The Benefit of Minding Your Own Fucking Business

The other day I was surfing the internet (btw- I have about 20 long reads I have saved up and I need to post- will probably do that tomorrow) when I saw this:

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Sam Smith has come out as gender nonbinary.

“I’m not male or female. I think I float somewhere in between,” Smith said Friday on actor Jameela Jamil’s new Instagram show, “I Weigh Interviews.”

Smith said when he saw the words “nonbinary” and “genderqueer” and heard people speak about these identities, which are used to describe those who identify as neither exclusively male nor female, he thought, “F–ck, that’s me.”

Which led to, of course, questions. Question #1 was “Who the fuck is Sam Smith?” and Question #2 was “What does nonbinary and genderqueer mean?”

The first was easily answered with a youtube search, and I think I have heard a song called “Stay With Me” before. The second was a little harder- don’t get me wrong, I don’t live under a fucking rock, I have heard the terms before, and sort of thought I understood what they meant- I mean I know what binary means and I know what a binary construct is and I understand the concept of gender- but I wanted to know if I really know. At any rate, after looking into it, I think I understand on one level what it all means, but it’s hard for me to empathize with because I’m just straight and always have been. I guess what I am trying to say is it is easy to understand, but it’s hard to really understand unless you experience the same feelings and experiences.

And that’s when I realized- I don’t HAVE to fucking understand it. Whether I understand it or not, these people feel it and experience it and live it, and their existence as equal people in society isn’t predicated on whether or not I understand. My job as a non garbage human being is pretty simple- all I have to do is treat them like I would everyone else, call them what they want to be called, and go on about my life.

I can understand how this is difficult for people whose religion teaches them to be bigots or for culture warriors who want to pretend it’s still 1950 or for busybodies who have to have all of life in nice simple categories because they are too simple to deal with the actual complexities of life, but I’m gonna keep doing what I have always done, which is just let people be who they say they are, mind my own fucking business, and vote for people who will treat them like the human beings they are.

Minding your own fucking business is really easy.






178 replies
  1. 1
    clay says:

    and I think I have heard a song called “Stay With Me” before.

    You may be thinking of “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty.

  2. 2
    rikyrah says:

    Lori Lightfoot targeted in homophobic flyers: ‘Hate has no place in Chicago.’
    By Gregory Pratt
    Chicago Tribune

    Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot denounced homophobic campaign flyers targeting her that surfaced around the South Side over the weekend, saying “hate has no place in Chicago.”

    Lightfoot, who is openly gay, made the comments at a City Hall news conference Monday morning where she accepted endorsements from several labor unions, including the organization that supports CTA workers.

    Lightfoot was responding to questions about the flyers, which show a photo of Lightfoot and her wife with their arms around each other. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle also denounced the flyers when asked Monday.

    The flyers read: “The Feminist and Gay Movement Have Come Full Circle!”

    Underneath their picture, they say, “The GAY EQUALITY ACT!!! ITS OUR TURN.” Below that, in red ink, are the words, “1st openly gay woman in City Hall.”

    The back of the flyers say Lightfoot is “pro law enforcement,” and add, “All contracts, jobs, and employment newly assigned exclusively to gay people!”

  3. 3
    Zzyzx says:

    That’s where I am. I can’t grok non-binary at all but if someone wants me to use “them” to describe them, I’ll do my best to comply.

  4. 4
    raven says:

    II’m Nonbinary, Gay-Married And Just Moved To The Deep South. Here’s Why I Got A Gun.

    Just down the road

    The sign said, “Satan is a Democrat!” It sat outside a small prefabricated building off Highway 441, the main shopping strip that runs through Milledgeville, Georgia. The sign’s marquee lettering was only recently changed from its previous message: “Democrats are the enemies of America!” Another sign next to it, this one screen-printed, advertised a church called The Society for the Ten Commandments. Brett Kavanaugh was about to be confirmed onto the Supreme Court, so the sign stung a little extra. My wife, Katie, and I decided to stop and take photos in front of it to post on Instagram. It was our small way of saying fuck you right back.

  5. 5
    Mike in NC says:

    If Pence ever heard somebody use the term “genderqueer” he’d run screaming in terror to Mother.

  6. 6
    different-church-lady says:

    My job as a non garbage human being is pretty simple

    Unfortunately it seems there are hardly any openings for that job nowadays.

  7. 7
    dr. bloor says:

    You’d probably make a wedding cake for anyone that wanted one, too. You’d be a lousy Godbotherer, Cole.

  8. 8
    Mnemosyne says:

    I think that, to a certain extent, younger people are identifying as “genderqueer” or “non-binary” because our current gender definitions are so fucking restrictive. I grew up in the hippy-dippy “Free To Be You And Me” era when both girls AND boys were told that they didn’t have to conform to gender expectations, but there was a huge backlash to that in the Reagan years and beyond.

    Now society is somewhat comfortable with gay men not conforming, but super uncomfortable with straight or bisexual men who don’t conform to gender expectations. It’s become defined by sexuality, not gender roles. So, yeah, I’m not at all surprised that younger people are choosing to nope out of that.

    And to be clear, I’m not talking about transgender people who feel strongly that their physical body does not fit their gender. But I don’t think we’ve left a lot of room for people who just plain feel like they shouldn’t have to conform to a stupid and restrictive set of gender roles.

  9. 9
    Ohio Mom says:

    I always think that English needs a word that means “I really understand because I live it.” I can’t number the things I thought I understood and empathized with until it happened to me and then there was a depth to that knowledge I couldn’t have imagined. Maybe German has a word for it?

    I agree that one can (and should!) behave decently even when one doesn’t quite “get” what another person is going through. It’s not difficult to pull off, it just comes down to having good manners.

    On the receiving end though, I find that a response from someone else who has been through whatever it is I’m finding challenging is just more meaningful and validating.

  10. 10
    Barbara says:

    Right. My son and I were watching a NOVA program on gender that delved into issues related to transgendered persons and when he looked at me and said “What is that? I really don’t understand,” I said, that it would be really hard for anyone to understand if they didn’t have the same feelings, but that people who identify this way seem to be genuine in their feelings and we just have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they know themselves better than we do. So just roll with it as a fact of life.

  11. 11
    Keith P. says:

    Soomeone named “Sam Smith” should identify as “non-descript”.

  12. 12
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Zzyzx:

    Yeah, I don’t understand why people have to be jerks about what people want to be called. Do they think it’s okay for people to call them by the wrong name and refuse to change when asked?

    This is part of the consequence of conservatives managing to convince people that common courtesy is really “political correctness.” 😡

  13. 13
    comrade scotts agenda of rage says:

    @Keith P.: @Keith P.:

    You win the internet for today!

  14. 14
    Pogonip says:

    Cole, the only problem I have found with being unaware of the antics of celebrities is that a lot of Americans, and some Mexicans, will have nothing to talk to you about except the weather.

  15. 15

    Damned right. There’s a lot I don’t understand. I really don’t understand transgender people. I think about becoming a woman, and it makes me cringe, because, well, the thought of anybody messing around down there makes my balls physically hurt. But you know what? I don’t need to understand. All I need to do is stand up for the people who do understand because they’re going through it. My job isn’t to understand. My job is to be on the side of the people who need people standing with them.

  16. 16
    trollhattan says:

    Have been lectured politely informed by my 17 YO as to all the terminology, etc. but confess very little sinks in. Just that I’m “stuck in my cis ways.”

    I was told there would be no organic chemistry!

    Anyhoo, Cole heartily seconded so long as the alternatively lifestyled don’t act like the fundy faux “Christians.”

  17. 17
    Luthe says:

    @Mnemosyne: I identify as agender* because I have no interest in performing either set of gender roles on a regular basis. I would rather be treated as an entity that happens to be in a biologically female meat-based transportation system than as someone who is perceived to be “male” or “female.” Unfortunately, I can’t escape this, but I can at least limit the amount of time I have to dress** and perform as “female.”

    *sometimes I think “practical” might be a better word, as my whole philosophy toward gender expression is “whatever is most comfortable and requires the least amount of time to put on.”

    **in the spirit of practicality, I trade shamelessly on being afab in the summer since it means I can wear skirts to the office. The trade-off is I have to waste time shaving my legs. Ugh.

  18. 18
    Brachiator says:

    I can understand how this is difficult for people whose religion teaches them to be bigots or for culture warriors who want to pretend it’s still 1950 or for busybodies who have to have all of life in nice simple categories because they are too simple to deal with the actual complexities of life…

    Can I still hate vegans?

    I don’t think it is quite fair to blame religion or culture warriors. It is both amusing and confusing to live in a time where people feel free to define and redefine themselves according to their own desires, without regard to society. And it is not just about minding our own business. We try (at least if we are trying to be halfway decent about it) to acknowledge and accommodate everyone.

    Consider the old days when some kids would have their hands and arms tied to force them to switch from being left-handed to being right-handed. And this is one of the mildest ways in which narrow conformity was enforced.

  19. 19
    jamey says:

    I had the realization a while back that [insert initials] people weren’t doing it for attention or to piss off the squares. Expecting acceptance for who we are is a basic human drive.

  20. 20

    John, I’m VERY glad that you understand you don’t need to understand and only need to accept. Too bad way too many others will never, ever have that epiphany. I’ve been forced to deal with these labels because my teenage daughter is dealing with these issues. I always suspected she wasn’t hetero and sensed some gender dysphoria. She has said that she is gender queer/non-binary, that she is an “ace” (ie, asexual, no real interest in sex) but what little attraction she does feel is sort of bisexual but more towards girls. And it’s confusing but I don’t have to understand–I only have to shut up and listen to her. And I understand that she’s figuring all this stuff out. Just a day ago she asked if I could start using a male name and male pronouns for her (see I’m already violating the new rules). I’m going to try my hardest to comply. Not because I don’t agree but because from the moment I knew I was going to have a girl, he was…well, a girl. Changing that deep, deep inside my subconscious is going to be hard and in doing so I’m feeling a little grief. But then I feel guilty for feeling the grief. I love him more than anything and I know that if he is going to be happy and healthy, he is going to need my support.

    He also asked the other day if he can talk to a specialist about taking testosterone. Since he’s on his dad’s health insurance and underage, we have to deal with that side of the family who do not accept my kid’s orientation. Now, Dad knows he’s queer and non-binary but he is uncomfortable with it and doesn’t understand the extent of the dysphoria–my kid hasn’t revealed to Dad how truly uncomfortable he is in a female body. So my kid wants me to be there when he discusses it with Dad so we can go to an endocrinologist and psychiatrist who specialize in transitioning. If he wants to refuse, he can, which will suck. Thankfully my kid is close to becoming a legal adult.

    Another concern, living in this state of very conservative people, I worry constantly. He already presents as fairly masculine but not entirely. He confuses a lot of people and gets stared at A LOT. I have been shocked by the rudeness of people here–they stare for far too long and it makes me so angry. On more than a few occasions my kid has had to stop me from confronting someone who was staring too much. One time an elderly woman looked at him with such revulsion that I was afraid she would physically attack him. My instinct was to step in front of my kid and slap the crap at that old biddy–that’s how ugly the woman’s expression was. My kid just shrugged and said ‘it happens all the time, Mom’. And it breaks my heart. I swear by all the gods that if anyone tries to hurt her, I will break them in half with my bare hands.

