Thursday, January 31, 2019


I have submitted the paperwork for my sabbatical request.

If y'all have any mojo you can put to work for me, mojo away!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Poor Abused White Straight Cismen

Over at Rod Dreher's blog, a comment from a white cis man claims that the man is being "lured" into white nationalism because of the "constant barrage" from the media which tells him he's the source of all evil in America.

Hold on, let me laugh hysterically.

But I am sure this gentleman believes what he is claiming -- that, for instance, the Gillette ad (which suggested being masculine doesn't have to mean being toxic), and the #metoo movement, and the affair of the MAGA teens is equal to a barrage accusing all white straight men of being evil.

I remember a study (which my google foo cannot now find) which showed that when ten percent of the women in class spoke up, the men in the class (30% of whom spoke in class) perceived the women as 'dominating' the classroom.

And when more than one woman wins an award -- so like two or three win awards, say -- men perceive that as women 'rigging' the awards, or getting special favors.

And we have seen the hysteria which is arise because slightly more women than men (and yes, it is just slightly more) are succeeding in the college classroom. My God, it is a national emergency that 56% of college graduates are women.

Is it true that the media is "attacking" white straight males?

Let me tell you a story. When I was a baby professor in my first job, out in Idaho, the men there complained to the dean that I was always "attacking" men in class, and that I "hated" men. When the dean asked for examples, the complaining men had nothing to say. "Well, she's always talking about feminism," they finally said.

I wasn't 'always' talking about feminism, of course. I had mentioned it maybe twice in class. But any discussion of women and women's rights was perceived as an "attack" on straight white men.

That's what is happening here, also. Trans people are speaking up about the rights of trans people. Immigrants are speaking up about the rights of immigrants. Occasionally someone suggests maybe women should have equal rights as well. Now and then someone mentions that rape is probably a bad thing, and that rapists aren't prosecuted as they should be.

And this is seen as an 'attack' on all white straight men. This is seen as a "constant barrage" of hate against white straight men in general.

Anything other than a media which constantly discusses the rights of white straight men equals a "constant barrage" of hate. Any suggestion that white straight males are treated better than other groups is the same as calling all white men evil.

And the slightest suggestion that white straight men might have it easier than other groups in our country? Well, that justifies those white men joining white nationalist groups.

I mean, who can blame them? Should they just sit back and wait to be treated like women? Like black people? Like they're trans?

ETA: See also this thread, where a well-meaning white guy objects to a writer mentioning her new book on twitter, because books about girls are an attack on  men and boys.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Trump Ends Shutdown with a Speech Filled with Lies

Shut down is over for now.

I don't know if you caught his speech, but it was -- as usual -- one lie after the next. I have to wonder if even his base believes him at this point.

The Stupid Wall

Here's a must-read about Trump's stupid wall.

A key point therein:

Estimates to construct a border wall of the kind Trump wants range from (DHS) $21.6 billion to (GAO) $70 billion. Now, I’d say based on my own experience in military and government work over the last 30 years, you can double the high end and you’ll still come out short, but let’s be charitable and split the different. $55 billion.
For reference, the annual budget for the entire Department of Homeland Security for 2017 was $40.6 billion.
Wait, what?
Yep, that’s right, $40.6 billion.
Oh, and you need, conservatively, $120 million per year to maintain this wall once it’s built.
I know, math. But bear with me here, you’ll enjoy the punchline.
Now, the average border patrol agent makes about $56K per year, or about $21.50 an hour.
You know how many border patrol agents you could hire for $120 million?
Do you?
Two thousand, one hundred, and forty-two.
See? I told you you’d enjoy the punchline.
If you're still wondering why the wall is a stupid idea, there you go.

Also, the majority of Americans oppose the wall.

So why are Trump and McConnell trying to force an ineffective and harmful solution to a non-existent problem on the American people?

Well, something like 90% of his base -- rabidly far-right Republicans -- do want the wall*, and that is probably the only group in America Trump is hearing from, or at least listening too.

Also, of course, Trump doesn't live in a fact-based world. The fact that he wants this stupid wall at all tells us that. He makes up nonsense and lies, and then he believes them -- and his supporters, like the dupes they are, believe them too.

