How to Organize!

So you want to join in this awesome movement, but don’t know what to do? Cool! All organizers start somewhere. You don’t have to be big, or loud, or extra powerful to be part of what we’re doing. Every little bit matters. So if you are so mad you’re ready to “can even” just pick an action and get on it!

 

Going out in a group:

 

1.) Find everyone you know who would be interested in the cause. A good way to do this is social media, but you can also network with your local Planned Parenthood, local chapters of the Democratic Party, other local activist groups to get people on-board. Organizing is pretty much just networking. Talk to people, let them know what you’re up to, and there will always be people willing to support the cause.

 

2.) Pick a good date, and before that date, scope out the nearest adjacent public sidewalk to your location. Different municipalities will have different protest permit laws, but generally, as long as your sidewalk is facing a street, and so long as you aren’t blocking or impeding foot traffic, you will be well within your constitutional rights. More information on what does/doesn’t fly as far as ordinances go can be found at the ACLU website. Check with your local city hall for additional information.

ACLU website: https://www.aclu.org/free-speech/know-your-rights-demonstrations-and-protests

 

3.) Get out there and be strong. You may see counter-protesters. You may see rain. You may get tired. That’s okay. Just know that you’ve done your part by taking a stand against an injustice for a couple of hours.

 

Things you may not want to forget:

Sunscreen

Water

Literature

Comfy Shoes

Signs

Trashbags/Ponchos (if over 30% chance of rain)

Snacks

Any necessary permits

Chants/Songs

 

Individual Activities:

 

But what if I am really, really, really the only one?  Well, that’s cool too. There are ways you can express your displeasure all on your own–even if they may not seem as powerful as they might in a group. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1.) Mail it in:

Write your local/state/federal government representatives and let them know what you stand for. They can’t necessarily overturn this ruling, but they can create and maintain local policies that support your reproductive rights. Bitch magazine has some awesome ideas on how to make a vintage postcard to let your representatives and senators know you won’t let them take you back to 1959.

http://bitchmagazine.org/post/eight-new-lobbying-hobbies-that-fight-against-hobby-lobby

 

2.) Shop and Drop:

If you really can’t find anyone in your vicinity who wants to stage a protest, or are blocked from doing so, you can always enter your local Hobby Lobby and pick out several things you would buy if the Green family weren’t out to take your rights. Walk it up to a register. Flash enough cash to show you’d buy the stuff, and say “This is what I would have bought today if you weren’t after my/my uterus having friend’s reproductive rights.” Then walk off.

 

3.) Shop everywhere else:

Buy an awesome craft haul! Take a picture of it and your receipt, and tweet that at Hobby Lobby.

 

And it doesn’t end there. There are so many things you can do. Just scope out the resource links below to get more ideas on how to make your protest an effective one.

 

Resources:

 

How to Protest

 

http://www.wikihow.com/Protest

 

40 Best Protest Signs

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/angelameiquan/the-40-best-protest-signs-of-2012-70fn

 

How to Organize a Protest – Occupy Together

 

http://www.occupytogether.org/blog/2012/06/15/how-to-organize-a-protest/

 

How to Publicize an Event

 

http://www.ehow.com/how_135427_publicize-event.html

 

How to make a Press Kit

 

http://advertising.about.com/od/publicrelationsresources/a/presskitstools.htm

Reproductive Justice Fight!

 

Are you so mad at the recent SCOTUS rulings that you literally can’t even?
Are you filled with rage and don’t know what to do with it?
Well start to Can Even!
Join us, as we Lobby Hobby against Hobby Lobby!

JULY!

protestallthethings

Through out the month of July, we are organizing local protests across the United States outside Hobby Lobby Stores.
We will pass out pamphlets explaining why we’re there. These pamphlets will also have a listing of other crafting stores
in the area, as well as information about activities in August.

AUGUST!

buyallthethings

In August we are planning “shop-ins”. We will go to Joanne’s, Michael’s and other crafting stores and buy crafting supplies
for the September activities. We will have new pamphlets made for August to hand out to customers and employees explaining
our August activities and upcoming September activities, and also inviting them to join us in D.C. in October!

