jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Tamamo-no-Mae is perhaps the most famous -- and tragic -- foxwoman in Japanese folklore. Variations on her story have been told and retold, the gist of which is that she was a kitsune (fox) who took on human form and became the Emperor's courtesan. But she was found out by an onmyōji (magician), declared to be the cause of the Emperor's illness, and chased out to the plains of Nasu and killed.

The retelling of her story in Fate/EXTRA, a visual novel / roleplaying game for the PlayStation Portable, is especially stark. In it, she grows up as a human and does not even realize that she is a fox until her ears suddenly sprout from her head. She manages to conceal them for an entire month, before being found out.

Here are some excerpts from the scene where she tells the player character her life story:

Pictures, transcripts, and discussion of transphobic violence behind cut )

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Posted by [twitter.com profile] farwz on Twitter:

tbh being apolitical is a privilege. some people can't ignore politics bcs politics attack their identity on a daily basis

My existence is apparently the subject of heated political (and theological) debate. As is my right to exist.

Perhaps unfortunately, for people who have decided to be my opponents, I intend to go on existing. And talking about what I go through.

Maybe we can just be friends instead? Playing tabletop games is a lot more fun than arguing. Especially when the whole substance of your argument is "you can't be real, because if you are I would need to rethink my life."

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Because it's not just otherkin. It never is.

Whenever there's something fantastic and awe-inspiring, someone's life depends on it. Someone needs it to express themselves, to feel alive, to escape from a terrible world. Whether they feel driven to worship it, fanfic it, fuck it, or be it, as long as they aren't hurting anyone it is fucking oppressive to shame them for it. And that shame is always going to come from more powerful people, and hurt less powerful ones.

That's from the rant we posted earlier. The point is, scratch a prejudice against therians / fictives / otherkin, and you'll find sexism, ageism, ableism, classism, theophobia, transphobia, and/or an alarming lack of disregard for the welfare of both human and nonhuman animals.

The people who believe that they have wrong reflections are all outsiders to some degree. And those people can't be allowed to have their own mythology, or they will forget their place.

If that unsettles you, examine your motivations.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Today I read a Q&A that went something like:

Q. Is it possible for one of my fantasy harpies to be transgender when they're an all-female species? Isn't that like a human who thinks he's an elf???

A. Of course it's possible, because gender isn't the same as physical sex. Write your own fluff to explain if it makes you feel better.

This is going to sound melodramatic, but the answer that my heart was aching to hear was "who are you to tell [PLAYER] what body their character would prefer?"

Yelling, swearing, angry depressive rant. )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

This is a long worldbuilding essay I did, both for [community profile] capsulerp and for the Analogue and Hate Plus adapts, of the way that I imagine their transhumanist society working. With regard to people's bodies and minds, and how they relate.

Please feel free to share your thoughts, whether about the worldbuilding itself or about what sort of character you'd like to have in this setting (whether or not you are in the RP).

Primary Inspirations

  • Analogue: A Hate Story and Hate Plus. PC games by Christine Love.

  • The Culture novels, by Iain Banks.

  • Mindjammer. Pen-and-paper roleplaying game by Sarah Newton, and powered by Fate Core.

  • Sword of the Stars series. PC games by Kerberos Productions, with lore written by Arinn Dembo.

Who are you?

Most people are at least partly defined by their species and cultural roles. Your personal identity, or identity traits which define who you are as a person, consists of two things.

  • Your neurotype, or "who you are on the inside."

  • Your phenotype, or "who you are on the outside."

Transhumanist fiction, like the [community profile] capsulerp, is based on the idea that the two can be separated. That while your body can be a way of expressing yourself, it doesn't have to be something you're stuck with, especially if it's making you feel sick or miserable.

What form would you choose for yourself, if you could? And how would you go about transferring your consciousness into it?

Read more... )

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The other day, an evil man named Boyd Packer died.

(EDIT: Corrected some things after re-reading quotes, and changed the description of this person's legacy.)

