11 August 2018

some thoughts about 24/7 D/s and the dynamic W/we share

i wanna talk a little bit about the dynamic Miss and i have for a variety of reasons, not least of which is because i think it's really good an important for subs to share these stories. the more voices and angles the better, right?

(also i have an article in mind right now and i want to woodshed/workshop a little. i'm allowed...it's my twitter feed.)
so, Miss and i have been together for just over 11 months now as a couple, and we kind of codified the initial phases of the D/s side of our relationship on the 14 man 2018. it was an easy choice for me to make, really...comfortable and safe and right.
W/we're long distance right now, tho W/we know that will change. time takes time. it gets closer though.

the opening phases were very much like the beginning of any relationship...learning more about each other, what we want, what we need, what's not good, what's VERY good. those first weeks were kind of eye opening, and honestly there was some very awesome boundary pushing stuff that i never thought i'd be ok with doing, but which i discovered i liked a lot. and i know i could have safeworded out of anything at any time...there's no pressure.

recently W/we moved to more of a full time type thing across the distance. it serves a lot of different purposes really:

1) it offers me structure and direction, things i am notoriously bad at.
2) She says it offers Her structure too, and i believe Her
3) it gives me certain tasks i need to do every day. they're all basic, a lot of people would say, but i often forget them on my own.
4) these tasks make me feel closer to Her, because She is telling me to self care
5) because each has a required checkin, there's added layers of communication, which i love and need
6) if i forget, or come up short, there are consequences.
7) after i do what is then asked as recompense, i'm forgiven completely and W/we move on.

that last part is important.

i am not used to healthy, interdependent relationships...it's really been only since i started transition and stuff that i've had any kind of positive relationship in my life. funny how stripping the lies that were your life helps you, isn't it?
forgiveness...real forgiveness...is something i never saw as i grew up. everything came with a provision or a condition. that doesn't happen here. i mean, it wasn't a thing before all this either, but...She doesn't say, a month later, something like, oh...
"hey remember when you forgot to do (x) 3 weeks ago? how could you be so stupid? jesus wept."

(this is a thing i literally was told by someone in the past)

mistakes, no matter what, are handled, corrected, and W/we both move on.

(She does...i keep beating myself up some...(what can i say...old habits.)

point is, even tho we're in different states, these tasks bring me closer to Her. they make me feel like i am looked after, directed, structured. cared for. protected. safe. i can't do for Her if i don't do for myself. i can't serve if i'm sick. or dehydrated. or anything else.

while not required of me, i keep a journal. i track everything in there...my checkins, when i take meds and eat. i keep a food journal, so W/we can go back over it and adjust my diet and stuff. i track my moods and emotional state. i write other things in there too...little devotionals or reminders about anniversaries or things She said to me. it's a physical reminder of Her presence. and i see it as a contract, really...all these are things i agreed to willingly and enthusiastically. i saw their value. their necessity. i'm sure over time i'll have other things to do in there...lines if i've been bad or whatever.

really, it's a record and diary of my submission and Her Dominance.

while i kind of characterise my relationship with Her as 24/7...because all these guidelines kind of keep me there...i am not beneath Her. i have agency, i have the freedom to speak, W/we can discuss and adjust everything. that's healthy. that's what D/s should be.

i've known i was a submissive for decades...but actually living it, being it safely and properly...is a much different thing.

yes, i wear Her training collar right now. and that has always been a connector. but moving to this...i admit it was scary.
24/7 is a thing that...i never thought possible (then again, a LOT i never thought possible is or has been, so...caveat my emptor). and i was terrified of screwing it up big time. once you have the thing you've wanted dangled in front of you and within reach...you fear its loss. i was terrified one mistake would ruin it...my past and history as an abuse survivor kicking in. the last week or two has shown that not to be the case...the opposite really. i've accidentally slipped up twice. and i've paid.

and each time, when i am done?

She tells me i'm a good girl. and that i'm forgiven.

and that's it.

over the last 11 months my biggest issue has been fear of messing up and misstepping...my past has me be over-cautious and treat things with kid gloves and like walking on eggshells. i'm learning i don't need to...and i can be honest and open...and that i have to stop being so serious, even tho some things need and deserve seriousness. that's a thing She is teaching me, even if i am a slow learner.

the baseline for everything W/we do is communication...it's always been, especially as we're both polyam/relationship anarchists (i like that second term a lot, even if it doesn't really work as a descriptor for me). W/we talk about stuff because W/we have to. i think it's actually a boon in many ways to have this overlap between polyam and D/s tpe...they both require so many of the same things, so it's easy to have some structure already in place for the shift to more serious stuff.

i'm really lucky in that respect...as well as the fact that there are so many other things W/we share in common, like interests in movies, anime, music, science fiction, things W/we studied, and more. W/we have a relationship that exists beyond the D/s, one which is equally if not in ways more important than the D/s and play. the point here is...W/we work at it, and our dynamic grows and becomes more interwoven every day. as a lover of ritual, the rules and checkins help me SO MUCH. they're patterns i can repeat that bring me closer, that help me be better for Her, that help me be what She wants and expects of me.

and it's amazing.

and beautiful.

and right.

and...this is what works for U/us. it's not one size fits all. but it's perfect for where W/we are right now, and i'm excited for what it means and where it leads.

and i'll follow...to the left and one step behind.


24 April 2018

MASTURBATION MONDAY: Learning her Place, Part II

Look at Me, babygirl...”

i heard the voice, knew the voice, heard the words, but i could not respond. They were so far away; She was so far away, i was so far away. Somewhere else. i drifted, floating between clouds, weightless and as heavy as the universe. i tried to form words, form thoughts, but the words were heavy in my mind, flitting away almost as quickly as they were born.

