12 December, 2010

I have moved...

...to WordPress! Don't worry, I've imported all my posts and comments.

You can see my serious stuff at:
and my frivolous stuff at:

I'll be closing off all comments here, so please go to the new sites and check them out. I'm still tweeting the settings, and would love to know what you think.

- Pharaoh Signing Off

07 December, 2010

Transgender Child Awareness Week

Go read this post by Arwen at Raising My Boychick. Just do it.

And then read this response by Queen Emily at Questioning Transphobia.

The Mayor of Portland has declared December 5th to 11th to be Transgender Child Awareness Week.

You might think that because that's America it doesn't apply to you, but trust me, it does. Every child you meet is potentially trans. Every child you meet is potentially being told they should be something that they are not. This is cruel. I know, I know, most people don't care. Most people see a penis and think "boy", see a vulva and think "girl". Most of the time, they're right, but for every child they get it wrong for, the pain can be horrible.

The only ethical thing to do, then, is to tell your children right now that you will love them if they are not the gender you thought they were. To tell your children right now that they are not confined by their genitals.

Please support this week, and support your children. Go to TransActive for more information on what you can do.

- Pharaoh Signing Off

05 December, 2010

Supporting Captain Clinch and Why Pronouns Matter


I recently read an article at Hoyden About Town about Captain Bridget Clinch, a trans woman who has fought, and won, the right for trans people to serve openly in the Australian military. (In Support of Captain Bridget Clinch)

Her fight was hard, and not yet won. She has finally earned the right to serve as a woman, the right to live as her actual gender, and this is a huge victory. But it is not a victory without cost.
In order to transition, she will be forced to divorce her wife, a woman she loves, a woman who loves her. I cannot imagine how much that must hurt.

She is also still being misgendered by journalists, reminding us all that tran* people are still seen as wrong, as deluded. A classic example of this is a Sydney Morning Herald article My Body's A War Zone And I Will Not Retreat (warning for misgendering at this link).
So long as this happens, trans* people will continue to be hurt, abused, raped, murdered.

I have written an email to the SMH, asking them to change the article. I would urge you all to do the same. Captain Clinch's fight is not over. It may seem like a small gesture, and it is. A teaspoon trying to empty an ocean of hatred and trasphobia.

But just as small injustices tear us down, so do small acts help build us up.

The address to send mail to is readerlink@SMH.com.au. A copy of my email follows.

Use this thread as an open thread, talking about ways to support trans people, especially in Australia, but also around the world.

Dear Sydney Morning Herald,

I read with disappointment the article written by Maris Beck titled "My body's a war zone and I will not retreat" (address: http://www.smh.com.au/national/my-bodys-a-war-zone-and-i-will-not-retreat-20101204-18krq.html).

It is not the subject of the article that disappoints me, but the way in which the article is written. Captain Bridget Clinch is frequently referred to as male, and male pronouns are used for her throughout the piece. This is incorrect. As a woman, Captain Clinch should be referred to using female pronouns.

Using the correct pronouns is a matter of respect for trans* people. To do otherwise, to misgendered someone, robs them of their identity and brands them as delusional, wrong.

Trans* people face extremely high levels of violence, higher than the majority of the population. Although misgendering someone does not directly cause trans* people to be beaten, murdered or abused, it contributes to the culture where this sort of behaviour is ok, even acceptable.

You can read about some of the atrocious acts committed against trans people here: http://hoydenabouttown.com/20101120.9012/transgender-day-of-remembrance-living-with-the-threat/

This is a human rights issue. For an easy-to-follow guide on how reporters can get it right, and why they should, pleased read this page: http://humanrights.change.org/blog/view/reporters_how_to_get_it_right_on_transgender_issues

I hope you take this advice to heart, and change the pronouns used in this article.


[my real name]

I received an email today from the SMH. Ill just copy it wholesale for you:
Dear [real name],

Recently you contacted ReaderLink. The following outlines The Herald's response:

Thank you for your email. Fairfax Media values reader feedback. The editors of The Sun-Herald have requested that we thank you for bring your views to our attention they have also asked we forward the following message:
'we have changed the gender pronoun references in both the story online and in the archives. We very much appreciate your feedback. We have also instructed our journalists to consult http://humanrights.change.org/blog/view/reporters_how_to_get_it_right_on_transgender_issues before writing about the issues in future

Your interest in Herald Publications is appreciated and has provided us with valuable feedback.
Please quote 00158861 if you wish to contact ReaderLink again.

