Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Spectra of Gender/Sexual Minority Identities

A chart consisting of various spectra which might (or might not) represent members of the Gender-Sexuality Minority. What do you think? Does it work?

I think that it is possible for people to exist fluidly on multiple spectra, such as biological sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, romantic inclination, asexuality, etc. - all with varying degrees of strength. It is, for example, possible for a biological female to identify as androgynous and feel strongly romantically inclined to females, yet sexually attracted to males and females alike.

It is also possible for a biological male who identifies as existing within a range on the gender identity spectrum to be mildly romantically inclined towards men, but strongly asexual.

I also think that it is possible for any of the identifying factors to change with time or depending on other circumstances. Someone might shift from being mostly attracted to the same gender to being pansexual, for example.

I included a "sexual experience" spectrum because 1) I feel that it plays a role, though not an important one; 2) Dee Hurlbert's chart which she developed for the Michigan State University LGBT Resource Center included that spectrum; and 3) Kinsey was single-minded like that, so I grandfathered it in.

I'm not much a fan of the gender gingerbread person because it isn't possible to express how strongly one feels inclined a certain way; and romantic inclination, asexuality, a-genderism, and sexual experience aren't included in the chart.


I used to like this stuff.

*wrinkling nose*
 — drinking hazelnut cappuccino from Speedway.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Benghazi: Mixed Bag in Defiance of Conservative Punditry

Regarding the article "A Deadly Mix in Benghazi" by David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, on 28 December 2013 at

An important note when discussing the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya: Republicans voted to cut funding for embassy security. They were part of the problem that led to the deadly results of that attack. See the following from a CNN report:

Rep. Chaffetz Says He "Absolutely" Voted to Cut Funding for Embassy Security
10 October 2012

"Look, we have to make priorities and choices in this country. We have… 15,0000 contractors in Iraq. We have more than 6,000 contractors, a private army there, for President Obama, in Baghdad. And we’re talking about can we get two dozen or so people into Libya to help protect our forces. When you’re in touch economic times, you have to make difficult choices. You have to prioritize things."

The New York Times has blown the lid off of both the liberal and the conservative narratives surrounding the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya. A summary, assembled piece-meal, of the introduction to this mind-blowing NYT investigative work:

The investigation by The Times shows that the reality in Benghazi was different, and murkier, than either of those [two contradictory] story lines [framing the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi] suggests. Benghazi was not infiltrated by Al Qaeda, but nonetheless contained grave local threats to American interests. The attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.

Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The fixation on Al Qaeda might have distracted experts from more imminent threats.

The violence, though, also had spontaneous elements. Anger at the video motivated the initial attack. Dozens of people joined in, some of them provoked by the video and others responding to fast-spreading false rumors that guards inside the American compound had shot Libyan protesters. Looters and arsonists, without any sign of a plan, were the ones who ravaged the compound after the initial attack

A fuller accounting of the attacks suggests lessons for the United States that go well beyond Libya. It shows the risks of expecting American aid in a time of desperation to buy durable loyalty, and the difficulty of discerning friends from allies of convenience in a culture shaped by decades of anti-Western sentiment.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Shining the Light through the Cracks

* small clay pots, large enough for tealight or votive candles
* socks
* hammer(s)
* (super)glue
* tealight or votive candles
* lighter(s)

Place a pot inside a sock. Smash with a hammer (remembering that you will try to reconstruct it later - please don't pulverise completely). Extract the pieces, put them together, glue in place. Don't get obsessive about closing the gaps. After the glue has dried, place a candle in each pot and light it.

Note that the light shines through the brightest from those pots which are most broken.

So it is with our lives. Being crushed by painful life experiences is painful. It is excruciating. We wonder whether our souls can survive. Our bodies cry out in pain.

However, when we allow the Light into our lives, it shines through the brokenness and lights up the world around us. Seek the healing that you need and deserve. Remember, too, to turn on your Light.

idea for the post from the following:
"Cracked Pot in the Potter’s Hands"
Monica Heffner
26 November 2012

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Slavery Is Not Diplomatic

Please explain to me 1) what part of "slavery" NPR and the AP don't understand here and 2) since when do slaveholders deserve basic humane treatment by law enforcement officials.

