Weekly Open Thread with Animals being Jerks

Animals don’t only do cute and cuddly, and some jerkish critters are hosting this week’s open thread. Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the week.

So, what have you been up to? What would you rather be up to? What’s been awesome/awful?
Reading? Watching? Making? Meeting?
What has [insert awesome inspiration/fave fansquee/guilty pleasure/dastardly ne’er-do-well/threat to all civilised life on the planet du jour] been up to?

* Netiquette footnotes:
* There is no off-topic on the Weekly Open Thread, but consider whether your comment would be on-topic on any recent thread and thus better belongs there.
* If your comment touches on topics known to generally result in thread-jacking, you will be expected to take the discussion to #spillover instead of overshadowing the social/circuit-breaking aspects of this thread.

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177 comments for “Weekly Open Thread with Animals being Jerks

  1. Matthew
    January 31, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    I’ve moved to New York in the last week! First time that I’ve lived in America. If anyone has any tips about what to see, visit, do or eat, however small, they would be very much welcomed. I’m already planning on doing Pizza Brunch, Russian gay bar, and Brooklyn Museum tomorrow (not sure in which order), but I’m sure there is more to do. ;-)

    • EG
      January 31, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      Lower East Side Tenement Museum, definitely, for some good NYC history! Also, go see Grand Central, because it’s beautiful.

      • Matthew
        January 31, 2014 at 7:19 pm

        Thank you EG! The museum looks fantastic! And I’ll definitely do Grand Central too. :-)

    • January 31, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      The Metropolitan Museum! Never been to NYC but I’d love to visit that.

    • J
      February 2, 2014 at 8:10 am

      Hey, welcome to NYC!

      If you’re going to the Brooklyn Museum, visit Prospect Park, too! It’s beautiful – designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. In the spring, you should also go to the Prospect Park Zoo and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. They’re all within walking distance of the museum. And so is the flagship of the Brooklyn Public Library.

      Also, regarding the Metropolitan Museum, just wanted to let you know that you don’t need to pay to get in. There was a big kerfuffle about this last year or maybe two years ago, with some people feeling like the museum was tricking people (particularly out-of-state visitors) into paying. Just an fyi.

      Other cool things to visit: Smorgasburg (especially in the warmer seasons when it’s outside), Green-Wood Cemetery, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Bronx Zoo, and the Bronx Botanical Garden. I’d recommend walking around a lot, too. It can be a lot of fun (and super interesting) to just stroll though the neighborhoods.

      • Matthew
        February 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm

        Thank you J (and kittehserf)!
        Great tips! I’ll be working in the Bronx so definitely intend to visit a few of the places there, and just not just eat my way through the district. ;-) Although I’ll probably do that too.

      • Donna L
        February 11, 2014 at 11:15 pm

        If you’re in the Bronx, the Woodlawn Cemetery is worth a visit as well.

    • February 2, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Tip #1 – shit is f—ing expensive around here.

      • Matthew
        February 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm

        Well, I work in Zurich usually, so actually I’m finding it cheaper generally, – repeating this to myself I know that sounds bad. Most importantly… I finally can get more than 100ml of wine when I’m out in a single service. Umm… the important things in life…

    • ldouglas
      February 3, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Welcome! It’s cliche, but all my favorite experiences/discoveries in NYC have been the result of long exploratory walks. As a food-lover, it’s amazing stumbling across little hole-in-the-wall places you’d never have found on any list; for example, last month I found a place run by a Korean woman and Mexican man who got married in the 80’s in Amsterdam and love telling their (unbelievably cool) life story to everyone while serving things like Bi Bim Bap Burritos (for $4.50, which in this city is a steal).

      So honestly, the best advice I have without knowing more about what you’re looking for is to just pick some areas and start walking around. Can I ask what neighborhood you’re in (or however specific an area you feel comfortable saying)?

      • Matthew
        February 11, 2014 at 8:54 pm

        Cheers Idouglas. I seem to have picked up a New York cold which is why I didn’t respond! I think I will certainly follow you up on your idea. In fact I did a little explore in Brooklyn last weekend, and I’ve also enjoyed visiting lots of different gay bars in Greenwich Village. I’m in West Harlem, which is cheap and safe, and this means I don’t have to share with anyone… ;-)

    • February 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Since no one’s really going down this route here a few more things to do that fall more into the ‘misc. fun’ category

      Planet Rose on 14th and A is my favorite place for karaoke.

      Rodeo Bar on 27th and 3rd makes excellent margaritas and being a first time resident you may appreciate the Americana theme.

      Katz’s Deli on Houston has great hot dogs, pastrami, and is famous for that scene in ‘When Harry Met Sally’ If you take the suggestion about the Tenement museum, it’s right around the corner.

      Also, some of the best food around now is being peddled on food trucks (the vans, not the little carts where you see people coughing on pretzels as they buy their hot dogs.)

      • PrettyAmiable
        February 3, 2014 at 5:24 pm

        Have you tried Korilla BBQ? It’s my current obsession. I’ve never been, but want to go badly.

      • February 3, 2014 at 5:49 pm

        Have you tried Korilla BBQ? It’s my current obsession. I’ve never been, but want to go badly.

        Yes! It’s at the lot around the corner from me once a week. I prefer their rice bowls to their burritos, because when you wrap all that stuff up in a burrito you can’t really taste the individual flavors. Good food, not my favorite truck, but definitely good. Also, kind of expensive for a mobile lunch spot- $8-10 for one of their burritos.

      • Matthew
        February 11, 2014 at 9:04 pm

        Cheers Fat Steve! (Oh dear, I need to stop saying cheers, but I can’t help myself. ;-)) I love all food (and cocktails – although not all cocktails, but I do love margaritas) so your tips are very useful. Look forward to trying them out.

  2. January 31, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Basically repeating the comment I just left to close last week’s Open Thread, on the current #whitefeministrants hashtag response to much of the “toxic twitter feminism” discussion that’s been happening this week.

    I’d prefer if other white women on this thread don’t get too hung up on the “white” aspect of this hashtag (as has happened on similar hashtag conversations)- there are strong historical/sociological reasons why the very mainstream middle-class liberal strand of feminism being critiqued is being labeled “white feminism”, and it’s not just that it’s a shorter phrase to use on Twitter, but that’s not irrelevant either. If you really want to criticise the focus on whiteness, then that side-discussion belongs on #spillover (which, btw, was due for a new monthly thread at noon tomorrow, but I’ve brought that forward and just opened it up a few minutes ago)

    • Lolagirl
      February 1, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Holy Moley, is that article full of shit.

      I couldn’t even get through the whole thing without wanting to scream, what a load of self-absorbed, shallow, defensive nonsense. Yeah, no, white feminist ladies don’t get to have their butts hurt over not getting to run the feminist show for everyone else. I am a white feminist woman, and I get this.

      Am I seriously missing something here? Intersectionality fail, or something else?

      • February 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm

        I didn’t get anything more out of it either, Lolagirl. Some of us have linked to various blog-responses over in the Signal Boosting thread where a link to Goldberg’s article was first posted – there’s some excellent reading from Veronica I. Arreola at Viva La Feminista, Crommunist and Andrea Smith at PrisonCulture.

        We’ve been involved over the years in various transformative justice and community accountability efforts. We know something about the importance of allowing for mistakes. We all make them. We understand something about intentions (good and bad). But we also understand the imperative that when you know better you should try to do better. And here’s the thing. Many white feminist now know better (or they should) but they simply refuse to do better. That’s the truth. The pain, anger, and frustration that emanate from this must find their place. Often, that place is online.

