I'm more or less officially moving to WordPress for the extra functionality. Anything in here will be access locked if I continue to post in here at all.

New blog here: http://genderbitch.wordpress.com/

Everything has been xposted there and it has interlinking back to the comments. Enjoy!
Oh look an Intermission Post.

It's been a rough few weeks for everyone. The #whywefight hashtag on Twitter has been of immense help to so many but it has also been a truly emotionally draining experience for those of us who wrote to it. A lot of trans folk cope with the danger and the shit that we go through by not thinking about it. By sort of sliding that stuff into the back of our minds and not really actively engaging thoughts like, "It's pretty likely that if I walk somewhere or go somewhere alone that I will be assaulted." So dredging that shit up into the light is pretty painful for us too, not just the folks who see it and realize how little has been done to help us. It's even worse for those who have to relive their experiences by dredging it up. Discussing my own lack of options for rape counseling and abuse counseling hit a lot of painful chords in me and that's part of why I took the mental health day off yesterday.

And of course, it didn't help that I was hit with some good ol' ally betrayal by Renee of Womanist Musings (I won't link to her, I am done giving any press whatsoever to her to fuck up in) who apparently thought it would be a great idea to use textbook silencing techniques on me when I criticized womanism and feminism for cissexist edges in the hashtag. She apologized (eventually) by the way, although it was only given after insulting, slurring, attacking, breaking into another trans woman's safe space, and giving an insincere bullshit apology that specifically excluded the trans women (including myself) who she slurred, attacked and silenced (this was later edited on the day of that twittered apology to include us, of course, we're still apparently "vile" and "evil", so nothing's really been solved). Apparently things got worse after I left the situation, but it's not something I can speak to since I wasn't there. I've washed my hands of the whole situation to be honest. I don't feel she is salvageable and I'm not going to waste any more time on her.

A shit week all around. IRL stuff piled on me too. Work's been harder and more stressful than ever and I've been in a bit of a crunch time lately because I'm going to part time this upcoming week. With my feet and back acting up really badly (raising fears that my days being an abled person are very numbered) I decided to take a mental health day yesterday and it helped a great deal.

It doesn't occur to a lot of people just how difficult blogging about things of personal importance (or about past trauma) can be. Bringing that stuff up is stressing at best, reliving trauma and opening yourself up for awful shit at worst. There's an "Oh Snap Threshold" for everyone I figure. That point where you go: "holy shit I need a day off." Or two. Or four. Or a week. For me, yesterday of just playing an MMO, screwing around, and basically just destressing has been most of what I needed. I also took a low key day today and just did the two weeks of laundry that had been piling up (which was pretty boring and low key). I may hate doing laundry because of the heat from the dryers, but it is really relaxing to just sit around and do nothing while a ton of mechanical white noise plays in the background. It makes me zone out. XD

And Intermission posts usually act as a good destressor because they aren't very structured. I'm free to ramble and say mostly random and personally relevant things that a lot of folk aren't gonna care about.

So, The Intermission List is:

1: Dad's still being an asshole and keeping contact closed. Which means I can't contact either of my brothers without finding a way around the info curtain.

2: I'm trying to figure out if I'm pansexual or whatnot. Experimentation and figuring stuff out will commence, eventually. XD It isn't a high priority because I'm already in a relationship right now and I've yet to meet anyone else who peaks my interest who isn't a girl, but it's something I'd like to know.

3: Name change documents are almost entirely finished, I just need to fill out the rest of the paperwork, get the money together (make sure I don't need it signed by a notary public or alternately get it signed) and then replace the birth cert copy. That's only if I don't get the paperwork back, if I do then it shouldn't be a problem. I'll talk to a friend who knows law stuff about it.

4: I bought small blue sunglasses today at a dollar store. They look absolutely hawt and match my weird as hell style. A style that continues to evolve as I delve into indie chick stuff. So far I've settled on my green faux-military jacket, shiny black shoes, weird colored knee high or thigh high socks (often mismatched XD), baggy guy's (or loose fit girl's) cargos (or very flaring girl jeans) and varying interestingly colored t-shirts (and occasionally snazzy button down shirts).

5: I need to do something about my hair. It's beautiful and all but it's too goddamn long. I need to get it cut but how short? It's a tough call because if I cut it too short it'll curl into a giant ball of ringlets on the top of my head and then poof out (a style I completely fail to pull off). But I do want to hack some off so that it's easier to take care of. Shoulder length perhaps, maybe low neck. This will be explored.

6: I'm at the tail end of the laser treatments and wow oh wow can you tell. Parts of my face are literally smooth even when I haven't shaved for a day and a half. And what little is there is thin and very very blond (almost white colored). Chances are I'll need some electrolysis but I can wait on that because the hair is easily concealed at this color and I really can't afford it right now.

