Why We Should Remove The “G” From “LGBT”

People, namely men, have been using the word “gay” to describe themselves in regards to homosexual orientation since the 1920s, if not earlier.

But how many of these men knew the original implications of the term? 

Not all of the homosexual men of the early 20th century may not have been aware, but society was generally very homophobic at the time. Even though these men were calling themselves gay, many heterosexual people were also using it as an insult against them! Hundreds of homosexual men were considered perverts, pedophiles, diseased, and mentally deranged. And hundreds of those men knew the pain of having all of those implications attached to the word “gay.”

Just because some homosexual men in the past were okay with it doesn’t mean they all are currently.

Even today, many homosexual people have parents reject them for being “gay,” and consistently complaining about how they don’t want a “gay” child. So of course, it makes sense to not want to associate with the phrase. Yet so many people keep referring to the LGBT+ community as the “gay” community, and so many homosexual men are called “gay.” Even bars and clubs meant to foster a welcoming environment are called “gay bars.”

This word is everywhere, and it shouldn’t be. It is a slur. Just because some people are okay with using a word that has decades of abuse attached to it doesn’t mean all of us are.


 

Have I persuaded anyone to stop calling themselves “gay” yet? Probably not, and I can only guess why. Isn’t it strange that we in the LGBT+ community so regularly accept words like “gay” (even though it was historically used as an insult), but we feel the need to censor ourselves from using more inclusive terms like “queer?”

It’s the same argument. We can use queer to describe ourselves (sometimes), but not the community as a whole- it’s a slur that “not everyone has reclaimed.” Maybe I’m just a hermit, but I don’t ever remember filling out the international “LGBT survey” that lead us to believe that everyone has reclaimed anything. 

The most there is to go off of is contemporary LGBT+ communities, and for the most part, it does seem that the vast majority of us are okay with the word “gay.” But the same can also be said of the word “queer.” Despite the innumerable people actually preferring the term as a more inclusive descriptor, the minority that object to it are often the loudest.

I’ve also heard personal accounts justifying the objection to the word queer. One such story was from a cis lesbian (and told to a rather well-known trans woman who was using the term to refer to the LGBT community) that sounded a bit like this:

“I am NOT a ‘kweer!’ My father has screamed that word at me so many times while I cried in the shower or curled up in bed, and you have no idea what it feels like to have people force that word on ALL of us just because some people are ok with it! I am NOT AND NEVER WILL BE a kweer!!!” (Evidently even spelling out the word properly was too much for her to handle)

Okay.

The problem is, that isn’t at all a unique experience. Far from it, in fact. And the word “queer” in that situation can be replaced with any word we used to describe ourselves or the community. For example, the woman from the above example preferred the term “lesbian.” But no doubt you could substitute “lesbian” in the above situation, and it would be a real-life experience that hundreds of people could relate to.

Essentially, all of our words have been used against us and are therefore slurs. 

And since there is no way of knowing how many people have which personally history with which specific words, it would be safer to abandon them all.

Problem solved, right? Obviously not.

 

The problem is people, not the words.

Even if we were to create a whole new LGBT dictionary, those words would inevitably relate to some people just as the old ones did. They would all have the potential to be used as a slur because people are still ignorant and prejudiced.

Insisting that “queer” still counts as a slur, despite it being used to self-identify in the community perhaps even earlier than the word “gay,” is just a way of telling assholes that their definition matters more than ours does. It allows them to take some aspect of our identity away, which is exactly what they want.

If we want to prevent the emotional abuse associated with our identities, the solution isn’t continually making more words that mean the same thing. The solution is continuing the fight for equality, positive representation, normalization, etc.

 

I’m not going to deny that a word is applicable to me if it is. I am a brunette. That is a fact. But even if I am continually harassed over that fact, it is no less of a fact. Calling myself “brown-haired” won’t make any difference in the long run, because in the end, those harassing me are doing so because of who/what am, not merely because of what I call myself. So if people were to shout abuses at me regarding my hair color, I’d wonder what the hell was wrong with them.

The same goes for being queer. And, incidentally, hating someone for their gender or sexuality is just as asinine as hating someone for their hair color.


