ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an interesting piece on albinism and discrimination. I have no idea why people pick on albinos, other than the generic hatred of anything different; it makes even less sense than the large-scale ethnic discriminations where at least one might conceive of seeing another large group as competition. Vision problems are a key aspect of albinism. There is a trend toward albino villains in entertainment, although it has a matching heroic version. This association with evil can cause problems for people with albinism. It also spills over to characters with similar appearance, even if they are not specifically identified as albino: pale skin, white-blond or white hair, light (blue, green, hazel) or pink/red eyes. Actually it turns out that in humans, albinos more often have lavender or blue eyes rather than pink/red, although the ruddy tones do occur.

Well, once you count "albino-like" features, my characters cover the whole spectrum because I happen to think it's a picturesque color range. (I am also into dark characters, and dark with light hair. What can I say, I like diversity.) Also albinos and other very light-colored people are just like anyone else, so they can be good or evil or most often a mix of both. So let's see...

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
If you're trying to help a group of people, or honor a cause, to which you do not personally belong then start by asking for their input. Here are some ideas from veterans about how to observe Memorial Day. In light of that ...

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ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
Check out these 3D-printed dolls with disabilities.

I am loving the one with the strawberry mark on her face.  I've just always had a fondness for that style of birthmark -- there used to be a bank teller around here who had one.  I have no idea why some people find skin variations so off-putting.  I love freckles too.  We like appaloosa ponies, why not people?  Sure, it's nice to have a doll that looks like you, but I would've gone for this just for the diversity factor.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
So people are picking on college students again for needing safe spaces. I think the world would be a better place if we picked on people less and supported people more. In that interest ...

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This is my favorite Captain America speech ever.  This is what it means to be a hero.  It's not about powers or publicity.  It's about integrity.  It's about observing the world until you understand what's wrong with it, figuring out a solution to some part of that, and applying yourself to it.  It's about deciding your own personal code of honor from which you will not deviate no matter what other people do or don't do.  Heroes take responsibility.  An unsullied hero like Cap is just not budgable on this point. 

Conversely, this is my iconic villain speech.  Villains tend to focus on what they can do more than what they should do, and what people will think about them.  They're in it for their own purposes, their own desires, rather than what is good or what is needed.  When things to wrong, they consistently try to lay the blame on someone else, anyone else.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is from the May 5, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] redsixwing. It also fills the "best friends" square in my 12-17-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the March 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] stardreamer. It has been sponsored by EdorFaus. This poem belongs to the Damask thread of the Polychrome Heroics series, and it's a direct sequel to "The Inheritor of Our Fear" so read that one first or this one will make no sense.

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... staffed entirely by transfolk, so callers don't have to explain why being trans in this culture makes them want to die. They can just start working the problem.

Trans Lifeline can be reached at 877-565-8860. For LGBT youth (ages 24 and younger) contemplating suicide, the Trevor Project Lifeline can be reached at 1-866-7386. The U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 "A Small Needful Fact" by Ross Gay is a brilliant poem about the life and death of Eric Garner.  This is why society needs poetry.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the February 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] chanter_greenie, [personal profile] mama_kestrel, [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon, and LJ user My_partner_doug. It also fills the "Feb. 15 cheap chocolates day" square in my 1-31-15 card for the Valentines Day Bingo fest, and the "Asked to sign intimate body part on a fan" square in my Superhero Bingo card. This poem has been sponsored by LJ user Ng_moonmoth. It belongs to the Calvin/Calliope thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is from the March 2015 Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] alexseanchai. It also fills the "Wild Card: Mirror, mirror: Doppelgangers, clones and evil doubles" square in my 12-17-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Warning: This poem contains frank discussions of reproduction and choice politics, along with examples of misogyny and hypocrisy.

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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the March 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] thnidu and [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fills the "humble pi(e)" square of my 3-2-15 card for the Pi(e) Bingo Fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I've been watching all the Autism Awareness/Acceptance stuff, and noticed something missing.  Nobody is asking: What would help?  What are YOUR goals?  When you were growing up and learning to use your neurovariant brain/body, what would have made that easier?  What things do you know now that you wish someone had taught you a lot sooner?

Because that's how to compile a good toolbox for improving people's lives.  You ask experienced ones in similar circumstances what helps for them, and then you offer it to others.

One reason I write what I write is because I've heard a whole lot of "representation helps" from many different communities.  It feels good to see characters who are like yourself, especially if they are happy, successful, and the hero of a story.  What else helps?
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an essay on how Muslims could exercise freedom of religion in Indiana.  I think it's great to annoy bigots.

I also think that's all it will accomplish.  People outside mainstream Christianity have repeatedly tried to use religion to justify both positive and negative acts.  They lose.  Privilege is for the dominant group only. Doesn't matter if you're right, only if you have power.  Muslim cabbies have repeatedly tried to get permission to refuse rides to people who are drunk and/or carrying packages of alcohol, because drinking is against their religion.  The answer has always been that cabbies are a public service and must serve everyone equally, so they're only allowed to refuse service if someone is violent or abusive (or broke).
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
When you're trying to a support a group of people that you don't directly belong to, and some organization that purports to support that group is quite unpopular with the people who actually have that trait, then it's helpful to believe them and cut your ties to that organization. If you care why the organization is aggravating the people it claims to help, by all means do some research to find out why. But trust your trait-having friends to know when someone is trying to screw them.

