Saturday, 10 January 2015


I've been drinking so this will get fubar.

A friend (who I shan't name) reposted on facebook a rather charming quote by Richard Dawkins, to wit: "Atheists are a race.  Anyone who mounts an argument against atheists is a racist, atheophobic bigot."  With a comment to the effect that God should smite him.  I replied that Dawkins is a dickhead but that atheophobia is as much of a thing as theophobia.

My friend said that atheism is dominant in society and that theists are sidelined.  I countered that while this is true in the Left, in Queer spaces, and in the cold war USSR, it is not true of Britain as a whole.

  We are in fact a pseudotheocracy wherein the state religion (C of E), whilst not the only lawful religion, nevertheless has exclusive powers within the legislative process.  Literally, the head of the state religion, who is also the head of state, can lawfully veto any law without having to give grounds and is indeed above the law.  Other than the fact that citizens are not mandated to be C of E we're pretty damn close to a textbook theocracy.

  To add to that on a more personal note: as an adult I have been ordered on more than one occasion to attend church and to sing hymns on pain of spending time in the Glasshouse and ending up with a criminal record.  Yes in Britain, yes in the 21st century!  Do I need to go on?

  My experiences were compared first to crying heterophobia and then to toxic masculinity.  My friend then said that I was triggering them and that unless I agreed to disagree and to stick to that (basically to shut my mouth and never again say on facebook that atheophobia is legit a thing) then they would have no choice but to unfriend me for the good of their own mental health.

Go for it mate!

  See the thing about what we might call "the safer-space discourse", terms like trigger warnings and such, is that they started out about sensible things.  Rape, domestic violence, hate crimes.  The kind of shit that fucks people up real bad.  This is not a bad thing.  We need an accessible society where people who've been traumatised by these events can rehabilitate themselves, that's all to the good.  These days though you'll spend ten minutes getting chewed out for not putting a trigger warning on an article about spiders just in case it "triggers" the arachnophobes.  Half of those times it won't even be the arachnophobes saying it, just a daft prick wanting a fight!

  Trigger is a PTSD term by the way.  If you've not been subject to the kind of violence that can cause PTSD then throwing the word trigger around like that is appropriation, but I digress.

  These days also I see people using talk of triggering to play Oppression Olympics, or to shut people up whose views they don't like.  I see people using it when they've said something stupid and can't think of any other way of defending it.  I see people using it to score cheap political points.

I'm sick of it, fucking pack it in!

Safer Space Discourse is legit when there's a real need for it, like when discussing rape, domestic violence, hate crimes and the like.  You need trigger warnings when you might actually trigger someone's actual PTSD and do them some actual mental harm.  For all other purposes you can shove your trigger warnings up your arse, I'm done with 'em.  Grow up and have some fucking integrity, the lot of you!

I'm going to sleep.  Fucking internet liberals.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Thoughts on Leelah Alcorn

Trigger warning for suicide, transphobia.

You've likely read the story by now.  If you haven't then go on, I'll wait.

Sorted?  Okay.

She's not the first, she won't be the last.  It sounds awful to say it so starkly, but it's true.  Some years ago I used to talk trans kids her age away from the noose, and I got pretty close when I was her age too.  It's bizarrely normal.  40% attempt it now, but back in the day it used to be one in three.  It's actually gotten worse.  Here's the thing: I have a wonderfully supportive family.  I got to that crucial point because navigating life as trans at the age of seventeen is a weighty thing in our society, though a necessary thing as prohibiting young transition only increases the rate of suicide.  Besides transphobia there's paperwork, dealing with the medical establishment, legal bullshit, managing your own expectations and fears, learning to master yourself.

It could seem like a Darwinian process, but only at the extremes.  For the most part the difference between a cry for help and a corpse is the support given by family and friends.  This is highly anecdotal, I have no research to back this, only my own observations, but in the absence of severe mental illness or uncommon strength I've seen that survival at that age is almost entirely attributable to the prevailing of the weight of support over the weight of abuse, and that death at that age is almost entirely attributable to the inverse.  There are exceptions, of course.

For this reason I struggle to blame Leelah alone for her suicide.  From her writings it is plain that she received more abuse than support, and I cannot help but feel that those who committed the abuse are conspirators in her death.  Her parents and her church, the "Christian therapists" carrying on an archaic practice that ought to have never been legal.  It is no good arguing that her parents should not be subjected to aggro while they're mourning their daughter's death when they bloody well had a hand in it!

Also responsible are the likes of Ken Zucker and his ilk.  By arguing for "corrective therapy" he legitimises the idea that such therapy is possible or ethical.  It is neither, all it does is fuck people up, but it's easy to argue that such a therapy must be right if a doctor believes in it.  A few drops of her blood must be on his hands as well.

There is a proposal for Leelah's Law: a ban on conversion therapies.  I'm backing it 100%.  They've never been proven safe or effective, at best they teach victims "patients" to mask the behaviours which betray their inner feelings to the satisfaction of the man with the clipboard whilst doing irreparable psychological harm.