Sunday, April 27, 2014

Two Female Sexual Assault Survivors Booted from Take Back the Night Rally

During the opening rally of Eugene’s 2014 Take Back the Night, two female survivors of sexual assault were kicked out by student security simply because of their radical feminist politics. Both women are volunteers for a local self defense nonprofit that provides free life saving trainings to women. The student security members approached the two women and told them that some people (unknown to the women) felt threatened by the radical feminist politics represented by their group, and for this reason, told the women to leave. The women protested, pointing out that their behavior at the march was in keeping with the safe space policies of the University, that they had not yet even spoken to anyone else at the march, and that political differences are not justification for banishing people from public space or public events. However, the student security members made it clear that they would not take no for an answer, and continued pressuring and harassing the women until they were too uncomfortable to stay. The nonprofit, Warrior Sisters Society, caters to the needs of women who are survivors of trauma, trafficking, and poverty, and provides training to a wide and growing variety of groups, including co-ed high school classes and homeless women. All trainings and materials are provided free of charge, and the group is the only nonprofit of its kind in the Eugene area. The two women were called exclusionary and unsafe because, among its other services, Warrior Sisters offers female only trainings which provide safe space for survivors who are triggered by physical contact with male bodied people. It was articulated to them that the act of excluding male bodied individuals from female only space made them threats to the identities and safety of participant at the march. When asked for comment, the march coordinator apologized for the behavior of student security. One of the women kicked out is a graduate student at the University of Oregon, the campus venue for this year’s rally, and was also a volunteer for the Take Back the Night organizing committee. She was volunteering to take photos at the march, but was told that her documentation of the event was unsafe for others and was forced to leave without completing her shift. Please call the Dean of Students office at (541) 346-3216 or email womenctr@uoregon.edu to let them know that this violation of student rights and suppression of women’s rights has occurred.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks



Once again, Sophia Banks has been spreading infinite amounts of wisdom absolute nonsense via his twitter page.  When he isn't spending his time pressuring women to have sex with his penis or threatening to sue lesbian activists for acknowledging that he has a penis, Mr. Banks occasionally posts some interesting trans kool-aid rhetoric, such as above.

Here's where my best friend, Logic, comes out to play.

Mr. Banks states: "Nope, trans men don't just get magical male privilege by coming out.  Ain't that simple folks.  Stop ignoring trans men. They matter."

For the moment, I am going to put aside the amount of times I have seen M2Ts harass F2Ts online and accuse F2Ts of having all the male privilege ever, accuse them of mansplaining, etc.  I'm going to sidestep that for a moment because what Sophia is saying is important.

Yes, you heard me correctly.  I complimented Sophia Banks because what he says is important.  Why?  Because it shoots their ideology in the foot.

Sophia is pretty much openly admitting that you cannot obtain male privilege by "coming out" as a man.  However, trans activists DO acknowledge that male privilege exists.  So, by Sophia's statement, if you cannot obtain privilege simply by identifying as a man, but males have privilege somehow, this must mean that males are born into a position of privilege.

Oh, but it gets even more nitty-gritty.

If F2Ts don't get male privilege by identifying as and/or transitioning, then the equal and opposite is true: M2Ts don't magically LOSE their privilege by identifying as women.  I can just as easily say "Nope, trans-women don't just lose magical male privilege by coming out.  Ain't that simple folks."

Except, me saying that gets me labeled as a bigot.  And what exactly is "magical" male privilege?  Is that where a man not only gets male privilege but also gets to be Dumbledore too?

Back to my good friend, Logic.  Follow me here.

1. You cannot have a privileged group of people without an oppressed group of people.
2. Sophia says that trans men do not get male privilege by coming out.  This implies that male privilege is something you are born with, and not something you can obtain.  The role of the privileged is not something that an F2T can opt into.
3. If males get male-privilege and are the privileged group, that makes females the oppressed group, and they are born into the role of the oppressed.  This role of the oppressed isn't one that an M2T can opt into.
4. This privilege/oppression dichotomy is on the basis of sex, not gender.
5. Ergo, sex-based oppression exists.

