Being a Nazi Vs. Punching a Nazi: Two Sides of the Same Coin

We’ve all been touted the ancient infallible wisdom that “two wrongs don’t make a right,” and that we should all love one another. This flawless ideology has never ceased to be relevant, and holds true even amidst the chaos of 2017 United States. Don’t believe me? These following points effortlessly highlight the undeniable similarities to both sides of the on-going human rights issue.

Who is hurt?

Nazis:  Nazi ideology hurts POC, queer people, women, and immigrants of all ages and political alignment. Not only are these the blatant outspoken targets of their movements, but these people will eventually be effected knowingly or otherwise should the mindset persist and seep into society.

Opponents:  Those audacious enough to forego polite society and physically brutalize Nazis have a tangible effect on whichever Nazi was attacked. And though Nazis are their primary victims, what’s stopping these people from also harassing rapists? You need to carefully refine who you are to fit into their elite “unpunchable” club.

How to stay safe

Nazis: To stay on the safe side, refrain from having a dark skin tone. If your name is foreign-sounding, try a legal name change to something like “William Bradshawshire,” “Kenneth Footballington,” or “Abigail Elizabeth Marie III.”  Ladies, don’t be a whore and be mindful of your husband’s reputation (if you don’t have a husband, what are you even doing with your life?). Men, be sure to never hug your “bros” or you’re probably gay. Oh yeah, and don’t be gay.

Opponents:  Don’t ostentatiously exist in any public place as a Nazi.

Consequences

Nazis: I mean, historically there may have been lynchings, firing squads, concentration camps, discriminatory laws/revoking legal rights, rape, and arson involved, but in our civilized modern days the worst that every happens is some hurt feelings! Oh, and vehicular manslaughter, a few stabbings, maybe one or two LGBTQ centers burned down, getting a handful of queers fired, a molotov cocktail in a house or two, carjacking some trans woman, threats of lynchings (followed by physical assault resulting in a hospital stay), hitting a couple black children with a hatchet handle, vandalizing buildings in an effort to make it seem like liberals did it, acid thrown at a girl who dated a black person (also at her irrelevant 8-year old sibling), and a couple handfuls of shootings….but there’s NO WAY that it could ever escalate into anything more. Like, mostly hurt feelings. And what’s acid in the face if not hurt feelings, technically?*

Opponents: Aside from tragically assaulting people with different opinions (which could result in a hospital stay, but typically haven’t yet), some of these nefarious heathens once kicked down a mini-wall made by Trump supporters. But wait, it get’s worse. Take a deep breath, because you’ll need some time to mentally prepare for heinous action to soon be described. Ready? Historically….they engaged in WARFARE. Yep, that’s right. Did you know the truth about WWII? The liberal media has been trying to keep it from the public eye, but these anti-Nazi Grendelians mercilessly murdered MILLIONS of Nazis Different-Political-Opinions-People. And it was portrayed in the liberal media as heroic! I mean, sure, the stuff above is bad too, don’t get me wrong…but engaging in warfare? At least Nazis have never willingly formed any sort of armed militia, ever.

What to do if targeted by the other group

Nazis:  Carry a pack of bandages when rioting, just in case. Some ice and vitamin K might help with minor bruising if you’re lucky enough to become a ‘martyr’ by getting punched. But don’t worry about these pesky little assaults! The real valuable advice is to always bring earplugs, since your most common form of assault will be noisy protesters, sobbing by people you frighten, or possibly children screaming in fear and confusion.

Opponents: Go to your local police. No police officer has ever, ever shot a minority or praised the actions of Nazis, especially not within the past few days. N-no wait…..Well, you can always bring the incident to public attention. It’s definitely not common for news sources to victim blame or spend 90% of the time clarifying that Not All Conservatives™ are racist/queerphobic/islamophobic/xenophobic instead of actually addressing the racism/queerphobia/islamophobia/xenophobia. Well, actually….no. How about moving away? Your local area might be bad, but it’d be impossible for these Naziesque rallies to be currently planned in major cities across the United States! Never mind. Some cities might be facing some issues, but the rural parts of America have never had an issue with minorities, right? Okay, okay…..actually, just stop being a minority. Bam! Fool-proof idea right there. At least this way, you wont be tempted to become a horrible excuse of a human being and speak out, or much worse, defend (or be willing to, at least) yourself against the Nazis. That’d just be hypocritical and totally not the only objective idea of Peaceful™

Direct Consequences

Nazis: Okay. ignoring the direct consequences of the previously mentioned crimes, let’s say that this is merely Peaceful™ hate-fueled rioting. No crimes, just the torches and yelling. I mean, at the very worst (but don’t worry, it totally isn’t likely and hasn’t historically played out this way) we continually gain supporters (especially from people high ranking in society), encourage and support one another into positions of authority, and then twist laws and circumstances to our favor whilst getting away with more crime. There’s definitely no way that our words will appeal to a mass group of people who could do something about their feelings of innate superiority, right? There’s no way that we ourselves could merely reiterate the same bigoted ideology and it cause others to adopt and act on that ideology. Ideas throughout humanity have never rapidly spread, especially concerning social hierarchy and social justice. I can’t think of a single historical figure who himself was evil and appealed to the disparaged working class and made them evil by blaming all their issues on any given minority. This especially never happened in Germany circa 1933-1945. It’s just words, and words will never have a tangible outcome (especially when you use the powerful tool of cognitive dissonance to keep reminding yourself that you’re not ∼technically∼ responsible for your words possibly being influential….I mean, someone doesn’t go to jail for telling someone to kill their spouse for them, right? Only the one holding the gun! At least that’s how it should be).

Opponents:  Either a Nazi has minor bruising, maybe looses a tooth, maybe cries….But ‘worse’ case scenario? A child of an oppressed group might be reassured that he is safe, that people care about him. Minorities might feel emboldened, that they cannot be walked on, that they have as much autonomy as everyone else. Nazis might get the impression that they’re not wanted here, that blind hatred isn’t tolerated, that they have a much bigger battle than they thought they’d have. That they’re not willingly to risk their own safety to literally put someone else’s at stake.


 

“The first premise is that morality is abstracted from circumstance, meaning in this case that (direct) violence is always—under each and every circumstance—wrong, even when it might be necessary to stop even more violence, implying as well that one has no moral responsibility to halt monstrous acts that happen even on one’s own doorstep if stopping those acts would require muddying one’s spiritual hands…

….There is an idea, no, a wish cherished by many, that love implies pacifism. If we love we cannot ever consider violence, even to protect those we love. I’m not sure that mother grizzly bears would agree, nor mother moose (I’ve heard it said that the most dangerous creature in the forest, apart, of course, from civilized humans, is a moose when you’re between her and her child), nor many other mothers I’ve known. I’ve been attacked by mother horses, cows, mice, chickens, geese, eagles, hawks, and hummingbirds who thought I was threatening their children. I have known many human mothers who would kill anyone who was going to harm their little ones. If a mother mouse is willing to put her life on the line by attacking someone eight thousand times her size, how pathetic it is that we construct religious and spiritual philosophies that tell us that to attack even those who are killing those we most dearly love—or those we pretend we love—is to not love at all.

….I have a friend, a former prisoner, who is very smart, and who says that dogmatic pacifists are the most selfish people he knows, because they place their moral purity—or to be more precise, their self-conception of moral purity— above stopping injustice.” -Derrick Jensen

 

“Violence is like a very strong pill. For a certain illness, it may be very useful, but the side effects are enormous. On a practical level it’s very complicated, so it’s much safer to avoid acts of violence. There is a pertinent point in the Vinaya literature, which explains the disciplinary codes that monks and nuns must observe to retain the purity of their vows. Take the example of a monk or a nun confronting a situation where there are only two alternatives: either to take the life of another person, or to take one’s own life. Under such circumstances, taking one’s life is justified to avoid taking the life of another human being, which would entail transgressing one of the four cardinal vows…Of course, this assumes one accepts the theory of rebirth; otherwise this is very silly.” -The Dalai Lama

 

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34, Jesus

 

“We are nonviolent with people who are nonviolent with us.”

“Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.”

“I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation.”

“If the white people realize what the alternative is (aggression), perhaps they will be more willing to hear Dr. King (proponent of peace).”