      • Lolagirl
        February 1, 2014 at 3:25 pm

        Thanks for the links, tigtog!

        Another thing that has me steamed is the anti-trans apologism fail in Goldberg’s article. More defensiveness, in the name of oh no, not me, you don’t understand, and you’re hurting MY FEELINGS!

        Alas, the whole point is that it’s not all about you, white feminist ladies. Get over it. I’m frankly kind of embarrassed that this person seems to think that she can self-appoint herself the Spokesperson Of All The Aggrieved And Misunderstood White Women.

        Off to read some more links…

      • Miriam
        February 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

        Yes, I think you have. Michelle Goldberg’s work is not the first or only work to discuss the problems of online toxicity and call out culture. I’m not sure how or who really started the conversation because online chronology can be challenging to follow, but Katherine Cross, Veronica Bayetti Flores, and Ngọc Loan Trần have all written about it within the past two months (the first two in Feministing and the latter at Black Girl Dangerous, so not exactly in obscure places) Goldberg was synthesizing a conversation that is already happening, and she quoted and referenced the people who are already involved, many of whom are PoC.

        I’m not sure why the responses to her are so focused on her and ignore the other writers who have written really recently on this. But I have my suspicions that it’s because she can be labeled a white woman in a way the others can’t (Katherine Cross is a transwoman and I believe Puerto Rican) and thus can be placed into a framing of an entitled white woman who’s upset that WoC are pushing against her entitlement. (I have my own issues with the way in which Jewish women, as Goldberg is, are folded so unproblematically into whiteness but that’s it’s own potentially explosive comment) To date, I’ve not seen a response yet that acknowledges the variety of women talking about this.

        I am also sympathetic to this because I self-censor frequently when I’m in online feminist spaces because I don’t trust these spaces to engage in good faith. That I’m even making this comment is unusual for me since I fully expect my comment will either be ignored (since this is an older thread) or will result in mostly negative responses. But it’s very frustrating to see a conversation that I’ve been longing for get shut down essentially as “white woman frustrated she can’t be racist.”

      • Lolagirl
        February 3, 2014 at 3:59 pm

        There was a brief discussion had at Feministe about the shortcomings of the whole FemFuture thing here:
        http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2013/04/12/the-future-of-femfuture/. I think there are plenty of solid and well expressed criticisms of FemFuture in Caperton’s post as well as the links provided in that post. As Goldberg used that dust up as a jumping off point for her article I think looking back at those discussions can shed a good light at its shortcomings as well as the shortcomings of Goldberg’s overall pov.

        Because FemFuture DID leave out some of the really big issues facing a whole lot of women out there. And pointing that out was a good thing. If it upset some people and made them uncomfortable with being faced with their un-examined privileges and personal prejudices, that’s ultimately a benefit. Even if it was painful and uncomfortable. Ditto with the way the #solidarityisforwhitewomen controversy rightly laid bare the shortcomings within mainstream/internet Feminism.

        I also really, really think it’s a problematic to point to a few minority/WOC/LGBTQ voices who agree with you as if they speak for those groups as a whole, because there are at last as many if not more others who do disagree. Another concern I see here is that the calls for civility and sisterhood often seem to belie a gender essentializing undertone that is really kind of dangerous. Why should we have to all get along and agree, and nicely at that? Because it is a deeply ingrained social expectation that women be nice, and get along, and not disagree with others. And that any disagreement should be done self-effacing and apologetically.

        Sure, call-out culture can be painful for the person on it’s receiving end. But if we are all tip-toeing around trying to be nice and not hurt feelings or be too critical? I don’t see how that provides a net benefit to women or to feminism as a whole.

      • February 3, 2014 at 4:59 pm

        My co-blogger blue milk at Hoyden about Town (she’s also blogged on Feministe in the past) is hosting a discussion of the discourse around “toxic feminism” over there. The thread is up to 37 comments so far, if you want to take a look.

        Goldberg’s article mostly seems to fall within the ambit of many previous plaints arising in communities from all corners of the internet about insufficient civility in discourse, and for me that has been done and overdone in the past and is not at all specific to feminism and thus I don’t have much time for it. The spark that is worth engaging is the core of what blue milk’s post addresses, and which she quotes particularly Latoya Peterson as articulating (read blue’s post for the links), on the importance of centreing one’s work in one’s discourse and how seeking perfection in oneself and others interferes with the practice of activism and disrupts the work that needs to be done – sometimes the work prioritises swallowing protests against problematic acts in order to present a united front to pursue a particular goal, but sometimes a provocation is sufficiently damaging that the integrity of one’s practice demands speaking out against erasure and for accountability. It’s a balance that everyone has to find for themselves, and there is no magic way to ensure that everyone engaged in the same work is on the same page at every single moment.

      • trees
        February 3, 2014 at 6:49 pm

        I’m not sure why the responses to her are so focused on her and ignore the other writers who have written really recently on this. But I have my suspicions that it’s because she can be labeled a white woman in a way the others can’t (Katherine Cross is a transwoman and I believe Puerto Rican) and thus can be placed into a framing of an entitled white woman who’s upset that WoC are pushing against her entitlement.

        I’m guessing it has to do with how she managed to take legitimate criticism to center the hurt feelings of nice white ladies.

        (I have my own issues with the way in which Jewish women, as Goldberg is, are folded so unproblematically into whiteness but that’s it’s own potentially explosive comment)

        Would you care to elaborate on this point and how it relates to this issue?

        I am also sympathetic to this because I self-censor frequently when I’m in online feminist spaces because I don’t trust these spaces to engage in good faith.

        Is this really unique to feminist spaces? This assertion always make me think of “mean girls”.

      • February 3, 2014 at 7:10 pm

        I am also sympathetic to this because I self-censor frequently when I’m in online feminist spaces because I don’t trust these spaces to engage in good faith.

        As a philosophical counterpoint I offer that life in general would be more pleasant and meaningful if more people saw habitual self-examination with respect to acknowledging criteria for self-censoring as part of one’s checklist for whether one’s contributions to discourse are substantial and helping to progress the discussion.

        “3 questions to ask yourself before you speak…
        1. Does this need to be said?
        2. Does this need to be said by me?
        3. Does this need to be said by me NOW!?!”
        ~Craig Ferguson

        I doubt Ferguson claims that this is an original thought of his BTW, he’s merely the most famous recent exponent of it.

      • EG
        February 3, 2014 at 7:12 pm

        Is this really unique to feminist spaces? This assertion always make me think of “mean girls”.

        Yeah, I’ve never been involved in any kind of political or online community where this specter of meanness/nastiness/groupthink silencing those who fear being attacked for their opinions hasn’t been invoked. This means one of two things:

        1) I’m the problem, and am just a mean person
        2) This is in the nature of group conversations about important issues.

        I mean…if you speak publicly about issues that are near and dear to people’s hearts and affect their ability to live their lives, then indeed, responses will almost certainly be heated. That’s…what it means to speak publicly to people you haven’t met about things that matter to them. If the prospect of strangers attacking your positions intensely is too upsetting, then you’re probably better off not getting on the soapbox. But I don’t see how you get to have both, the public forum and the insulation from other people’s anger. I don’t even see that it would be a good idea.

      • trees
        February 3, 2014 at 7:59 pm


        Thank you for sharing the link to the post at Hoyden about Town.