He was one of the highest leaders of the Mormon church, called an apostle. Apostles are appointed to their positions for life, and he spent most of his tenure saying hateful things to captive audiences.

In 2010, he gave a talk in worldwide General Conference where he said God would never make someone gay. The line was edited out when his talk was published in print and online, but not soon enough to keep the rate of LGBT suicides in the state of Utah from spiking right afterwards.

When I was a young adult, I was given a pamphlet that was a printout of one of his talks, in which he condemned people for masturbating and said that it was okay to deck gay people who come on to you. Partly because of this man's words, I hated myself for more than a decade, and came very close to taking my life.

He called gays, feminists, and intellectuals the enemies of the Mormon church, and famously declared in a talk to church educators that "some things which are true are not useful." I feel like that sums up his legacy. The things he proclaimed as true are already being thrown out by the institutional Mormon church, because they are not very useful in making them look good. In fact, they make them look pretty damned awful, to anyone with a conscience and even a basic understanding of how words affect others.

I'm glad he lived long enough to see his victims turn the tables on him, and win.

If you want a more vivid look at how I felt because of this man, read this story.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

We've been wanting to write something about plurality for awhile now. Something sort of like our Otherkin FAQ. (You've read it already, haven't you?)

There are two problems with this, though. The first one being that there's already a detailed FAQ about plurality here. (They call it multiplicity, which is a word we avoid because we feel that it excludes median systems, but still.) The second one is that we don't feel as qualified to speak about plural issues as we do about otherkin-ness. Finding our kintype and identities has taken an awful lot of reading, soul-searching, and seeking validation from other people, sort of like realizing we were transgender.

Being a plurality, or a median system specifically? Not so much. And if we had to guess why, we would say it's because we haven't encountered nearly as much pushback about it as we have for being otherkin or transgender. So we've never felt the same need to justify our existence as a plural system, which means that we haven't gone over and over the explanations in our head and in essays and stuff, the way that we did with the other things.

Having said that, other people have experienced discrimination, as a result of being open about being part of a plural system. And we keep feeling like we ought to write something about plurality in our own words, if only to serve as a resource for readers and friends.

So if you've ever asked yourself questions like "WHY DOES SHE KEEP SWITCHING BETWEEN 'I' AND 'WE' IN THE SAME SENTENCE FFS," read on!

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Our Otherkin FAQ explains the concept of "kintypes," which is basically "what you are on the inside" and can be anything from an animal to a mythical creature or fictional character. Many "therians," "otherkin," and "fictives," like us, incorporate this belief into their already-existing religious practice and leanings. Others see it not as a mystical truth but a goal, an ideal, or simply an explanation for "why I feel this way" that rings true to them.

Either way, for those who feel they may be otherkin finding one's kintype is a process of self-discovery, similar to (but distinct from) finding a totem or a patron saint. You don't have to stick with the same one forever, and just because something strikes you as "cool" doesn't mean that it necessarily calls to you, holds personal meaning for you, or feels deep down like it's what you've always been all along.

Having said that, if we [1] got to choose our own kintypes instead of dealing with that messy self-discovery business, here's what we all would have come up with!

... and what parts of our real nature each choice denies.

Read more... )

[1] You thought being otherkin was complicated? Plurality is a whole 'nother bag of worms.

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tl;dr: Women aren't living "the female lifestyle." Trans women (and men, and non-binary trans persons) aren't "living a lifestyle" by being who they are, either.

Content note: Transphobia, religious abuse, and Final Fantasy III and VII spoilers. Edited slightly in response to [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's comment and [personal profile] sophie's feedback.

Are you a boy or a girl?

A picture of the character select screen from Pokémon.

Poor Professor Oak. His memory just hasn't been the same since the accident.

Everyone gets told the answer to this question when they're little. But sometimes, the answer they're given is wrong.

