tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
2030-12-18 02:14 pm

How to post comments if you don't have a Dreamwidth account

I request that you read my comment policy before commenting, especially if you don't know me offline.

n.b. 2017-08-12: The below is pretty out-of-date and OpenID has fallen out of favor. The easiest way to comment is to just create a Dreamwidth account.

If you have a LiveJournal account and want to leave comments on my journal, you can do that without giving Dreamwidth a password or any personal information except an email address. You can follow these instructions (with slight modifications) if you have an account on a site that provides OpenID credentials, too. (For example, any Google or Google+ account should work this way.) Here's how:

  1. Go to the main Dreamwidth page
  2. Follow the "Log In with OpenID" link
  3. In the "Your OpenID URL" box, put yourusername.livejournal.com. For example, if I wanted to log in with my LiveJournal account, I would type "catamorphism.livejournal.com".
  4. Click Login.
  5. Click "Yes, just this time" or "Yes, always" when LiveJournal asks if you want to validate your identity.
  6. The first time you log in, you'll see a message "Please set and confirm your email address". Click the "set" link and follow the instructions.
  7. You'll get an email from Dreamwidth containing a link. Follow the link to confirm your email address.
  8. Follow the instructions. You should now be able to leave comments.

Edited to add as of February 26, 2013: There have been intermittent problems with using OpenID to log in to Dreamwidth. The most reliable way to comment is to create a Dreamwidth account, which is free.
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
2018-12-09 07:57 pm
Entry tags:

[nagging intensifies]

Here are some cats:


Now that I've got your attention: With 9 days left to my 38th birthday, I'm trying to get 31 more people to make a donation to ACCESS Women's Health Justice, the Bay Area's abortion fund. Here's how to give, and once you do, let me know so I can update my tally!
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
2018-12-06 10:35 pm
Entry tags:

Birthday wish: Please donate to ACCESS Women's Health Justice

(Text adapted from my 35th birthday fundraiser.)

I'll be turning 38 on December 18. If you would like to celebrate with me, please make a donation to ACCESS Women's Health Justice and let me know. Since I'm turning 38, I suggest a $38 donation if you can afford it, but any amount matters, even $1. I recommend that you donate directly, because that way, ACCESS gets the money faster. You can also use the Facebook fundraiser that I created, which might be faster for you (though not for them) if you use Facebook already. My goal is to get 50 people to donate to ACCESS.

While Medi-Cal covers the cost of abortion in California, there are many expenses that people who need second-trimester abortions incur; only a small number of clinics in the state perform these procedures, so many people, especially those traveling from the Central Valley to the Bay Area, face transportation and lodging costs that can be challenging for many people. ACCESS operates a help line and helps callers by giving them money for gas or bus tickets, as well as setting them up with practical support volunteers -- I'm one of them -- who can house them overnight and/or give them rides.

Since I volunteer with ACCESS, this group is important to me. However, I'll also count you towards the total of 50 if you donate to your local abortion fund.

My goal for this year is for 50 people to donate, so, if you donate, please let me know. (Unless you use the Facebook link -- then I'll know automatically.) If you don't let me know, I won't be able to know if I reached my goal, and I'll be sad. You can let me know by commenting on this post, tweeting at me or commenting on my Facebook wall, or -- if you prefer to be private -- emailing me (catamorphism at gmail.com) or sending me a private message on any of the services I use. You don't have to tell me the amount that you donated, and I'm not going to do public thank-yous this year unless you ask for one. (In other words, it was opt-out in the past, but now it's opt-in.)

By donating you'll make me happy, piss off the people who are dangerously close to turning the US into a theocracy that denies bodily autonomy to everyone who's not a cis man, but most importantly, help make sure nobody in California has to go through a pregnancy and give birth because they're short $100 for gas money. So do it now! ACCESS WHJ is a nonprofit 501c3 organization, so if your US employer matches funds, please request a matching donation from them so that your money goes even further.
tim: protest sign: "Down With This Sort of Thing" (politics)
2018-10-21 11:33 am
Entry tags:

Election 2018: In which I tell you how to vote so you don't have to think about it

This is my voter guide for the November 6, 2018 election in Alameda County, California. Some measures/candidates are statewide, some not. If you're not eligible to vote in California, you can probably stop reading here, unless you're really nerdy. Eligible to vote in California but not registered to vote? You can register to vote, and vote early, on the same day, at your county elections office, right up until the election. In Alameda County, that's the basement of the courthouse at 1225 Fallon St. in downtown Oakland. This is called conditional voter registration and means you will vote on a provisional ballot. If you want to guarantee your vote will be processed without delay, today is your last day to register to vote! (Do it in person so you can be sure.)

State and federal offices

Governor: Gavin Newsom (*loud sighing*). He's an awful neoliberal, but we have a Republican who might as well be a Trump clone running against him, and there are enough conservatives in interior and southern California that we can't assume this election is safe. Vote to reduce harm.

Lieutenant: Eleni Kounalakis; both candidates seem like reasonable choices, but I'm voting for Kounalakis because she'll prioritize housing and homelessness and because, unlike her opponent, has endorsements from LGBTQ organizations.
Read more... )
tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
2018-08-27 10:07 am
Entry tags:

On Bootlicking

How long is it appropriate to wait after the death of a child before licking the boots of the man who killed them?

