Tag Archive | Social Justice

A poem for those involved in anti-oppressive and social justice movements

CW: transphobia, assault, violence
CN: I’m not your friendly neighborhood transsexual.

Already There

Your pretty words mean nothing

I see how you see me

Go on, tell me just how anti-oppressive you are.

You know the language, the protocols

But when you slip and say “he” I know what I am to you

The way you look at me when I go into the bathroom

 

Your pretty words mean nothing

When I can’t get a job

When Teenagers are being set on fire

In “Liberal California”

God Damn you all to hell

I’m already there.

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I really fucking hate assimilationist LG culture.

So, I decided to sit down and waste some time watching “the Gay and Lesbian Comedy Slam.” I figured it would be bad, I mean no even token nod to the rest of the GSRM community, but this shit was fucking horrible. These folks are no more my people than Cis, Straight, Evangelical, hard line conservative Christians.

It started out with a transphobic joke. The first fucking line of the show. Well Y’all can go fuck yourselves right back. It was fucking terrible, misgendering and deadnaming someone, and appropriating “transition” all for the sake of a really shitty joke.

So much racism, bi-phobia, cissexism, and out right transphobia, as well as gay male misogyny. Don’t forget the classism, pro-militarism, and rape culture bullshit. Oh, and we can’t forget the gender role enforcement even within gay culture.

I’m sick of seeing any type of queer folks upholding this kyriarchical bullshit, but the Cis Gay and Lesbian scene has made an entire culture surrounding it. “We’re just like you, only we are attracted to the same sex.” Yeah, and fuck you too. Our entire overculture is toxic, and you want to reflect and be part of those power structures instead of tearing them down. You are not my family. And they will never want you. Call me when you wake the fuck up. We’ll be here waiting like we always have been.

Influences

So, I wanted to make this explicit. Any time I talk about social justice issues, I’m relying on the work of thousands of people who came before me. Hundreds that I’ve read recently. None of my work in that area is completely original. I put my spin on it, or talk about my personal experiences with it, but when it comes right down to it, if it wasn’t for others I wouldn’t be able to articulate it. So with that in mind, I will soon be making an influences page. I don’t have the  time/energy right now, and I’ll probably forget more than one person, but yeah, it needs to be done. And please don’t take that page as recommendations. I strongly disagree with some of the people I’ve been influenced by.

 

clarification: all my art/poetry/recipes are my own

Addressing William’s Immanent God

I am responding to this post, by a person I consider to be a friend, William.

http://ihaveseengod.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/the-debate-on-god-a-pagan-perspective/

William, I’m going to respond to you here on my blog, because I have addressed other concepts of god besides a personal one, and I want this to be shown.

Any argument attempting to prove or disprove the existence of a personal God inherently presents a false dichotomy. God is a subjective concept and therefore cannot be reified, rendering the use of logic insufficient as a means to resolve this argument

If we are talking about existence, then we are talking about something quantifiable. Something is either real, or it is not.  And we disprove personal gods all the time.

  In any case, efforts to actually personify God are, in essence, clear examples of anthropomorphic fallacy.

See, you just made a weak case against any personal gods. But the anthropomorphic fallacy doesn’t apply unless you prove that god is inanimate. So, what does the evidence say about personal gods? There is none in favor of them. So why should we believe in any of them? We shouldn’t. Does that mean that we can universally disprove them? No, we do not have infinite knowledge. But we can disprove specific god claims.

 The ongoing debate between atheists and non-pagan theists is an exercise in futility, a complete and utter waste of time in my opinion. Both sides rely upon argumentum ad ignorantiam, meaning an argument based upon ignorance, a practice which violates the laws of logic. Most atheists would disagree with this assessment as they maintain the burden of proof resides upon the claimant; they purport to make no claim and therefore shift the burden of proof to the theist but this practice is itself a fallacy. By the act of engaging in debate and demanding proof, the vocal atheist is effectively claiming that the theist’s belief is lacking evidence and is therefore false. The non-pagan theist in comparison will always find themselves claiming that God must exist simply because the existence of God hasn’t been successfully proven false.

Actually, we have and do prove specific god claims false.  For instance, the problem of unnecessary suffering with an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god. I can give more. When we ask for proof, we are asking for proof of any claims made. By showing that their arguments do not provide evidence, we are proving those specific arguments false, and returning to the null hypothesis. We have no reason to believe in any gods.

 I do not pretend to understand atheists who challenge any public statement of religious belief with incredulity and generally seem obsessed with the need to castigate those who possess such beliefs. Albert Einstein once characterized such individuals as “slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional ‘opium of the people’—cannot bear the music of the spheres.”

