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Thanks everybody and especially thanks to Paizo for working so hard at being inclusive! Much respect and appreciation.

That was awesome. Thanks for a fun game! Well written.

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Looking forward to it. Topics I'd enjoy hearing discussion on would include how to normalize asking folks what their preferred pronouns are and the consequences of artwork on gaming products that send a strong message about who they are intended for. It's an unfortunate vicious cycle when companies assume that women won't buy the product anyway, so they might as well market to dudes and dress all the women in really stupid boobie armor and bikini bottoms. And then they wonder why women nope right out of the culture, don't go in the shops and don't buy the products. It's good to see some companies like Paizo bucking the trend, at least some or most of the time, but overall the culture still has a ways to go.

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Yep, I made it. Gonna play some games and eat some Hawaiian barbecue from across the street, cause spam musubi is hella righteous.

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Crisischild wrote:
Krensky wrote:

Why? Did the local police report it was a gay club? Did they report the name if the club at all? Woukd whatever junior writer was on call at that time of the morning on a Sunday at the Times or CNN or wherever know Pulse is a gay club?

Would it even have mattered if the guys target selection was just a popular nightclub instead, as seems clear now, to have had homophobia as its major component?

It seems more likely to you that the national and international news media ignored that Pulse was a gay club because they subconsciously hate gay people than that they didn't know? Really?

I used to live in the area and worked nearby. There is *no way* anyone could reasonably miss that it was a gay club. None. Not while standing in front of the club and not with the most minimal of research. I don't do clubs, but you couldn't pick up a standard distribution tourist paper without seeing mention of the shows and events there. You wouldn't even have to be gay to know what and where Pulse was in the city.

That it was a gay club is irrelevent.

Telling a deeply wounded community that their orientation is irrelevant is perhaps not the most decent or compassionate thing you could be doing with your words right now. Please consider that.

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Krensky wrote:
Ok, but is it easy to identify from NYC or London?

By a gunman walking into the place? Absolutely, unless you have lived in a cave for the past thirty years and don't know what giant rainbow triangles mean. By any half baked journalist or law enforcement officer who does the absolute minimum of casual research on the club name? Like, maybe typing it into Google? I would certainly hope so, or else what in the world are they doing in their lines of work?

As mentioned I am not a clubbing person and would not have gone to the venue. Nor was I super active in the LGBT community when I lived in the area. But I knew what Pulse was, because basically everyone did.

Failing to report Pulse as a gay nightclub is just not plausible. I smell something distinctly rodent-like in the reports that omit this.

Krensky wrote:
Celestial Healer wrote:
There has been a fair amount of LGBT erasure in some of the early reporting on this story, with some outlets not identifying that this was a gay nightclub until they were called out for it. That is surely a betrayal of the LGBT community and a horrid way to add insult to injury.
Or, as a counter arugment, they didn't know it was a gay nightclub and didn't do any research besides reporting the press releases due to the insane publishing cycle these days. Ignorance, not malice.

Used to work in Orlando. I'm not a clubbing type at all but my commute route was down Orange. It was not hard to identify as a gay club from the street view. I don't think that particular LGBT erasure argument will fly very well.

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Arakhor wrote:
And I just realised that I got those two round the wrong way. The three-letter version is a cigarette and the six-letter variant a meatball. :)

Perhaps ironically, "gayette" is another term for that meaty dish. This culinary term has no direct etymological relationship to being LGBT, but it's still amusing. Also tasty. Crepinette is equally correct.

There are minor differences between a f****t, a gayette and a crepinette, mostly having to do with the proportions and types of organ meats that are ground and bundled up in caul (mesentery) fat netting for a crisp fry-up. They are all pretty much interchangeable.

The classic charcuterie authority Jane Grigson designates the f****t sausage as being made with liver, sowbelly and onions, whereas a gayette involves liver, fatback and lean pork. The fancier crepinette involves fatback, tenderloin or ham, Madeira or brandy and egg coated bread crumbs, with the option of truffles and white sauce. Boulettes (the Breton version) are usually eaten cold and sliced, like a pate, and involve a mixture of lean and fat pork with cured bacon wrapped in caul fat.

Grigson also suggests that the name of the dish comes either from the Italian "fegato", which means liver, or from the Old French "fagot" meaning "bundle". So there's another potential etymological derivation, though I would suspect that the "bundle" term as a more likely point of origin for the derogatory slang.

This term was at one time strongly associated with the marketplace activities of poor elderly women who gathered and sold kindling, and it took on an early derogatory meaning of "hag". This was recorded prior to its use describing men who did not conform to expected standards of masculine behavior, suggesting some connection to the modern slang usage.

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Arakhor wrote:
Well, the short and long forms are two separate words in the UK, where the latter refers to cigarettes (and previously to younger boys at boarding school), whereas the former refers to meatballs and historically to bundles of sticks.

I have much love for the traditional f****t, in addition to being one myself in the more recent slang sense. What's not to like about delicious ground meat and organs wrapped in a net of mesentery fat? The physical structure of the thing is basically a tied-up bundle, and the etymological derivation is probably similar to the bundle of kindling sticks that it somewhat resembles.

Mind you, I doubt I'd call the sausage that word in a context other than historical food ethnography or amusing irony in the company of other LGBT folks.

The trick is getting hold of mesentery fat to make the things. No one sells the stuff any more, at least in the US. If you butcher your own meat though it isn't a problem. I usually have quite a surplus, and it's very handy for wrapping things like venison roasts which would otherwise be a bit dry. Think of it as net shaped bacon. It does do a lovely job of bundling up tasty ground meat, though if you want it to hold a perfect shape it's wise to poach or sous vide before frying. Skewering it with toothpicks works too, but it's more awkward in the pan. Butcher's twine sort of works if you net it, but the mesentery is soft enough that trying to tie it like a sack risks cutting it through.

This really is quite a tasty sausage. Just don't call it that word any more, or you risk substantial misunderstanding of what you are asking to put in your mouth. ;)

Deadmanwalking wrote:
But many monogamous couples invest a lot in, well, the idea of commitment and of being monogamous, and feel that the assumption that they might break that commitment is insulting. I actually feel that to be quite understandable, as, for a monogamous couple, infidelity is breaking a promise, and breaking promises is bad, thus the feeling they get that someone is assuming they'd break theirs is understandably unpleasant.

If you actually know that two people are monogamous, then it certainly is rude to ask them to break that promise. I just don't agree that you can safely assume what other people's relationship agreements are without asking. Or that it's reasonable to believe that someone is asking you to break a promise when they have no way of knowing whether you have made one. It's probably more sensitive to ask about that subject before hopping right into the propositioning, though.