As many as 1 in 100 people are born intersex, meaning their bodies aren't strictly male or female and may have both sets of sexual characteristics. This isn't a pleasant thing to be, in sex-obsessed North American society. You might get mutilated by doctors when you're still an infant, to try to make you look more like a boy or a girl. You might grow up feeling uncomfortably different from everyone else, and never be told why, because even your parents thought it was shameful. And if an intimate partner finds out that you're different, they might tell everyone you're a "trap," reducing you to your genitals and making you out to be some kind of freak.

Because North American society is obsessed with sex, and tries to define everyone by their genders, parents of intersex children usually feel pressured to choose a "true" sex to raise their child as, even when their doctors have no idea what their child's "true" sex is and may as well settle it using a coin flip.

A picture of \*Mute, from Analogue: A Hate Story, incredulously asking the player if something really happened to someone else.

Geez, *Mute, show a little respect.

Sometimes, an intersex child grows up and realizes their parents called "heads" when they should've called "tails" (or just let the coin lay on its side). Sometimes, they don't even know their parents made the call. They just know they don't fit in the box they've been put in, and it's making them miserable.

Sometimes, a person feels this way even when they aren't visibly intersex, and there is no outward indication that they are anything other than their assigned gender. The only sign that things are wrong is that person's misery and feeling of not-right-ness, which psychologists call gender dysphoria and the people who go through it call "being trans."

"I am confused about my gender"

This is a common stereotype, about what it means to be trans. But while the process of self-discovery that trans people go through starts with being confused, that's usually not where it ends. By the time someone comes out as transgender (i.e. announces it to their friends and/or loved ones), they feel confident that their actual gender is not the one that they were assigned by the doctors at birth. Whether they now consider themselves to be "male," "female," "both depending on my mood," "none of the above," or even simply "I don't know yet."

They may not have figured everything out yet, and it can sound confusing to hear them discuss it when you don't know what the words mean and have never met someone like them (at least not and knew that you had). But just because you're confused about what gender somebody else is, that doesn't mean that they are, or that you know better than they do how they should feel about what they see in the mirror.

Finding out what you are

The first step can be as simple as finding out "transgender" is a thing, and immediately knowing "that's me." Other times, it takes years of soul-searching and introspection, during which time you might legitimately be confused. The reason that you are confused, though, is because you were told to expect one thing (feeling like your assigned gender is natural) and encountered another instead.

The answer isn't to double down on the thing that you know isn't right (i.e. acting out your assigned gender's role), in the hopes that this will somehow make dysphoria go away. If anything, that just makes it worse. The answer is to try something different, and see if it makes you feel better. Whether it's trying on another gender's clothing, playing a character of another gender in an online video game (where no one can see what you look like "IRL"), or even "transitioning" genders through medical and/or cosmetic treatments.

For a thing that supposedly comes naturally, being a man sure takes lots of work. Click here if you can't see the video.

Unfortunately, trans people -- as opposed to women of Chinese legend -- can't just transition in a Disney montage. It takes time, money, and effort, both to undergo treatments like hormone therapy and to ... well, basically learn everything that a person of your actual gender is normally taught from birth, in a very short time.

Worse, trans people are especially vulnerable during this time, because they might be visibly (or audibly) "between genders," which is just about the worst thing a person can be in sex-obsessed North American society. On top of that, they have to face the reactions of their family, friends, and acquaintances, which can range from "I love you no matter what" to "pack up your things and get out."

In many American states, it is completely legal to terminate someone's employment or kick them out of their rented home because of their gender identity. (This may mean that you could fire someone for being cisgender, or "not trans." But I don't know for sure because I'm not a lawyer, and there isn't a cisgender rights lobby because as far as I know no one has ever done that.)

In many places there's no social stigma for treating trans persons like crap. Some religions actively mandate it. Doctors and police may be hostile, and even emergency medical technicians may refuse treatment. There are few protections of any kind for trans persons specifically, which may be part of the reason their suicide and mortality rates are so high.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance, held each year on November 20, memorializes the lives of trans persons lost to violence. This, if anything, is what characterizes the "transgender lifestyle," especially for trans women of colour: Living your life in fear.

