[TW: every square on the transphobia bingo board]
Via Coley Tangerina on Twitter, a truly fucked-up article is currently on Stuff about a trans woman who works as a beauty therapist in Christchurch and is getting shat on for her identity.
Stuff and the Christchurch Press decide to go to her defence by:
- Headlining the article “Big Hands ‘Bad News’ for Christchurch Beauty Therapist” (address bar) / “‘Man hands’ bad news for beauty business” on the page
- Referring to her as “Transsexual Stephanie Dixon” in the first sentence
- Referring to her as “Born a man” in the second sentence
- Mentioning the size of her hands three times in under 300 words
… all of which basically says “the problem is her identity and her hands, not the bigotry of people in her community.”
Let’s marvel at the particular beauty of the second sentence in full:
Born a man, Dixon is New Zealand’s only post-operative beauty therapist, something she says is her passion.
… which kind of implies not that beauty therapy is her passion, but that her surgical history combined with beauty therapy is her passion.
The thing is, if you take out all of that bullshit, the article could actually be a really thoughtful, powerful piece about a very normal woman living a very normal life facing social backlash because of the bigotry and gossip of others. It could have been headlined, “Christchurch beauty therapist faces backlash from transphobic gossip”.
But for some strange reason, before we can get to her own words and her own experiences, we need to have it ABSOLUTELY EMPHASISED that Stephanie Dixon is a trans woman. We have to have it absolutely taken for granted that her hands are a problem, not just a bog-standard transphobic stereotype. And of course the idea that the size of her hands is in any way relevant to her ability to buff your nails, wax your legs or apply a facial is never rejected.
All I’m saying is, if so-called “journalist” Charley Mann wants to keep talking about Ms Dixon’s “man hands”, they could at least do us the honour of posting a photograph of said hands so we right-thinking people can judge for ourselves, am I right? If we’re going to make it clear that the problem is “people are scared of your big manly hands”, let’s just go the whole nine transphobic yards, shall we?
(It should be noted that the comments on the article are largely supportive, which is highly refreshing.)
As a side note: at least one spa in Wellington offers the services of a (presumably) cis-male beauty therapist (for male customers.) Just so we’re clear that the only reason for the bigots of Christchurch, and “journalist” Charley Mann, to keep talking about Ms Dixon’s hands is because they’re trying to undermine her femininity.
On marriage equality:
The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards don’t understand (or are pretending to not understand) that self-selecting phone-in polls are meaningless, especially when they’re getting a suspiciously big text bill this month.
The Civilian was the star media outlet on the ground, filing this insightful report mere moments after the vote was held.
Colin Craig continues to overestimate his own popular appeal – more on this one later.
On NZ Power
David Farrar is pretending to be stupid, and his commentariat are completely buying it.
Chris Trotter has caught the whiff of victory and has always been at war with Eastcunliffe.
Danyl McLauchlan is probably depressingly on the money.
My unsurprising reaction? Awesome to see Labour and the Greens working together. Awesome to see some real game-changing policy with big sexy BERL reports behind it. I can only hope they keep it up.
No, seriously, I can’t make this shit up.
Rugby is a game played by most boys in New Zealand in their childhood, though some don’t want to play it at all. A significant section of the community have always preferred to play a different sport, like soccer. But Rugby gets all the status in New Zealand, commanding all the respect. So much so that those who play soccer are often made to feel like second-class citizens. They lack the mana of those who play the nation’s revered game. Reliable studies show that this has statistically led to a higher degree of depression among soccer playing boys, and already our rate of male youth suicide is far too high.
Yep. Marriage is just like choosing to pick up a ball and throwing it backwards, and lol, let’s use youth suicide as a punchline because obviously our continued statements about gay people being unnatural, confused, less valuable to society and unworthy to be considered fully equal can’t be having any kind of effect on suicide at all. Mind you, given what we know about US fundy attitudes to gay kids killing themselves, it isn’t a surprise. It’s just contemptible. And if it’s not deliberately vicious, it’s really, really shittily timed. But remember, Bob and Colin are the guys who care about our children and families. Bob, I can’t believe this hasn’t happened already, but you’re Officially Scum. H/T Protect Marriage Equality on Facebook. More responses via GayNZ.com.
