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So... Pyre

Jul. 26th, 2017 08:05 pm
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At this point, Supergiant is the only studio I'll pay full price for because they manage to nail the combination of:

  • story
  • mechanics
  • art design
  • sound design.
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Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman

With Wonder Woman currently a blockbuster, it's probably not a surprise that we get a biopic about Wonder Woman's kinky and polyamorous creator.

Bearly a Lady

The first time I came out as bisexual to a partner, it was a mess. What was a passably tolerable relationship became a wasteland of conspiratorial winks, elbow nudges, and endless attempts to convince me to have a threesome with someone, anyone, just pick an attractive person of the same gender.

Thing is, I don’t blame him.

Bisexual representation in media is a fraught topic. More often than not, bisexual people are characterized as wild, promiscuous individuals with thrilling sex lives, perpetually ready to jump into bed with whomever they find attractive. (Not necessarily untrue or even wrong, but that’s a conversation for another space.) Consequently, we end up with people like my ex, who begin quivering with lascivious curiosity the moment they so much as hear the hum of that first syllable.

-- Cassandra Khaw discusses Bearly a Lady at Scalzi's Blog

Gretchen Phelps Archive Donated to Cornell

The archive of lesbian musician Gretchen Phillips, co-founder of the trailblazing band Two Nice Girls, sheds light on what it was like to be gay in the 1980s – before the internet helped create communities and at a time when gay lives were rarely visible.

-- Cornell University

Saraswati Supercluster

The supercluster in which our galaxy resides is known as the Laniakea Supercluster, which spans 500 million light-years. But thanks to a new study by a team of Indian astronomers, a new supercluster has just been identified that puts all previously known ones to shame. Known as Saraswati, this supercluster is over 650 million light years (200 megaparsecs) in diameter, making it one the largest large-scale structures in the known Universe.

-- Universe Today on the Sarawati Supercluster

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Posted on AO3. Star Trek Online gamefic featuring a Betazoid, a Trill, a guy in a TOS miniskirt, Klaus Nomi, Andy Warhol, and Lou Reed.
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Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor

Everyone is abuz by the announcement that Jodie Whittaker will play the next Doctor. On the plus side, Broadchurch series one and series 2 were both riveting and harrowing on the basis of her brilliant performance. She's a great choice for the role IMO.

Coincidentally, this comes right after I just wrote about the SFF gender-swap so I come into this with a little bit of anxiety about how The Doctor is going to be written around this. The worst case would be more of the same old gender-swap comedy tropes we've seen in vintage Star Trek. The best, IMO, would be stories that reflect some of the more interesting ideas regarding gender in SFF (including Ancillary Justice, Ian Banks' Culture, the stories by Foz Meadows that I just linked.) Since Doctor Who is mainstream TV, I expect something between those two extremes.

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As if I didn't give Foz Meadows enough praise in my last post, the third story published at The Fantasist, "The Song of Savi," really knocks one out of the park. Valina is one of a handful of female scholars at a university. She's given the honor of researching and translating an early version of a nationalist poem, "The Song of Savi." Valina knows the story as it's been translated twice into the common language of her culture. The language of the original version has been neglected. In her research, Valina discovers that the national hero, Savi was nonbinary and the poem describes their pregnancy. The story delves into the issues of cross-cultural translation and how complex gender identities get changed through multiple layers of translation for ideological and religious reasons.

And if that isn't worldbuilding enough in building both trans erasure and marginalized trans identities as part of the setting, Meadows takes it a step further when Valina takes her translation to her mentor:

‘I suspected,’ said Jarrah, laughing as he wiped the tears from his cheeks. ‘Ever since I first read the Yavinese, I suspected something was amiss. We Kemic love to claim a cultural descent from Enasca, but the language, Vali! Even with so much history lost or distorted, so much purposefully destroyed, their language remains; and their language is not like ours at all. Their pronouns were old and utterly ungendered; right away, that tells you something crucial about how they perceived themselves, the relevant lines of distance. Have you ever noticed that all their grammatically gendered words are later linguistic additions – loanwords, derivatives, new inventions? Of course you haven’t,’ Jarrah said, not unkindly, as Valina shook her head. ‘It took me years of study to pick up on it, and I’ve never published about it. Who would have listened, eh? Who would’ve cared?’

