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Social Media is So Anti-Social: I’m 30 years old and I have been using computers since I was a toddler. I’ve been using the internet since elementary school. I designed my first website when I was about 13 or 14. I also ran an online zine on AOL at that same time. I’ve had my own domain where I host my personal blog for 13 years now. You could call me a geek or a nerd and I would be totally okay with that. What you should never call me is a whore or a slut. You shouldn’t threaten me with rape or murder. You shouldn’t say that I deserve a lobotomy or I look like a man or that I’m fat or ugly. You shouldn’t say this sort of stuff to anyone, anywhere. Ever. Shortly before I turned thirty, I made the mistake of responding to a snarky comment from a Twitter user. This user had responded with “BWAHAHA A Woman made the hashtag” over my friend calling out people who were making rude remarks on the hashtag #FlukeForCongressCampaignSlogans. I asked him, “Is that supposed to make the hashtag any less offensive?” He responded with, “Haha! I bet you’ve never needed BC. #HumanManatee” I’ve been made fun of for years over my weight. It’s a sore subject for me, but I didn’t want this stranger to know that. I didn’t want him to know that I cared what he or anyone else thought about how I looked, so I fired back, “You think you’re original, but you really aren’t. And I have been on birth control off and on since middle school.” I probably should have either ignored the first remark or left out the part about taking birth control in middle school, but I didn’t. I never stood up for myself as a kid when people would say cruel things about me due to my weight, so I felt good about standing up for myself with this internet bully. And I’ve never been ashamed of the fact that I had to take birth control pills when I was in middle school (or high school or college) because there’s nothing shameful about them. A little packet of pills had never defined me before, but when I used them to respond to this guy, they did.  I was inundated with responses from him and from several of his followers who were egging him on. He accused me of trading anal sex for Big Macs. One of his friends used my then-profile picture to make some meme images that said that my face was birth control. A few of the people, including the original troll, said that I didn’t look like a woman because they couldn’t tell if I had breasts. I was called “Honey Boo Boo” in fifteen years. There were other comments that I can’t even remember right off. All I remember is that it went from this one guy insulting me to a group of five or six people insulting me dozens of times in less than fifteen minutes. I reported every single abusive tweet to Twitter that night. I blocked each of the people. I quit engaging with people online for about two months. I also began self-injuring regularly again. I felt suicidal a few times. And I waited to find out if Twitter was actually going to do anything about it. They didn’t. The first response was about a month after it happened. They decided the #HumanManatee comment wasn’t worthy of being considered abusive. I’m not exactly sure how that isn’t considered abusive and I tried to get them to explain it to me, but there really was not explanation. The next response was another month later. It was the larger decision, about the rest of the tweets and the users who made them. Twitter decided none of these users were abusive. I was dumbfounded. How was this not abuse? How was it okay to say these things? I know that sometimes when you’re interacting with someone you disagree with that you might get snarky or downright mean, but, in all my years online, I’d never seen it get this bad, this quick, and I’d never seen a service basically say there was nothing they could do. Twitter told me that I was basically going to have to both block this guy and keep up with whether or not he made any more attempts to harass me. He didn’t. Instead, he picked on other people. He picked on enough people that he had his primary account permanently suspended. That occurred after he repeatedly used Islamophobic slurs. His secondary account had some temporary suspensions levied on it, but it still exists. His tertiary account also still exists. He’s had other people report him, yet these accounts still exist. I’ve had people contact me off of Twitter to tell me that this particular person has made comments to them like he made to me, yet these accounts still exist. I’ve seen people complain about reporting him or friends of his for sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, and otherwise discriminatory language, yet these abusive accounts still exist. A few hours ago, he insulted not one, but two of my friends. He said that he would never have sex with one because he didn’t have sex with animals. He made rape threats to another. The first friend is considering not using Twitter again. The second is trying to figure out why Twitter decided to give her a temporary ban for the argument, when they aren’t doing a thing about to the account of the guy who threatened her. It’s not just Twitter and it’s not just this guy. Threats and abuse are levied at people every single day online. Some sites will do something about it, but social media sites, in my experience, just say, “Well, don’t pay attention to them and they’ll go away.” Sometimes they do go away, but usually, they’re only going away because they’ve found fresh meat. They only go away […]

