not in my country

Can't stop the signal

solarbird is accumulating and posting daily an impressively comprehensive collection of links to articles concerning the present administration's effort to implement a fascist police state. If you find this abhorrent, and would like to better inform yourself, whether to take action or simply to be better prepared to deal with the effects, the link posts are tagged "fascism watch" on LiveJournal and Dreamwitdth.

People who will be much happier if this country resumes moving toward what it could be, rather than what it has become: please help by boosting the signal as far and wide as you can. The more people who read the linked articles, the more prominent they will become in the search engine results. And that's a great way to help flush the fake news back down into the sewer from which it emerged.

Demifiction: "Grudges"

This is by way of signal boost for ysabetwordsmith's monthly Poetry Fishbowl. It's set in their Monster House storyline, and draws its inspiration from "The Care and Feeding of Peeves".

From Barlowe's Comprehensive Field Guide to Ephemeral Life Forms:


Grudges most frequently have the appearance of grassy plants, similar to sedges or sawgrass ... There are at least three known cultivars of grudges. The Common Grudge is rather delicate, and requires significant attention and frequent nursing. If appropriately cared for, it can transform into a Longstanding Grudge which can survive exposure to the elements. Harboring a Longstanding Grudge is not difficult; it requires only a minimum of attention. It is quite hardy as long as it can obtain a sufficient supply of enmity to prevent its withering away completely.

... A Grudge which receives a sufficient quantity of hatred and malice during its nursing will transform into an invasive form, known as Rancor. Rancor can spread widely and rapidly, often overwhelming entire neighborhoods and occasionally consuming whole towns. Eradication is challenging: not only can Rancor propagate from a single small cutting left behind, but it is capable of remaining dormant for years until conditions are right for it to emerge again.

Cognitive Dissonance

Our community is holding a special election next month to fill a vacated council seat. There's something, well, not quite right about seeing a sign supporting a candidate whose slogan is "For a Greener [community]" smack in the middle of one of the dying brown lawns that are the all-too-common signs of support (whether driven by personal factors or financial impact) for water conservation in an area that is just starting to recover from four years of historically unprecedented drought.

Where I'm From - poem meme

From wildrose via belenen: a template for writing a poem. If you'd like to do one, too, check out the template.

I am from kitchen ranges and cooking utensils,
from Apple computers and Trek bicycles.
I am from an unstable, constantly renewing nexus, crackling with energy released as the future is created.
I am from the Norway pines, dandelions, midsummer thunderstorms and midwinter blizzards,
the redwoods dripping moisture drawn from the overnight fog, the apple and orange blossoms, the bees and hummingbirds that visit them.

I am from summer weeks by northern lakes
and heading out to see for oneself what lies beyond the horizon,
from Margaret and Bret and Steve.
I am from the parents who wanted what they believed was the best for their children, and children who charted their own path and found they still had a place to return to.
From "You have God-given gifts. Use them wisely." and "Boys don't do that."

I am from "The heavens proclaim the glory of God", but have moved on to realizing that the universe proclaims its own glory and has no need of agency.
I'm from Germany via Wisconsin, and the South via Chicago,
from a holiday turkey roasting on the barbecue grill and kitchen produce fresh from the yard.
From the brother who lifted up the goat's tail to find out where the little rocks were coming from,
all of us as children, gathering in our PJs at the top of the stairs Christmas morning, eagerly anticipating what Santa had brought.

I am from cross-country trips and holiday gatherings,
from art works that bring to mind the places they were acquired,
from a package of clothing, letters and stories defining my childhood, lovingly preserved for me --
I understand where I am from, and I am still heading Out.

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A celebration of astronomical events

wyld_dandelyon is someone I am blessed to know, in real life as well as online. She offers occasional One-Card Readings for fun and whatever help paying the bills her visitors might be able to supply, and is doing one today in honor of the Full Moon and Summer Solstice. Asking her for a card while you keep something in mind, and perhaps share it with her, may provide insight. I have learned new things about myself in this way. Come on over and say "hi" to her!

Don't like the SF you're finding?

Maybe it's because those who are creating it are creating what they want to create, or what they think you want to have created.

Don't despair! There is another way. ysabetwordsmith is hosting a Poetry Fishbowl today, in their space opera storyline, "An Army of One". You don't have to be a passive consumer -- become a spectator, or even a participant, as a diverse community asks for, and gets, interesting speculative fiction that <i>they</i> ask for.

Satisfied repeat customer here. Come on over, and give it a try!