I’ll give you three of my reasons.

1. Self-defense. People love to try to convince me that their god exists. They won’t just let me not believe, they feel a duty to save my soul. The only way to silence them is to show them that their arguments are bunk.

2. Beliefs have consequences. Rarely does the belief in gods come without baggage attached, whether it is the Christians discriminating against me for being bisexual, the gender essentialism so common in Dianic Wicca, or the classism in certain forms of hinduism.

3. We have an ethical duty to reason. Without it, we cannot possibly tell the consequences of our actions. Religion is based on claiming something, without showing that it is real. It encourages belief on faith instead of reason. You can have all the faith you want that if someone cuts your hand off, it will grow back, but that does not change reality, no matter how comforting the thought is. If you wish to prove me wrong, I suggest we do an experiment.

If you wish to hold a valid debate on God’s existence you must provide a basic definition for God. As previously inferred atheists and non-pagan theists usually attempt to personify God in their arguments and therefore encounter a logic block before they even begin.

1. look up ignostic atheism.

2. Atheist argue against the claims made. If someone defines god as a person, then we argue against their conception of god, and return to the null hypothesis when their claims fail the burden of proof, or we disprove specific claims.

3. The reason we more often argue against a personal god is because people with this conception are usually the ones causing the most problems.

Contemporary Pagan philosophy posits that God is immanent in the universe and equivalent to all that exists. Our definition by itself provides the proof to our claim

And if you stopped there, we wouldn’t have a problem. At that point the term god is nothing more than a poetic way of describing the universe, but most of the time, pagans don’t stop there, and make additional claims about the nature of god.

We know beyond any possible doubt that God exists and indeed that consciousness itself continues after the death of the physical body although we do not claim to know in what form it continues.

See, another claim about reality. Evidence of this please. The existence of the universe doesn’t show that consciousness continues after death.

 Conscious thought must be energetic for all that exists is fundamentally comprised of energy in one form or another.

Yes, the physical, chemical and electric reactions in the nervous system. How does this show a soul?

One of the basic scientific laws maintains that energy cannot in fact be destroyed, it may only be changed in some way.

Yes. Energy is always being changed from one form to another, most of which escapes as non-usable heat. All of this occurs in the physical realm.

I have said before that in order for religion to be relevant in this modern age, it must mark its beginning where science ends while remaining in agreement with everything science has previously determined to be true.

And you claim that atheists are making an argument from ignorance?

I forgot who said this but:

“First god was on the mountain, then we climbed the mountain, and god was not there. Then god was a god of the sky, then we built airplanes and god was not there. Then god was above the sky, now we have gone into space, and god was not there.”

Yes I realize that this is not your conception of god. But the point remains: every single time we have postulated a god instead of looking at the evidence, when the science improved, the god was shown to be non-existent. Why do you think our current ignorance is any different?

I would like to conclude by returning to the words of Professor Einstein, who believed that “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

Our desires do not change reality. If you wish to argue otherwise, allow me to cut off one of your fingers and see if your desire for it to be there will cause it to regrow without any medical intervention.

A person who is religiously enlightened appears to me to be one who has, to the best of his ability, liberated himself from the fetters of his selfish desires and is preoccupied with thoughts, feelings and aspirations to which he clings because of their super-personal value.

And once again, someone gives religion the credit for something people achieve. Applied empathy and ethics do not equal Religiously enlightened.

It seems to me that what is important is the force of this super-personal content … regardless of whether any attempt is made to unite this content with a Divine Being, for otherwise it would not be possible to count Buddha and Spinoza as religious personalities

Religion is irrelevant to these values. Unless you wish to argue that someone like me who has no religion is incapable of empathy and applying empathy ethically. Religion carries all sorts of beliefs, and most of them are not benevolent. Sexism, homophobia, Transphobia, racism, classism, just to name a few that are prevalent in modern day religions. And yes, I know you will just say that these people are not religiously enlightened. But if the modern religions propagate this filth along with what you consider benevolent values, how can you ignore that it is part of the religion?

Accordingly a religious person is devout in the sense that he has no doubt of the significance of those super-personal objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation

You want a rational foundation? How about, “What kind of world do I want to live in?” Work outwards from there.

For science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be.

Yes, but science is not the only tool. Logic. Reason. Empathy. All are needed.

Apparently, I’m a Misandrist. Explaining privilege.

I’ve been told that I hate men. Why? Because I want to see women get equal pay in the workplace. Because I want to see all genders equally represented in positions of power. Apparently I’m racist against white people, too. Why? Because I recognize that life is easier for me because I’m white. And life is fucking shitty and hard for me enough because I’m trans and bi. But I still don’t have to deal with all the shit that Trans women of color do.