-Malcolm X

 

*Instances I used for the modern example purposes are factual events, many of which occured all within the past few months.

What You Need to Know About Ticks and Reducing Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is a tick-borne illness caused by a bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, that likely originates not with the ticks themselves, but with Peromyscus leucopus, the white-footed mouse. This disease is becoming a more prevalent issue with over 300,000 cases reported per year.

The problem is, however, that due to the nature of Borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme may be drastically misreported (either over-diagnosed, or under-reported). B burgdorferi is a spirochete that lacks many of the factors found in bacterial pathogens, such as toxins or lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and though related to pathogens that have long been known to cause human ailments, such as Treponema pallidum¹, this particular spirochete is unique in it’s atypical DNA form and complex effects on humans.

bacteria

B. Burgodorferi, like all related spirochetes, has flagella and the characteristic spiral-shaped body. 

It has been speculated that due to B. Burgodorferi not evolving to effect humans and because of it’s rather strange biology, it can mimic symptoms of a variety of other health conditions and is capable of effecting multiple body systems simultaneously. This is one reason that those later diagnosed with Lyme may have previously been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, various mood disorders, Parkinson’s, or arthritis.

So we have this odd bacteria resulting in widespread disease with almost no consistent symptoms. What are some key facts to know about it?

  • Blood tests for Lyme are often unreliable.  The blood screening checks for antibodies produced by an infection, however these antibodies may not yet be present at the time of the test, and may also persist far after an infection is no longer present. Therefore, a you might get a negative reading even if you are infected, or a positive reading even if you are not infected.
  • A tick likely needs to feed on its host for at the very least 24 hours to result in an infection. Typically, however, infections do not result unless the tick has been attached to the host for >36-48 hours.
  • Lyme Disease is virtually always transmitted via tick nymphs, as ticks host on mice and other rodents at this stage in their lifecycle, and are therefore far more likely to being carrying B. Burgodorferi. Because of their incredibly small size, these nymphs often have a higher chance of going unnoticed by their host, and thus have a greater chance of staying attached for prolonged periods of time.
  • Symptoms considered objectively relevant to Lyme are erythema migrans, fever and Bell’s palsy. If you have these three symptoms, you’re unlikely to have anything but Lyme and will probably not be misdiagnosed.
  • Lyme Disease is completely distinct from tick paralysis. Tick paralysis occurs during or shortly after a tick bite, presumably due to toxins found in the parasite’s saliva, and may go away when the tick in question is removed. Symptoms of tick paralysis can include ascending flaccid paralysis, restlessness, irritability, fatigue, muscle weakness, numbness/tingling, pupillary dilation, and may finally (if left unaddressed), result in fatal respiratory weakness wherein the host is no longer able to breathe. The vast majority of those affected with tick paralysis are females age 16 or younger, though women in general are far more affected than men. Additionally, it is thought to be much more complicated to diagnose tick paralysis than Lyme Disease, and tick paralysis is thought to only be caused by egg-bearing females.

 

lyme_disease_s6_rash

Characteristic rash of Lyme Disease

Due to the epidemic that is Lyme Disease, there have been many efforts to greatly reduce its prevalence. Some of these methods tend to be less effective than others. For example, some regions have resorted to increasing deer hunting in an attempt to get rid of the tick’s primary host, thus perhaps starving it.

While it is true that ticks are abundant in regions their hosts are abundant, this method is flawed for the following reasons: a) As previously discussed, nymphs are the primary transmitters of Lyme and their primary hosts are rodents and birds rather than deer, and b) This results in other ecological issues due to disrupting the role of deer in local environments.

Methods that have been proven to be more effective in reducing risk or prevalence of Lyme include:

  • Educating the public. Those aware of an issue are less likely to encounter the issue. By wearing appropriate clothing during time spent outdoors, using tick repellent, and routinely checking for ticks, you can significantly reduce your chances of getting infected with Lyme Disease. It is also important to take notice of your bioregion: Lyme is more prevalent in the Northeast and Southwest, and Lyme-bearing ticks vastly prefer fragmented deciduous forests over coniferous forests, plains, or desert environments. Be aware that you are also more likely to be bitten by an infected tick during the spring or summer.
  • Increasing tick predators. Ensuring the optimum environment for the predators may be effective in reducing their numbers. Though many of these predators may have a “bad rep,” they are extremely ecologically significant in this regards. Primary predators of ticks include opossums, the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae, wolf spiders, parasitic wasps, and turkeys.
  • Wildlife tick repellent. If you live in a rural or semi-rural area, you or someone you may know may use deer feeders. These are very effective at drawing deer in, but they may also be useful in reducing your local tick population. Using a 4-poster tick control deer feeding device, you will be able to simultaneously feed the deer and apply tick repellent. Also available are rodent bait-boxes, wherein trapped mice are exposed to tick repellent.
  • Rodent control. By ensuring healthy populations of snakes, owls, bobcats, weasels, foxes, and other nocturnal/crepuscular predators, you may help reduce the number of infected white-footed mice.
  • Keep an eye on pets. Dogs and cats are often hosts for ticks in more urban environments. Regularly checking your dog for ticks after having been outside or on a walk can help prevent tick exposure to those in the household. Cats should likewise be checked, or better yet, kept indoors.
  • Remove leaf litter from high-traffic areas. Leaf litter is crucial to the survival of ticks. By raking your lawn and disposing of or relocating the leaves, you may drastically reduce contact with ticks. Similarly, prevent children and pets from playing in leaf litter or be sure to rigorously check them for ticks afterwards. On a rather positive note, collecting leaf litter for compost is means of tick prevention that can also help your lawn/garden!
  • Garden more, use wood chip mulch. Flowerbeds and similar spaces do not provide an ideal habitat for ticks. Wood chip mulch holds less moisture and is prone to becoming warmer which effectively reduces the likeliness of ticks coming into this area. These spaces can provide a border to your lawn, especially as a sort of barrier to any nearby wooded areas that may have a high concentration of ticks. In addition, flowerbeds and other garden spaces are unlikely to be used as a walking space, and thus limit your ability to unknowingly come into contact with a tick anyway.
  • Remove invasive species. It has been found that a greater density of invasive plant species correlates to a greater density in infected ticks. Removing invasive plant species, those that are not native to your bioregion, can have many benefits for your local ecosystem- including reducing ticks!
  • The Dilution Effect. When ticks have a greater diversity in potential host species, they are less likely to use infected white-footed mice. Therefore, they may still be a parasitic pest, but much less likely to carry Lyme. By encouraging biodiversity, you can encourage this dilution effect.
Deer_Using_4_Poster

Deer using a 4-poster tick control feeding system

 

Other interesting and potentially useful information on ticks:

  • Ticks do not travel far to find a host. They will only move from 3-6ft in any given direction to obtain a host. This is why minimizing your exposure to tick-prone spaces (such as yard leaf litter or unmowed grasses) is critical to avoiding ticks. Questing ticks will not actively seek you out.
  • Ticks may have as few as three hosts throughout its lifespan. A blood feeding is necessary for each cycle of its life, typically one host in a year for three years. Most die when unable to find a host for the next lifecycle.
  • Ticks are constantly avoiding desiccation. Because they need moisture to survive their molts and to survive all stages of their lives, they tend to stay in damp/moist areas (like the aforementioned leaf litter).

 

 

¹Bacteria known to cause yaws, printa, and syphilis.

“Okay, but has YOUR life changed at all?”

Eight months ago people kept dismissively repeating “It’s not going to affect YOU, so stop whining!”And this is probably the epitome of ignorance, this absurd assertion that the LEADER OF A NATION’s actions don’t have legitimate consequences for the CITIZENS.

Trump’s position of authority gives a false validity to a variety of problematic groups of people, regardless of what he necessarily has or hasn’t done.

Directly or indirectly, he is responsible for:
1. Furthering anti-vaxx sentiment by encouraging unnecessary caution and skepticism. Any parents already doubting modern medicine may take this as a “green light” to not give proper medical care to their children. Those children ARE affected. Any children not vaccinated because this movement is now growing ARE affected.

2. Furthering transphobia. Not only did Trump directly insist that trans people should no longer be permitted to serve in the U.S military, he propagates myths regarding trans members of the military by implying that they’re “too expensive” and a burden, unable to effectively serve the nation. And of course, the AHCA would’ve considered being trans a “pre-existing condition,” and removed many of the protections trans people had previously. And let’s not forget that he also revoked the ability of trans students to use the restroom of their choice, effectively endangering and invalidating trans youth.

