Install this theme
"I’m not doing this for attention. I’m doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong."

 Amanda Todd suffered years of bullying, harassment, and psychological torture, both at the hands of her classmates and complete strangers, online and in real life.  After two years of this, she finally committed suicide, shortly after posting this video on youtube.

What did she do to “deserve” it?  

She made the mistake of flashing her breasts on webcam when she was just 12 years old.  The man she was talking to recorded images and then blackmailed her with them, demanding she do more and more explicit things for him or else he would send them to her family and friends.  When Amanda stood up for herself and said no, he did exactly that.  

Be careful online.  Once it’s online, it’s out there forever, and you never know who could be watching.  Don’t post pictures ANYWHERE (Facebook, Twitter, “anonymous” sites) that you wouldn’t be comfortable with your grandmother or future employer seeing.  Don’t do cam shows or flash for strangers, even as a joke, and even if you don’t think they can possibly find you.  Amanda thought she was anonymous, but the creep who did this found her anyway, and he made her life hell.  

If this does happen to you, it is not your fault, and there are so many police initiatives being developed against cyber bullying.  There is help out there, and please seek it.  Stand up for each other, and if someone you know is affected by this, support them, even if everyone else at school is mocking them. 

Amanda said she wanted to be an inspiration, so make sure that she achieves this and speak out against awful things like this.

And in a break from our regular scheduled programming - a brief note to the bitter lesbians I continue to encounter on a far too regular basis

You’re right.  I’m sorry.  Clearly the fact that I have inexplicably decided to maintain an interest in men as well as women is an insult to you and all you stand for.  I am a shallow, selfish, trendy-wannabe individual, and it’s people like me that make the lesbian dating scene so crap now.

 

Have you ever heard of the Kinsey scale?  It’s kind of simplistic and outdated, but the germ of the idea was there: that rather than being two discrete categories of human sexuality, there’s actually a scale with subtler gradations than that, with 0 being exclusively heterosexual and 6 being exclusively homosexual.  Forgive me, dear Bitter Lesbians, for daring to waver around the middle of said scale, and even (shock horror!) occasionally moving back and forth depending on my mood and/or current inclination.  For example, while I was at Oxford, I would have rated myself at more of a 1 (“Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual”), whereas now I reckon I’m more like a 5 (“Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual”), but that’ll most likely change in future too, because like everything else sexuality is fluid. 

 

Most people sit somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, rather than restricting themselves to one extreme.  How many times have you heard people say “I’d go gay/straight for…”?  As Kinsey himself said,  "The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories… The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects."  If you’re holding out for that committed true lesbian who eschews the dreaded Y chromosome in all its forms, you might be waiting a while, because something like only 1 or 2% of women will fall into this category, and that’s not considering how many may have had the dreaded “straight experience.”  You writing off that incident where you let the spotty boy from the year above finger you behind the bins as a one-off mistake which totally doesn’t count is pretty much the same as the way a confused frat boy who may have had a “moment” with another member of the frat still totally isn’t gay at all because he was just drunk and etc etc etc.  If your potential girlfriend has ever had any boyfriends or interest in men, does that automatically make her shallow and selfish too?  Do you administer questionnaires to all possible dates, or do you skip right ahead to the full psychological testing?  If so, your dating pool is shrinking and shrinking, which may be another possible reason for your romantic woes.

 

Say I had a long-term girlfriend, and we were all good friends for years and years, and then me and said girlfriend split up.  You start off being nice and supportive and so on, but what happens if I do meet a “someone new” that just happens to be packing a Y chromosome and all its usual paraphernalia south of the border.  Do you immediately ditch me and then go shower in bleach and cologne for fear you might catch “the straight” off me?  How is that any different from Man Y immediately ditching Man X because Man X started dating Man Z rather than the socially expected woman?  Oh yes, of course, reverse discrimination doesn’t exist.  That’s why it’s fine to loudly proclaim that you voted for so-and-so because they’re gay, or that book A or film B is obviously far superior to all others, even if it isn’t that well written, because it features a same-sex relationship rather than a heterosexual one.  Here’s a hint: if it would sound bad with the circumstances reversed (“Yeah, the other guy seemed cool what with his policies, but he was GAY!  IMAGINE!  So, of course, I had to vote for the other one.  It was my role as an upstanding member of the straight community!”) then it’s bad.

