"For most of its being, mankind did not know what things are made of, but could only guess. With the growth of worldken, we began to learn, and today we have a beholding of stuff and work that watching bears out, both in the workstead and in daily life.
"At first it was thought that the uncleft was a hard thing that could be split no further; hence the name. Now we know it is made up of lesser motes. There is a heavy kernel with a forward bernstonish lading, and around it one or more light motes with backward ladings. The least uncleft is that of ordinary waterstuff. Its kernel is a lone forwardladen mote called a firstbit. Outside it is a backwardladen mote called a bernstonebit. The firstbit has a heaviness about 1840-fold that of the bernstonebit. Early worldken folk thought bernstonebits swing around the kernel like the earth around the sun, but now we understand they are more like waves or clouds."
[Thinking about butterfluff today, who introduced me to this essay.]
Chase Strangio explains what we mean when we say we have little patience for those who would deny or 'debate' the fact of our existence, our right to exist, our right to participate freely in society...
"As writer Imogen Binnie explained on Twitter, when reading pieces like Shulevitz's, one must ask 'what does this article propose trans people should do'
"'[I]f the answer is something like 'not be trans,' please consider that most trans people have tried that and it didn't work,' Binnie tweeted.
"And that really is the crux of it. After reading Shulevitz's piece, what is the answer for trans people other than to simply not be trans if it is our trans-ness itself that infringes the rights of others and creates this so-called clash of values? As Binnie so poignantly offered, most of us have tried thatâ--âwe have spent years in dark places wrestling with our truth, feeling ashamed and plagued with self-loathing. And when we manage to come through that and survive, and thrive and even love ourselves, we are confronted with this kind of insidious insistence that we should have just not existed after all.
"Too many of us die because that belief takes hold of us or of others. With attempted suicide rates in the community close to 50% and murders of transwomen and femmes of color reaching epidemic proportions, these questions truly are life or death. It is about existence even if you frame it as a clash of values."
-- Chase Strangio, "When Your Existence Is Up For Debate", 2016-10-18 (this is the closing of an essay in which he picks apart dangerous flaws in the latest mainstream-press article about trans issues from someone who appears not to have spoken to any trans people or anyone who respects trans people)
The rest of that FB post I quoted from on Thursday:
"[...] In my 20's, though, I was working in places here and there where verbal sexual abuse wasn't an uncommon thing. I inadvertently hit on a sentence, almost an incantation, that sharply reduced the number of such conversations I was exposed to. And if more men used it, it might reduce the number of such conversations in the absolute.
"'That's fucking creepy and I don't want to hear it.'
"There were a few times I had to say it three or four times in 45 seconds.
"I haven't had to say it in a long time.
"It's all about perceived support. The creeps read silence as agreement. As long as we say nothing, they continue. It's our obligation as men to deprive them of that perceived support. To show them that all men don't have these conversations. [...]"-- Chris Clarke, 2016-10-08
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2014-01-27:
"It turns out that although there is a lot of hype from companies that sell open office furniture and related goods about how fantastic open offices are, and all that, research published in peer review journals clashes with the hype. In every study that I can find that has survived the peer review process, people in open settings are found to be less satisfied, less productive, and experience more stress than people who work in closed offices. And when people move from closed to open offices, they like them less, report being less productive, and report more stress. So long as people are doing work that is largely "individual" and that requires thinking and intense individual concentration, these findings make a lot of sense to me.
"Yet, as Lovaglia's Law predicts, many administrators and building designers seem to be have a hard time "hearing" such evidence and keep pushing for open office designs - they prefer to talk about selected anecdotes instead. Indeed, there are popular articles on how management can overcome such 'irrational' resistance to change. But those articles don't seem to mention that, at least for people who don't do highly interdependent team based work such as is done in engineering and scientific labs, open offices don't appear to work very well, so such resistance to open offices might, in fact, be rational."
-- Robert Sutton, workplace researcher.