Trans people in uniform ARE affected, as are trans people in general especially because this opens the door of people becoming more receptive of discrimination on the basis of flawed arguments like “manageability.”

3. Encouraging xenophobia and racism. Not only are many Trump supporters also incidentally ostentatiously racist, and not only has he been praised by the KKK, but….Trump himself has lied about personally witnessing hundreds of Arabs cheering in New York after 9/11 (an event that has no evidence and has been debunked by many actual eye-witnesses to the tragedy), he has insisted that Mexican immigrants are most likely to be dangerous criminals and rapists (despite no actual reasoning behind this idea, nor any statistics or evidence mentioned), and he now has the audacity to undermine the aggression and violence by alt-right white nationalists as a result of problems on “both sides,” as though being anti-racist is in anyway comparable to being an actual racist. He has refused to specify WHO is the bellicose group and WHY, and instead gives a half-assed “all hate is bad” Twitter address. Likewise, he refused to admit that the Portland stabbing incident was an act of terrorism, and even stayed silent about the situation for far longer than he has when addressing Muslim extremists. It has also been reported by CAIR that since he took office, anti-Muslim violence has increased exponentially. And though Trump has plenty of energy and aggression reserved for vehemently refuting allegations of racism, he doesn’t have the same passion when speaking out against racism itself.

So yeah, immigrants ARE affected, many poc ARE affected, and many Muslims ARE affected.

4. Reinforcing scientific illiteracy.  It’s no surprise that the majority of American citizens are less-than acquainted with the reality of science, due to the persistent belief that evolution is “just a theory,” and with how easily healing crystals and similar products sell. But Trump is certainly making no effort to get us out of this scientific regression, and has instead erroneously claimed (and then denying he made such a claim) that climate change is a “Chinese hoax” , as well as showing his fundamental lack of understanding of the concept by asserting large amounts of snowfall negate climate change. In addition to this, he has appointed Scott Pruitt the head of the EPA, someone who clearly lacks a basic understanding of the concept and has no interest in the actual facts behind it. Trump and his administration have merely continued the unnecessary reinforcement of climate change as a bipartisan issue, rather than a legitimate concern backed by research. He has also withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, and has no scruples against implying that a healthy economy is superior to a healthy planet or healthy people. Not surprising, since as previously mentioned, Trump clearly doubts the legitimacy of modern medicine as well. Keep in mind that Trump is a man who has been rather fond of Alex Jones, the avid conspiracy theorist who believes chemicals in tap water makes people/frogs gay and that random and obscure overpriced alternative medicine is the only REAL medicine.

Therefore, anyone in the field of (or pursuing) science IS affected. Frankly, anyone not content to live in the folie à plusieurs  that is becoming our general society IS affected. Those of us who value reality ARE affected.

5. Misogyny. From allegations of rape (including of a minor), to proudly asserting that he can do whatever he wants to whomever due to his status (like ‘grabbing them by the pussy’), to genuinely believing in the skewed “alpha male” idea of human pseudosociology, Trump has never been anything remotely close to “not sexist.” Far from just these things, he has also claimed women need to be treated like shit, he has belittled and insulted his own wife, he has reduced accomplished women to their appearance, he clings to the “housewife” notion and believes wives shouldn’t work, has implied attractive women cannot be intelligent, has literally had to promise then 17-year-old Ivanka that he wouldn’t date anyone younger than her, suggested there be a reality show wherein ‘trashy girls’ went to a school to learn to be more lady-like, told a lawyer she was “disgusting” for breastfeeding her infant, has made numerous incest jokes and implications about his daughter Ivanka, claimed rape is a result of cohabitation, has a (now) pro-life stance, and has an exceptionally long history of body-shaming and bullying various women. And of course, a president who manages to persist through all of these actions coming to light has shown that MORE of our citizens can get away with sexism as well. From the alt-right’s favorite ‘joke’ being that of the singularity of gender (“There is only one gender. Women are objects.”), to women proudly boasting “Yes, grab her by the pussy!” slogans. Needless to say, this is an incomplete list of Trump’s misogyny. Click here for more.

Therefore, it makes sense that many plus-sized women ARE affected, that many young school girls facing more harassment ARE affected, that any woman in need of an abortion IS affected, and that women in general ARE affected (hence the Women’s March in January boasting somewhere between 3-4 million attendees).

6. Tension between the U.S and North Korea. Not only has Trump threatened North Korea with phrases such as of our “fire and fury” and our military being “locked and loaded,” he has suggested that he might meet Kim Jong-un for a hamburger, and maybe even become best friends. Of course, he may be willing to befriend a tyrannical dictator and offer up Guam as North Korea’s target practice. Though Trump claims the media attention will bring tourism to Guam, and he doesn’t expect war with Kim Jong-un, understandably, many Americans are still very uneasy about the entire situation, though conversely, some ardent Trump-supporters are actively calling for the battle to break out.

So, our military IS affected, citizens of Guam ARE affected, and anyone who doesn’t want our nation caught up in the literal and financial tragedy of war IS affected.

7. Borderline infringement of the Bill of Rights. Trump is notorious for his “fake news” cop-out, considering anything that he disagrees with to be an automatically invalid source of information. He has gone from insulting and harassing journalists that criticize or question him (such as Arianna Huffington and Gail Collins), to having tweeted a poorly photo-shopped video of himself physically assaulting the entity of CNN. This, along with the White House’s ban of certain media from an informal press briefing, have all pointed toward an infringement of our Freedom of Press. While Trump may be aware that he cannot (yet) get away with outright attempting to criminalize the media he dislikes, he is well aware of his abilities with propaganda. Instead of technically outlawing all the news sources he disagrees with, he vehemently denies any credibility they may have and warns citizens not to trust them. This is reminiscent of Nazi book burnings, or of the alleged events of 213-210BC Qin Dynasty.

Those who value accurate details of global events ARE affected, those who value their Constitutional rights ARE affected. 

8. Putting our health at risk. As mentioned a few times above, Trump clearly isn’t a doctor, nor does he necessarily care about the health of his citizens. From questioning modern medicine, to befriending those who sell faux cures, to claiming autism is a result of vaccines, he clearly doesn’t know what he is doing. Aside from this, the American Health Care Act of 2017 was predicted to leave 23 million Americans uninsured, the “skinny repeal” an additional 16 million. His plans for health care have consistently left poor, disabled, and queer citizens in the dirt.

This is only a handful of grievances. This doesn’t address numerous of his lies, his colluding with Russians, or his everyday irrational Tweeting. This is only scraping the surface, and the fact that this alone isn’t enough for his supporters to think twice is incredibly alarming.


But overall, no one should be so callous as to ask if any given individual is actually adversely affected by Trump’s reign. The real question is, “How can’t you be affected?”

This asinine implication that just because every detail of one’s life hasn’t changed, they aren’t truly experiencing any result of Trump’s presidency needs to just fucking stop.

What about when the whole nation was emotionally devastated by 9/11, and we subsequently adopted stricter safety measures? Not all of us were tangibly affected (at first). But did it simply not matter?

And when the world started Praying For Paris, when you probably had that Facebook profile filter, were you not “actually” affected by those terrorist attacks? Your life went on, did it not? You weren’t fired, were you?

Is the oppression of PC culture somehow legitimate, but concern over our presidency not?

Are those who whine about Starbuck’s cup designs doing so because they are affected on a serious, personal, integral level?

Are you truly affected by homelessness? Starving children? Does knowing that some areas of the world lack access to clean drinking water “bother” you, but not like, enough?

Does it “count” as being “actually affected” anytime some old conservative man passionately protests and argues against abortion? I mean, he still probably goes to work, so….

The reality of the situation is that if you personally feel that you are not negatively affected by Trump in any possible way, ask yourself the following: a) Do I believe in privilege? b) Am I rich/cis/het/white/able/male?

If the answer to “a” was “no,” but the answer to “b” was “yes,” then congratulations! The very fact that YOU are not adversely affected is in and of itself is a privilege! If you’ve never understood it before, now you can.