 

Even if a word is used regularly by the majority of the LGBT community, if someone specifically asks you not to address them or refer to them with a certain term, it is best to respect that request regardless of how odd it might seem. This is in individual circumstances, rather than references to oneself or the community as a whole.

It is also important to note that what is and isn’t a slur varies from community to community, and from culture to culture. For example, the consensus on terms like “faggot*” and “tranny” is that they are not yet reclaimed and not typically used to self-identify. In some cases, reclaiming a certain slur may not be uncommon, but it is still seen as generally inappropriate to refer to a whole category of people with it. Terms offensive in the United States may not be offensive in some Eastern nations. It all depends, but all in all, you should probably refrain from dictating how someone refers to themself or their community (should it usually be seen as an acceptable way of doing so).

 

*In fact, in a Facebook group I was in, a cishet woman banned several gay men for calling themselves “fags.” And that is definitely inappropriate.

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Truscum, Tucute, and “Transtrenders” (Oh my!)

I’ve indirectly addressed the whole “truscum vs tucute” debate here before, but I’ve been feeling the need to add more commentary on the matter.

For those of you who are unaware of the above terms:

Truscum– also known as “transmedicalists,” these are people who believe that in order to be transgender, you must experience (and often, be formally diagnosed with) dsyphoria. They also tend to believe that both HRT and surgery are necessary to be considered truly transgender. They often believe that being transgender is little more than a genetic abnormality or mental disorder.

Tucute– sometimes automatically lumped in with “transtrenders,” these people believe that the only qualification for being trans is to identify with a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth.

Transtrenders– essentially a snarl word that doesn’t actually have a concrete definition, and is primarily an insult used against a variety of people who may personally consider themselves trans (often to the dismay of truscum) such as: nonbinary people, gender nonconforming binary trans people, gender nonconforming cis people, trans people who don’t experience dysphoria, transphobic people who suddenly come out as trans, etc.

 

Again, I’ve been meaning to go more in-depth on this topic for a while now, but never got around to it. Why now? Why this particular night? Well, I had a rather hilarious experience that unfortunately, isn’t too uncommon.

Like many other mindless millennials, I have an Instagram account. I used to have a bit of fanbase, with posts regularly garnering hundreds of likes and receiving comments urging me to publish books. Cute, right? But I grew up and I no longer cling to many of the misconceptions that people adored me for having. I can change with new information, but apparently my following could not. Currently, I use my Instagram account to complain about my day, shitpost, make NSFW posts I wouldn’t share with all of my family on Facebook, and generally only engage with “irl” friends or people I’ve actually known for years. Pretty basic stuff. But it’s also one of the few places I can talk about dysphoria, my experiences as a trans person, and connect with others with similar experiences.

So of course it wasn’t long before I encountered another user whose bio read like something along the lines of “I’m 15 years old, destroying ‘nonbinarys’ daily.” And their content was primarily screenshots of Tumblr posts by truscum and memes invalidating enbies.

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It reminded my of the time I stumbled upon an aggressively pro-life 13-year-old whose life aspiration was to become a nun. She had some 15k followers, and was more than confident in her arguing ability. Grown ass men would cite this child [in an attempt] to “shut down” pro-choice debates.

But this “destroying nonbinarys” account encouraged me to address one of my biggest issues with truscum arguments, that are unfortunately, not unique to them. That issue being:

You are not a scientist just because you are truscum 

It’s really easy to sympathize with many truscum. In a lot of ways, I get it. And I get why they’re often so angrily trying to prove their points.

But my lord, it is absolutely embarrassing to see such a large number of people justifying their stance with pseudoscientific nonsense just because they “did their research.” Oh, where have I heard that line before? Only with antivaxxers, Holocaust deniers, the ‘9/11 was an inside job’ crowd, and about everywhere else.

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Besides the fact the you could exhaust yourself with extensive research using only peer-reviewed and academic sources and still not be able to logically counter all the points offered by tucute, but your ‘research’ isn’t infallible merely because you were satisfied with the results.

Specifically, I’ve seen a Tumblr post circling around on Facebook and Instagram  about how a truscum person “looked into” the neurology of being transgender and determined that dsyphoria is the result the brain being “wired incorrectly” during fetal development. Thus, being transgender is a medical condition.