Or at least pretend to. I don't think either Trump or his supporters actually believe the ridiculous things they say. It's an excuse to be hateful toward their greatest boogeymans, liberals and brown people. Nothing more.

Nicole and Maggie tell us one way we can fight back.

Also, vote the rest of the GOP out in 2020.

*Or at least want to use the wall as a weapon to attack the rest of the country, and help destroy the federal government, which is their real aim.

Monday, January 21, 2019

My Kid Does Art

The Kid is taking a class in Color in Art. This is from this week's assignment:

Another part of the assignment:

Happy MLK Jr Day!

Saturday, January 19, 2019


Snow and ice today, plus gusty wind. We stayed in and wrote.

I also made arepas, which were recommended to me over on Nicole and Maggie's link -- perfect food for the gluten intolerant.

These are delicious, especially hot from the oven slathered with butter, but I hardly ever make them, because even though they only take like 30 minutes, I never seem to have the time.

But a snow day gives you time. Plus they smell wonderful, baking in the house that's being buffeted by snowy wind all day.

They're very good with black beans and rice, btw.

Friday, January 18, 2019


Chapter Four of Triple Junction is now live on my Patreon.

You can support my work and read a new chapter every week for as little as $3.00/month!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Free Content

I've made the first chapter of Triple Junction open to the public on my Patreon.

If you like it, consider supporting me! For as little as $3.00/month you can get a new chapter every week.

Plus bonus content -- reviews of SF books, TV series, and movies.

Go here for more.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Trump's Stupid Wall: Part 2

If you're as upset by this stupid wall as I am, here's something you can do.

(Via Nicole & Maggie)

Monday, January 07, 2019

Trump's Stupid Wall

Aside from the fact that it will cost billions of dollars -- money we could put toward education, useful infrastructure, and health care -- here is a prime reason Trump's wall is a terrible idea.

And that's ignoring the fact that Trump is only throwing this tantrum to distract from the fact that he's in huge political trouble.


Here is a photo of my cats.

Bonus content: the Tiffany window pane Dr. Skull got me for my birthday. If you look really closely, you can also see the orange robot.

Returning the Kid

The Kid goes back up the hill to school tomorrow. I'm going to miss them.

This semester, they're taking two art classes, Figure Drawing and Drawing with Color, as well as one of their required science classes -- in this case, Anthropology. Also a creative writing class, which they should destroy.

I'm teaching two Comp I classes, a class in World Science Fiction, and Fiction workshop. It's a TR schedule, so I should have plenty of time to write (which is pretty much almost all I care about, tbh).

Friday, January 04, 2019

Trans, Bi, Genderfluid, Cis, Gay, Lesbian

Over here, Nicole & Maggie talk about a growing trend among not just fanatical Christians but also people claiming to be progressive or feminist -- that is, the notion that these kids today aren't really trans (or gay, or bi, or whatever): they're just saying they're trans because

As Nicole and Maggie point out, there is no evidence that any of this is true. But there is plenty of evidence that repeating and endorsing these lies does real harm to trans/gay/genderfluid kids. 

The harm they are doing with their lies does not bother any of these people. And trying to discuss the issue with them will get you nowhere. Why? Because these people are not rational about their fear and hatred of trans/gay/genderfluid people. 

We can see this in the excessive amount of time they spend spreading their lies -- in the obsession they have with trans people or LGB people. (See here for a list of the times Rod Dreher has posted about these issues.)

And we can see it when we try to provide such people with data about why they're wrong about their claims -- they dismiss any evidence that doesn't fit their claim, and frequently (as Rod does) resort to name-calling and more lies.

Frequent claims made by TERFs and Transphobes:

(1) Kids are being manipulated by activists. This claim is put forward on no evidence whatsoever. The 'proof' that is offered is that the number of kids who say they're trans or gay or bisexual has risen over the past decade. "It's statistically impossible for this many kids to be bisexual," as one comment claimed.

It's obvious to anyone who is trans or who knows trans people why more kids are admitting they're trans (or gay, or bi), and it's not because it's fun or cool to be LGBTQ. It's because ten years ago, admitting you were LGBTQ was a sure way to be abused, or fired, committed to an psychiatric hospital, or literally tortured. 