But otherwise, not being aware of something doesn’t negate its existence. Even if you’re a member of an oppressed or marginalized community, living in denial won’t let you escape the consequences of our current president and his avid supporters. Caitlyn Jenner may be transgender, but that doesn’t change the fact that Trump did insist on banning trans people from the military. Tomi Lahren may be another conservative woman, but that doesn’t change the fact that she got fired for her stance on abortion (something Trump is now against).

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, or other, Trump is certainly not the best at representing or supporting the American people as a whole. Maybe you don’t feel like any of this is affecting you, but it should be. You should care about those who are tangibly or even inadvertently affected, even if you feel like you’re not.

 

We Need to be Told “Roma Lives Exist!” in Addition to Mattering

In the United States, when someone hears “gypsy,” they think “flower child” or “free-spirit.” Especially in Pagan/New Age communities, “gypsy” is a word they believe fully captures the aesthetic of crystal and flowing skirts. It’s a cute adjective that anyone can choose to apply to themselves.

This is because Americans, for the most part, don’t actually know the history of the word (and its significance) because they have no idea that an ethnicity known as “Roma” or “Romani” exists. Those who do likely don’t know anything outside of My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. The sheer ignorance of Roma existence may be what makes the U.S one of the few places without federally legal active racism against them. So, on the off chance that someone walks into some New Age community and winces at the use of the phrase “gypsy,” they’re likely to receive odd glances or eye rolling at how oppressive “pc culture” has gotten.

But the reality of the situation is that Antiziganism is incredibly serious and widespread problem. In fact, Roma may very well be the most persecuted group throughout human history. 

While the vast majority of us know the history of Antisemitism and the heinous tragedy that befell Jewish people during the Holocaust, very few know or care about the 500,000 Roma victims under Hitler. Or that, even before that, Europe legalized random hangings of Roma people. And unfortunately, not all of it is a matter of history…a lot of Antiziganism is very recent.

Antiziganism has taken place in form of forced assimilation, slavery, genocide, legal murders, legal rape, forced evictions, arson, forced sterilization, segregation, and pure hate speech. And as mentioned before, a lot of this is recent or on going. 

Just in 2007, in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Roma children were forcibly segregated in regards to schooling and placed in “special” classes or classes for “troubled” students. This was even a temporary practice in Denmark as well.

According to a 2012 Human Rights First report, Roma regularly experience hate crimes, often with the attacker seeking out the victim’s family to attack as well.

We talk about how disproportionate the amount of POC citizens to POC prisoners are in the U.S, but we’re not aware that Roma make up as little as 2-3% of the Czech Republic yet up to 60% of their prisoners. And this is not uncommon. It is no coincidence therefore than that a 2010 survey found up to 83% of Czechs consider Roma “asocial,” and that nearly half the population wants them expelled from the nation.

In 2009, the Vitkov Arson Attack took place wherein three petrol bombs were thrown into the house of a Roma family with the accompanying phrase “Burn, Gypsys!” The most gravely injured victim was 3-year-old Natalie, whose body was covered up to 80% in serious burns, as well as losing three fingers and muscular control of her hand. Her extreme treatments necessary for her survival (she is the first child in the Czech Republic to survive such fatal burns) have damaged her cognitive abilities as well. The ‘mastermind’ behind this attack was nicknamed by the media “The Lonely Wolf.” Not “Racist psychopath,” not “Egotistical maniac.” Nope. Just a poor, little lonely woof.

Within the past 10-14 years, Italy has seen multiple Romani settlements set aflame, legal justification of public outcry for Romani expulsion with the logic that basically “it isn’t hate speech to demand safety from thieves,” and a legal requirement for Roma to be fingerprinted (children included). Two Roma children were drowned on a beach, while tourists continued with their daily lives a few feet away. Italy declared Emergenza Nomadi, asserting that Roma were weakening national security, and passed Antiziganist acts. This is a catastrophic level of racism within such a short time span, and yet it is virtually unheard of.

In Romania, in 2011 (if I recall correctly), it was suggested that a Roma community be enclosed in a concrete wall. An expensive form of segregation. Some of our own citizens are still hopelessly chanting “Build A Wall!” and it’s a pretty disturbing similarity. Not so long ago as 1993, several Roma households were burnt down, over 100 people forced to leave, and a handful of Roma lynched all as a result of one murder committed by a Romani. Even Roma music is illegal in Romania’s public transport due to it “creating unease” for passengers. Ironically enough, several of the world’s greatest musicians and composers have been inspired by traditional Roma music.

In the UK, Roma are reported as the most disliked racial group. A conservative politician even outright said that Roma do not deserve the same human rights as everyone else. In 2011, Leeds’ educational and support center for Roma was vandalized and attempted to burn down as a result of Antiziganism.

Norway forcefully sterilized Roma people until 1977. In Slovakia, 2013, Romani women were sterilized without consent and it was deemed “nondiscriminatory.” This has occurred to more than 100 women.

 

The list of atrocities committed against the Roma people could (and does) go on and on. And its time that we pay attention to it. Being an ally to POC and marginalized groups means being an ally to all of them, not just the ones nearby. The LGBT+ community in the US, for a large part, is outraged over Chechnya. We need to be outraged about Antiziganism as well.

 

Furthering reading: click here, here, or here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Leftbook Doesn’t (and Shouldn’t) Have Room for Aphobes

“Leftbook” is a colloquialism for the (in terms of American political spectrum) Leftist side of Facebook, typically Facebook groups that aren’t necessarily inherently political but are intended to bring a like-minded community together. Leftbook ranges from craft and DIY groups, to parenting groups, to tagging groups, to legitimate political debate groups, to meme groups and more.

A uniting characteristic of these groups, aside from the general political leaning of the members, are the rules. These rules generally consist of respecting others and being anodyne, which is a hardly shocking requirement. But as of late, there has been a lot of controversy  gratuitous rage over one such rule, that is: Asexual people are to be respected, and are a part of the LGBT+ community.

And while I’ve specified Leftbook in this case, I’m referring to all left-leaning and queer spaces in general, but aphobes do not, in fact, belong here.

Why?

Well, let’s get to the basis of the outrage to begin with. The idea that aces are an intrinsic part of the queer community offends people mainly because of the following:

  • Other members of the community fearing it as an easy way for cishets to infiltrate safe spaces
  • Aces allegedly face no oppression and have never been targeted the way others in the community have been and have more privilege, they don’t know our experiences
  • Because aces aren’t real

 

However, in regards to the first point, the fear is simply unfounded. If malicious cishets are intending to infiltrate any sort of space, all they have to do is lie and lie well. Why use their supposedly legitimate orientation to get in? They wouldn’t even have to. Especially because so many people are pushing back against the inclusion of aces, they’ll just latch onto another identity to infiltrate with. Besides the fact that this whole mindset of online social groups needing strategic defenses and trolls getting through as “infiltrations” is excessively dramatic and over-thought, forbidding the entrance of aces is not a logical approach to keeping members safe at all. You’ve got to be lying to yourself if you genuinely believe that’ll reduce the numbers of trolls getting into your spaces.

 

The second point is purely asinine, and yet I see it everywhere. “Aces don’t experience the same things!” they cry, not knowing that there’s literally no uniform queer experience. We all have different experiences and obstacles based on different things.

I’m sure pansexual trans people definitely have different experiences than, say, a cis lesbian. Are lesbians now no longer in the community? Would they get the right to gatekeep like that? No.

A white gay guy has different experiences that most gay MOC, but that doesn’t mean white gay guys aren’t a part of the community anymore.

A disabled trans person has more difficulties to overcome than able-bodied trans people. But that doesn’t negate the “t” in “lgbt+” either.

Though we all may have different experiences, there are some things that are nearly true of all us: We all are part of a minority, we all have been judged and discriminated against as whole, we all have been seen as abnormal because of our sexuality or gender identity.

It is that somehow aces cannot relate at all? Hmmm…no.

There are aces that have had to endure conversion therapy, just for being ace. 

There are aces that have undergone forced medication, just for being ace. 

There are aces that have been considered broken, just for being ace. 

There are aces that are victims of corrective rape, just because they’re ace. 

Even just one ace experiencing one of these in the name of aphobia is enough for their inclusion. Apply any of the above to any other sexuality or to trans people, and you have what’s called oppression. Why does this not count for aces, if not because of aphobia?