Ben & Peter

Isn't this fantastic news? Not only did they listen, but they are also passing the link on to other journalists, so they can u the correct pronouns in the future.

I've also received a comment from Tammy, Captain Bridget Clinch's wife. I'll let you read it :)

Thank you for reading, Tammy :)

- Pharaoh Signing Off

30 November, 2010

Transphobic Feminists Aren't My Sisters

Via Lucy: Your Turn by polerin.
Transphobic feminists, justify yourselves.

As a cis feminist, it is my duty to stand up against transphobia.

Because my existence as a woman is not called into question.
Because I don't have to deal.
Because I can walk away.

This is what it means to have privilege.

So I will say this now: Trans women are my sisters, transphobic feminists are not.

- Pharaoh Signing Off

20 November, 2010

I Hate My Hair Sometimes

TRIGGER WARNING this post deals with street harassment and assault.

I have blue hair. Some of you already know this. It has been, in the past, blue, purple, purple and turquoise (x2), black, red, orange (when the red faded) and green.

I love having coloured hair. The first thing I did when I stopped working at a job where I had to have Natural Hair Colour was dye my hair purple and turquoise. I couldn't wait.
(actually, I could. I waited a while to save up for the dye and find a time when I was free and so was my hairdresser friend, but that's beside the point).

My kids love my hair. When I get a new hair colour, they stare at it and poke and pull and play. They have such fun. When I'm getting a new colour, I let everyone know, and they spend the next fortnight guessing. Kids and parents and staff, all wondering what I'm going to do this time.

But not everything about my hair is nice and bubbly. I have had stares, rude comments, been called strange names (fruit tingle? What the fuck?), been asked questions (is that real?), had ridiculous comments (your hair is blue! No, really?).

And twice, I have been assaulted.

The first time was when I had my hair purple and turquoise for the second time. I was walking to the train station with my little sister when a group of people surrounded me.
They encircled me so i couldn't escape. They started making comments about my hair.
They started pulling at my hair.

They. Pulled. My. Hair.

I screamed and swiped at them and yelled. They thought this was hilarious and started laughing.

I ran, shaking. I shook the whole train ride home. I tweeted about it, used the word fuck a lot.

The second time was yesterday. Friday, 11th November 2010.

I was waiting for the train after work when a drunk person got to the station. He didn't do anything to me, just made me uncomfortable, so I decided to take the train going in the opposite direction and then stay on it heading back. Then I'd be away from him.

I got on the train, didn't think much about where I was sitting. Same spot I always sit.

There were three people. Two were next to me, one was across from me. They tried to talk to me. Given I had a bad day. And am generally antisocial, I ignored them. After all, they don't have the right to my attention.
Apparently they didn't agree.

The one next to me tapped me on the arm. I looked over.
"Is that a wig?" asked the person two seats down from me.
"No," I replied, and tugged at my hair to prove it.
Then the person next to me started pulling at my hair. I was shocked and creeped out, and smacked his hand away.

The person two seats down from me then said "I'd marry ya for that hair."
The person across from me shook hir head. "Nah, rape ya."
The person two seats down said "Yeah, I'd rape ya for that hair."
The person across from me nodded. The three of them laughed. They might have said more, but I was too in shock at this point.

Luckily they got off the train just after this incident. I sat, shocked, for a few seconds. I'm not sure how long. Then I got up and moved cars, I'm not really sure why. To make it less of a walk when I got off the train, I think.

I called LM, no answer. I called Kat, no answer. I called Matt and explained it to him. He was worried for my safety. Kat called me back, I explained to her too.

I posted it on twitter, got advice from people. I made LM promise to meet me at the comic store as soon as I got to Perth. A friend walked me there from Shafto Lane, because even those few steps were too much for me to handle.

By the time I got to LM I had no energy left. I just cried on His shoulder. I told him about what had happened.

I called the police, told them about it. They told me to make a report, which I'm doing tomorrow (station was busy last night).
I wrote down all the details in a timeline, including descriptions of the people who assaulted me.

I am terrified of riding on trains. I'm going to get pepper spray.

This should not have happened.

ETA: I have made a police report. The officer I spoke to was very nice, and told me that they had absolutely no right to act as they did, and not to let anyone tell me otherwise. He also said that they couldn't do anything about the language they used, because it was common, but they could get them for touching me. Also, because my hair is blue it will be easier to find them on the camera, because I'll stand out.
I guess I shouldn't cut my hair off after all :)

20 October, 2010

They learn so fast.

These aree all things I've heard spoken in the Kindy room at my centre. Not by the staff, by the children.

