I am putting out a call to action for a nonviolent protests in response to the suicide of a trans woman brought about by the bullying Caleb Hannan engaged in with his article outing her as transgender. I would like this protest to take place at his home, time yet to be determined. His address is below.
1076 Jackson St Denver, CO
In accordance with the federal appeals court ruling stating bloggers have the same first amendment rights as journalists i am exposing a danger to the transgender community to the public.
He is a public figure whos actions may have lead to the death of a transgender woman, this is leveraging institutional power against the oppressed, this is unacceptable, and we have the right to have our voices heard.
UPDATE: It appears Caleb Hannan has been previously sued for defamation and invasion of privacy, and false light, unknown if this has gone to court or what the verdict is, but this does seem to indicate a pattern of unethical behavior.
Mythologies shape how humanity sees itself and the world around us, they are symbols that can empower or oppress, can drive people to love or to hate, to work for peace or war. In this spirit i am reweaving the mythos of Prometheus, to empower transgender women. These mythos are stories meant to convey messages of empowerment. I do not take them as literal truth, but as social constructs that do have real power, and we can build our own constructs and breathe new life into them.
So here is the new mythos of Prometheus
Trans women are the Daughters of Prometheus, Prometheus being one of the only true advocates for humanity, stole fire from the gods to give to the human race, Prometheus also gave the civilizing arts to us. Science. This explains why so many trans women are in IT and other science related fields.
Trans women tend to be polymaths, creators of new ideas and technologies, seekers of knowledge. We work toward the benefit of all humanity, we steal the fire of the gods to light the darkness and guide humanity into the light.
And like Prometheus we are punished for this, jealous and petty gods seek to bind us and torment us with Force and Violence, tools of Zeus.
HRT is also known to harm the liver, a reflection of the torment Zeus inflicted upon Prometheus.
A transgender woman stole knowledge (fire) from nearly all powerful men (gods), and gave it to all of humanity (Chelsea Manning) and for this she is tormented.
We defy the system by our very existence and we endure though punishment, just like Prometheus.
Prometheus loved humanity more then the Olympians, who had banished most of her family to Tartarus. So when Zeus decreed that humanity must present a portion of each animal they scarified to the gods, Prometheus decided to trick Zeus. She created two piles, one with the bones wrapped in juicy fat, the other with the good meat hidden in the hide. She then bade Zeus to pick. Zeus picked the bones. Since he had given his word, Zeus had to accept this pile as his share for future sacrifices. In his anger over the trick, he took fire away from humanity. However, Prometheus lit a torch from the sun and brought it back again to the human race, Zeus was enraged that humans again had fire. He decided to inflict a terrible punishment on both humanity and Prometheus.
After Prometheus’ theft of fire, Zeus sent Pandora in retaliation. Despite Prometheus’ warning, Epimetheus accepted this “gift” from the gods
Prometheus had warned Epimetheus not to accept gifts from Zeus, but Pandora’s beauty was too great and he allowed her to stay.
Eventually, Pandora’s curiosity about the jar she was forbidden to open became intolerable to her.
She opened the jar and out flew all manner of evils, sorrows, plagues, and misfortunes.
However, the bottom of the jar held one good thing – hope.
Prometheus saw that evil had been unleashed into the world, so she created us to light the way out of the darkness.
See what they didn’t tell you, is that Prometheus took the jar from Pandora, the one with Hope in it
And she mixed the Hope with leftover clay from creating humans, and ground the clay to dust, then blew the dust into chosen humans
And these chosen humans, empowered with Hope and the breath of a Titan are transgender women
Transgender women were breathed life into twice, once like every other human, and the second time by Prometheus breathing the power into us
That moment when “you just knew” was the Second Breath.
When Hope entered your lungs filling you with the power to reshape the clay of your body. The blood and breath of a Titan flows through you.
Zeus was angry at Prometheus for three things: being tricked by the sacrifices, stealing fire for man, and refusing to tell Zeus which of Zeus’s children would dethrone him. Zeus had his servants, Force and Violence, seize Prometheus, and thus Force and Violence are used against us. And thus they are the tools of Zeus. We do not need such tools, we have the power of Prometheus, the fire of the gods, the civilizing arts. The power to reshape the clay of the human body and the endurance breathed into us by a Titan.
We are the avatars of Prometheus, the carriers of the light of Hope. Its also been said that many transgender women are also autistic, new developments in research show that autism is actually an increased sense of empathy toward all things combined with an intensified view of the world, this is Prometheus’s love of the human race shining through.
It also tends to explain why so many trans women love spicy food, we feel kinship with fire. The fire stolen from the gods, it also explains our anger, that fire burns inside of us.