Our community isn’t composed of carbon-copies, and this isn’t solely a matter of privilege or relatability. Is Caitlyn Jenner all that relatable? No. She’s still trans though. Is Blair White well-liked? No. But she’s still here. Is Milo Yiannopolous not far more privileged than many of those he outright hates? And yet, he’s still gay. And I know trans women who would’ve loved to live in a nice Florida home with an incredibly supportive family and had puberty blockers like Jazz Jennings. It’s unfortunately unrelatable and a privilege she gets, but much of the community adores her!

Plenty of people within our spaces have more privilege than others, but it isn’t about that.

We might not all face the same troubles or have the same experiences, but what we do have in common is enough of a reason for the community to exist. And I know aces who certainly share more hardships in common with myself and others than white cisgays. If they belong here, aces damn well do too.

 

And finally, your disbelief in something doesn’t negate its existence. If I could simply wish away anti-vaxxers, I would. There are still people who don’t “believe” in gender dysphoria, nonbinary genders, or bisexuality. But again, “beliefs” don’t always align with reality. A lack of comprehension for something won’t make it go away either. Aces are as real as any other allegedly fake member of the community, who are in turn just as real as your run-of-the-mill gay guy.

Thankfully, Leftbook is tired of seeing hypocritical rhetoric and the irony of aphobia. So yeah, aphobes don’t belong there.

Shopping Online List for Trans and Gender-nonconforming

If you’re transgender/nb/gnc, shopping at a local store can be incredibly difficult. Depending on where you live and whether or not you’re “out,” you’d likely have to deal with hostile glances from strangers, staring, the issue of gendered dressing rooms (and possibly not being allowed in either), more difficulty finding the right fit and sizes, and you might fun into locals you’d rather not see you shopping “in the wrong section.” On top of that, you might deal with harassment, invasion of privacy, strangers snapping pics without your consent, or worse.

For this reason, many people prefer online shopping at least occasionally. However, it can be difficult to find quality and reliable retailers, or anything other than a collection of t-shirts with rainbows and pride related slogans on them. For this reason, I compiled a list of stores that may suit a variety of trans/nb/gnc people for a variety of reasons. Some of which have physical locations, and some of which is just general shopping advice.

  1. The Discriminant

The Disciminant is an online shop based in New York with an intent to provide trendy clothes without restriction of gender at an affordable price. They also provide some transitional apparel such as binders, padding, etc. The website also features trans and pride related slogans and collections, though the clothing itself is typically does not.

I have personal experience with purchasing here, and I’d rate it a 6.5/10. This is because clothing is not always the exact color shown in the photographs offered, the sizing is inconsistent, and the availability of certain products seems to be very unpredictable. The website also has rather vague descriptions, and should probably have more “how to” in regards to the transitional apparel to insure safety and proper functioning. Despite not being the highest rating though, I’d definitely purchase here relatively frequently.

Pricing: Generally $20-50

2. Tomboy Toes 

 Tomboy Toes is a god-send that I actually only encountered after receiving a follow on my Instagram account. I checked them out, and definitely didn’t regret it.

The goal of this shop is to provide what are traditionally deemed “men’s shoes” to those who feet too small to fit “men’s sizes.” The average afab looking for formal masculine (and vegan) footwear would find a great selection here! Furthermore, the site actually addresses (and supports) its trans and nonbinary customers, though it was created for anyone small-footed.

Pricing: $60-100

3. Gender Free World 

GFW features London-made shirts designed to fit a range of people despite their gender. Though they mainly, as far as I am aware, offer shirts, and masculine ones at that, I wouldn’t consider this a go-to shop, but it holds some appeal nonetheless.

It should also be noted that they actually have trans men in mind, and have addressed their potentially problematic name stating “We are aware that the term ‘gender’ can be interpreted in different ways and can be controversial.  Keeping it simple – we are not saying we want a world without gender, only that it is unfair that gender can limit and restrict your choices.”

Pricing: $45-65

4. ASOS 

Personally not very appealing, as in order to shop you have to choose a particular gendered section. The layout seems a bit disorganized. However, I have heard good things from trans men and trans women looking for fashionable clothing more their size.

5. CharlieBoy 

CharlieBoy is an Australian-based shop that ships internationally with the goal of breaking the limitations of gender codes. Their products are inspired by traditional menswear, but they encourage diversity and are against discrimination. They also provide their “gender neutral” clothing in versions for dogs…so you and your dog can break gender norms together or something, I guess. (?)

Pricing: $20-130, tends to be on the more expensive side.

6. Androswag

Their mission is “To make swag clothes for girls who like boys clothing but can’t find their fit. To change societal views on gender divisions. To unleash and showcase the tomboy, the androgynous, the LGBTQI’s, and anyone living on the fringes, here, there or somewhere delightfully in-between. We strive to source the best, most badass threads for tomboys in particular – Because we like the ‘men’s’ section, so why don’t the ‘men’s’ labels fit? And why are clothes still gendered at all?”

Pricing: $45-100

7. Modcloth

Modcloth has headquarters in San Francisco and an office in LA, but wasn’t necessarily intended for anyone other than cis women. It is merely a vintage-inspired women’s online clothing store. So what puts it on this list? I’ve heard it recommended by and for transfemme people due to their availability of sizes and their allegedly excellent customer service and return policy.

8. HauteButch 

HauteButch specializes in providing masculine clothing for afab bodies, whether you’re a stud, butch, tomboy, or trans man…they have you in mind. Their offered aesthetic is inspired by military jackets, tuxedos, and dress shirts. Generally more formal.

Pricing: $30-150, tends to be more expensive

9. PlayOut Underwear 

A brand created by two women that is “lesbian inspired, gender inclusive.” They aim to provide colorful, energetic clothing to people regardless or gender identity, gender expression, or pronoun choice. Great for transmasc people looking for better fitting undergarments. The website is a little odd though, in my opinion.

Pricing: $20-30

10. Hiking/outdoor clothing

This isn’t a specific brand or website, but a piece of advice recommended by a handful of afab transmasc people.

Because masculine clothing tends to come in larger sizes, not all afab people are able to buy masculine clothing that fits, especially locally. Some are only able to fit the “boy’s” section, which often contains cartoon characters or printings like “my sister ate my homework.” Needless to say, this doesn’t appeal to many older trans men. So one option is to search for smaller sized clothing, or even “boy’s fit” clothing at outdoor gear stores. You can get small sizes in the right shape without any unnecessary pop-culture references or gendered/stereotypical imagery.

11. XODOHTRONU

This brand desires to promote social progress and encourage androgyny. It was also created to fund the American Cancer Society and other charities, but I am unsure as to if this is still one of their practices. Their products vary by season, and are mostly streetwear/urban/casual in style.

Pricing: $30-85, on the more affordable side

12. Sharpe Suiting 

Founded by Leon Wu, they intend to provide formal clothing that fits a more diverse variety of people. The clothing tends to be traditionally masculine, but is intended for anyone regardless of gender identity.

Pricing: $120-840, definitely on the more expensive side of this range

13. American Eagle 

American Eagle Outfitters is something most of you will already be familiar with. While it’s a general American clothing store, I’ve heard it as being more preferred of easy-access shops for transmasc people due to sizing and fitting. While I haven’t seen or heard of it being outright accepting or catering to a gender-diverse crowd, it does seem to have this “be unique, fuck rules, everyone’s cool” attitude associated with it. I wouldn’t know, but maybe these transmasc people know something I don’t.

14. Target 

And who doesn’t know about Target? Target is renowned for its support of the queer community, by allowing bathroom access to all and anyone in need and selling pride-related merchandise. Though some accuse Target of “rainbow capitalism,” and they may be right, any support is better than none. It has been recommended as an easy place to shop for affordable, fitting clothes. They even sell pronoun buttons and other gender-related merch.

*This post will be continually updated*

The Worst, Most Annoying Aspects of The Otherkin Community

When something or someone irritates me, I generally don’t dwell on it like a fedora wearing neckbeard who obsesses over that which he claims to hate. Most of us can move on from harmless but annoying (or even laughable) groups of people and not waste any of our free time writing about those people.

