The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Shakesville Arms'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

As tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US, many of the mods will be indisposed for part or all of the next few days, so we're all going to take a long weekend. We'll be back Monday.

To everyone who will be marking Thanksgiving in any way...Happy Thanksgiving!

To everyone who won't be...have a nice weekend!

And in acknowledgement of the part of this holiday which is worth celebrating—that is, taking a moment to give thanks for that for which we are grateful—I would like to say that I am thankful for you, Shakers.

image of raised hands of many different colors lifting glasses in a huge toast

Open Wide...

Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Skid Row: "I Remember You"

This week is featuring all of Deeky's favorite hair metal bands, in honor of his birthday.

Open Wide...

Quote of the Day

image of President Obama at the White House, applauding the turkey he'd just pardoned
President Obama and Abe, the turkey he pardoned today as part of a US Thanksgiving tradition.

"As you may have heard, for months there has been a fierce competition between a bunch of turkeys trying to win their way into the White House."—President Obama, opening his turkey pardoning ceremony with the perfect wordplay to reference the Thanksgiving pardon contest and the Republican presidential contest.

You can watch the whole ceremony here, and I highly recommend it, because Sasha and Malia humoring Dad while he pardons a turkey is probably the greatest thing you'll see all day.

Open Wide...

The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by the color blue.

Recommended Reading:

Veronica: [Content Note: Police brutality; systemic racism] Organizational Change, #LaquanMcDonald, and #RekiaBoyd

The Feminist Wire Editors: [CN: Racism; misogyny; xenophobia] This Is Fascism, Not Democracy

Angry Asian Man: [CN: Racism] Cops Called on Sikh Student "Doing Something with Wires." (Those wires turned out to be his headphones.)

Eira: [CN: Exploitation] The Whales of Microtransactions, and the Elephant in the Room

TLC: Proposed HUD Rule Would Protect Transgender People Accessing Shelters

Anne: I Published a Goddamn Book

Adam: Stevie Wonder Captivated a New York City Audience for Four Straight Hours Last Night

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

Open Wide...

"Everything You Know About Thanksgiving Is WRONG."

[Content Note: Discussion of colonialist racism and violence.]

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, and here is a terrific video care of Franchesca Ramsey, aka @chescaleigh, reminding us that its commonly taught history is bullshit, and that it's a function of privilege to be able to celebrate it while ignoring that the fairy tale at its center osfuscates violent colonialism. Happy Thanksgiving!

A black family—Mom, Dad, Auntie, Grandpa, Older Sister (Franchesca Ramsey), and Younger Sister—sit around a dining room table eating Thanksgiving dinner and laughing.

Mom: —and I'm thankful for my kindergarten class, who made these wonderful crafts to celebrate Thanksgiving.

[She pulls out from a box a construction paper pilgrim hat, puts the hat on her head, and passes on the box so everyone else can grab one and put it on.]

Grandpa: [reading from a piece of artwork from the box] "After the Native Americans helped the Pilgrims survive their first winter in America, the Puritans invited them to share the first Thanksgiving."

[He holds up the picture for everyone to see, and they make approving noises.]

Older Sister: [takes the picture] Aww these are adorably wrong. [she tears it in half]

Mom: A five-year-old made that.

Older Sister: Based off of the lies that you taught them!

[Younger Sister makes an "oh shit!" face and glances sideways at Mom.]

Mom: [through a gritted-teeth smile] Excuse me?

Older Sister: Oh, it's not your fault! [holds up US history book] These are full of half-truths and historical propaganda! [tosses book over her shoulder]

Younger Sister: I thought the Native Americans and the Pilgrims were, like, besties or whatever.

[Grandpa nods and looks at Older Sister.]

Older Sister: At best, the Pilgrims and Wampanoags could best be described as [she makes air quotes] "political allies." [Auntie makes a "huh?" face] By the time the Pilgrims showed up, not only were two-thirds of the Massachusetts tribes completely wiped out by European slave-owners and diseases [she smashes construction paper teepees on the table] the Pilgrims were constantly at war with the indigenous people and routinely tortured them. [she dumps two small human figures into the gravy boat]

Grandpa: But what about Squanto [Auntie holds up a child's drawing of the Squanto tale] the Native American who learned English to help out the Pilgrims?

