I have disabled crossposting to LiveJournal and am in the process of making all my posts there private
. (That doesn't work on custom filters, but if you delete a filter
, it effectively makes filtered posts private. If you do want to delete all your entries, here's a Selenium script that runs in Firefox
, courtesy of xtina
.) For the moment I'm not deleting my account, but I will no longer post or comment there. I agreed to the TOS only so that I could retrieve my content. I will not make more content for them to run ads against or judge by horrible anti-queer laws. If they delete it, then they delete it.
Welcome, new folks! If you're just moving here from LJ, some tips:
1) Claim your LJ handle
so that comments that you made on LJ are attributed to your DW when they're imported. Your OpenID URL is the URL of your old journal, username
.livejournal.com. I believe you'll need to be able to log into LJ to do this, so if you've deleted your account, you'll need to temporarily undelete it, and it might not work if you haven't agreed to the LJ TOS (*spit*).
2) Look for your old LJ friends
in this post on 2017revival
and the comments. You can also post a personal ad to 2017revival
or read the ones posted there if you want to make new friends.
Also, if you were mad enough to delete or mothball your LJ account over anti-queer provisions, please take a moment to support Russian LGBT Network
, which does very valuable work. Right now they're running an emergency hotline for people endangered by the anti-gay purges happening in Chechnya. If you can donate, please do (perhaps the amount you would have put toward your next LJ paid account renewal). If you can't, please signal-boost.
Disney is making a live-action version of Beauty and the Beast
. The director, Bill Condon, did interviews with Attitude
where he said two things that have been making waves:
1) LeFou, a comic relief character whose name means "the fool" or "crazy", will be openly gay
... more or less. He's described as "confused" and someone "who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston". Of course you will recall that Gaston is a) the villain and b) obsessed with expressing his own heteronormative cisnormative masculinity by hunting animals, beating men up
, aggressively pursuing a woman who doesn't want him, and flaunting his body hair.
2) The depiction of the Beast's curse is a metaphor for AIDS
, thanks mainly to the work of lyricist and executive producer Howard Ashman, who died of AIDS a few days after the film's first screening.
Item one is appalling on its face. This is not anything resembling useful or appropriate gay representation. The "wants to be/wants to kiss" thing is pure pseudo-Freudian anti-gay bullshit; the gay narcissist is one of the most pernicious and persistent gay stereotypes. With one voice fandom cried "WHAT ABOUT COGSWORTH AND LUMIÈRE
" but no, instead of a happy gay couple we get a bumbling buffoon whose lust object despises him (and, if the live-action film is true to the animated one, repeatedly assaults him in public for the amusement of others or just for fun). In addition, the live-action portrayal is downright swishy
. Blech. If it turns out that Gaston is closeted and just stalking Belle as a cover, I may punch a wall.
Item two looks more sweet and heartwarming, a tribute to a gay man's last great work. But while I was searching for the original Attitude
interview (because a screencap of the headline was going around with no additional link attached), I found Dan Rather's 1992 review of the animated film
, in which he observed what appeared to be a metaphor for AIDS and asked Disney about it.
The folks at Disney tell me that Beauty and the Beast was well under way before lyricist and executive producer Howard Ashman tested HIV positive, and long before Ashman died of AIDS. They say this isn't autobiographical.
In other words, Disney was scared of getting gay cooties all over a children's film, so they erased Ashman's efforts to tell his story, all while his body was still warm.
If you have a box of tissues handy, watch Ashman's partner, Bill Lauch, accept Ashman's posthumous Oscar
for "Beauty and the Beast". (h/t to suzisteffen
for mentioning it.) Lauch humbly thanks the people at Disney for the support they gave Ashman behind the scenes. But Disney still wouldn't admit in public that the story of the Beast was Ashman's own story of being cursed and running out of time to love and be loved.
Now it's 25 years later and societal attitudes have changed. Here's how Condon describes it in the Attitude
"Disney had been developing Beauty and the Beast for decades," Condon explains. "But there was a specific version they were working on developing in the Eighties."
