What they mean when they say “their sacrifice”: remembering the centenary of the Armistice

This morning, I have been contemplating what I don’t doubt many of us have: the end of the First World War. I’ve been thinking about the senseless horror of it all: 17 million dead, and more than double that wounded and disabled. For what?

There was no just reason for the First World War: it was a perfect storm of imperialism, nationalism, and having lots of shiny new gunny toys that all these powers wanted to play with. It resulted in an international massacre.

The bereaved always wish to make sense of their loss. Nobody wants to believe that their son, their husband, their father, their boyfriend, that cheeky lad who delivers the milk and always has a smile on his face, were killed for nothing. Nobody wants to believe these brutal deaths and this generational scar could have been prevented if just once, someone sat back and said “this is a little bit much, maybe let’s chill.”

And so it was processed as “their sacrifice”.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that phrase, and started to believe there is a point to it, that perhaps “their sacrifice” is a correct way to describe what happened – just not in the way that it’s taken to mean.

Those who were killed in the First World War did not sacrifice themselves. They were sacrificed.

It was an act of human sacrifice, the ruling class feeding children to machine guns to hold on to lands far away, to make themselves slightly richer in the future. The First World War was a mass slaughter in the hope that from the blood could grow a stronger nation: something which would be of little benefit to those whose blood was spilt, but very handy to those sending them through gas and guns. Their guts – their literal internal viscera – were intended as fertiliser for an empire.

They were a sacrifice, a tribute, a prayer sent up by the rich and powerful so they could stay rich and powerful, and maybe even grow a little more rich and powerful.

One hundred years later, we say we’ll remember, but those same rich and powerful, who made their pact with a bloodthirsty devil and many of them made out like bandits, now want to see us forget.

They want to see us forget because they are still committing that same act of human sacrifice to the altar of greed, over and over again. We have had a hundred years of wars motivated by imperialism, militarism and nationalism: that very same motive for the war that they said would end all wars.

Today, I’m remembering the sacrifice of 37 million people, in fury at those who decided to slaughter and maim them.

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Usually I ask for money here, but today I’m asking you to make a donation to the Peace Pledge Union, who educate for pacifism and agitate to see an end to the cycle of violence. You can also buy a white poppy for next year. 

A quick reminder to fill out the GRA consultation

Hi everyone. I’m sure a lot of you have done this already, but if you haven’t, this is a huge opportunity for fighting back against an aggressive wave of bigotry in this country. The government has launched a consultation into reforming the Gender Recognition Act to cut red tape for trans people.

https://consult.education.gov.uk/government-equalities-office/reform-of-the-gender-recognition-act/

It’s minor tweaks to existing legislation which would make life a lot easier and not affect a single cis life.

Unfortunately, it’s provoked a tidal wave of horrific bigotry. Chances are, the government will chuck their green ink into the bin, but on the off-chance they don’t, it’s really important that pro-LGBT voices are heard. Can you fill out the consultation? Stonewall have helpfully provided some guidance for what you can say

http://www.stonewall.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/come-out-trans-equality

As with any e-campaign, I strongly recommend you fill out the consultation via the government website, and change the wording slightly if you’re copy-pasting Stonewall’s answers: they filter and dismiss identical answers.

It should take you about 10 minutes, and doing this is a very real opportunity to create positive change for trans people – as well as sticking two fingers up at the bigots!

Just asking questions: Some key questions about the Metro and Fair Play For Women

Content note: this post discusses transphobia, transmisogyny and violence against women

Yesterday, the Metro ran a full-page bigoted ad. It remains to be seen whether popping a question mark at the end of an outlandishly bigoted and non-factual statement violates advertising standards. However, in the spirit of Just Asking Questions, I have some questions about the Metro’s decision, and Fair Play For Women, the bigots who took out the ads. I’ve asked some of these questions in this thread on Twitter (archived for when I delete old tweets), and some have been updated in the light of information emerging.

1. How much, exactly, did FPFW pay for the package they received? 

According to a statement from the Metro, “our commercial team did consult with them carefully on its content and language before agreeing to the final creative in today’s Metro”. In other words, editorial support was provided, on top of a service which according to their rate card is more than £40,000. Are the Metro giving away advertising space at massive discount? They remain tight-lipped on that, but it certainly sounds like a favour was done by the Metro.

Also, can you imagine the absolute state of the ad before some poor sod had to edit the language? Bile is still dripping from every word, I can only imagine how spiteful it must have been before.

