Politics Rights

The rules of engagement – sexuality

The 2013 Guidelines for Coming Out.

So, Jodie Foster came out. Or didn’t. It seems there is some idea of what coming out should look like, some wording that is necessary to meet a standard. Odd, the notoriously private Ms Foster, who made a speech that included a yearning plea for privacy’s necessity, is chided for not beetling this standard.

Who sets this standard? Who decides? Why must sexuality, coming out, or any related issue conform to rules? Consenting adults make choices. Healthy relationships come in so many forms.

And by healthy, I do not mean sick, controlling, violent power plays of rape and force. I do know people who are into BDSM, and in that scene, the concept of consenting adults is vital to it being conducted. It does not always succeed, but the intention is there, and that is worthy of respecting, again, human sexuality is complex. But when force is used on people without consent, or coercion, bullying, blackmail – all the vile variations that end up with someone sick their stomach in fear and or revulsion doing what they would not choose to do – then that is a vileness that is to be purged from any healthy society. And yes, I know wherein I speak on that, too:(

I have loved people. Their gender has changed depending on the person. I do not claim to be anything but myself. I do not think of myself as anything such as gay or straight or bi. Sexuality is too fluid to me; to me, it has always been about the mind. I found (after some erroneous attempts to be like other people), that I could not enjoy partners whose mind I did not respect. That I felt almost repulsed by people who I did not feel a warm connection to. That did not mean I had to be in love, but that I felt a connection to them. This seems to me to be normal. The shape that mind, that person came in, was thus irrelevant. People have such different shapes after all – tall, short, thin, round, male, female…

I also found I could have sexual relations with friends, a warm loving connection that required nothing more. I also found that very few others could experience that without complication, so I learned not to pursue that side of myself. We are, after all, a society with some strange attitudes to sexuality. Restrictions and rules that often have zero validity, or some that do but for the wrong reasons, unnecessary with better understanding and healthier outlooks. But that is what it is, and one must function responsibly to survive comfortably. I stand by my code of consenting adults, and do no harm. I have not always succeeded with the latter, but cannot imagine doing other than the former. However, I probably (due to circumstances of upbringing) regarded myself as adult long before I technically was. Je ne regrete rien – probably spelt wrong, French lessons being, like so much else, a very, very long time ago:)

While i make the point that attraction resides in the person, I can add that bodies can be broken or different, and still be sexual and attractive. Disabled people have needs, and we, as a society, are seemingly terrified of that. I have had disabled partners because of their gorgeous minds – their bodies became attractive in my eyes accordingly. I am disabled, and still have a sexuality to my nature. We who are disabled are not dead, after all.

I have a daughter who came out in the expected fashion. She did not angst about it, as she was aware neither her father or I would be concerned. I did, however, point out that her siblings had not felt the need to inform me, and I would welcome any partner she chose to introduce me to if they were good to and for her (sorry, abuse may kids, your form fails to matter, you are persona non grata). She laughed and said we gave her nothing for therapy;) but she knows me enough to understand, I was not rejected her announcement, just sad that the difference was needed to be commented on. I wouldn’t blink if one of my offspring bought home a same sex partner without the announcement, as long as they were making my child happy.

And that, after all, is the point. Life is a sweet, rapid blip. One fails to know how rapid as a teenager, when time can drag so heavily. But oh, how it speeds as one gets older, and every cliche about feeling young despite one’s body comes true. And here we are again, despite one’s body, feeling things. There it is. That’s what love is. We fall in love with unsuitable people, on spite of ourselves. We are attracted to the wrong people, in spite of ourselves. The heart and body (really the mind and body) will feel what they feel, for complex hormonal, sociological, genetic, historical, and chemical reasons. But I wish we could acknowledge that, teach healthy self respect for ourselves and each other early on, so that one’s sexuality is merely an aspect of oneself like hair colour (and for me, that changes in shades of red for decades now;) ). That one does not need to fear bullying for coming out, as why would one need to come out when normality is healthy respect for all the glorious shades of human sexuality, of consenting adults in healthy relationships?

By the way, let me end on this note. Oh, Ms Foster. I have so had the biggest crush on you since Contact. You fought for that project, you understood it, you knew Sagan’s work. What is not to crush on? An amazing woman with a sharp mind. Fiercely loyal, intellectual. Sigh. Yep. Crush inevitable.

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I am a tea addict, but not in politics.

‘Tea Party’ to whip up a political storm | News.com.au.