18 April 2018

Trans 101 With Julie: Fool in the Rain – the return of the son of the monster transmedicalists

Hello, and welcome back to Trans 101 With Julie. I am the titular Julie, she who must be fed Skittles.

Let's begin.


Being a person of a certain age, I am having somewhat of a difficult time trying to fully comprehend the massive blue screen that is #tsraincrew. I could mull this over internally...in fact, I'd gather roughly 99% of you would prefer that.

Too bad.

Here's what I have pieced together from my reading, which is as wide and deep as their movement. read into that what you will. Anyway, as a sort of thesis, I present this statement: #tsraincrew is a movement that is not gender critical but is totally gender critical, which isn't about truscum but totally is.

Please allow me to make an comparison here. TERFs, as a reminder, are gender critical feminists, biological essentialists, witch shifting goalposts as to what defines a woman, but which always boils down to two things:

XX chromosomes
A vagina

Unlike TERFs, #tsraincrew believes no matter what happens, you still will have XY chromosomes (probably), not XX, and until you have a vagina, you're not really trans. So, you see, they're not at all like TERFs in any way shape or form. Now, I know what you're saying. "Julie," you are saying, "those things seem pretty similar to me." And I admit, I thought that too. But reading #tsraincrew posts, they tell me they're not anything like the TERFs who're already seeing how they can be used to further TERF goals. so, I mean...it's got to be true.


There is, I think, an extreme generational gap here that is part of the problem. As a still unhatched egg, I was fully aware of the requirements to jump over:

The year of therapy.
The letters.
The year or two socialising as a woman.
The eventual and inevitable surgery
"the surgery"
Because it's all about "the surgery" 
And a vagina

Now, please understand, I have no issues with anyone getting any surgery if it helps them lessen their discomfort and feel better about themselves. In fact, I'd be all about it for me. except...except. I have certain requirements for what said procedure would achieve for me, and they are as of yet unattainable. as such, well...I'll cope. I still want stuff done, but it's more to reduce one of my meds to a lower level.
Point is, there were hurdles.


And gatekeepers.

(I typoed that as hatekeepers and very nearly decided to keep it jftr)

And you had to meet their requirements before you could move forward. and they could hold you in place forever if they wanted to. I honestly believed these were bad things. I don't need a doctor to tell me what I already know. I don't need external agreement in order to know that certain medications will help me. I am informed, and I should be able to make my own medical decisions.

This is informed consent.

And this is a model so many of us have been fighting for for years to become the standard. I know of dozens of people working on exhaustive resource lists for trans men and women to find trans friendly physicians who also believe in informed consent. This is because we all have been victimised, in one way or another, by a system designed to pathologise and medicalise us. We are not disorders, we are not illnesses, we are human beings who know who we are and should have the same right to health care without jumps through hoops.

This, really, is at the core of what we've appropriated through our theft of the #peaktrans hashtag. This is what the #transcult is about. it's about informed choice. acceptance. support. and inclusiveness. Some people can't have surgery...they're still trans. Some people have medical issues that preclude hrt, or hrt to the same degree as others. Guess weehat? Yes, they're still trans. Anyone who identifies as a gender unlike the one they were assigned at birth has the right to call themselves trans, in my mind.

But #tsraincrew says no.

#tsraincrew says you have to go through the gatekeeping...and for the record, lots of them don't even know what gatekeeping is. They are in favour of transmedicalising the condition. In fact, I would feel somewhat safe in offering up the following: #tsraincrew is so traumatised by the sheer fact of being trans that they cannot comprehend the notion of a transgender person who doesn't feel the exact same way. They see being trans as a disability, one to be overcome through surgery. They see transition as a destination, not an ongoing evolution. They cannot conceive that a trans person may be perfectly fine without hormones, but want to have surgery. Or perfectly fine without having surgery, but want very much to be on hrt. They can't see that others experience being trans differently then they do. #tsraincrew already feels we are appropriating transness, thus diminishing what they feel is the one true way to...to what? Not...being...trans, I guess? I guess the entire goal is to stop being trans, to become...cisgender.

I guess.

I mean, I'm just, like, extrapolating.

And I think, despite their arguments to the contrary, they are proud to consider themselves truscum. They feel they are the elite, they are the one people transitioning properly. We see that in how they ruthlessly mock people who are early in transition or don't present femme. We see it in how they, much like the TERFs which they are totally not at all like, latch on to the more vulnerable and push and press and all to what end? To stop them from transitioning? To stop being...fake?

As if they have a monopoly on what the truth is.

Here's the thing about truth; it is not simply objective.

There are objective truths. The sun will rise, the sun will set. Estrogen will feminise, testosterone will masculinise. These are things that are verifiable, measurable, predictable. Truth gets dicier on a micro level. Your truth may state that I am simply a transtrender and an autogynephile because I don't plan on having the surgery, but am totally OK with just being on hrt. my truth is you're full of foetid dingoes' kidneys. whose truth is true?

(answers on a postcard please, dms preferred)

The thing that makes me most incredulous about all of this is how the #tsraincrew feels they are reclaiming TWU TWANSNESS from us. They feel they have been graced with the one truth about the malady that is transness, that which must be overcome, which must be cured. In doing this, they are doing two things. The first and most obvious is that they are playing right into the hands of the TERF crew, who are already busily beavering away at mumsnet about how they can take advantage of these gendercrit trans people to help them. They already see easy meat, quislings they can use to show how unhinged everyone else is.

Look, they will say. Look, even the transes know they're sick and need fixed!