You can also insult poly people very successfully by assuming that their partner is the gatekeeper of their sexual choices or has any say over them. That's guaranteed to be highly annoying to a subset of poly folks who do not wish to be treated as the property of their equal adult partner(s).

The only way to know whether you're making an insulting assumption in either direction is to ask. Or not to ask, if it's not socially appropriate to do so, and then refrain from making any invitations whose politeness is contingent on knowing that stuff.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Perhaps the best way to put what I'm trying to say is that I feel that in most contexts couples that aren't known to be non-monogamous have an inherently slightly lower level of 'assumed consent' in this regard, given the prevalence of monogamy, and that a few extra measures to find out their degree of consent for sure are thus warranted.

A brief thought exercise. Does a same sex invitation also require a higher level of assumed consent to be polite? How about if it's to or from a trans* person?

The lowest level of assumed consent in mainstream society is for a cis/het male to ask a female. Even if he does not know her orientation, her cis/trans* status or her level of consent to be asked, most people will assume that it is okay for him to ask her on a date.

If a gay male invites another male on a date in an ordinary social context, he risks physically violent rejection. Trans* folks have the same issue or worse, with horrible and insulting assumptions made about them like the bad word "trap".

The sad truth in this society is that if you are not cis/het/mono, you are putting yourself at risk simply by seeking a partner. People are likely to react angrily and violently if they do not share your orientation, even if your invitation is entirely courteous.

The question to ask isn't whether this is true - we already know that it is. The question is whether those of us who are capable of more rational and respectful thought should be actively working to dismantle this meme. I do think it makes more sense to encourage a basic standard of courtesy that does not depend on your orientation when asking anyone for any form of intimacy.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'm also pretty sure that none of my poly friends get offended when they're not asked for sex or when they're asked whether they're monogamous. So...my suggestions harm nobody and help some people (those who might take the proposition wrong).

Eh, it's entirely about context. I agree with you absolutely that you just don't go unicorn hunting on posted ground. But in a social context where you can be sure that everyone present is aware of the culture, it is no more reasonable to tell poly people not to seek partners there than it is to tell gay people that they can't ask a same sex person for a date. The standard that should be applied is whether any flirting is appropriate in this place at this time, not who is directing it at whom or how many.

Different levels of flirting are appropriate at different venues. If it helps, most of the poly folks I know preface their asking by telling about themselves, their relationship status and what they are seeking. If the person they are telling is compatible and interested, they can say so. If they do not express such interest, then it's left as a friendly social introduction.

It's not so much about who is asking how many people of what gender and orientation as how respectfully the invitation is handled. Also how respectfully a "no thanks" or no answer is accepted. There's friendly, sensitive and tactful ways to express an interest in someone, and there's aggressively horrible ways to do it that can leave people feeling threatened, harassed or violated. I think that the orientations and genders of the people involved matter a heck of a lot less than the social context and sensitivity of the invitation.

Telling ANYONE that they shouldn't dare to seek a partner, flirt or try to connect with other people just because they aren't cis/het/mono is a pretty slippery slope. Yes, there's times and places that flirting isn't appropriate, and it's almost always uncool to explicitly proposition someone for sex before you're pretty sure they consent. Unless you are actually in a venue where consent is already given at the door, blatantly walking up and asking for sex in so many words is probably a social error regardless of who is doing it to whom or how many. Explicitness should be titrated to the known level of consent, which is either negotiated in advance with the individual or a function of the venue.

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Haladir wrote:
Based on anecdotal evidence from every anti-LGBT rights person I've ever spoken with, the anti-LGBT argument seems to boil down to: "I think gay sex is icky. Here are convenient justifications for why my opinion should be imposed on everyone else."

I am tempted to start a parody anti-spaghetti campaign. I think spaghetti is icky, therefore we must move to ban evil pasta from being served to people who are endangering their taste buds if they choose to consume the vile substance. Never mind that they're adults and should be able to make their own choices about what to eat. I know better than them, and I think it's icky, so I'm going to get laws passed to make sure no one else is allowed to enjoy what I don't like. We are only trying to protect them, and it's totally our business to make those decisions for other people.

Hitdice wrote:

Tanith, I don't mean to be disrespectful, or snarky; I certainly don't think you're doing it wrong, but I'm very curious as to how a marriage between multiple parters would function legally. Same sex marriage never required changing the legal function of marriage, where including multiple partners would. I'm thinking particularly of pre-nuptual agreements and divorce.

I'm not saying multiple partnership shouldn't be accorded legal status, but that I think one of the reasons same-sex marriage gained federal recognition was because it was simply including same sex couples in an existing legal status. Hell, don't ask me, maybe all I'm saying is that getting bigamy decriminalized is the first step.

There are multiple ways to cope with the structure of a multi-adult family that do not put undue burdens on people who aren't part of that structure. The common strategies I've seen are poly families operating like any other extended family with everyone contributing according to their ability and poly families that legally incorporate or form a small business type structure and agreement in order to hold property together.

Marriage tends to be shorthand for a whole bunch of legal rights such as power of attorney, inheritance, the legal recognition of a family relationship and the ability to make health care decisions for a spouse. There are legal ways to obtain these rights for multiple people, though it is more complicated and expensive to handle individually. Mutual power of attorney and legal wills with multiple designates are fairly common.

I agree that it's not workable for the cost of limited resources like health insurance to be unfairly borne by employers for multi-adult households. Other issues include how taxes should be calculated for these kinds of households and legal issues of child custody in case one or more partners break up.

Legal agreements in case one or more partners want out, including withdrawing their assets from a relationship, can be handled on either a business model or a family model. The family model seems more common, and honestly I've seen way less acrimonious splits with arguments over assets in the poly community than among mono folks.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Theoretically, there could easily be a society where propositioning a monogamous couple wasn't considered rude...but that's definitely not the society we're in, and I'm not sure trying to make this society into that one is either appropriate or necessary.

While I'm not entirely disagreeing with what you're saying - social context is everything - it's just not a matter of "We're in 'MURICA, and everybody in THIS country is monogamous." That's really not going to be everyone's experience.

More than half of my friends are some flavor of poly, so the social norm in the culture I actually live in and experience day to day is that it is not insulting if someone asks politely if you are open to dating, sex or some form of intimate play. If you don't happen to be of a compatible gender or orientation, or aren't interested, or aren't poly, you say "naah, we're not down for that." No harm done, as long as the person asking was courteous and not creepy and totally respects your right to say no.