John McCain died; he was a 21st-century Republican politician, and he was a racist warmonger. What I want to say here has less to do with the details his life than it does with the meaning of some of the things that some white liberals and white moderates have been saying about his death. It is hard to avoid getting sidetracked into the details of his life, especially when you see self-described progressives holding up a man who called his wife a "cunt" in public as a model of human decency. I'll try, though.

In response to factual accountings, like the one linked to above, of what McCain did during his life, I've seen comments like: "we could, for a period of time, maybe a week, simply mourn their passing, or let those who loved them mourn their passing, without immediately seeking to judge, defend, and critique their lives and legacies." I've seen comments like "the guy hasn’t even been dead 24 hours!" And these are comments from the people who say they oppose McCain's racism, his misogyny, his warmongering. Still, they say, he deserves respect or critical distance, right now, at least.

When you write these words, you aren't writing them for McCain's family. They're not reading what you write. And if you criticize McCain, it does nothing to stop his family from mourning his passing. I could write all day about his moral bankruptcy, and even if his family did happen to read it, they wouldn't listen anyway. You cannot influence what a rich and powerful family does, for better or for worse, and you know that.

You know that you are judging and criticizing us, those of us who cannot join in the white pundits' choir of positivity. You are judging us when you tell us that we ought not to speak, or insinuate that we are less moral, less considerate, or less spiritual if we do speak.

You know that you are writing for your family and friends when you write on your Facebook profile or your blog; you know your own audience. If you wanted to express your condolences to McCain's family, you could send them a card. You know that your words have a different purpose.

When you talk about how McCain deserves 24 hours (or a week, or let's be real about what you mean, the rest of your and my life) without criticism - that is, without anybody telling the truth about what he did during his lifetime - you aren't saying that to protect John McCain, or his family or loved ones. None of these people are reading your Facebook posts. Even if they were, why does that family deserve 24 hours when others don't?

When you talk about respecting the dead, you know that your show of respect for McCain is no such thing, because none of the people you say your message is for is on the other end of the line.

The people who are reading your Facebook posts are your friends who are Asian, or Muslim, or Black, or disabled, or chronically ill, or queer, or have a uterus and want to decide what goes on in it. Your show of "respect" helps no one, but it does show your contempt for us. You're telling us, "Don't talk about the effect his actions had on your life. A dead white man's feelings are more important than your material reality. I'm not in solidarity with you." It doesn't matter what you intend -- this is what we hear. You may even be Asian, or Muslim, or Black, or disabled, or chronically ill, or queer yourself -- if you are, that does nothing to buffer the harm of your words. Everybody chooses whether to side with the more privileged parts of themselves or the less privileged parts of themselves, and in the moment when you write words of faux respect, you're choosing to side with the oppressor within you and against the oppressed.

Who is ever granted protection from an honest inventory of the work they chose to dedicate their life to, besides the rich, white and powerful? Are the loved ones of the rich, white and powerful - usually if not always rich, white and powerful themselves - so fragile that recounting such facts pierces them even if they will never hear it? Are they more deserving of silence about the wrongs done by their dead loved one than the mother of any Black child murdered by police or the mother of any Iraqi child killed by American bombs?

It's always an option to say nothing at all. It's also an option to say only that judging the man is for God to do and not for you, or the secular equivalent. You do not need to talk about Vietnam, Iraq, or the ACA if you don't want to. If you're truly not comfortable with talking of these things so soon after McCain's death, you don't need to say anything at all.

It would take you no effort to say nothing. So when you do say something, you're telling us something: that you won't have our backs when there's a cost to you, or when you might offend other white people with a suburban mindset, or when the faces of the oppressor are the same color as yours.

When you choose instead to police and patrol the grief and anger of the oppressed, to wag your finger at those of us who are rejoicing that at least this particular person can't hurt us anymore, to dissemble your true emotions in smarm, you're not showing respect for the dead. You are pledging allegiance to power. You are acknowledging that you believe fealty to power will protect you. Your actions are those of a person anxious about offending the powerful. We know that anxiety about offending the powerful is what leads our self-proclaimed allies to decline to put their bodies between them and us.

Some of us have been grieving for our entire lives, and will be grieving for the rest of our lives, what we lost, what our friends have lost, to white supremacy, capitalist violence, and endless war. When you say you don't want to disrupt the grieving process for his family, you're saying our grief isn't as serious as theirs. Those grieving loved ones can't hear what you're saying. But your friends who live every day in grief and anger at what conservatives have been doing to us for our entire lives, at least those of us my age and younger - We're your audience. We're who's listening. And when you tell us you don't think we matter, we believe you.
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
2018-06-10 12:33 pm
Entry tags:

Depression Doesn't Lie

[CW: discussion of suicide, major depression, child abuse, and trauma]

I've been hearing the trope "Depressed people's brains lie to them" a lot in light of a couple well-known people having recently killed themselves. It's comforting, mostly to people who don't experience major depression. It's also mostly wrong, in my opinion.