It’s difficult to convey with words just how infuriating these situations are because this shit happens all the time and people who have actually spend years of their life and thousands of their dollars honing their understanding of neuroscience frequently take the backseat to these “researchers.” And even then, gender in regards to neuroscience is one of the most grossly misunderstood areas of science that produces a plethora of flawed studies. But do these people have the ability to recognize flaws in these studies? Of course not. They merely find commonly cited papers that align with their preconceptions and use it to “prove” that they were right all along. This also disregards the fact that papers, regardless of their accuracy, are far more accessible to the general public when they confirm a preexisting cultural bias or misconception. 

Thankfully, I’m not alone in these frustrations. A friend of mine, we’ll call him Chris, too has to deal with angry kids “disproving” everything with “research.” He has a Masters degree in sociology (with emphasis on sexuality and gender), but that of course could never hold up against a young teen’s use of memes in a debate.

This whole “I’m x because I researched it” is also reminiscent of the time I got into a debate with a rather prominent vegan figure. He asked for sources to my claims, and I provided several. He merely responded with “I’m not reading those unless they were written by an ethical vegan *finger peace sign emoji*” It’s, more often than not, a joke.

Truscum are among several other groups of people who have the delusion that their particular stance on an issue is automatically indicative of an actual understanding of scientific concepts, such as atheists and vegans. Can you be a scientifically literate truscum, vegan, or atheist? Absolutely! But you’re not a genius scientist just because you fall into any of those categories. This is especially true when you’re not even an adult yet and your arguments consist largely of memes.

 

HOWEVER

There is some validity to certain truscum perspectives. For example, you might technically have the right to consider yourself trans in a particular instance, but you do not get to claim you experience oppression if you don’t experience dysphoria at all and/or have no intentions of transitioning.

Maybe it makes sense to then bring back the term “transsexual” to make a distinction between those who wish to transition and those who don’t. Because the latter do not get to speak over the former and consume all the space in trans spaces. It wouldn’t make sense to.

Obviously the experiences of all trans people can vary, even if they identify the same way, have the same goals, and are the same asab. But the experiences of people who desire to transition and/or who experience dysphoria at all are drastically different from those who don’t. If you don’t want to legally transition, you’re not dealing with lack of legal rights trans people often have. You don’t have to deal with the heaps of paperwork and money that is often required just to change your name or gender marker on IDs or birth certificates. If you don’t want to physically transition, you don’t share the frustration that many other trans people do in having to wait a long time with several other people’s approval just to do something to your own body. You don’t have to deal with the financial burden of doing so either. If you don’t want to socially transition, you might never have to deal with violent by friends or romantic partners, homelessness due to parental abandonment or housing inequality, aggressive misgendering, people deadnaming you to hurt you, etc.

So basically, I won’t argue for the taking away of your right to call yourself “trans.” But please take at least one step back in trans spaces when we start discussing experiences of oppression, dysphoria and the fight for equality.

We Need to Talk About This Huge Sense of Entitlement

The United States is meant to be recognized as the “Land of the Free.” Freedom, perhaps more than anything else, is what our citizens value most. But our freedoms are, and always have been, limited. Is this unjust? Is it unfair? It depends. But far too frequently, citizens are considering any restriction as “unfair” or erroneously as “unconstitutional.”

This significant sense of entitlement in American (and others) culture will be the bane of ‘civilized’ society, and feeding into it is the fact that a vast majority of adult citizens still lack the ability to properly define “opinion.”

An opinion is a judgment about a specific topic that isn’t inherently rooted in objectivity. The word “opinion” itself is derived from the Latin “opinari” which generally means “to imagine, believe, think, or suppose.” Which, in turn, likely comes from the Proto-Indo-European “op” or “opto” which indicates a preference or decision.

To put it simply, an opinion is nothing. It holds no more significance than any other arbitrary belief or preference. And yet we have countless citizens voting, raising children, and making crucial decisions based solely on this nothingness.

We have countless citizens who therefore feel entitled based on nothingness. And generally speaking, feelings of “worthiness” and having opinions aren’t morally wrong or necessarily detrimental to a community. But when so many people feel they have a god-given right to actively harm others based on merely opinion nothing, it becomes a grave issue.

And these issues manifest in a variety of ways: Parents refusing to give their children actual medical care, parents refusing to let boys wear nail polish or for girls to play with trucks, men justifying the murder of trans women, parents justifying abuse or abandonment of queer children, voting for xenophobic officials, etc.