And they will manipulate and twist words and use every little thing the #tsraincrew says to do just that.

The other thing is that they are, quite possibly with full understanding of what they are doing, allying themselves with the right.

...inb4 everyone you hate is a Nazi

Here's the thing tho:

Neonazis rebranded as alt right
TERFs rebranded as gender critical
Conspiracy theorists rebranded as truthers

And so it goes.

Truscum rebranded as #tsraincrew. they're gender realists, which is totally not like race realists and not at all like gender critical. And they'd rather be in the rain, they say.

Yeah cos pneumonia is totes better.

And I'll lift a page from my friend Lycha: they sound like a bunch of water sports fetishists. And hey, I don't kink shame, but I really hope they don't fuck up a perfectly good fetish in their search for the one truth.

Now, let me say a few positive things:

#tsraincrew has done something really good. They've made the rest of us take a look at ourselves, and what our purpose is. That boils down to a few easily digestible, easily understandable points:

1) we are here because of those who came before us.
2) while things are better than they were for our transparents, there's still work to be done.
3) our job is to try and take things further.

Our job is to make the world better for the eggs and fledglings to follow.

There is nothing wrong with being inclusive. After all, as saint Motoko Kusanagi said, "It's simple: overspecialize, and you breed in weakness. It's slow death." The fewer people you accept as acceptable, well...the less support you have when shit goes south...and if there is one thing I have learned, it's this: shit goes south. all the goddamned time.

There is a truism in tabletop gaming, it bears out in fantasy mmos, and it's true in real life as well:

Never split the party

And...well...we're seeing that happen. And it's for no good reason other than perhaps spite and a sense of superiority.

I don't feel I'm a truer trans person than any of them. hell, I don't think I'm a truer trans person than anyone else. I'm just a trans person. Some days it's a struggle, some golden days it's joy. but that's life, isn't it? The thing is, I don't look at another person and tell them omg you are transing wrong. After all, what does that achieve for me? Does it make me feel better about myself? Does it make me a better person. Does it level me up in transness?

Not the least bit.

I have an inbox of messages from people who have told me how my vulnerability on twitter has helped them come to grips with their identity. I have a hard time believing that, but it warms my heart, because I want to help. I want to inform. I want to be there. None of that makes me a better trans person. It does make me a good person tho. I think. I mean, others would have to judge that, not me.

There were things I wanted to talk about in the midst of this little thread, but I kind of flew past them, and going back just...naah. won't make sense now. not really.

I don't see how this is going to do anything other than drive scared trans kids deeper in the closet.
I don't see how this will do anything other than hurt people early in transition. I don't see how this will do anything but add to an already astronomical amount of pressure newly out trans people will be under. I mean, to feel as if a part of your community hates you? How does this help anyone other than the people who hate all of us equally, no matter how we sidle up against them like mewling puling obsequious puppies greedy for a snack and hoping to avoid the rolled up newspaper?

Hint: it really doesn't.

But it makes a few dozen people feel better about themselves, at the expense of others, and in that it's a perfect exemplar of modern society self-replicating in a smaller community. I just presumed, ignorantly, that we could avoid it.

Those of us labeled as transtrenders, tucutes, umbrella holders, flopping mopsies (i just made that one up)...all this means is we need to be more welcoming, more supportive, more inclusive than ever.

And I think we can do it.

I really think we can.

Join me?

16 April 2018

MASTURBATION MONDAY: Learning her Place, Part I

“So tell me...are you willing to start counting now?”

The buzzing...no, the rumbling...deep inside me had quieted to a slow, low throb, and i felt my breath slow as well. i tried to turn, to look Her in the eyes, but something pressed against the side of my face.

“Come now, you know better than that.”

She laughed, Her voice playful, but dangerously so. It was, as always, the laughter of a predator who finally has cornered Her prey, and is just waiting for an opening to strike. i swallowed hard, head finally clear enough to respond.

14 April 2018

Trans 101 With Julie: Deconstructing -ERFism

Hi, and welcome back to Trans 101 With Julie. It's been quite a long time since I've done an essay under this title, but sometimes there are just too many thoughts to break down into easily digestible chunks for a mass audience on Twitter. This, I hope you could gather, is one of those times.

I wantr to spend some time today writing about, and talking about, -ERF ideology. I label it thusly because there are multiple kinds of ideology here and while they share some essential similarities, they are in some cases different enough to warrant individual attention. For the purposes of today's essay, I'm going to be talking about three of the most prevalent flavours of -ERFism out there right now:

TERF – trans exclusionary radical feminism
SWERF – sex worker exclusionary radical feminism
PERF – penis exclusionary radical feminism.

The only reason they're listed in that order is...well, honestly, because I coin flipped each term and did a little chart thing. While some of these impact me far more than others, all are dangerous and hurtful for feminism as a whole, women as a subset, and trans women as a specific targeted community.

Let's begin, shall we?

TERF, or trans exclusionary radical feminism, really does what it says on the label. It is a branch of radical feminism that posits that trans women are not women as they do not have the benefit of female biology (namely, a vagina, uterus, ovaries, menstrual cycle, the ability to give birth, etc.), they were not socialised female and thus benefit from male socialisation in a patriarchal society, and are secretly rapists who want into bathrooms to rape little girls, because all people with penises are rapists regardless of age.

Wow, that last one, huh? I totally understand if you don't believe me on that one, but I have, as the youth today say, the receipts.