EDITED TO ADD: The post on FF’s website now reads “(Author Unknown”) at the top. Please compare and contrast with the screenshot below and rate Bob’s level of backtracking bullshit out of 10.EDITED EDITED TO ADD ADD: And now there’s a wonderful fauxpology at the bottom:
UPDATE: Please note that we have removed the reference to suicide in this satirical piece. In light of horrendous stats on suicide just released, it was an inappropriate reference. The piece was sent to us – we didn’t write it – but we should have vetted it better. We apologise for any offense the reference may have caused. It was certainly not our intention.
Look, the reference is only inappropriate, and only because of the statistics release – not because our actual suicide statistics are actually horrific. Also, obviously, they only apologise for any offence [it] may have caused – because quite obviously they’ve only stuck this fauxpology up randomly, and not because they’ve received any actual backlash or anything.
And Family First, clearly, just loves posting poorly-written shit sent to them anonymously. Their only real crime was “not vetting it properly”, where “vetting” is an archaic term for “reading”.
And if you believe all that, I have a big pile of bullshit to sell you. No metaphor can really do it justice.
And this time, “those people” are same-sex couples who want the right to adopt.
“But realistically it’s just not the biggest issue that we face. I know it’s important to those people, but they’re a very small group,” he said.
Because the rights of same-sex couples are only of interest to same-sex couples. The rights of children to be raised by their parents, even if their parents are deviant non-heterosexuals, is only of interest to aforementioned deviant non-heterosexuals.
So it’s not a priority. And our Government is all about having clear priorities.
That’s why they’ve consistently abused urgency to pass a shitload of not-actually-urgent laws which, Mr Key, only affect a very small group of people.
Like the 90-day fire-at-will bill which, you’ll all recall, we were told was specifically only going to be used by a small number of employers who just need flexibility to test whether they can take on additional workers.
Or the Video Camera Surveillance Bill which, you’d have to hope, only applies to a very small group of Police investigations, and which was so urgent it had to be passed asap. And then waited for nearly two weeks before it actually, you know, came into force.
Or the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Bill, which was certainly urgent, and certainly affected a lot of people, but which the government hadn’t actually finished writing the amendments yet. But still had to be debated before anything else.
And let’s not forget how seriously National and ACT took the need to push through tax cuts for the top 10% of New Zealanders – tax cuts which have contributed to the fucked state of our government’s books now. I’m sure those tax cuts were very important to “those people” too.
Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn, to whom I am indebted for his excellent backlog of useful posts, has more on our government’s use of urgency to pass whatever it has decided is currently A Thing Which Needs Passing.
So, if you’re rich? If it gives a core group of National supporters, like employers, more power which they apparently don’t actually need to use because, um, shut up? If it makes the government look Tough on Crime?
Fuck yeah, get that shit on the agenda.
If it’s just a piffling basic human rights issue which is supported by multiple parties across the House? Fuck off, scum. You’re just “those people”. You’re a group John Key doesn’t even need to waste energy using inclusive language for.
Seriously, next time that fucker shows up at a gay pride event so he can get his smug little grin on with some drag queens to show how cosmopolitan and progressive he is, can someone PLEASE just pie him?
H/T to @ShakingStick
Via Gay Express:
The Salvation Army and Rainbow Wellington have reached a rapprochement 26 years after The Salvation Army had a hand in the (ultimately unsuccessful) to homosexual law reform.
Now, I am not a member of Rainbow Wellington (for obvious reasons). I don’t know what their discussions were going into this. I don’t know their reasoning for seeking or negotiating this exchange of statements – unfortunately there’s nothing on Scoop or their website to give further detail. In addition, much of the Salvation Army’s statement on the matter seems directly plucked from a 2006 statement, republished in 2008 on their website.
But being the cynical picky person I am, I just feel compelled to point out that none of these phrases belong anywhere near a genuine, heartfelt apology:
judgemental and prejudiced words were spoken on both sides
many Salvationists were deeply opposed to, and embarrassed by, the intemperate manner in which views were expressed during the debate
We now understand that The Salvation Army’s official opposition to the Reform Bill was deeply hurtful to many, and are distressed that ill-feeling still troubles our relationship with some members of the glbti community.