Older Sister: He was actually a slave who was hauled off to Europe [she makes a big X across the drawing Auntie is holding] and then he learned English so that he could escape.

Dad: [trying to save it with a big grin] But they did celebrate it every year, right?

Older Sister: Not exactly. [Dads face falls] The next one was sixteen years later. And unfortunately, it was because the Puritans were celebrating the massacre of the Pequot Tribe. Back then, Thanksgiving was also for families! Specifically—murdering them.

Auntie: Okay! We get it! History is awful! The Puritans were terrible! And now we have to let our children know that the holiday started with tons of killings! Happy?!

Older Sister: Wellllll, we actually have just about everything wrong with the Thanksgiving myth. [she stands up and begins walking around the table, plucking off everyone's Pilgrim hats] Definitely didn't wear these buckle hats! [picks up a rock on the table labeled "Plymouth" and tosses it away] Didn't land on Plymouth Rock! And as for that turkey—

Dad: Oh no, not the turkey.

Older Sister: More like venison, foul, and eel. [plops a big ol' eel on Dad's plate]

Mom: [recoiling] Oh!

Younger Sister: Who cares about how this stupid holiday got started, anyway?

Older Sister: Exactly! In George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation, the settlers aren't mentioned, not even once. Thanksgiving wasn't celebrated nationwide until 1863, when this guy [holds out a picture of Abraham Lincoln] declared it a national holiday during the Civil War in order to bring the country together. [she puts construction paper stovepipe hats on everyone's heads] That's why all of our foods are from the 19th century.

Auntie: So Lincoln came up with the whole Indian-Pilgrim story.

Older Sister: Nope! That myth didn't catch on 'til the 1900s, after we had fought and killed all the Native Americans. And then we put it in textbooks as fact! Because America! [takes a bite of food, while everyone else looks shellshocked] But the good is really good, and if you ignore all the terrible history, you know, like the murdering, the raping, the pillaging, it's still kind of a great holiday!

[Everyone stares. Mom scowls.]

Dad: So the Mayflower is a lie!

Grandpa: Why do we eat cranberry sauce?

Auntie: What about stuffing?

Younger Sister: Is Black Friday really just a capitalist conspiracy to get poor people to buy things so we can't truly lead a populist revolt?

[Everyone starts talking at Older Sister, who picks up her glass of wine.]

Older Sister: I am never telling you the truth ever again! [drinks]

Open Wide...

Shaker Gourmet

Whatcha been cooking up in your kitchen lately, Shakers?

Share your favorite recipes, solicit good recipes, share recipes you've recently tried, want to try, are trying to perfect, whatever! Whether they're your own creation, or something you found elsewhere, share away.

Also welcome: Recipes you've seen recently that you'd love to try, but haven't yet!

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

two images of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying on the living room floor in the 'superhero' position, with her chin resting on her paws outstretched in front of her and her back legs stretched backwards
Superdog is super.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

Open Wide...

In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War; terrorism; death; video may autoplay at second link] "The surviving pilot of a Russian plane shot down by Turkey on the Syrian border has said no warning was given. Capt Konstantin Murakhtin told Russian television there was 'no way' the jet could have violated Turkish airspace, as Turkey said it did. Russia said Capt Murakhtin was rescued in a 12-hour operation involving special forces. Turkey insists the pilots were warned 10 times before the plane was shot down." Meanwhile: "Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday said the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey appeared to be planned. 'We have serious doubts that it was unintentional, it looks like a planned provocation,' he said, according to Russian news agency TASS." So, everything's going great with that situation.

[CN: Terrorism] US President Obama and French President Hollande gave a joint press conference yesterday, in which they reaffirmed the alliance between the two countries. The White House had made available the complete transcript of that presser.

[CN: War on agency] This is good news (for now): "The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that the hospital admitting requirement for Wisconsin abortion providers is unconstitutional. The scathing 2-1 ruling states that this kind of targeted restriction on abortion providers is unconstitutional because it lacks any basis to suggest that it improves safety at clinics. ...A similar case will be heard by the Supreme Court next year." Let's hope the Supreme Court shares the opinion of the 7th Circuit Court.