babyshoes-neverused: I stumbled upon a tumblr today that helps writers accurately represent characters with racial / nationalistic / religious / sexual orientation (and so on) differences than their own. The site allows you to submit your own experiences and/or get into contact with others that have in order to enhance the depiction of characters in your creative writing. What a great idea! Diversity Cross Check via Tumblr



salon: Ronald Reagan pretty much ruined everything for millennials. #education #school #student loans #politics #ronald reagan #oh the shit that got talked about this man in my social work classes #he was the shittiest #yeah bush sucked massively but reagan… the gop compares the man to jesus #he’s basically a total what would jesus NOT do #because he gave no fucks about the poor or the sick or anyone who breathes #which is every-fucking-one btw #this was a shitty man #and he doesn’t deserve praise #he deserves scorn and hatred and full-on rage #because he sucked #a lot via Tumblr


Will the Supreme Court Ignore the Evidence? Facts vs. Beliefs in the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Case: justinspoliticalcorner: In the religious and political fervor surrounding the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties cases, which the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on any day now, three simple statements of fact about women’s health and reproduction seem to have gotten lost: Contraceptives prevent pregnancy, abortifacients terminate a pregnancy, and a pregnancy begins at implantation. So contraceptives by definition are not abortifacients because they prevent a pregnancy; if they work, there is no pregnancy to be terminated. These statements are not up for debate. They’re not subject to any “well actually” muddying of the waters. They are incontrovertible facts based in science. Nevertheless, should the Supreme Court rule in Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood’s favor, and allow them to avoid their obligations under the Affordable Care Act because they are opposed to abortion-inducing drugs and they “believe” that certain emergency contraceptives qualify as such, those three factual statements will become mere matters of opinion. Undermining these basic scientific facts has been crucial to the strategy that Hobby Lobby and other corporations have employed during their holy crusade against the birth control benefit. And partisan organizations like the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the virulently anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List, are eager to assist. They conduct “research” and propagate agenda-driven nonsense from non-credible scientists, all the while ignoring and dismissing actual scientists: The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which is world renowned for being comprised of premier experts in women’s health, and whose definition of pregnancy has been the standard since 1970, for example, is dismissed as “rabidly pro-abortion.” Birth control benefit opponents obfuscate basic concepts about reproduction and women’s health. They attempt to turn a discussion about when pregnancy begins—and therefore when and how a pregnancy can be terminated—into a discussion about when life begins. But as RH Reality Check’s own Jodi Jacobson wrote in an article entitled “Life Begins At Conception. That’s Not the Point”: Human life has to begin with conception, but conception is not the same thing as pregnancy, the latter of which reason, science, and medical evidence agree begins when a fertilized egg successfully implants in the uterus and develops into a healthy embryo. Reason, science, and medical evidence are dangerous to the anti-contraception agenda. Simple biological truisms—that pregnancy begins at implantation, for instance—become, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, “Orwellian new-speak” designed to obscure the “reality” that all hormonal contraceptives potentially are abortion pills. The fact that this “reality” is actually a fantasy doesn’t matter. In pursuit of their fantasy, birth control benefit detractors dismiss any person or organization that doesn’t march in lockstep with their junk science agenda. They happily ignore that the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the American Medical Association, and the medical community writ large agree that emergency contraceptives are not “abortion-inducing drugs.” They ignore the legal opinions of judges like Edward Korman, who, in Tummino v. Hamburg—which ultimately required that Plan B be made available over-the-counter—called the idea that Plan B could affect implantation “scientifically unsupported speculation.”  Birth control benefit opponents even ignore people in their own camp: The official journal of the Catholic Health Association, for example, published an article stating that Plan B works only as a contraceptive and is not “abortion-inducing.” Dennis Sullivan, who is the director of the Bioethics Center at Cedarville University, and an abortion foe, published an article stating that he had found no evidence that Plan B causes abortion. He even told Christianity Today, ”Our claims of conscience should be based on scientific fact, and we should be willing to change our claims if facts change.”  That, too, doesn’t matter to birth control benefit naysayers. Given the concerted effort by anti-contraception forces to introduce as much confusion as possible to the issue of whether contraceptives cause abortion (they don’t), it is unsurprising that Hobby Lobby, and the family that owns it—the Greens—maintain beliefs about contraception that don’t reflect scientific reality. What is surprising, however, is that no court seems willing to address whether or not the beliefs held by the Greens and other plaintiffs who have filed similar lawsuits are based in fact. Hobby Lobby and the Greens make two assertions in their lawsuit. First, they allege their belief that life begins at conception and that any action that might potentially harm a fertilized egg, including any action that might prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, is immoral. Second, they assert that Plan B and ella “could prevent a human embryo … from implanting in the wall of the uterus.” The first assertion is a religious belief, and the Greens are welcome to it. It’s not my place to quibble with their religious beliefs no matter how absurd I think they are. So sacred are individuals’ religious beliefs that courts rarely challenge or question them. The second assertion, however, is one of scientific fact and must be subject to court inquiry.  David Green, in an editorial for USA Today, wrote, “Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions. Which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill.” This is a scientific claim. So why hasn’t any court required Hobby Lobby or the Greens to substantiate the claim that Plan B and ella “might cause abortions”? Both the district court and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals simply accepted this claim at face value. As Chief Judge Mary Beck Briscoe noted in her opinion dissenting from the Tenth Circuit’s ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, “plaintiffs’ allegations regarding the abortion-causing potential of the challenged drugs are subject not only to examination but evidentiary proof.” Had any court subjected the Greens’ claims to evidentiary proof, it surely would have reached the same conclusion shared by the scientific community: None of the mandated contraceptive devices to which the Greens and Hobby Lobby object are “abortion-inducing.” As a group of health-care professionals with expertise in women’s health, including ACOG, concluded in an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court: Abortifacient has a precise meaning in the medical and […]