We regret and apologise for any hurt that may remain
Just to recap, that’s one order of “everyone was equally bad” served with a side of tone argument, a cranberry-and-“get over it” jus, and a glass of chilled “sorry if you were offended.”
We may not agree in the future on all issues, but we can respect and care for one another despite this
Isn’t that sweet? The Salvation Army still care! Why, in 2010 Major Campbell Roberts was even quoted as saying,
“I would be keen to learn further from the gay community on ways in which you feel we can further build bridges of understanding and respect to gay people”.
I have an idea! You could revisit this nice little section of your website, which clearly states that the Sallies believe marriage is a strict cis-man cis-woman arrangement and thus implies that same-sex couples (and hetero couples Living In Sin) can’t really enjoy the
profound feelings of love, mutual respect, inter-dependence and belonging
which hetero marital cock-in-vag sex provides.
You might ask, “does this really affect how the Salvation Army treats gay people in need of help? Does this really mean they have to be our enemies in the struggle for marriage equality?”
Well, how about this:
The Salvation Army is firmly convinced that the support and encouragement of the institution of marriage is vitally important to the maintenance of secure family life, and that this, in turn, is crucial to stability in society as a whole.
The Sallies believe thatpreserving marriage for hetero cis folk is essential to our society. You bet they’re our fucking enemies in the struggle for marriage equality.
That being said, the NZ Salvation Army site is strangely remiss in not clearly spelling out how they feel about queer people. But handily, they link to sister sites, like the UK Salvation Army who manage to hold this awesome piece of cognitive dissonance together in their heads:
Human sexuality is part of God’s creation and as such it is good and to be celebrated … Sexual identity is widely accepted to be unchosen by the individual … The Salvation Army teaches that sexual acts should take place only in a monogamous heterosexual marriage
Sex is lovely! And sexual feelings aren’t conscious decisions! But don’t do it except in this very limited patriarchally-endorsed way! I suppose it is just a variation on the classic “just because God gave you certain feelings and made you a certain way, it doesn’t mean he wanted you to act on those feelings,
because he is a massive douchebag.”
Australian Salvation Army get right down to it:
It is The Salvation Army’s belief that, whilst recognising the possibility of such [homosexual] orientation, (the origins of which are uncertain), the Bible expressly opposes homosexual practice, seeing such activity as rebellion against God’s plan for the created order.
We firmly believe that obedience to God together with the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, make it possible for all to live a lifestyle pleasing to Him. This may include celibacy or self restraint for those who will not or cannot marry.
And by “cannot” marry they of course mean “because you want to marry someone with matching junk, which is badwrong”. It’s okay, though, they go on to explain that as long as you follow the rules – i.e. never act on your basic God-given emotional and sexual feelings – you can totally be almost as good a Christian as they are.
I’m interested to see if Rainbow Wellington comment any further on this. I know I’m a tad unbending when it comes to dealing with douchefucks who use the words and teachings of Jesus – who didn’t have a hell of a lot to say about The Gays, strangely enough, and whose entire spin-off faith was kinda focused on creating a new covenant between God and the people to replace the old covenant (he mumbled something about retaining all the old laws, sure, but that’s what you do when you don’t want to get turned over to the Romans by your own people) – to justify their patriarchal bullshit.
It’s practically the original patriarchal bullshit, because in the world described by these “beliefs”, women are duty-bound to find a husband and pump out his babies. There’s literally no other options, because they explicitly state that that’s what God intended and that’s the only way human beings can ever be whole.
Of course, they’d argue that men are just as duty-bound to marry women and fill them full of babies, but let’s be honest, one partner in this relationship gets to carry just the tiniest bit more of the risk and damage and life-long effects of reproduction, one partner in this relationship is held to slightly higher sanctions if she “strays”, and one partner in this relationship has traditionally been treated as the property of the other.