2. Why aren’t FPFW spending their money on causes which actually benefit women?

Yesterday I pointed out what could be bought with the amount spent on a full page ad in the Metro. I’m not going to do that again. Instead, I’m going to have a peek at the £33,715 which appears to have been raised by FPFW’s crowdfunders, which have the stated purpose of supporting their campaigning activities.

A sum of around £33k could provide:

440 nights at a refuge.
255500 menstrual pads to be distributed to schools. The fancy ones. Bought at cost price.
£48 to every single one of the 700 people who travel from Northern Ireland for an abortion.
440 local support sessions for survivors of domestic violence
1369 emergency packs for women who fled domestic violence with nothing
938 fun days for children staying at a refuge with their mums
292 weeks of childcare for a single mother
165 mammograms for women aged 40-49 who are ineligible on the NHS

So, why spend money on spiteful campaigning when one could use that money for causes which benefit women in need?

3. Who’s funding FPFW?

FPFW claim to be an organic grassroots organisation, but I’m calling astroTERF here. There are inconsistencies with their funding model, and apparent bankrolling and laundering from the evangelical right. Let’s have a look at a genuinely organic grassroots crowdfund from FPFW back in March. (HT @wendylyon) You’ll note they raised £595, which is a lot less than the big bucks they’ve been rolling in since then, although that £595 could still cover travel expenses and accommodation for a woman or two coming from Northern Ireland for an abortion, or five stays in a refuge for a woman and her children.

Tweeter @caseyexplosion has been investigating funding of transphobic groups and ties with the US evangelical right, and spotted a pattern of large anonymous donations to crowdfunds calling for bigoted ads to be put out, their close relationships with said US evangelical right groups, and the sudden proliferation of very similar groups. Factor in that “high profile advertising campaign” is a tactic beloved by the megachurches with the megabucks, and there’s a lot of questions.

4. Why aren’t the media interested in asking these questions?

We know the media loves to ask questions about funding of campaigns. I volunteered in the Yes To AV campaign back in 2011 (off-brand, I know), and I remember the media collectively losing its shit because one organisation involved in the campaign owned a property which had once belonged to a communist party. Moscow gold funding the fluffy democratic reform campaign, apparently.

There’s more than enough eyebrow-raising with the funding of FPFW going on, and they’ve raised their profile. So, where’s the investigative work? Where’s the media attention? It’s newsworthy. Heck, it’s super newsworthy in a world where it’s emerged that political process has been influenced by paid advertising with false claims. I hope something will break soon, rather than this work having to be done voluntarily by people on Twitter.

5. Who’s signed off the ad in the Metro?

It’s almost immediately being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority. They must have guessed this would happen.

6. Do you remember ever having seen a full-page full-colour ad in the Metro on women’s or LGBT rights?

I sure as shit don’t. Admittedly, my relationship with the Metro is usually putting it on my tube seat if the seat feels a bit dank and I don’t want to sit on it, but sometimes I open it up for the “to put in the ass” if my phone and book are out of batteries. I do not recall ever having seen an ad of such prominence highlighting issues affecting women, or issues affecting LGBT folk. The Metro may cry fairness and balance, but that sounds rather false when they just whack a rainbow on the Landrover ad during Pride season.

There’s an antisemitic conspiracy theory floating round that Soros is funding some shadowy trans cabal who control the media, but let’s be honest here: first of all, that’s antisemitic as fuck, and secondly, I’ve never seen a full page ad in a commuter rag raising awareness of transgender rights.

7. Since the ad was influencing a political process, will the Metro be supplying equally prominent ad space to alternative perspectives?

The FPFW was directly targeted to influence a political process, a government consultation. This was its purpose. The Metro itself acknowledged this. So, given their endless bleating about balance, will they be equally prominently raising voices of alternate perspectives on the consultation?

I’m just asking questions here.

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Usually this is where I ask for money. Today, I’m not. I’m asking you to make a donation to Refuge or Abortion Support Network since they’re being cut out of the transmisogynistic megabucks and need money to support women. 

The weird period symptoms thread

A backed up Twitter thread, because I regularly delete my tweets (here’s why, and why you should, too).

R T if you’ve never abused a marginalised woman just because you’re on the rag

RT@ksej
Apparently that terf who yelled penis was on her period and that’s why she did it. Because periods making women behave ridiculously isn’t a misogynist stereotype when there’s trans women to hate, I guess

Things I do when I’m on my period:
-Eat
-Nap
-Complain
-Cry at videos of animals reuniting with owners from years ago
-Tweet gory details at politicians with a bad track record of abortion rights

Things I don’t do when I’m on my period:
-Abuse marginalised women on TV

Valid reasons to say “I was on my period”:
-Taking a sick day from work
-Borrowing a cuntplug
-Explaining why it’s 3pm and you’re still crying in your PJs.