[CN: Marginalizing language] Hillary Clinton has promised to stop using the phrase "illegal immigrants." Jose Antonio Vargas, "an activist whose group is mounting a campaign called #WordsMatter to get presidential candidates to promise not to use the phrase," and who challenged Clinton on her use of the phrase, said: "I am hopeful that Hillary Clinton will stand by her word. And I am hopeful that her fellow candidates, from both parties, will make the same pledge. Words matter." Well done, sir!

[CN: Domestic violence] The NFL continues to have perfect priorities: "On Tuesday afternoon, days after pictures and video of the Cleveland Browns quarterback partying over the weekend emerged, the team announced that Johnny Manziel has been demoted from starter to the third string for the foreseeable future. This announcement comes less than a month after Manziel, who is in his second year in the NFL, was promoted to starting quarterback amid an NFL investigation of a domestic violence incident."

[CN: Homophobia; violence] Good: "Homophobic tweets posted by accused Philadelphia gay basher Kathryn Knott will be admitted as evidence in the trial against her set to start next month. Knott is accused of savagely attacking a gay couple in City Center, Philadelphia on September 11, 2014 while shouting gay slurs. While her two cohorts in the attack accepted plea deals, Knott, the daughter of Bucks County, Pennsylvania police chief Karl Knott, opted instead to fight the charges against her in court. ...The judge in Knott's trial decided that those tweets, because they are of an anti-gay nature, would be admissible in the trial despite her defense attorney's objection (he labeled the attempt to admit them 'character assassination')."

Obviously: "Adele's Reaction to the SNL Skit About Her Is Perfect." In other Adele news: "Adele Can't Wait for Rihanna's Anti." YESSSSS!!!

[CN: Disablist language] "29 Times Tom Hardy Was Goddamn Human Perfection in 2015." LOL! Facts.

And finally! "Couple Lets Their Dog Film Their Wedding and the Result Is Better Than Most Wedding Videos." Awwww!

Open Wide...

See, Here's the Thing with Religious Litmus Tests

[Content Note: Refugee crisis; Christian Supremacy; Islamophobia; descriptions of violence.]

Last Sunday, John Oliver had a segment on resistance across the US to accepting Syrian refugees, and it included this bit about the Republican nominees who have argued that we should only accept Christian refugees (video should begin playing at, and transcribed section begins at, 0:49):

John Oliver: Presidential candidates also got involved with this anti-refugee rhetoric. Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Marco Rubio called for a halt to all Syrian refugees entering the country, and others, like Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, argued we could take some, if they were Christian. And if you're wondering how that would work, let Jeb Bush explain.

[cut to clip of Jeb Bush standing and talking to reporters]

Female reporter: What does the focus on Christian families actually look like? Is that gonna—

Bush: Well, you're a Christian. You can prove you're a Christian.

Female reporter: How?

Bush: [shrugs] I think you can prove it.
So, this is definitely a thoughtfully considered position that is super solid and totally doesn't have any holes in it.

And it obviously rests on the firm and unassailable foundation that Christians would never hurt anyone, unlike Muslims.

Except, here's another story in the news today [video may autoplay at link]: "Pastor Among 8 Indicted in Fatal New York Church Beating." It's a story about eight adults, seven of whom have been charged with murder, for fatally beating a teenage boy and seriously injuring his younger brother, because the older boy had expressed a desire to leave the church. The adults, including the boys' father, tortured them for what the surviving boy "estimated was six or more hours," during which they were "pummeled with fists and whipped with a 4-foot, folded electrical cord on the back and elsewhere."

I'm guessing that Jeb Bush would be among the first people to tell me that these assholes aren't representative of all Christians.

And I agree. They're not.

Just like Islamic terrorists aren't representative of all Muslims.

There are a whole lot of problems with the narrative that "Christian axiomatically = good," even without its being juxtaposed against the narrative that "Muslim axiomatically = bad." There are a whole lot of people in the US who are harmed by Christians in the name of Christianity every goddamn day.

Enough with this shit. Enough.

Open Wide...

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis...

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; violence.]

A day after masked gunmen opened fire on protesters rallying for justice after the police killing of Jamar Clark, more information is coming out about how police responded to that shooting, which happened right outside a police precinct:

"This is what you guys wanted," police told protesters after five demonstrators were shot and injured by masked men at a continuing protest in Minneapolis on Monday night, witnesses told the Guardian.