Whenever you feel beat down, whenever you feel like you can endure no more, remember the power of Hope and the breath of a Titan flow through you always. You are the light leading humanity out of the darkness.
Within social justice circles, we have all learned about tone policing and how it is often used to silence the voices of the oppressed, but we dont often hear about the legitimate instances where anger leads to actions that cross the moral event horizon into problematic behavior, in the name of social justice.
Anger is a powerful and useful emotion to spread a message for sure but what most people do not realize is that anger alone can blind you and become toxic, anger must be tempered with discipline, love, and compassion. Remember the people you are talking to are human beings as well. They bleed, they feel pain, they have their own pain and burdens also, while not the same as yours and mine and perhaps not to the level we experience as oppressed people.
To effectively use anger you have to have the self control to restrain your *behavior* and prevent it from harming others. Policing your *emotions* is wrong, and silencing but your *behavior* is fair game if it becomes problematic, harmful, or toxic. Bad behavior is bad behavior.
Do you see the differences here?
The reality is its very hard to have the level of discipline required to use this tool, but that does not mean we should throw it away, we just need to incorporate new tools to help balance it and make it useful without doing harm.
Here are some practical suggestions based on my personal experience, if anyone else has some of their own let me know in the comments and ill add them to the list.
When you see something online that makes you angry that you feel you should call out, take 5-10 minutes to step away and focus on something that calms you down, i personally like to listen to some music, or vent to a friend in private about how this made me feel, i get out the raw anger of it before i try to write , sometimes i fail at this but i do try.
Once you have dealt with the raw anger , whats left over what i call “refined anger” .
Use this refined anger as a iron rod in your spine, to keep you motivated, but don’t let it take you over and consume you.
Balance it with compassion, balance it with self control.
This also doesn’t mean that sometimes you cant stick it to a well deserving bigot, but there is a time and a place for that kind of stuff. Save that shit for the people in power, the ones who make policy, the ones who run the companies who exploit human beings and steal resources for greedy capitalist gain.
Remember principle 3? Part of that is triage. Just like an emergency room setting you should prioritize harms and threats. This doesn’t forgive or excuse other harms, it just acknowledges the reality that we might have to get to them later and focus on saving human lives.
See this? This is a good example, while not complete of the concept i am trying to point out. it attempts to prioritize saving human lives over say putting a woman on the face of a banknote, while both are issues, one is clearly a higher priority. Human lives are unique and unrepeatable and are priceless. Banknotes are things, inanimate objects. Replaceable. Besides what good does it do to put a womans face on one when so many women do not have enough money to provide for themselves?
And im not saying these other problems should not be addressed, they should, after we stop the death and exploitation of human beings that fuel the system of oppression we live in.
Im also not saying we cant express our anger at microagressions or things of that nature, we absolutely have a right to talk about what hurts us. Im speaking specifically about activism actions.
Triage is a real thing and its time we started applying it.
Do not let the big names distract you with activism actions that are low priority. This is how they make their names and money all while doing very little to challenge the status quo. its a distraction meant to sink your time momentum and energy into while yielding little real results, like a lighting rod it deflects the full force of your effort away from your true targets.
Its just yet another system of control.
Activism as approved by the establishment is not activism.
Lately i have been thinking about how marginalized narratives are published in the industry of paper bound books, and ive come to the conclusion that the concept that it must be written to “certain standards” is just really saying that “you must have xyz education levels to have a voice”. Publishers use the excuse that if the book is not “well written” then it is not worth publishing, failing to take into account the effects of marginalization on availability of education and access to knowledge and tools.
There are powerful stories not being told because the people who need to tell them may not be able to write at the level of quality that publishers insist on, and editors are failing to assist these people and thus creating a defacto ban on the stories of the most oppressed.
Access to knowledge is a privilege, high understanding of the English language is a privilege, the ability to read and write is a privilege. Access to the internet is a privilege. Until they are rights afforded to all we have a duty to use those tools to assist those who do not have them and who want to be heard.
The ability to publish your life experiences, world views, opinions, ect should be a right afforded to all human beings.
Editors should assist people with accessibility issues and enable them to have a voice. We should have a wide range and a diverse ecosystem of perspectives and world views.
And if a book that is written to show people your life experiences is written we as readers should understand to focus on the reality of that persons situation, if its poorly written there is a reason why and *that itself* is a valid part of the narrative as its a marker of how their life went.
We who have the privilege of proficient English reading and writing skills should check this and listen to the true meaning of their words as opposed to nitpicking the quality, unless the author themselves requests such a criticism.