Invalid reasons to say “I was on my period”:
-When u made a tit of urself abusing a marginalised woman on TV

For real though, I’m going to use this thread now to talk about some unpleasant period things which nobody really talks about, that happen to a lot of menstruators and are perfectly normal. Hint: one of those things is NOT hurling abuse at marginalised women.

The runs. A lot of people get the runs around period time. For years, I thought I was the only one. But nope. It’s really fucking common. Your body sends out “squeeze blood out” hormones which sometimes also tell your guts to eject everything too. Cheers, body.

Sense of smell. My sense of smell changes when I’m on the rag. I don’t think it’s *heightened* per se, but pretty much every human odour smells a bit like off dairy just before my period comes. It is fucking horrible, happens to a lot of menstruators, apparently.

It’s lumpy. I don’t think we talk enough about how fucking solid periods can be. I use a mooncup, and because of the mechanics of that, the blood mixed with mucus can make really long strings. Sometimes I compete with myself to see how long a strand I can get out of my pussy.

Clumsiness and forgetfulness. Jesus fucking wept my dyspraxia goes up to 11 when perioding, and basically everyone gets it to some degree. Note: you don’t clumsily and forgetfully hurl abuse at marginalised women, tho.

I don’t get this but a hell of a lot of menstruators seem to get sore or itchy bums around period time. Lovely.

Love how all the responses on this thread are now “holy shit, I thought that was just me”. So, to conclude, periods do weird stuff, but don’t make you hurl abuse at marginalised women.

By the way, science doesn’t really know why any of these things happen, and hasn’t even documented how common it is, mostly, because science tends to go “ugh, unimportant weird womb stuff”. But if you find any weird recurring symptoms, do monitor yourself- and talk about it!

Periods are weird and kinda gross and fuck it, talk about that because chances are someone else has had the exact same weird grossness.

on more than one occasion, I’ve had TERFs dogpiling because of how I talk about periods as though they’re anything but ~sacred womb magic~ but fuck it, today I’ve raised awareness and reassured menstruators while they’re just out their spreading misogynistic stereotypes.

This is an area for which I’ve heard SO much anecdotal evidence, and, like the weird period symptoms I’ve been tweeting about, there’s no real “scientific” evidence because there’s no interest in studying these experiences. However, anecdotal evidence is it’s common af

RT @sapphixy
Reminder that many trans women experience periods — everything shy of actually expelling blood from one’s nethers. Cramps? Yup. Mood effects? Yup. Period shits? Yup.…
11:57 AM – 10 May 2018

Science obviously has no will to study this because it’s so much easier to dismiss women’s experiences as made up, we all know this, and add some transmisogyny on top, but here’s a couple of hypotheses as to why it’d happen.

An effect of oestrogen every day is its uptake varies according to a cycle? Everyone, literally everyone has an endogenous cycle of hormones, and it’s only visible in AMAB people who take oestrogen because it makes this rhythm more observable? Research this!

Anecdotally, when I go back-to-back on my contraceptive pills, I’ll blow up like a balloon, have the shits and weird smells around the time my period would have been, just without the actual period bit.

By the way, researching this is really important, as is researching the non-uterine period symptoms I talked about in this thread.  It’s of benefit to absolutely everyone. It could lead to developments in better hormone therapy.

 

And hell, maybe it could lead to even more important developments. for example, we know periods often give you gut trouble, and also that there’s a genetic aspect which means both ovarian and bowel cancers run in families. Are hormones and guts connected more than we thought?

It’s fucking absurd that so many people have been talking about all of this for years and there could be a lot of really positive medical applications if someone just fucking researched it.

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The absolutely appalling thread rating Mario Kart characters as penises

A backed up Twitter thread, because I regularly delete my tweets (here’s why, and why you should, too).

