The Cruelty of Call-Out Culture

I don’t generally like David Brooks, but he has written some commentary recently that really hit home regarding the Call Out Culture and Social Justice Warrior phenomena.

Back at the end 2000 I on a number of “mailing lists” where I found myself being attacked by both TERFs and Trans-Feminists.  I was vulnerable at that point and had it not been for a couple of people, one of whom is my spouse I might well have committed suicide.

The Call Out Warriors bear a close resemblance to lynch mobs, too ready to do terrible violence to people chosen as targets.  I can’t for the life of me see one iota of difference between them and the MRAs who have targeted certain women for life destroying harassment.

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/opinion/call-out-social-justice.html

How not to do social change.

By David Brooks
Jan. 14, 2019

A number of months ago, I listened to a podcast that has haunted me since — because it captures something essential about our culture warrior moment. It was from NPR’s always excellent “Invisibilia” series and it was about a woman named Emily.

Emily was a member of the hard-core punk music scene in Richmond, Va. One day, when she was nearly 30, she was in a van with her best friend, who was part of a prominent band. They were heading to a gig in Florida when the venue called to cancel their appearance. A woman had accused Emily’s best friend of sending her an unwelcome sexually explicit photograph.

His bandmates immediately dismissed her allegations. But inwardly Emily seethed. Upon returning to Richmond, she wrote a Facebook post denouncing her best friend as an abuser. “I disown everything he has done. I do not think it’s O.K. … I believe women.”

The post worked. He ended up leaving the band and disappeared from the punk scene. Emily heard rumors that he’d been fired from his job, kicked out of his apartment, had moved to a new city and was not doing well. Emily never spoke with him again.

Meanwhile, she was fronting her own band. But in October 2016, she, too, got called out. In high school, roughly a decade before, someone had posted a nude photo of a female student. Emily replied with an emoji making fun of the girl. This was part of a wider pattern of her high school cyberbullying.

A post denouncing Emily also went viral. She, too, was the object of nationwide group hate. She was banned from the punk scene. She didn’t leave the house for what felt like months. Her friends dropped her. She was scared, traumatized and alone. She tried to vanish.

“It’s entirely my life,” she told “Invisibilia” tearfully. “Like, this is everything to me. And it’s all just, like, done and over.”

But she accepted the legitimacy of the call-out process. If she was called out it must mean she deserved to be rendered into a nonperson: “I don’t know what to think of myself other than, like, I am so sorry. And I do feel like a monster.”

The guy who called out Emily is named Herbert. He told “Invisibilia” that calling her out gave him a rush of pleasure, like an orgasm. He was asked if he cared about the pain Emily endured. “No, I don’t care,” he replied. “I don’t care because it’s obviously something you deserve, and it’s something that’s been coming. … I literally do not care about what happens to you after the situation. I don’t care if she’s dead, alive, whatever.”

When the interviewer, Hanna Rosin, showed skepticism, he revealed that he, too, was a victim. His father beat him throughout his childhood.

In this small story, we see something of the maladies that shape our brutal cultural moment. You see how zealotry is often fueled by people working out their psychological wounds. You see that when denunciation is done through social media, you can destroy people without even knowing them. There’s no personal connection that allows apology and forgiveness.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/opinion/call-out-social-justice.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The Cruelty of Call-Out Culture

Young Trans Children Know Who They Are

From The Atlantic:  https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/young-trans-children-know-who-they-are/580366/

A new study shows that gender-nonconforming kids who go on to transition already have a strong sense of their true identity—one that differs from their assigned gender.


Jan 15, 2019

Since 2013, Kristina Olson, a psychologist at the University of Washington, has been running a large, long-term study to track the health and well-being of transgender children—those who identify as a different gender from the one they were assigned at birth. Since the study’s launch, Olson has also heard from the parents of gender-nonconforming kids, who consistently defy gender stereotypes but have not socially transitioned. They might include boys who like wearing dresses or girls who play with trucks, but who have not, for example, changed the pronouns they use. Those parents asked whether their children could participate in the study. Olson agreed.

After a while, she realized that she had inadvertently recruited a sizable group of 85 gender-nonconforming participants, ages 3 to 12. And as she kept in touch with the families over the years, she learned that some of those children eventually transitioned. “Enough of them were doing it that we had this unique opportunity to look back at our data to see whether the kids who went on to transition were different to those who didn’t,” Olson says.

By studying the 85 gender-nonconforming children she recruited, her team has now shown, in two separate ways, that those who go on to transition do so because they already have a strong sense of their identity.