      • Funty
        February 3, 2014 at 5:27 pm

        White women still can be pissed at it being the hundredth time that day they’ve seen women chastised for being insufficiently selflessly nurturing. Women get enough of that already.

        However, being told you’re only pissed because of previously unchallenged white superiority is, I suppose, a pleasant change from being told you’re only pissed because you’re premenstrual.

        But there’s still a feminine ideal that’s all self-sacrificial servility or GTFO, that we do a keep getting punished for not living up to and “Call out culture” is often just more of the same.

      • PrettyAmiable
        February 3, 2014 at 6:05 pm

        White women still can be pissed at it being the hundredth time that day they’ve seen women chastised for being insufficiently selflessly nurturing.

        You do understand that the reason these women are getting chastised has nothing to do with how “nurturing” they are or are not, and all to do with latent (or admitted) racist tendencies?

        Sorry. You don’t get to be a racist asshole “because patriarchy.”

      • Lolagirl
        February 3, 2014 at 6:56 pm

        Reading Blue Milk’s post over at Hoyden About Town (thanks for the pointing in the right direction, again, tigtog!) really did crystallize in my mind what bugs me the most about Goldberg’s article, which is that her complaints about online feminist discourse used as examples two specific controversies about how mainstream feminism so often shuts out all but white, middle class, cis women. Turning around and complaining about how mean everyone was who was disagreeing ignored the very issues of racism and classicism, cis sexism, etc that provided the very crux of the controversy.

        Trying to separate out the disagreeing from the reasons for disagreeing is foolish and disingenuous. And of course those marginalized people are going to respond strongly to their continuing to be shut out of discourse and even the movement itself. How is this at all surprising? Goldberg and her supporters can object about how they are being mischaracterized all they want, but when the issues giving rise to the calling out, and the strident and confrontational disagreement are as big as they are I refuse to agree that unexamined privilege and prejudice does not give rise to their feeling slighted in some fashion.

      • trees
        February 3, 2014 at 7:01 pm

        White women still can be pissed at it being the hundredth time that day they’ve seen women chastised for being insufficiently selflessly nurturing. Women get enough of that already.

        This is such an ahistoric Miss Ann-centric take on things.

      • EG
        February 3, 2014 at 7:14 pm

        This is such an ahistoric Miss Ann-centric take on things.

        Seriously. When was the last time white women were expected to be selfless and nurturing toward black and NA women?

  3. January 31, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Last night, I received some financial aid money in the form of a check: about $850. Just what I needed in a situation like this; I was really worrying about my savings going away completely before escaping the house. But I cashed it in today and now I’m set as far as I can tell. Things like this make me reconsider my non-religious and non-spiritual views.

    • Echo Zen
      February 1, 2014 at 12:50 am

      Everyone here is rooting for you to succeed, Ally.

  4. Echo Zen
    February 1, 2014 at 12:48 am

    I have absolutely nothing to contribute, except to say that’s the single greatest Weekly Open Thread video in history.

    • a lawyer
      February 1, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      Ditto. I thought my kids were going to throw up they were laughing so hard.

    • February 1, 2014 at 7:50 pm


      No surprise the clip of Max-Arthur riding the Roomba and smacking poor Sharky on the nose was in there. :D

    • Ledasmom
      February 2, 2014 at 11:54 am

      We here are particularly fond of “let’s you and him fight” cat. That and the cat who accidentally shuts the other cat in the box and is all “Nope. Nothing to see here. Acting casual now.”

  5. February 1, 2014 at 4:20 am

    Headed off to present at an undergrad conference in Edmonton.


    • February 1, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Yay! Hope it goes well. =D

  6. February 1, 2014 at 5:41 am

    Did anyone see my piece about the media coverage of Bruce Jenner on Jezebel?

    I’m always curious about what Feministe regulars think about my Jez pieces–especially this one, as it’s my first piece as a formal Jez writer.

    • February 1, 2014 at 11:39 am

      Sorry, I tend to avoid Jez mostly, and I don’t know who Jenner is, so particularly unlikely to click through on that story even if I saw a link.

      • February 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm

        p.s. congratulations on the gig though, being paid is always good!

      • Donna L
        February 1, 2014 at 3:43 pm

        How the mighty are fallen! Once upon a time, in the 1970s and 1980s back before the flood, Bruce Jenner was one of the most famous people in the world, and, for a while, had the informal title of “World’s Greatest Athlete,” for winning the decathlon at the 1976 summer Olympics in Montreal.

        There has recently been a great deal of unfortunate speculation, based on Jenner’s appearance and the fact that he apparently had a tracheal shave, that he’s trans and is in the process of transitioning. None of anyone’s business, of course, and that was the subject of Kyosuke’s excellent piece.

        It was a breath of fresh air to see Jezebel actually turn to a trans woman to write an article about trans issues.

      • February 1, 2014 at 5:41 pm

        Fair enough. I like checking in with feministe (and other feminist websites) now and then as a sort of touchstone to make sure my work on Jez is getting too far out there, if you know what I mean.

        And yeah, it’s definitely something I’ve wanted for a while, and after I disagreed so publicly with Jessica over the Dunham decision, I’m glad we can work together.

    • Donna L
      February 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Yes, I read it, and really liked it. Thank you for it.

    • Computer Soldier Porygon
      February 1, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      I didn’t see it (not really a Jez reader although I do fall into a Jez k-hole every couple of months haha) but I’ll definitely check it out!

    • Sharon M
      February 2, 2014 at 2:09 am

      I just clicked on it, very good.

      • February 2, 2014 at 11:05 pm


    • kat
      February 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      I read it and i liked it. there are very few enjoyable articles on Jez. Keep on writing; they need more and better articles like yours. :)

      • February 2, 2014 at 11:04 pm

        I like your name! *wink*

  7. EG
    February 1, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Major TW for rape and incestuous sexual abuse.

    I just tried to read the open letter Dylan Farrow wrote, which is on Nicholas Kristof’s blog. I couldn’t get past the second paragraph; it’s stomach-churningly upsetting, as well it should be. Hollywood does love its child-rapists and I can’t stand that I’m living in a country that honors shits like Woody Allen, because who cares what his daughter has to say about what he did to her when she was seven? What does she matter compared to some movies? I mean, it was never proven in a court of law (because the Connecticut DA decided to drop charges to spare the child the trauma of a trial), so let’s default to assuming she’s lying, right? Or crazy. Or anything so that we can go on applauding the rapist at awards shows.

    • Donna L
      February 1, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      I never really thought much about this until I read the long article in Vanity Fair, which has similarly upsetting information. It pretty much completely changed my opinion of him.

      • EG
        February 1, 2014 at 6:22 pm

        Honestly, I’ve always hated him–he directs so much contempt toward Jewish women in his movies. And even with Soon-yi, at best he thought his dick was so important that it was worth destroying the relationship between a mother and daughter over, and I always thought it had been more likely that he’d been grooming her, if not molesting her, for a long time. I really, really hate him.

      • Donna L
        February 1, 2014 at 6:40 pm

        I always thought it had been more likely that he’d been grooming her, if not molesting her, for a long time.

        It wouldn’t surprise me. (On the other hand, I do not appreciate some of the comments about Soon-Yi Previn that have been made over and over again by her mother’s supporters, essentially describing her as “retarded” and/or “developmentally delayed,” and allegedly incapable not competent to have decided to marry Allen. Which seems unlikely. She does have a master’s degree from Columbia, after all. As much as one may despise Allen, that’s no reason to patronize Soon-Yi.)