    So yeah, been there, doing that….

    PS: If any of you Jackals have transitioned or have a loved one who has transitioned to any degree and have any advice to give, let’s talk. I want to be there for my kid 110% and but I’ll be darned if I know the best way to do that or how to find local resources. So far googling things hasn’t been entirely productive.

  21. 21
    Brickley Paiste says:

    @Brachiator:

    Vegans, people who request “gluten free” dishes, and crossfit people

    Surely we can all agree that they are the true enemies of normal society?

  22. 22
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @rikyrah: 🙄

    Glad I watch very little TV. Two weeks until the runoff.

  23. 23
    joel hanes says:

    De 100 problemas que tienes
    10 son por pendejo
    90 son por metiche

  24. 24
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Zzyzx:

    Yep. My latest revelation is that I need to put my pronouns in my e-mail address. It affirms that we aren’t all just obviously male or female.

  25. 25
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ:

    Keep an eye out for Suzanne, who by a happy coincidence is also in AZ. Her oldest Spawn is going through a similar process. She’s usually in the evening or late-night threads right now.

  26. 26
    Wapiti says:

    When I was younger, there was some talk/suggestion/bloviating that men and women were practically different species. Then there was the “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” book. I think to some degree, this is just an extension of that old binary problem.

    As a dude, I can’t understand what a women goes through in life – I can hear it, I can try to empathize, but I can never be sure that “I get it”. And it’s the same for all of the other variations out there. I don’t have to get it. I just have to be a decent person.

  27. 27
    Brickley Paiste says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ:

    Everyone should be so lucky to have a parent like you.

  28. 28
    geg6 says:

    Co-sign, Cole.

  29. 29
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: I was going to drop a name, but thought better of it – but I know there are commenters here who’ve been through your situation. I hope they see this and pipe up, but it’s not my place to do so for them. All my kids are binary but, as the saying goes “straight but not narrow.”

  30. 30
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Luthe:

    I’m a 36DD so, yeah, I generally don’t get mistaken for a man no matter how I dress.

    It’s interesting because I really don’t conform much to gender roles and only wear makeup when I absolutely have to, but I don’t feel agender or genderqueer at all. I’m more like, Yeah, I’m a woman, and this is how I want to dress and look and act today. Fuck you.

  31. 31
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    Same here. I fully support transgender rights and have a surprising number of transgender friends (given the redneck hellhole I live in). But I still find myself baffled by the concept. I’m 49 years old and I’m still grappling with issues of sexuality. But I can say affirmatively that there’s never been a millisecond of my life in which I thought I might on some level be female. And if some magical force turned me into a woman, I would probably choose to be a very butch lesbian who never, ever wore makeup or shaved.

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Oh. I just dropped that nym myself. 🤷‍♀️

  33. 33
    vhh says:

    H. L. Mencken famously wrote: “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

  34. 34
    Lapassionara says:

    @Pogonip: Around here, the weather is a very interesting topic of conversation.

    At our house, we are watching the new season of “Queer Eye.” Looks like they are working out of a loft in Kansas City, and the middle Americans who have asked for their help are mostly salt-of-the-earth types like you would expect. Last night, they visited two African American sisters who have a BBQ stand somewhere in the area. Very touching.

    Maybe I will figure out what genderqueer is this season.

  35. 35
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    That’s the funny thing: I’m a middle-aged woman who wears t-shirts and jeans (and even the occasional flannel shirt), no makeup, and hasn’t shaved in months. I even drive a Subaru. And yet I’m as hetero as hetero can be. 🤷‍♀️

    Almost like sexuality and gender conformity don’t go together as much as society currently tells us they’re supposed to … 🤔

  36. 36
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @raven: Thanks for link.

  37. 37
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: There is another Juicer whose daughter has transitioned, and who also lives in Arizona, Suzanne. I think she has been very thoughtful about the process. One of the front pagers can help you reach out to her (the way to find a front pager that works for me is clicking on the magnifying glass search icon and typing in “contact a front pager.” However I’ve been told this doesn’t work for everyone).

    @Brachiator: Re: vegans. The young fellow who is my honorary godson married a vegan and has joined her in this lifestyle. He looks great but I worry about her. She has a thyroid condition for which she won’t follow the doctor’s advice because the med comes in a gelatin capsule.

    I do all my eye-rolling in private, bite my tongue, and am always on the look-out for a good vegan restaurant I can take them to when they come back to town to visit. It turns out that even staid Cincinnati has decent vegan restaurants.

  38. 38
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mnemosyne: I wrote it and then erased it.

  39. 39
    Eolirin says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think that’s part of it, but really, gender is inherently problematic as an enforced concept full stop. It’s only more obvious because it’s so much more restrictive. Most aspects that we use to generate concepts of identity are inherently proscriptive; you must behave this way, you can’t behave that way, otherwise you don’t fit into the group. It isn’t really any different than strongly identifying as a geek, or a jock, or a fan of a particular sports team. And with any sort of identity the reality of who we are and what those restrictions and expectations are never line up, and it almost always hurts and throws us into crisis when they don’t. So I’d go so far as to say that gender roles and the entire concept of gender as tied to sex or sexuality or anything other that choice is inherently toxic, and makes us all worse off as a society.

    The less stock we put into conforming to a set of arbitrary and unrealistic expectations, the more present and authentic we can be to our interests and experiences. And especially for something like gender, which society is generally uncomfortable with allowing us to choose, pushing back on the idea that it even means anything in particular is, I think, important. Even for people that are happily gender normative.

    So yeah, as someone who identifies as nonbinary as well, I really appreciate this post, but I think it’s important to go beyond just minding your own business, and actively work to create space so that everyone can just be themselves. Because we’re not going to make progress on breaking down restrictive and stifling societal structures without being able to reach out to each other and feeling like it’s okay to exist.

  40. 40
    Tim C. says:

    I’m gonna say it first. “John Cole 2020”

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    My BFF and her husband had to become vegans for medical reasons (type 2 diabetes and strong family history of heart disease) so they’re not super crazy about it. They’re still willing to go to Mexican restaurants and order the vegetarian burrito with no cheese or sour cream without worrying too much about cross-contamination.

    Here in LA, there are quite a few restaurants that offer meat and vegan dishes on the same menu so everyone in the group can be happy.

  42. 42
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: I have no advice for your specific situation, but my heart goes out to you and I just wanted to commend you on being such a supportive parent. I related so much to your story about wanting to slap the shit out of gawkers.

    My daughter is gay and is fond of occasionally shaving her head, etc., so she attracted some negative attention in high school and had to deal with bullying and attempted shaming by random members of the public. I felt the same anger you did about it and have wanted to body-slam old ladies — even family members, LOL!

    I’m thankful they’re growing up/are young adults now rather than when I was a kid. My sister was gay, so I had a ringside seat to see how much worse it was for non-conforming kids in the 80s. But while things are better now, it’s no picnic today either. Anyhoo, best of luck to you and your kiddo.

  43. 43
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Gin & Tonic: And I was the last to offer this info because I went back and forth on whether naming a name was the right thing to do.

    Suzanne, if you’re pissed, I’m sorry.

  44. 44
    AThornton says:

    Guess what? The people who study this are groping for answers.

    The transsexual brain – A review of findings on the neural basis of transsexualism.

    Trans Bodies and the Failure of Mirrors

    tl;dr – there appears to be a divergence early in ontogenesis and a embryo that “should” (sic) be one physical sex goes tripping down the Waddington Landscape to end in the other physical sex. Why? How? Nobody knows. It’s not Nurture since the child attempts to integrate with the “right” – to them – sex before that has had a chance to really take hold.

    In any event the suicide rate among transsexuals is appalling.

    “More than half of transgender male teens who participated in the survey reported attempting suicide in their lifetime, while 29.9 percent of transgender female teens said they attempted suicide. Among non-binary youth, 41.8 percent of respondents stated that they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.

    Many transgender young people experience family rejection, bullying and harassment, or feel unsafe for simply being who they are – all of which can be added risk factors for suicide”

  45. 45
    Mom Says I*m Handsome says:

    Cole, you’re a fucking treasure, as are (most of) the jackals.

    I grew up with very conservative parents, and the idea that gay people were a problem and a sin and an aberration. Then in college I met a real-life, activist gay guy, and he completely opened my eyes to LGB issues. For the past 30 years, it’s been No Big Deal.

    But I too have had trouble wrapping my head around the Trans part. My wife says, “You just haven’t gotten to know a trans person”, and while that’s true, I still have this feeling that it’s somehow different. I hope I’m wrong. (I’m a pretty strong introvert and don’t like to meet people anyway, so the idea that I’m going to come across a new connection who’ll open my eyes seems unlikely, probability-wise.)

    So I’ll do what I’ve been doing ever since those college days: Keep reminding myself that my white, Western, male, hetero-ness is one flavor, but by no means the only flavor (and certainly not the preferred flavor, looking at you Mike Pence, fuck you and fuck Mother too), and that my best path is to be the wokest ally I can be, whatever that looks like.

  46. 46
    West of the Rockies says:

    John, I don’t know if you will answer this, but how did you go from A to B, from (according to people who have been at BJ longer than I have) a pretty conservative man to a fairly progressive person?

    I think I showed up here around ’08. You’ve always been, to my eyes, a forthright, intelligent, inquisitive, cranky cat. Why is it so damnably difficult for so many conservatives to wake up, to see the humanity in everybody, regardless of what is between their legs or what color their skin is?

    I mean all of this as a compliment. I hope I don’t sound condescending. I think you’re a pretty exceptional person. How do we cull more like you from our Trumpian timeline?

  47. 47
    Nicole says:

    A little over a year ago I did a play with an actor who, at the first rehearsal, told the cast they didn’t gender identify and would prefer we use, “they” when referring to them. Having grown up in our two-gender culture, I tripped all over my tongue at first (and this actor really didn’t appear, to my cis-gendered eyes, as clearly either male or female, so I tripped up with both pronouns), but I eventually adjusted, and now it’s not challenging to think of someone as “they,” rather than “he,” or “she.” In fact, I’ve found it creeping into my everyday writing- using “they” as an all-purpose term, more and more, since it doesn’t make an assumption. Takes a lot less time to type than “he or she,” too, so hooray for inclusion that comes with economy!

    But even folk I think of as very progressive can be REALLY resistant about gender identity. The actor in question came up in a conversation with a director who was looking to cast a non-gender identifying actor in a very specific role, and an acquaintance with me seemed to go to great lengths to make sure the director knew which gender the actor had been assigned at birth. It was weird. Especially because there are plenty of cultures throughout history that have had more than 2 genders- gender really is a social construct:

    http://www.pbs.org/independent....._map-html/

    On the brighter, “I believe that children are the future” side, my son’s school includes teaching diversity as part of the curriculum, and I hear him, at age 8, use “him,” “her” and “them,” effortlessly, depending on how the person in question identifies.

  48. 48
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Tim C.: Trying to turn this into a battleground forum, eh?