‘I would,’ said Valina, quietly. ‘I do.’

They shared a moment of silence; at which point, something else occurred to her.

‘Master,’ she said carefully, ‘if you knew – if you suspected –’

‘Why didn’t I say anything?’

She nodded. He laughed.

‘Confirmation bias, Vali. I wanted to see if you’d reach the same conclusions on your own. I was worried –’ his hands clenched, trembled; stilled again, ‘– after so many years, I wondered if maybe I hadn’t been fooling myself; if wanting to see Savi as someone different, someone radical, was all just born of bitterness at my own obscurity, at… at hiding.’

Which in one paragraph nails why LGBTQ people often equivocate when it comes to interpretation of historic and literary figures, and why we sometimes break out in tears when someone else sees the same thing in the texts we read.

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A long-standing staple of comedy is the gender swap. Classic examples include Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, in which the shipwrecked Viola poses as the man Cesario and accidentally woos Olivia, and Richard Strauss's Rosenkavalier where the youth Octavian (scored for a woman) assumes the identity of a woman and attracts the attentions of Baron Ochs. Probably a less offensive and more recent example is Some Like it Hot and Victor, Victoria which turns the usual source of discomfort on its ear with suggestions that maybe being gay or bisexual isn't that bad or uncomfortable, at least for people who are gay or bisexual. In Victor, Victoria we're laughing at straight-man King Marchand's discomfort in addition to with it.

The obvious extension into science fiction takes the joke one step further. The character not only appears to be a different sex, he or she (since these stories are inevitably binary) becomes a different sex. Coincidentally, I've hit two TV shows and one short story centering on science-fiction gender-swaps.

Star Trek: Voyager: "Body and Soul"

The EMH loves cheesecake

In the Star Trek: Voyager episode, "Body and Soul," the Voyager's shuttlecraft is captured by a culture that's at war with photonic lifeforms. Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) hides the photonic Emergency Medical Hologram (Robert Picardo), or Doctor, by uploading him into her own cybernetic systems. The EMH takes control over Seven's body, a premise that's even creepier than is acknowledged in the episode. The EMH volunteers to help out his captors, experiences attraction to the female first officer, and attracts the attentions of the captain.

All of which is played for comedy since the EMH inexplicably has a sense of gender and heterosexuality, but not a sense of taste or smell. As with Der Rosenkavalier the Doctor is initially appalled at becoming objectified by a man, but then uses Seven's sexual attractiveness to manipulate the Captain into a compromising position. The episode manages to hit many of the transphobic low notes: autogynophilia (attraction to self), same-sex attraction panic, and sexual manipulation. The saving grace is that the Lokirrin crew who eventually discover this are considerably more easy-going than The Doctor is about the situation.

Doctor Who: "The Doctor Falls"

The Master and Missy

Fast forward 17 years and we come to Doctor Who and Missy. Missy is the latest incarnation of The Master, a long-time, mass-murdering, antagonist of The Doctor. For the most part the humor of this switch comes from the premise that The Doctor's "first man-crush" is now, supposedly now available as a potential date. And this season has left little ambiguity about playing them as estranged lovers, even though its never clear as to whether anything sexual has happened in the past. Missy (Michelle Gomez) appears to be the serial abuser looking for forgiveness but not yet unable to change her ways. The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is the lonely and estranged lover hoping for change but perpetually disappointing.