        Have you seen any of the many photos of Allen interacting with his and Soon-Yi’s young teenage daughters? Perhaps it’s all innocent, but under the circumstances — ugh.

        It seems that he also physically and verbally abused Ronan Farrow, even during supervised visitation, which was one of the reasons his visitation ended. He never wanted a son.

      • February 1, 2014 at 6:44 pm

        I didn’t know that Allen and Soon-Yi Previn had children together. I hope, I really hope, that they’re OK.

      • Donna L
        February 1, 2014 at 6:28 pm

        OK, I read the open letter. It’s devastating. The information is basically the same as what was in that Vanity Fair article, but I hope that reading Ms. Farrow’s own words will cause some of Allen’s supporters — including all the celebrities — to think again, instead of just being dismissive of what happened as a “he said, she said” story.

      • Donna L
        February 1, 2014 at 8:13 pm

        There are some depressing comment threads about this open letter on the several blogs I just looked at. There are certainly a lot of people being supportive, but there are also way too many saying (a) “she made it up; it’s like those recovered memory cases” (which it isn’t, since Dylan Farrow obviously never lost her memory of this); (b) Mia Farrow coached her, and is “crazy,” and besides Mia’s own brother just got sentenced to ten years in prison for child molestation (as if that’s relevant); and (c) “the Jews have a pedophilia problem” because of Allen and Polanski. (One person even brought up poor Leo Frank.) I’ve got nothing to say about that one. The others, unfortunately, don’t surprise me.

      • trees
        February 1, 2014 at 9:22 pm

        Ugh, I guess I’ll just stay away from the comment threads. I got through the Dylan Farrow article, but I’m still working up to reading the Vanity Fair piece. I came upon this article through following links: Isn’t it just a little weird that Mia Farrow is still friends with Roman Polanski? by Robyn Pennacchia at deathandtaxes

      • Donna L
        February 1, 2014 at 11:07 pm

        The reaction to this makes me even more convinced I did the right thing (for me) by not coming forward about what was done to me from the ages of 11-15, then or later, as guilty as I sometimes feel about not having done so and maybe prevented the same thing happening to others. The person was as prominent in his field as Allen is in his. Nobody would have believed me except maybe my mother, and I was not equipped to deal with anything like what would have happened.

      • trees
        February 2, 2014 at 12:26 am

        @Donna L
        Yes, it happened to me. I inadvertently told about one of my molesters, an upstanding church leader and member of my family. Not only was I not believed, but close family members also laughed, ridiculed, and accused me of trying to steal away my bio-aunt’s husband. I was about 8 or 9 years old. Like DF, abuse was just a normal everyday part of my childhood, and I made sure to never acknowledge or speak of it again. Really, no one cared.

        By keeping quiet, you may have saved yourself from a whole world of hurt. Being faced with the naked truth of what I already knew, that I didn’t matter, was far more traumatic than the sexual abuse itself.

      • Donna L
        February 2, 2014 at 12:44 am

        I’m so sorry, Trees, that people did that to you. It’s sickening.

      • Sharon M
        February 2, 2014 at 2:15 am

        Not only was I not believed, but close family members also laughed, ridiculed, and accused me of trying to steal away my bio-aunt’s husband. I was about 8 or 9 years old.

        *speechless* I cannot fathom even thinking that about a child, nor not taking their accusations seriously.
        How evil.

      • trees
        February 2, 2014 at 8:17 am

        In all fairness to my family, mental health and developmental issues affect their perception of reality.

      • PrettyAmiable
        February 2, 2014 at 2:02 pm

        Positive thoughts to both of you.

      • February 3, 2014 at 12:53 am

        (c) “the Jews have a pedophilia problem” because of Allen and Polanski. (One person even brought up poor Leo Frank.)

        Where did you see THAT?

      • Amelia the lurker
        February 3, 2014 at 7:43 pm

        (In reply to the nested comment)

        I have nothing to say either, except…Leo Frank, really?! They can’t let him rest in peace after 99 years?

    • February 2, 2014 at 7:18 am

      Yeah. That pretty much put Allen in the same category as Polansky for me. I.e., will not watch his films, am really disappointed when actors I like work with him. It’s just horrifying that we live in a culture that excuses this behavior.

    February 1, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Interlopers on Social Media: Feminism, Women of Color and Oppression“Feminist Twitter Wars.” [By Mariame Kaba and Andrea Smith, Prison Culture on Truth Out - author/publication attribution added by mods]

    Over the past 10 to 15 years in particular, feminist spaces have been concerned with and consumed by an Ahab like quest for building and enforcing “safe space.” As women of color, who live under white supremacy, settler colonialism, heteronormativity, capitalism and more, we know that such a place doesn’t actually exist. More importantly, what we have seen over the years is that “safe spaces” usually mean excluding us. They sometimes mean using “safety” as a substitute for “never uncomfortable spaces.” In this conceptualization, safety is often used as a cudgel to silence and to further marginalize.
    [well worth a read!]

    • February 1, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      That’s the same Andrea Smith article linked to above crossposted at Truth Out, glad to see it getting crosspost exposure.

  9. PrettyAmiable
    February 1, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Trigger warning on this link, and especially the game that the link directs you to read:

    Online game that walks you through what it is to experience rape.

    I can’t play the game because of my history, and had a bit of a PTSD response to the linked article, but there’s something almost heartening about not feeling alone in how I reacted – because the link sounds exactly right.

  10. kat
    February 2, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Taking a break from my thesis in order to post about working on my thesis.

    I have a couple of questions:
    1) for those of you who have graded papers for university students and senior high school students, how do you deal with racial micro-aggressions in a paper?

    2) how does anyone get through the insanity of writing a thesis? I want to have a chapter done by the end of this coming week. I am hoping i get there.

    • February 2, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      No experience with 2) but I do work in my college’s writing skills centre, so I can tell you that with 1), I do one of two things:

      a) “This is a racial microaggression (I don’t use the exact word but I do point out that it’s an incorrect or offensive assumption/statement) and this is why. You can keep it in your paper if you want, but it’s offensive and will be treated/graded as such.” I use this if the microaggression is an assumption, or an exclusion, or something unconscious.

      b) “Wow. This is really offensive.” (Followed by no explanation unless they ask for it.) I do this if the thing is just a flat-out racist statement.

      • PrettyAmiable
        February 2, 2014 at 3:43 pm

        Please, please tell me you don’t frequently need to do those things. But holy shit, if another commenter is asking…

        This is the kind of shit that makes me hate people.

      • kat
        February 2, 2014 at 3:53 pm

        in a class of over fifty. I found one racial and one dealing with sexual orientation. the racial one was less overt but struck me wrong right away and the second one was overt.

      • February 2, 2014 at 8:45 pm

        It’s not that frequent, and to give the students their credit, it’s usually cluelessness or ignorance rather than racism, but it does pile up, sometimes.

    • gratuitous_violet
      February 2, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      I do 1. on the regular, with senior high school students (I work at an after school program). I will write “the implications of this statement are troubling, please clarify” on a draft, and usually in clairification it either goes away because they were more clueless than anything, or gets worse. If the former, I will talk to them about why they thought it was appropriate in the first place; if the latter, I will tell them I will not edit or assist their work further unless they remove it, and any poor grade is their own responsibility. I don’t spend enough time with any individual student to get really in-depth about anything, but they certainly get a good explanation and a “don’t be racist” in red ink.