  49. 49

    @Mnemosyne: I never get mistaken for a man either. I am not busty but I am petite with an hourglass figure. As for dress, it depends on the weather. Pants and jeans when it is cold, dresses and skirts when it is warm. I have flannel shirts and used to drive a Subaru when I lived in Maine. I do wear makeup, mostly gloss and mascara, and some eyeliner. As for jewelry, depends on my mood, but I always wear earrings. There was a phase in my life, when I wore no jewelry at all for years. The most important thing is being comfortable in one’s own skin and not caring too much about other people’s opinion of how one should dress.

  50. 50
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    I guess what I am trying to say is it is easy to understand, but it’s hard to really understand unless you experience the same feelings and experiences.

    And that’s when I realized- I don’t HAVE to fucking understand it. Whether I understand it or not, these people feel it and experience it and live it, and their existence as equal people in society isn’t predicated on whether or not I understand. My job as a non garbage human being is pretty simple- all I have to do is treat them like I would everyone else, call them what they want to be called, and go on about my life.

    That’s a really good way to view things.

    I once did imagine once what it would be like if I woke up with women parts, and realized that I would feel I am a man, that I would be furious towards those who said I was REALLY a woman, was ALWAYS a woman, and was wrong for trying to act like a man. That’s not the same as growing up trans, non-binary, genderqueer, etc., because I don’t have my mom and dad telling me I was a girl, my school mates and teachers tell me I’m a girl, etc.. And, face it, I don’t know if part of why I say “I’m a man” is testosterone. If I *did* grow up with estrogen as my primary sexual hormone, would I feel the same way? I honestly don’t know.

    But I do know that I, as I am now, am a man, and if the body didn’t match, that was the *body’s* problem, and didn’t indicate that *I* was flawed, or something other than what I know myself to be. I feel that helped me understand being non-cis-gendered, as best as one can from the outside.

    (BTW: I think it was cool both that you admitted you couldn’t understand it unless you lived it, *and* that it Just Didn’t Matter; you don’t have to understand it, you can learn to be a gentlebeing about it.)

  51. 51
    A Ghost To Most says:

    I have a non-binary son, and I don’t understand. I just go with it. He’s a great person.

  52. 52
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Eolirin:

    It’s tricky, though, because I definitely feel that I am a specific gender: I am a woman. I’m just a woman who chooses not to conform to current gender expectations. That’s not the same thing as being genderqueer or non-binary, but people may assume that I am one or the other based on my outside appearance.

    I do think we need to do a better job of expanding gender expectations rather than telling people who don’t want or need to conform that they have to identify as something else. Boys can play with dolls! Even straight, cisgender boys! We don’t need to assume that they must be gay or genderqueer or transgender, though it’s okay if they are. It just shouldn’t be a requirement that we “properly” identify them before we let boys play with dolls. Does that make sense?

  53. 53
    Lalophobia says:

    @Brickley Paiste: Gluten intolerance is an actual thing.

  54. 54

    OT:Fridge update
    The fuse on the electric board in the fridge is blown. We ordered the new board, now I am thinking would it be possible to just replace the fuse. I have worked on electric boards, soldered stuff for electronics lab in the past but that was as an undergrad, not recently. Has anyone done this?

  55. 55
    MisterForkbeard says:

    Speaking of LGBTQ Right Are Human Rights… Mike Pence on our work campus today. I was real tempted to throw an egg at him for how he treats LGBTQ. Briefly tempted. Before I considered the Secret Service guys and that I’d get fired

  56. 56
    Martin says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ:

    John, I’m VERY glad that you understand you don’t need to understand and only need to accept. Too bad way too many others will never, ever have that epiphany. I’ve been forced to deal with these labels because my teenage daughter is dealing with these issues. I always suspected she wasn’t hetero and sensed some gender dysphoria. She has said that she is gender queer/non-binary, that she is an “ace” (ie, asexual, no real interest in sex) but what little attraction she does feel is sort of bisexual but more towards girls. And it’s confusing but I don’t have to understand–I only have to shut up and listen to her. And I understand that she’s figuring all this stuff out. Just a day ago she asked if I could start using a male name and male pronouns for her (see I’m already violating the new rules). I’m going to try my hardest to comply. Not because I don’t agree but because from the moment I knew I was going to have a girl, he was…well, a girl. Changing that deep, deep inside my subconscious is going to be hard and in doing so I’m feeling a little grief. But then I feel guilty for feeling the grief. I love him more than anything and I know that if he is going to be happy and healthy, he is going to need my support.

    Lots of young people today identify as ace. Both of my kids identify that way. It just means they aren’t sexually driven. They’re still attracted to people, still want relationships, etc. Some of it appears to be due to the other pressures of being a young person – overachieving in order to get into college, uncertainty about their ability to be independent, etc. They are much more focused on finding stability in life and relationships tend to be more casual and deferred. Once they feel a bit more settled, they’ll likely find a similar path to what their parents did. But they’re also more open to what relationships they make. Both of my kids have transgender friends, and have for years. They’re always a bit shocked to learn that’s not common everywhere.

    My advice is this, though I don’t have transgender kids, I work with a lot of transgender students: keep doing what you’re doing. Try to avoid this line of thinking: “see I’m already violating the new rules”. It’s not a rule being imposed on you, and while I don’t think you actually feel that way, resist the urge to frame it in that way. One of the greatest hopes of a parent is to try and see the world as your child sees it, so you can best understand them. Your child sees the world as a ‘he’. That’s kind of a gift to your understanding. Embrace that. You wouldn’t label your kid in a way that causes them to think less of themselves. You wouldn’t call him a loser. He’s telling you what lifts him up, and male pronouns lift him up. It’s a compliment, not a rule. Don’t stress over it too much though. You’ll slip, a lot. Turn the slips into a moment together. You don’t need to apologize (after all, it’s not a rule!) but you can take that moment to acknowledge that it’s important to you to support him. He’ll understand. Let him rib you back a little bit.

    Help him find support communities. Some of that may be among other transgender individuals, but the best support will likely be from broader communities that just accept him for who he is. They can be harder to find, but let him tell you. It’ll likely be in the form of ‘hey, can I go do this’ with no indication that he sees it as a support community. Your job is to be open enough to back it even if you aren’t sure it’s filling that role.

    Find some other parents of transgender kids to talk to. There’s always a bit of a legal thicket to walk on matters like this, and finding people that have already been down that path helps a lot.

    One thing I’ll note from my personal life, but it’s very, very much a matter of what you are able to do. I had to disown about 80% of my family because of the stress their bigotry was causing me when I was younger. Hopefully you have a more supportive extended family, but turning my back on my relatives has been hard, but overall very helpful. They don’t get to ruin my life just because we share a some extra bits of DNA, and I’ve had to make that clear repeatedly. These are the terms for interacting with me and my family and if you can’t abide by them you can fuck straight off. My kids need me more than I need the whole lot of them, so I carry no guilt for that decision.

  57. 57

    On the phone so I’ll be brief…

    THANK YOU Cole, you nailed it. While it’s nice if people understand, what really matters to us is that other folks are accepting and treat us like, ya know, people.

    FWIW, gender is like underwear. If it fits, you don’t notice. If it doesn’t fit, it’s a constant distraction/irritant.

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: I’m 55 and transitioned late in life, so I’m in far different place than the trans kids these days, but feel to reach out. And kudos to you (and other supportive parents). It can be challenging I know.

  58. 58
    different-church-lady says:

    @Brachiator:

    Can I still hate vegans?

    Only the militant ones.

  59. 59
    Brickley Paiste says:

    @Lalophobia: So’s crossfit.

  60. 60
    Dan B says:

    To some extent, hold on here, these are rich country problems. I had my eyes opened in India. I’m cis gay upper middle class with friends from all over the gender spectrum for the last 50 years. We ran into a group of hijira on a shopping trip in a suburb of Delhi. They were trying to intimidate us in order to extort some money from the stoneyard owners. I wasn’t helping because I was interested in them not afraid of them. The shop owners gave them money anyway. My travel companions corrected my assumption that they were drag queens and trans. In poorer countries there is little gender assignment for genitally ambiguous babies. In India they were “adopted” by hijira who raised them as family. Until the British they were considered sacred and always invited to bless weddings. Now they make a living by extortion. (Thanks, big effing No Thanks, English.) The percentage of gender ambiguous babies is around 1 percent. The number of trans is tough to determine because of western Christianist prejudice. We’re undergoing a transformation in how we view gender “roles”. It’s great but will also frighten a large percentage of americans.

    Cole has staked out a good position. Another one is the view that people are fascinating and our variety makes for a fascinating and creative society. (And the folks who want to put us back in boxes are welcome to go away and stop bothering us. Stronger language avoided here….)

  61. 61
    Mom Says I*m Handsome says:

    Brain Puzzle: If you meet a vegan cross-fitter, what do they talk about first?

    Corollary Riddle: Q – How do you know if someone is vegan? A – Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

  62. 62
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @schrodingers_cat: The fuse is soldered to the board? Weird!

    How close are the solder lines? You don’t want to make any solder bridges when replacing the fuse.

  63. 63
    different-church-lady says:

    @Lalophobia: It’s an actual thing. But gluten-free is also a trendy choice. And if you’ve spent time baking gluten-free for someone, or tried to find a restaurant your significant other can go to without severe health risks, you start to understand why the people who make the trendy choice can seem highly irritating.

  64. 64
    Mnemosyne says:

    For you young’uns who are like, “Why the fuck does Mnemo keep going on about letting boys play with dolls? What is this bizarre doll obsession?” here’s a link to the song. They actually used to play the whole album for us at summer camp in the 1970s! These days, some freaked-out conservative parent would sue to prevent it:

    https://youtu.be/Lshobg1Wt2M

  65. 65
    different-church-lady says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I can’t answer your question directly, but I remember the maintenance guy at my school had a sign in his office that said, “If it jams, force it. If it breaks, it needed fixing anyway.”

  66. 66

    Also what Martin said. Thanks Martin for the excellent advice.

    Trans/genderqueer/non-binary issues are obviously close to my heart, and I’m sad that I’m gonna have to go back to work shortly and won’t be able to comment further.

    But if people have questions, feel free to pose them, and I’ll try to answer when I get caught with threads in the evening (Pacific time).

  67. 67
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mnemosyne: I don’t know if gender is fluid, but language sure as hell is.

  68. 68
    MisterForkbeard says:

    And on a more serious note, John’s got it nailed. As a straight white dude, we don’t NEED to understand what it’s like for a woman, or for anyone who’s LGBTQ. That would be good, but they don’t need to explain themselves or how their lives fuction to us. It’s just our job to treat them like normal people… because that’s what they are – and to be sympathetic when they tell us when we fail.

    That said, the rest of this thread is utterly fascinating. It’s a point of white male privilege that I can think “Wow, I’d would love to be a woman for a few days just to see what this negative experience is like” and then realize the whole “for a few days and then I’m back to normal” thing is by itself a silly privileged assumption. Yick.