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It doesn’t matter that SBS has characteristics specific to physical injury and couldn’t possibly be caused by vaccines. It doesn’t matter that there is an entire legal process to evaluate evidence and determine guilt. The reality of the situation never matters to these people, because their heads are so far up their ass and they think their “opinion” dictates reality. 

These people are so obsessed with their alleged “right” to ignore reality or hurt others that they don’t even consider the legitimate human rights of other people.

If you think you have the “right” to believe to forego medical care for your child because of your “opinion” that doctors are all just money-hungry demons out to harm others, what about your child’s right to actually be healthy? If you think you have the “right” to murder or harass a trans person because of your “opinion” that they’re all just deceptive perverts out to turn you gay, what about the trans person’s right to actually live?

It’s a problem not only of entitlement but of ignorance and sheer selfishness. They value freedom, but only for themselves. The right’s of others either simply don’t exist (presumably because of their opinion), or they’re of much less concern.

 

To reiterate: Fact and reality > any given opinion

Again, opinions are not inherently objective. They aren’t always backed by anything other than mere knee-jerk reactions, misunderstanding, ideology, or indoctrination.

An “opinion” that the earth is flat is wrong. 

An “opinion” that human races are distinct species is wrong.

An “opinion” that gender is purely biologically binary is wrong. 

And there is no reason at all that anyone should accept blatantly incorrect (and frequently dangerous) statements to appease someone’s sense of entitlement. There is no logical reason that we should be respecting anyone’s decision to maintain ignorance. And there sure as hell isn’t any reason that we should be voting for people and making laws based solely off incorrect statements.

Reality is sometimes offensive. That doesn’t mean you can hide behind “opinion” to change it.

Being an Enby: “It’s Just a Phase”

An incredibly large amount of LGBT+ people have had someone assert that their gender or sexuality is just a phase. “We’ve all done some experimenting in college,” or “You’re young and just now trying stuff out!” are commonly said to dismiss the experiences of those who ‘come out’ to others.

Thankfully, society is moving (albeit slowly) away from this misconception, but moreso in regards to gay men. Likely a result of toxic masculinity, men can’t really even admire the appearance of other men without being seen as completely gay (which is still a problem, but a different problem). For lesbians, however, the social acceptance of affection between female friends allows for this misconception to persist.

However, due to the relatively new attention brought to gender identity, nonbinary people are still considered thought to be aimlessly experimenting or rebelling. There aren’t nearly as many elderly nonbinary people as there are gay people, so it’s still just seen as some “Tumblr sjw” fake identity phase.

But I don’t want to address the myth of the antiquity of the gender binary. I want to focus on something else: What if being nonbinary is just a phase? 

Let me put it this way. In a heartbeat, I can recall the names of at least three people I’ve known personally who did go through an enby (particularly genderfluid) phase. And while I love encountering other enbies, I don’t get too attached to the idea of another nonbinary friend because I know there’s a pretty good chance the person will later ‘come out’ as cis.

Why does this happen? Why are there so many more kids going through genderfluid phases than binary trans phases?

Part of it is perceived level of commitment and dysphoria. It’s often assumed that being genderfluid is more akin to having a preference for androgynous style, or having a tendency to change gender expression. It’s assumed that you’d basically be born knowing if you were binary trans, and that you’d have agonizing dysphoria. Since most people (including people who are binary trans) don’t fall into that category, they tend to latch onto nonbinary genders as a sort of ‘less extreme’ option. Especially since transitioning is seen as much simpler (for example: All of those people I knew transitioned by choosing a gender-neutral nickname, wearing less gendered clothing, and sometimes doing masc contouring…and that was the end of it for them).

Obviously in reality, there are binary trans people who don’t (either because they are unable or because they don’t want to) “fully” transition, and there are nonbinary people who do. What you do with your body, your clothing, and your social life doesn’t necessarily have to conform to expectations of your gender identity.

Another aspect is because, as referenced before, gender identity is often erroneously conflated with gender expression. Therefore, many young women who aren’t obsessed with pink dresses or whatever, and may receive criticism for it, assume that they must be nonbinary. Why else would a woman want to wear flannel and a beanie? *cue eyeroll* In short, gender expectations cause many gender non-conforming people to question their own identity.