7: Partner and I are looking at marriage options. They need to be married (or in the military or older than 25 or a grad student) to get freed up from the bullshit dependent status that FAFSA drops on people (whether they live with or get any support from their parents or not). It sucks because Partner's parents can't cover any schooling and I know how much Partner really wants to get back into college after having to leave for health reasons. Our finances are also pretty difficult right now. We made a joint account and such but the financial ties of legal marriage might be the best way to align things right so we can survive a little better. It bothers the both of us because we're poly and marriage as it exists now completely fucks over poly folk (and will continue to fuck over poly folk even after so called "Marriage Equality", yanno everyone excluded but gay and straight, is gained). We figure it will be a quiet thing. No ceremony, no rings, none of that shit. Our relationship is committed enough, thanks. We don't need symbols, pomp and circumstance to add to that. We're fine without it.

8: I'm planning on bringing up the idea and asking for contact infos at my support group for the specific group in my city that works to make the lives easier of TWOC (trans women of color) so that I can find someone who really needs my breastforms in donation. Let's face it, white people get a giant fucking leg up in the world. Being trans might fuck us over really badly but can you imagine just how badly one gets screwed being POC and trans? It goes beyond my capacity to imagine and makes me feel ill for them. So quite frankly, this donation is not going to go to a white girl. Sorry, no can do. I'm gonna give a TWOC a leg up with this and I goddamn wish I could donate more breastforms but I've only got the one pair. So that's that.

9: I'm still trying to figure out how safe it is to attempt to visit my old crew of people from community college. Mostly a bunch of saucy drunk assholes there were still some good apples among the sea of rotting fruit. My main worry is that some of them are misogynistic as fuck and that could spell serious problems for me. There is a distinct and very real risk that visiting that area could get me beaten within an inch of my life if I'm around the wrong people. So this is a tough decision to make. There's also the fact that a lot of these people have no fucking concept of personal space with anyone, and especially not with girls. I really don't want to be triggered in a big group. One of my more trustworthy friends has offered to act as backup and hang around and beat the shit out of anyone who causes problems. I may take him up on that offer.

Well that's the Intermission. Regularly scheduled programming will resume next week. Much love to you, readers.

I'm sure you've all read up on the silliness from some well known trans folk on cis as a term. I'm certainly sure you're aware of the whiny privileged cis folk who bitched about it (like white people crying about being called white. What the fuck, people?). I'm sure you've seen the folk who have spoken against this cis oppression enabling idiocy (including my very angry, snarky self).

Cisgender, as detailed in the posts addressing this garbage about it being a bad or useless term, is simply a means to create discourse regarding transgendered people that doesn't other the fuck out of us. Yanno, because beforehand it was trans vs. normal. Because we know how well that goes for people, right? Right.

The whole reason why we have this word is to give us a way to describe the privilege attached to folk who aren't trans without going "normal people privilege! Not-freak privilege!"

So when people attack its existence, or insist it's weaponized, I tend to find them... well... stupid. Either that or they are fighting their darnedest to escape from any responsibility of owning their privilege (for the cis folks) or fighting their darnedest for those delicious oppressor cookies, which are apparently enough to even make Kate Bornstein, Monica Helms and Autumn Sandeen sell the fuck out to the cis folk. Also I'm fairly certain that there's head patting and free coffee for selling out. I can't be sure though because I've never sold out to the oppressors before. And I plan to never do so. (If I ever do, please firmly kick me in the ass, I will need it at such a point of awfulness)

But sometimes, well, sometimes we have a Speshul Snowflake. Someone so sparkly, so darn important, someone who (thinks they) get it so absolutely and wonderfully well, that they just can't understand why their Speshulness is not included! Enter the Speshul Snowflake land of Helen Boyd.

Apparently, if you're a partner of a trans person, you know exactly what we're going through, 100%, no take backs, nu uh totally take backs, no I called it first no take backs, fine you're a jerk. Did that sentence seem silly, to you? Well it might be because the sentiment itself is unbelievably silly.

But hey, if you don't want to go to the link, just read in this here quote box:

Telling me, & other partners whose lives are profoundly impacted by the legal rights / cultural perceptions of trans people, that we are “not trans” implies that we are also not part of the trans community. I’ve been saying for years now that we are. When trans people are killed, harassed, not hired, fired due to discrimination, denied health care, etc. etc. etc., their loved ones suffer along with them. Their families, their lovers, their kids especially. We are not just “allies.” We are vested, dammit, & a part of the trans community, so when “cisgender” comes to mean, or is used to mean, “not part of the trans community,” we are once again left out in the dark.


I'll tell you all what, I'm going to be an idiot and give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she doesn't understand how marginalization and privilege work. Lots of folks don't. In fact this kind of stuff tends to be mid level sociology course work, so chances are you won't have exposure to it unless you do some AP sociology classes in high school or take at the very least a basic sociology course in a community college (and actually that isn't sarcastic at all, sociology isn't required for many degrees and a lot of folk can't go to college. So really, I won't hold it against someone for not knowing, I will merely inform them) or have a background in the activist community and have dealt with the language before.