"On the heels of The Little Mermaid they showed it to [composer] Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Ashman had just found out he had AIDS, and it was his idea, not only to make it into a musical but also to make Beast one of the two central characters; until then it had mostly been Belle's story that they had been telling."
To be absolutely clear, Ashman's contributions and motivations are only being discussed by Disney reps because it won't harm the new film's chances of success. This is pure cynicism on Disney's part. Rather's review, which is quite wonderful, notes that the sympathetic portrayal of the Beast could really help to change the way people with HIV and AIDS were seen and treated by the rest of society. And those changes did come, arguably encouraged by Ashman's work on the film. But instead of sincerely honoring Ashman, Disney is coolly taking advantage of his legacy—and his death—after a quarter-century of just as coolly obscuring it, all for their own profit.
Unless they release a statement apologizing for their earlier denials, I see no reason to believe that this is anything other than a marketing ploy. And until they announce that a percentage of the new film's proceeds are going to an HIV/AIDS charity, they're not getting another dime from me.
If you were thinking of seeing Beauty and the Beast
in the theater, please consider donating the ticket cost to God's Love We Deliver, the Names Project, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, or another HIV/AIDS-related charity, in memory of Howard Ashman.
I made supportive postcards to mail to my local mosques today. And then I made more to send to mosques that have been attacked. And I designed more postcard fronts with awesome public-domain clip-art images. And I bought a roll of 100 postcard stamps because it turns out this is a thing I can do easily that is at least a little bit effective and feels really good.
If you know people looking for ways to speak up that don't involve phone calls or marches, and if those people have printers and funds for printable postcards and stamps, point them to http://tinyurl.com/angrypostcards
for customizable templates with useful addresses already filled in.
I also finally got a PO box, so when we apply for/renew our passports tomorrow, we'll have somewhere safe to send them. Packages get stolen from our front steps a lot, and having Kickstarter rewards and online purchases sent to the office is always a bit awkward, so it'll be good for that too. But mostly I care about the passports. Just in case.
And I supported this fundraiser for a Bed-Stuy knitting shop that's in danger of closing
, because direct giving matters as much as giving to organizations and sometimes goes even further. That store has been a haven for black women who need a place dedicated to peace, creation, and community. I want to help it stay alive. Please help if you can.
I did not go to JFK tonight, because that seemed like a recipe for being arrested, and I don't participate in actions where arrests are likely due to that whole parent of a baby thing. But I really really wished I could.
Instead, I shared a bunch of action ideas on Twitter, and now I share them here.Here's a list of basic action steps
, a Jewish pro-refugee organization.
Some things you can do if you have a printer, or have access to one:Download this "Everyone Is Welcome Here" poster from Dropbox
, print it up, and post it in your school, library, store window, etc. Print up extra copies and hand them out to your neighborhood shop owners to post in their stores. (The original poster is from here
, via FwdTogether
, but that site requires you to put in a credit card even if you're just getting the free download, so I recommend using the Dropbox link instead.)
Invest in a pack of printable postcards
and use them to write to your reps, mayor, governor, etc. This Word doc
has the "Everyone Is Welcome Here" image formatted to be the postcard front. This doc
has addresses filled in for Trump, Ryan, and the State Department; change the addresses depending on who you you feel like writing to. Write your message, print, sign, stamp, mail.
The Women's March folks also created these all-purpose cards
for expressing your political views. Print on one side of the postcard sheet, flip/rotate it appropriately, print on the other side.
Feel free to share those links around.
UPDATE: All the postcard files are collected in this Dropbox folder
. Bookmark and visit often, because I'll keep adding more. The latest: supportive notes to mosques
Tonight I went to a civil rights speak-out organized by Jesse Hamilton, my state senator. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was actually really useful!( Politics )
Hamilton is going to start holding monthly civil rights task force meetings, which I plan to attend. He said the next one is going to be specifically queer-focused. It's really nice to see non-queer people doing these things.
Bonus: a high school acquaintance was there and recognized me, so we caught up a bit and swapped contact info and like that. So I got everything I wanted out of it and then some.