 

Phases are a normal and healthy part of adolescence

Even if someone is experimenting with their identity, it should be respected nonetheless. Not only does stifling a teen’s sense of self only lead to much more pronounced expression thereof, but it may prevent them from ever finding out what they’re comfortable presenting themselves as. We’ve all gone through some phases, some that may have been regrettable, but we all ended up as who we are today.

However

You do not get to tell me my experiences will pass just because yours did. I can’t predict the future, and I’d never make any definite claims about who I’ll end up being. But I know who I am now and I can predict with reason that who I am isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

You’re allowed to experiment, to have gone through any number of phases and changes. Unlike many of the cis people I’ve seen whining on the internet about who is and isn’t allowed to identify as what, I don’t find it offensive when young teens mistakenly identify as trans or nb. It’s, again, perfectly normal and healthy. It only becomes a problem when you insist that nonbinary identities are inherently a phase.

The cis people who never question their gender need to be aware of this as well. Just because you may have seen a lot of kids in your high school going through a nonbinary phase, it doesn’t mean there aren’t those who are actually nonbinary. Just like how it’d be absurd to claim gay people don’t exist just because some guy you knew once kissed a dude and ended up not liking it. The people you’ve seen and known don’t represent the entirety of a population.

 

In the five or so years I’ve considered myself some sort of nonbinary, I’ve had several friends ‘come out’ only to shortly ‘come out’ as cis later. And none of it affected who I was or who I am now. 

 

The Irony of Transphobia

A large portion of the arguments against trans rights are composed solely of Gish Galloping and blatant hypocrisy. This isn’t surprising, as no argument against human rights ever has any rationality to it.  But right now, I want to focus on the sheer irony of some of the more common complaints cis people have with people transitioning.

You should love your body the way God made it!

Mhm. I wonder how many Christian women love the hair god put on their armpits. I wonder how many Christian men love the hair god put on women’s vaginas, for that matter. How many men love their body enough to not take protein shakes? How many women are happy with their natural eyebrows? How many people love the natural scent god endowed us with during puberty?

Any time you shave, get a hair cut, brush your teeth, paint your nails, put on makeup, get a spray tan, clip your nails, take “male enhancement pills,” or put on perfume/cologne, you are changing something natural about your body. 

Do women who get spray tans hate themselves? It’s not likely. Do men who shave their beards lack self-respect? Probably not. Do either of these categories of people inherently hate god and deserve to burn in hell for those actions? Let me guess, most people would probably say “no.” And they’re right. And trans people who chose to physically transition are no different.

 

We get into a bit of a different tone when it comes to matters of plastic surgery. Because while trans people are often under scrutiny for altering their bodies via surgery, many cis people are as well (though to a lesser extent). Society still clings to an arbitrary notion of “realness” and women with butt implants or lip injections are often deemed “fake.” Still, this isn’t exactly the same line of criticism against trans people who undergo surgery (who are considered “fake” in another sense), because these people are more frequently seen as perverted people who do so for sexual gratification or due to dangerous delusions. If anything, cis people (namely women) who undergo plastic surgery are pitied as having been pressured into their choices by a society with rigid beauty standards.

But needless to say, there are many cis people who get plastic surgery of their own volition who pay no regard to beauty standards. This is especially, but not only, true of people like María José Cristerna and others with an alternative aesthetic.

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María José Cristerna, the “Mexican Vampire Woman.” Her body modifications are rooted in her ancestry and symbolize many things from her past. One would be hesitant to say her body mods were the result of beauty standards alone.

Things like nose jobs or liposuction might still carry a bit of stigma, but overall: These things make people happier and typically, (also hypocritically) society enjoys seeing the results. It’s essentially a win-win, or would be, if we weren’t so attached to this fake sense of authenticity. People who get nose jobs or lipo are no less themselves than they were before.

Let me repeat that: Those who alter their physical appearance by any means (be it cosmetics, surgery, push-up bras, dieting, bodybuilding, etc) are still themselves. And any implication otherwise relies on this toxic and shallow assertion that the reality of someone is inherently tied to their appearance.