Marginalization applied to a given group is not applied to another group. Group 1 is marginalized. Group 2 is privileged. The marginalization of group 1 can have secondary effects on group 2. This is not the same as the marginalization. This is simply a ripple effect. You, as a partner, are not experiencing your partner's pain. Unless you're some kind of emotion psychic. In which case, good Aspects, hide yourself, the government is searching for people like you to create super soldiers out of!

At worst, you are experiencing the pain of seeing your partner hurt. And that sucks. Undoubtedly. You may also experience some personal backlash, say if your partner loses a job for being trans and you both have to tighten your belts. And that sucks too. But you didn't lose your job. You haven't been denied medical care for having a mixture of structures on your body. You aren't objectified by hundreds of fetish following chaser guys who care more about touching your genitals then they do about your feelings (on top of the set of het guys who fetishize all women). You won't get murdered for having a penis. You won't get beaten to within an inch of your life because you accidentally dropped your voice a little in the wrong place. You won't get exploited by manipulative people who know trans folk are vulnerable and scared and then raped and not be able to go to a single woman's shelter because you'll be turned away.

Basically, you being a partner? Doesn't fucking make you trans. It doesn't let you understand how that feels. You experience it, at best, through a proxy and a lens. And that ain't experiencing it.

Oh it gets worse. Because you see, she actually teaches about cis privilege and trans marginalization. So that benefit of the doubt I gave her? Yeah that was stupid on my part. She's trying to make an assessment and a claim built on nothing more than "I WANT A PIECE OF THE PIE TOO!" Because for some reason, apparently, a pie filled with nails, broken glass and thumbtacks that we are force fed by society looks so appealing to her.

If you read around a bit, you'll see that Helen has a very inaccurate view of how cis is used. Apparently we use it like a curse and we equate cis to being transphobic. This is categorically bullshit. You know what I use cis for? Not trans. That's it. That's what cis is. Cis is aligned together. Trans is aligned apart. So if your gender identity and sex are aligned apart then you are trans. If not than you are cis. It is not a weapon, it is a classifier, used for discourse only.

Like I said in my other post, I do not introduce hypothetical cis woman Candace as, "This is my Candace, she's a cis-woman" and no one should introduce me as, "This is RP, she's a trans woman." The word is not for common day to day use. In common day to day conversations I am a woman with no fucking qualifiers attached.. Just like any other woman, cis or trans.

To me, when a cis person criticizes the word cis it means one of two things. They either don't get the concept of privilege, othering and safe discourse (and that is normal and I work to help them figure it out in such a case) or they want to not have a word that means not trans. And that comes down to them being privileged selfish assholes who want to be seen as normal and default and have us be "those other people".

Helen comes across as a brand spanking new one though. Someone who doesn't like being told she isn't trans because omg she has a trans partner. And is maybe slightly variant in her expression. OMFG. That is some serious unique snowflake traits right there.

Now I can understand some confusion regarding cisgender vs. cissexual. Cisgender is purely gender vs. sex and cissexual is gender identity vs. sex. So Helen could very well be transgendered, if she's got some gender expression going on that isn't very mundane and is notable to get a response from cis society. Yes, if this is the case, she'll face at least some minor trans oppression. I can bet you though, that she is cissexual. That her GI and body match. That she possesses no bodily or role dysphoria related to her sexual structure or gender.

Of course if none of that applies to her, then she's cis, no matter how unique and sparkly her snowflake ice crystal edges are. And this goes for the rest of cis folk. Don't appropriate the trans realm. You only hurt us when you do that. And that makes you a shit ally.
crossposted on The Transadvocate and Deeply Problematic

Privilege is a nasty thing. It steals perspective, traps us in mindsets and views that make it near impossible to comprehend what a marginalized person is going through. It is, invariably, the worst obstacle facing any ally of any marginalized group.

What I say here is probably applicable to any context of ally and oppressed but I'll stick with the trans angle, as it is what I know the best. Some of this might be lifted straight from my twitter account because I said it well there. Don't feel too offended by the recycling. XD

At its most simple, the concept of an ally is one who is in alliance with you. Alliance is in any context merely a mutually beneficial arrangement to advance common goals and interests. It means that your goals need to align with at least some of the goals of your allied members. And that the arrangement taken must benefit all parties involved. When it comes to marginalization, privilege, bigotry, -isms and alliance, things get a bit more complex. The alliance is only truly beneficial to the marginalized party if privilege is overcome long enough to achieve forward motion in social reform. Basically, lateral moves, a lack of any activity or any action that furthers, enables or ignores the marginalization of the marginalized party is not beneficial to them. Therefore it does not fit the boundaries of an alliance.

Let's say you're playing a real time strategy video game. Your base is under attack. If your ally sits back and watches your little soldiers die and your buildings burn, then that is a violation of the mutualistic nature of alliance. If your ally offers to trade some resources to your enemies, while they are attacking you, then they are in violation of the mutualistic nature of alliance. Generally a privileged person isn't being harmed by helping us. They will always have that privilege for as long as the system exists and works and will likely be spared what we go through as a result, even when supporting us. Our aims (which are basically, honor our bodily rights and respect our needs) do not in any way clash with their aims (unless their aim is to dominate, control, harm or damage us). So generally an alliance with a marginalized party is almost always beneficial to a non marginalized party (in the given context). Especially in this day and age, when we have the Liberal Reputation PointsTM game. So the thing that's the most important when it comes to alliance between marginalized and privileged parties is quite simply, does this actually benefit the marginalized party?