In a teasing voice: "S is a girl! He's a little girl!"

"I'm not a girl, I don't have long hair!"

"I don't want that, that's a girls' toy!"

"Eew, he's got the girls' one!"

"I don't wanna pick up the girls' basket!"

"You're not a woman, you're a girl!"

"Only boys are aloud to pplay with his!"

"I only want boys playing with me."

Yeah, I know. My toddlers don't do this.

Also, what's with all the push back (from adults) when I give a presumed male child pink sheets? They're just sheets for crying out loud!

12 October, 2010

Let The Right One In / Let Me In

On Sunday night I saw Let The Right One In. On Monday night I saw Let Me In. This will be a review and comparison of both films, and will contain spoilers, so beware.

The basic plot of both films is the same. A boy, Oscar (or Owen in the American version) is being bullied at school and dreams about fighting back with a knife. Then a strange, new girl, Eli (Abby in the American version) moves in next to him.
The two become friends, and eventually "go steady" (which seems to be the same relationship as before, plus a couple of kisses). She tells him to fight back giants the bullies. He shows her some games and his secret hideout in the basement.

In the meantime, police are looking for a serial killer who drains is victims. One of the victims was in the same school as Oscar/Owen.

So Oscar/Owen fights back against the bullies by hitting one in the head with a stick. Eli/Abby is a vampire, but Oscar/Owen still likes her, once overcoming his initial fear. It was her "father" doing the killings, to get her blood. But he gets caught, burns his face with acid, then Eli/Abby pushes him out of a window. The bully's big brother attacks Oscar/Owen, but Eli/Abby saves him. The two travel off together on a train, running away from everything.

The plot is fairly slow moving, but interesting enough that I was kept intrigued. Even with my short attention span. It wasn't the typical vampire story in that the vampire aspect was almost a side track. It was really about Oscar/Owen living with a family that's falling apart and learning to stand up for himself.

Differernces and Similarities
As far as similarities go: the entire plot. They were more or less the same, sometimes shot for shot.

Differences were more intriguing. I'm going to do this bit from the point of view of the American one being different, because it was second.
  • The American movie starts from a different place: the "father" being taken to hospital, then falling to his death. Then it goes back to the beginning and starts it all over again,
  • Eli/Abby is shown as obviously different right from the start in the American version, with long closeups of her shoeless feet. These continued right through the film, just in case you missed it the first three times.
  • Eli/Abby and Oscar/Owen's first meeting I'd different. In the original, she leads the conversation, telling him she lives next door. In the American version, the roles are reversed.
  • The American version has Random Acts of Patriotism, so you know it's American. Oscar/Oween's class say The Pledge of Alliegance, and there are random close-ups of money.
  • Oscar/Owen's father is absent in the American version, only talking on the phone, where it is implied he has a new girlfriend, Cindy. In the original, Oscar/Owen visits his father, and it is implied that he is gay.
  • Instead of the bullies saying "Squeal like a pig" they say "You're a little girl". This leads to something I'll talk about in a second.
  • The bully is more sympathetic in the American version. He is beaten and bullied by his older brother. In the other version, his brother play fights him but they get along.
  • In the original, Eli/Abby barks like a dog, but otherwise remains unchanged in vampire state. In the American version, her eyes change and her voice gets deeper.
  • There is a link made with "pure evil" and satanism made in the American version. I found this odd, as if it was tacked on as an afterthought.
Scream Like A Girl: Possible Trigger Warning!!This change actually mad me really uncomfortable. Right at the beginning of the film, we're treated to Oscar/Owen wearing a plastic mask and holding a knife, talking into a mirror.He says: "Are you a little girl? You're a little girl aren't you? Scream for me little girl!". He then makes stabbing motions with the knife. I found this scene horrible. It lacks context, and feels like a gratuitous piece of misogyny. I can cringe but get the bits where the bullies call Oscar/Owen a little girl, because it's something bullies would do, but at the beginning of the film, and without context, it's creepy. Women are taught to fear men in masks holding knives. We're constantly told not to go put alone at night in case one of these men comes for us. This scene cut a little too close to home I felt. Final ThoughtsThe films are pretty good, having a different take on the classic vampire genre. I like the way the monster vampire is in the body of such an innocent looking little girl.
You never see Oscar/Owen's mother's face. I thought this was an interesting effect, and it showed just how separated the two had become.
It was a bit bloody at times, and I had to cover my eyes a lot (I don't do well with blood). It wasn't scary, but it was incredibly creepy.
Doesn't pass Bechdel.