      To those who hope it doesn’t happen frequently…hoo boy. I dread the part of every school year when one of the local schools’ juniors are reading Huckleberry Finn and “learning” about the Civil War and Reconstruction at the same time. Although the most jaw-dropping paper I’ve ever had the misfortune of reading was a “literary discussion” of Elie Wiesel’s Night that basically scolded him for forsaking God and contemplating suicide, because “if he was quoting the Bible, he should have known Christ offers eternal salvation to everyone!

      That moment really made me wish I’d been a chemistry teacher instead.

      • February 2, 2014 at 8:27 pm

        I will write “the implications of this statement are troubling, please clarify” on a draft, and usually in clairification it either goes away because they were more clueless than anything, or gets worse. If the former, I will talk to them about why they thought it was appropriate in the first place

        This is pretty much my take on it. I’ve not had the guts to tell someone to take their crap and GTFO for microaggressions yet, but I work a contract job that I need quite desperately, and 99% of the time I’ve wanted to say that, it’s been a homophobic paper. Which wouldn’t make a difference, except the person I’d hand the client off to is gay, so it’d be two people being microaggressed at for the price of one and that just feels mean on my part (towards my boss, not the client).

    • EG
      February 2, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      Seconding Mac. I address the issue head-on: “If you do not put quotation marks around the word “savages,” it reads as if you yourself consider the peoples of the South Sea islands to be ‘savages.’ I assume you do not want to give that impression, but are denoting the way they are referred to by the narrator, so use quotation marks.” That kind of thing. For more explicit racism/homophobia/etc., “This kind of racist/homophobic/etc. remark is inappropriate for a scholarly paper/irrelevant to your topic/unacceptable in this class.”

      As for the thesis, don’t worry. Many, many people get through it with a wide variety of coping techniques. If you give me a few more details about what’s driving you up the wall, maybe I can offer some tips!

      • EG
        February 2, 2014 at 8:06 pm

        I do try to avoid the term “offensive,” because that makes it about somebody’s subjective hurt feelings rather than the baseline unacceptability of racism or homophobia. Like, the problem with the student claiming that finding out that Dumbledore was gay meant that it was creepy that he spent all that time alone with Harry was not that it offended me. The problem is that the equation of gay men with child molesters is inaccurate and dangerous, in that it has been used to justify the persecution of LGBTQ people. My feelings have nothing to do with it, except insofar as I do not permit dangerous lies to circulate in my classroom.

      • PrettyAmiable
        February 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm

        I do try to avoid the term “offensive,” because that makes it about somebody’s subjective hurt feelings rather than the baseline unacceptability of racism or homophobia.

        I’ve literally never thought of that before, and I think I’m going to stop calling things out as offensive and start just pointing out -isms for the reason you point out.

      • kat
        February 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm

        Just motivation and slow progression. I want to defend in May/June to move onto a Ph.d. Just feeling tired and spending waaay too much time reading news articles and facebook. and editing, I have a hard time editing my own work.

      • EG
        February 2, 2014 at 8:29 pm

        Here’s what I did: I decided I had to spend four hours a day, four days a week working. They could be any four days, and that could vary week by week. They could be any four hours in the day, and that varied day by day. And I could take a break in the middle for lunch or tea. The rest of my time was my own.

        As I got closer to the end of my dissertation–i.e. I got a job and had to graduate in May or else–I had to knuckle down harder, and spent copious amounts of time reading the LJ Customers Suck community.

        I found it very important and helpful in either scenario, though, to have an office separate from my home. Not only was my home too distracting, but having a separate office created a sense of “I am here to work; work is what happens in this place; since I am here, I suppose I’d better work,” which helped a lot. My adviser let me use her office, and before that, I used the library.

      • EG
        February 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm

        Of course, bear in mind that I HAVE TENURE* (I will never get tired of writing that or thinking it or saying it) and so can be as direct as I want about it.

        * I wore a slightly above-the-knee-length skirt with my combat boots the other day, because I HAVE TENURE. Also…I have far less compunction about pissing people off. Not that I ever had much, but still.

      • kat
        February 2, 2014 at 8:50 pm

        I have a shared office which helps. I though tenure was a myth or extinct.

      • Amelia the lurker
        February 3, 2014 at 7:46 pm

        I dream of doing that one day. Except it’s less about clothing and more about dying my hair unnatural colors like Sue Blackmore.

        By the way, I’ve always been curious—what field are you in? You don’t have to answer, but I’ve always wondered.

      • EG
        February 3, 2014 at 8:17 pm

        Funny thing is, until about a year ago, I kept two bright broad streaks in my otherwise dark brown hair of fire engine red (well, running the gamut from wine red to pale pink, depending on how recently I had dyed it). But since I’ve been doing a lot of hands-on godmothering, I just haven’t had the time to keep it up, and it’s grown out. It was my rebellion against the job market–everyone told me to dye them dark brown to match when I went on the market, and I just didn’t want to.

        So I completely support your unnatural hair colors! Do it!

        I’m an English professor, and my field of specialty is fairy tales and children’s literature. I can reveal all these specifics without fear, because even if somebody from my department reads this and recognizes me, well, I HAVE TENURE.

        Ahem. OK, I’ll stop. For now.

        What’s your field?

      • kat
        February 4, 2014 at 3:02 pm

        well to round out the language fields. I am in Linguistics focusing mainly on contact languages and Algonquian Linguistics.

      • February 5, 2014 at 11:44 am

        I’m not in academia, of course — I went wacky hair color to celebrate my escape to a more easygoing environment — but I currently have allover found-in-nature red with streaks of blond and pink on the underlayers. It looks almost work-appropriate until my hair moves around. Plus, I get to feel kind of like Jem with my secretly pink hair.

    • Amelia the lurker
      February 4, 2014 at 9:24 am

      I want to do it either before it becomes weird (adjunct time) or after it’s safe (tenure, but I’m really counting my chickens are hatched). I think the main things holding me back (besides worrying about looking “professional,” which makes my green-haired sixteen-year-old self grind her teeth) are 1) all of my loved ones (parents, SO, etc.) absolutely hate how I look with colors in my hair, on a purely aesthetic level and 2) unnatural hair colors might clash horribly with my style of dressing now, which contains a lot of polka dots and earth tones and houndstooth and fractal type things rather than, say, neon stripes and leopard print. Dark brown goes with everything, you know?

      Still, I was really happy when I had Fishbowl-colored streaks in my hair, and would like to do it again in spite of all of this.

      I’m an English professor, and my field of specialty is fairy tales and children’s literature.

      Oh, cool! I’m a little bit familiar with Jack Zipes’ work, but that’s it. I’d like to know more about fairy tales, especially the pre-Grimm, pre-Perrault traditions.

      What’s your field?

      I’m a PhD student in French literature, specializing in repression and self-fashioning in the nineteenth century. But I have an English background, since both my parents

      • Amelia the lurker
        February 4, 2014 at 9:26 am

        weird, it cut off. I said, “Since both my parents have degrees in English lit (one specializing in violence in Jacobean theatre and the other in spatiality in Virginia Woolf).”

  11. February 2, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    My youngest child came in fourth out of twenty-seven participants in our area spelling bee today. I am a proud momma right now.

    • Donna L
      February 2, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      Congratulations! I know the feeling.

    • tinfoil hattie
      February 3, 2014 at 9:11 am

      Wow! that’s fantastic!

  12. Donna L
    February 2, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman. Such a shock.

    • February 2, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      I know, eh? I did not see that coming at all.