Unfortunately it isn't that common that it does.

Why is this? Because many allies are terrible, awful, incompetent allies. Terrible, awful, incompetent and under the privilege induced delusion that they are actually perfectly good allies, which just makes the problem persist. Part of the problem is certainly privilege, no doubts there. Privilege is the primary obfuscating curtain when it comes to knowing what those you act as an ally for need. But an even bigger part of the problem is actually the Liberal Reputation PointsTM game itself and people's personal reputation.

Let's face it, no one wants to look like a bigot. It doesn't look good and we all firmly associate the word bigotry with being a grade A fuckstupid douchenozzle (or an equivalent horribly insulting phrase in your mind). It gets especially worse when you're in a pretty seriously marginalized group yourself and have to deal with other people being shitty allies. You would feel like complete guilty shit if you suddenly realized that you just fucked over someone in the exact same way you get fucked over regularly. It's why GLB folk and womanists respond so badly to being called on transphobia and cissexism. Because GLB folk have to contend with being betrayed by a mess of the lib community and womanists get regularly fucked over by white feminists and our resoundingly loud White Noise. So realizing that, hey, you've suddenly become a giant raging hypocrite is not a pleasant experience.

I've watched this unfold before. An ally does something not terribly beneficial or slips on something, is called on it and just completely flips out. And then a little bit later, contritely goes, "aw fuck, I'm so sorry, that was horrible of me". Some don't come to the realization of course, and they are pretty much considered dirty self deluding liars when they call themselves an ally. There's a list of things that consistantly are done that reduce the effectiveness of one's alliance to folk and then are done that worsen the blow and add insult to injury. And there are things every ally can do to reduce the impact of their fuckups and to reduce the frequency of said fuckups. Let's take a look shall we?

The Don'ts:

1: Speaking for the marginalized person:
A lot of allies think they know a whole bunch of shit about what we need and how we need it. Well, they're wrong. You can do all the research in the world and you still won't know exactly what a given trans person will need. Fuck, most of us don't know what the rest of us need half the time. So when you speak over trans folk, or Aspects forbid, tell trans folk to shut up because you know what we need, you are being a shit poor ally. When a marginalized person tells you to relay a message, relay it exactly. Ask them at any chance you can to make sure you are not distorting, embellishing or extending their requests/needs verbally. You will make mistakes obviously, but if you do these things those mistakes will be less likely and have less impact.

2: Arguing a privilege call:
Face it, you do have privilege. This is a given. If you did something and someone calls privilege on you for it, don't argue it. Because chances are, you are wrong and if you argued it, you're making it just that much harder to get through to you to someone who goes through a helluva lot of shit normally and doesn't need it from allies too. There are rare cases where people will pull a privilege call out of their asses. This does happen and I would be a moron to claim otherwise. But it is extraordinarily rare. It is also generally fairly obvious to other folk that are part of the marginalized group when someone is bullshitting a privilege call. Instead of arguing, ask how what you did was privilege induced. Ask nicely, ask politely. You have the burden as the privileged one, to operate beneficially to us. After all, life gives you a massive leg up and fucks us over. It isn't a huge deal to swallow your pride a little and politely ask what you did wrong. If the claim is bullshit, the person won't be able to describe what you did wrong in terms of privilege and other folk of that group will probably call them on it too.

But chances are, they aren't wrong and you fucked up.

3: Silencing:
This is never acceptable. Enabling others in engaging in silencing, engaging in silencing tactics yourself and not addressing others use of silencing are all unacceptable actions by an ally. Silencing tactics are fairly simple. They are methods used to quash dissent. To dismiss or disable the voices of dissent against the privilege induced majority speak. They can include trolling someone, threatening someone, making offensive jokes, using slurs, acting violent or intimidating, demanding or even criticizing anger from a marginalized person, demanding that a marginalized person change their methods for addressing privilege and a host of other things that are design to control the means of communication and discourse. Technically 1 often classifies as silencing, but as it doesn't always fit silencing, I separated them.

4: Prioritizing your reputation or being right over being a good ally:
Intellectuals hate being wrong. I know this, I'm the same way. Many folks will get defensive when called out as wrong or biased. This defensiveness is simply a defense of their reputation for accuracy or in general. But in the end, one's reputation for being right a lot is never as important as the life, well being and safety of the marginalized people that person is an ally for. When you prioritize these unimportant things over our bodies, lives, well beings and safety, you fail in being an ally. Such an action is pretty heinous because of how dehumanizing it is to be prioritized below something as emphemeral, largely unimportant and dynamic as reputation.