SEPTEMBER!

craftallthethings

September is the month we get our craft on!
Glue, knit and decoupage your rage into a package/letter to send to your congressperson and Supreme Court justices!
Let them know we’ll be in D.C. in October, we’re pissed and WE VOTE!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11th

fightinguterus
This is the day all of our work comes to a head. We will rally together in D.C. outside the Supreme Court and our voices
will be heard! Speakers and events for the day are in the works right now. Drive, ride, walk, or bike to D.C. and have the
chance to have your voice heard!

If you want to be involved or volunteer, join the facebook event at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1447137122206524/?ref_notif_type=event_mall_comment&source=1

Plan local protests for July and post them to the page. Then plan local shop-ins and post those as well. Get together with
friends for crafting in September. Share ideas and stories and give support. Invite friends to the event!

We need your voice! We want your voice!

Spread the word, use: #JoinTheDissent #ChallengeScotus #BeTheBuffer #LobbyHobby

JTR: You “Engage The T” and I’ll Show You the Horns

Editor’s Note: While Dirty Nerdy is well known for her Justified Ginger Rage, Dori has been observed occasionally flying into a Justified Tranny Rage. Especially when some asshole tries to cis-splain down to her about how to be an activist for her own rights. May we present a JTR of  “Engaging the T” by Andrew Sullivan


There are few topics I feel nervous to write about on this blog, as you might have surmised over the years. But one of them is the question of transgender people. It’s a fascinating topic, but remains so completely fraught and riddled with p.c. neurosis that no writer wants to unleash the hounds of furious, touchy trans activism.

Translation: “I’m a fearless man who is unafraid to offer my manly opinions. But those damn trans activists are scary. Good thing I’m in a position of privilege where I can speculate about their movement and motivations without actually engaging with any of them personally. After all, it’s not like I’m at risk of being a victim of cissexism or misogyny. So of course I’m in a position to tell trans people how to progress their own movement.”

And that’s the first thing to note here, I’d say. Any minority – especially a tiny one like gays or transgender people – has, at some point, to explain itself to the big, wide world. That’s not entirely fair but it’s unavoidable if you want a change in attitudes or an increase in understanding. And my view is that there is no need to be defensive about it.

You want to be educated? Lucky for you we live in the internet age and you literally have answers right at your fingertips. Here, let me help you with that. We’re past the point of educating, we’re taking a more active roll. And some cis people find that frightening. Criticism of cissexism and transantagonism from the trans community is not “being defensive”, that’s just calling out oppression and trying to make it stop.

Most people are just completely ignorant, and have never met or engaged a trans person, and so their misconceptions and misunderstandings are inevitable and not self-evidently a matter of bigotry or prejudice. I think we should be understanding of this, as open as we can be, and answer the kinds of questions some might feel inappropriate or offensive. That’s the basis for dialogue, empathy and progress.

How are cis people ever going to unlearn cissexist bullshit unless trans people call it out? Intent might be a factor in how I address something problematic, but it will not magically make transantagonist language and attitudes acceptable.

But this has not, alas, been the way in which the transgender movement has largely sought to engage the wider world (with some exceptions). Kevin Williamson notes how Laverne Cox, appearing as a trans person on the cover of Time, nonetheless refused to answer a question about whether she had had her genitals reassigned as too “invasive.” Sorry, Laverne. But if you’re out there explaining yourself, you’ve gotta explain all of it.

No. No. No. NO. NO! A trans woman merely existing does not justify your invasive questions about her body. By this logic, Katie Couric should be able to question every cis male actor about his dick size. After all, why be open about any aspect of your identity unless you’re willing to explain every objectifying and invasive detail about your body? If you really want to fucking know how transitioning works, I can remind you about the internet again.

And the elaborate and neurotic fixation on language – will writing “transgender” rather than “transgendered” reveal my inner bigot? – is now so neurotic even RuPaul has been cast aside as politically incorrect.

Yes, writing transgendered rather than transgender, when it is clear you have been informed as to why that’s problematic, does reveal your inner bigot. Also, RuPaul is a gay cis man. Why on earth should he be immune from being called a cissexist asshole by trans women? Oh, or are you about to continue revealing your ignorance?

The insistence that the question of transgender people is essentially the same as that of gay people – when they are quite clearly distinct populations with very different challenges – is also why we have the umbrella term “LGBT”.

Goddamn, that is a poorly constructed sentence. But I guess your readers might mistake your inability to clearly express an idea with “good writing”. Luckily, Dirty Nerdy tried to translate it for me. Basically you’re making the common GGGG argument that trans people are “too different” to warrant inclusion in the queer community. Perhaps even implying that our inclusion does more harm than good for the GGGG movement.