Worth watching, but if you've seen one there's no need to see the other.

07 October, 2010

15 things which make me happy

Inspired by this thread. I didn't want to leave too long a comment :P

1. My partner, especially when He calls other people out on their fail, not to please me, but because it pisses Him off too.
2. Snuggles.
3. Walking into a room and having four children run up and want cuddles because they're so excited to see me.
4. Ranting about the mental health system at work, and how broken it is, and being taken seriously.
5. Being called awesome by someone on twitter.
6. Outing myself as pan and not having anyone shame me for it.
7. My kitten, being a cutie and making me late for work.
8. Riding the train with a coworker so we aren't as afraid. My boss making this happen because she recognised our fear as real and legitimate.
9. Finishing an assignment.
10. Planning my upcoming wedding to my friend and soul-mate, who is not my partner. Buying matching caduceuses to represent our love and connection.
11. Caterpillars.
12. Watching Huge.
13. Feeding a baby. Having them fall asleep in my arms.
14. Finding new blogs to add to my RSS feed.
15. Being loved for who I am, not who something thinks I should be.

04 October, 2010

On Sticks And Stones

Trigger Warning for discussions of suicide, self harm, bullying and depression.

I wanted to finish my post about euthanasia, but this became to great a weight on my soul. You may have heard about the recent epidemic of suicides; QuILTBAG youth taking their lives because of bullying.
I won't list them, because I can't. But Click Here for more information. Trigger warning for that link.

What that post reminded me of, what this epidemic reminds me of, is my own history with bullying.

When I was ten, I witnessed my older brother being taunted and shoved by bullies. He was a little guy back then, and very close friends with another boy. They accused him of being gay and made his life Hell. My parents heard about it, and had talked to the school. The principle assured them he would "keep an eye on it".

One afternoon, while waiting for our dad to pick us up, a bully shoved him down and started tormenting him. My father arrived in time to see this. He was furious. He grabbed the bully and took ohm to the principle's office, telling hm everything that happened. The principle said he would deal with it.
Both boys were taken out of class, and asked why they were "fighting". Nothing was done to stop future attacks.

When I was thirteen, my youngest brother was being bullied. I have written about this previously. After he was shoved into a urinal, I went to speak to his teacher. She told me that it was his fault for having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. That he brought it on himself by being "weird".

I was bullied a lot growing up. Mostly it was just name and shunning, and I tell you it hurt. It hurts to be told day after day after day that you aren't worthy of love. And always the same old adage would be thrown at me, sticks and stones, sticks and stones, sticks and stones. It wasn't taken seriously by anyone, teachers, my parents, no one.

So after all this, when I started being beaten up by my "friends" at fourteen, what do you think i did? Did I tell people about it, or did I shut up and take it, thinking I deserved everything they were doing to me?

When you do nothing, when you know of violence and just stay silent, you perpetuate that violence. It's not enough to tell victims to speak up, you have to be willing to listen and to act.

This recent set of suicides is not the first; children have been taking their own lives, cutting themselves, hurting themselves, and it's about damn time that was recognised.

03 September, 2010

Guest Post: How Gender Roles Hurt Men

This is a guest post written by my younger brother Adam. It was originally an oral presentation for a speech contest at his school. The writing, as you'll see, reflects that.

I want to point out that this is not a chance for you to tear him apart because "women have it worse". He understands that gender discrimination has it's roots in misogyny, he gets that. This is a chance for him, a man, to talk about the issues that affect him. Please respect that. This post will be heavily moderated accordingly.