Also, Sophia's mock concern for those born female has been duly noted and subsequently ignored by me.  "Trans men matter;" oh please, dude, get real.  The only reason Sophia cares so much is because he is worried that F2Ts will realize they don't need to be trans-anything in order to be happy and it will therefore offer less legitimacy to these autogynephiles.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Smoking is bad, mmkay.

This is quite a bit off-topic from my regular posts, but I just want to tell you all:

Don't ever start smoking.

Ever.

Just don't do it.

That being said, I began smoking when I was 18.  I am now 25.  I quit smoking on April 11th. The detox went as well as could be expected.  Dull, long-lasting headache, endless nausea, excessive perspiration which was foul-smelling from the toxins leaving my body, vivid dreams, body aches, irritability, sadness, anger, you name the smoking-cessation symptom; I experienced it.

Some shit hit the fan in my personal life and I made the dumbassed decision to buy a pack of smokes again.

I took two, maybe three puffs of one of the cigarettes.

Gross as hell.

Which makes me realize something.  Even though my body no longer craves the nicotine anymore, my brain still does.

Cognitive dissonance sucks.  Your brain can be fully convinced that a substance that is absolutely shitty for you health wise is something that you couldn't live without, even though it looks, smells, and tastes like shit.

Fuck addiction.

But I suppose the good that has come from this situation is I can safely say that it's going to be a battle of my own wits.  I don't need to smoke.  My body recognizes the smoke as a toxin.

What I did in giving a couple puffs to that cigarette was the equivalent of a really depressing breakup/makeup.  You know what I am talking about.  You break up with someone and then months or years later get back together and have makeup sex and realize "shit, this is familiar. I thought I wanted this, but round 2 isn't likely to go anywhere positive."  You have high hopes that it'll be as awesome as it once was, and being back together with this person will be as wonderful as you imagined it.

So, cigarettes, I think we should just be friends, because honestly, that was really awkward encounter, and not at all as romantic as I had hoped it would be.  And now I have the added bonus of having to fess up to my girlfriend about cheating on the promise I made to myself and her for having those puffs with you.

If any of you reading this are thinking of quitting, whether for your health or (in my case) to save money, I encourage it.  Give it up for a few weeks, and if you want to take a puff, don't. I swear, it tastes like shit.  I do not say this lightly.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Radfems Respond 2014

Dear Multnomah Friends,
It has recently come to my attention that you have decided to cancel our booking for the Radfems Respond conference on May 24th despite promising us the venue. It has also come to my attention that this decision was not based on facts and evidence being presented, but was rather based on the absorption of libel primarily written by a small group of outspoken individuals who often outright fabricate their claims as a way of bullying and intimidation.