The folks I hang out with understand clearly that it would be no more appropriate to take these social norms out into mundane space than it would be to bring a platter of ham and lobster sandwiches to a bar mitzvah. It's the "when in Rome" thing. You don't proposition people or even ask their preferred gender pronouns and orientation at work or at a social event that is for Aunt Mabel's 70th birthday rather than for queer Pagan poly activists. You don't have to agree with other people's taboos in order to be appropriately respectful of their cultural traditions.

I already live in a space where it doesn't matter what gender asks to share sex with what number of people of what orientation. That's my actual day to day social and cultural experience. We're all perfectly capable of respecting other people's taboos in places where it's polite to do so, but that doesn't mean their way is objectively right or better. Or that ours is. Ours looks weird to them, and theirs looks weird to us.

What sucks is being dismissed like we don't exist or like we're doing it wrong. It would be nice if the respect went both directions.

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Riuk wrote:
its not we she or I invite this action the thing that angers us so much is when the offending party acts like we are lying about how much that insulted us...

Have you thought about the reasons why you feel insulted when someone asks to share sex with you?

I totally get it if one of the reasons is that they are asking in a rude or vulgar way, or if they are obviously making the bad assumption that being bisexual is the same as being a swinger. Or if you are in a social context where anyone making any kind of sexual invitation is inappropriate, like at work or in church. Those are very good reasons to be insulted. Nobody should be subject to that kind of thing in a professional environment, or in a place where it's obvious that they don't consent to be asked.

But, if you are in a social situation where it would be totally okay for a heterosexual man to politely ask a heterosexual woman to be intimate with him, **how is it actually different** for someone to ask a couple the same thing?

Monogamy is just not a safe or reasonable default assumption. It's cool if you are, but it's also cool if other people aren't. And no one automatically knows which you are without asking. If the reason you feel insulted is that you believe that everyone is supposed to be monogamous and that you expect it to be a default assumption about everyone's relationship, that may be worth some rethinking.

Riuk wrote:

ok I have a question....my wife is BI and i am pan

we have been together for 11 years as female and male

why do some lesbians and other bi people {and especially CIS people} think that just because she is bi that means we would be totally happy to have a three-way...We DONT WANT THAT i just want to be with her...yes she and i have a wider sexual preference than just male/female but tat dose not mean we are ok with any of your advances. our relation ship is completely monogamist !!!

why when a girl hits on my wife in front me and she tell her im her husband they act and say "oh he dose not mind i bet this is getting him off"

B#*&~ step away i don't we don't like that yes my wife may find you attractive but we only want each other and no one else in our bedroom

why do people act this way!?

Either they're making bad assumptions, or - much less likely - you're hanging out at swinger's parties and poly speed dating events. As it is highly unlikely that you're doing the latter thing by accident, it's a lot more likely that people are making bad assumptions.

Bisexual and pansexual is not the same thing as being polyamorous or a swinger. Which are ALSO very different things, but that's a whole other kettle of fish to fry. You can be pansexual and neither poly nor a swinger, or be heterosexual and both things. Asking politely is the only way to find out, and it's not always appropriate in all social contexts even to ask.

If poly or swinging or both is a lifestyle you consent to, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that and it's going to be pretty normal for people to issue "join us" invitations within that community. Though even there, if they do it rudely it's going to be a problem. If you are not voluntarily participating in those communities? Probably a bad idea for people to assume that you consent to explicit sexual invitations, at least not without politely asking first about your relationship status. Just knowing your orientation does not count as consent to being hit on.

But to make a devil's advocate argument, the standards about when it is or isn't rude to ask politely if someone wants to enjoy sex with you really do need to be applied equally. Is it rude for a cisgendered man to hit on a cisgendered woman in a random social situation, assuming he does so with reasonable courtesy and is not crude, threatening or harassing? Most of society doesn't think so. In fact our whole culture seems to be built around this trope. How about for a transgendered woman to do the same with a cisgendered woman? How about for a transgendered man to make this invitation to a couple? A cisgendered man to a cisgendered man? I could go on, but you get the idea.

The problem here is that people can react with absolute rage and hate and even violence if you violate their taboos about being asked for sex. Even if the same standard of polite or rude would not apply if you were privileged to be a cisgendered heterosexual man hitting on a cisgendered heterosexual woman.

It's a subject worth thinking about long and hard. Would the invitation be offensive if it were being made by a cis/het man to a cis/het woman in the same social context? If not, maybe think about why it is rude because it was made to or from a different combination of genders and orientations without making any automatic assumptions about your personal relationship rules.

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The Alkenstarian wrote:

Asking someone in a committed relationship if they can join in, without ANY invitation having been extended, but just for their own kicks and because...

Depends on the culture. It's awfully rude and self-centered to assume that every community is monogamous and shares your personal set of taboos about how sex is supposed to happen between consenting adults. There are cultures where polite invitations to join in fun of that nature are friendly rather than disrespectful.

The issue is not making those invitations when you know you are among people who have weird taboos on the subject and who are likely to become upset or offended. Knowing when you're in that cultural context and refraining from violating their taboos is obviously important. It's a 'when in Rome' issue. You also wouldn't want to offer a ham and lobster sandwich to an observant Jew at a bar mitzvah. That would be rude. Not because ham and lobster sandwiches are bad, but because you offered it in the wrong place to the wrong person and violated their taboo.

Social sensitivity to other people's taboos is NOT the same thing as being a psychopath if you do not happen to share them. It would be a lot more accurate to suggest that you should be aware of what the local taboos are before making any offers that may violate them and upset people. It doesn't matter if it's sex or a sandwich. Though people tend to get a lot more freaked out and judgmental about sex, and are a lot faster to make assumptions that their personal set of taboos has to be universal to everyone. News flash: they aren't, and it's rude to assume that they are while insulting people and cultures who don't do it your way.

Yes, it's rude bordering on unreasonable harassment to make those invitations at a Christian church social or in the workplace. It would be equally rude to freak out at such an invitation, expressed courteously, if you were attending an alternative lifestyle event.

CosmicKirby wrote:
I don't fully grasp where you're trying to go with the quoted segment above. It seems that you're of the opinion that female-gender related issues are more important, which is fine.

I think it's important for all characters to be drawn in ways that don't disrespect and dismiss real life human beings. Blackface is not cool, assuming princesses are helpless reward objects for no good reason is not cool, and mocking handicapped people is not cool.

This said, we are media bombed almost constantly with messages about how women are supposed to be the helpless, simpering rewards for the real heroes. You literally can not escape it. That's a pretty serious problem.

Handicapped people are generally under-represented as the heroes of stories, though I can think of some classic exceptions especially in comic books. What I don't see is a constant media bombardment of actively negative messages about handicapped people.