    My own closest experience of this is pretty slight. I’ve had long hair since I was about 12. I used to be pretty thin. I used to get attacked (verbally) by some kids in high school about it, and sometimes I’d get catcalled when I was with my girlfriend in college – people assumed two long-haired students holding hands or whatever were two girls. And that alone was incredibly annoying at the time, and that’s such a minor thing.

  69. 69

    @mrmoshpotato: I haven’t seen the board. The repair person has already taken out the fuse. And ordered the entire board. I was wondering what if only the fuse was replaced.

  70. 70

    @Mom Says I*m Handsome: The Burn, of course!

    ETA: Meant to link to Burning Man

  71. 71
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Brachiator:
    Teachers used to be able to beat kids in school back in the day too. I’ve been told stories about it. Hitting, even spanking a kid doesn’t actually teach them anything. All it does is teach them that might makes right and authority must always be respected, never questioned.

  72. 72
    narya says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: here’s something for you to read: , mostly for company.

  73. 73
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Lalophobia: My neighbor has celiac and she keeps a kitchen parallel to the rest of her family, starting with her own butter dish because she can’t tolerate even a crumb of regular bread. When she does accidentally ingest gluten, she is sick for days. She brightly points out that ice cream is gluten free so at least she has that.

  74. 74
    Marcopolo says:

    Hey folks,

    Don’t have time to read this entire thread but since Jameela Jamil is mentioned in Cole’s excerpt I just want to say she is amazing & a treasure. She’s in the Comedy TV show The Good Place, which has spectacular writing & acting & her twitter feed (https://mobile.twitter.com/jameelajamil) is full of great thoughts about how we can all better treat each other.

    Anyway, she’s great & I hope BJers get a chance to check her out.

  75. 75
    brantl says:

    Minding your own fucking business is really easy.

    Now if you can put that in the english that the Gladys Kravitze’s of the world will understand, you’ll be taking on the meat audience, who needs to understand this, and doesn’t now.

  76. 76
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    Yeah, there’s a clear difference, a rather large leap, between “I don’t quite get it…” and “therefore I conclude it doesn’t exist.” I don’t know where this human instinct to believe we control the universe comes from, but at least some of us seem to have been raised better.

    It reminds me of a comment I frequently found myself making in physics discussions on (showing my age now) Usenet. There seemed to be a lot of cranks who were angry about modern physics, especially relativity. The general theme was “I don’t like it, I don’t understand it, therefore it must be wrong.” I frequently found myself saying “the universe is not obligated to conform to your expectations.”

    But not just in physics. I remember somewhere seeing a religious discussion about the existence of the soul, that was basically, “I can’t handle the idea that I would just end at death, and therefore I won’t.” That’s not how that works. That’s not how any of this works.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Don’t get me up on my FODMAPs soapbox again, explaining why people mistake their FODMAP reaction to wheat as a “gluten intolerance” and then wonder why eating gluten-free foods that are full of other FODMAPs doesn’t solve their digestive problems. 🙄

  78. 78
    Ohio Mom says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: There are places in the South where teachers still administer corporal punishment. I’m guessing to mostly African American boys.

    Is there a day that goes by when we don’t learn yet another revolting thing about the former Confederacy?

  79. 79
    different-church-lady says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I’m thinking that in the case of having a repair person involved, the amount of labor involved soldering a new component onto a manufactured board might cost more than just replacing the board. Plus, the odds of the hand-solder job being reliable might be low on a machine manufactured board. The guy/gal/somewhere else on the spectrum (let’s keep the thread on-topic here) wants you to have a working fridge as a result of the process, and professionally can’t (and probably shouldn’t) take the risk the work will fail four months from now. So the calculation is different than it would be if you were repairing it yourself or had a friend who knew how.

  80. 80
    JustRuss says:

    In the past couple years I’ve had several coworkers switch genders. I don’t claim to understand it, and it’s kinda weird when the dude who was sporting a beard when you last saw him a few months ago is now in a dress and, uh, sort of cute, but that’s my shit. I know they have plenty of their own shit, they don’t need mine, so I just accept that they know what they want/need, and go from there.

  81. 81
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Marcopolo: You mean Kamilah Al-Jamil, right?

  82. 82
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I think the fact that you decided to pursue physics as a career is further proof that you care about gender conformity about as much as I do. 😂😘

  83. 83
    different-church-lady says:

    @Ohio Mom: ExACTly.

    I know it’s not as simple as this, but if you’ve ever known someone suffering from celiac, then gluten-free-by-choice can seem like a kind of dietary tourism by privilege.

  84. 84
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @Mnemosyne: My wife and I are the “Free to be You and Me” parent generation. We played that album for our kids, and the actors on it are the actors we knew and loved. Don’t know about the kids, but we still sing it at each other.

    A Feeling Old moment: watching Drew Barrymore sing the title song with a bunch of friends in some movie (the one where she goes undercover to high school).

  85. 85
    randy khan says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Yep. My latest revelation is that I need to put my pronouns in my e-mail address. It affirms that we aren’t all just obviously male or female.

    My IRL name does not present as a particular gender (and, actually, now that I think of it, my usual nyms also don’t), so I’m kind of thinking that that would be useful to me. I’ve had people meet me in person who were surprised that I was a man.

  86. 86
    Gustopher says:

    @different-church-lady: The trendy gluten-free twits mean that there is enough of a market for gluten-free products that the real gluten-ntolerant people have more choices.

    Seems like a fine trade off.

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Re: vegans. The young fellow who is my honorary godson married a vegan and has joined her in this lifestyle. He looks great but I worry about her. She has a thyroid condition for which she won’t follow the doctor’s advice because the med comes in a gelatin capsule.

    This is where ad hoc personal social rules get stupid. I don’t know if there are alternatives to a gelatin capsule, but no one should put their health or life at risk to follow any rule or credo. Even some traditional religions are wise enough to allow for exemptions from religious practice if it would endanger the person.

    I do all my eye-rolling in private, bite my tongue, and am always on the look-out for a good vegan restaurant I can take them to when they come back to town to visit. It turns out that even staid Cincinnati has decent vegan restaurants.

    Long ago, I used to date a woman who was a vegetarian. Learned where all the good restaurants were in the Los Angeles area. But two days a week I would have to go off on my own and eat meat.

    Another woman would not simply insist on eating vegan, she would obnoxiously deride any other eating choices. Got tiresome real fast.

  88. 88
    Nicole says:

    @Mnemosyne: A sociology text I read a few years back talked about how gender is something we do, rather than something we “are.” Our actions fall along a spectrum of what we consider “masculine” and what we consider “feminine,” and all of us do an assortment of actions all along that spectrum. I liked that take on the concept of gender as it gave me a new way to view it.

    And I agree that actions we view as feminine are not given the value that those viewed as masculine are- it’s great if girls play soccer, but if a boy wants to learn to knit, there’s anxiety (never mind that Chris Hemsworth liked to cross-stitch as a child!). I recently read a great article by a mom of two boys about the struggles of shopping for clothing for boys- it’s boring (as a mom of one child, a boy, I agree; boys’ clothes are super drab). Sometimes I wonder if boys’ obsessions with superheroes is due, at least in part, to the fact that they get to see obviously male characters dressed in bright, shiny colors (the way girls are encouraged to dress in real life). Anyway, the trouble with being cool with girls dressing like boys, but not boys dressing like girls is that we are still sending both boys and girls the message that the best thing to be in life is male.

    For what it’s worth, we have told our superhero and Fortnite and Nerf-gun obsessed child to not think of clothing as “girl” or “boy,” instead, to just think of it all as clothes, and that you like what you like. He’s never been interested in skirts, but he has a variety of light-up sparkle shoes and patterned jeans that I bought in the girls’ department because that’s what he liked. And there have been times I have been anxious, sending him off to school, in purple spandex leggings with the galaxy printed on them, and silver shoes with wings attached. But it’s been fine. He’s also pretty socially savvy (more so than his introvert parents, that’s for sure). And while he pretty clearly identifies as a boy, it’s nice to see him doing some feminine gender actions, because I think it sends a message to both girls and boys that girl things are excellent, too.

  89. 89
    different-church-lady says:

    @Gustopher: It’s a great side-effect, that’s for sure. Back in the 90s there were zero conventional supermarket products, and very few in the organic-oriented places.

    In the end I don’t care what anybody eats as long as they (a) don’t make it someone else’s problem and (b) don’t use it as a status symbol.

  90. 90
    Eolirin says:

    @Mnemosyne: I understand what you’re saying, I think, and I’m not arguing against it, I think we agree more or less. But to maybe make what I’m trying to say clearer, just so that I’m sure we understand each other: can you define what it means to you to *be* a woman? And do you think that’s going to match up with the definitions that other people have? And if we recognize that it probably isn’t, that what that means to you is more or less unique to you, we can also agree that it wouldn’t be right to apply the definition you use to determine whether other people get to call themselves a woman too, right? So you now have a way to describe yourself that feels correct to you, and that’s great. But it can’t inform you about anyone else. The word woman becomes fuzzy when it’s allowed to be open like that.

    So it’s not useful as a social construct, a short hand for expectations around behaviors.

    Identity, especially as applies to the way others view us, isn’t about the label, it’s about the proscriptive effects we place on behaviors and expression. This is me, this is not me. This is acceptable for someone of this type, this is not. If you remove all of the norms, you make the entire concept of gender meaningless (This is not a bad thing). There isn’t anything to identify, properly or not. People can call themselves whatever, or identify with whatever, but they’re just people, there’s nothing to base an expectation around, so the societal view of gender becomes inoperative. It becomes little more than I have this body part or this other body part.

  91. 91
    Raoul says:

    Apparently people know who they are. 968,728,274 views for their Stay With Me video. I suppose I’ve probably heard the song while out and about – I’m not very good about knowing music post about 1998.

    Anyway, good for them for being open in exploring gender.

    It’s not always the fixed thing white western culture has been fixated on ‘defending.’ I’m fine with being culturally a man, and I certainly have no interest in changing my anatomy, but I’ve also had lots of fun over the years playing with clothes, social roles and such in the local radical faerie scene in MN (with trips to New Mexico, Vermont and Tennessee to visit other faerie communities).

    The amazing thing about running around in the woods in a skirt for a week a year? It has zero impact on anyone else. Well, except for people stunned by my faerie good looks and how my calf muscles look extra fetching, accented by orange calico and maybe combat boots.

  92. 92
    jl says:

    Thanks for bringing the issue to my attention. I didn’t know about.
    But, I don’t understand Cole’s explanation. So, I’ll look into it on my own.
    Full service blog FAIL, but points for trying, Cole.

  93. 93
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    I think my vegan friends and I have agreed to meet up at Trejo’s Cantina in Pasadena at some point in the indeterminate future. Chicken, beef, or pork for me, jackfruit, tofu, or cauliflower for them, everyone’s happy.

  94. 94

    @schrodingers_cat: Alot of those boards have surface soldered components, unless you have the equipment to do it, don’t.

  95. 95
    Yutsano says:

    @Brachiator:

    Can I still hate vegans?