Biological essentialism, i.e., “the belief that 'human nature', an individual's personality, or some specific quality (such as intelligence, creativity, homosexuality, masculinity, femininity, or a male propensity to aggression) is an innate and natural 'essence' (rather than a product of circumstances, upbringing, and culture)” is at the core of TERFism. Essentialism is a very dangerous ideology, as it spreads to areas such as race essentialism (i.e., certain ethnic groups are smarter, or stronger, or faster, or more prone to crime than others.). It posits that you are what you are and nothing can change the circumstances of your life. You are born into a station, and said station is where you die. You rise to your particular level of mediocrity and stay there.

Biological essentialism plays into socialisation. It basically states that each gender has a predetermined list of traits that are archetypal and said lists/traits are immutable. It also posits that those who break the boundaries of said gender boxes are punished through forced transition rather than accepting, for example, their effeminate masculinity or their tomboy nature.

Not a single bit of this is true in any way shape or form.

Let me use myself as an example...mostly because I'm the person whose story I can tell best.

If ever there was someone who fit absolutely none of the archetypes of a typical boy, it was me. I was quiet, reserved, prone to make believe, would rather read books or build with Lego than play kickball. I was bullied mercilessly, tho not ever called gay or faggot (until high school, at least). While the rest of class played kickball, or murderball, or whatever, I was off to the side talking to teachers and hanging out with the kid in my class who was haemophiliac and thus rough housing was scary and bad.

Know who accepted me, though?

The girls in the class.

Maybe they saw me as someone safe. Maybe they saw me as someone who wasn't going to get grabby when hormones started kicking in. I can't honestly tell you. All I know is they let me sit with them, they talked with me, and they treated me like a human being. Like one of them. And yes, I had ideas something was really amiss, but I had no words for it. I just knew I was being accepted by people and I was pretty ok with that.

Obviously as time went on, things changed. Well, OK...some things changed. The guys got...worse. Across the board. Rougher, louder, just more...everything. Between seventh grade and 8th grade it seemed everyone became someone different...even the girls, who I'd been at least welcome with, started being distant, and puberty was a thing. They were changing in their own ways. And I wasn't...at least, not in any ways that I could understand. I wasn't changing like the boys were, I wasn't changing like the girls were. I was just kind of...there.

Was I socialised male? I can't answer that. I can tell you I was rejected by every guy in my classes from associating with them (with the only exclusion being choir), I was mocked and ridiculed, and the only time that stopped is when two things happened:

1) my junior year I had a breakdown and broke my hand punching a locker.
2) my senior year I finally tired of being pushed around in gym class, stick checked someone into the bleachers, and went after him with a lacrosse stick.

I proceeded to sick up after each of those events.

In fact, I feel nauseous any time I start getting upset and angry. Hell, I start to freak out when voices start raising because I immediately think something violent is going to happen.

Was I socialised male? I can't answer that. I saw the pressures girls were faced with, the way guys treated them, their frustrations at not being taken seriously, how quickly they were talked over even when they knew something better than someone else. I felt similar but not the same things. I knew I was being afforded benefits that I didn't deserve just because my body had a certain shape and I had a certain smell...even if I rejected everything that came with it.

Was I socialised make?

Fucked if I know.

What I do know is I was not an effeminate male, nor was I a gay male...as much as part of me thought it'd be easier if I were. Hell, I'm pretty sure my parents feel the same way even today.

Am I blessed with the fact that I lack a uterus, vagina, ovaries, menstrual cycle, ability to give birth? I don't know. I know if I had those things I'd feel more complete. I've passed kidney stones, pain is a thing I'm somewhat used to. I regret that I'll never get pregnant, never feel a child growing inside me, never give birth. I wish I could. I wish I could be a mother.

But I don't feel less like a woman because of it.

And in limiting womanhood to that or some mystical moon womb portal to the divine? That reduces women who are unable to get pregnant, or who have gone through menopause, to 'not women.' Is feminism that excludes women feminism?

Stating that trans women do not have the same lived experiences as “natal women” is a ridiculous statement in and of itself, because no two women have the same lived experiences. Is your life, as a white middle class cisgender presumably heterosexual woman the de facto norm for lived female experiences? Do black women have the same experiences as you? Latinas? Japanese? Chinese? Indigenous? Indian? Muslim? Hindu? Buddhist? Every woman has a different lived experience, and not a single one is wrong or incomplete because it does not mesh with someone else's perception of what being a woman is.

Of course, bring that up and TERFs automatically revert to chromosomes and organs.

And when you bring up the reductive nature of THAT...you just don't know what it's like to live as a woman.

It's a vicious circle.

It's a thing they hope they can tire you through, and get you to leave them alone while they, in the guise of “protecting women,” do their damndest to kick an entire class of women out of feminism because of biological essentialism and imperative. TERFism isn't just an ideology that is excluding trans women, it runs the risk of disenfranchising ANY woman regardless of biology if they fail to meet a TERFs preconception of what a woman is and looks like. And that's a thing we're seeing already today, as athletic women, or women with a more masc appearance, are being questioned going to bathrooms or whatever under the assumption that they are male sex offenders looking to attack innocent women and children.

Just because they don't look like the stereotypical “femme” woman.

TERFs hurt all women.

ALL women.

They just don't want to face or admit it, because if they did, they'd have to agree that they use the very methods they decry being used on women, ON women. And that cognitive dissonance? That may just be enough to fry their brains.

Finally...a bit of informatgion, taken from experience. I am on contra-hormonal therapy. I take two medications every day; one of them is aldactone, a potassium sparing diuretic and anti-androgen which blocks the manufacture of testosterone by the testes. The other is estradiol valerate...estrogen. I've written about the effects of these two medications before, but let me refresh your memories some via carefully selected copy/pasta:

•  fewer instances of waking up with an erection or spontaneously having an erection; some trans women also find their erections are less firm during sex, or can’t get erect at all
Spontaneous and morning erections decrease significantly in frequency, although some patients who have had an orchiectomy still experience morning erections. Voluntary erections may or may not be possible, depending on the amount of hormones and/or antiandrogens being taken.