JTR2

Except, you know, we kind of kick-started the modern queer rights movement. You see, even back then we were not in the same position to assimilate into “straight culture” in the way white affluent cis gay men can. So we started a fucking riot. A riot that went on to benefit the queer community at large. Tell me again how trans women being too radical hurts a movement?

And so Kevin Williamson is not wrong, I think, to note the way in which politics has eclipsed the English language here and that language itself has become enmeshed in a rigid ideology:

“The obsession with policing language on the theory that language mystically shapes reality is itself ancient — see the Old Testament — and sympathetic magic proceeds along similar lines, using imitation and related techniques as a means of controlling reality.”

Yo, imma quote a known cissexist to support my claim. But I’m totes not a transphobe.

But Williamson is just as wrong in his brutal, even callous, denunciation of transgender people as acting out “delusions”. And he’s wrong not because he politically incorrect, but because he’s empirically off-base. He too is creating his own reality.

See, totes not a transphobe! Even though I’m saying trans activists are equally terrible to someone who engages in the type of dehumanization that results in the murder of trans people every year.

For Williamson, it seems, you can only have one sex and it is dictated by your genitals. End of story. Naturally, he doesn’t address the question of what biological sex is when you are born with indeterminate genitals that are not self-evidently male or female. The intersex are a small minority – from 0.1 to 1.7 percent, depending on your definition – but in a country of 300 million, that adds up. And the experience of those people – especially those have been genitally mutilated to appear as one sex, while feeling themselves to be the other – is a vital part of understanding what gender and sex are.

Kevin may not like this – but it’s complicated.

Not only have I produced a straw transphobe for me to fight in order to illustrate my totally-not-transantagonist attitudes, but I’m going to disprove his reliance on biological determinism by…relying on biological determinism. And implying that the trans community and the intersex community are interchangeable. See, I’m you’re ally!
JTR1
We can see crucial differences between male and female brains, for example, and they do not always correspond to male and female genitals. Since by far the most important sexual organ is the brain, the possibilities of ambiguity are legion. And this is not a matter of pomo language games.
Wow, you found a way to endorse biological determinism as a justification for trans identities (Pro tip: We don’t need your justifications. We already exist.), but you also managed to be racist with maybe a hint of classism (since you’re implying that language can only be changed by some members of society and not others). I’m just gonna let you keep digging this hole you seem so intent on.
The experience of a conflict between self-understood gender and assigned gender is real, and a source of great anguish. That human anguish is what we should seek to mitigate, it seems to me, rather than compound as Williamson does.

Oh yes, please cisplain to me what it’s like to experience gender dysphoria. And how language that reduces me and my trans sisters into a punchline is by no means harmful.

And as J. Brian Lowder notes, the insistence of many transgendered people on the need to permanently reconcile their physical bodies with their mental states is in some ways a rather conservative impulse. There’s a reason that Iran’s theocrats allow for sex-change operations but not gay relationships.

Oh look, quoting more cis men instead of the actual intended targets of trans slurs: trans women. I guess it was too hard to find out what our opinions are about it, even though we’re somehow hurting the movement by being too vocal.

The transgender desire not to be trans-gender but to be one gender physically and mentally is actually quite an affront to queer theorists for whom all gender and sex are social constructions. Many of these people want testosterone and estrogen and surgery to end their divided selves. And it doesn’t get more crudely biological and not-social than that.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Come closer. Cloooooser.

YOU CAN BE A GENDER MINORITY AND A SEXUAL MINORITY! AT THE SAME TIME!!!!

I know that might shock you, but trust me, I’m a trans, poly, bi woman. You’d probably say that’s too confusing for the straight mainstream. Good thing I don’t really give a fuck about the straight mainstream. Which is strange, because I’m a trans woman who is perceived by everyone as a cis woman, which according to you means I shouldn’t even be concerned about the queer community.

Which means that there are also divisions within the trans world between those who might be able to pass completely as another gender, after reassignment surgery, and those whose visual ambiguity or androgyny will remain. Lowder quotes a trans artist thus:

If you don’t wish to own [tranny] or any other word used to describe you other than “male” or “female” then I hope you are privileged enough to have been born with an appearance that will allow you to disappear into the passing world or that you or your generous, supportive family are able to afford the procedures which will make it possible for you to pass within the gender binary system you are catering your demands to. If you’re capable of doing that then GO ON AND DISAPPEAR INTO THE PASSING WORLD!