Help Spencer Move To Accessible Studio : heypingu: I am making a new post for this because the situation is getting dire and I really need help. Our landlords are currently harassing us, threatening us, and constantly calling our house about bills and rent and we know we are going to be kicked out sooner rather than later. And I am terrified.  My (abusive) father wants to drag us all to Florida because he “hates the cold”. I cannot move to a tropical environment with my illnesses. I have Adult Onset Still’s Disease, RA, and fibro. And a SLEW of mental illnesses. I have trouble getting work because I am denied the moment people see I use mobility aids.  I am trying, so hard, to get my life together here. I am in class to become a certified rape/domestic violence counselor. I want to stay here and let this grow, grow in the organization, and while I do so find a solid job. But, like most sick/disabled people, I am running on minimal luck and minimal resources. In short, I am queer, I am disabled, I am ill, and I am trying my fucking hardest to get onto my feet but I need the help to get there. I want to make a difference in this community, but I can’t do that if I am dragged against my will to a state that wont be healthy for me OR accepting of my gender identity.  If you can’t help, It’s okay! But please, please try to get this around. I have 60 days MAYBE. There are reward levels if that is at all tempting. Thank you for reading this. Thank you. via Tumblr


Thieves Caught on Video Stealing 6-Year-Old Burn Victim’s Beloved Pug: Ellis Barrett is a 6-year-old boy who had multiple surgeries earlier this year after a terrible accident with scalding water. Peaches is the treasured pug puppy who comforted him when he came home from the hospital in February. This is a video of some jackholes in pink tracksuits chasing down and stealing Peaches. via Tumblr



Which English? on GamesWithWords.org: What countries have most influenced the way you speak? Take this test designed by MIT researchers and find out. Our top three guesses for your English dialect: American (Standard) Canadian US Black Vernacular / Ebonics Our top three guesses for your native (first) language: English Norwegian Swedish via Tumblr