    • Amelia the lurker
      February 3, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      Me neither. When I first saw a post about it I thought it must be a hoax.

  13. February 2, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    I’m getting a kick out of the racist assholes on twitter getting irate about Cokes Super Bowl commercial, while not knowing that America The Beautiful is not actually the national anthem.

    • pheenobarbidoll
      February 3, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Yup. Though leaving out any indigenous languages ticks me off.

      • victoria
        February 3, 2014 at 2:03 pm

        Someone in my facebook feed posted a link about the song being sung in Keres (I didn’t see the commercial as it aired, did this part get cut in the final edit?).

      • pheenobarbidoll
        February 3, 2014 at 3:13 pm

        If it was, I missed it.

      • February 3, 2014 at 7:56 pm

        Yeah, that’s understandable.

        It bugs me that people will overlook all sorts of grievous shit that coca cola is responsible for, but Gord forbid someone sing a song in something other than English, then it’s all “Boycott, boycott, boycott!!”

      • gratuitous_violet
        February 7, 2014 at 2:42 am

        No kidding, what a weird place for a boycott to come from. And you’d think that if any company had built enough right-wing goodwill, what with the paramilitaries and union-busting indigenous water theft and the classy “One People/Race (because I can’t really read German, and I think “Volk” can go either way?), One State, One Drink:Coca Cola!” ads

      • Donna L
        February 7, 2014 at 10:40 am

        “One People/Race (because I can’t really read German, and I think “Volk” can go either way?), One State, One Drink:Coca Cola!” ads

        Seriously? When did they do that? How clever of them! I hope they were quickly forced to withdraw it. (For those who may not know, it’s a “humorous” version of “Ein Volk, ein Reich, eine Führer.”)

      • gratuitous_violet
        February 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm

        They came out for the 1936 Olympics, and I found them on Adbranch.

      • Donna L
        February 7, 2014 at 7:46 pm

        Wow. I thought maybe it was something much more recent. I’m actually kind of surprised that the Nazis permitted it; one would think they might have regarded it as disrespectful to substitute Coca-Cola for der Führer in that kind of slogan.

  14. February 4, 2014 at 8:16 am

    So, the home of former president Andrew Jackson is holding a Black History Month celebration…

    …Andrew Jackson…as in Andrew “I support slavery” Jackson…as in Andrew “Trail of Tears” Jackson…


    One of the event directors (having trouble pasting the link on my mobile; sorry) said it was to honor those who were enslaved there. Unless one of the events is “Who Can Take the Biggest Dump on Jackson’s Grave?”, I’m not interested

    • pheenobarbidoll
      February 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      If that house was burned to the ground I’d dance a little jig of glee.

  15. February 4, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Tomorrow is the day I leave this house. My friend is coming to pick me up at some city nearby, and then I’ll be on my way to her place. The plans have been finalized and there’s no turning back for me.

    • Donna L
      February 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      My very best to you, Ally. I hope everything goes smoothly. My thoughts are with you.

    • trees
      February 4, 2014 at 1:03 pm


      Best of luck. I’ll be thinking of you, sending good intentions.

    • EG
      February 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      Good luck, Ally! May tomorrow be the first of many, many days of liberation.

    • February 4, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Currently I’m in a very strange and abysmal predicament.

      My dad has asked me to rent him a book from a library on campus, which I currently don’t have access to since I’m not enrolled in any courses this quarter. Over the past week he has been telling me to rent the book, but I have yet to do so because he can easily find out through that that I’m not going to school. If he finds out I’m not going to school, not only will he potentially harm me (most likely emotionally, which is his preferred means of abuse), but I will also have much greater difficulty in leaving. His suspicion may become higher than ever and so even the sight of my backpack tomorrow may prompt him to stop me.

      I thought I avoided the situation yesterday – a friend of a friend checked out the book for me so now it’s inaccessible until the 24th. But now my dad is coming to the campus library to look for other books he might want to rent (as well as request an interlibrary loan of the desired book through the UC Berkeley campus library). And if he decides to get one of them, he will call me over and try to get me to check the books out, the point at which it will be obvious that I haven’t enrolled in any courses.

      Since he said “Don’t come over until I call you,” my current plan is to ignore his calls and then tell him later that I left school because I didn’t notice he called. But then that engenders the risk of him taking me with him tomorrow morning to the campus library.

      Yeah…things are going downhill pretty quickly. I have backup plans in case I have to go with him tomorrow, but I’d rather not follow them because they will most likely involve running the fuck away from my dad and hiding in the city.

      • February 4, 2014 at 2:36 pm


        Please take care. If necessary, say one of your professors called you in for a talk (on some project?) and so you won’t be able to be there tomorrow for whatever reason.

        I really hope you can get away from him. *hugs lots if you want them*

      • Li
        February 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm

        Does/did your course have group assignments? Cos as an experienced liar to parents to avoid anxiety, groupwork meetings are a really convenient way to schedule in random unavailabilities and excuses.

    • rain
      February 4, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      You’re very brave. Good luck, Ally.

      • February 4, 2014 at 6:16 pm

        Yes, wishing you a safe escape to your new life, Ally.

    • February 4, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      Good luck, Ally. I hope everything works out. Keep us posted, if possible.

    • EG
      February 5, 2014 at 10:08 am

      I’m thinking of you, Ally. Get free and safe. I feel safe in saying that we’re all rooting for you.

      • February 5, 2014 at 10:29 am

        You might like to know that things seem to be going smoothly this morning. My dad hasn’t taken me to UCSC to get the books, and no one has any clue what I’m about to do aside from “going to school.” I’ll be leaving the house in about 40 minutes if things continue to go smoothly.

      • EG
        February 5, 2014 at 10:37 am

        Thanks for updating us! I’m very grateful. You are brave and kind and I’m sending all the moral support I have.

      • Donna L
        February 5, 2014 at 11:01 am

        I’m so glad, Ally. I’ll be thinking of you.

      • February 5, 2014 at 11:04 am

        Oh, thank fuck. I’m so glad. Please take care, and good luck!!!!

      • February 5, 2014 at 11:46 am

        I left the house and now on my way to see my friend. I thought I’d be too scared and anxious to leave, but this morning I not only felt calm, but I also felt more confident than ever. I guess all of my mental preparation paid off, even though it was a result of anxiety.

        Thank you so much for all of your help, everyone. I’ll continue to keep you folks posted.

  16. February 4, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    #CoCPledge is a public promise that one will not participate in conferences who do not have a clearly posted Code of Conduct (aka anti-harassment policy) complete with a robust, transparent and accountable reporting process. There’s pushback from people who think that having a code/policy is some sort of admission that one’s community is particularly prone to harassment, rather than an acknowledgement that humans in general are too likely to not take harassment seriously enough (a condition that harassers rely upon), and thus it is sheer naivety to not have CoCs/AHPs.

    Good post up at Skepchick that gives background etc

  17. PrettyAmiable
    February 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm
  18. February 5, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Safe and sound with my friends. ^_^

    • February 5, 2014 at 11:39 pm

      YAY! <3 ^__^

      • Li
        February 6, 2014 at 12:27 am

        So proud and excited for you!

    • Donna L
      February 6, 2014 at 12:46 am

      Good for you! So glad to hear this.

    • Ledasmom
      February 6, 2014 at 7:50 am


    • February 6, 2014 at 11:34 am

      Fantastic! Great and exciting.