Protesters trying to tend to the wounded were also maced.

...Having shot five people, the attackers escaped in what looked like a black Toyota SUV, according to Nimo Omar, who was also at the protest.

After the shots, everything was "very chaotic," Omar said. Several people, including Sumaya Moallin and Oluchi Omeoga, ran back to the precinct to ask the police for help.

Moallin said they needed a squad car and an ambulance. "He looked at me and he said: 'Call 911,'" she told the Guardian. "I said: 'I thought you were 911.' Then he looked at me directly and said: 'This is what you guys wanted.'"

"Six [officers] were outside [the precinct building]," she continued. "They all just shuffled back into the door. They were not making eye contact ... I pleaded a good amount of time."

She said she felt "like I had the wind knocked out of me. We're here to protest against what they're doing wrong; we don't not want cops, we just want them to serve and protect. I fell to the ground and started crying."

...A "chaotic" 15 or 20 minutes passed, [Rachel Bean] said, with the crowd's anger at the police's refusal to offer aid growing. "I felt powerless," Omeoga said. "But the whole reason me and Jie [Wronski-Riley] were chasing around was to de-escalate." Another witness, Moallin, said that it was more like 10 minutes.

Then the police arrived at the scene in force, in full riot gear. Bean was still tending to Martin's brother's stomach wound when they released mace into people's faces, she told the Guardian. "I said, 'I called the EMS, you don't have to mace everyone,'" she said. "The officer said 'fuck you' or 'shut the fuck up' or something like that."

She said that attitude was representative of the behavior of other officers she interacted with after the attack. "The idea that you would mace a group of people that just had bullets fired at them – that's the opposite of responsible."
Rage. Seethe. Boil.

The sort of thinking that imagines protesters desire to be shot by anti-black gunmen is not just despicable; it's projection. It's the sort of thinking that comes from people who want to pretend that they're under siege, in order to justify their wanton murder of people over whom they have power, and then hold up as heroic martyrs a couple of fucking assholes who shot themselves.

I don't even know how these cops can spend a moment wondering why the fuck they're being protested, when they mace people trying to provide medical assistance to comrades who have been shot.

That shit right there is why you're being protested. Because you are aggressively hostile to black existence and survival.

Open Wide...

Protest in Chicago for Laquan McDonald, and for More

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; violence.]

ariel photograph of protesters in Chicago blocking an interstate, facing a line of police cars
Protesters block I-290 in Chicago last night. [Image via Brittany Levine.]

Yesterday, after Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder for killing 17-year-old black teenager Laquan McDonald with 16 shots, the police public released video of the shooting. Protesters took to Chicago's streets, agitating for justice on behalf of Laquan McDonald and, as ever, raising awareness around the issue of police violence, in the hopes of preventing any more deaths like McDonald's.
While the demonstrations, which at times blocked some of Chicago's busy Interstate highways, were largely peaceful, some turned confrontational during the night.

Skirmishes broke out between protesters and police, who surrounded officers after they apparently made arrests. Protesters also tried to stop a police SUV from leaving with arrestees — an effort that failed. As the sound of sirens filled the air, police were met with shouts of "16 shots" — the number of times the officer charged with murder fired at Laquan McDonald, 17, in October 2014 — and "No Black Friday!" Some protesters showed up in gas masks, and some pushed against a police line, but no smoke or tear gas came.

In dramatic standoffs, some protesters stared down police as cameras snapped.

"When we say 'F—k the police,' that's not just because … we think that s—t is something cool," one protester said. "That is a response!"
And the police's response was violence and aggression. They also arrested Malcolm London, along with three other leaders of the Black Youth Project 100, a black social justice youth organization in Chicago. Earlier in the day, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (who is an opportunistic scoundrel) sought to meet with London and others, and they refused, knowing it would be a charade as part of Emanuel's bid to avoid demonstrations in Chicago. I'm sure, ahem, it's just a coincidence then that later the same day, London was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault, despite the fact that he was "just standing there" when police grabbed him.

That police specifically targeted BYP100 organizers for arrest is not a coincidence. It is a deliberate strategy to intimidate, discourage, demoralize, and terrorize young black activists in Chicago.

Thus proving the need for those activists in the first place.