    Certainly. Going “vegan” is a class marker. It not only marks one as “superior” but it’s something only the rich and well to do can afford to pull off. No society on this planet has ever gone truly vegan, for the simple reason that the vegan diet must be supplemented to make up for the lack of B-12. There simply is no way to consume enough of the plant material to make up for what is lost through animal sources, so expensive supplements are required. Vegetarians that consume eggs and milk avoid these issues, which is why I have zero problem with them. But vegans? Hell naw.

  96. 96
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Tim C.: the first president to (publicly) to say “I hate all of you assholes”

  97. 97
    different-church-lady says:

    Now, this has been a great thread so far, but let’s get serious here: no matter what our gender, creed, race, religion, dietary preferences, political views, height or weight, we should all come together and agree to focus every last bit of our hatred and intolerance on pop music producers who use auto-tune.

  98. 98
    Lalophobia says:

    @Brickley Paiste: So….you’re saying people with what amount to something like an allergy are an enemy to society? If not, feel free to clarify.

    @different-church-lady: I know. But the original comment didn’t specify “people who request gluten free because it’s trendy”. Just people who request gluten free. I remember an old interview Jon Stewart did in which he talked about how his son would get miserable and really sick because they didn’t know he had celiac disease and how much better it got once they figured out what the issue was. And I can’t help but remember my own childhood, where a lot of things I might’ve been unhappy with or made me feel uncomfortable (physically, emotionally or otherwise) were occasionally brushed aside as just the complaints of a demanding kid. Plus stories you hear about doctors dismissing ladies’ complaints, POC’s complaints, POW’s complaints, and overweight patients’ complaints (among others) because of their own biases and…well, it bothers me just a little bit.

  99. 99
    randy khan says:

    Minding your own fucking business is really easy.

    For a lot of people, it’s not.

    I feel quite lucky that my first encounter with out gay people came after my father got a job somewhere where at least one of the bosses was gay (in the early 1970s, so naturally it was in lower Manhattan) and he made it clear that this was not a problem for him. We went to a company barbecue at the guy’s house, where we met his partner, and there were other gay employees there and my parents both treated it as perfectly normal. (I honestly have no idea whether that was the case or not, but in a town that was about 98% white one of my mom’s best friends was black, so it may well have been how they felt.)

    I absorbed their attitude that different wasn’t bad pretty much by osmosis, but I know that other people my age – and even today – don’t have the same experiences growing up, and really have to put an effort into it. And, honestly, I don’t know if it would be a struggle for me if someone I knew was transgender and started to transition. I do know that, as my parents would have had it, that I would be kind to that person, but that doesn’t mean it would be easy.

  100. 100
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @different-church-lady: If the fuse blows there’s usually a good reason it blew and just replacing the fuse will result in, eventually, another blown fuse. I fix stuff at the board level for my own amusement but I know that cost-effectiveness and “make it work NOW!” means spending money for a replacement part is better for all concerned than four hours of bench time and diagnostics and circuit tracing and pray-and-try.

    By the way the fuse isn’t there to protect the circuit board or the fridge, it’s there to protect the mains wiring from burning out (and perhaps the wiring in the walls too). Bypassing it or overrating the fuse “to fix the problem” is a Bad Idea.

  101. 101
    Raoul says:

    @Nicole: Wow, yes. In radical faerie culture, we often say (lightly, with a twinkle) “oh I’m doing boy drag now” or “girl drag” because indeed, it’s all just outfits. The gendering of the clothes is a construct.

    And some of those constructs are, if we’re paying any attention, breaking down. Take the Village People guy who did the construction worker look. Well I’ve been doing policy and advocacy for a number of years in MN to bring more women into construction. The Vikings stadium had over 71,000 hours of workforce labor done by women. I’m confident they wore jeans, probably a lot of heavy duty work shirts, and for sure tool belts, boots and helmets. So, uhhh, what ‘gender’ would the Village People guy’s clothes be now? Most of us would still say ‘male’ but functionally, it just isn’t the reality any more.

  102. 102
    Brickley Paiste says:

    @Ohio Mom:
    Exactly. And people who have conditions like that (and anyone who’s spent any time in a fast-paced kitchen) know that there is no way you can trust restaurants.

    Someone with a legitimate peanut allergy sued my wife a few years ago after they had to go to the hospital even after using their epi-pen. Person ordered a “safe” dish but one of the curry dishes on the menu was sprinkled with crushed peanuts and best guess is that an expediter got contaminated wiping the rim from a previous order and then handled the plates.

    After that she made a little handout for anyone who claimed to have food allergies explaining cross-contamination is very difficult to control and we’ll do our best, but we can’t guarantee your safety.

  103. 103
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Nicole:

    Anyway, the trouble with being cool with girls dressing like boys, but not boys dressing like girls is that we are still sending both boys and girls the message that the best thing to be in life is male.

    Yes. This is pretty much what I’m trying to say.

    @Eolirin:

    Well, this is where we get into the issue of gender vs sex and what’s really the difference between the two. I say that I “feel like a woman” because I feel that my body is mine and it fits me. There are things about it that I’m not thrilled with (particularly my weight at the moment) but I’ve never felt that there was a mismatch between my inner self and my physical body.

    And I do feel that, to some extent, having that basic security makes it easier for me to reject the gender expectations I don’t want to go along with. I don’t need to demonstrate to anyone else that I’m “really” a woman, because I am secure with that within myself. There’s a reason that it’s kind of a cliché that “manly men” can shock their friends and family by coming out as transgender or gay, because they had constructed that “manly man” persona to hide the fact that they did not feel secure in their gender.

    And, yes, I do realize that having that security with myself and not feeling any pressure to perform the “right” gender is a form of privilege.

  104. 104
    Dan B says:

    @Martin: It sounds like you are in a place much like my LGBT friends were in the sixties and seventies, and beyond. We all had “chosen family” because we were either rejected by our biological families, or by their friends and families. We cherished the “chosen family” holidays because it felt like deep love and friendship. The biological family gatherings that some of us attended should have felt good but often felt like forced niceness or just plain politeness.

    When I was in my twenties and thirties it felt awful to have to leave my safe Seattle to travel to small town Ohio where almost every encounter with my parents and neighbors was fraught with danger. It felt like a straight jacket ( sorry for pun ).

    The other uncomfortable spot is still interacting with people who are trying to come out of Fundamentalist closets. I figured out I was gay at 14 and that society was boneheaded at best. Interacting with people who have stayed but know on some level they are LGBTQ is like trying to communicate with someone who insists on seriously harming themselves and refusing to listen to people who say stop.

    I went to several ex-gay workshops and to some progressive Christian gay friendly meetings. One Exodus promo I was met by the leader who stared lustfully at my crotch. The guys who presented looked like combined misery and robots. The feeling of desperation felt obvious. I couldn’t imagine how the young LGBTQ’s and their families could be sucked in by these miserable cons.

  105. 105
    something fabulous says:

    On the subject of the title of the post, so proud to be the friend of the woman who wrote and stars in this video, which went viral a while back (spurred by all the BBQ- and- other busybodies, but pertains here too I think). Enjoy!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugaK9NQVwUg

  106. 106
    BobS says:

    ‘Mind your own fucking business’ is virtually always the right answer when it comes to other people’s sexual lives/identity.
    I frequently read Daniel Larison at The American Conservative, but to get there you drive by Rod Dreher’s place. The guy is obsessed with transgender issues to the point he writes about it at least once a week. It’s a moderated comment section, so when I point that out (sometimes more, sometimes less discretely, suggesting that he probably spends a lot of time doing ‘research’ at PornHub) he blocks my comment

  107. 107
    Brachiator says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷:

    Teachers used to be able to beat kids in school back in the day too. I’ve been told stories about it. Hitting, even spanking a kid doesn’t actually teach them anything. All it does is teach them that might makes right and authority must always be respected, never questioned.

    More complicated than that. Some kids accept the idea that a good whupping is right and proper. Spare the rod and spoil the child, etc.

    @Ohio Mom:

    There are places in the South where teachers still administer corporal punishment. I’m guessing to mostly African American boys.

    Wasn’t corporal punishment big in Catholic schools all over America? I’m not sure what Southern school districts do any more. Back in the day, there was a time when principals in Southern California schools could administer swats.

    I grew up in Texas. In junior high school a group got up to some minor antics. I don’t even remember if I was involved in a major way, but I was definitely in the room. The teacher caught us and delivered us to the assistant principal, who got out a wooden paddle and administered correction. I distinctly remember that the importance of respecting authority never entered my mind, or that might makes right. I vowed to myself that next time we would not get caught.

    Also, I think that I accepted punishment because my fellow classmates got paddled. Had I objected and said that they would have to check with my mother, I would have been exempted, or there would have been hell to pay.

  108. 108
    karen marie says:

    This is Exhibit A that John Cole is one of the finest human beings alive.

    Thank you, John Cole.

  109. 109
    Eolirin says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m nonbinary, but I don’t suffer from body dysmorphia, I just have no particularly strong attachment to my parts, and certainly don’t have any fixed sense of identity around them, so I view sex and gender as separate concerns. They can inform each other, certainly, but they’re not the same thing to my mind.

    I will say I’m in favor of dolls for everyone, regardless :)

  110. 110
    Gustopher says:

    @Martin: I’m not convinced that asexual is really as big a thing as it has become lately.

    I suspect that a lot of times it’s just “ugh. sexuality is hard and confusing and I just want to put it on a shelf and not deal with it for a while.” — to which I say, sure. And a lot of non-binary folks seem to be pushing back against restrictive gender norms rather than have some biological issue. Our gender norms suck. Gender dysphoria is clearly a thing, and right now the best treatment we have is modifying the body — I suspect that at some point we will have a treatment that involves changing the brain chemistry, but people need help now and this is what we’ve got.

    I don’t have to understand, or even believe in, someone’s identity to treat them like an equal.

    Do what you gotta do to be happy, so long as you’re not hurting others in the process. (Making people learn novelty pronouns is not hurting them). So, asexual non-binary transgender is fine, but objectivist is not.

    If it helps, I’m not sure I believe in dark matter either.

  111. 111
    Barbara says:

    @randy khan: A lot of people find change difficult but while tolerance might not be easy the alternative is horrifyingly dystopian. That is why denial abounds and many people end up wishing that nonconforming people and unappealing truth both historical and current would just go away please. An example of this phenomenon is how many Trump supporters blame decline in racial comity on Obama and BLM.

  112. 112
    randy khan says:

    On the clothing stuff, speaking as a cis straight male, I’ve been really happy over the last ten years or so that their have been more options for men’s clothes in brighter colors. I remember buying a pink dress shirt years ago and getting compliments on being brave to wear it (granted, in the kind of office where men had to wear ties); these days, nobody really notices when i wear a boldly colored shirt. (I haven’t taken the next step of wearing bright pants because my wife would object, but I do have a pair of bright blue shorts.)

    But in any event, choosing clothing is one of those things we do that is inherently performative and projects how we want to be seen. Even people who say they don’t care about clothing are projecting an image of thinking clothing is irrelevant, which sends a definite message. (And this is one reason why those charities that collect nice clothes suitable to wear for an interview or in an office job actually are important – if you don’t have access to the right clothes, you literally can be foreclosed from getting certain jobs because the people interviewing you will assume your choices are intentional, consciously or unconsciously.)