This userpic has never felt so apropos.
Our plan for Election Day included a plan to make sure we ate dinner, and I am very glad for that, because I haven't managed to eat a full meal since. Maybe I'll be able to eat tomorrow.
I haven't cried. I guess I'm not shocked enough to cry. Or maybe I wasn't personally invested in Clinton enough to be devastated when she lost. I don't know. But whatever it is that's making people cry, I'm not experiencing it. I've been anxious all day in a sort of abstract way, and now I've talked to both my parents—the Clinton voter and the Trump voter—and somehow both those conversations calmed me way down. I can't explain why that's as true of talking to my father as it is of talking to my mother. Maybe because he couldn't actually bring himself to tell me he'd voted for Trump. He said, "Each of us knows how the other voted, so let's just leave it at that." My father's never shied away from a political conversation over a long lifetime of holding contrarian and often outrageous opinions. If even he feels abashed about this vote, maybe there's a little hope yet.
My mother, with six decades of leftist activism under her belt, assured me that this, too, shall pass. I needed to hear that, and hear the sincerity in her voice.
I've been glad to see so many people posting to LJ/DW today. We need spaces like this to get all our many thoughts and feelings out.
I called in sick to work—I am actually sick with a dreadful head cold that just will not go away, which is the other part of why I'm not sleeping or eating well—and spent the day activisting on Twitter. Replicating some of that here just to get the various words out:
I'm really pleased to see so many white cishet people saying "We need to step up". Step 1: LISTEN TO THOSE WHO WERE ALREADY DOING THE WORK. Don't let your guilt or eagerness or habituation to privilege con you into thinking you lead this movement. The movement against white supremacy did not just begin today. It has been around for decades. Respect and follow those who are already in the know. Educate yourselves. This thread
points to a major area where white people need to do the work: talking with our white relatives. I will personally add the caveat that I know there's significant overlap between "my relatives who hold different political views" and "my relatives who are so toxic I can't safely interact with them" and I continue to support people in not interacting with relatives who are not safe to interact with. But if you can have those conversations without significant harm to yourself, do.
I guess it comes back to, again: if you are less vulnerable and marginalized, you need to do more of the work on behalf of those who can't. Challenge your Trump voter dad on behalf of the trans teen who can't safely come out to their Trump voter dad. Speak up in your Trump voter cousin's Facebook comments on behalf of the queer cousin who doesn't read Facebook anymore. If nothing else, you're telling the queer cousin who does still read Facebook (but never comments) that you're an ally for them.
If you can't or won't reach out to that Trump supporter in your family or social circle, maybe you can reach out to their kids. Tell the marginalized teens you know that you're there for them. Tell them directly and plainly. "I see you. I've got your back." If you suspect a conservative's kid is queer or trans, never EVER put them at risk—but do show them extra love. If you're a white parent, put your kid in the least segregated school you can find, and fight de facto school segregation in your city/town. Write letters in support of prosocial children's television. Tell Nickelodeon how much you love those gay dads on The Loud House
. Buy #ownvoices children's and YA books and donate them to school libraries. And join campaigns against whitewashed, queerphobic, and transphobic children's media.
Organizations that are doing useful things:https://our100.org/
and its various signatorieshttps://www.hias.org/http://www.bendthearc.us/https://www.plannedparenthood.org/https://www.cair-ny.org/https://www.lambdalegal.org
Donate if you can. If you can't, sign up for mailing lists and click every one of those petition links when they come through.