So maybe they aren’t that radical. Maybe they won’t be that activist if Louisa Wall’s marriage equality bill gets drawn from the ballot. Maybe it makes sense to Rainbow Wellington to shake hands and draw a line under the 1986 issue so they can focus their energies on more important fights.
At the end of the day? They still think that acknowledging any relationship beyond a monogamous hetero cis Christian marriage is a threat to the fabric of society. We’ll have to fight them eventually.
Just in case I was feeling a little self-doubting about my effusive hatred for those who minimize/ignore bullying, turns out plenty of those pseudomorality-pushing jerksocks aren’t even ashamed to say it like it is (via Butterflies & Wheels):
… Rich Swier of Tea Party Nation attempted to [condone bullying] in a column sent out to members nationwide, dubbing the bullying of LGBT youth a “sham” and adding that if it does take place, it is “healthy” since homosexuality, like drug abuse, “cannot be condoned” and must be stopped
H/T Hoyden About Town.
A Rolling Stone article from February has been doing the rounds – and should carry many big, clear trigger warnings for suicide, self-harm, homophobia, and hate speech (reported). This post on its contents likewise.
It’s entitled “One Town’s War on Gay Teens“, and it was a bit of an eye-opener to me.
It certainly wasn’t a revelation to me that there are truly hateful people in this world, that bullies get away with horrific abuse, that people are honestly so afraid of pointing out that there are a lot of self-proclaimed Christians in this world whom Jesus would absolutely tear strips off that they let them get away with encoding prejudice and bigotry into our society and schools and communities.
The revelation was this: I really haven’t taken my gloves off with these people, and I need to.
Despite being a shrieking swearing ranty bitchy PMS-ing monster truck of feminist blogging, I do moderate myself (you may pause to snort, if you will.) I do refrain from Jesus-would-slap-the-shit-out-of-you comments like the above. I do have this niggling little part of my brain that says there’s a line I shouldn’t cross, a line about faith and how people define their own, a line between pointing out the hypocrisy and horrific consequences without pointing too hard at the person behind them. Just as I’ve always objected to cheap shots about Gerry Brownlee’s weight or Cameron Slater’s mental health, I’ve felt that telling a person that it’s not their belief system that’s evil, it’s actually them, was … cheap. Dirty. Unbecoming. Something like that.
And then I read that Rolling Stone article. And while yes, like I’ve said, it wasn’t a surprise to me that fundy wankers have attempted to eradicate the existence of homosexuality from their communities (perhaps I should say, the communities burdened with their residence) and it wasn’t a surprise to me that this had caused some kids to take their own lives, something broke in my brain. Something clicked together. Something aligned, possibly the stars, and I realised in that moment a sad, terrible, huge, but ultimately truthy truth:
You fuckers are just, simply, fucking evil and if there is a Hell it will be too fucking good for you.
You shat on these kids.
You didn’t even tell them they, personally, were evil – you didn’t have to. You just removed any option they had of figuring out the world for themselves, because in your heads “choice” is just fine and dandy as long as the choices presented are all fundy-Christian-approved ones.
You let them get beaten up and harassed, and you threatened the adults in the best position to protect them with the loss of their job, maybe their career, if they dared to stop it.
You demonised the people who actually understand what compassion means and could have saved these kids.
In the wake of the suicides, the fundy asshats blame gay rights groups for the suicides. Because apparently telling kids that their feelings were valid “locked them” into a “lifestyle” etc etc.
Not, “telling kids their feelings were invalid and letting bullies attack them at their most vulnerable with no reprieve or protection from authority figures.” Not, “denying children even the acknowledgement of homosexuality by letting them know there was a policy outlawing acknowledgement of homosexuality.”
You trapped teenagers in a world where they could not even examine their feelings, much less acknowledge them, much less talk about them with anyone because you created a culture which made saying “I think I like people of my own gender” basically the equivalent of “I come from Mars and have acid for blood” and you fucking dare to say that homosexuality gave them no fucking options?
You actually think bullying is okay.
Michele Bachmann has a great point when she says bullying is wrong.
It’s only slightly ruined by the fact she said it to cover her ass after arguing that shutting down bullying was basically the end of free speech (ironic!) and would inevitably lead to “boys [being] girls”.