Yes, If you are white life is easier for you. If you are straight, life is easier for you. If you are Cis, life is easier for you. If you are a man, life is easier for you. If you are currently able bodied, life is easier for you. If you do not have to deal with any mental issues, life is easier for you. If you have a binary gender, life is easier for you. Deal with it. This does not mean that you have nothing to contribute. This does not mean that sexism, femmephobia, and oppositional sexism. do not hurt you if you are a man.  This does not mean that I hate you. But it does mean that you do not have to deal with the things that I, and other actual marginalized people do.

It means that you may not see how something is oppressive because you don’t have to deal with it every day. I fucking had to write a goddamn post about it not being ok for someone to smack a woman on the ass without her consent in 2012. Because people still think that shit’s Ok. It means that if I say that something is transphobic, you should stop and think for a second before you start explaining to me how it isn’t. I admit that I could be wrong, but I have a much more intimate knowledge of the subject than someone who is cisgender.

This concept is called privilege.  We all have some. It doesn’t make you a bad person, but you need to be aware that some things make your life easier at the expense of others. That isn’t right, and we need to work to eliminate it from the system until equality is achieved. In regards to gender, this fight is called feminism. In regards to race, anti-racism.

If you say that you are against feminism, you are saying that you are against equality.

Movements

So, I’ve been thinking about movements a lot recently. Natalie Reed basically told the atheist movement that she wanted no part of it anymore. http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/08/10/all-in/ Then there is the whole atheism+ movement that is gaining traction, which people are divided over. Depending on who you listen to, it will either be the downfall or savior of the atheist movement. Then there is the social justice movement which uses bullying tactics and threats, like the ones towards Laci Green, http://lacigreen.tumblr.com/post/26843554247/hey-peeps-i-am-going-to-be-taking-a-break-from, not to mention call out culture in general.

I’m just going to say this. Fuck Movements. I want no part of them. I hold my positions based on the evidence I have at the time. If new evidence is presented to me, I will change my position. Movements actively discourage that. Also belonging to a movement means that you will have to stand shoulder to shoulder with assholes, just because you share a single value, and I will not compromise my integrity to advance a single position. I will work towards advancing causes I believe in. But I want no part in any organization or group that holds positions that they are intractable on and have to stand back to back with assholes. I had enough of that when I was a Catholic.

Let me make this very clear. I support separation of church and state. I support secularism. I think that the world would be better off without religion. I believe in the equality of all people and that we should work towards that goal. I think that A+ is a good direction in which to go (tentatively) for the atheist movement.  [Edit: Looks like A+ didn’t work out so well in practice.] But I will not join any groups.

I am an atheist because I see no credible evidence for any god or gods. I am a secularist because no religion or atheist group should have control over the practices of anyone else. I am a feminist because I believe in the equality of all genders. I believe in fighting racism because I believe in the equality of people regardless of their skin color, national origin, or ethnic background. I think that everyone deserves access to healthcare and education regardless of class or income. I have seen evidence that leads me to believe that all these positions are justified, and will likely improve the quality of life for everyone, No matter what their income, race, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic background, cis or trans* status is. I believe that it is the right thing to do to fight for equality and truth, even if that does not improve the quality of life for everyone. But I am willing to argue these positions based on their merits. My ideals are empathy and evidence. If your movement lacks either of those things, leave it.

Words and phrases that I hate and why.

Privilege: Can we stop using this? It’s ineffective. I won’t deny the concept behind it. I recognize my own privilege. But when we use it in conversation, it just confuses people and we end up having to explain for twice as long then would be necessary to get  people to understand. “Check your privilege.” “You shouldn’t be telling us how to act because of your privilege.” Then people always get the idea that they are hated because of who they are. Seriously, how hard is it to just say the first time, “You don’t understand because you haven’t been there.” That’s simple, concise, and conveys what you are saying in words that don’t have to be decoded,  with no room for misunderstanding.

Male to Female/MtF: Not bad on its own. But I hate how some people use it. “She’s a Male to Female.” Or even worse, “He’s male to female.” It’s a way to deny that someone is actually female. It forever ties someone to their AAB gender.

Trannie/Tranny: If you have to ask, please kindly fuck right off. But in all seriousness, these are never acceptable under any circumstances. They are derogatory, and imply a threat.

Queer: I know this one’s going to be controversial. I understand how it is used. I understand that it is necessary. I understand why people like it. Hell, I even use it myself when it is appropriate. But I still can never shake the derogatory connotation from my brain, especially since it is still used as a slur.