This protest was about justice for Laquan McDonald and about accountability for police violence. But, like every Black Lives Matter protest, it was about so much more. It's about all the police violence against the black community in Chicago. It's about overpolicing in black communities, the sort of policing in which police aren't there to serve the community but contain and oppress them. It's about Homan Square. It's about profound segregation and entrenched institutional racism. It's about the spectrum of systemic violence and marginalization of black people committed by a white supremacist city, state, and nation. It's about making black lives matter, in every way.

And there are an awful lot of white people who regard each of these protests as singular events. Who don't understand that this protest is intimately connected to the protest in Minneapolis, at which black protesters were shot by white supremacists. And to the fight for justice for Sandra Bland. And Rekia Boyd. And Michael Brown. And John Crawford. And Jonathan Ferrell. And Eric Garner. And Oscar Grant. And Freddie Gray. And Andre Green. And Darrien Hunt. And Kajieme Powell. And Tamir Rice. And Tony Robinson. And Walter Scott. And Charles Smith. And for those killed by white people other than police, like the victims of the AME Church Shooting, Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, and Darius Simmons. And for black women for whom self-protection laws don't apply, like Marissa Alexander and the Jersey 4 and CeCe McDonald. And for black women whose need is criminalized, like Shanesha Taylor and Laura Browder and Moina Lucious.

And school segregation, and job discrimination, and housing discrimination, and wealth inequality, and pay disparity, and mass incarceration, and municipal violations, and fair legal representation, and the disproportionate application of the death penalty, and lack of meaningful visibility, and unequal opportunities, and access to healthcare, and millions of microaggressions, and white people (and other non-black people) doubting whether anti-black racism really still exists and auditing the ways black people try to address it and accusing them of looking for things to get mad about and screaming BOOTSTRAPS at them and calling them oversensitive.

My pal Dan Solomon posted the following on Facebook, which I'm sharing with his permission, drawing a line between the white supremacist shooting at the protest in Minneapolis this week and the scolding of black students advocating for safe spaces on college campuses:
Okay, here is the thing about Black Lives Matter protests and all the I'm-just-a-reasonable-white-guy whining about how the kids are all way too sensitive and don't deserve their "safe spaces" -- the space outside of a fucking *police station* in Minneapolis wasn't safe. If they want to talk about the way that black lives are at very real risk in this country, they are at risk of being fucking *shot* for it. The idea that they're not equipped for the "real world" because they want safe spaces on their campuses when the world tells them over and over again that they don't get safe spaces, that a space that is super safe for someone like me is actually dangerous as hell for them, is such heavy, condescending bullshit that anybody who spouts it should have fucking asphyxiated by now.

Every time black protesters go to the street to talk about this, they are aware that they are not safe. They get shot. They get beaten. They get gassed. They are aware that they get shot and beaten and gassed. They are *willing* to get shot and beaten and gassed. It's not because their tactics are too aggressive or they snatched a mic from Bernie fucking Sanders, it's because the world is filled with racist people who will shoot and beat and gas them. Motherfuckers, you'd want a "safe space" too.
In Chicago last night, protesters marched for safety. The kind of safety that so many white people take for granted. And the police responded by arresting one of their leaders on a trumped-up charge based on the claim that he assaulted them.

Are you getting it yet?

Open Wide...

Open Thread

image of the character Bossk from the Star Wars universe

Hosted by Bossk.

Open Wide...

Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker yes: "What is your favorite self-care ritual?"

Literally more than anything else: A nap, when I really need one.

Open Wide...

Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Slaughter: "Fly to the Angels"

This week is featuring all of Deeky's favorite hair metal bands, in honor of his birthday.

Open Wide...

What to Get the Fishmonger Who Has Everything

Please take a moment to review the "Ridiculous (and Awesome)" section of GOOP's 2015 Holiday Gift Guide and let me know what you'd like for Christmas. Even if you don't celebrate Christmas. Especially if you don't celebrate Christmas. All the coolest fishmongers are celebrating Christmas these days!

If anyone is wondering what to get me this year, I would like the $90,000 World View Exploration at the Edge of Space. Please and thank you.

Open Wide...

"I make those sorts of calculations every day."

[Content Note: Anti-choice terrorism; harassment; threats; violence; war on agency.]