Because bullying isn’t wrong, apparently. Well, it is, it’s just that beating up a small, quiet guy for not being sufficiently manly isn’t really bullying, and constantly harassing a girl for wearing baggy sweatshirts isn’t either. They’re just basic social correction, bringing the deviants back into line so nothing threatens the established hetero social order. And those schoolyard bullies learnt it from you.
Let me tell you, people: Jesus was all about eliminating people’s differences and trampling on their individuality. Fo sho.
You are utter fucking hypocrites.
For people who think sex is a robotic process which married hetero cis couples should only ever engage in for the purposes of bring more little schoolyard thugs into the world, you are seriously fucking obsessed with sex, and “deviant” forms of it in particular.
Labelling Gay Straight Alliance clubs as “sex clubs”? I’d say “are you fucking high” but let’s remember: you’re not honest people. You’re not sincere. You’re half-driven to distraction by a lifetime of denying basic sexual urges, half-making shit up to scare the people who aren’t as evil as you but also aren’t particularly political, particularly engaged with broader social issues, who are susceptible to the bullshit you spin because you’re a Pillar of the Community.
You are, in fact, fucking evil.
You are entirely willing to destroy people’s lives if it maintains the dominance of your belief system. You will do whatever it takes to keep other people, other ideas, other ways of living in the shadows and bullying teens to the point of suicide is pretty much just hunky-fucking dory to you.
I do not believe that fundy shitstains actually think gayness is a choice. I do not believe they think it’s a genetic mutation. I think they do not care. It’s a threat to their natural order, so say and do whatever it takes to get rid of it, right?
Demonise teenagers. Pretend to be acting in their best interests when you say “oh, but they’re so confused at that age” with one Jesus-shaped sock puppet but scream “they’re evil and trying to destroy us!” with the other. Play on your fucked-up narrow-minded cultural paranoia, primed through decades of Yellow Peril and Red Peril and War on Terror, and turn it against your children because you’d actually prefer to see them dead than gay and at peace with themselves.
Fuck drawing lines in the sand with you cretins. There is blood on your hands. Your “faith” and behaviour bears absolutely zero relationship to the shit Jesus actually preached (gayness and abortion: not actually his favourite topics.)
But do you even have the faith you claim? I’m in serious doubt here. If you’d been born in any other country or time, would you just be the same hateful, demonic little fucks, waving whatever religion of convenience, whatever writings of whatever prophet, you could find to justify your self-centred bigotry?
You are fucking evil. And I’m pretty much decided right here right now that it is my life’s goal to fucking destroy you.
~A note to you other fuckers out there~
If you have read that Rolling Stone article, and you side with those people, and it offends you that I feel entirely justified in labelling those “Christians” as absolutely unmitigatedly evil people? You can go fuck yourself, because kids are dead and your buddies over there caused it.
[ETA: IB has taken my comment on board and edited his post.]
Damn, IB. I was hoping you’d not join the ever-growing list of Standard writers to throw around words like “loon” and “batshit crazy” to describe someone whose actions you simultaneously want to ascribe to logical, “sane” causes.
Yes, rightwing extremism is a problem. Yes, violent hate speech should be challenged whenever possible. But either those two statements are true, and there’s a societal problem which society needs to confront, OR certain people are just obviously crazy and dangerous and therefore should be pre-emptively locked up because we can all tell they’re not stable, amirite?
It’s probably obvious I’ve got an axe to grind in this fight, but here’s the thing, it’s two axes. One about casual fucking ableism which makes the lives of people with mental illness shittier than it has to be, and one about the sheer fucking laziness of writing off violent, terrorising extremists as “nutters”. If we allow that people like Breivik or Jared Lougher are just irrational/mentally ill/crazy/insert slur here, we deny ourselves the right to call that shit out, because the extreme Glenn Beck types who egg them on will just say “Oh, but they’re craaaaaaaaazy, it has nothing to do with my continual eliminationist rhetoric”.
So I’m going to get on my soapbox and plead with y’all. You’ve got an opportunity to deny hate-speakers an excuse to ignore the consequences of their actions, and you get to make the world a better place.