Oh good, you have at least listened to trans people enough to know that this is a complicated issue within our own community. Just like other slurs that hurt members of oppressed minorities, variations of “Reclaim” vs. “Abolish” attitudes toward the word tranny can be found all throughout our community. And that’s okay because IT’S OUR FUCKING COMMUNITY! Tranny is a slur targeted toward trans people. Even though I was called a faggot growing up, that slur is targeted toward gay men, neither of which describe me. So the slur doesn’t hurt me the same way that it hurts a gay man. Which is why I don’t go around calling people a faggot and then telling gay men to “get over it”.

This is the perennial question of a minority’s anxiety about sell-outs – whether it be expressed in the fights over how light-skinned some African-Americans are or how “masculine” gay men are or how feminine lesbians appear. In other words, this is a very complicated and sensitive area. But if we are to make progress in understanding  – and Williamson’s piece shows how far we have yet to go – we have to let go of these insecurities and defensiveness and accept that no question about the transgendered is too dumb or too bigoted to answer.

Is the transgender movement mature enough to accept this and move forward? I guess we’ll soon find out.

JTR3I’m mature enough to tell you to go fuck yourself, because nobody invited you to this discussion. If tranny is “just a word”, then why are you and other gay men putting up such a fight over it? I don’t think it has anything to do with your freeze peach or teaching trans people to have a “thicker skin”. No, I think why so many cis gay men are so committed to being able to use a transphobic slur is because they’re upset that trans people are no longer happy sitting on the sidelines and waiting for the rest of the queer community to fight for our rights. Yes, we are your siblings in this queer family but for too long we have been treated like the un-wanted step-child and we’re tired of it. So get over it and deal with it.

Counter Protest: Activate! Form of: Queer Rights

Dirty Nerdy here to tell you about an exciting opportunity to tell Texas politicians to respect Queer Rights!

As many of you know, Federal District Court Judge Orlando Garcia recently ruled the Texas Marriage Amendment, which banned anything other than straight marriage in the state of Texas, to be unconstitutional!

anchorman-celebration-gif

Don’t get too excited yet, because politicians are seeking to reverse the decision.

June, 5th, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. there is going to be a “Defense of Texas Marriage Amendment Rally” held at the Omni Hotel, Fort Worth Ballroom. There will be speakers from Republican politicians to talk, presumably, about how the gays are out to destroy the American way of life.

Queer Texans will not stand for this. We are gathering outside the Omni Hotel tomorrow to protest this bigoted “rally”, and we’re inviting all other Texans to stand with us for equality.  Follow the link to join the counter protest!

Go here to click on map for directions

Go here to click on map for directions

Trigger Warnings Are Not New

Can we all just stop acting like trigger warnings are outrageously complicated? I keep seeing scare-tactic articles from main-stream and feminist blogs trying to have a Very Serious Discussion about whether trigger warnings are warranted or have “gone too far”. And you know what? I’m not even going to dignify this “debate” by pointing out why trigger warnings are simply a reasonable accommodation for people who have been through traumatic events. There are already shit-tons of articles about it. Instead, I want to talk about how trigger warnings have already existed long before the terminology, they just went unnoticed by people who didn’t need them.

Trigger1

We’ve all watched a TV show that began with a “Viewer Discretion is Advised” disclaimer. And while I personally might think a warning about something like The Simpsons is a little goofy, it doesn’t harm me at all for them to give other viewers a heads up. I haven’t been inconvenienced by it, and by the time the episode is over, chances are good I’ll have forgotten all about it. And that’s my point. Trigger warnings (or advisory warnings or content notes or whatever you want to call them) don’t exist for the people who don’t need them. They exist  for the people who do need them.

Most forms of media have an industry-enforced and regulated rating system of some kind firmly established. Movies, television, comic books, and video games all have some kind of rating that can be found before viewing or purchasing, and most even have little details about what warrants that particular rating (although some would argue they need to be more specific, which I think is valid). So it’s no surprise that blogs developed their own form of ratings system. Most blog providers like WordPress or Blogger allow you to mark your content as “mature”, but the feminist blogosphere went one step further and began giving specific heads up when the content being discussed was something that might trigger traumatic experiences of their readers. But unlike the industry ratings mentioned, which have historically been imposed by only one organization founded by big-name publishers  and thus, carry some valid concerns about when ratings are a form of censorship to punish indie publishers, trigger warnings are voluntarily given by the creators of their blogs.