•  decrease in testicular size
Testicle volume is reduced by about 25% with typical dosages and as much as 50% with higher dosages, especially after a year of HRT. When testosterone is dramatically reduced, spermatogenesis is halted almost completely, and when the cells that are involved in these processes go unused, they atrophy.

•  decrease in sex drive
Some transgender women report a significant reduction in libido, depending on the dosage of antiandrogens. A small number of post-operative transgender women take low doses of testosterone to boost their libido. Many pre-operative transgender women wait until after reassignment surgery to begin an active sex life. Raising the dosage of estrogen or adding a progestogen raises the libido of some transgender women.

But What. Does. This. Mean?

Well, let me tell you.

First off, I don't get erections. Basically at all. Do I feel the effects of arousal there? Yes. Of course I do. But there is no wood, not without popsicle sticks and gaffer's tape (ha ha gaffer tape I made a joke please laugh). Secondly, on the RARE occasional I have an ejaculatory orgasm, it's dry as the Mojave. Do I feel like sexing up anything and everything that moves. Hardly, come on, this is reductive. Do these things preclude me from being able to have sex? Only if you think all sex is, is penis in vagina.

Do you know who's going to go into a women's bathroom to attack and/or rape women/young girls?

Fucking rapists, that's who.

Are there trans rapists? Prolly. There are women who are rapists too, including women who prey on other women. Rape isn't about sex, it's about power and control. And TERFs and their demands for womyn born womyn spaces ignore the simple fact that women are like any other human being. And there can be horrible monsters even in their own ranks. No gender identity is ideologically pure...and ideological purity is a tool of fascism.

Remember kids...gender critical is just the radfem equivalent to race realist.

Hell, they're often allies, to boot.

As we continue our jaunt, SWERFs are radical feminists that believe all sex work is demean ing and coercive, that sex workers are all enslaved by the patriarchy to benefit men, and even consensual sex work isn't truly consensual because it involves sex with men.

There's an awful lot to unpack here, and I don't even want to start with the cliché 'it's the oldest profession in the books' thing. Instead let's offer up some hard truths that SWERFs really don't want you to think too much about. We'll do a list:

1) Sex feels good.
2) Sex is not simply a biological imperative.
3) Women like and often love sex.
4) Consensual sex is spiritual connection.
5) Sex for pay is not (necessarily) coercion.
6) Sex is not degrading.
7) Kink is not only NOT abuse, it can be therapy.

I know several of these could be compressed down, but I want to keep them separate for the purposes of this piece.

First off, sex feels good. It does. Or at least, it bloody well should. It should be enjoyable. It should be bodies moving against each other, heat, friction, sweat, hands, lips, moans, sighs, maybe even teeth and nails and growls. It should result in two exhausted bodies intertwines whispering incoherent sounds to each other while fingers entwine. It should be good because it is good. Hell, sex with yourself should be good too; it should be candles and scents and soft lights and wet and amazing and lingering. It should be a thing where you and your partner or partners are spoiled and spoil each other. I cannot for the life of me understand why so many radfems seem sex negative...and before anyone things it, I am NOT saying that aesexual people or grey-ace people are invalid! There is a difference between not feeling sexual drive and being sex-negative...and it's one that I feel SWERFs cross with impunity.

Sex is NOT a biological imperative. Yes, it's essential for the continuation of the species, but...well, see above. As long as consenting adults are involved, all parties have agreed to the things that will happen, and everyone enters the proceedings with the plan too be good, giving and game (and as much as I loathe Dan Savage cos he's a transmisist, the GGG philosophy is a good one), sex is a wonderful thing.

Women like and often love sex.

It's true.

I've asked at least three of them, and they agree with me.

Seriously though, I know the preconception and perception is that guys want sex and women put up with bad sex, but that comes down to a society that doesn't value anything as much as it values the virile, masculine man. If we had proper sex ed? If people weren't terrified of bodies and people enjoying sex? If we took the time to explain to our kids what good sex is, and not to settle or do something just because it's expected of them? I bet a bunch of things would happen:

  • There'd be fewer abortions.
  • Sex would be treated with the respect it deserves.
  • We may see a decrease in sexual violence.
  • Women's self image would improve.
  • Relationships would be healthier and bi or milti-lateral.

But we need to teach teenagers that sex is a big deal, that it has to be entered into respectfully and maturely...and we have to give them tools to better understand and take care of their bodies.

And if we had all of that?

Maybe...just maybe...sex wouldn't be seen as a bad thing.

Consensual sex is spiritual connection. Consensual sex is good, and magick, and ritual, and holy. And that sounds like a lot coming from someone who is a decided non believer, but...at its best, when I've had sex, it's like I stop existing. I become a ball of energy, barely constrained, and my partner and I bounce off each other like atomic particles, fusing and splitting in endless forms. It's beauty at its purest state, and it should be like that.

There are massive differences between trafficking and con sensual sex work. The biggest difference is the word CONSENSUAL. Every sex worker I know...and I tried to count, I lost track after 3...is doing this work because they want to.

(NB: yes, I am being sarcastic above with the number. Were I to hazard an educated guess, I'd say I probably have 5 or 6 dozen friends...defined as people I interact with on a regular basis...who do sex work as either a significant sideline or as their main job.)