That’s right. Those who get breast implants or whatever aren’t the “fake” or shallow ones, it’s those who think your “real self” is ultimately just however someone looks. So next time you’re feeling sanctimonious because you still have your “real” eyebrows and a “real” butt, maybe learn that no one gives a shit about how “real” you body is….your “real” self should lie in your personality, and by being a decent human being. Afterall, who would you rather be friends with: A “real” person who is deceptive, judgemental and manipulating, or someone who had work done but is sweet and cares about you?

 

Transitioning is mutilation though!

The above is another transphobic sentiment related to the first one, and much like the first one, it is filled with irony. Really dark irony.

The same people who accuse trans people who decide to undergo surgery of “genital mutilation” often circumcise their sons. Or are circumcised. And how many of these people chose to get the procedure? Did they have to go through countless therapists and consultations to get circumcised? Did they have to have multiple professionals give them a letter of permission to be circumcised? No. And neither did the parents who did it to them.

Circumcision literally is, by all accounts, actual genital mutilation that is no less reprehensible than female infant circumcision sometimes practiced in other nations. And almost all of the amab people who are circumcised didn’t have a say in the procedure (unlike transitioning).

But what about men who are happy with their circumcisions, the men who prefer life without foreskin? Almost every single “I’m grateful” story I’ve heard from circumcised men rationalizes it with either a) “But women prefer this!” or b) “But now I don’t have to clean it!”

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Oh, right, okay. We can cut skin off of a baby’s penis because it’ll be easier for him to get laid in the future (because isn’t that the first thing we all think of when we see are newborns? “Aww, welcome to the world. Now how can I make you more fuckable?”), or because he’s too damn lazy to practice hygiene (I mean, we all have to wipe our asses after we shit…we don’t try to remove them because wiping is too much of a hassle.) And this totally makes sense, apparently, but undergoing transitional surgery because it is literally actively painful and excruciating to have the wrong body is “mutilation.”

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And for that matter, who decides where the line at “mutilation” is drawn? What about tattoos, piercings, or haircuts? Or is it only mutilation when it offends you?

Whether or not something is considered mutilation should be determined logically, not with some knee-jerk reaction. So logically, we should ask:

  • Was it consensual?
  • Was it life-threatening?
  • How does the person feel about it?

On that note, we shouldn’t consider a mother cutting her toddlers hair mutilation (even if the child may have fussed about it). Why? It isn’t actually dangerous, and the kid probably doesn’t actually care much. Should we consider it mutilation if a father forced his toddler to get a tattoo? Yes, we probably should…hence why this is illegal. Why? A child cannot consent to this, it may become infected, and the child may not have wanted this but is now practically stuck with it permanently.

But using these guidelines, we can see that any trans person who undergoes surgery is not being mutilated because they consent to the operation, it isn’t any more risky than other surgeries, and generally, it saves a person from a life of debilitating discomfort.

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Forced sex-reassignment of intersex children constitutes genital mutiliation, yet, along with circumcision, is seldom criticised among those who condemn the actions of autonomous trans people. 

HOWEVER, the topic of mutilation gets even more…interesting…when we take intersex infants into account. Intersex newborns go through forced sex-reassignment surgeries regularly. But where is all the protest for this? Are we again going to tolerate legitimate genital mutilation (even it it is sex-reassignment) on the basis of future potential for sexual attraction? The mutilation of intersex children is often justified with “but no one will want to sleep with a h************e!” So? Shouldn’t we instead be teaching society to value these people, instead of telling everyone it makes sense to be disgusted by intersex people? But even so, one of the most common (if not the most) reasoning behind forced surgeries for intersex newborns is so that mothers are able to bond better. Imagine that. Imagine having to go through sex-reassignment surgery when you’re an infant just for your mother to properly love you.*


 

So to conclude, unless you’re an intactivist, intersex-right’s activist who looks like this: cavemen-food-nutrition

You’re being hypocritical any time you judge a trans person for altering their body (in a way that literally doesn’t affect you any way), because you damn well aren’t in a natural pristine condition either.

*Click here to read more that I’ve written on intersex people

“I Shouldn’t Have to Impress You”

Society values kindness, hard work, intelligence, empathy, sympathy, and charity for obvious reasons. But who we expect these amiable qualities from, ironically, isn’t equitable. In other words, society is more prone to expecting  demanding these qualities from minorities, namely immigrants and trans people.

