be directly relevant to people who live in countries without state-sponsored healthcare, but I'm sure some of these conclusions and recommendations would be worth forwarding to insurance companies if you have enough energy to do so.

Calderdale NHS Survey of the Trans Population (pdf)

I'm not screening comments because I don't have enough time to unscreen the useful ones, but if you want to say something privately, post anonymously. Ideally signed with your name or lj name so I know who you are :)


Sep. 3rd, 2008 04:42 pm
baratron: (opinion)
Following Some Events at BiCon, there are various rants taking place in various places about pronouns for transgendered people and how the hell are you supposed to know if they're transgender if they're wearing normal clothes? Here is my comment:

As a cisgendered female, I have the right to wear trousers, t-shirts, no makeup and stompy boots. Why should a transgendered female have to dress any differently?

Or in other words, "It's a girl's t-shirt".
baratron: (me)
Today I went shopping for a birthday card for my Mum, and found the best Congratulations to the New Parents From A Childfree Person card ever. It manages to combine the messages of "Congratulations on successfully achieving a baby" with "(Though I'm not sure why you wanted one. Good luck anyway!)" without offending either group of people's sensibilities. This is quite impressive.

I suffer from extreme greeting card dilemma in general, because I can only send cards with words that I actually mean, and I don't have enough time in my life to make my own. Normally the problem is limited to trying to find appropriate cards for my partners that don't say "To the One I Love", which seems like a ridiculous sentiment even for most people with only one romantic partner. Most human beings love more than one other person, like their best friends or parent/s or children or pets. I'd be lonely if I only loved one other person in the whole world!

But the difficulty gets doubled or tripled when it comes to New Baby, because I can't manage to send cards about 10 ickle cutesy toesies without wanting to vomit. While the standard "Wow! It's a Boy!" blue card or "Awesome, You Achieved A Girl!" pink cards bother my queer feminist brain with thoughts like "Why the hell does the biological sex of a newborn matter anyway?" and "Who knows which of the many genders the child will grow up to be?". So finding a card that is non-nauseating and will amuse both Richard and me and the new parents is a very cool thing. So cool, that I did in fact buy three of them. Then realised I actually know four pregnant women. Oops.

I have also been both experiencing and suffering from Newton's Third Law today. I spent several hours helping my mum load heavy boxes onto a trolley that had no brakes, and she kept moaning about it running away as we put the loads on. I tried to explain why it happened, but to no avail. Then, coming home, I tried to take the step stool down from the trike, and one of my bungie cords flew up and hit me in the nose. I know those things are a) vicious and b) can store a lot of elastic potential energy, but honestly! It hurt like mad and I now have a visible and scary-looking bruise. And it had to be one of the long 1m cables that has never tried to attack me before rather than the shorter 60cm one that bites me all the time (to the point where I expect it and am prepared for it). Bah.
baratron: (lego)
In an attempt to tidy up my many open tabs prior to rebooting the laptop, have a link dump.

Interesting articles:
Polyamory is not about the sex, except when it is. Very long article which those of you into poly will find interesting. Followup comment by [ profile] ratatosk, linked by... [ profile] wispfox, I think.

Pleasure Town Is Invite Only! by [ profile] mistful. Hilariously funny story about how a feminist-from-babyhood came across a traditional romance book at a young age and was Scarred For Life. Linked by, er, [ profile] j00j, I think. (Yes, some of these links have been open for weeks).

How 'gay' became children's insult of choice, from the BBC News Magazine. I'm in two minds about whether the use of "gay" as a derogatory term is homophobic. I can see both sides of the argument. Though I tend to side with those who find it offensive, because there's nothing inherently crap or second-class about being gay and I don't like the meanings being linked in that way. But then what do we come back to? Cripple-bashing terms like "lame". Hrm.

World's best-known protest symbol turns 50, from the BBC News Magazine. About the CND logo and how it was coined. I like the idea that it's from the semaphore signs for N & D, meaning Nuclear Disarmament.