I guess of all the Mario Kart characters for your penis to look like, Toad is probably the least weird, I mean imagine if someone drops trou and it’s Waluigi staring out at you
Them: *unzips fly*
Their dick:A screenshot from Super Mario 64. Mario flies through a blue sky with a winged cap, arms spread wide. In bright letters next to him are the words LET'S GO
FINE THEN let’s rate Mario Kart characters as dick metaphors, shall we.
LUIGI: slender build, good for pegging. Earnest eagerness, probable premature ejaculation. Dicks shouldn’t be green. 3/10Luigi from Mario, a tall thin man in blue dungarees with a green hat and top. A moustache and eager expression
MARIO: good to go at any time, average size, enthusiastic. A decent all-rounder and starter. 8/10Mario. A shorter man wearing blue dungarees and a red cap and top. He has a moustache and looks eager.
BOWSER: if your junk looks like this call a doctor, junk shouldn’t ever be spiny. 1/10Bowser. A creature which looks somewhat like a turtle and a dragon, with a spiny shell
DONKEY KONG: He’s big and girthy, which a lot of people are into. Use lube. Use way more lube than you ever think you’ll need. 7/10Donkey Kong: a large gorilla wearing a tie saying DK sits on a small go-kart.
PRINCESS PEACH: High femme BDE. Slender textured shape perfect for pegging. Cute and pink. 9/10Princess Peach: a blonde woman with an eager expression sits on a motorbike. She wears a pink and white jumpsuit and a crown
YOSHI: a passable buttplug, but too green and lumpy to be a particularly flattering thing to say about a dick. 5/10Yoshi: a green turtle with a very small shell riding a motorbike
WARIO: Good and girthy, but spoiled by a wholly malevolent aura 2/10Wario: A round, large man wearing purble dungarees and a yellow cap and shirt. His face looks like Mario's.
TOAD: actually dick-shaped, I guess. Appears to be wearing a diaper, which some people are into. 6/10Toad. A toadstool wearing what appears to be a diaper.
PRINCESS DAISY: the high femme BDE of Peach. Often in another castle, so satisfaction remains out of reach. 7/10Princess Daisy: a brunette woman astride a motorcycle. She wears an orange and white jumpsuit and a crown.
DRY BONES: interesting textures at play, possibly challenging. Spooky. Probably good for goths. 8/10Dry Bones: a skeleton tortoise
DIDDY KONG: a child, do not apply to your genitals. 0/10A young gorilla wearing a t-shirt and cap stands eagerly in front of a go-kart.
TOADETTE: Dick shaped, and her hair can give clitoral and anal stimulation at the same time. A great all-rounder. 11/10A pink toadstool, winking. She wears a pink dress with balls floating off it.
WALUIGI: too spindly, a wholly sinister energy, terrifying to children and adults alike. -5/10Waluigi. He wears purple dungarees, cap and shirt, and rides a motorcycle. His expression is malevolent and his moustache evil.
SHY GUY: an enigma. so baffling you wish to try it to understand it. Will you regret it? That is not given to us to know. 1-10/10A small masked creature
METAL MARIO: be really careful with metal toys, they can be porous and can be difficult to clean. Smugger than vanilla Mario. 6/10Mario made out of metal, leaning on some tyres
PAC-MAN: useless as a penis, but probably great on a clit. 7/10Pac-man loading screen on Mario Kart. Pac-Man is a yellow ball.
KOOPA TROOPER: can fully expand and retract, which is helpful and I imagine many people would find it better if their penis could do that. 9/10Koopa Trooper: a tortoise driving a go-kart
BIRDO: I literally own a vibrator that looks almost exactly like this. It sucks your clit. It’s fucking amazing. 10/10Birdo: a pink character with a long tubular mouth.
KING BOO: a round boi, prefers oral to PIV. Any goodness is offset by faintly vengeful aura. 6/10A ghost with a long tongue and a crown
LINK: so gender-neutral, so hot. short of perfection by not technically being a mario kart character, just occasionally rocking up to race all of them. 9/10Link from Legend of Zelda riding a motorcycle
WIGGLER: some interesting sensations, great for anal. Can get in the way rather annoyingly tho. 5/10A yellow caterpillar with a flower on its head
ROSALINA: high femme BDE plus protecting the universe. looks after ur star if u kno what i mean. 9/10Rosalina: a woman with blue hair sits on a motorbike. She's wearing a blue and white jumpsuit and a crown
FIRE MARIO: you ever accidentally forget to wash your hands between chopping chilli and touching your junk? oof. Niche interest. 2/10Fire Mario is Mario with the colours inverted. He is throwing a fireball.
my apologies for forgetting this one!

GOOMBA: a squat little butt plug, a frustrating obstacle that often prevents you from getting there (if u kno what i mean), dimly malevolent energy 2/10

PORCUPUFFER: some of you sinners are no doubt into inflation and stuff but remember what I told you about Bowser: if a dong remotely resembles this, seek urgent medical attention 1/10

BLOOPER: kinda phallic and textured, ejaculates whether u want it to or not. 5/10A blooper from Mario Kart. It resembles a squid.
CHEEP CHEEP: like dick, it’s fucking ubiquitous. like dick, it gets in the way of you having a good time. 3/10A Cheep Cheep resembles a round fish with a mohawk
WENDY O KOOPA: no I have not done Wendy O Koopa yet, and have no intention to, because a Wendy O Koopa seems like a great idea at the time but you will be unable to sit down for a week and piss hot fire for days 4/10

https://twitter.com/banebutwoke/status/1042105004956573697

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The book burnings thread

A backed up Twitter thread, because I regularly delete my tweets (here’s why, and why you should, too).