Does that mean they're always happy? Fuck no. Is anyone ever fully happy with their job? If you can find someone who is, I would love to meet them. Seriously, however, every job is a job. It's a thing you do to earn fiat currency with which to survive. The difference comes in when you factor variables such as:

  • Are you self employed?
  • Does your employer treat you like shit?
  • Does he call you at 9 pm, 6 hours after your shift ended, to scream at you?
  • Does he hang up on you all the time?
  • Does he call you 25 billion times a day and wonder why you never get stuff done?
  • Does he have issues with you transitioning even though he acts like he doesn't, and thus treats you poorer now that you're showing visible signs of transition even though your work ethic has not changed one iota?

I...may be drawing from personal experience here.

Fact of the matter is consensual sex work is entered into because it's a way for women (in this case) to have agency. They can choose when they work, who they work with, set their own hours, set a rate commensurate with their worth. They can choose where they work. They can cam, or shoot scenes or movies, they can do full service sex work. Not every sex worker stays in the industry for life; for many, it's a way to do something fun, that they enjoy, and make a nice nest egg to put toward college. Sex workers are not “dumb whores,” despite what SWERFs would like you to believe; just drawing from personal experience here, I know the following:

  • One has parlayed her work into a travel business and a mountain biking hobby
  • One takes video production to the next level in her worl, and is an accomplished musician/multi-instrumentalist.
  • One majored in classics.
  • One majored in English lit pre-renaissance with a minor in astronomy.
  • One studies paleontology.
  • Several are computer programmers.
  • A couple of them have been on TV.

And every one I know is exceptional just like this. They are some of the smartest people I know; they are people I discuss Walt Whitman and TS Eliot with, then talk about Erik Satie, then talk to another about quantum mechanics, then another about trinitite and bomb testing sites.

The cliché of the “dumb whore” is pernicious, and intended to belittle sex workers (predominately seen as female) as unequal to men. It is again reductive and diminishing...and in this case, it's women...”feminists”...doing the same thing that men do to them.

Finally...kink. Kink, which in this care predominantly refers to BDSM in all it's many splendoured forms, is seen as a particularly horrific offender and attack on women. Perhaps this is because of the cliché that Dom/sub is always presumed to be Male and female; perhaps it's fear of the unknown or fear of loss of control in the presence of a stranger. It could be both of these, or neither of these...I can't say I fully understand it.

Let me talk about kink from personal experience.

As you may know if you follow me on twitter, I label myself with a series of identifiers that help explain who I am. Among these are: "Trans/Poly/Demi. Sex/Porn positive. Owned property." There are others there, of course, but these are the ones that matter most for this essay.

I am polyamorous, meaning I have more than one partner. I won't say how many, just that it's plural. I am demi, meaning I am demisexual, which is part of the grey-ace spectrum of aesexuality. All that means is that I do not generally feel primary sexual interest in a person without a deep emotional bond...but it ALSO means there are times even with that that my interest in sex is roughly equal to my interest in eating pickles: nothing at all. It doesn't mean I reject contact...I'll hug and nuzzle all night with the right person. I just don't want or need sex at those times.

And I am owned property.

This is the one that needs the most explanation.

I am in a relationship which is based on what is called total power exchange. In our relationship, I defer to my partner in just about everything. This doesn't mean I'm a floormat, it doesn't mean that I allow Her to walk over me. It's actually quite the opposite; She's taught and is teaching me how to be a better version of me. She's helping me heal tonnes of damage from my life by directing me to new ways of reacting to things, rebuilding neural pathways that were damaged by abuse and gaslighting. She's taken it upon Herself to tear me down and build me back up. She's proud of me when I make connections on my own that I had issues with the past; she's proud of me when I take risks I'd never have thought myself able to before (i.e., pitching an article to a website and seeing it through to taco money).

And...She thinks I am pretty. And worth Her attention, and Her desire, and Her love.

Does She beat me? I don't know...in fact, I won't know until May when W/we finally meet up IRL. Does She degrade me? Not once, not ever. W/we've discussed things that I am not comfortable with, and She respects those boundaries as if they were sanctified soil. But if W/we're goofing around, and She tells me to do something? Chances are I prolly would, because it's fun, it makes me feel good, it makes Her feel good, and it brings U/us closer.

Dominance and submission isn't abuse; I hope you can see from the above how much good it's done me. In the seven months since W/we officially started going out with each other, I've developed more confidence and self assuredness than I ever had. I've taken bigger risks, bigger jumps, I've lept and tried to forget how to fall. It doesn't mean I always succeed, but I know when I fgail, She'll be there to catch me.

What does it mean to be owned? It means being protected. Cherished. Loved. Adored. Spoiled. Respected. Admired for my strength. Treated with utmost care for my conscious decision to submit. She didn't take my submission from me; I gave it to Her because She earned it.

Know what the biggest issue with BDSM is? Like any niche community, there are shitheels who participate. They're the ones who hurt other people, who take the sadism side of S/m to mean they can act without any care, consideration or limit. They're not sadists, they're evil. I've seen first hand the damage they do...and I've seen first hand the amazingness that a healthy power exchange relationship can be...where both people (or all people) become Better Together.

Kink isn't degrading.

People are, or can be.

And that's the difference.

Not that SWERFs want you to consider that.

Finally we need to take a look at the PERF phenomenon. PERF, as referenced above, means penis exclusionary radical feminist, and like the name tells us, it is an ideology that posits no one with a penis has a place in feminism. It's easy to see where this leaves out trans women, but it also excludes assigned male at birth men.

And let me tell you why I think that's wrong.