 

On the one hand, I’ve had boyfriends, but on the other, so far the only person I could actually envision maybe being with long term in the future is female, so where does that leave me?  I don’t know.  I had the same experiences most of you did growing up, watching TV with my mother and agreeing with her appreciative noises about David Duchovny, because of course that was totally who I was looking at, right, and then reminding myself that Mizz and Shout totally said it was OK to have crushes on women and that it was a normal part of growing up rather than any harbinger of the future.  Quite honestly, I was TERRIFIED of the idea of growing up as anything but straight.  I thought it would be the worst thing ever.  When it came down to it, though, when I finally “came out” when I was 25 (while staying in Salt Lake City, no less - apparently San Francisco three days later was too far to wait) I felt SO. MUCH. BETTER.  I say it was the culmination of about 7 years of “hmmm” followed by 5 years of “uh oh” and 3 years of “oh shit”, and that’s what it was, not some trendy thing I picked out on a whim.  Interestingly though, ever since I did come out, my preference has shifted from “mostly guys but occasional women” to “mostly women and occasional guys.”  Maybe one day it might shift all the way over to the feted 6, but for now all it takes is for me to watch an episode of Lie To Me with lots of Tim Roth badass snark to remind me that “yep.  Deeeeeefinitely still into the guys.”

 

And you know what?  Even if I did end up being exclusively homosexual, and thus worthy of your attentions, I still wouldn’t have anything to do with you, because your attitude just plain pisses me off. 

 

And let me tell you - you’re missing out.

I… I don’t even…

I have no words.

 

It’s not so much a question of WHAT’S wrong with this post, it’s HOW MANY THINGS are wrong with this post…

(credit to stfucouples)

and on a more self-centred note…

…I kind of need some advice.

I have two possible options for what to do next year, and while at first I thought it was obvious which one I should go for, now I am not so sure.

The first is that I stay on and finish my graduate fine art degree, which until recently I had come to think was pointless and selfish given all the hideous things that happen every day.  Lately, however, I’ve reread the autobiography of the artist Tracey Emin (it’s called ‘Strangeland’, and I cannot recommend it enough) and she has channelled her experiences into her art in the most incredible way.

The second is that I start a graduate entry law degree, with the aim of one day running my own advice service/counselling/legal help one-stop-shop charity kind of thing.  I applied for a job at Victim Support NI, and if I get that then the law one is the obvious choice, but otherwise I’m not sure.

On the one hand, I’m interested to see where the art thing goes, and my latest piece definitely got attention; but on the other, I have no idea where to go with my MFA, and art is the kind of thing where you don’t need formal qualifications… so there’s no reason I couldn’t be a practicing artist at the same time as working in law.  Then again, an art degree is as much about making contacts and getting experience than it is about the qualification, and there’s no reason why I couldn’t just keep doing my blog and campaign stuff outside of my art classes.  

So, I don’t know.  Thoughts?

This May Be One Of The Most Offensive Things I’ve Read This Week

(And as a side note, the fact that I say ‘this week’ should probably give you some idea of what else I get the joy of experiencing every day.)

This, my beloved fellow activists, is the ‘Gay Panic Defence’, as used in US, Australian and UK law, for starters.  It may be used in other jurisdictions too, but it’s half past one in the morning and my impulsive wrath does not immediately stretch to spending a few hours with legal texts. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_panic_defense 

Are they kidding?  Just because someone had the nerve to ‘make a pass’ at someone else - which, let’s face it, given the oversensitivity of some people could be something as small as complimenting them on the colour of their shirt - does not in any way give anyone the right to kill them.  Given that in the UK people have been successfully prosecuted for killing a person who was trying to rob them, it’s like saying that being hit on by that guy you once met in a pub is a worse affront than being threatened into handing over your valuables.  Maybe a sexual advance is now considered a more terrible weapon than a knife or a rock, I don’t know, but it seems a bit weird to say the least.

Now, let’s just make this clear - I’m not talking about people who defend themselves against rape or attempted assault.  Anyone who knows me will know that.  However, there is a huge difference between making an unsuccessful ‘pass’ on someone and forcibly molesting them.  I wonder if by their logic I could have beat the guy outside the Hercules to death with my e-reader in retaliation for his comment of ‘eeeeee, lovely tits, love’ (rather than impulsively telling him I wanted to slit his throat and fuck the wound, which made him run away pretty damn fast, even if I was maybe even more shocked than he was about what I’d just said.)  ’No, officers, it’s OK!  I had every right to murder this man because he complimented me on the beauty of my breasts.  You see, I’m a bisexual having a lesbian day, and the horror of being propositioned by a member of the opposite sex scared me senseless for a few minutes!’  I mean, come on.  I have fucking PTSD and I’ve never murdered anyone, not even the creep in Boots who grabbed my admittedly fine ass when I was looking at disposable razors (because apparently they drive men mad with unrestrainable desire.)  Just, no.  