Awww, you pooooor thing, you broke down and criiiiied. *snarl*

Because NO.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Facebook Is Broken (and apparently likes it that way)

Facebook has made so many changes over the years which have disadvantaged its users. The short of it, for me, is that Facebook is not worth my time as long as it prevents the Social Fixer extension from doing its job. I won't leave Facebook, but I will try my damnedest not to lay eyes on its precious little "news" feed until it relents and lets us have Social Fixer back - properly.

My Complaints/Demands:
* Facebook needs to stop interfering with Social Fixer. Facebook manages to screw up a good thing so often - especially after it just managed to make it somewhat nice - that it really isn't worth our time without Social Fixer.

* Facebook needs to put all of our privacy settings on one page. I don't want to have to jump all over the place to tweak this and that and the other thing, too. One control panel to rule them all. In addition, Facebook needs to widely distribute a privacy reader which explains how people's privacy settings affect themselves *and* others.

* Let us filter the "news" feed into tabs. Or else. I don't want to check out all posts right away. There are some posts that I simply do not want to see at all. There are others that I prefer to lump together thematically so that Facebook makes more sense to me. Again, Facebook is worthless without this fix from Social Fixer.

* Let Social Fixer's halt of the "scroll to see more stories" feature actually work. Automatically loading more posts hurts my computer. Stop. It. Already. Let us have some control over this.

* Give us back subscription levels. We can decide just fine on our own what and how much we want to see from whom. I want to determine how much of a contact's photos ends up in my "news" feed. I want to control whether I see someone's group activity or not. And if Facebook is going to force us to read people's comments and likes (none of us really want to), I'd like to control how much of that ends up in my feed, as well. I want the option of seeing all of a contact's "stories" (hint: it's called a "post" - not a "story"), most of the posts, some of the posts, or none of the posts - in each field.

* Stop it with that damned "bump" feature. It throws things out of chronological order. We. Like. Our. Chronological. Order. And, again, we can decide perfectly well on our own what we would like to see from whom.

* Let us control who can be notified of our comments, likes, and group joins. Some of us like to engage socially in peace and quiet without being followed around by family or casual acquaintances. Those of us who are vulnerable minorities would also like very much, if you please, to have safety, security, and maybe even our jobs.

* Don't automatically tag us in posts and photos or add us to groups. Stop the process and pend it on our permission. It's a pain in my ass to have to un-tag myself or leave groups.

* When I comment on or subscribe to notifications on a post, I fully expect to continue receiving notifications form that post. Your "bumping" nonsense is annoying, and it only confuses me when I stop receiving notifications and someone yells at me for dropping out of a conversation. I didn't type away or make those clicks for my good health - I expect to get more notifications.

* I want Facebook to allow Social Reviver, another extension, get rid of those accursed chat bubbles. They are the newest unwanted annoyance that Facebook has tossed at us which I cannot stand.

* Facebook needs to stop with its absolute suppression of all posts by our Pages. We understand that not all of our subscribers will see all of our posts, but when we have hundreds or thousands of followers and only a dozen or less ever see any posts, it's on the point of ridiculousness and seriously not worth our time. There is this thing. It's called a blog. I will use it if Facebook doesn't stop it with its nonsense.

I don't know if you caught it or not, but I have a healthy level of disrespect for Facebook's neo-logisms, not least among them the term "news feed." "News"? Nonsense. I go to Google News for *news.* I go to Facebook for online social interaction. For now (say hello to my email account and my blog). Again, the short is it is that Facebook sucks and is really quite worthless without Social Fixer.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Sun Rose for Him

A poem that I composed as the Muslim community lost a young, precious, beautiful soul.

Part of the words:

Then a huge blazing ball of fire
erupted from the horizon
casting its crimson rays across the sky

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Worthlessness as a Symptom of Depression

You consider yourself so unimportant as to not merit that your loved ones would spend their time and energy on you. You convince yourself that other people in their lives are more important to them and that they don't want you around. In the case of survivors of abuse, a chorus of cheerleaders - the ghosts of your past - chimes in, repeating in the voices of those who have tormented you their descriptions of your lack of worth: "Who would want to spend time with *you*?" "You'll just annoy them; and they won't want to be your friends, either." "Go away; no-one wants to be around you."