For the most part, that works. Missy is almost completely comfortable regarding the gender change. She was the Master. Now, she is The Mistress. Where I feel this falls short is that we're told that the Time Lords are so far advanced they're beyond gender. We're shown that Time Lords have fluid gender across incarnations. But when Missy meets her previous male incarnation (John Simm), he's disappointed, snarks about the gender change, and drops a number of sexist one-liners attempting to annoy both Missy and the Doctor's companion, Bill (Pearl Mackie). Time Lords are apparently gender-fluid, except when they're not, and that's often in places where it really matters.

Foz Meadows, "Mnemosyne"

While I was mulling this over, a post by Liz Bourke referred me to Three Short Stories by Foz Meadows. Meadows demonstrates how the science-fiction gender swap could work. Evke Rau is sent on a mission to inspect a former prison colony. She's told by her pilot that the inhabitants of the colony are bound by a system of multi-generational debt slavery. Conditions at the colony are hostile to human life, so workers use remote-controlled humanoid "av's" or androids. “This won’t be what you expect,” her pilot says.

Rau discovers that given the freedom to inhabit idealized bodies, both physically as androids and in cyberspace, the colonists choose to do so full time. Gender fluidity isn't a embarrassing source of comedy or a disappointment, it's an opportunity:

There’s forty-odd children here now between five and fourteen, and though the youngest have smaller avs, the rest switch bodies like minnows, sometimes-boy and sometimes-girl, sometimes-neither and sometimes-both. Many still claim what the miners call a fixed heart, an immutable identity of male or female, but still they change avs happily. They claim each one has a different feel, a different perspective; as though the passage of so many souls through their mech-genned flesh has left behind a flavour, or an echo...

The miners have built themselves bigger, internal worlds to cope with the smallness of the station. They were meant to be prisoners, trapped and punished. Instead, they’ve turned Ayu Khadan into a paradise.

Which I think is what the science-fiction gender-swap stories could say beyond the obvious jokes about mistaken identity. How does the ability to choose your idealized body change culture? How is it an opportunity?

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While Nextcloud is nifty for keeping files synchronized across multiple computers. It doesn't handle git archives well. And while I could just use git over ssh, the web-based front ends add some interesting features including:

  • web-based editing
  • big-picture views of when files changed
  • ability to download or pull stuff without ssh.

Gitea seemed like an interesting project that covers most of what I need with a minimal footprint. This unfortunately led me down a rabbit hole of issues that probably would have been fixed if I just bothered to read the manual. Some findings:

Put the gitea binary in your data directory.

Most of what I'm used to involves the standard unix layout. Executable files live in some variant of /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin. Most configuration files live in /etc or /usr/local/etc. Data goes somewhere under /var. Gitea likes to put data in the same directory where the executable lives and fails (without error) if it can't write there. So the gitea executable on my system lives in /home/git.

First run to set up the config files.

To set everything up, run sudo -u git /home/git/gitea web. Gitea will run a web server at http://localhost:3000/ (I had to open a hole in the firewall and log in via ip number). That will take care of most settings including the URL you want to run gitea at. Mine runs under a sub-url of https://hostname.com/gitea. I'm using sqlite3 for my database backend since I plan on being the only user.

After that, you want to create your first admin user by registering.

Gitea Configuration

After the first run, I got into the generated config file to set some other options.

Set gitea to be available at https://hostname.com/gitea/:

[server]
...

ROOT_URL         = https://hostname.com/gitea/

Enable the gitea ssh server because I couldn't get openSSH integration working. I picked an arbitrary port number for gitea to listen for ssh connections:

[server]
...

SSH_PORT         = 7124
START_SSH_SERVER = true

Disable registration (since I'm the only user) and require login to view anything:

[service]
...

DISABLE_REGISTRATION       = true
REQUIRE_SIGNIN_VIEW        = true

Apache Configuration

Configuring apache as a proxy server was another pain in the ass that could have been handled by RTFM.