Some people are talking about writing to electors in swing states and urging them to break faith and vote for Clinton. I don't see the harm in attempting this, but it's important to remember that electors are ordinary citizens, not public officials, and that hunting down their home addresses or calling them is a really terrible idea and certain to be counterproductive. I think the best way to write to them would be via the state GOP office.
has good info on taking care of your mental health right now.This
is a useful illustrated guide to bystander intervention if you see someone being harassed in a public space.This post
has some interesting post-election thoughts. Not sure I agree with all of them, but I think they're worth reading.The #TransLawHelp hashtag
connects trans people with legal help if they'd like to get name or gender changes before Trump takes office. I've seen recommendations to prioritize getting a passport with the correct gender marker, as that's usually faster and easier than a name change and the passport can be updated with the new name later. Good info on that is here
from someone in the U.K. is lovely and kind.Some wise words
is collecting suggestions on activism for introverts
I picked up Kit from daycare. Their daycare teacher (a Black woman) and I just stared at the babies with teary eyes for a bit. I told Kit, "Reagan was elected when I was two and I got through it. We'll get you through this."
"Really?" the teacher said. "I liked Reagan. I remember my grandma had Reagan things all over the house."
"I was in Greenwich Village," I said. "People had AIDS. No one was a Reagan fan."
And we looked at each other like "nothing's ever simple, huh?" and then talked about how we're going to take care of our kids.
It's horrible but true that there are people who didn't survive Nixon and Reagan and GWB, and there are people who won't survive Trump. All we can do is try to keep our communities together, to support our most vulnerable. Pay one another's bills when we have to. As an EMT once told me, you can't save them all. But you don't stop trying to save the ones you can. And we will keep making art and arguing ideas and having children and otherwise creating things that will live on after we're gone.
I put a post up on Story Hospital about writing goals and deadlines in a time of strong emotions
. It's nominally about NaNoWriMo, since I had a NaNo post to do and I think people doing NaNo are going to feel particularly stressed by the combination of deadline pressure and election fuckery, but it's pretty broadly applicable. I hope it helps someone.
I wish I felt up to writing tonight. I suspect Nathaniel and Algernon would be talking about the raid on the White Swan
This, too, shall pass. Let's do everything we can to make it pass faster and with minimal harm.
Today Kit had their first real playdate! ( It went great! )
Yesterday was one of those days where you have to say "Everyone is fine" before talking about how the day went. ( But don't worry, everyone is fine )
I am trying really hard not to think about the election. Really really hard. I have plenty of other things to think about. But it intrudes constantly.
I have phonebanked and texted and done everything I can to get the vote out for Clinton. I will do a little more tomorrow and Tuesday. I have researched all the down-ballot candidates (including the one who's on the judicial ballot by mistake
). I have a plan to vote
. I just need to remember to wear white
I will be so glad when it's Wednesday and we can at least stop waiting for the results, whatever those results are.
The Brooks Brothers shopping trip consisted of me walking into Brooks Brothers, saying "I don't belong here", and bursting into tears. The way Brooks Brothers does masculinity is really not the way I do it, for all sorts of reasons. Also, I couldn't bear the idea of letting their tailors anywhere near my body. On the way to the store I'd gotten really tense trying to figure out how to project the "right" sort of masculinity and when I realized that was impossible the tension kind of went boom. So we walked out again, and J will find some way to sell the gift card, and then we'll spend the money at Bindle & Keep or on getting good tailoring for the shirts I already have. In the meantime, I went to Express and got some really nice curve-hugging turtleneck sweaters in gorgeous colors. And then I ordered more sweaters from the Express website and a couple other things from H&M (they were on sale!) so now I have a fall femme wardrobe and am very pleased about that.
Ever since I decided not to go on T, I've been feeling very femme. I don't think it's coincidence.
I'd hoped to use the DST change to get myself back on an earlier sleep schedule, but X was totally wiped today because of being up with the coughing teething baby all night last night after the whole ER happy fun times, and I'd gotten plenty of sleep, so I said I'd take the overnight shift. Staying up until 5 is much harder when 5 feels like 6. But J has just woken up, so I'm going to hand off the monitor and go fall asleep a whole lot.
- thinking about:
behavior.activism, behavior.parenting, body.body clock, body.sleep, experiences.disaster, experiences.dst, experiences.hospitals, ideas.politics, mind.wiring, mind.wiring.gender, people.kit, people.xtina, stuff.clothes
The National Center for Trans Equality asked me to take action on behalf of trans students. So I wrote a letter to New York State's schools commissioner.
