Tuesday, October 21, 2008


At Questioning Transphobia there's a post about the need for a vocabulary for the experience of transpeople. They specifically talk about the term "passing", and how the term doesn't cover their experiences. I'm not commenting there because all I have to say is focused on me, and I don't think I as a cisgender woman should fill that space with my own thoughts about my own situation.

Passing seems to me to what happens if I'm not overtly challenging the onlooker's stereotyped interpretation of my looks/behaviour. I pass as straight, unless I explicitly mention a girlfriend. I pass as non-disabled unless I'm using a cane. I have to change something about myself in order not to pass.

Of course, sometimes I do make an effort to pass - I don't use the cane even though I really need it, because I don't want to be seen as "the woman with the health problem".

I'm not sure if it would be a good idea or not to have a common name for "being passed". Miscasting, or mistyping might cover misgendering/ungendering as well as other types of being perceived as other/more than we are.

What bugs me about the situation is that I always have to choose whether to out myself or not. I wish I didn't have to do that.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Before Sweden removed the legal obstacles for same-sex couples to adopt children, there was a lot of debate. One reason against same-sex adoption was that the children would be bullied at school for having gay parents. That one made me particularly furious, partly because I've been the subject of severe bullying at school. It seems to me that the thing to do about bullying is to make damn sure kids don't bully other kids, not to use it as a cover for denying other people the choice to be parents. It all boils down to "if we let you have kids we'll teach our kids to be nasty to them".

And now, in the Livejournal anti-porn community, someone uses that exact argument - only this time it's prostitutes/porn actresses/sex workers who shouldn't be allowed to have kids.

It's no less appalling in this context.

(Hat-tip to Renegade Evolution.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Actually reading would be a start...

I just listened to a radio show about faith in US politics. The reporter asked Jim Backlin from the Christian Coalition what the most important issues are for them.
Abortion was number one, same-sex marriage number two.

Then I thought about my father, who's a minister in one of the larger protestant churches in Sweden (not the old state church, one of the "free churches", but reasonably mainstream). When we talked about the latter issue, he said that to him anyone who spent time fighting against same-sex marriage should read the bible again, specifically the gospels - in which Jesus spoke not once about homosexuality, but quite a bit about helping the poor, social justice and things like that.

It'd be nice if more Christians thought like that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


According to the BBC, 25 UK and US hospitals will study 1,500 survivors to see if people with no heartbeat or brain activity can have "out of body" experiences.. They're going to put pictures up in the resuscitation areas in the hospital, in places which can only bee seen from above. So if someone claims to have had an out-of-body experience while close to death, one can ask them what pictures they saw.

On Swedish talk radio P1's morning show, there was a bit of a discussion between a neurophysiologist and a woman who'd had an out-of-body experience while her heart had stopped and she was being resuscitated in the ambulance. It was highly amusing hearing them completely talk past each other - the scientist stating that "No, we have no evidence that it doesn't happen, but we do have a much simpler explanation which fits all facts", and the OOB-er "suggesting" that he be more open-minded and humble. I'm quite certain neither of them convinced the other.

I'm quite sure that if the study shows that the OOB-ers don't remember seeing anything they couldn't see while lying down, any OOB-er will still not accept it as valid. I think scientists would be less unlikely to accept a study contradicting their current beliefs. Or maybe that should be "hope" rather than think...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Blogosphere power, in a nutshell

There's been some discussion in Sweden about the blogosphere. Apparently politicians and journalists have now discovered that they're not the only ones people turn to for information...

The Swedish blog Opassande ("unfitting") has a post about a seminary about the blogosphere. She finishes with this (my translation):

"I can't help it - to me, asking if the blogosphere has power is somehow equal to asking if people have power. But what do I know."

Apparently you know more than most of the politicians, journalists and others debating the blogosphere, in much the same words as books, newspapers, radio and TV have been debated when they were new.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why I'm a pinko commie leftie, again

Our current government is right-wing. Well, right-wing for Sweden, anyway, so probably to the left of the US Democratic party. But still.

One of their hobby-horses is that the only way to get people to work is to make sure those who don't work suffer. Lately this has taken the form of "work-tax-deduction". That means that if you have a job you get a tax rebate.

