Archives for category: Ableism

I haven’t been around much the past few months. RL and my paying work went insane on me, and well…yeah. I’m trying to get back in the groove but it’ll be a slow process. Sadly, if you follow my poly blog, you’re used to these long disappearances.

Today, a friend on Twitter shared this story with me: World Aids Day: Stigma of living with HIV strong inside gay community

I can sum up the story in two sentences. 1) A gay man with HIV found acceptance and love from the Mormon father he was terrified to come out to, but rejection from the Gay community he trusted to support him. 2) Stigmatizing and hurting  people with HIV/AIDS makes it harder to fight the epidemic.

I’d like to add a third part: What the fuck is wrong with us. Whether we identify as LGBT, sex positive, kinky, poly, feminist, POC or any other fucking label…How can we do this to our own? And it’s not just in LGBT communities. We, as marginalized groups, and those who are fighting for our own rights and protections, have turned, over and over and over again, on some of the most vulnerable among us. We have stigmatized them, penalized them. Driven them from us and far to often left them to die alone.

For over a year, I researched and wrote for a medical blog on HIV/AIDS. I wish I could link to it, but it’s down now. The things I learned in that year would blow your mind. Things like, sexual transmission is actually extremely difficult if the virus is under control, so difficult that many doctors believe it is perfectly safe for a person with HIV to have sex if their T-cell count it high enough. (I don’t remember the specific number, but I invite you to do your own research.) Like using condoms reduces the risk of transmission even further–depending on the study you read up to 95% when used consistently and correctly.

Now, percentages seem to hurt people’s brains, so let me spell this out for you. Go back to that ‘extremely difficult’ link. On the chart it is says that highest risk sexual activity is receptive anal intercourse. 50 out of 10,000. If 10,000 people have receptive anal intercourse with an HIV+ partner, 50 of them will get infection. That is half a percent, people. Now add in condoms. Figure condoms are 60% effective, that’s the low-end, but let’s be safe. Condoms cut risk of infection by 60% does NOT mean that your risk of getting infected if 40%. It means that half a percent risk (0.5%) drops even further to 0.2%. That’s 1 in 500. Hey, how about this? If the person with HIV/AIDS is on bottom, the risk of the penetrative partner in anal intercourse using a condom is something like 0.03%. In English, that’s 3 in 10,000.

So why the fuck did I spend a year reading news reports of people afraid to shake hands with a person who has HIV/AIDS. Of people with HIV/AIDS going to jail for35 years for spitting on someone.

Look, I admit it. The idea of getting AIDS is scary. Especially for someone like me without insurance and decent medical care. Knowing that HIV is a manageable disease (did you know that? someone infected with HIV today is just as likely to die of a heart attack or cancer. Science, she does progress) doesn’t do me any good when I can’t get the care to manage it. So yeah, if I was dating someone and found out they had HIV, I’d be uncomfortable with the idea of penetrative intercourse. Why? Because I’m human, and AIDS has been the Big Bad Boogeyman since I was in grade school. It’s hard to think rationally about it. But that wouldn’t stop me from being a relationship with someone who has HIV or AIDS.

News-fucking-flash: There is a lot more to dating a person than sticking tab A in slot B. There’s even more to sex than sticking tab A in slot B. Unless you learned your sex from porn, in which case, please educate yourself.

The stigma against people with HIV/AIDS is a particularly pervasive form of ableism. It’s one that doesn’t belong in our communities, in our homes, in our relationships.

It’s time to person-up, get over the stupid “Ew! They have cooties!” and start treating the people around us with HIV/AIDS as the individuals, friends, and comrades they are.

 

After some time to think and recharge, rather than collating links here, I’m going to folks on summarizing major stuff in various social activisms that I feel should be part of a wider conversation and occasionally personal thoughts and ramblings. I will also be building up the 101 pages to provide a place to find information both about various identities, and how can happen when they intersect.

If you follow what’s going on in feminism at all, you will have heard about Hugo Scwyzer. If you haven’t, here’s background.

Short version: Scwyzer has a long history of abusing people, and especially women. His history of abuse has long been ignored by feminist media (let me put this in perspective: 3 years ago, when I didn’t know anything at all about feminism, I had heard of Scwyzer and knew he was an abusive asshole who I didn’t want within a mile of me, my daughter or any other woman I knew. There is no way feminist media missed this. They ignored it.) Now he’s finally gone ‘too far’ and people are trying to make excuses for him based on mental illness, while shutting down or ignoring the WoC he abused, pleading for understanding about his illness and calling upon ‘community’.

I am told (haven’t read it myself) that some places are even raising the cry of ‘ableism’ in Scwyzer’s defense. Flavi Dzodan’s has a very good response to that shit. The abuser getting a pass due to his mental illness while the abused is victim blamed and their illness – which is caused often caused by the abuser – is ignored and swept under the carpet. Anyone who is familiar with rape culture recognizes this pattern. It should not be happening within feminism.

Mental illness is not an excuse for abuse. It is not a reason for abuse. If my mentally ill partner ever hit our child because the kids screaming during an anxiety attack cause him to lose control (something I have no fear of him ever doing, but work with me here) I would be out of this place so fast the carpets would catch fire and my partner would be talking to the police and/or the residents at a psych-ward. The fact that he is mentally ill would hopefully get him treatment rather than jail time, but it would not excuse his abuse.