My transformation story

My birth certificate says that I'm male, and up until my late teenage years I thought I was okay with that. It helps that boys get cooler toys to play with.

Silly girl. Can't she see the Atari XL isn't pink? Click here if you can't see the video.

Even when I was little, though, I was fascinated with stories of transformation, like in myth and in young adult fantasy. I remember reading a story about a girl who was transported back in time and was suddenly living her ancestor's life, with her clothes changing to match. And I imagined going through the same thing, including becoming a girl. It just seemed really neat.

I picked female characters in video games, when they were portrayed as equally competent. I liked Samus from the Metroid series, and Blaze from Streets of Rage II. When Digimon Tamers debuted on TV, I became a Renamon fangirl, and bought mediocre PlayStation games just so I could play as her. I also wrote self-insert fanfic (which I never published) starring me as a tamer and her as my Digimon partner.

Of course, my self-insert was female.

A picture of an anthropomorphic fox with stylized yin-yang designs on her fur.

Admit it: Renamon is way cooler than you are.

Later on, "Erin Fox" kept showing up in the tabletop RPGs I GMed, from Star Wars to Dungeons and Dragons, as a helpful non-player character. I tried to make a male self-insert, but kept killing them off or sidelining them because I just wasn't all that invested in them.

It didn't help that I was raised Mormon. So in between being asked by my adult male bishop, one-on-one behind closed doors, about my sexuality, I was bombarded with messages about how women are "God's crowning creation." While "the natural man is an enemy to God" and I was a dirty good-for-nothing, if I didn't completely stop masturbating and thinking about sex at all, go on a two-year proselyting mission to convert more people to Mormonism, and get a high-paying job so I could support a wife and twelve kids.

Obviously, this isn't the message that most Mormon men get. If anything, their self-flagellating rhetoric about how they'd be starving, naked, and on fire without their wives, is a means of overcompensating for how Mormon culture treats women as inferior.

The last man to speak on motherhood was Brother Rick Dalmonico, 23, a new father. “Sometimes when I come home and my wife is nursing our newborn, the spirit is so strong that I feel it would be irreverent to interrupt them,” he confessed. “So I just usually go in the other room and watch football. I wouldn’t want to interfere with something as sacred as precious motherhood.”

-- From "The Sugar Beet," a parody Mormon newsletter

In my case, though, it hurt because I was a woman. I didn't just dislike the insulting male stereotype they presented me with; I hated having to be male to begin with. I wasn't just ashamed of the "sacred parts" of my body, after being taught to feel bad for having sexual feelings. I was disgusted by them, so much so that I could barely admit I was morbidly fascinated with these bizarre alien things.

I didn't want to have them. I didn't want to sound like this, I didn't want to be shaped like this, I didn't want to hear jokes about "testosterone poisoning" causing car accidents and feel ashamed for having it.

If I'd had the choice, I would have picked "female"

But Mormons believe you consented to live the life you have, in the "pre-existence." So I told myself it was my burden to bear, an act of self-sacrifice so that through marriage, I could complete a person who was born female.

My Mormon parents mostly supported me through my deconversion, which occurred after I realized gay people have feelings too and "the church" is making life Hell for them. My mother of origin only cried in front of me once, and my father of origin only called me "stupid" once or twice, at least where I could hear him. He went on about the "cloud of darkness" that I brought into their home, when I visited. But it was because I was afraid that my brothers would stab me to death, like one had basically threatened to, not because I was playing Final Fantasy III.

When I came out as transgender, it was a different story. He cut off contact with me completely, right before Christmas, except to do something stupid and hateful that made life much harder and more expensive for me. I tried to reach out to my other family members, but my mother of origin made it clear that everything about my life that they disapproved of (which was seemingly just about everything) was off-limits for discussion. Meanwhile, one of my brothers broke radio silence long enough to express his disgust at me, and to compare me to a violent criminal just for doing what amounted to growing my hair long and changing my name.

Clearly, Sephiroth's REAL crime was not getting a haircut. Click here if you can't see the video.