But on the other hand, some of these issues with the ‘kin community need to be addressed, and ranting every now and then can do us all a little good. Needless to say, the following content may be offensive, albeit that isn’t exactly my intention (unlike aforementioned neckbeards). If the following don’t apply to you, that’s great…and you’ve no reason to feel personally attacked. Not all of these are an inherent part of otherkinity, but merely commonly seen in various otherkin communities. You can definitely be otherkin without the following aspects.

Aspect 1: The names

Let’s play a drinking game and go ahead and take a shot every time you see any of the following names in those communities: Wolfie, Ash, Sky, Nox/Nyx, Sage, Faolan, Luna, Stella, Star, River, Kiro, Rain, x-paw, x-claw, blood-x, x-fang, Kita, Chaos, Shadow, Grey, Raven, x-feather, Kami, Storm, Lupus, Vix/Vixen, Aspen, Viper, Ember, Thorn, Lupa.

My guess is you’d be piss-your-pants drunk by now. And “pack” names are just as bad. The rule is basically, combine any of the following words in the edgiest or hippiest way: Solar, Lunar, Fire, Eclipse, Shadows, Lithium, Harmony, Flare, Cosmic, Crimson, Ember, Meadows, Howling, Rivers, Silver, Flames, Fangs, Storm, Mist/Misty, Jaws, Claws, Kami, Scars, Constellation, Fading/Faded, Astral, Dawn, Creek, Black, Carnal, Breeze, Moss, Forest, Light. And then simply add “pack” at the end! Or, if you’re less traditional, something like “Alliance,” or “gathering.”

Thankfully, however, I can add that a multitude of otherkin (namely older individuals) despise these wolfaboo-esque naming systems as well. But the fact that there is laughter and judgment from both sides says something (and that something is “stop.”)

Aspect 2: The aesthetics 

I’m all for unique street fashion and whatever, but if it is going to be any level of unique or outlandish, it should at least be because it suits you personally…and not because your identity has a damn costume associated with it.

It’s one thing to feel connected to an animal by wearing fur or tails, but it’s another to have it be a part of your entire daily getup solely for that reason.

The community has heard the “therianthropy doesn’t have a dress-code” statement multiple times over, but the image is so ingrained into many youths minds’ that I don’t think many even care or actually believe that. At heart, therianthropy has a “look” and they want to be as ostentatiously “therian” as possible.

I’ll add that I’ve seen a lot of movement away from the teen werewolf look, which is great, but it tends to just move into the mass direction of boho. So….still monotonous and uniform. Just a different variety.

Aspect 3: What does anyone do?

A vast majority of the (visible) ‘kin community is composed of minors, so I get it in that regards. But even so, they seem to often have a borderline unhealthy attachment to their ‘kin identities in that it is their primary, or even sole, identifier. I rarely see anyone discussing life goals, other interests, jobs or careers, etc. It may very well be because these are more private aspects of their life, but they’re arguably more interesting as well. If you can spend an hour or more a day dedicated to posting kintype pictures and talking about your shifts, meditations, and connections, why not also “hey, I’ve been practicing surfing again!” posts or whatever. Where are the hobbies? The aspirations? Dreams? Etc.

I feel like many of these people have so much more potential than they realize and that they don’t need to dwell on (or prove, incessantly post about, etc) their otherkinity to feel whole or fulfilled.

Aspect 4: Ridiculously racially insensitive

Now we’re getting away from the “oh, that’s just them young teen werewolf crowds!” to more serious issues.

Never mind the fact that a very large portion of the (visible) ‘kin community is young white girls. There are also a lot of young white racists.

For starters, “cultural appropriation” just doesn’t exist, period. Not to many of these people. But then again, it’s super easy to hold that view when you’re a white girl with a Japanese ‘therian name’ like “Okami,” dreads, African-print dresses, and when your rank in The TeekonShunkaha Pack is “shaman.”

Native Americans are a proud people with a noble heritage…a noble heritage that anyone can claim.
—Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons, season 18, ep. 12 (“Little Big Girl”)

Then when anyone dares breathe a hint of criticism, they go on “muh free speech” rants (clearly not understanding that the internet is not inherently American, nor what the true intent of the 1st Amendment is) and launch pathetic “anti-bullying” campaigns against the person who actually had the audacity to care about the opinions of POC.

Finally, when presented with evidence that racial genocides still occur, that the whole world isn’t a pure racially-equal American suburban neighborhood, that there are still stomach-turning injustices committed against POC, and that even the most well-off of POC in the United States still often have to overcome obstacles due to systematic racism, they come at you with one of two responses: a) denial proceeding blocking or b) “but I’m 1/quintrillionth POC” proceeding blocking.

Seriously, when you’re white as the moon (and probably named yourself after it), you should probably remember how hundreds of indigenous families have been slaughtered for practicing their religious ceremonies and cultural customs before calling yourself a “shaman,” “medicine woman,” or “witch doctor.” Especially since your ability to comfort your pack members over Kik chats or whatever is in no fucking way comparable to the aforementioned titles. And when you need healing, you probably do (and should) go to a hospital or therapist…not confer with packmates with an arbitrarily given rank, anyway.

Furthermore, your chances of becoming a “therian leader” or “otherkin leader” is greatly reduced if you aren’t a white emo kid or a white culture vulture.

Aspect 5: Did anyone pass their history class?

This ties directly into the above aspect because many of the potentially appropriative behaviors are justified with pseudohistory, Eurocentricism, or overall ignorance on the topic of history.

For example,

  • Dreads were worn by Vikings and Celtics though!  This is a commonly heard justification for dreadlocks, and it’s shoddy to say the least. Not only does this excuse fail to mention that many of “historical accounts” of dreads appearing all over Europe are a result of faulty translation/mistranslation, poor descriptors, and lack of better terminology, but there are very likely significant differences between dreadlocks and similar hairstyles of other, distinct cultures. For one, they wouldn’t have been called “dreadlocks” because that is a purely Rastafarian term. Also, “vikinganswerlady” or any other website often cited to defend their claims are hardly legitimate or historical. And this is only scraping the surface of the illegitimacy of the “European dreads” theories. But whatever, wear your hair in whatever style you want. They’re still not “dreads” if you ascribe to the historically accurate renditions of past Europeans.
  • Irish people were slaves too!  Honestly, this is one of the more embarrassing and desperate of the arguments. Like, ignoring the fact that being a white American doesn’t necessarily give you a free pass to everything European (namely German or Irish), Irish people experienced indentured servitude, not slavery. The difference? The Irish had a previous agreement to this work,  weren’t seen as literal possessions and were eventually let go. Not as in “winning their freedom,” but as in freedom was a guaranteed part of the work. Yes, it was cruel and unfair and there was prejudice (and hatred) against Irish immigrants, but they were never taken from Ireland and sold as objects. Also, why has this ever even been brought up? This should be totally irrelevant to the ‘kin community, and yet I’ve seen it more than once.
  • We all have tribal ancestors though!  Yeah, true enough. But I’ve yet to encounter a mass of otherkin digging into their own ancestry to learn about their tribal pasts. There’s a reason that so much of the cultural appropriation is of American Indian tribes. No one bothers learning about anyone else or even their own pasts. It’s more convenient and exotic to generalize the cultures your ancestors more than likely took part in killing (whether directly or indirectly). But why own up to racist ancestors when you can own up to virtually pre-history human tribal ancestors in general? That seems to be a common mindset. Not that it is relevant anyway. If you’re a white American (or even European, in most cases), your “tribal history” is long-since gone. It’s literally history now. Whereas American Indians still exist. Still have tribal identifications. Still have reservations. Still have to combat systematic racism. The traditions of the tribes of the Americas are so incredibly diverse that it is a completely unjustified in ripping off a particular few and excusing it with your ancient tribal ancestors from across a fucking ocean. They’re not the same. And you’d know that if you actually cared about your own ancestry and culture, tribal or otherwise. And if you did care, you wouldn’t be naming a bunch of random strangers you’ve collected online your “therian tribe.”

Aspect 6: “Therian leaders”

This is quite the phenomenon in the (visible) ‘kin community, wherein there seem to be two types of people: Those who strive to be alphas, and those who fangirl.

“Alpha” not in the sense of those silly pack rankings, but as in this borderline obsessive and egotistic drive to be the most. Either the most reputable in terms of otherkin history/education, or the most well-known, the most followed, the most liked, the most active in the community, the oldest member of the community, the most kintypes, etc.