I generally have refrained from discussing information security for the most part for multiple personal reasons. However a thought chain has entered my head that i just have to discuss, this doesn’t mean i am going back into infosec, just one last rant about it left in me i suppose.
The problem with information security in my view is a bit complex.
First we have the absurd idea that end users who don’t do all the “just the right things” deserve to be compromised and exploited, if you subscribe to say, the full disclosure mailing list you see this attitude of victim blaming is dominant, and almost any attempt to place the burden on the attackers is met with extreme hostility.
The problem with this is two fold.
1. Victim blaming is wrong, why this is true should be clear.
2. Everything is already compromised. No exceptions, it does not matter what you do, if someone wants in they will find a way. This sounded like tinfoil talk years ago and i was accused of being paranoid many times for this, but the Snowden leaks have proven this as reality. Everything is compromised by design or by flaw.
If we want our information to not be used to harm us, we must start by dismantling the national security agency in its entirety, destroy every server farm and datacenter and make those assholes get real jobs. Then we must teach people to not abuse each other over the internet. This is a real issue that must be addressed by education, all too often people have the attitude of interactions on the internet not being real, or just a game. People forget there are other human beings on the other end of the screen. Educating people on not acting in harmful ways is effective in many situations so i don’t see why it cant be used here.
Then we have to destroy the information security industry who profits from arming criminals with exploits in the name of “full disclosure”.
Basically if you don’t buy their product or apply their patch they have an army of angry kids standing by to punish you for this, then they punish those kids or suck them into the information security complex.
You heard me right, the information security industry is blackmailing you and you dont even know it.
Where do you think those kids get the tools and exploits that they use to hack you? Most of the tools used are open source and available to the public, the rest are very easy to acquire. The exploits themselves are released to the public on a regular basis with the logic that
if they did not then companies would not patch their systems and then people simply wouldn’t know they were owned. But, you are already owned. You always have been, they sold you the illusion of safety from the army of script kiddies they created.
Most virus and malware code has not changed much in the past..10-20 years, its all the same stuff. All they do is adjust the methods of masking it from an antivirus and this is simple to do. (google “crypters” for more info)
Now this does not mean we should not take precautions or not look for red flags, but we should focus with the majority of our energy the idea of prevention through education. Anti malware systems should come with the operating system by default. Operating systems should be designed to be secure as possible out of the box.
Put the burden on the software writers, not the end users. Put the burden on the people causing harm, not those they harm. Put the burden on the people arming ignorant or desperate kids with cyberweapons.
Laws need to change also in regards to how we deal with these kids, because most of them are kids. We need to teach our children empathy, and teach them not to do evil online. And parents need to observe their kids online activities. A computer is not a babysitter.
We also need to hold the information security community as well as the operating system developers and hardware manufactures responsible for their cooperation with government agencies who want to reduce our security.
They had a moral duty to disobey the law and inform the public and they didn’t because they don’t actually care about your security they care about profits. these people should be held accountable and all profits made by this stripped.
I also believe we should have an international ban on government used cyberweapons and cyberwarfare with full government transparency and accountability in this area.
This week we saw a failure of feminism 101 and as a result i discovered who did and did not understand and who was just blindly following popular faces.
On christmas a hashtag was created to give emergency food and monetary aid to transgender women, this tag was created by a trans woman of color, it was created specifically to help white trans women and trans women of color as well as transfeminine/nonbinary AMAB folks who suffer from transmisogyny. This was a trans feminine space. A black transgender man got angry because he did not like the tag creator and attacked the tag itself, a man thought he had the right to enter a womans space and have his voice heard over others.
And some of you people listened.
Had he asked about charity for trans men not using that hashtag (a womans space) he would have had every right to ask for aid as well, we could have all made a hashtag for trans masculine people as well. But he didn’t.
Had he brought up his issues with the tag creator outside of the tag, that would have been appropriate space to do so. But he didn’t.
He attacked the feminine space and the creator of it using the hashtag.
Then people decided the hashtag creator was now magically white . I don’t know who started that one, but yall are wrong as fuck.
And this mans excuse for butting into a womans space? The fact that hes a black trans man.
Im sorry, being black doesn’t entitle you to a womans space when you are a man.
This is feminism 101.
Had the tag been created by white women and catered to white women, then yes it would have been racist, but it was started by a trans woman of color and it helped trans women of color. It was not “white by default” because the praxis proved otherwise. Both white trans women and trans women of color were helped.
Ergo your race accusation is null. The only exclusion by word and deed was the masculine elements. its feminism 101 that women have a right to their own spaces. its transfeminism 101 that trans women have a right to their own spaces, its also transfeminim 101 that TWOC have a right to their own spaces. Each marginalized group also has a right to its own spaces.
