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Content note: Political violence, physical violence, and why I feel using the latter to combat the former will get us all killed. Or at least, all of us whose bodies are politicized.
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If you're an abled white man, we don't need you to punch Nazis for us. The Nazis can and will take out their anger on more vulnerable targets. What we need is for you to pick one of the battles we're waging, and use your power and privilege to shield us. Either give what we need to keep fighting, or find out where the line of fire is and get in the way. In MMO terms, we're cycling DoTs on the raid boss, but we need you to heal, buff, and tank for us.
(MMORPGs are a much better lens to view a group struggle through than solo shooter / adventure games, because anyone who's worked with seventeen other people to clear Dynamis knows what happens when someone refuses to listen, or makes the run all about them.)
Nazis talk tough and collect firearms, but they're fucking cowards. All bullies are. Just look at how scared they are of trans, female, and/or PoC bodies, let alone yours! If you make it clear you oppose them, you don't need to throw punches to get them to back down. Most of the time, all you need to do is tell them to fuck off. Just make sure we're okay, afterwards, and that you listen when we say what we need.
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.
Check out this mech:
This is the XV95 Ghostkeel battlesuit, the latest in Tau stealth technology. And the one that Games Workshop's weekly magazine is doing action shots of, decloaking inside the Cadian lines, has a female pilot. Plus, the model has a feature where you can pop open the cockpit and put a pilot figure inside, and it includes a female head for her (with a Y-shaped nasal opening instead of an I-shaped one).
Even better? This week's issue confirms that a female head is included in the new box of Fire Warriors. The one that also comes with the new pulse shotgun weapons, the MV36 Guardian Drone, and the DS8 Tactical Support Turret, plus pieces for markerlight drones. <3
These are our most basic troops, the ones pretty much every Tau player will buy when they're just starting out. And you can model one helmetless soldier as a woman, one who wears the same beat-up armour as everyone else and is doing the same dangerous jobs.
Our faction's fluff already said we had gender equality. But in practice we rarely saw female representation in models, Shadowsun notwithstanding. I once had an opponent put up a fuss about being corrected on my models' pronouns, despite the fact that he also played Tau and he knew that we fielded Fire Caste troops of all genders.
Obviously, there's still a long way to go before women can be considered "equal" in 40k, both at the gaming table and on its imagined battlefield. But this is an amazing first step. I'm so proud of them :')
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.
Content note: Sexism, rape, and abuse.
Creeps and assailants of any kind—rapists, harassers, inappropriate co-workers, slimy strangers in a bar—rely on complicity to function. They know it is unlikely that their actions will elicit repercussion. They commit crimes [...] without fear of ever being punished because they’ve learned that they won’t be. And so we have a culture that treats [victims] like voiceless, undermined objects of servility. [...]
Silence may seem civilized, but passivity is diabolical.
- Carly Lewis, The Year of Complicity
The original piece is specifically about certain high-profile, famous rapists, whose fame entitled them to commit horrible acts while others looked the other way. I feel that it really describes why I haven't felt comfortable in any Free Company in FFXIV, though, and I will explain why so that people who don't play the game can relate it to their own experiences.
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I hope I will eventually find enough people in-game who value my friendship that I'll feel safe in their home and their chat.
(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."
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Eventually — perhaps a generation from now, perhaps two, but not much longer than that — there will be a statue honoring Kate Kelly in Salt Lake City. People there will find it confusing. Either it will confuse them because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will have become more inclusive, and so the idea of excommunicating an advocate for women’s ordination will seem strange, or else because the LDS won’t have become more inclusive, and thus most people seeing the statue will have a hard time remembering what a Mormon was.
The last time this happened, with black men being ordained to the priesthood in 1978, institutional Mormonism (separate and distinct from the personal faith of a number of Mormons) was able to basically sweep it all under the carpet. You can bet the black community remembered, but they're so underrepresented within the LDS church's membership that I could have Sunday School teachers give me racist explanations for the ban without anyone challenging them.
This is going to affect roughly half their membership. Even if they make it an optional thing, that women don't get until they turn 19* or go on missions or something, it's still going to be huge. I don't know what effect the Internet will have on it, since a lot of Mormons self-censor their web usage, but there are a lot more who are informed about their history and feminist issues this time around than there were during the Equal Rights Amendment battle.
A lot of them are going to become tomorrow's leaders. The only question is whether this will happen inside of or outside the LDS church.
* Mormon boys (meaning young Mormons assigned male, since they don't "get" gender identity) are ordained to the priesthood at age 12, if they pass a "worthiness interview" which requires them to discuss their sex life with a middle-aged man one-on-one behind closed doors. They repeat these interviews at least every two years, until they are ordained an "Elder" at age 18. If they confess to masturbating, it is often (usually?) seen as a reason to deny their ordination to the next office of the priesthood, which amounts to public shaming and causes a great deal of "concern" for them.
This is how Mormon boys learn to lie.
I've said some nasty, indiscriminate things about "Mormons" before, as though they're this monolithic bloc of narcissists who all caused me personal pain. But after a few years of reflection, I feel like I have more in common with the progressive Mormons on sites like Feminist Mormon Housewives and Young Mormon Feminists, than I do with the antitheists in places like exmormon reddits. All three of us picked and chose which doctrines to keep when we disaffected from the orthodox Mormon church, and a lot of the "exmos" I've seen kept some of Mormonism's worst aspects; the need to be "right" at all costs, the smug sense of certainty, the elevation of personal epiphanies to the status of universal truths, and the emphasis on purity and conformity over humaneness.
In contrast, the feminists of Ordain Women and their supporters have been trying, really hard, to make an inhumane institution more hospitable for marginalized people. For women, children, LGBT persons, and everyone that institutional Mormonism leaves out. And right now, with this blow that comes directly from people they've all been taught to admire and practically worship, they're hurting.
I know a lot more of them are going to leave over this. I wish that wasn't the case, not because I think institutional Mormonism deserves their talent and support (it doesn't) but because I know what it's like to do that. It's one of the most painful things that I had to do, and I still haven't recovered after more than four years on the outside. I still follow what's going on with them, and who's being affected and hurt. And I hope, and pray to Inari, that there will be a soft landing for those who have to choose this for their and their children's sake.
I hope they find true friends and families of choice, and are appreciated for who they are, and not how well they fit into a lie. About divinity, about this world, and about everyone in it.