So no, I don't view the issues as being in the same ballpark. Not because it's any worse to insult women than handicapped people, but because it's not happening on as massive a scale. Being underrepresented is not the same as your gender constantly being used as lazy storyteller's shorthand for "this character is useless and stupid and exists only to be a reward for the hero."

It isn't a matter of which is worse so much as which is more common. It is a very good thing that people finally figured out that blackface isn't cool or funny, though I'm not sure most quite get *why* it's not cool to use skin color as cinematic shorthand for "entertainingly stupid sidekick".

Sadly, we are still pretty much in the blackface era when it comes to female characters in fantasy literature.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
And what kind of message does that send to the handicapped? Wait for someone to save you instead of solving your own problems? You can't save yourself, you need someone to do it for you?

If you have an able bodied young healthy princess and an able bodied young healthy prince as characters in a story who have fallen down a well, it is far more common storytelling to have the princess unable or unwilling to lift a finger to save herself. She can't or won't climb solely because she is a princess. That's problematic.

The reader would not easily believe that the prince couldn't save himself, because princes can always save themselves. But a princess? Lazy storytelling shorthand has her helplessly stuck at the bottom of the well for no better reason than she's a princess.

If she is a lame princess who does not have much use of her legs, or if her arm was injured in the fall, that shows a clear reason why she can not save herself. She might try, but ultimately her physical limitations are the reason she needs help, rather than just her gender.

If "handicapped people are helpless" stereotypes were grossly overused in fiction, I could certainly see a reason for being concerned. They aren't. The actual problem is the massive overuse of "female bodied = simpering helpless reward object with no agency". That is an insanely common storytelling device.

It really is a major and pervasive problem in fantasy literature. Trying to divert attention away from that problem by saying that showing her as physically limited rather than suicidally gender stereotyped might be insulting to handicapped people is, for lack of a better term, lame.

... did you even watch the video? This is exactly what happened.

When was the princess shown to have actually developed this liking, as opposed to volunteering herself to be the traditional hero reward just because he's a hero and she's a princess?

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CosmicKirby wrote:
An equally valid interpretation of the stereotype of rescuing a "princess" is the idea that royalty are generally seen as foppish, or in a more negative sense incompetent. In an interpretation such as this, the gender is irrelevant to the station of the princess, that of a noble politician.

That argument only holds water if "prince" isn't lazy storytelling shorthand for "brave, strong hero" while "princess" is lazy storytelling shorthand for "helpless reward for the brave hero who saves her".

Which it is. It still boils down to gender. The stereotypical prince is the bold, brave hero. It is the villain who is likely to be depicted as a swishy fop who challenges gender roles. The punishment for his gender transgression is usually death.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
If you think you can write or even find a coherent, engaging story that won't propagate any negative messages to any viewers I would be interested in seeing it.

Super easy with only minor tweaks. When this story needs a cheerleader who recognizes and approves of the hero's deeds, no problem - that cheerleader can be a mother or father giving their approval, a strong warrior of either sex, or a mixed group of cheering bystanders. Use your imagination rather than going with the "helpless simpering female" stereotype that is tired and outdated.

When the story needs a helpless victim to be saved, that helpless victim can be a boy, a puppy, a kitten, a toddler, am injured or handicapped person, or an elderly person of either gender. An able bodied young female of the same age as the hero should not be assumed to be helpless for no better reason than her gender. If there is a reason that a princess character has to be helpless, show the reason. Don't just use "princess" or "young female" as storytelling shorthand for "helpless" by default. If she needs saving, then show the reasons why it is beyond her ability to save herself.

The princess who offers to marry the hero for no better reason than to be a reward for his brave deeds is difficult to replace in this story for plot reasons. However, she could easily be shown to have developed a liking for the hero on her own rather than offering for no reason other than a princess being the designated hero reward.

Telling a story that doesn't hurt and insult people is actually pretty easy. It's about respecting your characters and showing that they are real people with ability and decision making agency. Unless they have actual reason to lack ability or agency other than hurtful race or gender stereotypes. Showing those reasons and building those characters adds to the story rather than detracting from it.

Consider what this story would look like if every African-American character in it was shown as helpless or as lacking decision making agency for no better reason than their skin color. It would look pretty bad, because the storyteller is using race as shorthand for "useless and/or stupid". That actually was done quite a bit in storytelling and entertainment from a certain period in our history. This is why blackface is not funny or acceptable. Also it is lousy storytelling. We can do better, and we should.

Kajehase wrote:
I'd rather say that it's time to stop telling girls and women they can't be the hero (and in all honesty, I also think we're doing much better at that than we did when I was a kid during the 80:s). Telling men and boys to be heroic is not something I have a problem with - as long as we also teach them not to horn in on somebody else's heroic journey, and that sometimes it's okay if you're the one being rescued.

Using princesses as the default for "helpless object to be rescued + marriage reward for the hero" is a pretty tired stereotype, aside from being hurtful.

I think it makes more sense to have a boy, a prince, a puppy or a baby in the "needs rescuing by strong hero" role. Especially in this story. Also leaving out the lame bits about how the princesses exist only to cheer on the hero or offer to marry the hero.

It's cool to have stories with a male hero, and extra cool if he isn't white, cisgendered or heterosexual. I just wish writers didn't keep abusing the tired old stereotypes about girls always having to be the helpless victims and/or the offered reward. Whether or not it even makes sense for them to WANT to be with the hero of their own volition.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

The bravest knight

Isn't it about time to stop teaching people that boys and men are the heroes and girls and women are the helpless objects or the rewards?

The ending is very nice, but that doesn't make the beginning any more fun for people who are sick of being told that girls are only good for being cheerleaders or victims.

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Zaister wrote:
TanithT wrote:
There is no clearer way to send the message that this product is not for women than to make the female character into a sex object at the expense of her effectiveness as an adventurer.
What exactly are you talking about here?

Dat @$$.

If your female fighter looks like she is dressed for a kinky fetish party and she is fighting ice trolls on a glacier, that's problematic. Not because porn is bad, but because she is being shown as someone else's porn fantasy rather than actually being the hero of her own fantasy. She isn't a real fighter with actual armor or anything. She's only exists to give the real heroes the reward of eye candy. In a nutshell, that's the problem.

Porn is great and all, but the thing about porn is that it is generally made for the enjoyment of one gender and orientation. It tells the people who aren't that gender or orientation that this book is not for them and they are not being considered as customers.

This is a non problem when it actually is porn. It does become a problem in the gaming hobby, because gaming is not only supposed to be for heterosexual men. That's a pretty alienating message to everyone who doesn't happen to be of that gender and orientation.