    This is a real challenge for gender-nonconforming people, as other people often see only their clothing choices, particularly people who present as male but wear clothes that are more commonly worn by women. (Thanks to years of broadening styles in women’s clothing, people who present as female can dress more like men without attracting attention, at least up to a point, but it’s still an issue at the edges.)

  113. 113
    different-church-lady says:

    @Robert Sneddon:

    If the fuse blows there’s usually a good reason it blew and just replacing the fuse will result in, eventually, another blown fuse.

    Good point.

  114. 114
    randy khan says:

    @Barbara:

    A lot of people find change difficult but while tolerance might not be easy the alternative is horrifyingly dystopian.

    Absolutely.

    I should mention that I’ve come around to the idea that, while tolerance may be the best we can do from some people, the real goal is acceptance. That’s the lesson I took from my parents.

  115. 115
    Betty Cracker says:

    @BobS: Ugh, Dreher. I’d feel more pity than contempt for the man if he weren’t actively supporting efforts to hurt my loved ones. Because lord, does he have…issues.

  116. 116
    different-church-lady says:

    @Lalophobia:

    But the original comment didn’t specify “people who request gluten free because it’s trendy”.

    The original comment was tongue-in-cheek. (Which, when compared to that commenter’s usual offerings, is like heroin-laced gelato brought to your table by a puppy.)

  117. 117
    BobS says:

    @Brachiator: I went to a public junior high school (in suburban Detroit) in the 1960’s, ‘Swats’ were a common punishment for talking/laughing in ‘8th hour’ (after-school detention), once so much so a kid was brought to tears (and humiliated) in front of the class by the repeated hits with a wooden paddle. In a gym class, the phys-ed teacher got pissed and shook a kid violently, bouncing the back of his head off wooden bleachers a half-dozen times. The vice-principal intercepted me running in a hallway and hit me in the sternum (hard) with a knuckle, also 5 or 6 times (I made myself a promise that when I graduated high school, I’d ambush the motherfucker in the parking lot. Wisely, I never kept that promise).

  118. 118
    Yutsano says:

    @different-church-lady:

    agree to focus every last bit of our hatred and intolerance on pop music producers who use auto-tune.

    MOTHERFUCKINGTHIS!!!

  119. 119
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gustopher:

    Interestingly, I just had a conversation along those lines with my now 19-year-old niece. Short version, until fairly recently, she probably would have identified as asexual because she didn’t really think much about it, but now she’s matured enough emotionally that she’s ready to start dating.

    She probably would have been a few years behind the curve anyway since she’s on the autism spectrum, but some people just mature more slowly than others. Some 15 year olds are emotionally ready to date right away, and some aren’t.

  120. 120
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @different-church-lady: Nearly learned that lesson with my life a couple of months ago.

    The home internet was out. Verizon was actually helpful, diagnosing that the box in the basement was off. I went down to the basement, saw that the breaker had tripped in the wall outlet where the box was plugged in, and reset it. A few seconds later there was a bright blue flash from the other side of the basement and the breaker tripped again.

    I thought about the fact that I was standing in water (the basement has a flooding problem), that there was an electrical short somewhere, and that the water I was standing in was likely part of the problem. And I slowly walked out of the basement and contemplated the life I was still fortunate to have. That breaker that tripped was a GFCI, designed to keep stupid people like myself alive when doing stupid things involving electricity and water. It worked.

    When I stopped freaking out a few hours later, I tiptoed back down to the basement (keeping my toes dry) and peered around from the steps to try to diagnose the problem. Which I did right away: an extension cord plugged into the wall with the business end lying in the water. I unplugged it, reset the internet, and went back upstairs to contemplate life some more.

  121. 121
    Miss Bianca says:

    @something fabulous: I love that f*cking video! It was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title post!

  122. 122
    Nicole says:

    @randy khan:

    I remember buying a pink dress shirt years ago and getting compliments on being brave to wear it (granted, in the kind of office where men had to wear ties); these days, nobody really notices when i wear a boldly colored shirt.

    Funny you said that- the article I mentioned reading above (about buying clothes for boys vs girls) mentioned men wearing pink- that it’s okay in our society for men to wear pink shirts (and indeed, can be a signal that a man is secure in his masculinity), but that it’s not acceptable for a boy to wear pink- we, as a society, work hard to instill gender “norms” into boys’ heads early. Like, if the boy doesn’t wear pink, he’ll grow up to be straight and then the “danger” period will have passed so the (straight) man can then wear it.

    I think our society could use a good talk therapist because it has some weird issues.

  123. 123
    StringOnAStick says:

    I have a vegan friend who went nuts when I tried it and bailed because it turned carb cravings to 11 for me. Then I was diagnosed with very dangerously low vitamin D levels, as in about to have a heart attack low. Now you can get vegan D but at the time what was available was derived from lanolin, meaning sheep derived. She fiercely told me she’d rather die than take the pills that were keeping me from having a good damned heart attack. Fine, welcome to the Pluto zone of my friendships, and thanks so much for your helpful support.

    There has never been a society of vegans in human history, and that could be because (1) there are some required nutrients that simply can’t be obtained on a vegan diet, like vitamin B-12 or (2) non-vegans get a tired of their carping, preening and general projection of their so evolved superiority that they get tossed out of the village.

  124. 124
    Nicole says:

    @Yutsano: I confess I like the auto-tune on Cher’s “I Believe,” but she’s someone who can sing and was using it for a deliberate effect, not in order to fix going off-pitch.

  125. 125
    Martin says:

    @Dan B: Yeah, this all started in the 70s for me. My catholic relatives forced my grandmother out of her first marriage (Jewish husband – a physician, the horror) and to give up her first born daughter (half Jewish), and forced her 2nd daughter, my aunt, to give up her first child (black father) and ultimately drove my whole branch of the family to the other side of the country. Never accepted me, the atheist, nor my gay cousin who contracted AIDS in the 80s and was outed due to the diagnosis. Good riddance to the lot of them. They haven’t changed much. If anyone wants to know why there’s so few black firefighters in the NYFD, you can credit my relatives for that atrocity. They run that agency from the top down and mysteriously there isn’t an overweight, dumbfuck 2nd cousin of mine that fails to pass that test no matter how high they set the bar. And while by some miracle none of my relatives died on 9/11 (over a dozen either in the NYFD or NYPD responded), they all managed to take it as a sign from God that they should just keep on doing what they were doing. In hindsight I feel oddly conflicted about their survival that day. Unlike others, it just radicalized them more.

  126. 126
    Eolirin says:

    @Nicole: You know what the funny thing is? This wasn’t even true prior to the 1940s. Prior to that, blue was a feminine color and pink a masculine one.

  127. 127
    BobS says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yeah, he clearly hates it (judging from the fact he won’t publish the comment) when point out that he devotes more inches (column, that is) to LGBT issues than the collective coverage of the dozen or more progressive sites (progressives are another favorite ‘whipping boy’, for Dreher) I regularly read.

  128. 128
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Eolirin:

    I’m more like Citizen Alan and LongHairedWeirdo above — if I woke up tomorrow in a male body, I would be pissed, because it wouldn’t be the right one. I can’t explain logically how I know that, but I do.

    More sparkly superhero costumes and dolls for all! 🦸🏽‍♀️🦸🏾‍♂️🦹🏻‍♀️🦹🏽‍♂️

  129. 129
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Eolirin: I remember reading something about that, but I can’t remember where!

  130. 130
    Nicole says:

    @Eolirin: Right? Like I said, our society needs a therapist. Lotta cognitive dissonance.

  131. 131
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Yutsano: I ‘heard’ that response in an autotuned voice, goddammit.

  132. 132
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Mnemosyne: “if I woke up tomorrow in a male body, I would be pissed, because it wouldn’t be the right one.”

    Whereas I, once I got over the shock, would probably like it just fine. Make of that what you will.

    ETA: I think the only awkwardness would be the “uh…honey? I got something to tell you” convo with the guy I was dating.

  133. 133
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: The Bad Times are when the safety device like a GCFI (in the UK it’s called a Residual Current Detector or RCD) doesn’t work. Some in the States I knew once woke up to the smell of something burning, hot metal. It turned out her house’s fuse box was glowing a dull red. The main circuit breaker had broken somehow, maybe welded shut and something had gone badly wrong with the house wiring. They got the cats and everyone out of the house before anything bad happened but it took a call to their local power company to get the power to the house disconnected.

    In the UK by law there’s what used to be called the Board fuse, installed by the Electricity Board as was, on the main line into the premises. It’s also called the Hail Mary fuse by sparkies because if it ever blows they say “Mother of God, how did that happen?” It’s a 100A or better fuse that has to be a fuse, not a circuit breaker because a fuse always works. A breaker can be reset so it’s more convenient than a vapourised piece of wire but breakers have moving parts and sometimes they don’t move like they should.

  134. 134
    Nicole says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    More sparkly superhero costumes and dolls for all!

    Boys play with dolls. They call them “action figures,” but come on, we all know they’re dolls. 😀

  135. 135
    Brachiator says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m not convinced that asexual is really as big a thing as it has become lately.

    Could be. Thing is, even if it’s a fad, it is good to live in a time where experimentation is acceptable. Despite the fears of “conservatives” (broadly defined), society will not collapse because of deliberate sexual/gender diversity.

    The other thing, of course, is that there is a rigid reaction to this that seeks to codify into law the old rules of gender and sexuality. It is crazy, and needlessly hurts people who are just trying to live their lives.

  136. 136
    Eolirin says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah, where I’d be absolutely fine with my body shifting to fit my mood or what I was doing at any given moment. As long as there’s a general respect and openness to individual uniqueness I don’t think it matters how we define these things.

  137. 137
    Martin says:

    @Nicole: It’s not really issues. It’s a set of rules to force conformity. White supremacy/patriarchy are very reliant on conforming rules to enable discrimination. Hairstyles, jewelry, all of it. People like Cole and I who grew up and could work within this system understood it in a certain way. I am still terrified to step outside of it, even though I know it’s safe to do so. I could hide my atheism. Friend of mine could hide their sexual orientation, but it took work. If you’re black, or latino? Forget it – you’re screwed – and that’s by design. Women, same thing. Here, wear the most absurd attire while still conforming to all of the other rules. The whole point of the system is to create opportunities to apply labels to people, which is why Cole is just now realizing he doesn’t need to do that. He was taught to do that his whole life. Labels allow you to discriminate, it’s just a matter of swapping one label for another. I can’t fire you for being black, or gay, or female, but I can fire you for not being a team player, for not presenting an appropriate front-office demeanor, etc.

    Culture is just a set of unwritten laws that society invents to protect itself. Sometimes it’s beneficial (don’t sneeze on people), sometimes it’s not, and sometimes it’s controlling. Our culture is designed around protecting white men, because that’s what it was designed to do. The first step to getting past this shit is coming to terms with the fact that is the basis for so much of our culture. We’re making progress, but damn is it slow going.