Comment on "Trans gressions"

I wanted to comment further on an article and subsequent commentary in ysabetwordsmith's "Trans gressions" post. By the time I finished, I had something more than twice as large as an LJ comment accepts, so I'm posting over here and linking to it.

This post is contextually in response to the linked comment, so "you" outside quoted passages refers to ysabetwordsmith.

You said: >> Well, the article was obviously fractious. <<

To the author's credit, she's at least talking with transgender people, and presenting their viewpoints. The thing is, she wound up attempting to characterize a number of controversial topics in ways that disregard or completely deny the range of opinions regarding the topic. For example, the article states: >> To be gender-critical is to doubt the belief, which its critics call “genderism,” that gender is some sort of irreducible essence, wholly distinct from biological sex or socialization. <<, but the opinions presented in support of that definition smack more of denying the personal component of gender identity. This becomes problematic because it is a separatist view, rather than inclusive.

Here's an excellent counterpoint by a (trans genderqueer) author. Also, Julia Serano's theory of holistic gender was driven by her observation that any attempt to define gender without acknowledging the contributions of personal, social, and morphological factors does not come anywhere close to describing the variety of people's lived gender experiences.

At the end of it all, Goldberg is filtering the viewpoints through her own biases, emphasizing those that match while disparaging or dismissing those that don't. And, as you point out (>> talk about it in less snotty ways that don't involve trying to rip your rights out of someone else's <<), this does not advance the discourse.

There's also more emphasis in the article than I care for on one's score in the Oppression Olympics. One example from the article: >> Radical feminists believe women are a subordinate social class, oppressed due to their biology, and that there’s nothing innate about femininity. << This article does an excellent job explaining why the existence of transgender people threatens those whose stature is founded on sexism, either as oppressor or as oppressed, and how that damages transgender narratives.

And another article by Julia Serano does a good job of explaining why many people who might be presumed to be allies of trans women actually turn out to be less than helpful. A relevant quote: >> For years, trans women have effectively had no voice in MWMF. During that time, many cissexual women and trans masculine attendees have tried to advocate on our behalf inside the festival. While their intensions (sic) may have been sincere, the fact that they entered into a space that excludes trans women, and that they claimed to speak for us (despite not having had a trans female/feminine life experience themselves), their actions further contributed to the erasure of our voices and perspectives. << [MWMF is the late Michigan Womyn's Music Festival.]

From the Goldberg article: >> "It is empirically unreasonable to expect that someone who has been socialized male, has undergone a male puberty, is in all sense of the word anatomically male, can simply say, ‘I’m now a woman,’ and have the world recalibrate all of its autonomic algorithms about sex and gender and say, ‘Yes, you’re a woman,’ ” says Aoife Assumpta Hart, a 41-year-old trans woman with a Ph.D. in gender and psychoanalysis who blogs at Gender Apostates. "Reality doesn’t work that way.” <<

Hart is correct. It doesn't work that way. But it doesn't work the way the article suggests it does, either. I didn't save the link for this one, so I'm paraphrasing, but a trans woman describing her pre-transition life deftly undermines a key component of Hart's hypothesis: >> I didn't experience it as a man. I experienced it as a woman who was presumed to be a man, and was treated like a man. <<

Related to this was something I came across this past weekend. The point that struck me most, and is most relevant to the topic, is:

>> Trans women:
1. are not cis women...and that's okay.
2. are women, and that's a fact. <<

So much of the confrontation, exclusion, and pain trans people face can be attributed to disregard of either, or both, of those points. And this leads to something I don't see nearly enough of: acknowledgement that it's only for a very few that transition can provide an escape from being targeted in any of these, or more harmful, ways. The most likely outcome is that one can change what one is being targeted for to something that may be easier to handle -- and that may only be possible if one elects to measure oneself against constraints that can be a tighter fit than the constraints transition was supposed to allow escape from.

What you said about different transition paths -- >> the thing is, everyone has a body but not everyone identifies with it to the same degree. A person with a very concrete, literalist view of gender can have a very different trans experience that someone with a constructionist, fluid view -- and that means they may benefit from different therapies. << -- applies well here.

Also, it's not just identification with one's body. Someone for whom community is more important to their well-being than it is to me (I'm perfectly happy if my relationship with a community is more like being recognized as "one of us"; the increased admiration and attention being regarded as an exemplary member often brings does very little for me, and can be stressful) will probably seek a more convincing physical transition than will suffice for me.

You mentioned that >> ... one of the risks is going through transition and being disappointed that it's not enough.