Against exorcism

The demonic-possession model of depression, for lack of better words, says that depression is a foreign presence, an invader in an otherwise healthy body. That there is some pure version of you that is not depressed, and depression is unnatural, disordered, a disease process. Like bacteria or a virus that shouldn't be present in your body. You are not depressed, you "have depression", not in the sense that depression is a condition you live with whether or not you're currently having a depressive episode -- but rather, in the sense that depression isn't a fundamental part of who you are.

If depression is a demon and all you need to do to get your real, true, normal, neurotypical self back is to exorcise the demon, then if you seek medication and/or therapy, you're going to have some pretty unrealistic expectations for what it can do for you. Medication and therapy are useful for a lot of people, but they don't turn a depressed person into a non-depressed person the way that antibiotics kill bacteria. (Again, I'm talking about the kind of depression that recurs and doesn't have a clear and immediate situational trigger, not the kind that a person might experience after the death of someone close to them.) I don't know of any evidence to suggest a treatment like that will ever be possible.

We are often told to give others the benefit of the doubt, to not assume the worst possible interpretation of others' actions without more information. Why not apply that principle to yourself? Instead of an unwelcome invader to fight off, can you treat your depression as a friend, albeit one who it's difficult to relate to or communicate with?

Read more... )
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
2018-05-22 10:37 pm
Entry tags:

Primary Election 2018: In which I tell you how to vote so you don't have to think about it

This is my voter guide for the June 5, 2018 primary election in Alameda County, California. Some measures/candidates are statewide, some not. If you're not eligible to vote in California, you can probably stop reading here, unless you're really nerdy. Eligible to vote in California but not registered to vote? You can register to vote, and vote early, on the same day, at your county elections office, right up until the election. (I haven't verified this is true for counties other than Alameda, but I assume so.) In Alameda County, that's the basement of the courthouse at 1225 Fallon St. in downtown Oakland.

I wasn't going to post this publicly, because it's lower-information than my usual standard I impose on myself for sharing endorsements, but some friends encouraged me to do it. Do your own research if you can, or if you don't, don't complain to me when the candidate I recommended turns out to eat baby seals. If you're curious why I picked somebody, feel free to ask and I'll try to remember my reason for picking that candidate.

Some other voter guides:
My friend Yar's voter guide for Oakland/Alameda County (mostly agrees with mine, but with more explanation in some cases)
Voter's Edge -- nonpartisan guide to California elections, shows all the major financial contributors to each candidate, which is very useful
Alameda Green Party voters' guide -- I appreciate their analyses despite not agreeing with all of their conclusions.
San Francisco League of Pissed Off Voters
Friends Committee on Legislation of California voter guide
Frustrated Socialists' Voter Guide (East Bay)

Read more... )
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
2018-04-19 08:37 am
Entry tags:

The Donor Sibling Registry isn't for disabled people

[CW: ableism]

The Donor Sibling Registry is an organization that helps people like me, who were conceived using anonymous donor sperm, find people genetically related to us. I joined a few years ago out of curiosity, and also joined the Facebook group for the registry, both of which are run by Wendy Kramer.

Today, Wendy reposted a letter from a parent that implied that action should be taken to prevent sperm banks from distributing sperm belonging to autistic donors. I asked whether she intended to make the group unsafe for disabled people by starting a debate about whether we exist, and it became clear that she did:

It doesn't matter what your opinion about the letter is; to pass it along is an act that contributes to a climate of violence against disabled people. If you believe that it's no less desirable to have an autistic child than a neurotypical one, you can tell the letter-writer that their concern is misdirected and decline to spread it to a bigger audience. Making the choice to pass it along tells people that the group isn't safe for disabled people.

It's too bad that what might otherwise be a useful resource is run by a person who (at best) doesn't understand how giving people the option to not conceive an autistic child is eugenics, and gets defensive and abusive in response to disabled people calling them out.

Details (CW: ableism) )
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
2018-03-26 10:55 am
Entry tags:

Recent press coverage of my lawsuit against Google

I'm quoted in this article by Kate Conger about the covert war on underrepresented minorities at Google:

'“Google has to grow a backbone and say, ‘We are going to stand up for this thing that we’ve said for the past ten years or so. We believe in organizing the world’s information and making it accessible.’ That’s political,” Chevalier says. “I don’t think it’s possible for them to be neutral. There’s no neutral path.”'

You can also listen to a 22-minute interview with me on KPFA's "Up Front" with Brian Edwards-Tiekert.
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
2018-03-24 11:07 am
Entry tags:

How not to be a cis ally, part 1

This is a lightly edited version of some Facebook posts I wrote in July 2017.

In response to the current regime's attempts to purge trans people from the military, "I think everyone should be banned from serving in the military" is a terrible take. If you're cis, and you're saying this, your rhetoric is de-centering trans people and we're going to assume that's not an accident. If you want to criticize US imperialism and militarism, you can do that without hijacking discussion of how the current regime is purging trans people from the public sphere.

Don't be the kind of "ally" who is so uncomfortable centering the needs of the people you claim to support that you derail every trans-centered conversation with "okay, but what if we talked about something that also affects cis people"? This is very similar to when men say "but men get sexually assaulted too" to derail discussions about sexual assault against women. It's not that the statement is false. It's just that the context in which It's used does the word of silencing certain types of conversations.