5: Engaging in actions known by the marginalized group to be marginalizing: This one is simple. Don't do the shit to us that we ask everyone to avoid doing to us, with your support as an ally. Seriously, this one is the one that really requires stupidity or asinine levels of apathy about us. If you're fighting other people doing something to us, DON'T DO IT TOO.

The Do's

1: Ask Questions:
Ask what's up often. You are at a loss when it comes to what we need maybe 80% of the time, if you're lucky. The more often you ask before or as you do something, the more likely you can catch yourself before you truly fuck up as an ally. When I write something about a group I am not a part of, I ask people to smack me with a correction if I'm being privileged or inaccurate. Requesting this shows good faith. You're trying and even if you make a mistake, the door is open to address it without fear of silencing. You are admitting your lack and your burden and this is always good.

2: Address things everywhere:
Even if we're not there to see you do it, fight oppression everywhere you can. Take the things we've requested of you and fight for them even when we aren't there. It shows that you actually give a shit about real change and not just about looking good for the Liberal Reputation PointsTM game. And for every person you change the mind of, that's another person who doesn't do something shitty to one of us. Real massive effects.

3: Self Analyze:
Privilege is, like I said above, nasty. It is sneaky, it is quiet, it is powerful. You will have a hard as hell time seeing past that stained glass window to the horrible shit beyond. I know I do. You have a burden due to that privilege, to do everything you can to see past it. The best way to do this (besides listening) is self analysis. Look at the things in your life that you have and compare that to the things marginalized groups have. Try to think in depth on it. Analyze and extend what we've taught you and try to find the points at which your privilege has truly given you immense advantages. And do these exercises in a way that will remind you. Publically, on paper, on a blog, in a journal, somewhere. If it's just up in your head, you may forget or not accept it. But if you read what you just wrote, it will drive it home. And nothing seems to convince privileged folk better that they have privilege than another privileged person pointing it out. Which is an element of privilege in and of itself. XD

4: Keep your priorities ordered well:
Don't play the Liberal Reputation PointsTM game. Just don't. Don't elevate your reputation or your sense of rightness. Don't elevate your hurt feelings that I spoke to you with anger above the people who are suffering because of people with your privilege. In the end, as an ally, your priority is our well being. The only thing that comes above that is your own well being (and as I said, you don't cost yourself a whole lot if anything by helping us). A few feelings being bruised cuz someone told you to fuck off is a whole lot less than being triggered by a rape joke. Know that we're more important than how you look, or how funny you think your jokes are, or whether or not you really liked that book, no matter how racist. And in the end, your first amendment rights are important but fuck are you a bad ally if you champion your right to use slurs about us in common conversation over helping us protect ourselves from being triggered and verbally abused by those same slurs.

5: Trust Us:
In the end, some of the things we say are gonna seem outlandish. Your privilege makes it tough to see the truth of the matter. It's like the matrix. You can't see past it but if you ever get that skill it is mind blowing and hard to believe. You need to learn to trust us to report our experiences and not question everything given to you. Because we get that enough from the non allies. We need you to make it easy for once.

So that is the list. Do's and Don'ts. There's more things, most likely, that I forgot or didn't add. But these are the big ones. Applicable to every single marginalized group and their allies. There are no exceptions to this list. You fail at being an ally if you are not doing these things. So if you are failing, stand up, dust off and do the right thing. Because we need you. It isn't just a pixilated base on a video game we're losing.

It's our lives.
Comedy. Humor. Jokes.

These things make us laugh, giggle, chortle, and guffaw. Their implicit design is to make life easier to deal with, better and more enjoyable. Having a wide span of humor is a wonderful thing in life because it makes it possible to get some good out of even truly awful situations. It also allows people to bond together. Laughing together is good for people. Laughter itself is a very healthy thing psychologically. So its no wonder that there's an entire realm dedicated to comedy. That people out there are known as the Funny Guy, or the Funny Girl (or the Funny Androgyne in spaces that are nonbinary inclusive XD) above all other traits.

Humor is a big deal.

The function of jokes and comedy is to appeal to an audience. To make them laugh. Every comedian, every funny person, every joker and clownish type, they all direct their jokes to a given person with the intent of creating laughter. Without anyone listening, jokes are useless and hollow. And of course, not everyone has the same humor. Some people find knock knock jokes and other simple punchline styles hilarious while others find them boring and cliche. Some folks love ironic humor and dark comedy, while others find that stuff a bit depressing. Everyone has different humor needs but one can generally group people based on the similarities. Knowing what your audience likes, knowing what will make them laugh is what we call "a sense of humor".

It's actually a trait of the comedy giver, that sense of humor thing. When someone doesn't find your joke funny, they don't have a poor sense of humor, because they are your audience. You're trying to appeal to them. So their humor is the one you need a sense of.

After all comedy and humor are entertainment. The audience is right. You are wrong. Don't like it? Find a new audience. XD That's showbiz.

Humor can also be method of social commentary or a way to say harsh things that need to be said while still softening the blow. In the end though, your audience still matters. If they don't laugh, who's fault is it?