Andrea Grimes interviews abortion provider Dr. Cheryl Chastine on what it means to her, and what it costs her, to be an abortion provider in the United States: "An Abortion Provider Speaks Out: 'I'll Do Whatever My Conscience Tells Me I Must'."

In American culture, work is such a big part of who we are that "What do you do for a living?" is an incredibly common small talk question. So with every encounter like that, I have to decide whether I want to bring it up. Should I say, "I provide abortions," to my airplane seatmate? My hairdresser? The woman on the treadmill next to me at the gym? I don't want to perpetuate abortion stigma by not talking about it, and I'm proud as hell to do what I do. So I usually talk about it, and people are usually supportive. I feel like confronting people with the work that I do, and the need for that work, is a political act.

At the same time, though, you never know who might be anti-abortion. Now, I'm not worried about upsetting anyone. But I do have to think about whether, say, my hairdresser might call up the groups that harass me and tell them where and when I go there. Then I have to worry that they might start picketing my haircut appointments, or calling the salon and threatening to boycott or protest them if they continue seeing me, or even that at my next appointment there could be someone waiting outside with a gun.

It's absurd and appalling that I have to think about that. But I make those sorts of calculations every day.

...I have no regrets about my path. This is even more important, and more rewarding, than I'd thought it could be. Every day I go to work, I can make it possible for someone to leave an abusive relationship, care for their children, continue their education, deal with an illness. Every day, my patients hug me and thank me and tell me I've helped them get their life back.
Read the whole thing.

Cheryl is a friend of mine (which I'm disclosing with her permission). I've had the pleasure of spending time with her in person, and she is every bit as awesome as you'd imagine from reading this interview, and even more. She is deeply kind.

I've said before that I don't have heroes, because it has always seemed such an unfair thing, to me, to call someone a hero—to put someone on a pedestal from which they cannot escape and lionize them to the virtual point of dehumanization. It's such a terrible way to recognize the rarity of a person whose work and example are so meaningful that I aspire to follow their lead, this instinct to ignore their complex humanity (lest one spy a flaw, oh dear), when their humanity is a fundamental part of what makes them admirable in the first place.

After all, they live in the same shitty world that we all do, and have the same human foibles, but manage to be kind and wise despite the cultural cacophony of disincentives to be either.

So I don't have heroes.

But if I did, Dr. Cheryl Chastine would be at the top of that list.

Open Wide...

Your Best Photograph

If you're a photographer, even if a very amateur one (like myself), and you've got a photo or photos you'd like to share, here's your thread for that!

It doesn't really have to be your best photograph—just one you like!

Please be sure if your photo contains people other than yourself, that you have the explicit consent of the people in the photos before posting them.

* * *

Here's one I quite like which I took a few days ago of the sky during a rainstorm at dusk:

image of trees silhouetted against a pink stormy sky

The rain was coming down, and it was quite a strange and lovely stormy sky. There's no filter on this image; it was one of the most unusual storm skies I've ever seen.

Open Wide...


[Content Note: Transphobia; misgendering; sexual assault.]

The Federalist is a conservative garbage rag, which is hardly worthy of any decent person's attention, but this deserves a response: Kaeley Triller is a rape survivor who is using her history of abuse to argue against allowing transgender people to use the appropriate bathrooms, playing on the "trans predator" trope in the most cynical and harmful way.

I want to first say that I'm sorry Triller was abused. It makes me sad and it makes me angry.

But it also makes me sad and angry to see a fellow survivor engage in irresponsible fearmongering about trans people, trading on vicious narratives about trans predators in order to deny trans people—trans women, in particular—the needed and deserved safety that access to gender-appropriate bathrooms affords.

Triller, however, denies she believes trans people are all predators:

Let me be clear: I am not saying that transgender people are predators. Not by a long shot. What I am saying is that there are countless deviant men in this world who will pretend to be transgender as a means of gaining access to the people they want to exploit, namely women and children. It already happens. Just Google Jason Pomares, Norwood Smith Burnes, or Taylor Buehler, for starters.
Okay. So I did Google those names, and here is what I found: Jason Pomares is a cis male predator who dressed as a woman in order to secretly videotape women in a mall restroom. Norwood Smith Burnes is a cis male predator who dressed as a woman in order to expose himself to people in a Walmart restroom. Taylor Buehler is a cis male predator who dressed as a woman in order to engage in voyeurism in a college restroom.