When Girls Will Be Boys, from the New York Times. An article about FTM transsexuals/transmen attending women's colleges. Linked in comments on Dykes to Watch Out For.

Video: BBC Micro creators reunite, from BBC News. Interview with Hermann Hauser from Acorn. Talks about how awesome and innovative the Beeb was, and how everything has ARM chips in these days.

See-saw to power African schools. Design student Daniel Sheridan has created a simple see-saw which generates enough electricity to light a classroom. Really great idea!
baratron: (pokemon girl)
Some people on another forum were doing a "Which Muppet are you?" test and wanted me to take it too. It decided I was Kermit, and I was unimpressed. When I said I'm not a fan of Kermit or Miss Piggy, someone replied saying "What is wrong with you!?". This is my answer:

When I first became aware of gender, aged around 3, it seemed like just one of those things that made people different, like hair and eye colour. It never occurred to me that it should be a big deal. But I had toy cars, a garage, and a train set, and so from that early age, I had to deal with people telling me that the toys I wanted to play with weren't suitable for girls. This made no sense to me - no one was going around saying that only kids with blond hair or only kids with brown eyes could play with some particular toy, so why were toys labelled as "for boys" and "for girls"? Thus I became a feminist at the age of 3.

At primary school, I was mad about dinosaurs, cars and football. At secondary school, it was science, computers and science fiction. I spent a lot of time wishing I was a boy - not because I thought there was something intrinsically wrong with my gender, but because everyone else seemed to think there was something wrong with me. I figured that if I was a boy, I could be into what I enjoyed without anyone giving me grief for it. I wish that when I was told "Girls don't do that", I'd thought of the argument "But I'm a girl, and I do that".

So why do I hate Miss Piggy? Well, as far as I'm aware, Miss Piggy is the only female Muppet. (I've thought through the characters of the Muppet Babies cartoon: Kermit, Miss Piggy, Animal, Gonzo, Bunsen, Beaker and Rowlf; and I can't think of any other female Muppets among the regular cast, like Pepe the Prawn and the two old guys in the theatre box). I was a child annoyed at the second-class position in life that being a girl seemed to occupy, and I always noticed inequalities in stories and tv programmes. It would bother me immensely if female characters were treated differently from male ones.

Miss Piggy is the antithesis of me. Femmy, flouncy, self-obsessed, in love with makeup, clothes and boys. A total diva. She flirts with any handsome man who appears on the programme, in a silly, swoony sort of way. Not with humour, not with wit or cleverness, but purely with physical appearance. I cannot stand that character and any real-life people who are like that - like many of the girls I was at school with. They might have had brains, but as soon as a boy came along, they lost all their intelligence and turned into simpering idiots. Ugh.

I have believed for as long as I can remember that tv programmes should show equal numbers of male and female characters, and that all types of male and female should be represented. OK, you want to have a silly girl who loses her head over "boys" for some reason that will make no sense to your preschool audience - fine - but make sure there are plenty of strong women there too. (I note that many of the mothers of my acquaintance are the strongest women I know.) In the same way, make sure that strong men aren't the only type presented - give us creative and intelligent men - artists, songwriters, dreamers, crafters. The Muppets managed that side of the equation, with sensitive Kermit and dreamer Rowlf, so I don't get why they dropped the ball with the female characters. Show kids that girls should be able to do everything that boys can do - and vice versa.

And guess how the other poster replied to my explanation, over at that other forum? "lol - it's just the Muppets!".

I disagree. On one level, it is just a tv programme - but children are born with no real prejudices at all. They absorb and are taught their prejudices from the adults around them. Miss Piggy is gender stereotyping presented for generations of kids in a multitude of countries to absorb subliminally. She portrays a form of ridiculously vulnerable "femininity" that makes girls think that's what being a woman is all about. It messes with the head of any girl determined to put her brain before her beauty, and encourages us to reject femininity altogether. But just as you can be female without being feminine, you can be feminine without being silly or vulnerable. It's always possible to wear stompy boots under your skirt in case you need to run or fight.


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