I've never seen a Very Serious Discussion about whether ESRB ratings have "gone too far".

I’ve never seen a Very Serious Discussion about whether ESRB ratings have “gone too far”.

And hey, confession time, I don’t always include a trigger warning on my blog posts. If I think my title sufficiently explains the topic at hand, I figure that’s a good enough heads up for my readers. But if one of my readers or friends says, “Hey, I think this needs a trigger warning,” then I apologize and put up a fucking trigger warning. It takes like two seconds for me to edit a post and add one. So why would I waste more time complaining and debating about it when it shouldn’t even bother me in the first place?

So now let’s talk about the latest scare going around, that trigger warnings are moving into the classroom. This is another one of those issues that mainstream media is making out to be new even though it’s been going on for quite some time. Every class I’ve ever taken, both at my feminist university and at my previous community college, has issued a trigger warning whenever an upcoming lecture was going to discuss abuse or rape. Because sadly, a significant proportion of women (who make up a slight majority of college students right now) have experienced abuse and/or rape first-hand and therefore, probably would appreciate a heads up about it.

I’ve been triggered before, and it is embarrassing and extremely vulnerable and not something I would ever want to happen in public if I could avoid it. And thankfully it has never happened from participating in a class with a trigger warning. Why? Because the fucking trigger warning gave me a heads-up so I wasn’t blind-sided!

“Oh, we’re going to discuss abuse next week? Alright, well I better build up my emotional constitution that day so I can handle it, because I want to be able to help others in that situation in the future.”

“Oh, we’re going to discuss rape tomorrow? I don’t think I can deal with that right now, so I’ll ask my friend ahead of time if I can copy her notes. Thank glob I don’t have to divulge personal information to my professor in order to not be viewed as an irresponsible student.”

One line in the syllabus, one nod from the professor before the next lecture. Not. Fucking. Difficult.

The only trigger warnings I notice are abuse, rape, and sometimes dieting/weight/body issues because those are relevant to me, but over time I have learned to include other common triggers through my interactions with others, such as suicide/depression, slurs/hate speech, pregnancy/birth, and drug use. And I think this is the root of what makes people get butthurt about trigger warnings they don’t need. In order to include trigger warnings that are not relevant to me, I have to think about how something I’m writing might affect someone negatively. And that involves checking my own privileges, which we all know makes people defensive and uncomfortable. But my discomfort from being wrong is minor compared to someone else being triggered. So I pull up my big girl panties and correct myself. Because that’s how we improve the world for everyone: admit when you’re wrong and correct your behavior.

Honestly to me, complaining about trigger warnings in classrooms or anywhere else is like complaining about wheelchair ramps or signs written in braille. It’s mean-spirited and a waste of time complaining about something that, obviously, does not concern you. So move on with your life and find something that’s actually worth debating and fighting over.

What, she gets her own interpreter? This is PC gone too far. I can hear the professor just fine!

What, she gets her own interpreter?! That’s outrageous! I can hear him just fine!

#Bad for the movement

Dirty Nerdy here!

For those not “in the know”, I went on a twitter rant last night. Basically I saw in the course of three days multiple friends get told by others that certain personal choices they were making were “bad for the movement”. In these cases, the movements they were referencing were either feminism or queer rights, and not, as it happens, movement of bowels or a self-contained part of a musical composition.

http://www.soccershotsfranchising.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/toilet.jpeg

Although I imagine this argument originating from a bowel movement

“Girls, stop telling men you have boyfriends to get them to leave you alone…BECAUSE OTHERWISE IT’S BAD FOR THE MOVEMENT”

There are many iterations of this. Pretty much any feminist who says that a woman must stop using [insert survival tactic here] to avoid or deflect harassment is falling for the #badforthemovement argument. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of day-to-day choices that individuals have to make that could be construed as bad for whatever movement they are involved in, and I have no problem with analyzing these choices and explaining what is problematic with them and how they might perpetuate sexism. HOWEVER criticism should be extended to the system that creates these awful choices in the first place, not to those who are forced to make them.

This argument also comes from certain MRAs who espouse that lying is always wrong and should never be used, therefore women are horrible lying liars who lie to men all the time. The liars.