If you're going to dress the fighters in kinky fetish wear with teeny little leather straps and their butts stuck out provocatively in the air, do it to both sexes. And don't do it in the snow. That has got to be one seriously uncomfortable fetish party.

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There is no clearer way to send the message that this product is not for women than to make the female character into a sex object at the expense of her effectiveness as an adventurer.

Lingerie has a really crappy armor class, and it is even stupider while fighting frost giants in the snow. What this says is that female fighters are only important for the sexual thrills they can offer, and that they don't get to be depicted as real fighters with real adventuring gear. Because they're only there to look sexy and be rewards for the real heroes. Eg, the male readers.

Gimping the intelligence, effectiveness and equipment of female characters so that guys can have fantasy fanservice is a pretty strong message about who this publication - and this hobby - is supposed to be for. Not okay. Not even remotely cool.

Seriously. I expected better from Paizo. This is not that. This is a slap in the face to all the women in the hobby who are being shown how little they matter as customers.

Sir Awesomesauce McSnazzlepants wrote:

Ok, so one of my friends was finally able to make her transition!

I actually have a question: is it customary to give gifts when this sort of thing happens? I was planning on it, but don't know if it's really a thing or not.

That should totally be a thing. I would be so proud and happy for someone who had achieved that milestone in their lives. It takes a lot of courage and effort to get there, and it is definitely something worth acknowledging and recognizing.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

You're right, I was not looking at the evidence, nor did I claim to. That's why I chose my words carefully:-

There remains the possibility that the sexuality of women (or whomever) changes over time, but that the change has a biological cause as opposed to a conscious one.
Ah, well! The limits of a text based medium are illustrated yet again. : )

I am unsure of why you would attempt to build a case for any argument without being willing or able to consider the evidence.

Any feelings and personal experiences you have are absolutely valid and deserve to be heard and respected rather than challenged for evidence. Making arguments about biology does require examining the evidence in order to be remotely sensible or responsible.

Evidence is not evil, nor is it automatically skewed or bigoted. It certainly can be, which is why it's important to read the actual studies to understand their quality and level of peer review.

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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
My post was simply building support for a case to show why those biologists should have known better than to say, 'you were bi all the time', when both biology and logic should have led them to conclude that an individual's sexuality can naturally, biologically change over time.

The problem with this statement is that you are not looking at the evidence. With respect, I do not believe you have comprehensively reviewed it before reaching such a conclusion.

The existing evidence does point strongly to mammal biology *not* being particularly mutable or fluid over time. The evidence picture is far from complete or absolute in terms of the neurobiology of human sexuality, but everything we do have points biologists pretty strongly to the exact opposite conclusion of what you are suggesting.

The immediate expression of biology by the organism in the environment? Absolutely can be mutable and fluid over time. The foundation and potential of it, generally much less so. Except in specific taxa that we are not in.

This is not to disrespect the wide and wonderful range of human sexuality and unique experience, or anyone on any place on the spectrum. Greater understanding of our biology is an asset, not an enemy. Though like everything else, it certainly has the potential to be misused.

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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
There remains the possibility that the sexuality of women (or whomever) changes over time, but that the change has a biological cause as opposed to a conscious one.

Evidence? To the best of my knowledge there is none to support this hypothesis in mammals, as interesting as it potentially may be. In mammals, those brain pathways appear to be strongly influenced and very likely permanently fixed in fetu.


In the news recently was the 'virgin births' of Florida sawfish.

The researchers say the female smalltooth sawfish are resorting to asexual reproduction because their numbers are so low mating opportunities are fewer.
Note that I'm not suggesting that human women are comparable to sawfish but men aren't; that would be absurd. I'm merely pointing out that lifeforms can change over time, biologically, in response to...well, all sorts of stuff. It should not surprise us that if we understand sexuality to be a result of biology as opposed...

Yes and no. Sawfish, like a number of fish, amphibian and reptile species, are potentially parthenogenetic organisms. This characteristic does not always visibly express itself in a given population or a given organism, but it is a fixed species characteristic.

Also, gender expression/identity/morphology and sexual orientation are utterly different things that can not be conflated.

This means that the correct response from those biologists should not be "you were bi all the time," but "your sexuality was evolving biologically all the time."

That really is a nifty and sensible sounding hypothesis. To the best of my knowledge however, mammal biology does not work that way.

Jessica half Orc Pistoliero wrote:
Good artcle in the Guardian: When you're trans, every choice to be more feminine could mean life or death by Jetta Rae

Damn. Now I kind of want to give her money. I did find her wish list on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1O3YVHZ4ZG32/ref=cm_sw_su_w

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Crystal Frasier wrote:
It was a giant mistake for me to come back into this thread

It sucks - a lot - to be triggered painfully by stuff people say that they have no way to realize is triggering. Sucks for people on the other side of that, too, because I'm pretty sure Ashiel had absolutely no intention of being hurtful or disrespectful. Though I certainly agree that even saying a deadname is a very bad thing, and it would be MUCH kinder to edit it out. Think of it like something out of Lovecraftian horror, since that's pretty much the level of badness it has the power to invoke.

Sometimes you can solve things in a group of friends by explaining what your boundaries are and how to respect them. But sometimes even doing that takes more emotional energy than you have to spare.

So please take care of yourself any way you feel like you have to. Ultimately that's what's important. Everyone here will really miss you, though, because you contribute quite a lot here in the way of hope and inspiration. So thank you for what you have given already. It has made a difference to many.

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Todd Stewart wrote:
I sometimes feel like I'm not "trans enough" since to anyone on the street, they just see a random male-bodied person.

As usual, we're in basically the same boat. We both have social and professional passing privileges as cisgendered, and heterosexual couple privileges. I am uncomfortable with that privilege as it does not reflect the truth. And because privileging some people over others in society is utterly horrific, even if you are (at least apparently) in a group that gets more of the privilege.

I'm also not out except to my partner, close friends, and very specific places online and off that don't have any crossover with things in my professional life. So I'm not facing any discrimination that transitioning would almost certainly bring

While I entirely respect and will support whatever degree of out you do or do not wish to be, I think you severely underestimate the information storing capacity of the Internet. You are not in the closet after posting to a public forum. Potential employers absolutely can find this thread and everything you've said in it if they care enough to dig.

Would they? Quite possibly, in a field that required security clearance. Would it be an issue? Hard to say. I could see an employer thinking harder about adding a non transitioned trans* person to the health insurance roster, if for nothing else the future costs of their possible transition.