Dear Commissioner Elia:
I'm writing to you as a transgender New Yorker who attended NYC public schools, and as a mentor for trans youth, to ask you to please create and implement trans-positive policies for all of New York's schools.
Trans children are especially vulnerable to bullying and discrimination. For trans teens, puberty can be horrifying and traumatic. New York's schools need all-gender toilet facilities so that questioning and non-binary teens don't have to pick a gender or a presentation in order to safely and comfortably use the bathroom, and they need a directive from the state level affirming that it's imperative to permit students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity. They need teachers who know how to respond when a student changes their name or pronouns. They need school counselors who are educated in the needs of trans kids and will support them through the daunting process of coming out to peers, teachers, and family, or through the anxiety of needing to remain closeted for their safety. They need school nurses who will help them access gender-affirming medical care or just take their meds on time. They need safety officers who have been trained to respect students' genders even when those students misbehave. They need administrative staff who know to greet them by their correct names, even if those aren't the names in the database. And they need peers who have learned in school, both from the curriculum and from watching the adults they look up to, that being trans is totally normal and that teasing and bullying trans students is unacceptable.
I have often found myself in the position of having to educate people around me on how to interact with me. It's exhausting and sometimes scary. We should never place that burden on a child. The burden is on you, Commissioner, to properly train school personnel and make sure that all of New York's schools, from the wealthiest suburb to the poorest neighborhood, have the facilities these students need. It's on you to create trans-affirming school curricula. These students need you to lead the way--not to make them beg for something so basic as being able to use the bathroom.
A new school year is coming. Please help make it a safe one for trans students so they can dedicate themselves to learning and making friends, just like any other student.
Rose FoxIf you're in the U.S., please send your own letter through NCTE's site--they'll find the address for you and even make some suggestions about what to say--to support trans students in your state.
Hillary Clinton's campaign just asked me why I donated to her. Here's what I told them (using "Hillary" instead of "Clinton" because that's the campaign's language):
I'm queer, transgender, and raising a seven-month-old. I don't want my child to grow up worrying about my safety, or scared that our family will be torn apart, or angry because the government denies us our rights. I'm counting on Hillary to make the United States safe for me and my family, and to support services for families that don't discriminate against any parents or children.
We're a white family living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, an overwhelmingly black and low-income neighborhood with many immigrants, some of whom are undocumented. The public and private schools are heavily segregated, as they are all over the city, which is detrimental to children of all races. My neighbors struggle to pay their bills, fight predatory landlords, and worry more about police harassment than about violent crime. I'm counting on Hillary to protect my neighbors from aggressive cops, promote racial integration in schools (if you don't think that's a 21st-century issue, you aren't paying attention), and find ways to redistribute wealth and help undocumented immigrants stay here legally so that these families can stay together and thrive.
I am disabled. I'm fortunate to have a job but often struggle to get my work done because I'm limited and in pain. I'd drop to part-time hours but I can't afford to, because we have to pay for childcare. And many disabled people can and want to work but have to keep their incomes and assets artificially low so they can receive essential services. A lot of the rhetoric at the convention focused on the idea that if you work, you shouldn't have to live in poverty. But NO ONE should have to live in poverty, including people who don't or can't work. I'm counting on Hillary to champion universal basic income in the United States so that disabled people are no longer caught in this horrible trap, and so that we can proudly say that in our nation, no one is poor.
Trump is terrible. But I'm not just voting against him--I'm voting for Hillary. And I plan to hold her accountable to her voters and her public.
I'm on vacation! For two whole weeks! I hardly know what to do with myself. But here is a list of things that I would like to at least think about doing:
* do some writing, or at least continue working in my writing journal
* spend time with friends
* phonebank for Hillary Clinton
because when Michelle Obama says to get to work
, I get to work
* take Kit to visit my mother and J's relatives
* maybe start a Patreon-based advice column for writers, if that seems like a thing anyone would be interested in
Despite the prominence of sleep on this list, it is difficult to keep my sleep schedule intact when I'm not working. I mean, it's hard enough when I am working and even harder when I'm not. But I'm going to do my best. Yesterday I stayed up until 7:30 in the morning, which was a bit excessive, but I think I can drag myself back from that an hour or two at a time.