Heina Dadabhoy wrote a great piece exploring this particular argument. READ IT NOW!!!

http://37.media.tumblr.com/a95d1a7dbe5e72c064c18cad4e6b6ff2/tumblr_mmdxnjd2jT1qk890so1_500.png

Feminists: you know you’re doin’ it wrong when your argument aligns with MRAs

“Gays/bisexuals stop playing pronoun games and be COMPLETELY OPEN about your sexual orientation all the time…BECAUSE OTHERWISE IT’S BAD FOR THE MOVEMENT”

Ok, so while the first example I gave is an argument put forth by fellow feminists (albeit still of the middle to upper-class white variety), I’ve never heard this argument from fellow queers. I’ve only ever heard this argument used by straight cis people. It’s almost always in a “you should be educating people” tone. It takes a special kind of privilege-blind ignorance to tell a queer person that they should not only be in charge of educating all those poor straight people about queer issues at all times, but that they should also do so openly as a queer person. While there *is* some research that says bigots become slightly less bigoted after being around the object of their bigotry for some time, there’s even *more* research that shows queer people (especially queer people of color, and ESPECIALLY trans women of color) are at higher risks of being violently assaulted and/or murdered when bigots find out about their queerness. Aside from the terribleness that is straight cis people telling queer people how to activist, this is just terrible advice.

This type of argument isn’t only relegated to the choices that feminists and queer people make. You can find this kind of #badforthemovement advice in pretty much any social justice movement. And pretty much every time it’s trotted out, you will hear me say: Fuck the movement. Your personal safety is more important. If anybody ever tries to say you have a “moral obligation” to the betterment of an activist movement, and that “moral obligation” will potentially put you in danger, then THEY are the ones doing it wrong. Not you. I’m not saying that we should never do anything that might put us in danger or our livelihoods on the line, but it should not be demanded of us. If somebody is demanding you do something “for the good of the cause” that directly conflicts with your personal safety (or with your personal ethics), then just run away. Run far away from that person.

If you’re interested, you can see my twitter rant on this topic by searching #badforthemovement . Fair warning: there are poo jokes


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Abortion Underground Railroad

As many of you know, we here at Secular Shethinkers support and fight for the rights of women – including the right to end a pregnancy.

Of course, abortion is – technically – legal and has been – technically – enshrined as a basic human right by the Supreme Court. Unfortunately anti-choice activists and politicians have been chipping away abortion access for years. They’re doing everything they can to make the process of obtaining an abortion as complicated, onerous and expensive as possible – not just for the women who need it, but also for the clinics and centers who offer this needed service.

You are technically correct, the best kind of correct

You are technically correct, the best kind of correct

So I ask: what good is a right, if you cannot access it?

What good is the right to vote, if you’re unable to access the voting location or booth?

What good is a right to an attorney, if you’re not given access to an attorney?

What good is the right to an abortion, if you’re barred from accessing the service?

Politicians in Texas and many other states have been working hard since 2010 to pass harsh abortion restrictions. These include but are not limited to: forced ultrasounds, waiting periods, a requirement of at least two doctor visits, bans after 20 weeks, fetal heart beat bills, new restrictions on clinics (when they know it will be too expensive/difficult to meet the restrictions*), and many many more.

RH Reality Check is currently tracking the number of clinics closing in Texas due to the recent restrictions passed during the last legislative session. Check out their map here.

Now superimpose that map of Texas over a map of Europe, and you might see why this is such a big deal. Oh look, Feministing already did that!

Back to my question: What good is a right, if you’re barred access to exercising that right? I say it’s worthless. And we should do something about this.

The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity provides financial assistance, as well as counseling, to people seeking abortions. They also provide community outreach and education on reproductive rights issues. You can donate your money, your time on the phone counseling service, and even your couch to women who need help today. Women need help paying for the procedure, as well as money/assistance with traveling costs and overnight stays.

Going to rallies may be fun and useful in their own way, but we need practical help on the ground now.

Dori and The Dirty Nerdy in Austin, TX

Dori and The Dirty Nerdy in Austin, TX

8 Ways to De-Stress After America Shits All Over Everyone

If you’re like me, you’re probably just the slightest bit upset over the recent shenanigans going on in this country.  Between racism being a valid defenseThe Patriarchy reigning supreme over women’s bodies, and the typical non-necessarily-related-to-oppression-but-not-unrelated-either stress that we experience everyday, you might be ready to snap.  Well, I understand how you feel, but just to keep us all in freedom fighting shape, I thought I’d share some ways to relieve some of the tension you might be feeling.  After all, the feminist who takes care of herself (or himself) lives to fight bullshit another day.