Here’s a fun example from California, although this is technically the equally reprehensible ‘trans panic’ defense: Several men beat a pre-op transgender woman with shovels, a frying pan, a can of food and their fists, hog tied her, and strangled her to death, solely because they had voluntarily engaged in sexual activity with her before finding out she still had male genitalia.  Halfway through the assault, they stopped to go and get shovels and a pickaxe, leaving her sitting on the couch.  They then had the presence of mind to drive her body four hours away into the Sierra Nevada mountains to bury (which, to be honest, is enough of a hint that they knew what they were doing was wrong to completely discredit any insanity defence.)  But, instead of being convicting them for a hate crime, the jury repeatedly deadlocked, and prosecutors eventually accepted a no contest plea to voluntary manslaughter for one of them.  It reminds me a bit of the Reddit post I read a while ago which could be summed up as ‘guys, I keep fantasising about chicks with dicks.  Like, I’m not gay or anything, and they’re not dudes, they’re just chicks who have dicks.  Is that sick?  Does that make me gay?’  That post got a mixture of comments that were maybe 10% criticism, 50% veiled homophobia, 20% outright bigotry, and 20% a mix of trolls and/or commenters who had nothing to say but either ‘lol dude u r a fag’/’no ur not gay I fantasise about ______’.  These guys were faced with this situation in real life, and they responded to this perceived threat to their status as Men with mindless violence.

One of the worst things about this for me is that it not only validates prejudice, it somehow implies that the victim somehow ‘asked for it’, and all it takes is one homophobic juror (which, given general attitudes, is sadly almost certain) for it to work.  Wayne the builder is horrified by the idea that the fruit next door might fancy him, so what better way to show he’s not a fag than to acquit the poor victim of a pervert’s sexual advances?  I can’t see how it’s any different from Southern trials in the 20th century excusing the murder of black people based upon half-formed allegations, except for the fact that it’s impossible to tell who is and who isn’t straight/gay/trans/whatever, which opens up a whole new ugly side of it.  So, you had a fight with your best friend over some disrespectful transgression, hit him with a pan, and now he’s dead.  What to do?  I know!  Lie and say he grabbed your junk and winked at you!  They can’t prove otherwise, and there’s a whole defence out there just MADE for you!  

One example along these lines is the Joseph Mitchell Parsons case in 1987, although that had the added twist that he may have actually been the one who did the propositioning, and that he killed the victim in a fit of rage after his advances were unsuccessful.  While the trial outcome was the right one, it still sticks in my throat a little that so much of the trial was based around proving the victim had never shown any signs of being anything but heterosexual, while casting aspersions on the sexuality of Parsons himself.  I can’t help wondering if that had anything to do with the jury deciding to convict (especially, forgive me the stereotype, given that the trial took place in Utah.)  Did they convict because they saw the defence for what it was, or because they were disgusted at the idea of this homo pervert daring to slander the memory of this fine upstanding heterosexual citizen?

 Yeah, so, I’m very tired now, so I’m going to stop, but I’ll probably cover this more soon.  Then again I say that a lot, and then I don’t. 

 (And I was going to post a link to a great book about legal discrimination against members of the LGBT community, but my web browser is pitching a shit fit again and it keeps opening two dozen windows whenever I try to paste anything.)

(Incidentally, props to Wyoming for telling the defence lawyers where to go when they tried to use this defence in the trial of the killers of Matthew Shepard - a crime which the perpertrators themselves eventually admitted was a drug-fuelled robbery attempt gone wrong.)

A message I got today, and my reply

" hey..i found your blog and was really interested and moved by the things you post. you sound so incredibly strong and i’m really envious. I was sexually abused from the ages of 4 until i was 11 by a close family friend who regularly looked after me and had access to me unsupervised. im struggling so much to deal with it now, getting overwhelmed by flashbacks and nightmares. the only way i know how to deal with this is to self destruct, because i feel so lost now. sorry to bombard you with this x

That’s OK, I don’t mind hearing about it.  One of the main reasons I started doing this was because I started writing on fanfiction (long story, brain injury and had to get brain going creatively again) and the number of people who contacted me and said “oh my God, this is so real, it’s exactly how I felt/feel” and told me how cathartic they found it to read was just beyond anything I would ever have expected.  

A lot of people feel they can talk to me because I’m so open about it myself, which is great, because I really want to try and make it seem less, I don’t know, shameworthy, for want of a better word.  If someone wouldn’t be embarrassed to say that they were beaten up in the street or by their boyfriend, then they shouldn’t need to feel embarrassed by having been raped or abused, because it’s just another act of violence.  Sometimes I really don’t want to post about some of the stuff I’ve posted about, because I get really uncomfortable about admitting to some of it, but then I think “if I’m telling people that there’s no reason to be ashamed and to feel able to talk about it, and that sexual offences shouldn’t be considered to be something embarrassing and private and taboo to discuss, then who the hell am I to hold back on it?”