(submitted to the mailing list by erry Labach)
[Chag Sameach to all my friends who'll be eating in a sukkah this week! Have a good Sukkot and may the weather be favurable!]
"If we would mend the World,
we should mend Ourselves;
and teach our Children to be,
not what we are,
but what they should be."
-- attributed to William Penn (b. 1644-10-14, d. 1718-07-30), [I have not managed to track down which book / letter / sermon this is from, but everyone seems pretty sure it's his]
"I keep reading things like 'all men have those conversations in private.'
"That's a lie that men who enjoy sexual abuse tell to give themselves emotional support. I haven't even been subjected to a conversation like that as an unwilling participant in decades.
"It's all about perceived support. The creeps read silence as agreement. As long as we say nothing, they continue. It's our obligation as men to deprive them of that perceived support. To show them that all men don't have these conversations.
"To make them realize that their verbal sexual abuse is fucking creepy. And that we don't want to hear it."-- Chris Clarke, 2016-10-08
"I was in an NFL locker room for eight years, the very definition of the macho, alpha male environment you're so feebly trying to evoke to protect yourself, and not once did anyone approach your breathtaking depths of arrogant imbecility. Oh, sure, we had some dumb guys, and some guys I wouldn't want to hang out with on any sort of regular basis, but we never had anyone say anything as foul and demeaning as you did on that tape, and, hell, I played a couple years with a guy who later turned out to be a serial rapist. Even he never talked like that." -- Chris Kluwe, 2016-10-10, "Dear Donald Trump: I played in the NFL. Here's what we really talk about in the locker room."
"You can say to those you love, 'You've hurt me and I understand why.' You can make the space inside yourself to realize that reality is big enough to contain simultaneously both the love you feel for them and an honest accounting of the hurt they've done you. Love is not about never having to say you're sorry. The opposite is true: genuine love makes it possible to say I'm sorry and to know that together you'll move on from that place.
"When I am victimizing Becky, she can still empathize, understanding that I have been victimized. When I recognize that I am victimizing, I need to realize that I should be a little more careful. When she recognize that I have been victimized, she needs to be a little gentler. Instead, we usually run for cover with a good excuse. We assume that because our behavior can be explained, it is acceptable. Meanwhile the person on the receiving end of our impatience, insensitivity, or downright cruelty focuses only on his or her own hurt, afraid that understanding will facilitate repetition.
"Abnegating guilt and reneging on personal responsibility is always dangerous. So, too, is the fear that forgiveness will lead to forgetfulness or moral insensitivity. But that is what we do when we divide the world into victims and victimizers. We move quickly to identify the bad guys and the good guys, laying all blame at the feet of the first and assuming perfect innocence for the second. It's hard to imagine we can be both, but n almost every circumstance we are. Joseph and Esther are heroic figures, but the Bible doesn't whitewash their story. They are both victims and victimizers, and it's up to us to evaluate whether their balancing act is successful. That complexity is the stuff of real spiritual growth, of religious wisdom that endures and is worth preserving and learning from."
-- Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanatacism (pp. 69-70, paperback ed.), 2007, Crown Publishing Group (Random House), New York, NY; LC: BL624.H53 ; Dewey: 201'.5-dc22 ; ISBN: 978-0-307-38298-6 (I've got like thirty four more bookmarks stuck in this book)
Tonight is the start of Yom Kippur. I wish my friends who observe it an easy fast. G'mar hatimah tovah.
Today is also National Coming Out Day. Everyone who can afford to be out and is so, affects the world a little bit by their visibility, demystifies us a bit in the eyes of those who might otherwise not know they know a BTLGQ person, and makes it a little safer for the next person who comes out -- brings the day when they can (and feel they can) afford to be out too a little closer. Being out as LGTBQ is less of a big deal now than it was a few decades ago, and visibility is a big part of that. The flip side of that is that although being out is less fraught now than a few decades ago, not everyone is physically or emotionally safe being out yet, and those who judge the risks still too great for their own circumstances must be protected, not pushed. It's National Coming Out Day, not National Out Everyone Day.