I think it's fine to choose not to serve in the military because you are anti-imperialism. I have made the same choice for myself. When trans people are banned, we don't really get to make that choice the way cis people do. We deserve to be able to make genuine moral choices and face the consequences, as autonomous moral agents.

In American culture, military service confers a sense of belonging and social integration for many people and denying trans people access to that is an abusive isolation tactic. Again, it's not a form of belonging I choose to affiliate with, but that's because I have the privilege of formal education, a professional job, and other ways to show I'm part of society.

I don't have to support anything about the military to think it's unfair to ask trans people to go first when it comes to foreswearing it. Keeping out trans people does literally nothing to weaken the military-industrial complex: the military would be over if all cis people refused to serve. At the same time that it has no practical effect when it comes to stopping imperialism, it does have a genuine practical effect when it comes to denigrating trans people and encouraging abuse of trans people.

We don't get to choose whether the military exists, in the short term. We do get to choose between addressing the concrete negative effects that the military ban has on all trans people's lives, versus embracing purity and the symbolic value of disavowing involvement with the military.
It matters whether trans people are excluded from public life. When you say that the military ban is a "distraction" from some mythical "real issue", you tell us that you don't think our lives matter and that you think we're disposable. You can be an ally by saying, "I don't think this is a distraction. I think it matters that the regime is targeting an incredibly vulnerable group of people for more harm, which appears to be a first step towards exterminating that group. Trans people are important to me and I don't want to listen to you tell me that they don't matter."
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
2018-02-21 05:01 pm
Entry tags:

Google fired me for speaking out about diversity

The following is a press release from my attorney. Media inquiries can be directed to the address below. I'm not able to comment beyond this on my blog at this time.

You can read the full text of the complaint we filed, as well as media coverage:

"Ex-Google Employee Claims Wrongful Firing for Criticizing James Damore's Memo", Nitasha Tiku (Wired)
"Google Fired and Disciplined Employees for Speaking Out About Diversity", Kate Conger (Gizmodo)
"Google engineer says he was fired for fighting racism, sexism", Jessica Guynn (USA Today)
"Ex-Google engineer: I was fired for being too liberal", Cyrus Farivar (Ars Technica)
"Former Google employee files lawsuit alleging the company fired him over pro-diversity posts", Shannon Liao (The Verge)
"Google fired disabled, transgender man for opposing his co-workers’ bigotry and white supremacy, lawsuit alleges", Ethan Baron (San Jose Mercury News)

(Original press release, copied below)


San Francisco. A lawsuit filed today claims that Google, Inc.’s internal social networking forums have become a tool for widespread bullying and harassment of women, people of color and other underrepresented groups at the tech giant. The lawsuit also accuses Google of firing an employee for pushing back on the pervasive harassment.

Tim Chevalier, the software developer and computer scientist who filed the case, claims that Google fired him when he responded forcefully to posts attacking women and people of color and expressing white supremacist views. Chevalier, who is disabled and transgender, responded directly to the workplace bullies by posting comments challenging the hostile work environment and refuting assertions that women and people of color are biologically unsuited for software engineering, and that Google should not actively recruit them.

According to the lawsuit, Chevalier’s posts also championed transgender and disabled rights, and raised awareness about how Google’s culture excludes and discriminates against minorities. The lawsuit alleges that Google chose to fire Chevalier for his comments instead of addressing the rampant harassment and discrimination he was protesting.

Chevalier stated, “It is a cruel irony that Google attempted to justify firing me by claiming that my social networking posts showed bias against my harassers. The anti-discrimination laws are meant to protect marginalized and underrepresented groups- not those who attack them.”

Chevalier’s attorneys regularly represent tech employees in high profile discrimination and retaliation cases. According to David Lowe, one of Chevalier’s attorneys at Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, LLP, “Company social networking forums can be incredibly useful, but employers have an obligation to prevent them from becoming a cesspool of bullying and harassment. Firing the employee who pushed back against the bullies was exactly the wrong step to take.”

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, seeks damages for lost wages, emotional distress, punitive damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, LLP
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
2017-11-28 09:52 pm
Entry tags:

November linkspam: QTT (queer, trans, trauma)

"The Ridiculous Straight Panic Over Dating a Transgender Person", Samantha Allen for The Daily Beast (2017-11-04). What it says on the tin.

"How to Change Your Life in One Second Flat", Katherine Schafler for Thrive Global (2017-11-07). Some judgy "be in the present moment"-ism here, but I still like the formulation (from Maya Angelou) of the four questions we're all asking each other all the time.

"The Psychological Link Between Trauma And Work Addiction", Drake Baer for Thrive Global (2017-11-09). I don't see how "work addiction" can be anything but metaphorical, but it's a good article nonetheless:

Like any problematic repetitive behavior, being addicted to work, validation, or success is an issue with lots of factors and possible treatments. In Hungry Ghosts, Maté distinguishes between contingent and genuine self esteem. The bigger the void that people feel, the greater the urge to get themselves noticed, and the greater the compulsion to acquire status. Genuine self-esteem, on the other hand, “needs nothing from the outside”—it’s a sense of feeling worthwhile, regardless of your accomplishments.