I can’t say this often enough: the context to this famous image was the Nazis destroying humane, progressive research from the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, who researched and campaigned for rights for LGBT people. Where would we be had they not destroyed it? #LGBTHistoryMonth

Hirschfield’s Institute was truly revolutionary. They were firmly on the side of the people who needed care and understanding the most: queer people, trans people, and yes, they believed in women’s liberation, too.

Free treatment was provided to those who could not pay.

The Institute treated trans people, and validated them. They offered surgery and hormones, and worked with the police to stop arrests of people who were “cross dressing”.

All of this research and this groundbreaking medical care was completely at odds with the Nazis. They attacked the Institute, burned the research they had generated. They sent the Institute’s administrator to a concentration camp (luckily he survived and fled)

And I can’t help but think how long it took to claw back to the position that Hirschfeld was working from. This knowledge and care for LGBT people, especially trans folk, was destroyed… and in many places, it’s still not up to the standard that it was in 1930s Berlin.

Where would we be had Nazis not destroyed the knowledge, compassion and understanding of Hirschfeld and his colleagues at the Institute? It’s a question I often find myself asking

It’s worth noting that if you didn’t know this, it’s not your fault. For some reason (🤔), this bit of history, that humane healthcare for trans people and viewing LGBT folk as people existed in the 30s before the Nazis destroyed it, isn’t widely taught.

So anyway, next time you see that book burning picture pulled up, remember Hirschfeld. Remember the Institute. Remember what it stood for. And tell others.

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The Germaine Greer receipts thread

A backed up Twitter thread, because I regularly delete my tweets (here’s why, and why you should, too).
I’m not sure why anyone’s surprised at Germaine Greer’s latest comments on rape, when it’s entirely in keeping with what she’s been saying for years on rape, and she’s consistently come out to bat against survivors and for rapists.
[strong content warning for rape and rape apologism in this thread]
That time Germaine Greer stood there listening to a friend being raped, and then told her friend to get over it msn.com/en-ie/news/wor…
With her consistent track record of dismissing rape as bad sex, it’s no surprise she wrote this fawning profile of Julian Assange. This was after the rape allegations came to light, of course.

I’ve doubtless missed many, many incidences here, and I’m just going with the ones I remember. All of these comments which kick survivors and side with rapists and child abusers, all of them are a matter of public record, but many feminists still pay her speaking fee.
It is also, of course, no surprise that a TERF also has a rapist’s understanding of consent.
Some further analysis of Greer’s latest comments from Flavia here

Flavia Dzodan

@redlightvoices

Good morning! start your day with this shitty lede courtesy of the most high profile TERF in town: “Feminist academic [Germaine Greer] tells Hay festival that ‘most rape is just lazy, careless and insensitive’”

Congolesa Rice@judeinlondon2

There are some of us who predicted the rise of the alt-feminists as early as 2012. Like, @redlightvoices & I genuinely predicted this. https://twitter.com/guardian/status/1001892079927222274 

One of the things that often gets buried is that when feminists and activists object to Greer speaking, we’re objecting because she consistently sides with rapists, AS WELL as the fact she’s a transmisogynistic bigot, because we don’t really like rape apologism.
Greer’s supporters, on the other hand, will always dismiss and excuse everything she says about rape, because their concerns for “women’s safety” are false, and they’d rather just hate trans women.
Anyway, it goes without saying that if you’re a feminist who actually prioritises women’s safety, you do not book Greer. This has been the case for fucking YEARS, and it’s why so many of us have such side-eye for those who continually book her and defend her.
And I’m sorry, but you don’t get to plead ignorance on Greer being no-platformed, because most correspondence asking for her to be deplatformed will mention the fact she’s a rape apologist as well as a transmisogynistic bigot. The issue is always highlighted.
One more thing. Some people are trying to “explain” all this by suggesting either dementia or trauma. I don’t buy this, but if true, shame on anyone booking her bc they know she’ll say something controversial. That’s a major safeguarding issue and would be exploiting a sick woman
however, given the long rich history of shittiness, I think she’s just an asshole. Who you shouldn’t ever book.

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