There are a plethora of “otherkin education” sites, pages, and blogs. Many with contradicting information or interpretations. But they all seem to be fully convinced of their infallibility. All seem to strive to be the saving grace of the community, the one who will turn the youngsters around, the one who will be the resource on otherkinity.

In addition, there are an awful lot who want to be renowned for their “otherkin aesthetic.” Where they rack up followers on Tumblr and Instagram, and friends on Facebook just for wearing tails the best, or wearing collars the best, or wearing floral skirts the best, or wearing piercings the best or having the edgiest makeup. All striving to be the face of otherkinity.

Anyone who doesn’t fall into either or both of the above tends to brown-nose those who do. Some seriously shitty people have gotten away with seriously shitty behavior for contributing so many selfies or otherkin musings to the community. People have been nearly worshiped, idolized, even basically stalked because of this innate “fangirl” position.

I guess the easiest and safest way to reach “hero” status is to join the otherkin community. Post of few selfies and few “enlightening” spiritual paragraphs about animals and you’re done! Easy.

Aspect 7: Scientific illiteracy 

This is something that tends to be everywhere. Whether you’re the emo teen type otherkin, the adult-who-will-educate-everyone type of otherkin, the culture vulture type of otherkin, or the generic Pagan type of otherkin, you’ve probably been guilty of this at some point.

By far the most frequently this aspect comes into play is in regards to “proof” and justification of kintypes. First of all, that shouldn’t even be a thing. You can do some mild, harmless hypothesizing about why you’re otherkin or how dragon souls might actually exist…but leave it at that. I will tell you outright right now that you cannot justify otherkinity in the way that many people will try to. But more importantly, you don’t need to. To whom are you trying to prove your identity, and why? Stop. It’s your personality. If you want to discuss evidence in that regard because you feel like you need it to accept yourself or whatever, discuss it with a personal therapist or counselor (and no, I do not mean that in a degrading way) or maybe consider not considering yourself otherkin. Your perception of yourself doesn’t inherently require evidence.

So far, there seems to be a drastic misunderstanding of science and its relation to the existence of souls, the multiverse theory, reincarnation and law of conservation of energy, evolution in general, auras and vibrations, and neurology/neuroscience in general.

Because the otherkin community tends to an overall very spiritual or religious group, there is only so much you can expect in regards to scientific discussion. I don’t mean that insultingly, but it’s generally expected. There is, to no surprise, a lot of New Age woo bouncing around in these communities from a firm belief in healing crystals/salt lamps/furs, to naturopaths valued over real medical professionals, to reaching “higher consciousness.”

And virtually no one knows what the human mind is or how it works (outside of a quick read of a few Wiki articles, maybe). Some examples of this include baseless “theories” about the way kintypes communicate through the mind and dreams (which sort of negates the definition of otherkin anyway, but whatever), bullshit about neural oscillations being used to astral project and their relation to meditation, bullshit about quantum physics proving soul entanglement or whatever.

Basically, there is a lot of bastardization of scientific terminology and a lot of logical fallacies.

I’ve even encountered people trying to make points with MRI scans, and they very painfully clearly didn’t know how to read MRIs nor did they know how they actually function (outside of a mere definition of what they are).

Please save us the secondhand embarrassment and save the MRI scans, the electroencephalography, the astrophysics, the biochemistry, the medical advice, etc. to those who have a legitimate and thorough understanding of these things, or who can at least make valid citations. They’re not for you to prove your demonic angel soul is from another realm, they’re not for you to assert your superiority over others, they’re not for you to help others astral project, they’re overall not for you to jump to conclusions, make loose interpretations, make preposterous claims, or to promote yourself with. 

If you are genuinely interested in sciences, pursue them further. Don’t use what little you do know to make false statements.

Aspect 8: The incredibly false and toxic idea that there are no “ex-kin”

The idea that “once you’re ‘kin, you’re always ‘kin” and that those who renounce otherkinity were never even otherkin to begin with basically shits all over the entire concept of an identity, and throws everything about reality out of the window.

It’s an idea that is widely held because it helps deflect criticism or theories and opinions about otherkinity that may be offensive to those who still identify with the community. This belief effectively reinforces an echo chamber.

But let’s take a look at why this idea is bullshit to begin with.

For one, there is no proof that anyone is born otherkin and there will never be. Why? Because otherkinity doesn’t have a singular defining experience or explanation. Some peoples otherkinity is purely spiritual, while others claim it is an issue of the brain. Well, no one is born with a spirituality, and claiming otherwise is asinine. If someone can go from identifying as a Christian to identifying as a Jain, then someone can just as easily stop being otherkin. Some people have reason to believe that their otherkinity is trauma based, and they weren’t born with said trauma. They might also, via medication and/or therapy subconsciously reject their otherkin identity because it is no longer ‘needed’ because they are overcoming their trauma. Were they never “real” otherkin?

Secondly, people are fluid. Sexuality can change, gender identity can change, religious beliefs can change, our sense of taste can change. Seldom is any part of the human experience truly set in stone, and otherkinity is not an exception.

If you legitimately believe that a person can live their life not paying a second thought to their gender, and then suddenly get hit with crippling gender dysphoria that lasts for years resulting in a different gender identity to what they held previously, you’re literally just wrong. Are you going to have the audacity to say “Nope. If they didn’t always identify as trans, they can’t now?” Because that’s just transphobia. Do you think its actually impossible for someone to live say 30 years of their life say gay, only to later identify as bi due to new and unexpected sexual preferences? Because, again, you’d be wrong.

You don’t have to be born x to be x, and just because you were y at one point doesn’t mean you always will be.

There is just no legitimate reasoning for this whatsoever, and certainly no evidence. All it is an extremely arbitrary and subjective idea of what “otherkin” is without any consideration of its definition.

It also brings us back to the whole “no one knows how brains work,” because if they did, they wouldn’t hold such baseless views. Your personality, identity, self perception are all a part of your brain. And if your brain changes (which it can via maturity, psychological trauma, physical damage, etc), then its likely some aspect of your personality will too. Brain damage is notorious for changing aspects of an individual. For example, my own grandfather had nasal/sinus cancer. In the process of being treated, his brain was accidentally damaged and he went from a friendly, chill, cat-loving, agnostic to a hostile, uneasy, cat-loving, devout Christian even though he was otherwise perfectly fine. He was still fully capable psychologically speaking, merely a bit different and remained that way until he died. Hell, imagine having a lobotomy. Still think you’d be otherkin after that? Would you be “faking” otherwise?

Either way, traumas or anything similar do not negate a person’s identity. Just as how a lesbian who identifies as such due to male-related trauma is no less valid than a lesbian who has simply always preferred women.

But seriously, you can fit the definition of “otherkin” perfectly and identify as nonhuman for years and even teach others about the “real, true otherkinity” and argue semantics and everything….and then later not identify that way. It is certainly possible and no one has yet to offer any valid explanation as to why it wouldn’t be.

Aspect 9: Disrespect for and appropriation of queer narratives 

I’d actually say that thankfully this is nearly as bad as a problem as it could be. I mean, you have people identifying as nonhuman beings…that has so much potential to fuck over the queer community. But most otherkin I’ve encountered have been accepting, if not allies, or already part of the queer community.

But there are some significant issues that come up and cause a bit of a controversy every now and then. One instance was when Leelah Alcorn took her own life and some assholes in Tumblr’s ‘kin community jumped onto the issue with disgusting “She’s not really a martyr, she made anti-kin posts before!” which were ridiculously insensitive and misplaced.

More commonly, cis otherkin will equate their experiences to those of trans people. I’ve written before about how there may be similarities here, but that doesn’t justify equating the two. They are vastly different in very significant ways, especially since trans people face legitimate oppression and otherkin do not. It is transphobic to trivialize another group of people’s sufferings just because you feel you might relate on some level. Not to mention that a lot of trans people would disagree.

Just stay in your own spaces, cis ‘kin. Don’t even try to compare the experiences of gender and species dysphoria unless you do or have actually experienced both.