The pain is unbearable. It is excruciating. Your mind is just as complicit with those ghosts of your past in inflicting this psychological torture on you. And in this midst of all of this soul-rending pain, you can't reach out to others for comfort, because "no-one wants to be around you," and "you'll just annoy them," and " who would want to spend time with you?"

Worthlessness, especially when backed by a history of severe psychological trauma, is one of the more dangerous symptoms of depression out there.

Hashtags: #‎Depression‬, ‪#‎Abuse‬, ‪#‎EmotionalAbuse‬, ‪#‎PTSD‬, ‪#‎Loneliness‬, ‪#‎Suicide‬, ‪#‎Ideation‬
(A note that as of the time of this posting, I am healthy. There is nothing to worry about save my insomnia and a slight shortage of kleenex around here.)

Below Image for the purpose of Facebook Visibility

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Asexuals: We Also Seek Love

There are asexuals.

 We exist. This doesn't always mean that a person is completely disinterested in sex. Some people might have a very mild interest, or a rare interest. Others never want sex at all.

However, some of us still want the emotional intimacy that comes with a strongly bonded relationship. Some of us want to have a loved one, or a few loved ones, in our lives with whom we spend time and make special memories. Some of us might enjoy hugging and/or hand-holding. Some of us might want to cuddle. Some of us might enjoy kissing or other activities. Some of us don't feel the need to have that relationship formalised; others do. Please don't assume. Don't assume that we don't want a relationship; and don't assume that we don't want any physical contact at all. Ask.

It is rather difficult explaining to someone that you want to form relationships with others which have just as much emotional intimacy as a sexual relationship and which may even include certain aspects of physical intimacy such as hugging and hand-holding - but you just don't feel inclined to sex more than a small handful of times during the year.

And then it's downright frightening to try to approach someone to ask about the possibility of having such a relationship at all. It is so nerve-racking to work up the courage to ask to have such a relationship validated as a "relationship" of which one person would say to the other, "I'm seeing so-and-so" or "So-and-so is my partner/cuddle partner."

Because who might laugh at you to your face? God knows that rejection is already physically painful enough, but to be misunderstood and trivialised goes above and beyond even that. Then, who might not even understand the desire for the kind of emotional stability that a dedicated relationship provides? "You're just asexual. You don't need to be in a relationship like all the rest of us."

It is so difficult to navigate the world of love. Our hearts get smashed into bits and pieces, and on quite a regular basis. Please don't assume. Please ask us - ask what it is that we are comfortable with, ask what we desire in a relationship, and let us know what you want, what you need, what you are willing to provide should such a discussion arise.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

My Love Is with You

A poem that I wrote while I was at the LGBTQ Muslim Retreat in 2013 about my experience with romantic love as a semi-asexual person. An excerpt: "And when the evensong rises from your heart...then my heart will sing with yours.

Pinings of a Love-Seeking Cuddler

A poem that I wrote while I was at the LGBTQ Muslim Retreat in 2013 about my experience with romantic love as a semi-asexual person. An excerpt:"My hand is empty without yours ensconced therein."

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Spring 2013 Photographs

Hyacinth, crabapple tree with lilac tree in background.
 2013.04.29. 1098

2013.05.17.  1343 edited

Friday, 4 January 2013

President Reagan Supported Gun Control

Does this guy look like a Nazi?

No? Good. Now stop painting those who stand for gun regulations as Nazis. Reagan said that there is "no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons." [Pat Cunningham, Morning Sun, 03 Jan 2013]

Furthermore, in a 29 Mar 1991 op-ed in the New York Times titled "Why I'm for the Brady Bill," Ronald Reagan referred to his attempted assassination, saying, "This nightmare might never have happened if legislation that is before Congress now -- the Brady bill -- had been law back in 1981." Unafraid of statistics, he cited the examples of two states which had enacted gun restrictions: "California ... stopped nearly 1,800 prohibited handgun sales in 1989. ... During [the past two decades], according to the [New Jersey] state police, more than 10,000 convicted felons have been caught trying to buy handguns." See for even more.