And using his illness as an excuse to shut down my voice is not protesting against ableism, it is aiding and abetting an abuser.

Which is exactly what mainstream feminism has done to WoC who had stood up to demand Scwyzer be held accountable for his actions.

Scwyzer was allowed to brand himself as a feminist, to build a media career on the backs of the women he abused, and was aided and abetted in this by the feminist media who should be rights have denounced him for the way he behaved.

WoC color have been harmed repeatedly by this man, and by the brand feminism that supported him. WoC have a voice, have a right to be heard, have a right to be able to name their abuser without getting further abuse from the very people who should be supporting them. WoC have a right to not be erased by mainstream feminism.

If you aren’t in the habit of listening to the voices of WoC, then Red Light Politics and Tiger Beat Down are good places to start.

ETA: For more on this, check out twitter hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen

 

Mother Russia is not actin very motherly, at least not to her LGBT children. I will not link to the sickening shit that has been going on over there in the wake of the anti-LGBT laws that were recently enacted. Those who are familiar with history are loudly noting the similarity between the actions of Vladimir Putin and the early days of Nazi Germany. And anyone who wants to start crying about how what’s going on is nothing in comparison to the Holocaust, educate yourself on 1935-1939 in Germany. The Holocaust didn’t start as the Holocaust either.

Ironically, and furthering the parallel, Russia is scheduled to host the Winter Olympics this year. Varying Olympic committees in different countries have reacted in less than ideal ways, such as saying that if LGBT athletes don’t feel safe going to a country where LGBT people are being beaten to death while the police look the other way, they shouldn’t compete. Athletes who take action to protest the anti-LGBT laws or support gay pride, such as wearing rainbow pins, have been threatened with fines.

Thankfully, there is one huge difference between now and 1939. LGBT has far more support around the world than Jews did during Kristallnacht or the 1939 Olympics. From sidewalk graffiti to political protests people are speaking out.

For a wonderful summary of the situation and why the Olympics don’t belong in Sochi this year, check out Stephen Fry’s open letter to British PM David Cameron.

Multiple petitions have been started, asking the International Olympic Committee to relocate the 2014 Olympics to Vancouver.

And Colinology is looking ahead, to what may need to be done if Russia truly is walking in the Nazi’s footsteps.

Also, the first link in this section raises some alternatives ways to challenge this development.

As a bisexual, Jewish woman who studies history, this in parallel with some of the developments in Greece is terrifying. Because as bad as what is happening to LGBT in Russia is right now, if those of us looking at the parallels are right, it is only going to get worse.

 

There is a slightly disturbing trend in non-monogamous discourse. In short, it’s become all about polyamory.¬† Mainstream media has latched on polyamory as the ‘ethical’ non-monogamy and that many other forms of non-monogamy (which are just as ethical as polyamory or monogamy) such as swinging, open relationships, and the many, many other varieties non-monogamy can take are getting swept under the rug. Some folks inside polyamory (myself included) are disturbed by this and see a parallel to the way L&G interests have dominated LGBT discussion to the point of erasing or abusing B&T folk. Its a complex mess with no easy answer, but I’m putting out an invite for folks who practice a non-poly form of non-monogamy to contact me. I’d like to get a Yahoo! Discussion group going for people who formulate their relationships in any way that doesn’t match mainstream monogamy, so that we can start building an umbrella that can fit all of us and the political and social strides being made can begin to extend beyond polyamory.

ETA: If anyone knows of such a group or umbrella that already exists, please let me know!

This morning I had to change the channel on the kids show Arthur. Arthur had apparently put on some weight, and the show made a big deal about how he couldn’t run without getting out of breath, and might need to go on a diet – while looking exactly like he always has. First off, there is no connection between weight an athletic ability. Anyone who thinks there is needs to check out some weight-lifters or sumo wrestlers in action.¬† Second, there are enough kids with eating problems already without teaching kids that they need to go on a diet whenever they gain 5 or 10 pounds. WTF? Yes, kids need to learn to eat healthy and be active, but fat shaming is NOT the way to do it. Can we please teach kids to love their bodies AND have a healthy lifestyle, not keep tying healthy lifestyle to thinness (which taken to far can be JUST as unhealthy as carrying some ‘extra’ pounds.)

On to the news

Ableism

School district tried to force deaf child to change name and the School denies trying to force any child to change their name-sign (Issue appears to come down to which type of sign language the boy uses. Sounds like the equivalent of telling a Spanish speaking child to call themselves Joseph instead of Jose, because the school only uses English.)

Living with depression

Autism used to as reason to deny lifesaving medical procedure

Ableism on the Left is still Ableism

Terminology: Disablism or Ableism?

How disabled people are working to change views of disability

Victim blaming and ableism (Trigger warning, rape)

Sex Positivity

LinkedIN bans legal sex work profiles

Practitioners of BDSM and Kinky sex often healthier than average and the abstract from the original study
If anyone has access to the original study and can share an assessment of it’s methods and conclusions, I’d be grateful.

Body Acceptance

TEDTalk on one woman’s experience w/ the diet yo-yo and the real relationship between weight and health

Abercrombie Ad re-imagined as fat friendly

The Real Deal about body acceptance