    • DouglasG
      February 6, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      Well done.

    • Tyris
      February 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm


  19. February 6, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    I have come out to my dad via email. Let’s see how he responds.

    • trees
      February 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      Holy shit, fingers and toes crossed.

    • February 6, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      Just remember you’re out of his house and out of his grasp. There’s no law saying you have to read his response, especially if the first sentences are going a way you don’t like! Keep safe (emotionally and physically,) please!

    • February 6, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      Omg. Highest hopes for you, Ally.

    • February 6, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      His response:

      I just got into town. I am pretty sure you have heard my voice messages.

      I think you misunderstand and underestimate my unconditional love for the five of you. All of you are my children first and anything else second.

      I thank you for sharing this matter with me and it shows that you trust me. I do not make fun of people because of the choices they make. This is not because I am exceptional. Our beloved prophet was sent as a mercy to the entire mankind. So I derive my acceptance of your preference from his teachings.

      I was actually afraid you were mad at me. I am relieved that it was not the case. My only sadness is that you had to travel 400+ away to tell me this.

      Now I want to share a joke: USA has democrats, republicans and independent politicians and every one of them can lead the country if need be. SImilarly, it really does not matter what someone’s orientation is, rather, whether they are productive members of the society.

      You are return home whenever you want. Please let me know if you need any money for travel.

      I am heading off to the gym soon but I will call you before I go.

      • February 6, 2014 at 8:21 pm

        I’m just a blubbering mess of tears right now. I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am to hear this from him.

      • PrettyAmiable
        February 6, 2014 at 8:25 pm

        Ohmygosh, Ally. Me too. That was beautiful. I’m so glad this is the response you got.

      • trees
        February 6, 2014 at 8:37 pm

        I’m so overwhelmingly pleased for you.

      • February 6, 2014 at 8:32 pm

        Wow. Er. On the one hand, that’s really an amazing letter and I’m glad he feels that way.

        …if he feels that way, which is the other hand. Obviously you know your dad better than I know your dad, but this is a guy who threatened you over a haircut.

        All I can say is: at least give it a little while before you go home. (Say you’ve got a friend thing on the go, or whatever.) Also, he seems to have confused gender identity with sexual orientation…? Ironically, when I came out as bi to my dad he thought I was coming out as trans/intersex/some weird combination (wat) so I know clearing that up can often change the picture.

        b) If you do go back, go back with a clear safety check-in plan that requires both 1. online and verifiable elements and 2. physical check-ins with friends. When I came out to my parents, I had a similar safety plan in the event that they went bugfuck on me. It is also important that your father know that these plans exist!!! It doesn’t have to be phrased as a threat. Just something like “Jessie, Joel and John and I are getting together next week, and I’m sure they’ll want to hear all about how things are going”. The physical check-in part is vital. Making sure he knows is equally vital. This’ll discourage at least some anger, I hope.

        c) Expect a back-and-forth in his views on everything. I’m sorry, but that’s probably going to happen. I’m not saying it’ll get bad or stay bad, just that there’s going to be a lot of harsh swings.

        d) Get him to confirm, before going back (no matter when you go back), that he will let you live as who you are rather than making you fake being his son for his comfort. If you go home, you are going home, not going into the closet.

        e) Make a Facebook post to this effect, if he gives you such a reassurance. (If he is lying, this will make it immediately obvious to your Facebook circles. If he is really lying and wants to abuse you, it will shore up your case with cops, etc.) In the Facebook post, try and use direct quotes from him.

        f) Said it before, but please do wait a bit to go home! Can you email one of your other family members, see if he’s faking being okay? If he is stomping around the living room yelling death threats, having a heads-up is good.

      • February 6, 2014 at 8:34 pm

        Aaaaand now I feel like the party pooper. I’m sorry, Ally. That was a lovely letter. Just… be cautious, okay?

      • trees
        February 6, 2014 at 8:42 pm

        All I can say is: at least give it a little while before you go home.

        Wait, what?!! Ally is considering going back to his house?! I share your apprehension.

      • February 6, 2014 at 8:44 pm

        Wait, what?!! Ally is considering going back to his house?! I share your apprehension.

        I don’t know she is! I’m just dealing with if-perhapses! I’m sorry if I came off like I know anything about your decisions, Ally.

      • trees
        February 6, 2014 at 8:54 pm

        I’m just dealing with if-perhapses!

        Right, right. I was just trying to communication my horror at the thought.

      • February 6, 2014 at 9:18 pm

        mac, thanks for the advice. I am trying to be cautious, especially now that you pointed out his potential to change his views about my gender once he understands it. Honestly I was planning on going back if he reacted nicely, but in light of what you and some other friends of mine have pointed out, I’ll have to stay here for a little while longer.

      • Donna L
        February 6, 2014 at 10:35 pm

        It is a lovely letter, Ally, but please do be extremely careful. As others have said, there is really no indication that he actually understood what you were telling him about being trans. I am familiar with more than one situation in which a parent was OK with a child being gay, and assumed without saying so that being trans was basically the same thing — but, once they realized what it signified, and understood that transition was something that was going to happen, became quite hostile, at least initially.

        Also, even a theoretical acceptance of a child’s transness does not necessarily mean that a parent will actually be accepting once they see the new gender presentation.

        So, given your father’s past history, if I were you I would be very cautious, and would want to be very sure ahead of time that he really does accept you as Ally — perhaps including the reality of actually meeting you as Ally, if and when you feel comfortable doing that — before moving home.

      • Donna L
        February 6, 2014 at 10:42 pm

        One relatively inconsequential (compared to familial troubles other trans people have) personal example: my father’s wife (I have never wanted to think of her as a “stepmother”) seemed extremely understanding and accepting when I first came out to her and my father.

        Now, more than 9 years later (8 years and 9 months after I transitioned socially) she is the only person in the world who still misgenders me — it happens at least once every single time I get together with them, despite my (and my son’s) having repeatedly corrected her, and despite her passive-aggressive claims that she “tries really hard” to get it right (gee, thanks). The one time I got upset with her, she had an absolute tantrum and called me “ungrateful” for her having been so supportive, and having purportedly influenced my father to be accepting.

        So you can’t always judge from an initial reaction. I knew something was up when I wasn’t invited, a year after I transitioned, to a big dinner in my father’s honor, honoring him for his 50+ years of activism in New York Reform Democratic politics. She told me she “didn’t think I would be interested.” Sure.

      • February 7, 2014 at 12:10 am


        Maybe find some good 101 resources for your dad? That might help him understand. Also, pointing to a list of concrete things you would want to do in the near future (let’s say, growing your hair out, wearing skirts and blazers instead of jeans, a bit of lipstick and girl sneakers) as well as your eventual path to transition. That’ll make it “real” in a way that an email just saying “I’m going to transition” won’t. Either way, give it a little while after that email.

        @Donna I’ve said this before, but holy fuckballs your father’s wife is a douche!

      • February 7, 2014 at 12:48 am

        He just tried tracking my phone. Again. So much for being nice and respectful of boundaries.

      • February 7, 2014 at 12:55 am

        *skeeved out* Ally, please take care. :( It doesn’t sound like he’s on the up and up at all.

      • Tyris
        February 7, 2014 at 1:21 am

        Time for a new phone?

      • Donna L
        February 7, 2014 at 1:47 am

        This comment accidentally went up above somewhere, but it belongs here instead. (If a moderator sees it, could you please delete the comment from the other place it is?) [done ~ tt]

        I’m so sorry, Ally. Please take care of yourself.