I have no interest in advising anyone to stay in the closet, because closets suck and are toxic and should have no legitimate reason to even exist. I also won't advise anyone to come out of the closet if they aren't prepared to face the consequences and pay the price of doing so. Because this society sucks and is toxic and there can be consequences. I will however advocate a fully informed decision.

As to being discriminated against in the LGBT community, don't even get me started. There is a LOT of hate in the gay and lesbian communities for transmen and transwomen, and it's just as ugly and toxic as anything the mainstream throws at us. If not more so, because it's coming from people who are supposed to be your tribe, your allies. Bisexuality also gets a lot of hate, but I don't even have that much on my membership card.

Being a non transitioning trans* genderqueer with cis/het passing privilege does not lay out any welcome mats in the LGBT community. I will never be accepted by gay men as one of them without fully transitioning, and even then it would be highly dubious and I would face a lot of discrimination and distaste. I get along well with lesbians until I explain that I am not attracted to female bodied/female identified people. Then it generally goes downhill.

Nahh. I'm not going to invade either of their spaces. They don't want or need me there. I look like an oppressor, and unlike them I get to enjoy all the benefits they don't because of a social structure of oppression. The only thing that makes me trans* or queer is invisible, which means that I am - like it or not - firmly on the cis/het side of the social privilege division. And that is a very deep division.

There's Haves and Have-Nots, and the chasm between us of social turbulence created by the gross unfairness of social privilege is much too wide and deep for me to reach across for support.

I am ashamed that we still live in the Dark Ages.

Navy veteran kicked out for being transgender

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SAMAS wrote:

Note the quotation marks. And that was my point. Killing a rabbit for no reason (as opposed to, say, it's meat or hide) is kinda on the mild, puppy-kicking side of evil. Doing it nearly a hundred times? That's just work. Work you're not getting anything for, at that.

Pretty much. It's like having a hundred buckets of fried chicken or a hundred cheeseburgers that you throw away for no reason. It is not so much evil as idiotic. Even if you don't care that lives were taken to make the food, it's still a childishly wasteful thing to do with food.

Speaking of which, it's bunny processing day today. Two nice fat ones are getting dressed out downstairs. No wasting allowed! Salting the hides to tan later, freezing the inner bits to make a pate when I have enough stocked up to make it worth sauteeing them all together in butter and wild garlic with a bit of brandy, maybe some dried cherries. Yum.

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SAMAS wrote:
KingmanHighborn wrote:
Party of Summoner, Rogue (Catfolks), Monk (Human) and Fighter/Inquisitor (Dhamphir) launched an attack on a goblin stronghold, and inside was several bunny rabbits in cages that the goblins used for food and ritual sacrifice (100 to be exact). The monk decided the kill 99 of the bunnies and give the rogue the last one as a pet.
Did you make him actually do it? Because despite the "shockingly callous EVIL" of the act as a concept, that's way too boring for a person to actually do. He'd probably have quit before the 20th grapple check.

Killing and neatly butchering a rabbit takes 20 to 30 minutes with a proper bleedout. Just killing? Thirty seconds to a minute to get the animal positioned properly for cervical dislocation and performing a quick hard jerk. If you didn't care about doing it properly? Less time than that, but you'd probably have to do it to some animals twice. A hard blow angled correctly to the back of the neck right at the occipital condyle will also do the trick and will achieve reliable separation of spine and skull with minimal carcass bruising if done properly. Basically it's internal decapitation when performed correctly, and it is instant and humane.

Also horribly boring and a waste of food to repeat this 99 times. The most I want to process at a sitting is half a dozen, and that's a solid evening of work. Though the killing part is a pretty tiny fraction of it.

If you think killing bunnies is evil, either you're a hardcore PETA vegan or you've never taken the time to think about where your food comes from. It does not grow magically in white styrofoam packages at WalMart.

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This probably breaks board rules, and is very, very bad. Trigger warnings for consent violation.

I ran a campaign where the players alternated between running characters on the evil side and innocent heroes elsewhere on the continent being deeply and tragically affected by the mess the bad guys were making. To their credit, they threw themselves wholeheartedly into both roles, no metagaming to make their other lives easier.

At one point the evil group had captured a noble young paladin and his beloved old Druid mentor. They tortured the elderly mentor to death in front of the paladin. The evil cleric of Morvan, Lord of the Demon Undead, re-animated him and had his corpse perform certain non-board-mentionable acts of personal violation on the paladin while screaming, "Convert! Convert!"

Paladin failed his will save and I ruled the operation a complete success. Their other characters got to pick up the pieces when the gibbering wreck of the demoralized and broken ex-paladin showed up on their doorstep.

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Sissyl wrote:
It is pretty good. It is a different approach, and that is always good. However, my own thought is that my experience of my gender is so utterly central to who I am that it's absolutely no great stretch to imagine the anguish if it didn't match my body.

What I actually have a difficult personal time understanding is how gender can be so central to anyone's self-identity, because it is not really part of mine. I get that it is central to other people, even if I can't understand it at a gut level. But the part I really don't get is how people are obsessed with gendering other people, not just themselves.

Why does anyone need to know my gender or treat me in gendered ways or use gendered language to describe me? The whole thing just weirds me out. I have no answers to give about my gender identity that fit into a binary, and that makes life pretty uncomfy in a world that is so intensively focused on gendering everyone and everything.

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Very interesting reading for folks looking at the biology of being transgendered.

Summary: Our sense of belonging to the male or female gender is an inherent component of the human identity perception. As a general rule, gender identity and physical sex coincide. If this is not the case, one refers to trans-identity or transsexuality. In a current study, brain researchers were able to demonstrate that the very personal gender identity of every human being is reflected and verifiable in the cross-links between brain regions.

Science Daily article

Reference paper

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Jessica Price wrote:
The point is all women aren't pregnant all the time, and we have pregnancy tests. "But women can get pregnant!" is not a valid reason not to release drugs onto the market without having tested them on women.

Agreed. However, the issue as perceived by the folks doing the testing is that it is difficult and expensive to rule out pregnancy in a female testing population. That doesn't mean it's okay to cut those corners, only that it's one of the reasons that it is easier and cheaper to use a male population. Especially if there is any chance at all of teratogenic effect.

And Sissyl, sometimes we ARE different enough that there are serious consequences to treating the male body as the human default.

Absolutely, and the same is true for transwomen and transmen. There are health issues that need to be paid attention to in appropriate, respectful and patient-specific ways by medical caregivers. Drug interactions and some care needs will differ, and it's important that everyone get the best possible care for their individual needs. Treating patients differently based on things like race, gender and medical history (eg, hormonal or surgical gender transition) is actually a GOOD thing when it is done respectfully and for the purpose of tailoring appropriate care for that individual patient's needs.