I know exactly what you’re going through, and believe me when I say I am far from strong about it sometimes.  I’ve gone down the self-destruction route (and still relapse into it more often than I’d like) with the eating disorder and the self-harm and the self-sabotage and so on, and I came to realise that a lot of it was actually about control and, in some cases, the act of demeaning myself even more.  And, once I realised that, it helped me a bit, because it made me able to rationalise it a little more.  It does take a lot of time though, but if you’re strong and determined enough (which I think you must be, because you actually contacted me to share, which says a lot) you’ll get there.

In the meantime, if you need to talk, or to ask for advice, or even if you’ve just had a nightmare or a shitty day, then send me a PM.  There are a lot of crisis numbers and help groups out there, but if you don’t feel able to contact them, or it doesn’t work for you, then PM me, and I’m always around to talk. And I don’t mind.  Really.  Bombard away.

Hang in there.  It’ll get easier.  I promise. 

This Almost Makes Me Ashamed To Be Catholic

Most of you who know me outside tumblr know that as well as being my usual badass self, I’m also a Catholic (albeit a damn cool, openly bisexual Catholic with incredibly liberal attitudes and an ‘in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti’ tattoo on my arm).  Anyway, that’s not important.  What’s important is this.

Today I was researching for an art piece (couldn’t remember the name of one of the tablets I was given and wanted to see if I could find out.)  So, I hit Google.  And ended up turning this up.

 http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=268444 

In case you don’t want such a website to show up on your browsing history, or just can’t be arsed, here is a brief highlight:

 ”A good pro-life Christian would oppose the use of rape kits because they are now being used to encourage women getting an abortion, which is murder, as well as boycotting hospitals who provide these murdering kits.” 

Really?  Because I don’t think that’s what they do.  As far as I know, they’re for collecting evidence in order to help nail the raping creep to the wall at trial.  Yes, they offer the morning-after pill AT THE SAME TIME as the rape kit, but it’s NOT THE SAME THING.  And more to the point, they don’t “encourage” you to do anything.  There’s an antibiotic shot, some oral antibiotics, and an emergency contraceptive, and they don’t push any of them on you.  It’s always your choice, and it’s a choice that every woman has the right to be offered.

 Now, as you know, I am not a stranger to these things, and I have a little something to share which I haven’t actually shared with anyone bar a couple of people before: when I was in NY in October, and got attacked, and they offered me the EC pill… I said no.

I took the STD prevention stuff, but I refused the EC, based purely on the fact that I would personally prefer not to take a drug which could stop an already-fertilised embryo from implanting, because for me, the second the bullet has left the gun (as it were) it’s not my place to interfere.  A lot of people might yell at me for that, but it’s true, and I’m still pro-choice - I would never, EVER try and tell someone else what they should and should not do, and while I would never choose to get an abortion myself, I’m not going to scream hellfire upon anyone that does.  Choice goes both ways - you have the right to choose to have an abortion, and the right to choose not to, without having to give an excuse for either decision, and that’s exactly how it should be.

I’m just really sick of religion and regurgitated quotes being used to justify selfish, ignorant behaviour, and it’s people like this guy who make me question whether there’s really any point at all. 

 Luckily, though, most of the other users on the board seem to be ripping this guy apart already… which does give me some hope. 

Remember that post I made the other day about eBay selling child pornography?

Well, I have an AMAZING update for you. 

After much denial, eBay finally took those awful pictures off and banned the seller. Apparently spending a day on the phone being passed around various departments while quoting from the 1978 Protection of Children Act Chapter 37 is the way to make them sit up and take notice.

(That, and phoning the police department in the county eBay’s servers are located in and citing precedents to prove to them that yes, it IS their problem…)

Anyway… SUCCESS.

I wish they had this poster in my college tutor’s office.

I wish they had this poster in my college tutor’s office.

the original post:
http://oneirishgirlsperspective.tumblr.com/post/23132471917/what-the-hell-ebay
It got worse.  This is a screengrab of the upper left corner of the page, showing part of the search bar. 
Something has to be done about this.  I’m sitting up surrounded by criminal law casebooks and notes, searching through the UK legislature.  That seller’s creep ass is mine. 
Hell, eBay’s ass too.  *narrowed eyes* 

the original post:

http://oneirishgirlsperspective.tumblr.com/post/23132471917/what-the-hell-ebay

It got worse.  This is a screengrab of the upper left corner of the page, showing part of the search bar. 

Something has to be done about this.  I’m sitting up surrounded by criminal law casebooks and notes, searching through the UK legislature.  That seller’s creep ass is mine. 

Hell, eBay’s ass too.  *narrowed eyes*