This is a topic for which long-term data are scarce. And as transgender identities have gained more social acceptance, more parents are faced with questions about whether and how to support their young gender-nonconforming children.

“There’s a lot of public writing focused on the idea that we have no idea which of these gender-nonconforming kids will or will not eventually identify as trans,” says Olson. And if only small proportions do, as some studies have suggested, the argument goes that “they shouldn’t be transitioning.” She disputes that idea. “Our study suggests that it’s not random,” she says. “We can’t say this kid will be trans and this one won’t be, but it’s not that we have no idea!”

“This study provides further credence to guidance that practitioners and other professionals should affirm—rather than question—a child’s assertion of their gender, particularly for those who more strongly identify with their gender,” says Russell Toomey from the University of Arizona, who studies LGBTQ youth and is himself transgender.

(A brief note on terms, since there’s a lot of confusion about them: Some people think that kids who show any kind of gender nonconformity are transgender, while others equate the term with medical treatments such as hormone blockers or reassignment surgeries. Neither definition is right, and medical interventions aren’t even in the cards for young children of the age Olson studied. That’s why, in her study, she uses pronouns as the centerpiece marker of a social transition. Changing them is a significant statement of identity and is often accompanied by a change in hairstyle, clothing, and even names.)

Continue reading at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/young-trans-children-know-who-they-are/580366/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Young Trans Children Know Who They Are

Statewide protections for transgender people pass in historic New York vote

Congratulations New Yorkers…

From LGBTQ Nation:  https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/01/statewide-protections-transgender-people-pass-historic-new-york-vote/

By
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

As applause broke out in the State Senate, New York has passed a comprehensive package of protections for transgender people, passing the State Assembly 100-40, and the State Senate 42-19. It will now head to governor Cuomo’s desk, where he is expected to sign.

GENDA adds gender identity and gender expression as protected classes in New York’s human rights and hate crimes laws, and prohibits discrimination in several areas, including housing, employment, and public accommodations such as restrooms. The inclusion of these categories also allows for enhanced penalties for crimes against transgender people as a class.

State activists were elated with the passage.

“It is just amazing,” said Luca Maurer. “As a person who has been involved for a very long time, since before the previous SONDA act was prosed and passed, this is amazing news. I’m having a lot of different feelings, but I’m over all I’m feeling overwhelming gratitude. I’m happy I was able to play a small part, but we stand in the shoulder of those who came before us, and the tremendous sacrifices of so many other transgender people before us.

Maurer is the Program Director for The Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services at Ithaca College. For him, this bill is a recognition of the lives transgender people live every day.

GENDA has passed in the state’s Assembly every year since 2008, but has never made it through the Senate, which has been staunchly Republican. Now, with a Democratic majority, the bill has finally been able to move.

The bill passed out of the Senate committee yesterday for the first time, before going to the senate floor today.

The bill, known as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), was first introduced in 2003, and has been a part of nearly every legislative session in the state since then.

GENDA grew out of the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) bill, which passed in 2003, after protections for gender identity and expression were removed, a point that has frustrated and angered transgender activists for more than a decade.

Continue reading at:  https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/01/statewide-protections-transgender-people-pass-historic-new-york-vote/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Statewide protections for transgender people pass in historic New York vote

The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/12/opinion/sunday/women-older-happiness.html

Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice.

By Mary Pipher
Dr. Pipher is a clinical psychologist.
Jan. 12, 2019

When I told my friends I was writing a book on older women like us, they immediately protested, “I am not old.” What they meant was that they didn’t act or feel like the cultural stereotypes of women their age. Old meant bossy, useless, unhappy and in the way. Our country’s ideas about old women are so toxic that almost no one, no matter her age, will admit she is old.

In America, ageism is a bigger problem for women than aging. Our bodies and our sexuality are devalued, we are denigrated by mother-in-law jokes, and we’re rendered invisible in the media. Yet, most of the women I know describe themselves as being in a vibrant and happy life stage. We are resilient and know how to thrive in the margins. Our happiness comes from self-knowledge, emotional intelligence and empathy for others.

Most of us don’t miss the male gaze. It came with catcalls, harassment and unwanted attention. Instead, we feel free from the tyranny of worrying about our looks. For the first time since we were 10, we can feel relaxed about our appearance. We can wear yoga tights instead of nylons and bluejeans instead of business suits.