        And yes, Mac, thank you; she really kind of is. I can see taking a year or maybe even longer to get used to things, but 9 years? I know that it may be difficult for cis people to understand how dreadful it feels to be misgendered — especially after so many years, and especially when someone is clearly either doing it on purpose or making no genuine effort to get it right — but it is. Even though she sneered and scoffed at me when I told her that nobody else does this, and that nobody has for years, it’s true, and it really brings me down when it happens. It makes me feel that no matter how much time goes by, and no matter how many people I interact with who don’t even know about my history, I will never, ever be able to escape that history, or escape the power that cis people have to dismiss my gender, and remind me how conditional it can be, with a single word.

        Plus, sadly, the whole situation makes me dread seeing my father, because at almost 94, as sharp as he still is mentally, he’s not physically able anymore to get together with anyone or go anywhere without her. (Until a little more than a year ago, he still went to his office regularly, but then he got pneumonia, and hasn’t ever been the same since.) So I always know what’s going to happen when I see him, and I dread it, and even though I’m ashamed to admit it, I sometimes avoid or delay getting together because of that knowledge. It helps when my son is also there, because I always know he’s on my side, and gives me moral support, but he can’t always be there, and even when he is, it’s still demoralizing.

      • February 7, 2014 at 2:07 am

        @Donna that really, really sucks :( And the most inexplicable thing for me is that cis people do have an equivalent to being misgendered – being misgendered! It sure as fuck upsets cis people to be misgendered (I have issues telling facial features and clothing cues, so I would know) so the fact that they don’t extrapolate from that to not misgendering trans people really really confuses and annoys me. :(

      • February 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

        Soooooooooooooooo my dad just said this in an email:

        [male name], I was probably within few feet of where you were at 5:09AM on Thursday. I had to pull back because we did not know who and how many people you are with and whether any of those people were armed. We could have been fired upon if we stepped on private property. So, it was our pragmatic decision to pull back.

        He is now back in San Jose, so we are safe now but HOLY FUCKING SHIT

      • EG
        February 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm

        Ally, I am so happy for you that you have taken this step–it’s huge and you’re so brave.

        With this new info, though, yeah, your dad does not sound safe at all for you to be around. He doesn’t respect your boundaries or your wishes. I know that the most dangerous time for women with abusive partners is when they leave; I don’t know if the same dynamic is true with abusive parents, but please, please tread carefully. You know what your father is like better than anyone else here.

        Sounds to me like it’s time to toss that phone in a sewer.

      • February 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm

        Ally, it’s time to lose the phone, I’d think!!!! Maybe he has software on your phone that you don’t know about. For safety’s sake I’d change passwords on email etc too. Holy shit holy shit. Please take care.

      • February 7, 2014 at 4:36 pm

        I took out the SIM card and the battery is no longer in the phone, so tracing me shouldn’t be very easy.

      • Donna L
        February 7, 2014 at 5:17 pm

        Scary. And I don’t even understand what he’s talking about. He was afraid that someone you were with might be armed and would fire upon him? What?

      • Li
        February 7, 2014 at 5:41 pm

        I am pretty sure his point is to start reframing himself as a victim and Ally/Ally’s friends as aggressors.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        February 7, 2014 at 6:03 pm

        Um…who the hell is we? He says WE decided to leave.

      • February 7, 2014 at 6:14 pm


        Further note, since I’m back from college now and can type privately:

        Was where he saw you the place you are currently staying? Does he know where you are now? If he does, even if he says he’s not where you are, GET OUT. GET OUT NOW. I don’t know if it’s just my anxiety talking but it is both my and Val’s gut feeling that he will seriously harm you if he sees you again.

      • February 7, 2014 at 6:26 pm

        This is my dad’s full response (in which he talked about getting close to me): http://pastebin.com/wrepwkZS

        (page will expire in about an hour for security reasons)

      • EG
        February 7, 2014 at 6:27 pm

        Co-signing Mac, Ally. The more I think about it, even if he was just bluffing, the chance that he knows where you are now is just too great. Please get out. If he meant well, he wouldn’t have been anywhere near you at 5 in the morning. He would’ve respected your boundaries and asked you to meet him elsewhere to talk at a decent hour. He’s up to no good. Find another safe house, please.

      • February 7, 2014 at 6:42 pm

        Also co-signing Mac. Put your safety first, don’t listen to any of those little doubts about maybe over-reacting, just get out to another safe house ASAP.

      • February 7, 2014 at 6:41 pm

        I need to stay with my friends. I don’t want to move to another house. I have confirmed with my brother that he isn’t coming down again, and my phone is now completely disabled, so he cannot track me at all. And today I will respond to the email and tell him that I have moved to another house (a lie). He won’t have any way of telling I’m lying because he won’t be able to track my phone anymore. I’m safe, guys.

      • February 7, 2014 at 6:44 pm

        Ally, that letter raises more red flags than a fucking Communist rally. It’s creepy as fuck, in fact.

        If he has nothing untoward in mind, why not bring your brother? If he didn’t bring your brother, who the hell was the ‘we’? Why is he trying to tell you to proselytize at this point in time? If friends don’t help friends get away from family, why is he calling them friends? This is not a safe letter. This is not a safe situation.

        Do you have another safe house to which you can relocate? Please consider all available venues. This is really scary.

      • February 7, 2014 at 6:46 pm

        And today I will respond to the email and tell him that I have moved to another house (a lie).

        You tell him that, he’ll go to the current location (if he knows the current location) to check. At the VERY LEAST please don’t venture outside for a few days.

      • Donna L
        February 7, 2014 at 7:37 pm

        Ally, I didn’t see what you posted to pastebin before it was taken down, but I have the same question as pheeno about what he meant by “we,” and what “we” were doing at 5 am near where he thinks you are. It sounds entirely possible that he was with a group of people and was contemplating going into the house and forcibly removing you to take you somewhere. Otherwise, why was he so concerned about being shot because he was on private property? This is all very disturbing, despite the nice words in his letter.

      • February 7, 2014 at 8:37 pm

        Scary. And I don’t even understand what he’s talking about. He was afraid that someone you were with might be armed and would fire upon him? What?

        I think that he was implying that he was sitting in a car (with someone else, hence ‘we’) outside the house Ally was at 5 in the morning and saying he wouldn’t walk into a strange house at 5 in the morning for fear of getting shot. Understandable. What’s less understandable is why he didn’t just go over at noon and knock on the door, if he knows the exact location.
        Have you considered replying with something like ‘There was no need to drive to (wrong city) in the middle of the night,’ in order to test him, see if he’s trying to flush you out for information.

      • February 8, 2014 at 1:32 am

        Not a party pooper, mac. My feeling is never to go near that fucking criminal again.

      • Tyris
        February 7, 2014 at 1:49 pm

        Now I want to share a joke: USA has democrats, republicans and independent politicians and every one of them can lead the country if need be. SImilarly, it really does not matter what someone’s orientation is, rather, whether they are productive members of the society.

        Maybe it’s just that none of us share your father’s sense of humour. Maybe we’re too ready to believe the worst of a man who, from accounts you’ve given, is Not Very Nice. Maybe we’re projecting the paranoia born from faking a dead person’s identity for seven years and counting.

        But… this doesn’t read like a joke. It reads like a coded message, one that underneath reads “there is as much chance of an independent candidate becoming President as there is of me accepting you.”

        It would be really, really nice to be wrong today.

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