A thread on the second adolescence of queer adulthood from [twitter.com profile] IamGMJohnson (2017-11-10):
Many of us who are LGBTQ go through a second adolescence because our first (5-18 yo) is about suppressing identity.

So when we do get into our 20's we make A LOT of mistakes that most attribute to younger people because we never got to be younger people in our true identity.

Suffice to say, If you are LGBTQ don't be so hard on yourself if your life doesn't mirror the heterosexual timeline of love, marriage, career, and kids because many of your years were stolen from you. So take time to live them.

"When Your Childhood Gender Transition Is in Google Searches Forever", Katelyn Burns for Splinter (2017-11-15). Also what it says on the tin.

"Hit by 'Trans-Friendly' Fire", gendermom (2017-11-21). Two journalists interviewed a mom of a trans kid, and you won't believe what happened next.
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
2017-11-28 08:56 pm
Entry tags:

November linkspam: Tech culture

"How to be an ally to women in tech", Sarah Adams (2017-06-24)

"You now understand that this is true of every woman you work with. Every woman you work with is there, at the table, despite being told hundreds of times:

  • you are no good
  • you do not belong
  • get out.

Another thing you need to understand before I tell this story:
After being beaten down so many hundreds of times, I cannot tell the difference between a sexist comment made:

  • with mal intent
  • due to subconscious bias
  • or because the person just misspoke

There is no difference in how it affects me. At this point, it is just one long drone of you are no good.

(Every bit of this is true for me as a trans man, too, and there's not really any place for me to go to talk about it -- but, that will have to be another blog post.)

"The Myth of Psychological Safety", Liz Fong-Jones (2017-11-01). On "If you're used to privilege, equality feels like oppression" and privileged people's self-reporting about psychological safety.

"A Clash of Cultures, by bunnie (2017-11-08):

  • "Any engineer who observes a bias in a system and chooses not to pro-actively correct for it is either a bad engineer or they stand to benefit from the bias.”
  • "When a man harnesses the efforts of a team, they call him a CEO and give him a bonus. But when a woman harnesses the efforts of a team, she gets accused of being a persona and a front.

Twitter thread from [twitter.com profile] jaythenerdkid (2017-11-13)
“the world is full of stem grads who have no idea how to think critically about the world in which they live or the media to which they're exposed, but who somehow consider themselves analytical thinkers because they know how to do calculus”

"Your company's Slack is probably sexist", by Leah Fessler for Quartz (2017-11-14) - there's some eyebrow-raisey casual cissexism (the stuff about "female socialization" and "male socialization") and the conclusions are kind of underwhelming, but there's lots of great content in this article about gendered conversation dynamics and how men use them to hamper women's economic success, not just specific to Slack:

  • “Does gender influence our office’s electronic communications? When I began asking my colleagues, nearly every woman said yes. Overwhelmingly, men said no."
  • '‘Both the men and women she surveyed agreed that the debate was contentious, but they reacted to that contentiousness differently. Men would say things like, “Well, it was kind of aggressive, but as long as the slings and arrows weren’t aimed at me, it was fine,” or “This is just the way online conversation goes.” Some men said it was “kind of fun to go at each other’s throats,” or they brushed it off: “This is nothing; you should see the philosophy list.”

    Nearly all the women, however, showed an aversion to the tenor of the debate. Common responses included things like: “The contentiousness made me not want to participate in discussion,” or “It made me want to drop off list all together.” Some went so far as, “People who speak like this are not good people,” and “This debate made me want to not be linguist.”'
  • “Already as toddlers, the idea that girls should take others’ feelings and desires into consideration before speaking or acting has formed,” says Herring. “And for boys, conflict isn’t just okay, it’s encouraged.” 
  • ‘What’s more, Herring found, men posted messages that were sometimes 20 screens long, never apologizing for consuming others’ time—while women always apologized for long messages.’
  • ‘…language and discourse conventions are created and enforced by men, for men’s advantage; so when women participate in public discourse, it’s almost as if they’re learning or adapting to a foreign language.’
  • ‘Men also tend to dominate public channels, she says, often responding to others’ posts with declarative statements and dropping in links with no context.’
  • ‘With microaggressions, there rarely is a smoking gun. But over time, these aggregate power displays can wear down women and minorities, leading us to question whether it’s worth sharing our thoughts at all.’

  • "The Tech Industry's Gender Discrimination Problem", by Sheelah Kolhatkar for the New Yorker (2017-11-20):

    “It’s the imbalance of pay and power that puts men in a position to harass, that gives them unchecked control over the economic lives of women and, as a result, influence over their physical lives. These subtler forms of discrimination, familiar to almost any woman who has held a job, can in fact be especially insidious, since they are easier for companies, and even victims, to dismiss.”
    tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
    2017-11-28 08:24 pm

    November linkspam: "Political correctness" and the panic over campus speech

    From May: "The Conservative Force Behind Speeches Roiling College Campuses", Stephanie Saul for the New York Times. On manufactured controversy over Nazis speaking on campuses:
    '"It’s part of a larger systematic and extremely well-funded effort to disrupt public universities and create tension among student groups on campus,” said Alexandra Prince, a doctoral student at Buffalo...'