This is the only time I've seen someone else writing about it. <<

*checks my growing collection of links relevant to my own transition*

Interestingly, I didn't find much that said transition wasn't enough. Disappointment showed up in a few things (here's an example), but more that the outcome wasn't ideal, with recognition, and often satisfaction, that it was much better than the pre-transition state -- which, far too often, was "transition or death". In other words, "daiyenu", and the recognition that one's transition is what one makes of it, are valuable mindsets.

As for ourselves, where you said: >> I'm not interested in a physical transition because it wouldn't make me feel any better <<

My own view of gender amounts to "somebody who's supposed to know looks at your crotch and forecasts your interests, behavior and goals on that basis, leading to an attempt to culturally indoctrinate you in that direction." Which puts it on roughly as sound a theoretical basis as phrenology. And is a significant reason why any physical transition I decide to pursue will be something that helps me assert the individual nature of my gender identity.

Later, you mentioned: >> [Other people's] opinions don't change who I am any more than does this pale-human-girl-shaped meatsuit. <<

Sounds like we share a very strong sense of personal identity. My own problem is much less with the body I inhabit than it is with the way I am perceived because of the body. Cultural change can improve this, even in the absence of any physical alteration. But an appropriate physical change may aid in the process. The big catch is that requiring someone to actually *think* about something a stereotype allows one to avoid thinking about is something lots of folks would rather not do, in varying degrees. I can't help that, any more than you can help how people think of you and your desires.

you: >> If you're going to avoid pitfalls like "I thought this would fix me but it didn't" then you need either a great deal of private soul-searching or some good therapy, or a combination of both. <<

I've been doing both. I'm pretty clear on my transition options and what I can expect from them. Outside of environments where gender awareness is the norm, the lack of recognition of nonbinary genders means that (to borrow a thought from lb_lee over on DW) I (and you) will almost always be misgendered. I'm working on building up enough life experience to be able to make an informed decision about what I might want to consider in order to lessen my odds of being hurtfully misgendered.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have the resources (time and money) to do this. Your thoughts, and the comments on LJ and DW, can be a big help for those who do not.

Demi(science)fiction: KOBAYASHI Isao (1929-2032) [Interpress]

This is in response to lone_cat's request for more on the life of Isao Kobayashi, who was introduced in "The Most Powerful, Master Emotion". It is based on ysabetwordsmith's and my exploration of current T-Japanese culture, and my own extrapolations from this into the next twenty years. Content describing events prior to its November 2015 posting has been vetted and may be considered canonical. Events beyond that date are extrapolated from current conditions and trends, and are subject to revision as future events in Terremagne and T-Japan become known.

WARNING: This work is a future obituary of a Japanese citizen. Although the style is primarily journalistic, rather than graphic, many of the major events in T-Japan during his life are mentioned, some of which refer to events readers may find distressing. Hovering over the warning triangles will reveal what lies beneath. Please consider your tastes and headspace before deciding to read this.

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I've got another bit of demi(science)fiction lined up, that will fill in the holes in Kobayashi-san's bio. As of the time of the obit, though, that's secret history. Stay tuned...

Additional background material: Zetetics

ZMT has become likely to appear in further Polychrome Heroics stories. Their logo ZMT Logo incorporates the shape of the Terramagne “zetetic hazard” symbol, which is designed with similar goals to the hazmat (NFPA 704), biohazard, and radioactive hazard symbols, including annotations to indicate what might be inside, and help first responders identify and prepare for what they might encounter.

I've made a start on things; here's what seems reasonable so far.

The base symbol zetetic hazard warning symbol is an infinity symbol with an upward arrow emerging from the center. The default coloration is a multicolored patchwork. No idea what black-and-white or stamped (as into metal or plastic) renditions would use instead.

This leaves four areas (inside each lobe, below the symbol, above the arrow) for further description. Tentatively, I would expect that there would be a way to indicate what the known or expected effects of the zetetic components are, information on other environmental hazards that might be present, and some indication of the potency and range in case of a containment breach.

And now I suspect there are folks out there who have a much better idea than I do about what first responders (including SPAZMAT folks) would want to know. So I'm appealing to the crowd to help me create a realistic (for Terramagne) system for what goes in those places.

I've still got lots of additional background from “In The Soup”, both public and secret, so I'm going to import my offer from there, and publish more of that as a way of saying “thank you” to anyone who helps out. Also as before, if you have any interest in a particular area, please let me know, and I'll find something.

Thanks to all who decide to help!