Australians should remember the initial burst of that similarly platformed One Nation (often called ‘One Notion’ by the sane among us), that  drove the then conservative government of John Howard to start the trend of freaking out about ‘boat people’ (Tampa and children overboard and other lies told to support their policies). This has led to consecutive governments being ‘tough on refugees’, picking on the highly visible but low percentage of actual refugees desperate enough to come over on rickety boats piloted by money grabbing shysters who dump them often just offshore from (IF they are lucky) sparsely populated areas. Often not even that good:((

We have a Labor party (translation, Democrat in US Imperial), that is similarly ‘tough’. A minority, but hanging on with a coalition of the few Independents, and the Greens, who have been sodding useless (the  independents otoh rock). The upcoming election will be bitter, and hard fought. Both sides, in short, will kick up the latent bigotry in conversation here, and there will be a repeat of the fracturing but with even more damag. Also, we do not have any decent or strong leaders among the politicians, rather two of the most loathed leaders on both sides in history (at the same time), both of whom are desperately hanging to said leadership, so will jump on any bandwagon – with the Liberal leader (Republican) being as right wing anti abortion Catholic religious as you can get while trying to pretend some moderation behind it. For the first time in my voting life, these is not a single party that I can even hold my nose and vote for, and many on both sides feel the same. They are reflections of each other, tweedledum and tweedledummer:(
The new group will drag politics right while not actually getting significant real vote, just lots of noisy support until polling day rolls around. They will drag both sides down, as happened in the US, in a race to appease perceived popular support that is just sound and fury, signifying nothing. I have seen what they have done to the US, in the name of chasing some lovely 1950s rosy vision of a nice clean white middle America that never existed, wholesome God fearing communities, a land of milk and honey, no poverty, all equal….
Skin colour is often at heart of the issue there. Asian or Arabic here, the very otherness of cultures threatens us. However, our indigenous culture is apart, often in third world conditions, and we blame them for it, in racist tones even the Americans would blush at. And we started to get better from that,  we weren’t good, but getting better. Sorry day, recognition of past wrongs. Kevin Rudd – we had removed Howard, boted in Kevin. It has come out that he was personally an apparent horror to work with, but he made the community feel better, move forward. Party politics removed him,and the same with Malcolm Turnbull on the other side, we got Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott –  and the culture has slid inexorably backwards. And now this. Poor fella, my country.
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Diminshed memories

Let’s Talk About Kasandra Perkins for a Change.
The man who abused her and killed her was a sports star, so she gets to be a bit player in her own death – a mere cipher to discuss him. It is not the same as he put her through – but it certainly is analogous. She deserves a voice in this story, as it is hers too. She suffered. Her baby is motherless, fatherless, and this is the legacy she has too. Her father is ‘mistaken’, a ‘victim of sports pressure’. There is even suggestions, hints, if not outright statements that somehow she is culpable.

She was only culpable for believing they could work it out. That the Counselling was helping. That he meant his promises of change. She wanted to believe it for her daughter. From the depths of her frequently cited (by those who bothered to seek) compassionate, warm, sympathetic heart, she wanted to believe for him, too. There is the same blinding heroism of the star athlete that has led to her diminishment in the story told, who knows what role that held in her optimism? He was such a ‘good guy’….

Too many abusers are seen that way. Too many victims are not believed because ‘he couldn’t be like that’. She must be mistaken, exaggerating, she must have earnt or deserved it. As if anyone deserves it. And it is worse for men – who can also be abused. More often (but not only) emotionally rather than physically abused, they are even more supposed to ‘man up’. As if a man could be broken by words. Huh. Anyone can be. Words can erode your sense of self, of worth. You become ‘lucky they will put up with you’, somehow deserving all the abusers because of your own faults. You become pathetically grateful for any small kindness. And it can all be masked behind makeup or smiles. People can never suspect.

I know all too well. I, like many others, have scars inside that won’t heal, and I am lucky, I escaped. With enough left to recover somewhat, become seemingly strong. I was lucky in my friends and family, they came put to save and support me. I will regret all my life the scars I thought I had protected my children from, that I thought I had hidden away from them. But children are wounded themselves, of not abided directly, from seeing some one they love suffer, and how confusing to have it be at the hands of the other person they love and trust.

So, it’s hard, and it hurts, but you can escape and rebuild. We do need better protection for men and women facing the most dangerous of abusers, the crazy violent stalkers. And we need to remember the victims matter.

Her friends called her Kasi.

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A woman gets pregnant, we all get to judge?