Feminism, like magick, is for EVERYONE. Everyone benefits from feminism, including men. The biggest issue confronting us all is the toxicism inherent in what patriarchal society deems appropriate male/masculine behaviour. Men can act like total shits and get away with it cos men. They can be loud and argumentative and be praised for being decisive, where a woman would be decried as being shrill and emotional. If we can break that cycle, break down the toxic nature of stereotypical masculinity? Men would benefit SO much. They'd be more comfortable, more confident, they could be open and vulnerable and not driven by a system that allows...nay, encourages...negative actions.

Men benefit from feminism.

Because everyone benefits from feminism.

Men can be feminists. And no, I am not saying that because I may or may not have a penis (hint: I have doom in my pants, ask any of my partners, they will tell you). I am saying that because they can be. Tell me with a straight face that Patrick Steward is a worse feminist than Maria Maclachlan. I dare you to. Tell me that Maclachlan's beat down on a trans woman is a more feminist action than Patrick Strewart advocating so loudly for women who are victims of domestic violence.

I'm waiting for you to do it.

Because I want to laugh in your face for how wrong you are.

Genitals do not determine how feminist someone is. Genitals do not determine who is a woman and who isn't. Genitals do not determine your value as a person. Genitals don't do anything other than be messy, sometimes be enjoyable, and often just kinda get in the way for day to day life. They are not the golden apples of the Greek pantheon. They're bits of flesh and blood we give entirely too much power to when it comes to listening to people.

Men can be shit, it's true...and men should not speak over women when it comes to feminism. But a man who speaks with, who amplifies, who defers to women and women's lived experiences, knowing that they know what they need to better themselves, and them working with women to achieve those goals?

I'll proudly call one of them a feminist before I will a SWERF, a TERF, a PERF or any other -ERF I don't know about yet.

It's a hella nasty world out there right now. There's hate coming from all sides, and to have it coming from within sucks harder than having it come from without. Artist John Minton said "We're all awash in a sea of blood, and the least we can do is wave to each other." This has never been truer than it is today, and all of us, especially at the intersections of feminism, trans activism, and sex worker rights, need to be aware and be wary of things that none of us should have to process, let alone deal with.

Allying with TERFs/SWERFs/PERFs is reductionist, hurtful, violent, and damaging to ALL people, not just the 'narrow' categories said ideologies purport to target. Understanding this is the first step toward battling it, and being a better ally and friend.

Thanks for reading. I'll talk to you soon.

08 April 2018

Setting the Scene: Healthy BDSM in fiction

I wanna spend some time talking about BDSM...mostly because I never talk about bdsm.

Pardon? What's that?

...yes darling, that was called sarcasm.

No, you don't get a pass out of class.

Yes, I'm aware that I'll most likely pay for this later.

Let's get going.

I am reading an arc of a friend's novel, and said book is a kink-oriented romance novel. Now, sadly these days kink and romance makes people think of 50 Shades of Grey, and I'm sorry for that cos the books are hella dangerous in portraying kink.

So many of the core tenets of what bdsm is to me...based on my early reading on the scene before I dove in...are on display in this novel. There's a load of focus on consent, risk awareness, communication, limits...everything. Safe words come into play. The sheer extent of communication is amazing. And it's subtly written too. You get a real sense of the poetry, beauty and ritual of sceneplay...all things that attracted me to the scene in the first place.

Oh, and aftercare.

There are aftercare scenes.

Like, I kid you not...I am certain people think BDSM is just about whipping, beating and then...who TF knows? For those of us who do it tho? We know. And seeing it in a book is just...it's right and good. Because i am a fan of fluffy and stuff, the fact that there is so much, and it's so tightly woven to the story...and it's good healthy fluff that shows the proper side of the scene...this is the novel that should be huge.

To give you a little bit of an idea where I come at this from, here's some background:

My first exposure to BDSM was via a lovely shop in pa called Le Chateau Exotique (link to follow). It's still my boutique of choice. My very first purchase there was a book called Screw The Roses, Send Me The Thorns, and it was an amazing primer on things. (it's funny, reading reviews on amazon, people complaining that the book doesn't take itself seriously enough for the subject matter. the authors are perfectly clear throughout about the seriousness of kink...but it's supposed to be fun too. seriously, yeah bdsm can be serious stodgy stuff...but it doesn't have to be...and certainly shouldn't always be. tangent over.) Anyway, the elements that stood out when I read that BDSM 101 style book are the ones that make this novel so real. You can tell it's written by someone who understands the scene. You can tell it's written by someone who actually cares enough to show healthy play on the page.

And...umm...like I'm only on chapter 18 but the scene play so far has made me squirm in happy.

The other thing that I am seeing...and I hope beyond hope that it comes to fruition because I am a girl who loves happy endings...that I like is the fact that submission is given, it is not taken. I think...no, i know...that's a thing people don't grok. And this is a thing I can talk about personally. You see, I am property. I am owned. That first part sounds horrific, I am sure...especially from the outside looking in. It sounds as if I have no agency of my own, that I simply do as I am told and have no ability to think on my own. That couldn't be further from the truth. I am property the same way a cherished plushie is property. I'm someone to be cared for and looked after. and I offered that to someone who I found deserving of that gift. And there is one thing I can state with certainty; if I changed who I was and how I acted because of this exchange, She'd sit me down and have a long talk with me

And that is what submission is...it's not taking, it's giving. Yes, my owner takes care of me, but I also take care of Her. It's really like any other relationship in that sense, just with me being marked and wearing a collar and understanding that She has a granted by me greater say in things. It's power exchange, and seeing healthy power exchange (at least, so far!) In this book is wonderful. It's why I spent all of chapter 17 giggling like a 17 year old...and squirming...and maybe biting my lip.

