Friday, December 28, 2012

Don't talk about sexism

This is gold. A quality person with a quality topic gets torn to pieces.

It begins:

I'm working on an article about gender inequity within the secular movement (advocating progress, not exposé). I've spoken with some great people (PZ Myers, Greta Christina, etc.), but would really like to hear some stories from women on the ground, both physically speaking (conferences and local meetings) and metaphorically speaking (forums, blogs, email, etc.).

If you've personally experienced sexism in one of these contexts and would be willing to "speak" with me verbally or digitally, drop me a note at I'd love to hear your story

A+ asks, 'but what about transsexuals?'

The reply:

 This particular story is pretty tight, so I'm focusing on the one issue. That said, I agree that looking at inclusion across the board is absolutely essential. Down the road, I would be very interested in gathering stories from genderqueer people within the movement. An unfortunate truth of advocacy writing is that there is a neverending list of injustices to write about.

In other words, 'maybe later, thx'

Then it gets better.
I'm cisgendered... but the whole 'leaving out trans issues in an article about gender inequity' thing leaves me cold. I think if you want to address gender equity as a whole, you have to address trans issues. Otherwise you're erasing trans* people, IMO. 

Another chimes in:

I don't really feel comfortable contributing my sexism stories if the stories of trans & nonbinary people are going to yet again be ignored. 
And other... this time with more conclusive statement about the OP 'erasing' transsexuals:

I'm really not interested in letting anyone use my experiences to erase the experiences of others.
And then comes the race card:

It's the same issue- discrimination against non-male people in secularism.

There's another unfortunate issue of advocacy writing, too- nobody ever picks certain things on the neverending list because, well, it's a neverending list, and they're focusing on this one issue...

You wouldn't have to change a thing to include nonbinary people. On the flip side, you have to actively discriminate against us to not include us. It's really a matter of changing "discrimination against women" to "discrimiation against non-male people" (or whatever wording) and allowing nonbinary to submit their stories alongside women.

Otherwise, this is like doing an article on racism and only taking submissions from black people or latin@ people, but not aboriginal people or asian people because they're a "different issue".

Apparently you can't write an article about treatment of Mexican immigrants in the USA without talking about the challenges the aborigines are facing in Australia. Racism is racism.

A reasonable person asks:

Why not support that and suggest covering genderqueer issues, rather than denying all support until our demands are met?

 Oh boy.

Oh yes, why shouldn't women throw genderqueer people under the bus? I'm pretty sure that'd be a great way of promoting equality!  

Projects like this are a good idea. They can be improved by taking steps to avoid erasing marginalized people from the discussion. Backpackergirl is trying to do a good thing. We're trying to help her make it better.


wtf. what is it with this goddamn bullshit implying that we somehow have to compromise on having our goddamned existence recognized. what the fucking hell shit and fuck. this is the single worst, most condescending statement, well...ever.

this isn't compromise. this is you dangling an entire community's goddamn existence above my head just out of reach and commanding us to jump. if you keep doing this, you're going to end up being (figuratively) kicked, and at that point it's going to be up to you whether you want to shape up or throw a tantrum.

(emphasis mine) I suppose the article's author did not realize this was an existential threat to transgendered communities.

Stopped reading here. Fuck you with the power of a thousand suns. I am not female because I have two X chromosomes*. Trans men are not women if they have two X chromosomes. Trans women are not men if they have two X chromosomes.

Really. This talk of biological gender has precisely one place and it's shoved back up your ass.

*- if I even do? I can presume such, but seriously, who here has actually had themselves karyotyped?

Another person more briefly sums up the anti biological argument:

All of the above are people you erased by saying XX = woman, XY = man. 

The lone dissenter gets accused of 'pulling shit':

it has come to my attention that you haven't read your link package.

Please do so now. If you had read your link package you would have known that the shit you just pulled in this thread is completely unwelcome here. 

OP caves asks for ANY input, wonders what all the f-bombs are about:

First, I'd like to thank everyone for their input and assure you that I am not trying to erase anyone's story. I also understand the difference between sex (biological) and gender (social construct). Although, I have to admit, my post was sloppily handled in hindsight. My intention is to highlight how the secular community can become more inclusive. You are all correct, gender equity, just like gender, doesn't fall into binary categories, and the point is well taken that it is unfair to use only women's stories for this piece.

Please consider my request revised to include anyone who has experienced gender-based discrimination.

One another note, I would point out that while many of the replies to my post seemed to be in the spirit of constructive criticism, others did not. I came here in a good faith effort to gather information that I could use to advocate for more inclusivity. Perhaps my direction was flawed, but I would like to think that one could count on support and guidance rather than pointed fingers in this forum in particular. Just a thought

OP is told she's the reason the discussion isn't very civil:

While the revised proposal is nice & all...I don't really work with people who tell me I have to be sweetness and light when asking people to please maybe consider that theyre engaging in oppressive douchery, as magical as their intent may be.

Mod Note: backpackergirl, we don't tone police here, i.e. if you screw up expect to be told about it and don't whine about how you are told

... the stomping continues...

backpackergirl, we just did. And it turns out that it was a fair toss nicer than you deserved. If anybody owes anyone an apology around here, it's you 


then please consider my response revised from a simple "no" to "fuck you binarist asshole." 
Nope nope nope, and fuck you to boot. Ain't no goddamned difference. Someone's gender identity is their gender is their sex is their gender is their gender identity.


god damn I can't believe I missed that. backpackergirl, if you're still reading...leave. if that's how you think about gender then I don't think anyone here is going to want to talk to you, much less any of us nonbinary people.

because y'know

our gender is totally a social construct

when society does all it can to erase our existence

right down to the default "neutral" pronoun being male

fuck you with the energy of a thousand fuck yous condensed into a single green lantern ring of fuck you. 

Now, a few questions:

Is gender relies so much on self identification, how can we assume the speakers at secular conferences are mostly male?

Does Atheism Plus think that transgendered people should be able to compete in women's sporting events and other functions?

Does anybody think the author would feel that Atheism Plus is a SAFE environment for her? 


  1. > I'm really not interested in letting anyone use my experiences to erase the experiences of others.

    Ho-ly shit. To think that it actually got worse after that...

    There are no other words. All of these people are defective.