With DACA coming into light recently, I’ve heard the stories of numerous Dreamers desperately trying to prove their worth. Many of the stories detail working several jobs whilst pursuing higher education that is paid for out-of-pocket. Why? Because normally, society would perceive this as borderline heroic, rather than characteristic of lazy, job-stealing criminals that we (and our president) have stereotyped immigrants/POC as.

America continuously demands receipts for the value of immigrants (other marginalized peoples),  because it is already assumed that everyone else has potential, especially cishet white males.

In regards to being transgender, knowing that most people will automatically perceive you as some mentally deranged pervert causes many to exhaust themselves proving this wrong. And in the case of those who cannot (as it is harder to amount to anything as a minority, not because of any ineptness, but because of systematic oppression), they’re faced with constant opposition for merely existing and are at an even greater chance of falling victim to a fatal hate crime.

am a well educated person. I am perceived by many as intelligent. I am currently pursing a career involving science who will have some tangible use to society. I do actively care about others and have spent a lot of time and money in regards to human rights and animal welfare. And these are the things that will get me through life because this is where my value currently comes from, not from being another human being or a potential friend or neighbor.

It is because of these things that I have any level of power. When I would hear some ignorant asshole disgorging hatred against fellow queer people, I would have to be the one to shut it down because often, I am the only one who garners any iota of respect.

And though I am certainly not opposed to using my ‘image’ whenever possible to shutdown hatred, I sure as hell shouldn’t have to. In that, queer people who actually are mentally ill/uneducated/lazy deserve respect and a voice. They shouldn’t have to be any more astounding than your average lazy teenage boy to not be murdered for existing.

The same goes for immigrants (and no, not all of them “chose” to come here) and POC as well. They shouldn’t have to work harder than anyone else to be given basic human rights and respect, nor should they have to be Harvard graduates to not be seen as “thugs.”

If we aren’t killing or deporting white men who rarely show up to their virtually optional jobs, and electing draft-dodging cis guys who literally lack fundamental knowledge on reality as president, then we have no excuse for demanding so much of minorities.

White cis America needs to stop holding minorities to ridiculously high standards, whilst trying to prevent us from even reaching those standards, when it typically can’t even reach those standards either without having to face oppression.

 

mediocreman

A noted phenomenon: mediocre white men are full of confidence and self-worth. Why? Society values them despite the fact that they’re mediocre. Being a mediocre black man or mediocre trans woman certainly does not allow you as much inherent confidence.

 

And even when minorities do amount to something, it is still never enough to fully protect yourself from prejudice.

Despite how many transgender biologists or psychologists I am acquainted with, they still regularly encounter random unqualified strangers who insist that they are unnatural dangerous freaks who “chose” to be this way. Even though these same people would likely never risk humiliation by asserting that any cis biologist’s or psychologist’s education was invalid.

Despite the fact that Malia Obama is polylingual and was accepted into Harvard University, many people still erroneously attribute this to affirmative action, nepotism, or claim that her farther merely paid her way in. She has never shown any aspect of ignorance, and there is no logical reason for anyone to believe that she isn’t good enough for Harvard. Yet because she’s the black daughter of a liberal, she’s inherently seen as idiotic and, on numerous accounts, a drug addict. Many have even gone so far as to demand her “gpa scores” be public information. “Gpa scores.” Yeah.

racist1

Because apparently only white or Asian people can be intelligent. Also “white” apparently needs to be capitalized now?

And despite Laverne Cox, former Colonel Jennifer Pritzker, and Carmen Carrera all being trans women who have been involved in activism or charity, none of them have been able to avoid hateful comments or ignorant assumptions.

 

Fortunately for them, navigating life as a minority is a bit easier when you’re a billionaire like Jennifer or a celebrity with many adoring fans like Laverne, but when even they face public scrutiny, it only leaves that many more average POC/trans people aware of just how hateful our society as a whole is.

If you’re going to criticise someone for being lazy, or call someone out for being ignorant, or insult someone in any way….you can do so without bringing up the fact that they’re an immigrant/queer/poc. And you should have the ability to realize that the latter things do not control the former: If an immigrant is lazy, for example, it’s obviously not because they’re an immigrant.

“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.

 

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*