Discrimination Against Men - How Gender Roles are Killing Society
The issue of discrimination against men is not something you hear in typical conversation. People don't see it as an issue, it's rarely brought up, and people are more likely to discuss even more controversial issues, such as abortion or rape. But I'm sure many of you here can agree that it does exist. Even if it's not all of you. Whether it's a serious problem, however, is what I will ask of you today. But first, let's look at only a few areas where it exists.
Who do you think is the perpetrator of violence? I'm sure all of you will say men. In fact, you'd be right in 86% of cases. I'm not trying to argue that women are as violent as men. But then ask yourself, who are the victims of violence? Women? Children? Most of the time, a man is the victim of violence. In Australia, there is more suicide, homicide, and abuse targeted at men than women. A clear example of discrimination here is the perception of violence against women. Imagine this scenario:
A man goes and beats a woman. Now this in almost everybody's mind is wrong. The man is a woman basher, so he's shunned from society without a candle to his name. Now imagine a woman beating up a man. What's society's response to the man now? Yet again, he's shunned. He's seen as weak and should be ashamed of being beaten by a girl. So in cases of violence, men can never win. Either it's "dude, you just got beat up by a girl!", or "dude, you just beat up a girl..."
Gender Roles
Why is this? Because of perceived gender roles. In cases of violence, men are always the perpetrators, never the victims. From a young age, we have been instilled with beliefs about males and females. Fighting with males is "boys just being boys", and is actually encouraged as a form of play. Men are supposed to be strong and handle all forms of abuse. So if they do get abused, they get told to toughen up, or be shamed if they can't do so. But fighting with girls is "woman bashing", no matter what the circumstances.
It is not true that a person cannot defend themselves simply because they are female. And it is not true that any man who won't fight is weak, and should be ashamed. Violence is no different if the victim is a man or a woman. Their strength should be considered, but their gender does not in any way determine their strength. And the impact of that violence is what should be considered most of all in any case of violence. Not the gender, not the social stigma surrounding it, but the impact the violence has on the victim and everyone else.
Probably the largest form of male discrimination occurs in childcare. Men find it difficult to pursue jobs involving children, as that's seen as "women's work". To do so would suggest some ulterior motive. For example, a man going for a position in a primary school is likely to be accused of paedophilia.
It is incredibly difficult for men to get time off to take care of their children, as there is a shocking lack of support for men who stay at home to look after the children. Furthermore, Centrelink is incredibly reluctant to provide any support and care for fathers who try to stay home while the mothers work.
Another issue is the victimisation of men in divorce courts. Mothers get primary or sole custody of children in 60% of cases. In only 15% of cases does primary or sole custody go to the fathers. By default, single mothers get sole custody in 100% of cases unless a court rules otherwise. Fathers are discouraged from even trying to get custody of children, because they rarely win. If he tries, he will have a 60% chance of being accused of child sexual abuse as a fear tactic by the mother. For those who succeed, 30% of the time it is learned that they aren't the biological father of one of the kids.
Even if he gets custody, he could still be accused of domestic violence or child abuse in the last 12 months, at which point he has to prove himself innocent to continue getting custody of the children. And even if he was proved innocent, but was found to have retaliated in self defence, he still can't get custody because it's still considered domestic violence against the mother. Honestly, how could you say there is no gender discrimination in divorce courts?
Gender Roles
Women in society are typically seen as carers. This is a dangerous stereotype. Misconceptions are common about this, such as woman are naturally better carers than men. This is false and leads to serious issues with discrimination. Fathers who stay at home develop the same bond with the child that women who stay at home do. In fact, fathers are capable of equally bonding with their children, even if they're not with them as often. No parent immediately knows how to care for their children. It is something provided through education, for both mothers and fathers.
There is also the controversial issue of "motherly instinct". This means that women are naturally better at child rearing because they gave birth to them. Yes, having a child for a nine month pregnancy does form a special bond with the child. However, that does not mean they're naturally better suited for the role of primary parent and caregiver. Finally, there's the myth that men can't do what women can do for kids. The only things a man can't do are give birth, and be a female role model. But there are others who can be a role model.
What can we do about it?
Gender discrimination comes from the same place, whether it's against males or females. It is not one-sided. I wouldn't even say they're two separate issues! Discrimination is just as wrong whether it's against a man as opposed to whether it's against a woman. It's not a matter of who the victim is, but why there is discrimination. That is, the gender roles placed on society. Stereotypical views of men and women are what cause this type of discrimination.
When people stray from these stereotypes, they go through a lot of trouble. Men go through this trouble because feminine traits are seen as negative qualities. So both men and women are harmed by this. And both men and women need to be involved in combating the issue of discrimination, as voices from both members need to be heard. We all need to work together to reduce the damaging gender stereotypes in society. 
Here's a riddle for you. What's the difference between a man and a woman? It depends on the individual. There is no stereotype about men or women that is true in 100% of cases. To deny a person equal rights based on their gender is discrimination. If more men have the capacity to be engineers, should all women be seen as incapable of becoming engineers? If more women are better at raising children, should all men be seen as incapable of child rearing?
And raising children with certain beliefs about men and women actually affects who they are. Yes, their brains are somewhat "pre-wired" depending on their gender and individual personality, but they are also incredibly suggestive. Treating children differently actually causes physical differences in the brain. If you tell a boy at an early age that all men are violent, and fighting amongst boys is condoned, then they will become violent individuals.
So fight to reduce discrimination against gender now, and raise your kids without the need for stereotypes in the future. Thank you.