    "Whose Free Speech? Black Lives Matter, the ACLU and Respectability Politics", Ben Passmore for The Nib (2017-10-30) -- a comic about what free speech means.

    "There Is No Leftist Attack On Free Speech", Dan Arel (2017-11-03):

    • "The speakers under attack haven’t lost their right to speak; they’ve sometimes lost a platform; and the government isn’t involved in suppressing their speech. Everyone is entitled to their speech, no one is entitled to a platform in which to give it.”
    • 'So, when talking about the “place of the individual,” don’t we owe this student the right to attend college without fear of being attacked as a sexual predator and having her own existence being questioned? Don’t we owe her a safe place to be educated?'

    "Political correctness isn’t the problem", Sean McElwee for The Outline (2017-11-20):

    • “Despite the widespread panic that their speech will be suppressed, white supremacists, authoritarians, and war criminals continue to have very little trouble finding a platform for their views, especially on college campuses. In fact, the true threats to speech on campus are not idealistic students but the rich, old, and typically white male gatekeepers — the administrators, trustees, and donors.”
    • “Few pundits have criticized these arrangements, revealing their implicit belief that the proper way to influence the national discourse is through the exercise of wealth, rather than protest.”
    • 'What is commonly referred to “political correctness” is in fact an attitude of cultural inclusion that broadens the intellectual experience. And those who dislike political correctness often disguise the extent to which their attitudes are tied to racial animus.’
    • "Opposition to political correctness is rarely rooted in deeply held liberal notions of tolerance and equality, but rather an impulsive reaction to the demands of groups: women, people of color, LGBTQ people and others who have been silenced for decades demanding representation."
    tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
    2017-11-22 10:18 am

    I suppose this is a good time to mention I'm no longer at Google

    I'm no longer working at Google, and am not able to share any other details about that at this time.

    Meanwhile, my former colleagues got Breitbart to write a hit piece about me. I'm flattered by the attention, and I wonder whether Google will take the leaking of confidential posts from internal forums to Breitbart as seriously as they take other leaks.

    In 2017, it's still -- apparently -- news that a Jewish guy (me) is in favor of using violence to stop Nazis.
    tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
    2017-11-10 12:44 am
    Entry tags:

    On tone policing

    “If you make and keep my life horrible then, when I can tell the truth, it will be a horrible truth; it will not sound good or look good or, God willing, feel good to you, either. There is nothing good about the evils of a life forced into useless and impotent drift and privation. There is very little that is attractive or soothing about being strangled to death, whether it is the literal death of the body or the actual death of the soul that lying, that the humiliation and the evil of self-denial, guarantees.

    Extremity demands, and justifies, extreme response. Violence invites, and teaches, violence. Less than that, less than a scream or a fist, less than the absolute cessation of normal events in the lock of abnormal duress is a lie and, worse than that, it is blasphemous ridicule of the self.”

    -- June Jordan, "Civil Wars"
    tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
    2017-10-29 01:16 pm
    Entry tags:

    Linkspam for the end of October 2017

    [CW: sexual assault] When I was nineteen years old, Elie Wiesel grabbed my ass., Jenny Listman (2017-10-19). Kill your heroes.

    The Unbearable Niceness of the Good Whites, by Andrew Ti ("Yo, Is This Racist?") (2017-10-23). On the toxicity of heterosexual white men expecting other people to assume they're always acting in good faith:
    But what’s easy to forget when you’re in a position of power (with straight white guys at the apex of our current geo-political-historical org chart), is that we don’t all share the assumption that you’re a good person – even if you have a public history that places you on the “right” side of issues.

    And that’s because people of color (and anyone vulnerable) don’t have the luxury of that assumption. On some level, conscious or not, we always have to be wary of people’s attacks, even unwitting, to our humanity, because we’ve all been disappointed or stabbed in the back enough times by people we like and trust (or want to like and trust) enough times that you’ll have to forgive us if we can’t always give you the benefit of the doubt. Sure, the dude yelling slurs might be joking, but the consequences for you and us differ greatly if he isn’t. And the fact that you don’t seem to know or care that that’s the case makes you immediately suspect.

    Now, if it sounds like I’m singling out straight white dudes, in many ways that’s because I am. This behavior, this idea that “everyone agrees I’m a good person” comes directly from being the protagonists of our culture for so very long.

    Nazism: what it is, why we fight it, and how, by Yonatan Zunger (2017-10-24). "These ideas make up Nazism. You don’t need to wear a swastika to believe in them."

    Contingent No More, Maximillian Alvarez for The Baffler (2017-05-03). This is brilliant, and I want to quote it all; some excerpts:

    • 'Our professional aspirations are dominated by romanticized images of the lone, path-breaking researcher, of the superhumanly productive writer, of the attention grabbing and self-promoting (if politically useless) figure of the tenured “public intellectual.” Such images, in turn, mutate into gross and exploitable expectations about how “productive” successful academics need to be on a daily basis, about what their work should look like, about what they should know (or pretend to know), about what comes to them if they work hard enough, about what “success” means in academia, even about their mental health and personal relationships.'