Because really, in the end, you are entertaining them. It shouldn't be work to be entertained. One pays a little money, goes to a show, sits back and relaxes and someone else provides the service of comedy. Even the jokers who don't get paid are still working to entertain others. Various reasons of course, but for many, it arises out of enjoying being liked, causing mirth, making people happy. If you didn't do that, then you aren't very good at being a joker now are you?

I'm a funny girl. I joke around a lot and sometimes my friends tell me I'm not serious enough. That's fine, I don't need to be serious as they want me to be. But sometimes my jokes aren't funny to them. The timing is off, or the joke hits too close to home and they don't laugh. It sucks when that happens and I usually feel embarrassed. But it isn't their fault that they didn't find the joke funny. Their tastes are not really controllable, nor should they have to change their tastes to cater to me. It is me, not having a good sense of what they like, that made my joke not funny. Or me not having the skill to meet those likes, be it timing, content, type of humor, etc.

I can understand an inclination to want to blame them, but really, it's my fault. I didn't appeal to my audience.

Now that we understand how humor works when its done right, lets see how it works when it is done wrong.

People were pretty pissed about this. And that's because the humor was pretty bigoted. Humor, like anything, is influenced by privilege and bigotry. After all, jokes come from the mind and go through that filter first. Conan O'Brian's audience has trans women in it, he is on national TV after all. So when people say it wasn't funny, trans or not, that means he screwed up. They don't need a "better sense of humor", he has failed a portion of his audience with his comedy.

Because really, offense counts as not finding it funny. And like I said above, if your audience doesn't find it funny you failed as an artist. They didn't fail you, it isn't their job to laugh.

Badly done humor isn't just a neglectful exercise in privileged bullshit. It is often used as a shield too. Let's face it, no one likes to be called a bigot. No one would be proud of bigotry, privilege and what have you. In this day and age of the liberal reputation game, a lot of people play tolerant and accepting to look better. They pay lip service and have a token number of y friends (y being people from marginalized group n1, n2, n3, n4,... nx). They also tend to fuck up, being that they are still privileged and refuse to actually address that privilege (in fact, many players of the liberal reputation game refuse to acknowledge the concept of privilege at all).

Usually these fuck ups are slips or jokes. Things that they figured would be safe because, hey, they found it funny right? Well, moving past the obvious (that they failed to make their audience laugh and ergo failed at humor), it becomes abruptly clear that they're using the humor as a shield. There's this idea that humor, comedy and what have you, gives immunity to say whatever stupid, bigoted or truly insulting thing you want.

This mostly arises from insult comics, but in reality, most them aren't very funny or popular. The few that are actually tend to insult themselves more than anything, or celebrities (who us mundane folk love to hate). For instance, Sarah Silverman tends to work awfully hard to make herself look like an idiot as part of her act.

The fact is though, comedy doesn't make you immune to anything. If anything, it makes you more vulnerable to the needs of your audience. All they have to do is not laugh at you and you're the one who comes out looking like an idiot and a failure. So it strikes me as sort of stupid to say this, "But I was just joking! You shouldn't be offended, it was supposed to be funny!"

In reality, if it wasn't funny, then you failed. And if you failed to make it funny then there is absolutely no reason to assume that it wouldn't offend someone. In fact, the assumption that a joke couldn't possibly offend someone is a bit offensive and insulting in and of itself. Because it assumes that everyone has your tastes, your bigotry, your views. The assumption that everyone does, or should, have your tastes is dismissive and asinine.

But really, that's not what goes through most of these people's heads (and certainly not mine when I fuck up like this). What's going through their heads (and mine when I'm fuckstupid about this) is, "I'm being awfully clever/ironic/funny". Not, "what will these folks like? What can I do to make them laugh?"

That's the sign of a piss poor comedian. Thinking about how awesome your joke is instead of whether it will appeal. And then, the bigoted piss poor comedian, when someone is offended and does not laugh, thinks, "what's wrong with this person? I was funny! They just don't get it!"

Really, you're not funny. If you were funny, people would have laughed. It's very simple lesson that every comedian, joker, hilarious person, funny guy/girl, ironic or dark comedy peddler and jester type learns. If your audience doesn't laugh, do something different.

Which leads me to a conclusion. When a bigot couches their bigotry in a sheath of humor in order to hide it, the above thought process is not the one up there. The joke is an afterthought, because the person wants to raise a viewpoint but knows that viewpoint won't go over well. They're hoping that by putting it as a joke, it will slip by the radar or at very least, they can claim that the person just has a poor sense of humor instead of actually addressing the bigoted shit they said. It's a diversionary tactic, and a very successful one. Because then the person addresses the humor angle, when they should just say, "If I ain't laughing, then you ain't funny."