I wish the weather were at all conducive to going outside and walking around. I just renewed my membership at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens but I can't enjoy it in this oppressive heat, and today's storm was so fierce that even I didn't want to be out in it (though it was lovely to watch from indoors). Maybe next week it will be cool enough for me to take a couple of long walks.
Now that I have Zipcar membership again, it's very tempting to drive somewhere upstate or out on Long Island where there're lots of trees and it's cooler and the air has more oxygen. But if I do something like that I think I'll probably take the train; it's easier on my arms and more eco-friendly even if I do always rent a Prius. I just really like driving. And I'm much more comfortable with it now that I've done the drive back from Readercon. I drove out to New Jersey this past weekend to visit J's grandmother and it was amazingly easy. Anything less than six hours of evening/night driving with the baby in the back of the car feels like a piece of cake.
- thinking about:
behavior.activism, behavior.planning, behavior.relaxing, body.body clock, body.sleep, experiences.driving, experiences.seasons, experiences.seasons.summer, experiences.weather, experiences.weather.heat, experiences.weather.rain, people.family, words.writing
Trump made a scary speech last night. Today Max Gladstone had some passionate thoughts on not being immobilized by that fear.
This is really, really important. It's JULY. Stop acting like Trump's already won!
I understand being scared. Take a day and feel the fear. Then let it power you into positive action.
Last night a friend asked what I thought they should be doing to prepare for helping people if Trump wins, which I guess meant "should we furnish our attic for the next Anne Frank" or something. I told them that I have the energy to either phonebank for Clinton or become a President Trump prepper, but not both. So I'm going to phonebank for Clinton.
(Is she perfect? No, obviously not. But she's not a dangerous fascist, and Trump is, so Clinton's got my vote and my activism. That seems pretty straightforward to me.)
Also, I refuse to treat fascism as the tipping point for helping those in need. Help the people who are in need now
, and who will be that much worse off under a Trump presidency. The institutional equivalent of your furnished attic is your local shelter; perhaps you could give them some time or money. Or donate to the Ali Forney Center
; while Trump makes grotesque claims about loving abstract theoretical LGBTQ people, the Ali Forney Center is helping real actual queer kids who've been kicked out by their families. Or fight felony disenfranchisement
, which horribly skews the demographics of who can vote. Or support organizations helping Syrian refugees
to counter Trump calling them all future terrorists, or tear down his wall before he can put it up by supporting organizations for just and humane border practices on the U.S.-Mexico border
. He has so many odious policies and positions that there are a hundred different ways you can push back against them, so pick one that calls to you.
And phonebank for Clinton
*--you can do it right now from your home, so throw a phonebanking party or make five quick calls before work every day or whatever suits you--or volunteer locally
. Give money and/or time to the Democrats or MoveOn or Avaaz or your preferred organization. As Max says, don't let the fuckers think they already own tomorrow.
and we have four months to win this. That is not a lot of time, but it's enough time as long as we don't pause too long to wallow in despair.
Don't furnish your attic toward an inevitable fascist tomorrow. Fight NOW so that no one needs to hide in an attic ever again.
P.S. Lots of people have been dropped from voter rolls. Check your registration right now.
Re-register if you need to. And then register your friends and neighbors and relatives. And then help them get to the polls, or make their postal votes. And bring your kids to the polls with you so they can see democracy in action and learn that when they're old enough voting will be important for them to do. We need all hands on deck, now and in the future--the future that we get to shape.* You may need to disable ad blockers to get the Clinton phonebank page to work.
Feel free to share the link to this post as widely as you like.
Last night I dreamed that it was some sort of trans pride day and I was carrying a big rainbow flag around. A cis woman mistook me for a cis guy and made some snarky look-how-hip-I-am comment about cis people horning in on trans stuff. I unbuttoned my dress shirt like Clark Kent to show my binder and was all WHO'S TRANS ENOUGH NOW. And then I hung my rainbow flag on a lamppost and strolled off.