That's less likely to happen these days, though I know personally kids who were kicked out by their homes after they came out to their parents, or threatened with medical abuse, or whose parents quit paying for their education.

Because it's less likely these kids will be abused, it's now safer for them to admit the truth. It's not there are more LGBTQ kids now. It's that so many LGBTQ kids in the past were forced to stay in the closet. (Note that it's the visibility of LGBTQ kids that upsets many transphobes.)

(2) Parents are abusing their kids by (apparently) manipulating these kids into believing they're gay, or trans, or bisexual. Parents do this because it's 'cool' to have a trans or gay or bisexual kid, and they want the attention. Again, no evidence is put forward. Instead, transphobes and homophobes simply insist it must be true. Those of us with trans or bi or gay kids know what a bizarre claim this is, but again, no amount of evidence or attempt to argue has any effect.

(3) Parents are forcing or allowing their kids to transition as young as five or six, putting them on Hormone-Replacement Therapy at five or six, getting them top or bottom surgery as young as five or six. "How can a six year old know anything about their gender!" These TERFS/Transphobes wail. "When I was six, I wanted to be a purple unicorn! Should my parents have gotten me surgery for that?" Just FYI: No one is performing top or bottom surgery on children.

And while some kids do have access to hormone blockers, that is not at all the same as HRT. They're not given to six year olds* (why would they be?) and for kids who have gender dysphoria, hormone blockers may be literally life-saving. Also, despite what many TERFs and Transphobes claim, puberty blockers are a well-tested and relatively safe drug. 

(4) Kids claim to be trans because our society discriminates again women, and tells women they're evil and icky, so this is a way kids can escape being female. This is a bizarre claim on the face of it, since no matter how badly women are treated in our culture, trans people are treated much worse. Also, obviously, only a certain percentage of trans people are trans masc/trans men. Why would trans women even exist, if this were true?

(5) The medical profession is pushing kids into Hormone-Replacement Therapy, because reasons. Again, those of us who are trans or who know trans people know what a bizarre claim this is. It's extremely hard to get HRT, and no psychiatrist or therapist or doctor is just going to give it to a kid who shows up and says they're trans. (Nor will they medicate a child just because the parent says they're trans.) The process of obtaining HRT is lengthy, and usually takes years. Everyone involved is not just cautious, they are over-cautious. And this is partly because trans people are so discriminated against in our culture.

And again, when evidence is provided to transphobes/TERFs who make this claim, they retreat into insults and mockery. It's as if the evidence that they are wrong terrifies them almost as much as the existence of trans people.

So What's Up?

Why are TERFs and transphobes so bothered by the existence of trans people and LGB people? Why do they get so rage-filled and out of control when facts and evidence are presented to them?

There's a certain sort of person, usually an authoritarian-raised person, who clings to boundaries and rules. (The authoritarian person "categorizes the world with the simplicity and rigidity of a five year old child.") Any violation of these rules, however minor, terrifies them. We see this with people who call for draconian punishments for minor crimes: if someone can run a stop sign with impunity, these people claim, or use illegal drugs and not suffer for it, then our culture (nay, our world) is doomed. (Thus the authoritarians who embrace of leaders such as Roberto Duerte, for instance, who summarily executes drug addicts on the street.)

For these people, gender rules must be strictly enforced. If a young boy can wear nail polish with impunity, then our entire culture is at risk. 

So what happens to such people when kids say they're trans? Or genderqueer? What happens when trans people come out openly as trans? Authoritarian people are terrified, and their terror drives them to irrational arguments and (worse) irrational behavior.

(I mean, seriously. What harm can possibly be done to these people if one of their neighbors is trans? Or if trans kids exist in a classroom neither they nor their children will ever attend?)

Why Doesn't Everyone React This Way?

Good question.

For one thing, not everyone suffered an authoritarian upbringing. And some who have are able to overcome that upbringing.

Most of us, in fact, are able to think rationally about the customs, rules, and laws of our culture. Most of us can listen to reason, and be persuaded that what our parents believed, or our preacher believed, might not always be true. We can change our minds when presented with evidence, in other words. 

Further, for many of us, gender roles and gender itself is a spectrum. Perhaps five percent of everyone is Rigidly Female, or Rigidly Male. These people are locked into gender, and for them it must seem like gender roles are as real as gravity. Others (like me) are somewhere in the middle. 