Again, it seems that a significant part of the more outlandish and offensive parts of the ‘kin community in this regards is a result of satire taken seriously or trolling (as I’ve never encountered a convincing otherkin individual who believed in adding an “O” to the queer alphabet, but I may have seen a troll suggest it once or twice in addition to the ever so obvious trollings of “Picking flowers is oppression to flowerkins,” or “I identify as a chair and use chairself pronouns!” type of tried bullshit).

 

Okay, But Are You REALLY Pansexual?

Yes, it’s the year 12,017 HE and people are learning to embrace their sexuality again. Whether or not you’re into the whole “labels” thing, many more people are openly considering themselves bisexual, sexually fluid, queer, or “pansexual.”

But, are they right though?

Identity policing is problematic, yeah, but so is a lot of the rationale behind many people’s apparent pansexuality.

To be pansexual is to be attracted to people regardless of their gender, or to be attracted to people of all genders. Note the prefix “pan” here, which means “all.”

“Bisexual” refers to attraction to people of two genders, typically those of your own gender and those of another gender. Some may define bisexuality as the attraction to “two or more” genders, but that may also (and more accurately) be referred to as “polysexuality.” Again, note the prefix “bi” here that denotes a quantity of two.

So where’s the problem?

First, many people assume that bisexuality refers only to attraction to binary genders. However, you could rightfully consider yourself bisexual if you were attracted to a binary and a nonbinary gender, or if you were attracted to two nonbinary genders. Ex: “I am attracted to men and androgynes. I am bisexual,” or “I find both neutrois and intergender people attractive, I am bisexual.”

Secondly, repeat after me: Bisexuality is not inherently transphobic. 

Yes, many bisexual people are transphobic. A lot of people of many sexualities are. But bisexuality in and of itself isn’t a transphobic concept.

So a huge problem arises when pansexuals define their distinction from bisexuals as something along the lines of “Yeah I like men and women, but like…I’ll also date trans men and trans women, so technically I’m pan and not bi.”

Literally no.

Trans women are the exact same gender as cis women, and trans men have the exact same gender as cis men. Are you doing the math? Because that totals two genders. You don’t need a separate category for your inclusion of trans people. Furthermore, your implication that bisexual people inherently don’t also date trans people is incorrect.

And as discussed before, not all bisexual people are only attracted to binary genders. But one hilariously ironic thing is that so many pansexual people subscribe to the myth of the gender binary.

Do you proudly call yourself pansexual? And do you also find yourself scoffing at those who don’t identify as men or women?

Then congratulations, you’re fucking preposterous! The pansexual pride flag, shown above, literally includes yellow as a representation of attraction to those outside the binary. Pink for women, blue for men, and yellow for…you guessed it, enbies.

So, to recap, if you “don’t believe in” nonbinary people but you still consider yourself pansexual, you’re probably just a transphobic bisexual. If that’s the case, you can find your flag here.

My Friend ‘Came Out’ as Nonbinary; Now What?

Assuming that you’re the kind of person who considers themself to be generally open-minded and you want to accept your friend for who they are, there are some things you should be aware of concerning nonbinary identities to help you avoid rude or inappropriate comments and behaviors.

“Does this mean my friend is under the trans* umbrella?”

First, there is no asterisk behind “trans.” While you may intend it to be inclusive or representative of the aforementioned “umbrella,” the asterisk is generally inappropriate and othering. Why? This is because the term “trans” (or “transgender”) is already inclusive. You need not add an asterisk to include those who haven’t transitioned, those who are nonbinary, etc. because those people are already included. The term “transgender” refers to anyone who identifies as a gender other than, or in addition to, whichever one they were assigned at birth. If someone does not fit that category, such as cis crossdressers or cis people who disregard gender norms, then they are not trans and do not need to be included with an asterisk either.

Therefore, the answer to the above question is technically “yes.” Though if your friend specifies that they feel they are not transgender, for any reason, and does not identify with the term, then the answer would be “no.”

In addition to this information, here are some other things to keep in mind:

  • Your friend’s preferred pronouns are grammatically correct. 

People often erroneously take issue with neopronouns or neutral pronouns with the reasoning that they are “grammatically incorrect.” For starters, this is technically untrue, as English has recognized the singular “they” since the late fourteenth century. Its use to refer to someone of unknown or unspecified gender is far from a new phenomenon. While its use as a specifically nonbinary term is relatively new, this makes little difference. In my personal experience, the vast majority of those who take issue with whether or not singular “they” is grammatically correct tend to do so hypocritically: They often make grammatically errors in casual writing, they use a regional dialect that may be considered (again, erroneously) by outsiders to be incorrect, etc. In other words, those that make these complaints are hardly holding themselves to the grammatical standards that they hold nb/trans people to. Not only this, but few of these people understand how a language forms and becomes officially recognized, and what makes certain grammar correct or incorrect. There’s a high probability that your own personal grammar 24/7 is not stellar, let alone entirely flawless, so don’t fret over the ‘correctness.’ So while it may sound strange and may be uncomfortable to use at first, you should always make an effort to learn and use your friend’s chosen pronouns.

  • Their gender is not a matter of debate. 

Yes, your friend’s gender is certainly “real.” If you’re only looking to accept them on the basis of “well, people can do whatever they want and call themselves what they want even if its technically not real,” then you need to take a step back and educate yourself further on gender and what it means to be a friend. Not only does your friend likely know themselves better than you do, but it you’re cis (unless you happen to hold a degree in gender studies and human biology), there’s a really good chance that your friend understands the concept of gender a bit better than you do. And that is perfectly fine! No one needs to know everything about everything, but it means that you should respect your friend’s knowledge of themself and gender. Unfortunately, gender is seldom ever discussed in-depth or actually accurately in lower levels of education. So it is important to remember that your eighth grade class on sexual reproduction by no means gives you the qualifications to invalidate your friend or critique anyone’s sense of gender. Not only do you probably not know what you’re talking about, but it is a very unnecessary, callous, and inappropriate debate topic.

  • Support and Acceptance =/= Patronizing Comments and Being OTT

By all means, let your friend confide in you if they choose. Use their preferred name and pronouns. Reassure them. Defend and protect them. But realize that there is a difference between being a good friend and ally, and being…embarrassing. If your friend happens to be transfemme, for example, save the “YAAASSS gurl, slay hunny! omg” comments every time they wear makeup or something. Unless that is how you respond to all your friends wearing makeup every time they wear it, in which case I’m not sure how you still have friends. All jokes aside, casual compliments will suffice. Don’t try too hard in being supportive, just be genuinely accepting.

  • Avoid Performative Allyship

On a related note, there is a difference between genuine support and the above. Performative allyship is basically anything that serves as a (whether or not you are conscious of it) “Look at how unproblematic I am!” And it doesn’t actually help at all. For example, consistently apologizing to trans/nb people for what cis society has done doesn’t really help anyone at all. All that tells us is that you, for some reason, feel the need to apologize for something you allegedly aren’t doing or partaking in. Don’t go around talking about how you’re so much unlike other cis people, don’t be a social media activist who spouts about how “good” you are, don’t conflate jokes about cis people to actual issues and oppression faced by trans/nb people, don’t demand any awards or good treatment for being a decent human being, don’t claim to be a flawless source of information on trans/nb topics just because you have trans/nb friends, etc. Truly being an ally doesn’t require just a media outlet or an audience. “Ally” isn’t part of your qualifications or identity, so don’t bother including that in every bio on every social media. If you’re an actual ally, we’ll know.

 

It is also important to remember that your friend is still who they have likely always been, and is just beginning to express themselves better- not actually changing overall as a person. You don’t have to change how you feel or change your relationship to/with your friend. Liked shopping before? Great, you can still do that together! Liked gaming? Yep, you both can still do that as well. Surfing? Go for it.

And while it may take some time to get used to a name change or using different pronouns, and it may be strange to get used to an overall different appearance/presentation if your friend chooses to start HRT, it shouldn’t be anything that makes you generally uncomfortable. It may seem weird at first, but the more you dwell on the transition of your friend rather than go about a normal friendship, the weirder it will seem. Things will only be awkward or uncomfortable if you let them be.

Furthermore, however difficult or strange things may feel for you at first, remember that it is far easier to support someone during transitioning or be the friend of a nonbinary person than it is to actually come out or begin transitioning yourself. Your friend may have already felt very uncomfortable and dysphoric before coming out or transitioning as well, so remember that it is best to keep their feelings in mind.