A person who actually knows how to joke, who actually learned the ropes from trial and error, they would know that the words, "oh you just can't take a joke" are the most epic bullshit one can say regarding humor. It either means that you're too much of a loser to actually do humor right and can't take rejection well at all or that you're a faker who thinks that humor will save you from those evil PC police. So in the end it comes down to this:

Either you're a bigot hiding behind "humor" or you suck at jokes.
So, today I was responding to a commenter on Alas a Blog regarding Sarah Kohen's piece on trans folk and feminism. It's a bit of a transphobic piece, like most feminist material is but that's not actually my concern here. You see, the piece is speaking out against essentialism, which I think is great. Essentialism among trans folk is dangerous for us because as of now, there is absolutely no evidence of any essentialist brain structures or anything like that. So the NI model folk tend to base their approaches on an utter lack of scientific reasoning, which in turn leads to arbitrary bullshit like, "how feminine you are", "what your self expression is". You know, the kind of things that cis women have been trying to escape for centuries. It sets us up (the bomb! Er sorry, game joke) for a huge clusterfuck of in-house sexism (something trans folk do not need, at all) but that's a post for another day.

Today I wanted to discuss some of the flawed ideas behind certain (NOT ALL) gender deconstructionalist rad fems and how they treat nonbinaries (TS or TG nonbinaries, although the terms do not yet include nonbinary TS's), non gender normative binary trans folk and non gender normative binary transsexuals (basically everyone that the Neo HBS folk want to get the fuck away from forever and ever).

This is almost straight up copy paste from my comment on the blog, with some expansion because seriously, I wrote it fucking perfectly there:

"You wanna join ‘queue, girlie’, you better get it into your heads that ‘girlie’ is not something you believe yourself to be, it’s the name of the queue you want to join for some reason and you better learn the rules and stop lecturing/hectoring us."
Queuing for Beginners
By Sarah Kohen

I pointed out that believing that you are something is a reason to want to join the queue. Which really, in the end, is the primary inconsistency that seems to crop up here. None of them actually know why they let in who they let in. The rules are entirely arbitrary and often shift. “You want to join this queue for some unknown reasons, welcome!”, “you want to join this queue because you feel like you belong here? Fuck you!”.

It’s a problem, largely because it acts to cement the roles and the gender classification itself. If everyone is fighting to keep these binary states intact, solid, rigid and the borders kept (including the so called gender deconstructionalist rad fems) then they are only succeeding in keeping gender intact.

How do they think those queues get dissolved? Do they think one day we’ll all wave a magic wand and suddenly everyone will be able to leave the cues, leave the school and go out and play in the sandbox? With the trucks and and shovels and buckets?

If people keep shifting between queues, blurring the lines, or even standing in different queues, no matter how much people yell and tell them that they are dumb, this will dilute and distort gender. Social constructs have, always, depended upon the individuals of society to uphold their rules. Sarah (within the context of this piece only) continues to stand in her queue and uphold its rules, only allowing in the quiet, the similar. Many rad fems continue to stand in their queue and uphold its rules, yelling at the ones standing in the third and fourth wavy queue that they’re fucking it all up and being stupid. Forgetting that they're standing in a queue too.

Even I’m standing in a queue. I can understand the potent need for survival and that stepping out of that queue, refusing to be classified, working on attacking gender at its basis is rough. And that's why a lot of deconstructionists still call themselves women (or men, there are men gender deconstructionists too). Well nonbinaries are in a bind. Their survival depends on breaking away from the binary, which gives them the same bad attention that a gender breaker will get. After all, the binarist paradigm treats itself as the end all be all of the gender paradigm, so even though a nonbinary is still operating within the gender paradigm, they will still be treated as though they have broken out of the paradigm.

It seems like no one sees the potential here. I see people standing in all sorts of queues. Violating social convention. Refusing to fit the norms. They are expanding out, diluting the construct, making it more difficult to create the us and them mentality, because the us and them depends on a binary. They also act as a point of interest. People see these folk, "leaving gender". They aren’t actually leaving gender, they’re just expanding it, but cis and trans folk who think in the gender paradigm often think in the binary paradigm too and tend to equate them. This is the somewhat ignorant majority one deals with. Nonbinaries act as a baby step. Something that seems like it breaks or moves outside gender.

Real quick before I continue: Nonbinaries have a vested interest in moving out of their queues (just like binary trans folk do, but nonbinaries actually have an impact on gender classification itself, unlike me and other binary trans folk). Sure it might be a third queue (unless the nonbinary is also a gender deconstuctionist, and then chances are that nonbinary is just getting some body modification and telling people to fuck off with the queues) but it still breaks those conventions and needs to happen for their survival. Now I've said before that my body is not an agenda booster. This still applies to nonbinaries. Especially with how much people like to fuck them over. The difference between the statements raised as a problem in the nonbinaries post and here is that here we are passively allowing nonbinaries to do what they need. Forcing nonbinaries to transition, to make their queues is just as wrong as stopping them or even just telling them they're stupid or bad for it (which is still a form of oppression as victims of slut shaming can attest to). Nonbinaries have this potential to further break down the system of classification that is weaponized to oppress women and built in such a way that it is directly oppressive to a lot (but not all) of trans folk. And this potential is built from what they need to survive. So, this is a mutually beneficial situation. Anyways, onward!