I am sorry to see that Quakers have caved to that bullying and intimidation. Just wondering, did you not see the photo of Hollis Proffitt holding and licking a machete in his/her photo on the petition against us? I must say, there is nothing quite like the eroticization of violence to make a political statement. Just last night, my partner showed me a photo of a 15 year old “trans-girl” holding a knife with the caption “fetch me some terfs” (TERF is a slur meant to silence gender-critical radical feminists). Can you really truly blame us for wanting women-only spaces away from these types of men? Women-only spaces aside, this event was meant to be an inclusive dialogue, to encourage the open exchange of communication between radical feminists, male feminist allies, transitioned people, detransitioned people, etc.
On the subject of detransitioned people, I was born a female. I realized growing up that I was a gender non-conforming Dyke but due to society’s deeply-entrenched misogyny and lesbophobia, along with a deeply seated hatred of myself, I transitioned medically and socially. I fit all of the diagnostic criteria of a person with Gender Identity Disorder (now called Gender Dysphoria according to the latest incarnation of the DSM manual). I realized that transitioning couldn’t help alleviate my gender dysphoria, and in fact gender dysphoria itself in general is a symptom of a gendered-society. In addition to doing some serious self-growth as a person, I was also getting negative health issues from the testosterone for my hormone replacement therapy. As a result, I detransitioned both medically and socially. I am presenting at the Radfems Respond conference as a way for people considering transition as an option to learn about alternatives to transitioning and to hear a radical feminist analysis, where they had probably only heard queer theory analyses before. I am being incorrectly painted as someone who thinks that just because I made a mistake means that transition is wrong for everybody else. This is only partially true. I made a mistake, one which I do regret, but I remain critical of the medical and social/legal practice of transitioning. I don’t care what personal choices other people make; rather I am asking people to think critically about their choices, some of which might not be the healthiest or correct choices to make. Due to my stance, I am being very incorrectly labeled transphobic. This is insanity.
I am writing to you not only as a panelist/presenter at the conference, but as someone who is incredibly saddened and hurt by your decision to stand alongside bullies. To call our point of view “bickering” is not only grossly inaccurate, it is also very insulting. My boss, friend, and mentor, Lierre Keith had to be escorted to the stage to give her keynote speech by 6 armed police officers at the 2014 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. The reason for this was because of endless threats of violence from trans activists who hinted there would be a repeat of Lierre being pied in the face with chili pepper laced pies, as she was at the 2010 Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair.
As I mentioned before about my detransition, I also joined the ranks of radical feminists who had been bullied and attacked. My girlfriend’s car was vandalized twice shortly after I decided to detransition and she came out as a lesbian. To be specific, she had “dyke” keyed into her bumper and two tires slashed. We have reason to believe that it was members of the local trans/queer activist community who did the vandalism. Additionally, I also had a local MTF transitioner stalk and harass me, of which I still have screenshots for any curious minds to see.

This is hardly “bickering.” These are women who have been repeatedly stalked, harassed, and threatened, both online and offline.
I do my work specifically as a way for young women who might otherwise hate their bodies in silence find other ways to cope besides hormonally or surgically mutilating themselves. I do this work as a way to help other young girls be able to accept themselves just as they are. I am saddened that my message isn’t one that the Quakers can support and get behind. My message is far from hateful; my message is one that is designed to help other young women. As such, I hardly see why my message in particular should be censored, nor do I see the reason for any of my fellow colleagues to be censored either.
I am disappointed, and while I know it is too late for reconciliation, I encourage the Quakers to be fully informed before booking and subsequently cancelling future events.
Sincerely,
Heath Atom Russell
Panelist at Radfems Respond 2014, Writer, and Activist

http://radfemsrespond.wordpress.com/60-2/

Friday, April 11, 2014

Interview with The Evil Feminist

A year and a half after my decision to detransition, The Evil Feminist interviewed me regarding the transition/detransition, the reception I've gotten from people, and new projects that I am working on.

Click HERE to watch.

Feel free to leave feedback below.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Radfems Respond 2014

I will be a panelist this year at Radfems Respond in Portland OR on May 24th.  The event is open to the public and there will be presentations on prostitution as a violation of women's human rights and gender as an oppressive social construct.

We are hoping to engage in respectful and open dialogue.  As such, meaningful and relevant questions for panelists can be submitted to the website for the event.  You can find information about the schedule, registration, the panelists, etc here:  http://radfemsrespond.wordpress.com/

If you have any questions you would like to be answered by myself, Rachel Ivey, Dawn Schiller, or Kathleen Barry, submit them here:  http://radfemsrespond.wordpress.com/ask-the-panelists/

I repeat, this is NOT a women's-only event on Saturday the 24th.  Anyone is allowed to attend, but please do register/RSVP so we have an idea of the amount of people coming.

There WILL be a smaller radical feminist women's-only gathering the next day.  Email radfemsrespond@gmail.com to be put in contact with the organizers if you are interested in that part of the gathering.  Please be respectful of boundaries for the Sunday event, but Saturday is open to everyone, so if you feel as though you have a stake in feminism and you are itching to be involved in women-centric dialogue, please attend by all means!

Link to the facebook event page as well: https://www.facebook.com/events/1422978927952180/?ref=22


EDIT:: There is also a page set-up where you can donate to help cover the costs of hosting this conference.  Please donate if you are willing and able to.  http://www.gofundme.com/6le6u0