  138. 138
    Eolirin says:

    @Miss Bianca: You can find a good article on this stuff here

  139. 139
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Brachiator: Okay, it was about eight years ago. A friend who is an education prof had a former student come back to visit. He was seeking absolution — Teach for America had sent him to a small minority school in the Deep South and to prove himself, he was forced to paddle students. It was something of an initiation rite the administration put him up to.

    A fast google shows that corporal punishment is legal in 19 states, all the usual suspects, that is, solidly Red states. Though I think it a very safe bet that in the upper-middle class white suburbs of big cities, no one gets touched.

  140. 140
    UncleEbeneezer says:

    And that’s when I realized- I don’t HAVE to fucking understand it. Whether I understand it or not, these people feel it and experience it and live it, and their existence as equal people in society isn’t predicated on whether or not I understand. My job as a non garbage human being is pretty simple- all I have to do is treat them like I would everyone else, call them what they want to be called, and go on about my life.

    It’s good though to TRY to understand it. Reading some blogs, watching some YT vids, listening to some podcasts, can help us Cisgender people understand the issues Transgender people face, much better and allow us to be better allies to them. Just like White people need to read up on Race, Men need to explore Feminism, etc. in order for us to be less shitty in perpetuating Racism/Sexism…

    Zinnia Jones has an excellent Gender Analysis series on YT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0co0minMG6I

  141. 141
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Given that you were considering wearing your pink coat and jodhpurs to the Beau Monde soirée last summer, I find this less surprising than you think. 😘

    @Eolirin:

    Given how many other human behaviors fall onto a spectrum, it’s no surprise that gender identity would, too.

  142. 142
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Mnemosyne: Nah, nah – black coat. I haven’t earned a scarlet one yet. ; )

  143. 143
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Nicole:

    There’s so much gender-based weirdness in toys. I mean, I guess it’s good that they make Disney Princess radio-controlled cars so parents don’t freak out that their daughter wants one when Cars Are For Boys, but sheesh!

  144. 144
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Nicole: OMG, flashback to my early early days when my older sister broke the news to my younger brother that his GI Joes were dolls. Oh, my word, the shock and indignation! For some reason, I’ve never forgotten it.

  145. 145
    Martin says:

    @Brachiator: I think it’s in between. Yesterday I was in a small gathering of parents of kids just graduating from college, and the women immediately turned to their kids relationships and getting married and all that, and I had to intervene and tell them that this is why their kids are all pushing back against them. Even at 20, 21, 22 parents are judging their kids decisions. They don’t need that pressure. They don’t need an expectation that they are starting a mating process or whatever drives that line of thinking. I think about these dying towns where people don’t move out for better opportunities and it’s often because they have some relationship that keeps them there. No wonder kids are delaying relationships. Why have that complication when your first career position out of college might be across the country. Teenagers that aren’t dating are still seen as weird. So yeah, some push back. And at the same time, I look at my friends and family members that never got married and had kids, and I talk to them, and none of them regret that. Everyone always seems to feel sorry for them, but they never had that particular motivation. Generally it’s assumed that they’re secretly gay, but maybe they aren’t. (I’ll note that even we seem quite determined to put Lindsay Graham and Corey Booker into a straight/gay bucket) This is a step of moving something from an outlier class to a normally accepted class. I think that’s good. And sure, some of it is just deferring that stage of life, and some of it is that’s their life plan. But the point is that nobody has to label that box in permanent ink. If they meet someone later on that rings that bell for them, nobody should say ‘But I thought you were ace?’. That’s not how they see it, nor should we.

  146. 146
    Mowgli says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: my son came out as transgender about 5 years ago when he was in 8th grade. We live in Georgia, so pretty conservative as well. I went through some of the same stuff you posted about, and had to educate myself as well as recognize I would never really “get it.” Thankfully, he is so strong and centered that he cruised through high school and is now finishing his freshman year at UNC Chapel Hill with a full ride scholarship. They can thrive if we just love them unconditionally.

  147. 147
    randy khan says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m not convinced that asexual is really as big a thing as it has become lately.

    From what i can tell, it’s actually not a lot of people, but they get a lot of attention because they seem odd to many other people.

    But in truth we really have no idea how people would express themselves in gender and sexuality terms if they had free choice with no stigma attached. (My personal guess is that we’d have a lot more bisexuals, as today anybody who’s more than 55-45, so to speak, probably lines up as gay or straight, while in a non-judgmental world probably people up to 80-20 or even 90-10 would be functionally bisexual. But I have no idea how many people would identify as asexual, how many people would be transgender, etc.)

  148. 148
    C Stars says:

    Just saw this, and naturally was excited because I am the parent of a nonbinary kid. I’ve got deadlines looming and haven’t been able to read all of the replies, but skimmed them and, wow, it’s great to know that there are so many nonbinary/genderqueer BJ readers (and families of) out there. And…something about vegans?

    I have learned gender binary is one of those strict taboos, the breaking of which just fucking terrifies people. There are plenty folks out there who generally consider themselves progressive or openminded who are flummoxed/annoyed/confused by the way gender is changing societally. . . I’ve met them. . . a lot of them. They take it personally if another person doesn’t conform to their own expectations, and do not have any sense that there may be a whole galaxy of experiences and emotions going on within the individual in question, that might be worth learning about or trying to understand. My own dad, an old hippie, once informed me that he thought it possible that the younger generation’s lax ideas about gender could be bringing about the next fascist state (as the Berlin of the 30’s is sometimes cited as an instigation for WWII). Love ya, dad, but FU. It’s impossible for me to think of my elementary-schooler as willfully participating in some pernicious scheme that will bring about the downfall of democracy, when I see so clearly that all they really want to do is be a kid and just fucking leave behind all the pernicious ways in which their private parts are supposed to determine how they talk, dress, act, play, study, etc etc etc. I mean, as a cis woman, I’m ready to leave that shit behind too. And I’m glad that my kiddo is showing me how to do it.

    It is a little hard to adjust to the new pronouns. Hard but 100% worth it.

  149. 149
    Captain C says:

    @Mike in NC: “Mother, I feel funny again!”

  150. 150
    NotMax says:

    The clearest light contains ALL the colors of the spectrum

  151. 151

    Thank you to everyone who has replied to me with advice, encouragement, links, etc. It gives me hope. BJ Jackals are the very best!!!!

    News from the kid…we will be talking to Dad on Thursday night. Fingers crossed we don’t get too much push back on the doctor thing. Once more into the breach as they say….

  152. 152
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Nailed it, John. The wowsers can fuck the fucking fuck off. You know, that “judge not, lest you be judged” shit from the Holy Book of the fucking wowsers.

  153. 153
    Older says:

    @Ohio Mom: I was thinking about the doctor in our increasing staff of doctors who is a strict vegetarian, and thinking he might know where to get your daughter-in-law’s medication in non-gelatin capsules. But maybe not. But I have another suggestion. If she’s willing to do the work, she can re-encapsulate the meds herself in non-gelatin capsules. Our local food co-op sells the non-gelatin capsules in bulk. If hers doesn’t, they are probably available on the internet.

  154. 154
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Nicole: Three words for you from my own boyhood: Major Matt Mason.

  155. 155
    tybee says:

    @schrodingers_cat: i’ve done it a couple dozen times on computer monitors, dishwasher control boards, etc. and i’m batting about 75%.

    so go for it.

  156. 156
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @different-church-lady: I worked with a young woman for a couple of years who has had Celiac disease from babyhood. . She was quite annoyed by the gluten free by choice folks because a great many people thought she was just being trendy instead of actually having a serious illness. She said it led to her having to explain herself more than she cared to to get people to stop coaxing her to eat things she couldn’t and that on a couple of occasions people who couldn’t believe there was a real disease lied to her about the ingredients of a dish.

  157. 157
    Brachiator says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    A fast google shows that corporal punishment is legal in 19 states, all the usual suspects, that is, solidly Red states. Though I think it a very safe bet that in the upper-middle class white suburbs of big cities, no one gets touched.

    I don’t know. You might be surprised. There is also a lot of corporal punishment among some immigrant groups, and more in the past. A local talk show host, Bill Handel, is from a solidly middle class Jewish family. His father was alive during WW 2 (and hid out in the Vatican, but that’s another story). Handel talks about how his father used to beat him all the time. In some places in the South, and elsewhere, physical punishment, especially among boys of patrician families, is seen as right and proper and necessary to help seal in the right values.

  158. 158
    something fabulous says:

    @Miss Bianca: Yay! She is the funniest. All her stuff is good, but this one was especially brilliant, don’t you think?

  159. 159
    tybee says:

    @Robert Sneddon: and sometimes fuses blow because they’re old and cranky. :)
    as i recall, it’s an older fridge. now if the replaced fuse blows immediately…

  160. 160
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Older: Not my DIL, my honorary god son’s wife. Your suggestions are good ones, and by now she may have figured it out on her own. If the subject comes up, I will convey your ideas. Generally, I try to keep a light touch in my interactions with this young couple.

    It is somewhat ironic that another friend of this family, who like me is in the parents’ generation, was vegan for a good long while until health problems led her to expand her diet. She, perhaps predictably, is the loudest voice urging this young woman to cut it out already.

  161. 161
    John Cole says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    John, I don’t know if you will answer this, but how did you go from A to B, from (according to people who have been at BJ longer than I have) a pretty conservative man to a fairly progressive person?

    I was never a social conservative. I never had an issue with gay rights or the like.

  162. 162
    J R in WV says:

    @Raoul:

    I’ve also had lots of fun over the years playing with clothes, social roles and such in the local radical faerie scene in MN (with trips to New Mexico, Vermont and Tennessee to visit other faerie communities).

    We have friends with a big communal farm, and there’s a fairy-land on one hillside, very nice, with lights twinkling in the trees, etc, etc. I didn’t know there was a national radical fairy group, I hope my friends over in the next county know about it, I’m sure they do…

    They have a great summer solstice gathering every summer, with all kinds of folks from all over. The only down side is that it’s sometimes really hot and damp come the longest day of the year!!

  163. 163
    Mnemosyne says:

    @randy khan:

    Mm. Maybe. I actually have a funny story along those lines:

    I was reading a book of essays called “Talking to Girls About Duran Duran” and the author talked about how he used Hayzee Fantazee’s “Shiny Shiny” as a benchmark for whether or not people really liked 80s music or not.

    I was like, Oh, yeah, I remember the video for that song! There was a guy with really long hair wearing a hat, and a vest, and he did this dance step. I should look for that on YouTube!

    So I did, and watched the video, and the guy was just like I remembered him. But there was also a girl in the video doing the same dance wearing a skimpy outfit. And I had ZERO memory of her being in it. I only remembered the guy.

    To me, that was a sign that, yes, I am very, very heterosexual. If I didn’t remember a half-naked woman being in a favorite music video but did remember a fully-dressed guy, and I remembered it from what was probably the most hormone-driven time of my life … yeah, I’m straight, with very little bisexuality at all. 🤷‍♀️

  164. 164

    @Mnemosyne: You and me both. In general, I also find men much easier to get along with than women.
    @tybee: Do you have a suggestion for a soldering iron?