This is supposed to encourage people to have jobs and not just laze around on welfare or sick pay.

What I don't understand is this: Suppose I get sicker - so sick that I can't work anymore. If that happens, the sick pay will be considerably less than my current salary. Also, I'll be sick.

Exactly how is raising my tax if I get sick going to make me healthier?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why I'm a pinko commie leftist

Social security is a feminist issue.
Social security is a race issue.
Social security is a class issue.

Because, as brownfemipower puts it: "It’s amazing how much freedom to resist that you have when you don’t have to worry about feeding your kids or losing your house or otherwise becoming destitute."

Thanks to our unions and our dole and our entire support system for those (temporarily or permanently) in need, I could quit a job where the boss was constantly hitting on me.

Thanks to those, I could quit a job in which I was expected to lie to customers.

Thanks to those, I could try becoming an entrepreneur without fear of not having food on the table.

Thanks to those and to our student loans, I could study enough to get the kind of job I really wanted.

Thanks to those and to our childcare system, single parents are able to work at all.

Thanks to those and to our socialised single-payer health care system, I have never had to choose between my (very expensive) endometriosis medication and food on the table, even when I've been between jobs.

Thanks to those and to our socialised single-payer health care system, I get the medications and the pain killers I need to be able to work full-time and to go horse riding and basically do anything other than lie on the sofa with a heating pad.

Thanks to those, my friend who's in so much pain that she can't work more than 50 % of full time still has enough money to live on.

I keep hearing our right-wing (for Sweden, that is - for the US they're pretty far on the left) politicians wanting to reduce benefits so that "it should pay better to work". Yeah, you should get better wages for working than the benefits you get when not working. But no one person in a civilized country should ever need to fear not having enough money for food and rent. No one person should need to stay in a job where they're abused. No one person should need to go without medication and health care.

No one.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Things I used to believe

I used to believe that in Sweden no land was stolen from aboriginal/native people, as it was in e.g. the US, Canada or Australia.

Then I learned about what we did to the Sami - stealing their children, killing off anyone practicing their religion, building houses on the lands they'd roamed with their reindeer...

No. My own ancestors didn't do this - but the society in which I live still needs to deal with it, and it seems far to many of us southerners don't even think about the fact that many of our countrymen live on stolen land. It's so much easier to let the local authorities up in northern Sweden fight it out with the Sami Council, while we blithely go about our city lives.

(Hat tip to Sudy for the link above).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Recently Amanda Marcotte wrote a post at Alternet, about how immigrant women are at greater risk for sexual abuse.

It's not a new topic. One of my favourite bloggers, brownfemipower, has written extensively about it. A lot of what Amanda wrote was basically the same things that brownfemipower, amongst others, have written - for years. If you read the comments to the post linked in the title, you'll find any number of view on whether Amanda appropriated or (to any degree) plagiarised bfp's work.

What I've learned from that particular trainwreck is this:
I am not the best judge of whether my actions are disrespectful of others. In fact, I'm probably the single worst judge of that. For me to say "but I didn't mean to be dismissive" is the moral equivalent of a man's saying "but I didn't mean to harass you". In both cases, the intention of the action isn't relevant - the experience of the person subjected to the action is.

When I'm in a privileged position over someone else, I don't need to feel guilty about it, but I do need to be aware of it. At that point my actions will have ramifications I simply haven't thought about, because part of privilege is not having to think as much.

When I tell a man that his actions are affecting me negatively, I expect him to take my words seriously - because, after all, I know how his words affect me as a woman, and he doesn't. If a woman of colour speaks the same words to me, it behooves me to take her just as seriously as I want that man to do to me. Because she knows things I don't, she experiences things I don't, she has lived a life I don't.

Also, self-justification is a bad basis for mutual understanding. Which I may or may not write more about another day.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Contradictory, much?

The other day I had lunch with a coworker. The conversation drifted into talk about different expectations and upbringing of boys and girls. I mentioned an experiment showing that people react differently to an infant boy crying than to a girl. The boss said that he doesn't think he'd act any different towards a daughter (which he doesn't have) than towards the sons he has.

About five minutes later he said that he'd certainly not want any of his boys to wear a dress.