      These myths spread like viruses throughout academic departments, conferences, and social media.'
    • 'By channeling the hopes and desires these myths stir up, contemporary academia has succeeded in creating what Theory A-lister Lauren Berlant calls “a relation of cruel optimism” for the vast majority of academics.'
    • 'Our grand academic myths and professional fictions keep all of us striving for the wrong things, pickling in a brine of cruel optimism about what our individual professional futures might bring while our academic community is splintered by doubt, insecurity, envy, and fatigue. That is, after all, the supreme draw, the sweet poison, of such myths: they prey on the most self-serving and hyper-individualized conceits of an already laissez-faire academic culture that idolizes individual thinkers while equating professional success with genuine intellectual worth.'
    • 'You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of subjects who adhere more faithfully to the myth of meritocracy than academics. Even if our research and personal politics rigorously argue for the opposite, even if study after study reminds us that faculty hiring follows steeply hierarchical, non-meritocratic structures that reproduce profound social inequalities, when it comes to our own careers we adhere to all the oldest clichés. In spite of the cold facts—that “contingent faculty” make up more than 70 percent of the academic labor force, that the gap between doctorates awarded and jobs available is wider than ever, that the overwhelming majority of academic workers live in a state of economic insecurity—we remain individually hypnotized by the poisonous conviction that hard work is all we need, that the “best” people in the best programs produce the best work, etc.'
    • 'We feel like it would diminish our life’s work to admit in public that, actually, the system is rigged, that many of our successes are due more to luck than anything else, that most of the “best work” is not being produced at all because the collective, variable talents of our community of thinkers and teachers and partners are being wasted in the competitive pursuit of individualistic success that our livelihoods depend on.'
    • 'The transformation of colleges and universities may not be the most pressing issue of our day, but if these institutions are the sacred bastions of knowledge and culture we say they are, then how we deal with this crisis will have serious consequences for the future of knowledge and culture themselves.'
    • '...we set the boundaries of academic inquiry via the research of a privileged minority. These select few are granted the desirable option to forget that their privileged position is made possible by the precariat’s exploitation; meanwhile, the rest are told in no uncertain terms to focus all their efforts on joining that small club.'
    • 'One of the most persistent and pernicious myths of the scholarly vocation that those of us who devote our careers to it have done so because we truly love the glorious pursuit and production of knowledge. The neoliberal university does many cruel things to perpetuate its system of neo-feudal labor relations, but perhaps its greatest cruelty is weaponizing this love against us.'

    On Minimization as a Patriarchal Reflex, by Matthew Remski (2017-10-20). I write a lot about gaslighting and dehumanization from the perspective of the person who it's being done to, but it's refreshing to see someone write about it from the perspective of the person doing it. And the truth is, as a white trans man, I occupy both positions. "I don’t have to assault women to participate in the normalization of assault. My learned, default responses are participation enough. Without that participation, could assault really be so prevalent?"

    How to Talk to Women if You Believe Feminism Has Made It Really Hard to Know What Counts as ‘Harassment’, Damon Young for The Root (2017-10-23). The answer will surprise you!

    A Fair Accusation of Sexual Harassment or a Witch Hunt?, Lucy Huber for McSweeney's (2017-10-20). The answers may surprise you!

    Yes, This Is a Witch Hunt. I’m a Witch and I’m Hunting You., Lindy West for the New York Times (2017-10-17). 'When Allen and other men warn of “a witch hunt atmosphere, a Salem atmosphere” what they mean is an atmosphere in which they’re expected to comport themselves with the care, consideration and fear of consequences that the rest of us call basic professionalism and respect for shared humanity. On some level, to some men — and you can call me a hysteric but I am done mincing words on this — there is no injustice quite so unnaturally, viscerally grotesque as a white man being fired.'

    Hidden figures: How Silicon Valley keeps diversity data secret, Will Evans and Sinduja Rangarajan for Reveal (2017-10-19). Lots of quantitative analysis here of the misuse of diversity statistics in the tech industry. I hope to see more investigative reporting like this.

    Gender Quotas and the Crisis of the Mediocre Man, Tim Besley, Olle Folke, Torsten Persson and Johanna Rickne for the London School of Economics and Political Science blog (2017-03-13). '.. in 1993, Sweden’s Social Democratic party voluntarily introduced a strict gender quota for its candidates. In internal discussions of the reform, the party’s Women’s branch observed that some men were more critical than others. The quota became known colloquially as the “Crisis of the Mediocre Man,” since the incompetent men had the most to fear from an influx of women into politics.'

    A Twitter thread from [twitter.com profile] 3liza on gifted kid problems (a reflection on the "we fired our top talent" post).

    'Science says "diversity of thought (not demographics)" is false. Folks pushing it are the intellectual equivalent of climate change deniers.' (a thread from [twitter.com profile] sarahmei)

    Antifa History and Politics, Explained, by Abdullah Shihipar for Teen Vogue (2017-10-25). "The broader anti-fascist or anti-racist tradition has many different perspectives, and so in that sense it's bigger than antifa. So if people want to fight back against the far right, there are a million ways to do that. Whether or not people agree with everything anti-fascists do, one of the greatest lessons from the anti-fascist tradition is to focus on looking for ways people can stand in solidarity with each other across tactical and strategic differences of opinion. I think that we should all have an investment in fighting back against white supremacy and fascism, regardless of what our politics are."