  165. 165
    Phoenix Berliner says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: Hey, I’m a nonbinary trans person, also on the ace spectrum, living in AZ. I’d be glad to discuss things with you and pass you some resources! Are you on Facebook? That’s where I spend most of my time. Lol If so, feel free to shoot me a message. If not, email me and I’ll try to remember to check it… :)

  166. 166
    Ruckus says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ:
    I have an acquaintance, middleish aged woman who I know because of lesbian friends. She basically said that she can’t imagine sex, it does nothing for her. She’s warm and friendly and an all around great person. What she does or doesn’t do with her body is her business. But it’s the fitting in, finding a place that is the hard part. That’s not necessarily easy for anyone though. But at a young age I think that most all of us want to fit in somewhere, we are after all some what pack animals. But the key to life, in my opinion is to not sweat it, be comfortable in your own skin and don’t worry about everyone else. They are going to accept you or not, they are going to be comfortable with you, or not. All you can do is accept others for who they are (as long as they aren’t trying to hurt others because they feel the need to have everyone else fit in the tiny little box in their minds) and move on. No matter who or what we are or think we are, we will fit in if we accept others. That woman above is an example of that. She doesn’t really fit in straight or lesbian. But she makes it work because she accepts that others don’t see the world the same as she does. And that brings me to this – really what business is it of anyone else?

  167. 167
    Inspectrix says:

    I have been meaning to add my pronouns to my work email signature and I will commit to do so tomorrow. I work in a place where that is not the norm. My kids’ school principal has her pronouns under her signature for official memos, so she inspired me. Articles like this one help show why it matters and how to do it: https://medium.com/gender-inclusivit/why-i-put-pronouns-on-my-email-signature-and-linkedin-profile-and-you-should-too-d3dc942c8743

    As for vegan food, I’m not vegan, but I love the Thug Kitchen recipes.

    And the binary nature of kids clothing drives me absolutely batty. I buy my daughter boys’ shorts because girl shorts approach Daisy Duke length most of the time. Girl snow-pants have fitted thighs… WHY? Boys pants are all made in the same 4 drab colors, it just goes on and on. I think that clothing manufacturers know that hand-me-downs are less likely across gender when girl and boy clothes are so distinct. So they can sell more items to this way.
    ________
    she/her

  168. 168
    Ruckus says:

    @John Cole:
    I’ve been here since you converted from the dark side and that never being a social conservative is the key.

    Minding your own fucking business is really easy.

    Social conservatives have to have everyone fit in little boxes or they are dazed and confused. The world has to have a specific order for them or it doesn’t make any sense to them. And conservatives need order. It doesn’t have to be good order or order that makes any logical sense whatsoever. It’s why they are easily led, they are searching for that “leader” who will show them the order.

  169. 169
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Nicole:
    “No, Lord Helmet, I did not see you playing with your dolls again.”

  170. 170
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Dear fucking god, I had forgotten that song. I shan’t thank you for reminding me of it.

  171. 171
    Gretchen Diefenderfer says:

    What a great bunch of people here on BJ supporting each other and exploring all kinds of questions. That you almost all settle into acceptance and open-mindedness is a joy and comfort in today’s world. Thank you all.

  172. 172
    MMM says:

    @West of the Rockies: Noam Chomsky videos

  173. 173

    @Mnemosyne: I can only speak for my own personal experience, but I suspect there’s some truth to this; however, I also wouldn’t overstate it. I knew very early on that the traditional traits associated with masculinity were something that didn’t come naturally to me. I made a serious attempt to conform to them in my early high school years but ultimately realised it was a futile effort. I didn’t understand what non-binary gender identity was at the time, but as soon as I saw it defined I instantly knew it applied to me. Smith describes undergoing a similar experience when he saw the definition. I suspect this is somewhat universal amongst those of us who don’t conform to the gender binary. I’ve never actually dressed up in women’s clothing beyond wearing some women’s T-shirts, and I’m not entirely sure I possess the courage to do so in Florida, and I have no sexual interest in male-presenting people, but other than that most of what Smith says about his experience applies to me.

    However, I think the rigidity of gender roles for male-presenting people in modern American society has actually caused a sort of elastic snapback effect: because they are rigid, I’m a lot more certain that they don’t apply to me than I probably otherwise would be. Like I said, I didn’t even have to think about whether I was non-binary when I saw the term defined. It was as though the term was a key unlocking an explanation for a major part of my childhood and adolescence that otherwise would have eluded me. Because our society’s gender roles are so rigid, I had no hesitation that they did not apply to me. If there were more room for male-presenting persons to present in androgynous fashions, I probably wouldn’t be as certain that I weren’t male.

    In any case, Smith also mentions that his body actually took on some feminine traits. I’ve had the same thing happen to me; I have visibly enlarged breasts, to the point where my doctors actually ran some tests to ensure it wasn’t a medical issue and that it wasn’t a medication side effect (neither were the case). I’ve never been able to grow much facial hair either, and I’ve had barely any chest hair since my adolescence. There is a range of masculinity and femininity in nature, and to some extent I would argue ours is a qualitatively different experience from those of trans men and trans women. Trans men and trans women are literally born in bodies that don’t match their brain chemistry. To some extent, it seems like some of us non-binary people actually have bodies fairly close to our brain chemistry; we’re just interpreted as men or women because that’s what people see. (My ideal body type would be moderately more feminine than my current body, but not drastically so.) At the same time, we also face oppression that trans men and trans women don’t face, in part due to our literal erasure from media, and in part because we face some discrimination from other trans people much the way bisexuals face some discrimination from gays and lesbians. In some respects, we may actually be the most persecuted minority in America, and it’s difficult to overstate how important Smith’s announcement is.

    Smith may not be that famous amongst older people, but he’s a huge deal. He sang the theme to Spectre. He’s sold millions of records. He has several Grammys and Oscars to his name. The list goes on. He’s not quite on Adele’s level of stardom, but he’s definitely a household name. Representation like this matters a lot, not least because Smith’s announcement is bringing awareness to the masses that non-binary identities are even a thing. I went some thirty years of my life not understanding my gender. I have to think that Smith’s announcement will spare a lot of younger people that confusion.

    @Ohio Mom: “Grok” has essentially this meaning, but even though my Chrome spellchecker recognises it, it’s still not understood well outside communities of science-fiction geeks.

    …I’m too exhausted to reply individually to comments throughout the thread, but I actually had no idea there were so many other non-binary folks (or parents of non-binary folks) here. I knew about a couple of you but several were new to me.

    Also, I’ll add that asexuality is also a spectrum (I think this was alluded to already but it might clarify things to have it made explicit). I suspect I somewhat fall on that spectrum as well, though it’s difficult to explain in a way that will make sense to others. The rest of this is likely to be somewhat TMI, but I think the drive to experience orgasms, the interest in sex as an abstract concept, and the interest in sex with a specific person or persons are three separate albeit related factors. I’m quite high on the first two but rarely experience the third count particularly intensely. I greatly enjoy sex, but I rarely find myself thinking about sex with people I meet. This would appear to qualify me as demisexual.

    However, I’m also not sure how much of this is asexuality and how much of it is being autistic. The rituals surrounding sex and dating continue to mystify me even after I’ve read books and gone through courses designed specifically for autistic people. A large part of this is down to body language. Autistic people neither read others’ body language well nor naturally have body language that others understand, so we are constantly expressing ourselves in ways that lead to misunderstandings. This isn’t even solved by having a relationship with another autistic person, because our body language differs from each other’s as well. Naturally, this is a major obstacle to forming and maintaining romantic and/or sexual relationships. In some respects I wonder if the lack of energy I’ve put into pursuing sex and dating is a result of having examined the tradeoff between the amount of effort involved and the potential reward and having concluded it is not worth it, rather than a result of simple biology.

    I had more here, but I deleted it because it was more than I felt comfortable revealing even under a pseudonym. I might try to rewrite it later, but I’ve already spent more time writing this than I probably could afford to. The rest of my thoughts might have to wait until the next time issues of gender and sexuality come up.

  174. 174
    BellyCat says:

    Wow… Voting this thread as one of THE VERY FINEST in the past decade!

    Learned oodles and very grateful to have stumbled upon it. Heartfelt thanks to all who poured immense TLC into this!

    (Perhaps the new website might have a link somewhere to GREAT THREADS so amazing stuff like this doesn’t get instantly tilled under — and/or maybe a tag could be added if a thread is deemed worthy of ‘going to heaven’ once it’s kaput?)

  175. 175
    Dev Null says:

    I know what binary means

    with apologies to everyone who has heard the following half-witticism a gazillion times and feels like screaming on hearing it the gazillion-and-first time:

    “There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don’t.”

    (Also apologies to anyone offended by a joke in this context.)

    (A surprising number of my non-virtual acquaintances had not previously heard the riff. Then again, perhaps they were humoring me. Several did edge away towards the door.)

  176. 176
    C Stars says:

    @(((CassandraLeo))): This thread is probably dead, but I wanted to thank you for your thoughtful comment. A lot of what you said in your first paragraph resonates with what I see in my kid, just in terms of not really having an identity (or even body concept) that’s at all dependent on specific physical traits. They just are who they are, and gender really plays no role in defining that. As parents it was something we really struggled with, because our kid was breaking gender conventions since the time they would walk…and after a scary and tearful time at the age of 5, they directed me to google “not a boy and not a girl,” and together we discovered the word “nonbinary” and the way they relaxed into that word, in that moment, with so much happiness and comfort and relief, is a memory that still makes me smile.

  177. 177
    Panurge says:

    @Mnemosyne: THANK YOU.

    I think the Reagan backlash from the ’60s has screwed up practically everyone’s mind, to say nothing of all those people of otherwise progressive sensibilities who were born within the backlash and just accept it as The Way of Things, just like the conservatives do. It’s not just that people are freaked out at deviations from the norm–it’s that the norms are themselves OLD norms, restored in the backlash. People left of center haven’t made a stink about it because bigger fish to fry or we need to free ourselves from our own dream or whatever. But the idea that the norms themselves can change doesn’t seem to occur to anyone anymore, even though we have recent evidence that they can and have changed.

  178. 178
    Leslie says:

    @Nicole: To everyone who commented about boys’/men’s limited range of color choices, etc., this Twitter thread has some interesting history: https://twitter.com/_alexrowland/status/1100074019850731521?lang=en

    @Miss Bianca: and @Eolirin: This is an interesting thought experiment. When I was a kid, I had an intense desire to be a boy, biologically — but I did not have the conviction that I was a boy trapped in the wrong body. As an adult, I’ve been more or less comfortable with my assigned gender and sex, although, like Mnemosyne, I haven’t generally been too concerned with gender conformity.

    But waking up in a biologically male body … it would no doubt feel strange at first, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t mind it at all.

    @randy khan:

    But in truth we really have no idea how people would express themselves in gender and sexuality terms if they had free choice with no stigma attached.

    This. So much this. I think you’re right that a lot more people would identify as bi, too. There’s a good chance that there’s something like a standard bell curve distribution, and most of us are closer to the middle.

    @(((CassandraLeo))): Thank you for your comments. I’m on the autism spectrum too, and the three-part range of asexuality you describe really resonates with me.

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