I remember, for instance, how outraged my mother would get when a clerk at the bank (for instance) misgendered her, and called her sir. 

(When I worked in the service industry, behind the counter at a deli and later at McDonalds, I learned how easy it was to make this mistake. It had nothing to do the gender or appearance of the person -- it has to do with how many people we served and how exhausted we were.)

When my mother got misgendered, she would snap angrily at the clerk (and my mother was never rude to people) and fume for hours afterwards. "Sir! Why would you call me sir? Do I look like a man?"

Yet when I get misgendered, which happens a lot, since (as my kid notes) I'm the most butch straight woman ever, I could not care less. Yes, I'm cis. Yes, I'm straight. Yes, I'm a woman. But when someone calls me sir or mistakes me for a man, it bothers me not even a tiny bit. Why would it, is my reaction.

There are things about being a woman that bother me: I don't like how everyone feels entitled to comment on my body, or how I dress. (This includes male students, one of whom told me I didn't dress like a 'real' woman.)

I don't like how the law discriminates against women, or how many people deny that this discrimination exists. I don't like being expected to do more service work in the university than my male counterparts do.

I don't like that I'm less likely to succeed in my chosen career than men are. I don't like that I'm expected to do most of the housework, and most of the childcare, and most of the management of my family's day-to-day lives (making all the medical appointments, for instance, and making sure those appointments get kept). 

But as much as I don't like these things, would I pretend to be trans to avoid them? 

That's just such a bizarre idea, and such a bizarre claim, that I can't believe anyone seriously believes it. It's so hard to be trans, and so hard to transition, as anyone who knows trans people knows. Why would I take that enormous burden on myself to avoid a much smaller burden? 

Also, that's just not how it works. You don't decide your gender. Your gender is what it is.

I am indeed the most butch woman you will ever meet. I don't own a dress. I have never worn nail polish. I hate make up. My hair is shorter than most men wear theirs. I dress in jeans and teeshirts and Converse sneakers, pretty much 24/7. And yet: I am straight and cisgendered and solely attracted to men. That's not something I decided. That's what I am.

Most transphobes and homophobes almost certainly are as certain about their gender and orientation as I am. Yet they claim to believe that other people can pretend to be, or want to be, or decided to be, a gender and orientation other than the one that is 'real.'

They must know this isn't the case. And yet they repeat lies and misinformation premised on this claim.

It's not rational. Ergo, it's irrational. But most fear is.

What to Do?

Another good question.

First, the best advice I ever got about feminist was not to let people who hate feminists tell you what feminism is.

Likewise, don't let TERFs or transphobes or homophobes tell you what trans or LGB or genderfluid people are like, or why they're doing what they do.

Instead, read reliable sources. Don't get your information -- for instance -- from the National Review, or the Daily Mail, or Jordan Peterson. (Or God forbid Rod Dreher.) Look for papers written by actual scientists, and information put out by reliable sources, such as the American Psychological Association, or the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Not the American College of Pediatricians, which is a Right-Wing hate group.)

Also, read widely. There is plenty of reliable information available. Seek it out.

Above all, listen to trans people, and gay people, and genderfluid people. Let them tell you who they are, and what they want, and why they want it. Let them tell you what it's like to be them. And trust them.

They're not lying. Why would they?

Violence against trans people in 2018

Harm done by enforcing transphobia

What the science says

Trans kids

*The exception would be a six year old who had entered into what is called "precocious puberty." That's got nothing to do with trans kids, though.

NOTE: This post was written with the help of my excellent kid.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Plans for 2019

I'm not making resolutions exactly, but here are my plans for 2019:

(1) Finish Velocity sequel

(2) Write more short fiction

(3) Publish Triple Junction on my patreon

(4) More exercise

Hello 2019

Looking back at 2018, I'm mostly struck by how much I was sick. The Great Illness that lasted from August through early November didn't help, but even before that I was either getting or recovering from the flu/some sort of minor illness almost every month.

Of course, it might have been all the same illness.

Or it might be stress. Starting in 2016, we certainly had a lot of stress.

Here's hoping 2019 is better.