1.  Exercise

I just finished a long run in the rain and it was exactly what I needed to clear my head.  If I get tired, I just picture the necks of Republicans under my heels and pick up the pace.  An even better way to unwind is kickboxing, because then you can picture your oppressors faces as you pummel the living shit out of a punching bag.

Feel the burn…of oppression!

Feel the burn…of oppression!

2.  Sex

The intimacy and passion of rolling around with my fiance can remind me that some men aren’t androcentric pieces of shit who want to control women’s sexuality.  And if I need more convincing that the world isn’t all bad, then I eat out my not-girlfriend or jill off like my life depends on it.

When you’re having angry sex, channel your inner Xena.

When you’re having angry sex, channel your inner Xena.

3. Drink

Or smoke weed.  I’m not here to judge.  While this might not be the healthiest means of dealing with stress, it’s still better than homicide.  Maybe you can turn it into a drinking game: every time you look at the news and feel like dying a little, take a shot.

You better give me a shot glass if you know what’s good for you.

You better give me a shot glass if you know what’s good for you.

4.  Eat

It’s hard to pick up your life and leave the country, but through the names of foods you can feel like you’re living in a sane country.  Would you like some French Fries, Belgian Waffles, Italian Ice, GermanChocolate, Greek Yogurt, English Muffins, Swedish Meatballs, or Canadian Bacon?  Mmm…I can taste the civil discourse from here.

Note to self: Do not piss off a hungry Betty White.

Note to self: Do not piss off a hungry Betty White.

5.  Watch

Sometimes I like to watch an old movie to take my mind off of things.  However, I would suggest avoiding movies like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or 12 Angry Men because they might remind you how democracy and the justice system are supposed to work, only throwing you into another fit of justified rage.

The Zimmerman jury said WHAT?!

The Zimmerman jury said WHAT?!

6.  Play

We all enjoy different styles of video games, but for this task I recommend the most violent game in your library.  Maybe Assassin’s Creed or Borderlands.  Something with lots of killing.  And explosions aren’t half bad either.  There’s actually evidence that suggests “venting” you anger actually only encourages violent behavior, but science isn’t important right now.  Just shoot as many digital representations of your anger as you can.

Maybe multiplayer wasn’t the best idea…

Maybe multiplayer wasn’t the best idea…

7.  Demonstrate

If you just can’t calm down, it’s time to bust out the picket signs and march down to a government building.  Gather as many people as you can (don’t forget to see what paperwork you need for your area) and make your voices heard.  But please, don’t loot anything or light any cars on fire.  That just makes us all look bad.

Careful guys, those women look “unruly”.

Careful guys, those women look “unruly”.

8.  Vote

With the abolishment of the Voting Rights Act, voting can be yet another source of stress and anger.  But it’s the one activity that people in power should fear most.  Register early, keep the League of Women Voter’s on speed-dial for any fraudulent activity, and kick these fuckers to the curb.

If a politician is a legitimate asshole, women voters have a way of shutting that whole thing down.

If a politician is a legitimate asshole, women voters have a way of shutting that whole thing down.

Discussing Queer Foreplay in Middle School and Other Activities to Piss Off the Religious Right

Effective at protecting your food *and* lady bits!

Effective at protecting your food *and* lady bits!

A friend forwarded the following article to me titled “Student Taught about Homosexual Foreplay Disguised as Tolerance“.  For those with no patience or stomach for uptight-sex-negative-Christian writing, I’ll briefly summarize.  A middle school in Maine had a Diversity Day presentation from PRYSM, the Proud Rainbow Youth of Southern Maine, to talk against bullying.  The presentation ended with a Q&A session where the students could ask anything they wanted.  And, surprise, the middle schoolers wanted to talk about sex.  And PRYSM answered those questions frankly and truthfully.  The response that seems to be causing a stir is letting students know that Saran Wrap can be used in a pinch as a barrier between a vagina and mouth for safe oral sex.  Thus, the uptight-sex-negative-Christian outrage.  The article has such witty responses as:

I don’t want my child taught heterosexual foreplay, let alone homosexual foreplay in school.