Seriously, people. I know we on the blogging left like to get all high and mighty about how awesomely smart we are – what kind of idiot votes for National because they like John Key’s smile, right? Who seriously watches Fox News [unless it’s for awesomely cool hipster lulz, y/y?]?
But it seems like we lose sight of the fact that the people who do vote in a way we don’t like, who do trust news sources we scoff at … are still people. People probably getting just as, if not more, fucked on by capitalism as the rest of us. People who don’t have the privilege of time and spoons for political awareness and sarcastic bloggery.
Those people are not insane. I mean, do I even have to say that? Apparently.
Because it’s not insane to be raised in a culture with ideals and memes about journalism and the news, and believe what the news tells you.
And it’s not mentally ill to accept that politicians who get elected to office, or people who write books which become bestsellers, or people with big fancy letters after their names, are people we are meant to listen to, or people who are assumed to have integrity, or people whose status indicates knowledge and entitlement to lead.
And maybe if it’s not insane to watch the news, to trust journalists, to listen to politicians, in general terms … it’s probably not insane to end up with a general sense of unease and distrust and xenophobia. It doesn’t take mental illness to become convinced that basic democratic principles are under threat wherever one may be, and it’s not subnormal to be swayed by rhetoric and propaganda techniques developed over fucking centuries and which societies have become pretty good at using to perpetuate their own values and avoid change.
It certainly doesn’t require an assumed lack of intellect or cognitive function to gather that we are at war with [Muslim] Eurasia and have always been at war with [Muslim] Eurasia.
It’s not batshit to watch any action film produced over the last thirty years and pick up the idea that lone operatives who are the only ones who know the truth and must struggle against a conservative/ignorant/bought-and-paid-for-by-The-Man authority have to take matters into their own hands and will be proven right some day.*
It’s not a cool idea to play with, people, but we live in a world in which it is simply not illogical or utterly irrational or obviously nuts for someone to come to the belief that [insert political demon] is a threat and [insert political authority] won’t do anything about it and [insert way of life] is getting destroyed and oh, did we mention that pop and folk culture are full of awesome heroes who Made A Stand, usually with lots of guns and frequently for nationalistic purposes?
Either that, or everyone’s fucking insane and the label has no fucking meaning any more, so stop fucking using it to dehumanize people whose actions you want to pretend are inexplicable and incomprehensible (especially while also claiming that they are completely explicable because, um, you ran out of fat jokes to make about Cameron Slater).**
We might sit at our ivory fucking keyboards feeling all high-and-mighty because we never grew out of our adolescent punk/goth/anarchist/general period of saying “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” to the world, but we are in no fucking position to pass socially-twisted pseudomedical judgment on the vast majority of the human race. Judgment which has shitty fucking consequences for people who do experience mental illness or neuroatypicality, and judgment which destroys our own credibility in challenging extremism.
It’s not fucking hard.
**And since 1 in 5 people experience some mental illness in their lives, there’s going to be overlap between People Who Do [Thing I Want To Blame On Mental Illness] and People Who Have Mental Illness, but until someone works out that whole “correlation ain’t causation” thing you are welcome to blow yourself.
I got into a conversation a few days ago on the topic “what can [privileged people] do to help [unprivileged people] without sounding like they want cookies or are using their privilege to dominate/take over?”
And while tackling this on a variety of spectra (as happens when a gay white man is talking to a straight white woman about privilege), talking about sitting down, listening, remembering it’s Not About You, I had a sudden epiphany.
All privileged people are some analogue of Schrödinger’s Rapist.
When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of guy—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.
I’m a straight woman with Real Queer Friends. I know I’m a nice person, I know I don’t [consciously] judge people for being not-heterosexual. And after years of friendship, my friends may be working on the assumption that I am not a threat, not a person who is going to suddenly use “gay” as a derogatory term or crack hilarious jokes about buttsex.
Working on the assumption.
Because I am Schrödinger’s Heterosexual: my friends can never truly be certain whether or not I’m homophobic or transphobic or see the world in heteronormative terms until I demonstrate it. Until I fail the test.
And that goes for my race privilege, and my class privilege, and my education privilege.