May society evolve to the point that it would be unthinkable to differentiate between human beings for any other reason.

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Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
I read a few weeks ago about how the FDA does not require seperate drug trial regimens for women until right before a drug is released, and trials often don't use women near as much as men. Problem is, men and women don't necessarily react to all drugs the same way do to things like hormonal differences, causing something of a problem.

Exactly. It's easier and cheaper for a lot of reasons to use a male population for some types of research, so that tends to be the default out of pure laziness and unwillingness to do the extra work. This does definitely cause real world problems in situations where there are unexpected and substantial pharmacokinetic differences that show up in a female population AFTER the drug is already approved and in use in that population. Not acceptable.

Requiring population specific testing is a very good idea to prevent these kinds of issues. There are very real prospects of serious health issues if a drug that is safe and effective for one population has an unacceptable incidence of harmful side effects in a population for which no adequate testing was done.

I agree with Tanith for the most part, with the caveat that we have to be careful, because their are certain people who use this sort of science to try and back racial supremacist ideologies. By all means, carry out and use racially based medical research, but be wary of the racial determinant types.

The only way we can "be careful" is to adhere to scientific ethics. That means (obviously!) no destructive or non consenting testing on human subjects, and no unethical treatment of any human population. However, it does make a heck of a lot of sense that if your racial makeup puts you at high risk of X medical condition, it should be higher on the priority list to test you for it rather than the patient in the next bed who does not have these genetic risk factors. Attempting false "equal treatment" in this case is ultimately harmful for hospitals and patients.

Here's another bugaboo for folks to think about. With enough information on how drug responses differ by ancestry, it may be theoretically possible to engineer targeted (to some extent) biological weaponry. This is a harder thing than you might think, as there is just not that much variability in the species. The best you'd likely get is a slight improvement in your statistics so that something like 80% of Group A was affected versus only 50% of Group B. But it's still an ugly specter to contemplate.

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Sissyl wrote:
Racist biology is political s%&+ layered on biological research. However, just as an example, we know that there is a far higher genetic variability among people with more recent roots in Africa (such as the American black population) than other populations, thereby giving them a greater risk of idiopathic side effects of various types of medication. Is this racist science?

One of my pet peeves is that this direction of research has been discouraged or suppressed because it can be labelled "racist" or otherwise bigoted. The end results are actually a heck of a lot more racist and result in poorer medical care for minority populations.

This is equally true with regards to research into LGBT issues. Good science is good science, and pursuing it ultimately means that we get a higher standard of medical care. Yes, it really would be a good thing to better understand the biology of homosexuality, transgender and non binary gender conditions. Likewise the biology behind medically relevant heritable traits in human groups that evolved in different geographical regions and environments. because that information is highly relevant to giving those populations the best possible medical care.

If your ancestors evolved in an environment rich in plant alkaloids, you will metabolize alkaloid drugs much more quickly than someone whose ancestors did not come from such a region. If doctors are prevented from knowing or using information like this because some idiot politician thinks that racial profiling in medicine is somehow wrong or bigoted, that does real and serious harm to the population that is supposedly being protected.

Can information be misused? Sure. But saying it shouldn't exist because it can be used to hurt people is sort of like telling people that they should ban electricity and sit in the dark so that no one might get hurt by it.

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KSF wrote:
thejeff wrote:

In the interest of avoiding something that comes off as blackface, what do people think about using fantasy takes on gender changing concepts without directly being trans* characters. Anything from the traditional living as the opposite sex for reasons of plot to shapeshifters comfortable as either sex to characters like Orlando who change for somewhat mysterious reasons.

But without focusing on the dysphoria or wanting to change.

Is that treading too close or is it far enough away to just be a different thing?

I guess, to me, I find that approach to be a frustrating one, if the intent is to explore transgender characters without having transgender characters. It can relegate transness to a strictly metaphorical state, a kind of backhanded erasure, as it were. Just my opinion.

I dunno. Is there a trans* membership card you can earn or lose for not being quite trans* enough or queer enough? My own experience is definitely on the trans* spectrum, but probably closer to genderfluid or non gendered. I am not metaphorical, but I do often feel erased in both cisgendered and transgendered society because I am neither cis enough nor trans* enough to truly fit either category. Like gender, trans* seems to be more of a spectrum than a binary.

And yep, those are still pretty good plot hooks if you hang them on a fantasy character. Same caveats apply about it being awfully easy to trip up in bad ways if your understanding of what it feels like not to be cisgendered is limited to shallow stereotypes.

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It's a potentially awesome plot hook, though if you don't seriously understand the day to day issues trans* folk face in the real world, using them as plot fodder in a fantasy world will come off poorly written at best and seriously hurtful and offensive at worst. Blackface is just not funny or cool.

There is a rich tapestry of stories to be told about the trans* experience and how it might intersect with a given culture or technology level or heroic situation. It is well worth exploring if you have the depth of understanding to do so. It is also a subject very easy to trip up on in various ways if you don't have more than shallow stereotypes to write about. I wouldn't recommend it if you don't have enough of an understanding of the issues to create a realistic, believable fictional depiction that doesn't contribute to hurtful stereotypes.

It's not something I've explored personally very much in character creation, as I really don't tend to self-insert even in my player characters. They're all just characters, and part of the fun for me in writing a character is exploring an entirely alien mindset and experience that is not my own.

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KSF wrote:
Just read about a transgender NPC in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Two of them! FtM and MtF. Well drawn characters also whose presence in the plot does not revolve around being trans*, and who you probably won't even spot as such unless you take every dialogue option and get to know them. Also equal romance options for lesbian, gay, bi and straight. Bioware seriously rocks.

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The Doomkitten wrote:

Like I said, I'm about 75% sure I'm some sort of trans, and I would like to either confirm that yes, I'm trans, or no, I'm not, at the very least. But, every time I gather enough courage to try to at least write a speech, I get scared and walk away.

Advice would be very helpful, thank you!

Trans* is a pretty wide spectrum, and it doesn't have a platinum membership card that gets revoked if you ever feel like doing a cisgendered thing. I also feel "not trans enough" a lot of the time, and I most often wish I could put down something to the effect of "Well f* ALL this gender crap, none of it works for me" for my own identification. Because that's about how I feel on the subject, and it weirds me right out that 99.9% of people are hyperobsessed with gender as a binary. Even other people who identify as trans*. I don't feel that way myself, and I don't plan on transitioning or bothering to present as any gender in particular, which means I default to looking and being treated socially as cisgendered.