I’ve had to let him know that no matter what situation he gets in – my suggestion is not saran wrap.  My suggestion is to abstain altogether.

Either middle school starts at a much younger age than I remember, or “Heterosexual Awareness Month” is written by manipulative assholes.

Either middle school starts at a much younger age than I remember, or “Heterosexual Awareness Month” is written by manipulative assholes.

Not only that, but the article itself contains a picture of shocked kids who are obviously too young to be in middle school.  Were they simply hoping people would only read the headline and see the picture?  I’ve tried my best to find a non-biased report of this situation, but have come up empty.  So I’m going to defend PRYSM against a one-sided argument and discuss why safe sex discussion must be a part of middle school education.

I have a soft spot for PRYSM in this whole mess, because I work for an LGBTQ youth center very similar to PRYSM.  Like them, our organization has participated in diversity training with schools and other groups and inevitably, sex comes up in the discussion.  Why?  Maybe it’s because people still equate LGBT identities with sex rather than seeing sex as a small part of our lives as a whole.  Or maybe it’s because we queer folk are pretty upfront about sex out of necessity, and kids who can’t talk to their uptight-sex-negative-Christian parents respond to that.  Either way, PRYSM responded to the students questions about sex in an honest way and I applaud them for that.  It’s the outrage of homophobic parents pulling the “this is what happens when you let queers have rights” card that I find offensive, not middle schoolers being curious about sex.

Psst.  Uptight-sex-negative-Christian parents.  Come here.  I have a little secret for you.  Are you ready?  LGBT peeps are not corrupting your kids.  Middle schoolers are human beings who are on the cusp of puberty, which means it is incredibly likely they will explore S-E-X before they graduate high school.  And it is almost certain they will have sex before marriage.  In fact, most Americans, including grandmothers, have had or will have sex before they are married.  And considering that the numbers are as high as 91 percent, which far outnumbers the non-Christian population, Jesus does not seem to be very effective at keeping horny teenagers from having sex.  So maybe, just maybe, we should have a mature discussion with children about how to practice sex safely rather than attempting to avoid the inevitable and then dealing with the messy consequences.  If you want to reduce the number of abortions, unwanted pregnancies, and STIs in the world, than you should be screaming about condoms, dental dams, and Saran Wrap from the fucking mountain tops.  Not making your kids wear fake wedding rings and declare promises they can’t keep.

This is what my desk looks like at work. Free condoms, dental dams, and lube. No questions asked.  Just think of all the damage I’ve done to “innocent” teenagers.

This is what my desk looks like at work. Free condoms, dental dams, and lube. No questions asked.  Just think of all the damage I’ve done to “innocent” teenagers.

I talk to my “gaybies” about safe sex on a very regular basis.  If a kid wants to know how a female condom works, I take one out and show it to her.  If another kid wants to know what a flavored dental dam tastes like, I tell them to open one and lick it.  I also suggest a cut condom or, *gasp*, Saran Wrap if they don’t have a dental dam.  If they ask me about flavored lubes, I tell them to use them for outer sex only because the sugars can cause infections.  If they tell me they’re worried about having an STI, I make them an appointment at the gay clinic to get tested.  If they want to know what sexual activities come with the least amount of risk, I tell them about dry humping and mutual masturbation.  You name it, I will discuss it.  Right there, without judgement.  I don’t lecture them about morality.  I don’t judge them about their questions or choices.  I respect their intelligence enough to know they are aware of abstinence.  And because I build that trust, they know they can come to me with anything and I’ll offer them support and advice.  That trust has put me in the position to have meaningful discussions about relationships, coercive sex, non-monogamy, and so much more with youth who don’t have a mature outlet for these very normalquestions and concerns.  If they didn’t feel safe to come to me or another adult at our center, they might get some dubious or false information from their peers or online.

Your top concern as a parent, guardian, or caretaker of children should be their safety and happiness.  Discussing safe, positive, consensual sex and masturbation with kids in your care is an important part of helping them find that safety and happiness.  And doing so without judgement or fear lets them know your support is unconditional.  Your kids are going to have sex. Wouldn’t you rather they discuss it with you first and get the best information they can before they do?  It will be awkward at first, but it’s a lot less awkward than some of the side effects that can happen from unsafe sex.  So the only outrage you should feel about PRYSM answering your kid’s question is that your child didn’t feel like they could ask you, Mr. and Mrs. uptight-sex-negative-Christian Parent.