The point of the above story isn't to shame my family of origin, or to open myself up to amateur psychoanalysis by people who want to know the real reason I'm trans. It's to give an idea of what the life of a transgender person is like. And I said "life" and not "lifestyle," because the latter is used as a slur. It depersonalizes those that it's used against, and reduces whole people to what's in between their legs and what they choose to do in bed.

Sex-obsessed North American society sees those things as more important than anything else about a person. The stories we tell, the things we create, and the causes we choose to devote ourselves to are irrelevant. Just like my 16-year-old self sitting in Priesthood quorum, unable to take my mind off of how many "sausages" were in the room with me, a lot of people see trans folk of whatever kind (but especially trans women it seems) and all they can think of is sex. The kind they don't like.

It's wrong. Please stop.

My transitioning does not hurt, endanger, or threaten anyone. I am not going to turn you gay. I am not going to make your child trans. The only thing my being "out" does is remind you that people like me exist.

If you can't bear to think of that, then maybe I don't want to be in the same world as you, either.

Screenshots from Pokémon Black and White versions and Analogue: A Hate Story.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

(Content note: TERFs, transmisogyny, xenophobia directed at otherkin and other invisible minority groups.)

I wrote, awhile back, about some social justice warriors on Tumblr, who take a break from smashing the kyriarchy to enforce it on minorities they don't like.

Not all people who profess a concern for social justice, or identity as SJWs are like this. The ones who are, though, use a skill that I called "mind-reading," but is really more like "depersonalizing someone by claiming their identity is not genuine and is just an extension of their privilege."

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Conservative pundits and religious leaders seem to have a thing against Facebook and Twitter. Not because of how Twitter can be used to harass women and minorities, or how Facebook's "no pseudonyms" policy excludes anyone concerned for their safety, but because they let people share themselves with the rest of the world.

"Nobody wants to know what you ate for breakfast!" they cry, and accuse people of narcissism for thinking otherwise. I could hear their voices, figuratively speaking, while writing that last entry, about things I find fun (and why I apparently can't stand them).

When I think of narcissists, though, I think of people like them. Shallow, egotistical hypocrites, who at best are extremely un-self-aware, and at worst hate and envy almost everyone else. Who whine about "whiners," complain about "complainers," take offence at people who "choose to be offended," and use force to prevent clergy members from performing marriages (and women from accessing health care) on the basis of "religious liberty."

What they all have in common, is that they seem to think things were much better when no one had the words to describe who they were, how they felt, and how others were hurting them.

That's why my profile, in the sidebar, currently lists the words that I use to describe myself. And why I write so much about what I go through. Because people, including myself, need to be reminded that this is all real. These feelings are real, these experiences really happened, I really am the kind of person for whom it makes sense to do these things and see myself this way. For whom it hurts not to be able to.

That's what it was like, before I knew the words. Before "cis" and "trans," before "allistic" / "autistic," before "fictive" and "therian" / "otherkin." It hurt, and I had no concept of why.

I had feelings for both male- and female-presenting persons, before I knew what "pansexual" was.

I saw humans as other, and identified with animals, before I knew what a "therian" was.

I thought I was demon-possessed, before I knew about multiplicity and trauma splits.

And when I read my stories back to myself, I heard them read in a female voice, in my head.

If someone had taught me the words when I was much younger, I would've been one of those 12-year-olds who wants to take androgen blockers. I would've worn cat ears or a fox tail, past the point where adults stopped seeing it as cute. I would've latched onto everything I saw that reminded me of myself, that struck me as sacred, that seemed real and not made-up like the rest of society.

And I would've written about it sooner, too. Because I need to put things into written words, to explain them to myself ... and because I'm not the only one who needs all these things explained to.

I'm not sure that's so different from writing about what you had for breakfast, either. How else are people going to find the best place to get coffee and French toast?