100 LGBTQ Black Women You Should Know: The Epic Black History Month Megapost (Being Posted Here For LGBT Pride Month): thepoliticalfreakshow: This epic megapost is your glorious opportunity to meet 100 amazing black LGBT women who’ve made their mark over the last 150 years. See the first 20 below, then click the above link to see all 100 who made the list. Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and transgender women represent a vibrant and visible portion of the LGBTQ community. In addition to the legends of the Harlem Renaissance and the decades of groundbreaking activism spearheaded by women like Audre Lorde, Barbara Smith and Angela Davis, many of the most prominent coming out stories of the past two years have been black women like Brittney Griner, Raven-Symonè, Diana King and Robin Roberts. Meanwhile, Laverne Cox and Janet Mock have become the most visible transgender women in media.  So, in honor of Black History Month, below you’ll find over 100 lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer and transgender women you should know about. If she was still alive, the oldest person in this list would be 189 years old. The youngest person on this list is a mere 21 years of age. Like all our lists of this sort, this post aims to contain a wide variety of humans of all ages and backgrounds, from reality TV show stars (despite its numerous failings, Reality TV has been a major mainstream source of LGBTQ visibility dating back to the early ’90s) to State Representatives to actresses to game-changing activists.  Keep in mind, there are so many more prominent black LGBT women than are represented below. This list isn’t representative or comprehensive, but I did aim to include the “big names” and beyond that, present a broad and diverse range of visible women. The hardest part of making this list was that it was originally twice as long! So please feel free to share some of your heroes in the comments and we’ll have more lists like this in the future! If any of these pictures have been attributed incorrectly or lack proper attribution or contain misinformation, please email bren [at] autostraddle [dot] com and she will fix (or remove it) for you. Frances E.W. Harper (1825-1911), Abolitionist / Poet / Author Harper published her first book of poetry at age 20 and her first novel at the age of 67. She chaired the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, helped slaves escape through the Underground Railroad, and spoke all over the country with the American Anti-Slavery Society. She helped found the National Association of Colored Women in 1894 and published in so many periodicals that she became known as the “mother of African-American journalism.” She is listed in Lesbian Lists as an “early Black Lesbian and Bisexual Writer.” Edmonia “Wildfire” Lewis (1844-1907), Sculptor This African-Haitian-Ojibwe Native American sculptor was born in New York and began studying art at Oberlin in Ohio, one of the first universities to accept women and non-white people, and later began sculpting in Boston. She showed her work internationally and spent most of her career in Rome. The National Gay History Project notes that “she is considered one of a few African-American artists to develop a fan base that crossed racial, ethnic and national boundaries — and the first to develop a reputation as an acclaimed sculptor, which would later give her access to circles that generally excluded people of color and women.” Alice Dunbar Nelson (1875-1935), Poet / Journalist / Activist Nelson, who allegedly separated from her first husband, poet Paul Dunbar, in 1902 because he was “disturbed” by her lesbian affairs, was an influential writer and journalist active in efforts to promote African-American and women’s rights. She was a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Angelina Weld Grimké (1880-1958), Journalist / Teacher / Poet / Playwright Harlem Renaissance writer Grimké, who was biracial (her father was the second African-American to graduate from Harvard Law), was one of the first African-American women to have a play performed publicly. Of that play, The NAACP said, “This is the first attempt to use the stage for race propaganda in order to enlighten the American people relating to the lamentable condition of ten millions of Colored citizens in this free republic.” At 16, she wrote a letter to her female friend Mamie Burrile in which she declared, “I know you are too young now to become my wife, but I hope, darling, that in a few years you will come to me and be my love, my wife!” Modern literary critics who have analyzed Grimké’s work have found “strong evidence” that she was lesbian or bisexual. Georgia Douglas Johnson (1880-1966), Poet / Playwright Another prominent figure in the flourishing Harlem Renaissance, Johnson grew up in Atlanta, the daughter of an African and Native American mother and an African-American and English father. In addition to writing poems and plays, she was an anti-lynching activist and hosted weekly Salons with other friends associated with the Harlem Renaissance, like Lanston Hughes and Angelina Weld Grimke. The book Lesbian Lists notes that “although her letters reveal love relationships with women, she is best known in the heterosexual world for her affair with W.E.B. DuBois.” Ma Rainey (1886-1939), Blues Singer The legendary “Mother of the Blues” was one of the first blues singers to record. She toured extensively all over the country for mixed audiences and released over 94 records. Her 1928 song “Prove it On Me Blues” declared They said I do it, ain’t nobody caught me. Sure got to prove it on me. Went out last night with a crowd of my friends. They must’ve been women, cause I don’t like no men. Gladys Bentley (1907-1960), Blues Singer Bentley is a legend known for her piano-playing, raunchy lyrics and her signature top hat and tuxedo, headlning gay speakeasies and Harlem’s Ubangi Club and later in Southern California. Bentley was an out lesbian from the get-go and once, dressed in “men’s clothing,” tried to marry a woman in Atlantic City. But during the McCarthy era Bentley took a turn — she married a man and wrote an article for Ebony magazine entitled “I am woman again,” about how […]