Men of any kind do not have a right to enter any of these feminine spaces. Regardless of what race you are, you are still a man and you do not belong in feminine spaces.
And just to be clear this does not include obvious things like healthcare/support relating to owning a womb and the related equipment. All womb owners should have equal access to spaces related to those body parts, such as abortion clinics, birth control and specialized medical care. Regardless of gender or lack thereof.
Trans women of color were front and center, she even got media credit for her work and many TWOC were aided by the tag.
I dont know why the fuck i have to spell this out to you.
This is feminism 101
Men dont go in womens spaces.
Regardless of any other axis of oppression.
Disclaimer: This post is meant for the middle class folks, the ones with extra cash in their pocket and too much time, thinking they are allies when they arent.
I say all of these things criticizing the entire system we live in, and everyone reads it, likes it and shares it. I talk about how fucked up it is that a lot of our tech is made by exploited people, and you read my blogs on your ipads and iphones, my blog shows me the stats, most of you are iOS users, that means you buy apple phone products (im sure some of you were gifted these items or got them second hand or your work issued you one or stole/found them and you people are exempt from this rant, please join the rest of the class for cake and ice cream while i get my cluebat for these assholes [and if you stole it, keep up the good work])
The people who will be exempt from this will be statistically a minority, so please dont come and tell me how you “arent one of them” as all of you will say so to try to soothe your guilt.
And if you are buying iphones, that means you are paying money to benefit from the oppression of other human beings, there are now other products you can use instead.
If you are reading my work using devices made by the subjugation of others, thats fucked up. You should probably sit and think about that. And then realize that as good as an apple product is in quality, you arent willing to face to face oppress the maker of the device, so you shouldn’t be doing it by proxy. its not only evil, its cowardly.
Now some people might say “but laurelai, all the devices are made in fucked up situations we literally cant escape this without losing our way of life”
Here is my ideological advice: You are a worthless degenerate scumbag who places your personal comfort and desire for the latest flashy toy above the real lives of suffering human beings, buy a goddamn land line, angry birds isnt that fucking important i mean at the very least you could have bought an android or something else with the reasoning that it was the lesser of evils in a modern world where you need communication to function, but no you went with Evil INC’s latest evilphone 9000, now with less suicide (only because they put up nets).
Here is my practical advice because i know you wont follow the ideological advice, you scumbag, if you own an apple device, and you paid for it. Give it away to the first homeless person you meet, don’t sell it. Go buy one of these when it comes out. You have alternatives now, no more excuses.
Feminism has failed transgender women, both white trans women and trans women of color (and others from what I have been told).
All too often modern feminism has used the talents momentum and energy of both white trans women and trans women of color (and other marginalized women) among them to further the causes of cis feminists and cis women. They ask that we join them under their banner using pithy slogans like “if you believe in equality you are a feminist” and things like that. Making it appear as if anyone who has any objections with feminism simply just doesn’t believe in equality enough.
No cis feminism, we believe that freedom from oppression and a life of peace is the right of all sentient beings.
What we don’t believe in is putting (usually) white cis feminists who meet cisnormative appearance standards ahead of everyone else (and that’s what feminism actually does in reality)
What we don’t believe in is using the word “solidarity” as a code for “please put up with this subgroup within feminism that wants you dead because we arent comfortable confronting them for your sake”
See we see you buddying up with TERFs and refusing to call them out with anything stronger than “that’s not my activism” hand waiving away the feminists in your circles that use the label of feminism to attack entire classes of women.
We saw your open letter stating that you were against transphobia (hell I even signed it too), and it was a great gesture, but you didn’t do the deed.
You didn’t confront TERFs, you didn’t confront the people who want us dead, you didn’t challenge them *at all*
Your token effort is simply not good enough.
The elephant in the room is that when most cis feminists say in public that trans women are women, but if you dig down to how you *act* it becomes clear you are just giving lip service in order to win us over to your side, all while you *completely ignore* transgender issues, transgender suffering and transgender death.
For fuck sake cis feminism a lot of us don’t even have the right to use public restrooms and all the lot of you can do is “socially acceptable” activities that don’t rock too many boats.
Like putting a woman on the face of a banknote.
Sure its a nice gesture but honestly its such a minor progress compared to the real deadly problems entire classes of women suffer from as to render it almost completely useless in the day to day suffering of other human beings.
It would have even been fine if that had just been one of many many activism actions that included solving real world suffering issues of marginalized women.