And there’s no pass condition on this. A privileged person can simply never actually prove with 100% certainty that they will never be a threat or a problem or a trigger to an unprivileged person.
And lords and ladies, we’ve got more than enough extreme-headdesk-worth examples of people who really, really should know better pulling some serious asshattery.* Until now, they might have been Schrödinger’s Mainstream Feminists. Now we’ve opened the box and had a look and it ain’t pretty.
We privileged people do not “deserve” the automatic trust or assumption of good faith or patience of unprivileged people [especially while in the act of fucking up]. And that’s okay, because it’s not about us. And that’s Basic Ally-hood 101.
*Author’s note: I originally went to type that as “people who you would never think would be bigots”. I get to assume these people aren’t bigots, because I’m a straight white lady. That’s privilege.
[TW: ableism and ableist language used with vicious sarcasm]
Oh, who would’ve fucking guessed it: it’s actually complete and utter bullshit to assume that violent people are mentally ill or that people with mental illness are more likely to be violent.
Or, just in case this isn’t clear, it is simply impossible to watch someone’s YouTube channel and psychically diagnose them with paranoid schizophrenia.
I assure you, dear readers, I am wearing my shocked face right now.
Rather than looking at individual cases, or even single studies, Fazel’s team analyzed all the scientific findings they could find. As a result, they can say with confidence that psychiatric diagnoses tell us next to nothing about someone’s propensity or motive for violence.
But you know what? This is a lot like an issue which comes up in fat acceptance when people are discussing studies showing this or that.
It actually doesn’t fucking matter.
It’s not actually fucking relevant, because even if there were a clear connection (just to repeat for all the douchebags clinging to stereotypes to justify their douchebaggery, there isn’t) you would still be a gigantic asshat to make assumptions about people’s mental health based on their actions and your prejudices about how humans are meant to act.
For those who are still refusing to get it:
You do not get to make the call about someone else’s mental state unless you are that person, or their duly appointed medical practitioner.
You do not get to assume that “only a craaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy person” would do xyz.
You do not get to whinge that “it’s obvious” and at the same time pretend that you’re using words like “insane”, “craaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy” and “nuts” in some kind of Totally Nonjudgemental Clinical Way, especially when you are operating in a linguistic culture that frequently uses those words in entirely non-clinical ways.
Right now you may think that this is just some over-sensitive crap from someone with obvious triggers around mental illness, and you, Marty G, may somehow sincerely believe that that statement is not in of itself buying into prejudice around mental health, is not full of nasty little implications*, is not inherently gendered.
You’re fucking kidding yourself, dude.
You also, Scott, don’t get to say “maybe this guy did this thing in a vacuum because he’s insane.” Guess what, folks? People with mental illness strangely have this thing where they still live in our society, they still receive societal messages about things, and they still get influenced by “normal” stuff just like you.
You don’t get to imply that none of the prevalent language of violence and hatred and freaking gunsights over people’s homes might just all be nothing to talk about because hey, we all know that mentally ill people just randomly shoot people because they’re craaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy. And somehow this isn’t you buying into demeaning stereotypes?
Could someone please explain that one to me again, and try not to just repeat “But I watched his YouTube channel and he’s clearly craaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy” because I’m just not sure how that’s meant to be any kind of argument against you being a judgemental asshole with no qualifications to make that call basing your opinions on ableist stereotypes.
Less-ranting related reading: Discussion of an assassination: ableism & the failure of sociological understanding, just in case my obvious triggers and oversensitivity totally harsh my cred.
*I do just want to deal with this one directly; Marty, you see, just thinks I “have strong reactions over anything to do with mental illness and [he doesn’t] know or care what the root cause of that is“. Fuck off, Marty. If I say “Marty obviously has some issues dealing with stroppy women who won’t fellate his intellect” I’m not going to whinge that I’m totally not calling you a sexist pig, I’m just, you know, observing a pattern of behaviour and I don’t care what the reason is! Your implication is obvious. Have the fucking spine to own your assumptions when it’s someone you [vaguely, internet] know and not just the Progressive Bigotry-Scapegoat of the Week.