(If you're not GBTLQ and feel the need to "come out" as something jokey or ordinary that has no closet attached, well you do have the right to be an ass, but a lot of your queer friends will be happier if you just realize not every holiday has to be about you, and count your blessings at not having had to weigh fear against authenticity in that way.)
In the spirit of out-ness...
I don't think anyone reading this is unaware that I'm transgender. Many but far from all of you are aware that my gender identity (or which parts of it I've been able to admit to myself) has shifted over the years and a few years ago shifted again: I no longer see myself as being close to the middle of the gender graph, I prefer the pronoun she/her for myself[*], I am tryng to choose a new name, I have started taking steps to alter my body and am planning to take additional steps (no, I haven't already decided exactly which steps yet, and yes, insurance coverage is a factor), and sooner or later I'll work up my nerve to lose the beard. (As for my orientation, it appears to be unchanged by HRT ... labels for my orientation are another matter, and probably a topic for another post. I also appear to still be a switch, FWIW, but haven't exactly had many opportunities to play in a while.)
[*] I currently say I "prefer" feminine pronouns (and have for a long time, but more people ask nowadays). Once I make my gender-presentation more consistent (not "ifwhen I 'pass'"; just when I stop sending mixed signals by having a beard), that language will change from "I prefer..." to simply "the correct pronoun for me is she/her". My calling it a preference now reflects how I see my particular current situation, not that any other trans person's pronoun is 'a mere preference'.
"Can we set the record straight on something? Nobody's upset about the word 'pussy'. The word we have an issue with is 'grab'." -- @sazza_jay, 2016-10-09
[Canadian friends, sorry about spilling my country's politics on your country's holiday. Have a good Thanksgiving regardless!]
"See that bum lookin' for a dime, better not ask him
Costs a dollar just to find the time, see how the sparrow flies.
If anyone asks who sang this song, better not ask him why
Tell him the Cats and we're a long time gone, see how the sparrow flies."
-- from "See How the Sparrow Flies" by Steven Brust; appears on Another Way to Travel (1990) by Cats Laughing
From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2016-09-15:
"We watch 25 square miles, so you see lots of crimes," he said. "And by the way, after people commit crimes, they drive like idiots." -- Ross McNutt, the president of Persistent Surveillance Systems, which collects aerial surveillance images.
(submitted to the mailing list by Terry Labach)
Faye Whitaker: "It's payin' my half of the rent, so technically you're complicit in my crimes."
Marten Reed: "Until we figure out the whole post-scarcity thing, we're all complicit in something."
Sexual and Gender Minorities Formally Designated as a Health Disparity Population for Research Purposes (US NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities)
"Mounting evidence indicates that SGM populations have less access to health care and higher burdens of certain diseases, such as depression, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. But the extent and causes of health disparities are not fully understood, and research on how to close these gaps is lacking.
"In addition, SGM populations have unique health challenges. More research is needed to understand these challenges, such as transgender people taking exogenous hormones.
"Progress has been made in recent years, with gains in legal rights and changing social attitudes. However, stigmatization, hate-violence, and discrimination are still major barriers to the health and well-being of SGM populations. Research shows that sexual and gender minorities who live in communities with high levels of anti-SGM prejudice die sooner -- 12 years on average -- than those living in more accepting communities."
"I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again." -- origin uncertain, often attributed to William Penn, but according to Wikiquote more likely Stephen Grellet (b. 1773-11-02, d. 1855-11-16) and even that attribution is suspect
Anna Maria Tremonti: "So you did this for a year -- did it ever drive you crazy in there?"
Sheyna Gifford: "No, ma'am; I went to medical school. It's pretty hard to drive me crazy."
From The Current, "Live on the Red Planet? Scientists simulate Mars mission on Earth", 2016-10-03
(Also, regarding growing food in the experiment: "We had delicious radish greens, and hydroponic peas ... We tried for potatoes, but it didn't work out.")