Yet, in this developmental stage, we are confronted by great challenges. We are unlikely to escape great sorrow for long. We all suffer, but not all of us grow. Those of us who grow do so by developing our moral imaginations and expanding our carrying capacities for pain and bliss. In fact, this pendulum between joy and despair is what makes old age catalytic for spiritual and emotional growth.

By our 70s, we’ve had decades to develop resilience. Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice. We don’t need to look at our horoscopes to know how our day will go. We know how to create a good day.

We have learned to look every day for humor, love and beauty. We’ve acquired an aptitude for appreciating life. Gratitude is not a virtue but a survival skill, and our capacity for it grows with our suffering. That is why it is the least privileged, not the most, who excel in appreciating the smallest of offerings.

Many women flourish as we learn how to make everything workable. Yes, everything. As we walk out of a friend’s funeral, we can smell wood smoke in the air and taste snowflakes on our tongues.

Our happiness is built by attitude and intention. Attitude is not everything, but it’s almost everything. I visited the jazz great Jane Jarvis when she was old, crippled and living in a tiny apartment with a window facing a brick wall. I asked if she was happy and she replied, “I have everything I need to be happy right between my ears.”

We may not have control, but we have choices. With intention and focused attention, we can always find a forward path. We discover what we are looking for. If we look for evidence of love in the universe, we will find it. If we seek beauty, it will spill into our lives any moment we wish. If we search for events to appreciate, we discover them to be abundant.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/12/opinion/sunday/women-older-happiness.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s

American Psychological Association links ‘masculinity ideology’ to homophobia, misogyny

From NBC News:  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/american-psychological-association-links-masculinity-ideology-homophobia-misogyny-n956416

For the first time in its 127-year history, the APA has issued guidelines to help psychologists specifically address the issues of men and boys.

By Tim Fitzsimons
Jan. 8, 2019

For the first time in its 127-year history, the American Psychological Association has issued guidelines to help psychologists specifically address the issues of men and boys — and the 36-page document features a warning.

“Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health,” the report warns.

The new “Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men” defines “masculinity ideology” as “a particular constellation of standards that have held sway over large segments of the population, including: anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.” The report also links this ideology to homophobia, bullying and sexual harassment.

The new guidelines, highlighted in this month’s issue of Monitor on Psychology, which is published by the APA, linked this ideology to a series of stark statistics: Men commit approximately 90 percent of all homicides in the U.S., they are far more likely than women to be arrested and charged with intimate partner violence in the U.S., and they are four times more likely than women to die of suicide worldwide.

Jared Skillings, a psychologist and the APA’s chief of professional practice, told NBC News these new guidelines are intended to educate mental health professionals about the unique issues facing this patient population. The APA published a similar report about girls and women in 2007 and is expected to publish an updated version this year.

“Masculinity ideology,” Skillings said, was important to highlight because it “represents a set of characteristics that are unhealthy for men — men who are sexist or violent or don’t take care of themselves.”

The report addresses the “power” and “privilege” that males have when compared to their female counterparts, but it notes that this privilege can be a psychological double-edged sword.

“Men who benefit from their social power are also confined by system-level policies and practices as well as individual-level psychological resources necessary to maintain male privilege,” the guidelines state. “Thus, male privilege often comes with a cost in the form of adherence to sexist ideologies designed to maintain male power that also restrict men’s ability to function adaptively.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/american-psychological-association-links-masculinity-ideology-homophobia-misogyny-n956416

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on American Psychological Association links ‘masculinity ideology’ to homophobia, misogyny

Coming Out as Trans Isn’t a Teenage Fad

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/opinion/trans-teen-transition.html

Conservatives are inventing a “syndrome” to undermine young people’s transitions.

By Jennifer Finney Boylan
Jan. 8, 2019

At the end of the long weekend when my daughter came out as transgender, she headed back to her car with her girlfriend. I watched them from my apartment window as they packed up. My child looked up, and waved.

Then she drove off.

I closed the window. Tears rushed to my eyes. She’s saying goodbye, I thought. I’ll never see her again.

This, of course, turned out to be malarkey.

In the months to come I’d see her lots of times, and each time she seemed happier, and more herself.

[The Opinion section is now on Instagram. Follow us at @nytopinion.]

You’d think that as a transgender person myself, I’d have rolled right along with my daughter’s unveiling. You’d think that I’d have been able to show her even half the grace that my 80-year-old, Republican, evangelical mother had shown me, almost 20 years before.

In spite of everything I know about being trans, I still had lots of my own dreams tangled up in my daughter’s — formerly son’s — life. I loved that child exactly as they had been. The idea that this person was now going to be different made me think, at first, that something precious to me was being taken away.