    Twitter QOTD:
    "dudes are you aware how happy women would be if strangers & coworkers never 'flirted' with us again" -- Marian Call (context)
    tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
    2017-10-16 02:53 pm
    Entry tags:

    Linkspam for mid-October 2017

    I'm not doing regular linkspam posts anymore, but I had a pile of links to file and I thought I'd put them in one place.

    Some advice for survivors and those writing about them, Leigh Honeywell (2017-10-12). Some great advice on talking to journalists that applies to situations where you're exposing any kind of wrong-doing.

    Donald Trump to become first president to speak at anti-LGBT hate group gathering, Benjamin Butterworth for PinkNews (2017-10-11). Remember when people were saying "at least Tr*mp is pro-LGBT"?

    [CW: rape] On predators who won't accept that they are predators, E Price (2017-10-12). "It’s important for men to question whether there are rapists in their midsts. But good men, really feminist men, need to go even further: they need to question whether they have ever been rapists themselves."

    Sister Outsider Headbanger: On Being a Black Feminist Metalhead, Keidra Chaney for Bitch (2000-11-30). Good stuff about being in intersecting outsider identities.

    We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made, Jonathan Solórzano-Hamilton (2017-10-12). "Rick was a very talented developer. Rick could solve complex business logic problems and create sophisticated architectures to support his lofty designs. Rick could not solve the problem of how to work effectively on a team." (Other people have rightly pointed out that the author doesn't place enough responsibility on the environment "Rick" was in for allowing him to escalate his toxic behaviors, but the fact remains that some people deal with pressure by seeking help and support from others, while others deal with it by harming others in an attempt to preserve themselves.)

    We Warned You About Milo And You’re Still Not Listening, Katherine Cross for The Establishment (2017-10-09). 'The hypersensitivity that reels from “trigger warnings” but thrills to Yiannopoulos’ joyful transphobia, that likens workplace diversity trainings to “gulags,” is what fuels the outrage culture about “outrage culture,” an insatiable rage that can never be sated by giving it what it says it wants. It will merely demand we make ourselves smaller and smaller until nothing of us remains. Reactionary outrage about “PC” is not a philosophy as much as it is a burning sun that demands our compliance as its nuclear fuel, consuming it endlessly until it can feed no more and goes nova.'

    America Loves Plausible Deniability, Lindy West for the New York Times (2017-10-14). "When faced with a choice between an incriminating truth or a flattering lie, America’s ruling class has been choosing the lie for 400 years."

    A guide to modern Nazi dogwhistles from [twitter.com profile] secretgamergrrl:
    "Modern nazi dog whistles- Accusing people of "calling everyone a nazi." Specifically, doing this in contexts where it makes no sense. i.e. shouting "you call everyone a nazi!" when someone is talking about nazi book burnings in the 40s, or "everyone you don't like is a nazi!" in response to a statement like "this is a profoundly homophobic statement from this organization." The hope is that someone listening who has, in a more appropriate context, been at some point likened to a nazi will give some subtle gesture of approval, outing themselves as someone ripe for recruitment. A common variation is shouting "why do you hate Trump!?" when people discuss bigotry in contexts with no tie to Trump."

    Cyrus Vance and the Myth of the Progressive Prosecutor, Josie Duffy Rice for the New York Times: "The progressive bombast is meaningless if prosecutors continue to promote the same harsh practices behind the scenes. Instead, voters must look closely at their policies and hold them to high and specific standards. We should ask: Are prosecutors opposing new mandatory minimum sentences during legislative debates? Have they declined to request cash bail in a vast majority of cases? Are they keeping children out of adult court and refusing to seek life-without-parole sentences for them?"

    "Fun sexual assault fact: you only hear the stories we can bear to tell." -- [twitter.com profile] sarahhartshorne
    tim: A person with multicolored hair holding a sign that says "Binaries Are For Computers" with rainbow-colored letters (binaries)
    2017-10-11 11:40 am
    Entry tags:

    Happy National Coming Out Day!

    • I'm not transgender as in "we need cis allies", I'm transsexual as in "fuck you".
    • I'm not bisexual as in "here's my 5000-word thinkpiece on why that doesn't mean I'm not attracted to non-binary people", I'm pansexual as in "I don't eliminate potential partners based on their gender".
    • I'm not "gay" as in happy, I'm queer as in "fuck you".
    • I'm not liberal as in "universal acceptance and inclusion is possible while including fascists and white supremacists", but rather, anarcho-communist as in understanding what the Paradox of Tolerance means.
    • I'm not poly and kinky as in "understand my bizarre tendencies", I'm poly and kinky as in "almost everyone's conceptions of family and sexuality would benefit from radical change."
    • I'm not mentally ill as in "I need to be changed into a different person from who I am", I'm neuroatypical as in "other people need to accept the person who I am."

    Go forward, do no harm, and take no shit.