Nobinaries make their queues, people yell and scream, but... the fact is, those nonbinaries are happy. Others see this and follow suit in different ways. Girls start stepping out of queue more. Guys start making the line into a zig zag. People shift around as the queues become more and more distorted (including the third and fourth and fifth new queues that upset the rad fems I'm directing this to so very much). Eventually the queues get overlaps, unconscious non purposeful overlaps. People suddenly realize that, "hey I’m kinda in the girlie cue now, weird... I don’t see myself as a girl." And that prompts realizations. People start realizing that, not only are the queues arbitrary and built on silliness, but they barely exist at all anymore.

One of the important things to remember about social change that adjusts a fundamental paradigm of thought in a society is that it can not ever happen quickly. No literally, it can't. There's simply too much inertia in society, too much momentum to directly oppose a paradigm and actually successfully stop it. In many martial arts, there is a skill trained into people to find the perpendicular point of force motion and apply pressure there. Your enemy moves his hand down? Don't block it upwards because then it is strength vs. strength and if your enemy is bigger and stronger, you're fucked. Block it sideways. Suddenly, his strength is diverted. He misses you and you barely exerted at all. Your smaller strength is no longer an issue.

These rad fems are practicing strength vs. strength (and oppressing nonbinaries and certain types of binary trans folk while doing so, something no decent person can advocate without being privileged and unaware as fuck). No wonder gender deconstuctionism hasn't made a lot of leaps and bounds. No wonder the majority of cis and trans people still firmly think in the gender paradigm.

Fighting the full strength, head on, of the dominant mode of thought in society is rife with failure. Especially when your group is small (and trust me, they're called radical feminists for a reason. There's not a lot of them). However, that paradigm is directed entirely in one direction. What if you moved at an angle? The karate chop will continue to fall, obviously (and the paradigm will still exist) but its force is weakened, its movement diverted. And it leaves openings to attack from.

Nonbinaries are that sideways attack. Originally transsexuals were that sideways attack. The fact that one could shift from spot to spot was something that broke the gender rigidity paradigm. And by passively allowing binary transsexuals to get what we needed, feminists benefited (actually it's more that TS folk fought like crazy while feminists stood in the way like giant concrete bricks, but you get the idea, they still benefited in the end). Then the transgender folk came along. The ones not strictly binarist transitioning and by passively allowing them to get what they needed we all benefited (actually same applies, they fought like crazy because the TS folk and the feminists were once again giant stupid assholes. See a pattern?). Now the nonbinaries are here. Had people actually passively just allowed those that came before to just do their own thing, gender would have been weakened quickly, through weakening the rigid gender paradigm and weakening the gender expression paradigm. So now, it's up to feminists to speed up the process by getting the fuck out of the way of nonbinaries so they can break the binary paradigm.

Because frankly, each of these pillars hold up gender. These elements are all the parts of gender that give it its strength. Rigidity allowed for precise definition and othering, which meant you could easily dismiss anyone who was precisely not a man. Essentialist expression allowed for regulation and dismissal. If one did not fit the expression rules, then one was not proper and could be ignored and shuffled into the othered set, further cementing the power of the masculine. And the binary paradigm keeps the us and them mentality intact and prevents mixing through segregation of the sexes based on that paradigm. There are more pillars than that, obviously, but those ones are nasty. And leaps and bounds have been made after each of the trans revolutions, because we destabilize these tools of oppression.

So, if you just stand back, shut the fuck up about how much nonbinaries "are breaking the rules" (those arbitrary, constructed rules you seek to abolish, silly goose) and let nonbinaries make their 3 and 5 and 10 queues, you'll find that one of the most effective and dangerous pillars used to weaponize and empower gender as a classification system (and use it as a tool of oppression) will degrade and fall apart from the erosion of nonbinaries simply doing what they need to do to be happy and survive.

And that is how you abolish gender. Not by standing in line and shouting, “HEY, WE SHOULD ALL GET OUT OF THIS LINE.” Because I can guarantee you, no one is going to step out of it when you stand in the line and shout about getting out of it.

The majority is not on your side, cis included. They need to be slowly, carefully, sneakily led into it. If you’re obvious, they’ll only shut you down. Strength vs. strength folks. You don't have the "muscles" to win that fight. Go perpendicular instead.

Quiz on friday. Don’t be late.

Genderbitch: In ur gender, revealing ur privilege


This is a blog. About transsexuality, feminism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, GLBT stuff and etcetera (check my tags for more on that). This is also an angry blog.

You might see me as slightly antagonistic. Oh well. I incite because I am trying to push people into thinking, discussing and breaking out of the stagnant bullshit of privilege. Which needs a nice firm kick quite a bit. Sometimes to the head. If I need a nice firm kick too, make sure to distribute it because well, I'm not immune to privilege either. XD

Anonymous (account-less) commenting is allowed but please sign it with an alias or name. I reserve the right to delete useless trolling, hate language and attempts to out my name or out anyone else here.

Welcome to my space. Take your shoes off, stay a while. Use the fucking coasters.



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