Most satisfying dream I've had in ages. :D
In the past week, fires have started at seven churches in the American South
, most of which have predominantly Black congregations. At least three of the fires have been determined to be arson--which is to say, acts of domestic terrorism. Media coverage on this has been scant, and most of the reports that do appear say things like "the events did not appear to be linked"; what they mean is that no single organization or individual appears to be behind all or most of the fires, but that phrasing rather appallingly elides the part where a specific community is being targeted in the context of other recent bias crimes.
An Episcopal church in St. Louis has started a collaborative effort to fund rebuilding the damaged churches. In addition to soliciting donations from individuals, they're asking congregations of all kinds to take up special collections for the cause. Info is here:http://www.icontact-archive.com/M5YFYDA07SZXyilTdrSHc_yzvu9vHEAs?w=1https://cccathedralstl.dntly.com/campaign/2571#/
(Thanks to mactavish
for the links.)
Please donate if you can, and spread the word, especially to community leaders who can organize larger collection efforts.
If you regularly read or watch the news, and you haven't seen any coverage of these events, write letters to your favorite news organizations and ask them to cover the fires (ideally using the words "arson" and "terrorism") and to signal-boost the fundraiser. Make sure to mention that you're a subscriber or frequent reader/viewer.
Now I want a "Pixel-stained technopeasant corn" userpic.
Also, a letter.To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: Declining your kind invitation
Thanks again for the invitation you extended at Readercon for me and my partner Josh to visit you in Providence. As I told you then, I've never been there and was looking forward to finding a good weekend to go up, see the town, and hang out with you.
Following your recent participation in the discussion over the Mammoth Book of Mindblowing SF, however, I no longer feel I can take you up on that offer. It would be entirely too awkward for all of us were we to get into an argument and find ourselves unable to resolve it while you had responsibility for hosting us and we were far from home. Moreover, as you have now compared women and people of color to weeds; implied that homosexual men aren't really men, or that your critics believe so; and suggested that women like myself must have some sort of professional ulterior motive to object to a major anthology TOC being solely the province of white men (even though you as an author in that anthology have a significant professional stake in this discussion, and I as a journalist and magazine editor have no professional stake in it whatsoever), I find it hard to believe that you actually want to spend a weekend in my company, given that I am a queer woman who has recently made it extremely clear that she cares a lot about minority representation in genre fiction circles and isn't shy about getting into loud discussions of same.
You have always been very kind to me in our direct interactions, but I cannot reconcile that with your wholesale dismissal of these classes to which I and many of my friends belong. You state that your error was in breaking your policy of remaining on the sidelines of arguments. I disagree. I think your error was in coming into a conversation and turning it into an argument by espousing an absurd, offensive position and backing it up with absurd, offensive rhetoric. I very much hope that you reconsider your exit from the conversation at least long enough to post an apology to the numerous people you have insulted, explicitly declare your affiliation with the book under discussion, and either reconsider your position or recuse yourself from further conversation on the very reasonable grounds that as an author in the anthology you cannot--as you yourself have noted--possibly have anything like an unbiased opinion of the selection criteria used by the editor.
I know you're fond of my father and I was hoping I could become friends with you someday as well. For that to happen, though, you have to see me as a real person, and see all people like me as real people, even the ones whose fathers you don't know. If that happens, and if you are willing to make a public statement to that effect and make a serious effort at understanding exactly why women and POC and queers and other minorities get so furious every single time a straight white man publishes a book full of stories by straight white men, drop me a note and perhaps we can reschedule that weekend visit.
Unless we can psychologically accommodate change, we ourselves begin to die, inwardly. What I am saying is that objects, customs, habits, and ways of life must perish so that the authentic human being can live. And it is the authentic human being who matters most, the viable, elastic organism which can bounce back, absorb, and deal with the new.
--Philip K. Dick