        ProxyPreserveHost On
        ProxyRequests off
        ProxyPass /gitea http://hostname.com:3000
        ProxyPassReverse /gitea http://hostname.com:3000
        RewriteRule ^/gitea - [QSA,L]

SystemD Configuration

Use the template in the contrib folder for gitea. Hopefully everything will run, and with a few repos added, the result should look something like this:

gitea screenshot

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Down Among the Sticks and Bones Header

One of the things that I think Down Among the Sticks and Bones does really well is the first act where the language of portal fantasy and fairy tales is turned back around onto the "real" world. Jacqueline and Jillian are conceived by their parents as the perfect accessory to their perfect lives. Mom wants the perfectly fashionable little girl, so she dresses Jacqueline in expensive dresses and grooms her to be quiet and still. Dad wanted the perfect little boy, so he dresses Jillian in jeans and pushes her into athletic sports.

It's tough to coat the bitter pill of emotional abuse and extreme gender stereotyping with the language of fairy tales, although one can easily find parallel stories in folklore collections. Here, the language serves to set up the contrast between the story of Jacqueline and Jillian's childhood to the story of Jack and Jill's adolescence. The children climb through a door out of an "idealized" narrative of suburban gender essentialism into a horrific narrative of vampires and mad scientists. Both stories include rules and negative consequences for failing to follow the rules.

Within a day after becoming "lost," Jacqueline and Jillian become Jack and Jill, the actors in a very different story. But new story gives the children choices. On the first night, the children choose to walk through the fields, parallel to the Lovecraftian horrors of the coast and the werewolves of the mountains.

Wolves came down from the mountains and unspeakable things came up from the sea, all gathering around the sleeping children and watching them dream the hours away. None made a move to touch the girls. They had made their choice. They had chosen The Moors. Their fate and their future was set.

On the second night, the children choose again between hidden plates of food. Jack's choice is revealed to be simple peasant fare, while Jill chooses rare roast beef. In the morning, they choose again. Jack becomes the unlikely apprentice to Dr. Bleak, who offers nothing other than hard work and relative poverty. Jill embraces life with The Master, the vampire lord of the village who offers luxury. (Much of this is foreshadowed in Every Heart a Doorway, where adult Jack and Jill play a key role.) Possibly one moral of Sticks and Bones is that children deprived of meaningful choice risk embracing any choice offered to them, no matter how horrible.

People who are familiar with Frankenstein (both novel and cinema), gothic vampire fiction, and Doorway can easily see how the third act turns out. And yet, we get a clear sense that Jack and Jill thrive in their new narrative roles. Jack is a lesbian who gets to make her own clothing, choose her vocation, and chooses to love a girl that Dr. Bleak raised from the dead. She finds ways to cope with her phobias of dirt and germs. Those choices are respected by the people closest to her. The last act strikes me as less "kill your lesbians" than casting Jack fully into a tragic role that had previously been largely male-exclusive. (A key exception is Rupetta, which features an extended lineage of tragic female mad scientists.) But some people are justifiably sensitive to that, so it's worth saying.

Jill fully embraces her role and her future as The Master's daughter. Her development is barely explored except for brief glimpses into how she's groomed in isolation from other children. I'm undecided as to whether that's a significant flaw or not. The climax of the novella feels a bit abrupt, the circumstances that culminate in Jack and Jill's exile from The Moors (and eventual conclusion at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children) come in a rush and left me wanting just a bit more. The novella seems almost, but not quite, the perfect frame for the Wayward Children stories.

The imagery of Sticks and Bones kept popping out at me visually in a way that I don't usually get from fiction. I was constantly thinking about how the story could be realized in cinema by someone like Del Toro, Selick, or Laika. However, I doubt that the book's ideas regarding forced gender roles and adolescent choices would be palatable for cinema. It wouldn't surprise me to see Sticks and Bones show up on challenged book lists.

It's turned into a book that sticks in my mind as something to discuss and share, and that's something.