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

That's the most commonly rendered version of Google's motto, which most people invoke ironically these days as they point out the latest evil thing Google did. But you can do a lot of evil stuff without ever seeing yourself as evil. And if you're measuring how good you are by how evil someone else is, you get to be one of those people who wants a cookie for not being as terrible as someone else.

I personally feel that if you are alive, then you deserve to be alive, by default and until proven otherwise. I believe that "kindness is goodness;" that you are a good person just for being the kind of person you are, and that if anyone says otherwise or tries to prevent you from being yourself then they are being unkind to you.

I believe that some people are damaged, disabled, marginalized, or ill. I believe they deserve to exist, and to participate fully in society. I think it is the responsibility of abled people to accommodate them. I believe in solidarity with these people, and in giving up privilege or inconveniencing myself in order to keep them from having to do without things that they need or that I take for granted. I believe this is best done not through individual acts, but as a society, so that the responsibility is spread out and so that they do not need to beg.

I believe that some people are dangerous, including (but not limited to) carnivores, narcissists, and white European Americans. I don't believe that being dangerous means that a person is evil or must be destroyed. I believe there are ways to coexist, that do not have to involve harming innocents. But I believe that the burden is on the most dangerous people to find those ways, not on their victims. And I sympathize with those who resist them.

I believe that Chaotic Neutral is the best D&D alignment, because I feel it encompasses (or can encompass) all of the above. I believe you don't have to be "good" to be kind to others and empathize with them. I believe that the concept of "good" is overrated, and is often used to cover for dangerous people's actions, or to condemn those who resist them as "evil."

If "good" exists objectively, it is willing self-sacrifice on behalf of another. I don't feel that it's needed in order to be kind to others, because I feel that most people are naturally kind (or at least not dangerous) so long as their needs are met. But I do feel that kindness -- both in the sense of being yourself, and respecting the rights of others to do the same -- is a prerequisite for the kind of self-sacrifice that is helpful.

Otherwise, you end up seeing self-sacrifice as good in and of itself. You don't trust people who don't give up enough of themselves for "the greater good." And you give your all for other people, who you then expect to do the same for others, until there's no kindness left in the universe because everyone's trying so hard to be "good."

Or at least, to appear good. Which is much easier.

Resonance

Apr. 26th, 2014 01:28 pm
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: Talking about transitioning genders. May cause nervousness or squeamishness. Click here to skip to the "how do I girl voice" part, if you're trying to learn. You may have to expand the cut tags first, or click on the title of this essay to load it as a separate page.

Imagine that your survival as a person depended on your learning how to wiggle your ears.

Starting tomorrow, you're going to live undercover in a society of floppy-eared elves like the ones in World of Warcraft. You can wear floppy-ear makeup pieces just fine, but these elves use their ears to communicate subtle meanings in conversation, and if you can't do it right -- or at all -- they'll immediately know you're an outsider. So if you don't already know how to wiggle your ears, you've got to start learning, like, yesterday.

That's about how we felt when we found out we had to learn to affect a feminine resonance and tone of voice by ourselves. >_>;

If you're transitioning female-to-male, the hormones you'll take will basically do the job for you. They widen your vocal cords so that your voice gets deeper and more resonant. But if you're transitioning the other way, you've suddenly got to learn a ton of new skills ... starting with how to talk while squeezing your throat, so there's less space for sound to resonate in.

At the same time, you have to learn how to shift from "chest resonance" to "head resonance" while talking, so it feels like putting your voice in an imaginary corset and trying to hold it there and carry on a normal conversation that way. But even that isn't enough, because as it turns out, women and girls are socialized to talk in sort of a sing-song way, using emphasis in a lot more places and making it sound like a lot of statements are questions.

So you basically have to take acting lessons while your voice is wearing that corset. Oh, and if you overdo it at first, you can scar your vocal cords and cause permanent damage.

This is the part where I'd normally, like, other the person who's saying this. Try to turn off my empathy and set it aside, and be all like, "wow, the stuff some people have to go through." Because if I actually gave it more thought than that, it'd be terrifying.Read more... )

I wish it were okay to tell people "I'm trying. I'm not very good at this yet, but I'm learning." Or even "I don't know how to do this; please treat me like a person regardless."