None of them were trans women, and none of them were "pretending to be transgender." They were pretending to be women. That is not a semantic difference.

And if cis male predators are already dressing as women in order to gain access to women's restrooms, then preventing trans women from using women's restrooms is totally irrelevant, unless one believes that trans women are disposed toward predation.

Triller can insist all she wants that she doesn't think trans women themselves are all predators, but denying them access to safe toileting because their very existence gives cover to cis male predators, and conflating trans women with cis male predators in wigs and bras, is no fucking better.

And it's just a bullshit cover, anyhow, because she goes on at length about how allowing trans women in women's bathrooms puts women and children at risk for sexual assault, and then utterly gives away the game by referring to trans woman as "biological males."
Why would people knowingly invite further exploitation by creating policies with no safeguards in place to protect them from injury? With zero screening options to ensure that biological males who enter locker rooms actually identify as female, how could a woman be sure the person staring at her wasn't exploiting her? Why is it okay to make her wonder?
Why would a trans woman be any more likely than a cis woman to stare at another woman in a locker room? To believe that, one has to believe that trans women are inherently more predatory.

They are not.

Triller further argues:
While I feel a deep sense of empathy for what must be a very difficult situation for transgender people, at the beginning and end of the day, it is nothing short of negligent to instate policies that elevate the emotional comfort of a relative few over the physical safety of a large group of vulnerable people.

...There's no way to make everyone happy in the situation of transgender locker room use. So the priority ought to be finding a way to keep everyone safe. I'd much rather risk hurting a smaller number of people's feelings by asking transgender people to use a single-occupancy restroom that still offers safety than risk jeopardizing the safety of thousands of women and kids with a policy that gives would-be predators a free pass.

...Is it ironic to no one that being "progressive" actually sets women's lib back about a century? What of my right to do my darndest to insist that the first time my daughter sees the adult male form it will be because she's chosen it, not because it's forced upon her? What of our emotional and physical rights?

...Even if there aren't hundreds of abusers rushing into locker rooms by the dozens, the question I keep asking myself is, "What if just one little girl gets hurt by this? Would that be enough to make people reconsider it?"
Given that transgender women are much more likely to be harmed just for trying to take a piss or a shit, this is projection in the highest order. It isn't trans people's feelings getting hurt which is the most pressing concern here. What a gross minimization of transphobic violence. Though even if it simply were about feelings, feelings of safety and inclusion are no small thing.

What if just one (more) trans person gets hurt by this, Ms. Triller? Would that be enough to make you reconsider your reprehensible position?

I'll just say once again: I am a cisgender woman who uses public bathrooms, and I am well aware that there are trans women, some of whom might well have a penis, using the same public restrooms I do—Spoiler Alert: AND I DON'T FUCKING CARE—and anyone who's under the misapprehension that no trans women ever currently use women's bathrooms is a cloistered ignoramus who may well have been deliberately misled by a transphobic asshole with an agenda.

Trans women and men and cis women and men already share bathrooms. This is not a tragedy or cause for alarm. OH NOES BATHROOM PANIC! is unmitigated bullshit. The End.

As is any other transphobic shit that is peddled under the auspices of "trans predator" memes, and justified under some variation of the argument that I need to be protected from trans people.

I am a cis woman, and a survivor of sexual violence. I am exactly the type of person who is routinely invoked as needing protection from trans predators. I don't need your protection. No one has my permission to pretend that they're "saving" me by endangering trans people.

(Further, no survivors are welcome to pretend they speak for all survivors when raising trans bathroom panic in support of transphobic bathroom policies. They do not. They most certainly do not speak for me.)

I am not in danger from sharing a bathroom with trans women. But trans women could very well be in danger from not being allowed to share a bathroom with me.

And trans men could very well be in danger from being forced to share a bathroom with me: "[Trans editor and writer Mitch Kellaway] told ThinkProgress that gender policing and stereotypes are a very real threat to transgender men. 'When we use the women's bathrooms we're 'supposed' to use'—according to opponents of trans equality measures like HERO—'we're seen as predators,' and that perception can lead to violence toward trans men."