What does that make me? Heck if I know. Don't care all that much, either. It still bugs me to be misgendered as female because I'm stuck wearing this silly drag suit that somebody forgot to put a zipper in, and sometimes it's worse than other times, but I'm not sure I wouldn't feel the same way if I transitioned. Binary gender is truly not a good fit for me, and there aren't really words or a clear understanding for most people of what that actually means.

No one can confirm how you feel about your gender except you, and even you may not feel the same way about it all the time. I don't. Ultimately it's about finding a comfort zone for yourself that may not be (and does not have to be) exactly the same as everyone else's, even other people who may identify as trans*.

For now, it may be enough to figure out that you're not 100% cisgendered and that you may be genderfluid, genderqueer, trans* or whatever other label you personally feel comfortable with and seems to fit you best. More importantly, knowing that wherever you are is okay and is none of anyone else's business to decide for you.

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Krensky wrote:
Please consider what it means when you don't bother to read a post before responding to a naughty word and why it's a really terrible idea.

Someone could be saying the most reasonable and sensible thing in the world, but if they use homophobic, transphobic, gender-bashing or sex-shaming language to make their point, it detracts a lot from their point and makes the reader focus mainly on the fact that this person is actually saying bad things about other people as a matter of habit.

What does that say about that person's habits and what they take for granted to be true and okay? The problem is not that it's naughty in a sexual way, the problem is that it's historically a mechanism for putting women "in their place" by expressing contempt and condemnation for their sexuality. It's most often used against women who are not even sex workers, but who choose to be sexual with someone other than the person uttering the frustrated insult. The implied message about women's sexuality is really pretty creepy.

Also, I reserve the right to insult the bad habit that is the English language with long standing and well known, if slightly ribald, quotes.

In other words, you are saying that because bigoted, bashing, hateful language is long standing and accepted, you will keep using it? Because everyone else does? Understand that the word has a very long history of being used to curse and shame women for being sexual at all or for not being sexual enough with the person doing the shaming. Like the n-word, it is a bad word because it has a very long history of being used as a hurtful bashing tool to keep an oppressed group in their prescribed lower social place with fewer rights.

You are being asked to think about what it does to the social atmosphere, and the kinds of values it supports and reinforces, to use words that shame people for their gender and sexuality. That is all. If after thinking about it you decide that your "right" to use those words is much more important than the effect it has on the people you are carelessly insulting and putting in their place, then that's your decision. Other people listening to you have an equal right to decide on their opinion of someone who makes that kind of choice.

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Krensky wrote:
And yet there are always those ready and desperate to defend the old cribhouse whore with vast quantiti of wailing, wringing of hands, and gnashed teeth.

Please consider what it actually means when you use terms for female sex workers as an insult, and why it's a really terrible idea to perpetuate this attitude.

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Again, biological aberattion.

As Inigo Montoya said, I do not think this word means what you think it means. Please refrain from attempting to use the terms of science if you do not, in fact, know anything whatsoever about the field you are attempting to pontificate in.

The best research extant supports the theory that homosexuality is an important evolutionary feature, not a bug. The existence of same sex paired non reproductive but "economically" contributing adults in any group of social animals is actually a major factor in highly successful direct and lateral gene transmission and long term retention with higher survivability of offspring. Simple translation, social groups with a small but consistent percentage of homosexual pairings are more successful and survivable than those without any, so nature keeps them around on purpose. Homosexuality is, in every sense of the word, completely natural. It is irrational to state otherwise against the evidence, regardless of how you personally feel about it.

Humans can be LGBT due to biological/genetic aberration OR by higher levels of thought (things like Pansexuals are only capable in humans due to their utter disregard of sex over mental stimulation and compatibility)

You have absolutely no idea what you are saying here. Pansexuality has been very thoroughly documented in multiple species from chimpanzees to crocodilians, and in some cases serves a valuable social bonding function in those species.

Sexual orientation and gender identity may be grouped under the same social umbrella, but are very different things. There is, remotely, some justification in considering the reversal/interruption in hormonal cascades in fetu resulting in the development of differently gendered neural to physical architecture as an epigenetic aberration, but it's not an appropriate term either scientifically or socially to describe trans* persons. Please be aware of this, as it borders perilously on hurtful and offensive hate speech.

Leslie Fish said it best, I think.

The Cripples' Shield Wall

Consider the plight of the one-legged knight
As he braces his crutch with his shield;
He’ll stand still and wait till you come for the bait,
Then you’ll find that the bastard won’t yield!
Do you knock his one leg down, there’s still no relief,
He’ll crawl down the field with his sword in his teeth;
And the reach of his sword-arm defies all belief
Where he fights in the Cripples’ Shield-Wall.

Beware the old dame who’s arthritic and lame,
So knee-sprung she barely can stand;
But her hands and her eye are still steady and spry –
She’s the best crossbow-shot in the land!
With a repeating crossbow and war-arrow blade
She can pierce any armor that’s ever been made –
Be glad she’s not drawn to the highwayman’s trade!
She just fights in the Cripples’ Shield-Wall!

Pray do not go near the knight who can’t hear:
Though he can’t tell command-calls at all,
He reads signs from his friends, and his post he defends
With a lightning-fast seven-foot maul!
They say when it’s whirling it raises a breeze,
And the head on its chain has been known to break trees –
So when he starts swinging, the prudent man flees
Where he fights in the Cripples’ Shield-Wall!

No profit you’ll find from the knight who is blind.
He can hear you twelve paces away:
He’ll listen off-hand till he’s sure where you stand,
Then his bill-hook reaps far more than hay!
He can fight in the forest, the river, the plain,
With his hearing unhampered by dark, fog, or rain –
He must know his ground, but he’ll sure bring you pain
Where he fights in the Cripples’ Shield-Wall!

Watch out in the fight for the cripple-armed knight
Whose hand can’t swing up – only down,
For he’ll watch through the dance till he spies a good chance,
Then his downstroke will cost you your crown!
His shield-arm will raise up his sword-arm, and then
He’ll watch for a chance with his downstroke again –
You know that he’ll strike, but you never know when,
And he fights in the Cripples’ Shield-Wall!

Beware, I implore, all ye masters of war
Who prefer to draft healthy young boys;
For the blind, halt, and lame can be good at this game,
When well-placed, defending the toys.
They’ve learned their art well, and they strike hard and true –
If they’ve something to prove, then they’ll prove it on you!
The last line on Earth that you’d want to drive through,
You can swear, is the Cripples’ Shield-Wall!
Beware of the Cripples’ Shield-Wall!

- Leslie Fish

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