If it were, I wouldn't have been so scared that I'd never acquire this skill.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Before you tell us we're being too mean or harsh, when describing our experiences, ask yourself this:

Would I say this if it were something I actually thought was a big deal?

Because there's this tendency to side with the people who share your privilege over the people your group victimizes. Like when Brendan Eich resigned as CEO of Mozilla, after the outcry over his $1,000 donation to California's Proposition 8, and a lot of self-identified progressives and "allies" suddenly accused LGBTQA advocates of being bullies.

What if he'd used that money to donate to a campaign to deprive women of the vote? Or to reinstate poll taxes? What if he'd written an essay in favour of one of the many, many 2012 candidates who expressed inane views about women's reproductive biology?

If you feel that it's more important to shield bigoted hetero cismen from the consequences of their bigotry than it is to let LGBTQA persons have a safe workspace, then just say so. Just say you accept those other issues as real and valid, as things that it's Not Okay Ever to do, but that paying money to deprive LGBTQA persons of basic rights is just a mistake like eating the last donut. That you feel it's something anyone could reasonably be expected to do, that it doesn't really hurt anyone, and that it's creepy and weird for others to get all upset over it.

Likewise, if you really think that we're a foxraptor, or a plural system, or fictive, or female. Then please treat our identities as being as legitimate as your own, and defend them like you'd defend your own. Act like the laws have already been passed; failing that, act like it is a bug, and not a feature, that they haven't already.

This isn't a Take That to anyone in particular. Mostly, we wrote this one for ourself.

We just want to add that if anyone doesn't see us as real, or has their own personal headcanon or theological explanation for what we are, we would ask that they keep it to themselves. We're okay with suggestions; we're not okay with being told that our story's not real, and we really fit into your own. After growing up in the Mormon church, we've had our feelings and identities denied enough for two lifetimes.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

And was reminded of why I usually don't.

I'm a fan of the kind of intersectional feminism I usually see advocated on the Geek Feminism blog, even if I think it doesn't go far enough (it's annoying to hear people equate "human" with "person"). My experience with Tumblr social justice activism, though, has been much more negative.

It's not about people there being young, queer, or angry, or being whatever kind of person isn't allowed to have an opinion. It's not about being called on my privilege, either.

It's the mind-readers.

Tumblr social justice mind-readers know that you're being yourself just to upset them. Your identity is either a roleplaying character bio or proof that you "need help." You are appropriating them and their marginalized identity by being who you are, and you need to stop it right now.

This is hard for me to deal with, because it's the same kind of crap that I've gotten from my parents of origin and from religious authority figures my whole life. The person I am, they say, is unacceptable to them, is a performance I'm deliberately putting on just to offend them. I can choose to stop any time I want, and the fact that I haven't yet is proof that I'm terrible.

This really gets to me. Because deep down, I feel like the correct response is to disappear for their benefit, even if I have to kill myself to do so.

It takes a conscious effort for me to tell myself that no matter who someone is, no matter what authority they claim, and no matter what they're accusing me of, if the choice is between upsetting them and dying then I have to flip them the bird. Because that really does not come naturally for us.

Even though we're part protobird.

If our saying that upsets someone, or our using the first-person plural whenever we feel like it upsets someone, the most I can do for them is apologize for the confusion. I don't have the time or emotional resources to educate everyone who challenges me to a debate and then argues in bad faith. I'm not obligated to justify my existence to anyone.

The only obligation I feel is to explain who I am, what is important to me, and why. For my benefit, and for the benefit of anyone else who's having trouble finding the courage to be themselves.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: Religious, physical, and arguably sexual abuse, as well as non-graphic discussion of sexuality which may be TMI for some.

This is what I was taught, growing up in the Mormon church:

Your body is the temple of God, and it belongs to him. Your "sacred parts" were given to you so that you can create new bodies for God's spirit children, and to form bonds in a marriage relationship between husband and wife. You are not allowed to use them for any other purpose. You may not have those feelings in any other situation.