Predators using bathrooms as an arena for predation is a real issue. (Though stranger sexual assault is much less common than sexual assault perpetrated by someone known to the victim.) But it's an issue that has fuck-all to do with trans people using the restroom.

Predators prey. Trans people just want to take a piss.

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat sitting beside Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat in the same chair

For seven years, these two couldn't have given two shits about each other. In fact, Tilsy always seemed rather contemptuous of Sophie, sometimes just hissing at her or batting her with a paw for no damn reason as she walked by. But this MAGICAL CHAIR has turned them into BFFs. Now they not only cuddle together, but suddenly play together in a way they never have previously. Cats, you are so weird.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

Open Wide...

In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism; death] Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, a white man, has been charged with murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old black teenager Laquan McDonald. This is the first time in 35 years an on-duty Chicago police officer has been charged with murder. "Several people who have seen [dashcam video of the shooting] say it shows the teenager armed with a small knife and walking away from several officers on 20 October 2014. They say Van Dyke opened fire from about 15ft and kept shooting after the teen fell to the ground. An autopsy report says McDonald was shot at least twice in his back. ...'I can't speak to why the [other] officers didn't shoot,' the lawyer representing Van Dyke, Daniel Herbet, told reporters on Friday, according to the Chicago Tribune. 'But I certainly can speak to why my client shot, and it is he believed in his heart of hearts that he was in fear for his life, that he was concerned about the lives of [other] police officers.' Van Dyke was the only officer of the six present that night who fired his gun out as the teen was allegedly walking away, according to lawyers representing McDonald's family." Officer Van Dyke's heart of hearts can go fuck itself.

[CN: Police brutality; racism; death] It has been a year since Tamir Rice was killed by Cleveland Police Officer Tim Loehmann, and, over the weekend, Rice's "family and hundreds of supporters gathered in the park where he last played for a vigil in celebration of his life." They also presented petitions asking that Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty remove himself from the case. "Organizer Elle Hearns said at the vigil that today's action is 'an opportunity to join us as organizers, and as a family with demands of the city and of the prosecutor to do the right thing and to make sure that this family has an opportunity to heal and to have some peace.'"

[CN: War on agency] Imani Gandy has your latest update on the legal troubles the Center for Medical Progress is facing "in connection with its heavily edited undercover videos" of meetings with Planned Parenthood: "Lawyers for the National Abortion Federation (NAF) filed two whopping motions on November 13 against the anti-choice front group and its leader, David Daleiden." Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of folks!

[CN: White supremacy] Donald Trump has defended the crime stats he cribbed from a neo-Nazi by claiming, "I retweeted somebody that was supposedly an expert." This fucking guy.

[CN: 9/11; graphic imagery] In other Trump news, after lying about seeing people celebrating when the Towers fell on 9/11, he's now claiming, incredibly, that "he saw people jumping from the World Trade Center from his building in midtown Manhattan." The thing is, Trump Tower is "more than four miles away from where the World Trade Center towers once stood. ...The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment asking how Trump witnessed people jumping out of the Twin Towers from more than four miles away." I'll bet they didn't.

[CN: Privacy violations; disablist language] You know that "most-used words" word cloud thing on Facebook? Don't do it. Don't do any Facebook quizzes. I mean, unless you don't care how your personal information is used. Which is a valid choice! In which case, do all the quizzes you want!

Wowwwwww: "In its first three days of release, Adele's 25 has already sold at least 2.3 million in pure album sales in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. And, at the present (Nov. 23), industry forecasters suggest the album could finish the week with 2.9 million sold. Thus, 25 is already only the second album to sell more than 2 million copies in a single week since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991. Further, by the end of the day Monday, it should surpass the single-week sales record, currently held by *NSYNC's No Strings Attached, which debuted with 2,416,000 sold in the week ending March 26, 2000." Congratulations, Adele! Well deserved.

Amazing: After 6 Years, 4,200 hours, and 720,000 Attempts, photographer Alan McFadyen has finally taken the perfect photo of a kingfisher making a dive into the water. It is a pretty great goddamn picture!

[CN: Moving gifs at link] And finally! "The 38 Most Awkward Dogs of 2015." LOL! Clearly, whoever compiled this list hasn't met Dudley!

Open Wide...

Back |