But if you really take a look at modern feminism a large portion of it is the pumpkin spice lattee sipping white cis feminism. If you all really grasped basic human decency you would put the most marginalized women *first* in your activism and you *don’t*. You don’t actually care about the rights of all women, you care about getting yours and fuck everyone else.
You care about making a splash and getting a popular blog and a book deal.
You also don’t give a shit about sex workers either.
Oh some of you say you do, but then you try to “rescue us” from our own lives, instead of trying to make sex work safer (and that’s what we really want).
Oh and you don’t really care about women of color as well. Hell women of color had to come up with their own terms to describe similar concepts within feminism because they wanted to *separate themselves from white feminism and its flaws*.
You have tried to put every women under the same umbrella and in doing so you continue to make the white cis woman the default, the one up first, whose problems get looked at first. Because its easy.
Yeah, you do it because its easy. You tell yourselves that its got nothing to do with any *ism* and how its just tactics, well let me tell you that kind of thinking is in itself problematic.
You start with the hardest things first because those take the most work and the most energy.
You do the deed and you don’t worry about personal branding, or branding in general.
Oh and before you start crying about how im being divisive or not showing solidarity, see my previous point about “solidarity” no i will not sit down and be quiet while you ignore our oppression in favor of cis problems.
You are the ones who need to have a seat.
But honestly these problems with feminism have been around since the temperance movement (and look how well that worked out).
All too often activism has tried to force specific narratives or memes to present to the world, instead of allowing a diverse ecosystem of narratives, instead of making room for everyones life experiences.
All too often feminism has ignored the problems of women who are marginalized the most in favor of the women who have the most privilege.
In the end its your actions that define you, not your labels or your theories.
In the end feminism has failed the transgender community.
But in the end one can claim it was designed to fail us from the ground up.
I propose a new radical activism based on simple principles and based on *action* and not labels. The label will come later, and isn’t as important as the idea.
Freedom from oppression is the right of all sentient beings. We live in a system built on oppression on many many levels, one piled on top of another. Most people accept this casually, we do not. An injury to one is an injury to all. If even one being lives under oppression then we are all oppressed.
Empathy for sentient beings outside of your comfort zone.
This is pretty simple, most people fail at empathy for anyone outside of their small circles of life. Friends and family get empathy while everyone else isn’t really a person worth considering for most people, and we identify and acknowledge that this is the cause of a lot of major problems with the world and a contributing factor to kyriarchy. We must actively engage empathy for people outside of our comfort zones.
Applied to activism issues. (the most marginalized people have the loudest voices and get their issues addressed first, IE trans sex workers, trans women of color, trans prisoners ect..) This means white cis problems go to the bottom of the list, we still care about those issues but honestly they cant be priority one. This is a triage of issues, placing the most important immediate issues first.
These principles are not brought down on high from anything and time changes everything eventually. These principles are not meant to be shackles , but tools to achieve real change. If any of these tools become too worn or too old to be useful then they should be discarded and replaced. All too often radical ideas that are wonderful for their time become the new status quo in the next generation, one that binds and oppresses, repeating the same sins of the previous generations in new ways.
However this does not mean we will compromise with oppressors or make “deals with the devil” .
Ensuring history does not repeat itself.
Similar to principle 4 , all too often activism groups will repeat the mistakes and evil of the oppressors in an attempt to fight that oppression. This ends here.
No longer will we ignore the most marginalized among us in favor of those with the most privileges, this is going to take active work and a lot of deconstruction within ourselves.Also this means we will ensure we are knowledgeable about history , we have to educate ourselves on the failures of past activism if we ever hope to not repeat their mistakes.
Anyone wanting to call themselves an ally to our causes must be willing to face the same oppression we do. If you arent willing to bleed like we do you are not a real ally. Allies should not be trying to make their voices louder than the oppressed, and should instead listen to what we want and help us get it the way we want it. I’m sure all you allies have tons of “great ideas” frankly we don’t want to hear them so please listen to us do what we ask you to do.
Your resources and money while nice to have are not a reason for us to coddle you. Either give us what we need without strings because you want to see the right thing done or don’t try giving us anything.
If we coddle you for your resources you will just use them to reinforce your own privilege anyways so you arent actually doing us any good by us coddling you. We recognize this and refuse to fall into that trap. Either help us on our terms or leave us alone.
The right for a sentient being to alter their body as they see fit should be afforded to all. Nobody should have a right to tell someone that they cant alter their body, it is also wrong to shame people with body modifications of any kind.
As sentient beings and adults we should be able to make informed consensual decisions about our bodies.
Oh hey assholes, just because she has some gender issues doesn’t give you the right to not use her chosen pronouns. Until she says otherwise use she/her or you will have *me* to deal with.