In this case, it's about April as Autism Awareness Month, and the organization Autism Speaks -- which despite its name is not by autistic people but by neurotypical people who work with or are related to people on the spectrum. Really not the same thing at all. Actual neurovariant people have all kinds of beef with AS and a little digging will turn up their explanations of why. Don't pester them about it, lots of them are tired of repeating that conversation.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an essay about what it's like to be a conservative in F&SF

Yeah so, I have some conservative friends.  Mostly my politics lean liberal, but on some issues, my stance aligns with conservatives (although I rarely hold it for the same reasons as others).  That essay?  Is the kind of thing that contributed to me not going back to WisCon, because I don't like when people pick on my friends.  I want fandom and publishing to be inclusive.  If they're not, then I get pissy and don't want to go to those parties.  I mean if I wanted to do the clique thing I would hang out with mundanes. :/

The instigating topic, awards ... meh.  I haven't been impressed with Hugos and Nebulas.  Rhysling, Lambda, and Tiptree are more likely to have something with higher literary merit in my observation.  But it's easy for people to get into arguments over awards, and I'm just not into the drama llama race.  I would rather read books than pick fights over them.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article takes a tongue-in-cheek look at passing privilege and the issue of identifying who may legally be discriminated against.  How do you "tell" if someone is homosexual?  Sometimes the person advertises it, sometimes it may be inferred from clues, but most of the time it is not so obvious.  This of course raises the issue of misconceptions; many cissexual, heterosexual people have been beaten or even murdered because someone mistakenly thought they were queer.  So too, Indiana will quickly discover that legalizing discrimination against homosexuals will also hit some heterosexuals.

And then there are those of us whose warning label should say, "Activist: push to start."  (I actually have that on a red button.)  Sure, there are times when I use passing privilege of various types because it's easy and I don't have an infinite supply of spoons, or when I believe that acting up would be dangerous.  But there are other times when I'll act up even if it is dangerous, and if I judge it safe, I will make a great big hairy scene.  Never get into a blurting contest with an annoyed bard, you will lose.  Because I can handle the kind of heat that bigots give off when someone objects to them being bigots, and not everyone can, and I want them to know that civilized people won't let them act like giant assholes without at least calling them out for it.

You can readily identify a queer person who does something like, "Oh gosh, you have a sign that says you don't serve queer people in here.  I guess I'll leave this big basket of stuff on the counter and take my $96 queer dollars to a store that is not run by giant assholes."

Just because I'm currently wearing a female body and in a permanent relationship with someone in a male body does not make me any less queer.  It's just a little harder to see from this angle, until I open my mouth.  As long as someone mistaking me for a heterosexual woman doesn't cause an issue, meh, I usually don't care.  Random strangers don't need to know my weirdnesses.  But when it IS an issue?  Open mouth, fire full broadside.  

This is why I got beef with people who claim that privilege is inescapable.  It's not.  It really, really  is not.  In fact it's a lot more frangible than people realize.  You can very easily lose your privilege if someone else mistakes you for a member of a disadvantaged group or if you are forcibly attached to it for some reason.  You can also choose to drop your privilege in the crapper and flush it along with all the other shit you don't need, just by voluntarily associating with disadvantaged people or by verbally dispensing with it when people offer you privilege that you don't want to accept.  Bigots will enthusiastically diss you for any or all of that.  

It's not all or nothing, of course.  If your association is not obvious, then you may have the option of picking your battles.  That lets you stay reasonably safe while still making a difference.  You might flush one privilege today and a different one tomorrow.  You might wax and wane your advertisement of hidden traits based on how much energy you have for a given cause or whether it makes you feel bad to hide (or reveal) what you are.  It's your life, your choice.

Just understand that it is a choice, just as bigotry or tolerance are choices.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 [personal profile] cmcmck is a true historian, noting the value of ephemera in history.  See some beautiful photos of graffiti about Charlie Hebdo.  This is raw cultural material.  It's not elite.  It's not meant to last.  It's a snapshot of the human soul in one moment of emotion.  Like a breath of mist on a cold winter day, it is there and gone in an instant.

Unless someone catches it.  This is what historians are for.  We are timebinders.  We see, so that humanity may know.  We witness, so that humanity may remember.

Every tidbit of information is important, although some are more famous or influential than others.  Watch.  Listen.  Record.  For what is considered important today is not always the same as what will be valued or studied tomorrow.  It is ours to keep, so that others who come after us may explore more of our time than we have left of those before us.  Because we know these things matters.

This is what we're here for.

And Je suis Charlie?  It doesn't mean we're all at equal  risk of being murdered for our beliefs right now.  It acknowledges that today they're coming for someone else, but tomorrow they could come for us, if we don't stand up and stop them.  Je suis Charlie,  unless we make a world in which it's not okay to murder people for annoying you.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
One of the best presentations I have ever seen

I will add one caveat: becoming (or making someone) pregnant CAN have permanent, life-changing, psychological effects for some people along all possible paths.  You can be happy, sad, or have mixed feelings about abortion, adoption, or parenting.  It just hits people differently.  Even a pregnancy scare  that doesn't turn out to be true can have a big impact.  It's a life event.  As the post suggests, a supportive environment helps make this a learning experience and not a trauma.

Also, want to be a hero?  Support a friend anywhere along any of these life paths.  Sometimes you might be the only help they have.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an essay about hidden disabilities in speculative fiction and real life. It makes some interesting points about people's assumptions and different levels of ability.

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