We have a ridiculous set of rules, no, IMPOSSIBLE set of rules for women to follow. Of you are single and facing  pregnancy – slut (if due to rape, was it rape rape?). If married, oh what a blessing. Unless too soon after marriage. Or you have x other children, x being the number some person thinks is enough. Or if you have all of one gender, you must be trying for a $other_gender. Or if you are an obviously happily married young woman who has been with her partner a good many years, is financially secure, has travelled, and obviously likes children – but you happen to be Royal – sorry, you are merely ‘doing your duty’, being ‘used as a brood mare’. As if women cannot choose. As if feminism wasn’t about choice. And women can be the worst judges…

Poor Duchess, is in love and decides to see how that goes by making a commitment – she is ‘Waity Katey’. She is happy being a housewife – she is being a ‘burden’. In fact, any woman who revels in home and hearth, in family raising (a very full time job), is criticized and made to feel she is by doing enough. Working mothers are selfish and ruining their children (note working dads never are).  I want the same choices for my son as for my four daughters – do what best makes you happy, and give back to your society. Do that by raising happy children, or by high flying career, or both. Be a volunteer, be an artist, just be yourself, be honest and kind and true to yourself. That is what Feminism is truly about!

For King and Country: the duty to conceive – The Drum Opinion

A world of women as chattel

In many cultures, women are property, chattel with no right or worth. Dowry must be paid to get rid of them. They only bring shame and dishonor – unless they do the only thing of validity for a woman and bear sons. Less valuable than animals if not suitably breeding, they can be raped, tortured and murdered with impunity – even have that cruelty celebrated if it provides ‘honor’ restoration to her family, for a deed that may not even be related to her. Her childhood is brief and dangerous, as she only has value as potential marriage bargaining. She has no choices, no worth.

We are sending soldiers over to Afghanistan and places like that but only to support regimes that still allow this, as the Taliban, goodness help us, are worse! It is an abiding horror and shame, and while men claim that this is the way of Islam (this is actually hotly disputed by more evolved Muslims), then the reputation of Islam as a brutal and backward religion is sadly but deservedly reinforced. Fundamentalist Christians and Catholics have no reason to point the finger, one must add – the brutality is less on the surface, but the woman is always the ‘slut’, to be blamed for needing contraception or pregnancy or rope support – she is always seen to be deserving of it. In domestic violence, she is often treated as a harridan shrew who earned it somehow.

No, religions have, as a whole across the spectrum, treated women abysmally – and are in a position to do the most to change it. While woman are less in the eyes of their religions, devout societies will also treat them that way. This can range from the brutality of such Stone Age treatment of women as chattel, to diminishing their roles in daily religious observance to less than that of men.

In Afghanistan, a 14-Year-Old Girl Is Beheaded – The Daily Beast.

Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP’s War on Women

Found this list in a comments section (on Fark.com, on a thread where a Repub Senator advocates throwing acid in the faces of Dem women fighting for equal pay rights!)

Now, as much as  would like to say, no, this is hyperbole – it isn’t. All these are verifiable. Dammit. 2012,and the GOP seems to want to drag the US into the dark ages.

What happened, USA? You’ve changed, man. It used to be about the rights. All joking aside using that quote, it used to be a shining beacon of hope, a place for all oppressed people to dream of escaping to. Now, people talk of escaping it. That isn’t hating the country. It is hating the twisting of it that has happened, is happening.

Republican vs. Democrat 2012

1) Republicans not only want to reduce women’s access to abortion care, they’re actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven’t yet. Shocker.

2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser.” But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain “victims.”

3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)

4) Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

5) In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids’ preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.

7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.

8) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

9) Congress just voted for a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.

10) And if that wasn’t enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can’t make this stuff up).

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Power, politics, fear…the poisoning of faith.

Jefferson bible

Above all: give up power over others, because power, if it is to be effective, ultimately requires the threat of violence, and violence is incompatible with the total acceptance and love of all other human beings that is at the sacred heart of Jesus’ teaching. That’s why, in his final apolitical act, Jesus never defended his innocence at trial, never resisted his crucifixion, and even turned to those nailing his hands to the wood on the cross and forgave them, and loved them.

via Andrew Sullivan: Christianity in Crisis – The Daily Beast.