If it was a struggle for me, I can only imagine how hard it is for other parents.

Unfortunately, what many other parents are receiving right now is not encouragement to find wisdom and understanding. What they are getting instead is a bogus new diagnosis — Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria. The inventors of this spurious term claim that R.O.G.D. is not a real trans identity but the product of social pressure.

Abigail Shrier, writing in The Wall Street Journal, describes it as “social contagion.” She says that young people — many of them college-aged, and most of them born female-bodied — are embarking upon transition, with its surgeries and hormones and other accompanying challenges, in the same way a person might take up the ukulele.

Even the headline on that essay is an insult: “When Your Daughter Defies Biology.” An abundance of scientific research makes clear that gender variance is a fundamental truth of human biology, not some wacky dance craze.

Transgender people have not come up with the entirety of our existence solely to hurt Tucker Carlson’s feelings. We do not embark upon transition because it’s groovy. We are here because our hearts demand it.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/opinion/trans-teen-transition.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Coming Out as Trans Isn’t a Teenage Fad

Sandy Stone on Living Among Lesbian Separatists as a Trans Woman in the 70s

Sandy and I ran into each other on several occasions during the 1970s Both at the NTCU and later when I was photographing Olivia performers for The Lesbian Tide.  While there were trans-women involved with the Second Wave/Lesbian Feminist Movement we were rather few and far between.  I was in Los Angeles while Sandy was in the Bay Area.

From Vice Broadly:  https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/zmd5k5/sandy-stone-biography-transgender-history

Before pioneering transgender studies in academia, Sandy Stone was a member of the legendary lesbian music collective Olivia Records—and the target of vitriol from early trans exclusive radical feminists.

by Zackary Drucker
Dec 19 2018

Deeply esoteric and decades ahead of her time, Allucquére Rosanne “Sandy” Stone, referred to more widely as Sandy Stone, has a unique tale of survival situated at the heart of 1970s radical lesbian feminism.

Throughout the 70s, Stone was part of the famous radical feminist music collective, Olivia Records. But her presence did not go unchallenged. She describes attending a community meeting only to be met with an angry swarm of trans exclusive radical feminists (TERFs) assembled for the sole purpose of expelling her from her own collective simply because she was assigned male at birth. TERFs posit that biological sex characteristics are immutable, that gender is determined by genitals at birth, and that trans women are gynephiliac fetishists invading women’s spaces with male privilege. Some women had traveled from across the country to participate in Stone’s public shaming and intended expulsion.

Not long before, in 1979, lesbian writer Janice Raymond had published The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male, which included an ad hominem attack on Stone, and which led to the town hall meeting on that red-letter day. As a response, in 1987, Stone effectively birthed the academic discipline of transgender studies by publishing her enduringly influential essay, The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto.

Sandy Stone is the original trans girl computer hacker. After building a computer in the early 1980s and teaching herself to code, she parlayed her years of experience as a music engineer into technology development and academia. Stone’s work as a writer, thinker, artist, and performer helped establish the genre of New Media art. And, over decades, she has inspired generations of irreverent trans women to fight transmisogyny unapologetically and bring new, unafraid forms of thinking and making into the world.

At 82 years old, Stone is the senior-most trans woman in this series. I was introduced to her by my (chosen) aunt, Kate Bornstein. Bornstein and Stone are kindred spirits, both trans pioneers unafraid of claiming outsider identities as freaks and heretics; both people who center dissension and nonconformity as sacred values.

ZACKARY DRUCKER: Maybe you can first tell me about your path to trans identity. Where were you in your life? When was it? What was the breadcrumb trail that you followed?

SANDY STONE: I was one of those very classic literature trans people. I realized there was something wrong when I was five years old, but at that time, which was the 1940s, there were little boys and there were little girls. There was no trans information out there whatsoever. The funny thing was, I thought of myself as a little girl. But I didn’t think of myself the way, apparently, other little girls that I knew thought of themselves as little girls. I’m binarizing this, because it was binarized at the time. The girls that I was hanging out with as a girl, in my fantasies, were climbing mountains and swimming rivers and hunting critters in the woods and meeting big animals and learning to get along with them. Strange adventure fantasies, which boys think of happening with boys, I thought of them as happening with girls.

Continue reading at:  https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/zmd5k5/sandy-stone-biography-transgender-history

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Sandy Stone on Living Among Lesbian Separatists as a Trans Woman in the 70s