Beyond that, I was taught covertly and overtly that the rest of my body belongs to God and/or to the people around me. The Word of Wisdom, the Mormon dietary code which forbids coffee and tea, was imposed on me whether I wanted it or not. My parents of origin got mad at me for trying to refuse physical affection, when it was forced on me by them or church members. And one leader I had in Boy Scouts forced himself on me, roughing up my shoulders for what seemed like a whole minute after I told him I'd just had a tetanus shot, and telling me I was a "wuss" and that I needed to "beef up!"

Beyond that, there was an expectation that I make myself bodily available for any meeting, calling, or requirement my family or church imposed on me. I was guilted for staying home sick from church, and even guilted myself for it because deep down I knew that I wanted to stay home. I was asked to help tear down a home that had been damaged in Hurricane Katrina, and was given no facial protection in rooms filled with dust and mold spores. I understood that I could get violently sick or physically harmed on a two-year proselyting mission, but that it was my responsibility to go anyway, because God owned my life and he demanded this tithe of my time.

People in "the world" think they own their bodies and lives, I was taught, but those are Satan's lies. A life lived for yourself is shallow and meaningless, filled with cheap pleasures and devoid of the love of marriage and family relationships. Only through marrying in God's temple can those relationships continue beyond the grave. Everyone needs to be taught this, and anything that could interfere with the eternal family needs to be destroyed.

Including my awful, unworthy "habit" of masturbation, and my "addiction" to "pornography." Which is what they called looking up PG-rated furry art, with scandalous things like bare shoulders in it.

This is how I feel about myself, deep down, even today. If I am ever in a situation where I'm having sexual feelings, especially when there's the possibility of having them with someone else, I panic and either freeze up or try to escape. On two separate occasions I've bailed when people I was attracted to tried to initiate sexual encounters. When I'm alone, the easiest way to get through it is just to give in, but I try to do so as quickly as possible so I can get back to pretending I'm not the kind of person who actually wants to.

It's not "just" sex, either, as though a need at the core of my being to be intimate with someone who loves and appreciates me is a hobby I could set aside. It's everything. Going around town today, I felt like I do not belong here and any second now someone's going to call me out on that fact. It wasn't as bad as it was before antidepressants, and I did just have a depressive episode yesterday which kind of weakened me. But I live in what feels like the most whitebread American suburb ever, and every day I set foot outside the park that surrounds where I live I'm reminded that people move here to get away from people like me.

(Of course, when I go to the city it's like being hit with a wall of NOISE. Hyperacusis FTW.)

I don't know how to change the way I feel about myself. Sometimes I don't feel this way, and I have more energy and can forget that I'm not supposed to exist. But everything crashes down whenever I'm triggered, or when I encounter a situation where I'm reminded that my "sacred parts" still exist. Suddenly I am a horrible, selfish person, who's trying to take from God and from other people what is rightfully theirs.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
  1. Deny that they exist.
  2. Deny that they are people.
  3. Deny that it's okay to be the kind of person they are.
  4. Deny that it would be harmful for them to try to be someone else.
  5. Deny that you're hurting them through your words and actions.
  6. Deny that they don't deserve to be hurt, and that the anger they and others feel towards you for hurting them is justified.
  7. Deny that anyone close to you could ever be that kind of person.
  8. Deny that you are that kind of person.

When we turned all those "deny"s into "accept"s, everything changed for us.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

I don't have a lot of clean clothes to wear to a social outing tomorrow.

If I wear the clothes I don't like, I'll look unmistakably male (but with long hair).

If I wear the clothes I do like, I won't be able to use gendered restrooms.

I considered just saying "to heck with it" and overtly presenting as female, meaning wearing makeup and prosthetics. But if I do that, I run the risk of being identified as a trans woman, whether by my voice slipping, my appearance not being perfect, or a clueless acquaintance outing me.

(Content note: Transphobia and anatomy.)

Read more... )

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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