I found this profoundly moving. I move through my life as an atheist, but not an atheist as one would assume they know it to be. I reject the tenets of organised religion for various reasons, but mainly due to intolerance and absolutes of dogma. I reject the Bible in parts, like Jefferson, because I cannot reconcile the overriding message of Jesus with the interpretations of others, with the injunctions on how to treat slaves etc. I loathe the Bible blackness that allows people to cherry pick the doctrines to suit their intolerance an hatred – but ignore the bits that don’t suit. So, I find myself in the strange position of approving of someone who has done just that. Thomas Jefferson excised the Bible to contain only what he believed to be the true Jesus message, removing every flowers opinion or interpretation, leaving the pure message. Oh, and that, how that message matters. And how twisted it has become.

I am an atheist in the same way as every Christian out there – I reject other religions. I just reject one more – theirs. But that does not mean rejecting the message. It means rejecting what has sprung up around it. What has been twisted and shaped around it – the justification for the cruelty, war, and intolerance, slavery, and even today, rejection of others who don’t fit the dogma. People wonder why the young, and many of us older people, are more openly atheistic. Look at what the religions loudly espouse, – born again intolerance, Catholic sex crimes, an unhealthy, prurient demand we live by someone else’s sexual mores –  and you wonder we reject that? A word where I would have died after my tragic miscarriages, as they make the procedure impossible without invasive ultrasound, and expensive operation (D & C, or abortion procedure) – if I can find a practitioner and make it past the gamut of screaming, intolerant people? Or those poor women faced with the most tragic of choices, to abort an embryo, perhaps viable enough to develop into a potential baby, perhaps tragically not? What would Jesus have done? If anything can be learnt from the Bible, his treatment of the adulterous wife should show the clear way he would have behaved…

I am revolted, even frightened, by the Christian Taliban on the rise in America, looking for a return to a non existent time of fantasy, a 1950s sitcom with starched people in their places, white mum in the kitchen, little Billy, freckle faced and mischievous off to school, Sis learning her household chores as she starts her glory box, Dad off to work, and no one ‘different’ around to disrupt the fantasy, a wholesome world where gloved women and men in hats took their 2.4 children to clean white picket churches each week, and all was lovely. But it was never like that. It has never been like that. The Puritans had sex, and drank copiously. They just had doctrinal issues to set them apart. The fifties had bigotry and intolerance, segregation, women having few rights, men trapped in paths decided before they left school.

The Jefferson Jesus is a man to admire, to ponder his words, to learn from and emulate. Whether he was the son of a deity I have no knowledge of. Is there an ineffable being behind it all? I don’t know. But I know the message, the true message, matters. And that everything around us just focuses us on the differences we have between us, not the richness of what we share.

 

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The right to life – I have it.

The Way It Was | Mother Jones.

This article has made me angry. So angry, i am going to open very far too fresh wounds.

I don’t miscarry. Five times, the fetus died. Five times, this longed for child died before twenty weeks. Some early, two, very very late.

Once I gave birth to a little girl I grieved over, too tiny and perfect for life.

The rest of the time, I had a D&C. The fetus, long dead, had to be removed, as my body was not letting go, as my heart was not. It was killing me. I could have died of septicaemia.

With the law changes in the US, I WOULD have died. My subsequent miracles, my youngest children, never born. My equally cherished older children motherless too soon.

The pious arrogance of the anti abortionists. If they are all so pro life, why are they so willing to sacrifice mine? And my youngest two children, who would not have even had a chance to live? 

And all the women who must make the terrible, awful choice, whether the fetus is viable or not, to end a pregnancy. What cruelty is there in choosing for them. Choosing a way of vast expense and pain. Of almost certain death at the hand of backyard butchers. For these desperate women, often trapped in violence and poverty, frequently trying to protect other already born children, unable to access affordable contraception with the obscene lottery of health insurance (unless for the gift of Planned Parenthood, who do far more to prevent unwanted pregnancies than to end them), or perhaps young, vulnerable and scared, with parents who would not understand, or who would rage and throw them out, or with the consequence of death and revilement from their community, hard lined with religious intolerance, mocking the very words of their religious ethos – how dare ANYONE condemn women to this? Their children left motherless, often already fatherless, consigned to foster homes that may scar them in too many ways. The women dead or broken, from one awful episode left unable then to ever have that child they may have wished more than anything they could have had, who perhaps died, or meant the death of them? Or that they could have had if older, supported, or not abused?

People like these so called right to lifers make me sick with their sanctimonious hypocrisy. They seek only to preserve the narrow definition of life. All life is not sacred to them. ONly that which gestates. 

Those people have blood of far more on their hands than any abortionist. Those people are murderers far more vile.