Because everything felt good.




There is, I think, a presumption that BDSM is violence and abuse. Sadly yes, abusers get into the scene. Sometimes they are flushed out quickly; sometimes, unfortunately, they fester some. I've seen it...people who are dishonest, don't practice healthy communication...and it sucks. We see it in the book too, via a scene that was a bit terrifying for how accurate it was as well as for how...well, I can't say >too< much. Just that it like everything else rang true. I'm glad it was there, even if to contrast healthy and dangerous.

Now, the question is “Do I have a thesis statement that ties all of this together?”

I'm not sure that I do, really. I think ultimately that it is a damned shame that 50SoG is how most people will see and associate kink erotica, rather than something like this forthcoming book or the absolutely amazing movie Secretary (seriously please go rent it or buy it it is so good guh). I think it's a shame that kink is seen as a deviance or the hallmark of the mentally ill criminal...that it's been stigmatised. Rather than being studied as a means of healing old wounds metaphorically or literally...that it's driven, like so much else, into the shadows where it continues to be seen as a dangerous curiosity at best. I mean come on...what's so seedy about this?

(this is a pic from a fetish social the shop I mentioned threw last year. it's on their fb page as well.)

It's been very healing for me...allowing myself to hand over control to someone, yet knowing i can take it back with a word, and i won't be faulted for that decision at all. It's empowering. And cherishing my Miss as she cherishes me makes me love her more.

And yes, this has gone far afield from the novel and stuff, but it all ties together thusly:

BDSM is a good thing. and it...WE...need better representation that some horrific Twilight fanfic that reads like a primer on abuse.

Thanks for reading!

(ps 1: Saffron Hayes is the author of the Club Drift novels...a.k.a. the book series I am raving about above.

sign up for the mailing list to hear when the first Club Drift novel comes out. then buy it. trust me...it will be well worth it!)

(ps 2: if you are ever in the tri-state area, check out my local shop:

They're really amazing and sweet and know their stuff.)

07 April 2018

TERFs and the cult of sociological/scientific illiteracy

How much do TERFs hate us?

An almost better question is how much do TERFs hate women in general, but...let's specify for the moment. They hate us so much that they have been trying since last night to find incontrovertible proof that the YouTube shooter was transgender. Their argument is that women are incapable of violence, ergo the shooter had to be male. Think about this. This is dehumanisation illogic at it's finest. Take this in combination with their assertion that men cannot be feminist, and therefore trans women can't be feminist because they're not women, and...yeah.

Here's the thing.

TERFs use the exact same tools the patriarchy does...dehumanisation, hierarchical oppression, overt extremity of expression. Consider the TRA acronym, obviously intended to link trans women to MRAs. Consider the TIM acronym, intended to again deny identity. The more they can push their agenda and doctrine of dehumanisation, the better for them. We saw it in UK Parliament, where we were equated to parasites...a common analogy these days in the British press.



Push out.

Compare those acronyms to things like 'feminazi.' or the cliche of the overly emotional woman.

TERFs aren't feminist...they're fascists who use the same tools fascists and Nazis....aka the conservative patriarchal hierarchy...uses against them. and anyone else unlike. why else do you think they ally with the far right? TERFs are quick to associate us with violence, while ignoring the murders of trans women because it's just 'man on man violence.' which makes it OK.

And they are anti-gender, which really means they're against anyone who doesn't think the way they do. They're really anti-feminist in general, because they feel anyone who doesn't push out trans women isn't a true feminist. And they are anti-identity. They say so. All that means is that they believe in biological essentialism. They don't want to obliterate gender; they want to adhere to the binary as hard as possible. They cling to outdated science that isn't much more than Mendelian inheritance and Pruett squares...it's literally the extend of what they are capable of believing. OFC, despite their insistence that we're a cult and a religion...they're the ones holding to pseudoscience...or, at very least, outdated 2nd grade science that is easily shown to be outdated and supplanted by advances in science through the decades.

Try telling them that.

Listen to them assert that science never changes.

Tell them OK, the earth is at the center of the universe.

Listen to them mock.

Then tell them science changes.

And watch them cycle back to no! Genetics! XX! XY! RAR TERF SMASH ONLY TWO GENDERS RAR SMASH!

It's like arguing with a 3 year old....only eventually the three year old will find common ground with you.

Human beings are complex. We are. We all are. we are all capable of great things...creativity, caring, building, supporting. We're also all capable of terrible things. All of us are. Saying otherwise denigrates all...ALL...women. Biological imperative is reductive. Biological essentialism is reductive. Gender essentialism is reductive. These are the tools they will, and do, use.

I was sure I posted about how we can either block, or we can push back. And I am sure I posted that I elect to push back, because they eventually crumble. And it's neat to see people who go for the absurdist dadaesque pushback like I do at times...mocking them by turning their words back at them. You're not going to make headway with them...they've ossified and calcified into immobile unmovable icons of a past age, so mockery and absurdism in return is a beautiful thing. As is directed arguing.

And I use both.

I am reminded of The Witch's Familiar (Doctor Who, s10, e1)

Missy: Listen to that. The Doctor without hope. Nobody is safe now. He'll burn everything.

I am not without hope. It's hard to find most days, but i have hope. It's why i fight each day to live.
But will I burn everything? For my friends...for my lovely queer and trans and enby and LGBTQIAA+ etc family...for my /loves/??? I'd burn galaxies for them. Without thought.

And that's why I engage.

"There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things which act against everything we believe in. They must be fought."

Hello, I'm Julie. Basically...run.