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Most of last week was devoted to moving my self-hosting project off of Amazon and to another hosting provider. It's almost complete, although I still need to shift domain registration and a few other things.

"On Bullshit"

More and more I've been thinking about "discourse(TM)" through the lens of Harry Frankfurt's essay "On Bullshit", which has a lot to say about both online flamewars and fake news.

For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose

Wayward Children

Down Among the Sticks and Bones header

I've been diving deep into Seannan McGuire's Down Among the Sticks and Bones, the followup to the brilliant and award-winning Every Heart a Doorway. The first novel was a mystery set at a school where the girls and boys who return from wonderlands struggle to live with our reality. Down Among the Sticks and Bones goes back 20 years to describe the story of Jack and Jill. Maintaining tension in a prequel about the tragic secondary characters of Every Heart a Doorway is difficult, but McGuire does it. It's also a book that pulls few punches in using portal fantasy in talking about gender role stereotyping and expectations:

They were starting to feel, in a vague, unformed way, as if their parents were doing something wrong. Both of them knew kids who were the way they were supposed to be, girls who loved pretty dresses and sitting still, or who loved mud and shouting and kicking a ball. But they also knew girls who were dresses while they terrorized tetherball courts, and girls who were sneakers and jeans and came to school with backpacks full of dolls in gowns of glittering gauze. They knew boys who liked to stay clean, or who liked to sit and color, or who joined the girls with the backpacks for of dolls in their corners. Other children were allowed to be mixed up, dirty and clean, noisy and polite, while they [Jacqueline and Jillian] each had to be had to be just one thing, no matter how hard it was, not matter how much they wanted to be something else.

Deprived of real choice by their parents, Jacqueline and Jillian fully embrace the illusion of choice they get in the Moors, a fantasy realm of vampires and mad scientists.

queer.town

queer.town is a mastodon instance for queer-identified and genderqueer people.

Commander Badass Loves Gay Dads

Manly Guys Doing Manly Things covers gay dating sim Dream Daddy with a reminder that The Commander is bi.

Webcomic featuring commander badass

cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)

I've been fooling around with writing up some convenience functions for writing hugo posts. A lot of my earlier work from last year is described in this post.

Problem 1: Finding the root folder

There's an emacs function for that locate-dominating-file.

(defun locate-hugo-root ()
  "Search up from current file to find the root of the hugo directory."
   (let ((fPath
         (if (equal major-mode 'dired-mode)
             default-directory
           (buffer-file-name))))
     (locate-dominating-file fPath "config.toml")))

Problem 2: Creating a new post

Prompt with ido find file. Check if the buffer is empty, if the buffer is empty run a header skeleton.

(defun hugo-new-post ()
  "Prompt for a filename and then create a new post using hugo-yaml-skeleton."
  (interactive)
  (ido-find-file-in-dir default-directory) 

  (when (= 0 (buffer-size))
    (hugo-yaml-skeleton)))

Problem 3: Better searching

Built-in emacs searching doesn't really have good defaults for this to accommodate older versions of grep, and I can't be certain of having ag, the silver searcher everywhere. So I run grep with a custom command string, using the (almost) common lisp format to build my command string. For grep, I include --include='*.md' to ensure I'm only searching markdown files.

(require 'cl)
(defun hugo-search-markdown (search-string directory)
  "Search markdown files for search-string in directory."
  (interactive "sSearch string: \nDDirectory: ")
  (grep
   (format "grep -r -nH --include='*.md' --include='*.markdown' '%s' %s" search-string directory)))

Problem 4: Starting a server

Start a hugo server to preview the blog before publication.

(defun hugo-start-server ()
  "Start a server in the root of the current working directory."
  (interactive)
  (if (locate-hugo-root)

      (async-shell-command
       (concat "hugo server -s "
           (locate-hugo-root)
           ""))
    (message "Can't find hugo config file at %s" default-directory)))
cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)

Bi Community

The problem is that no matter how wonderful online community is – there’s no substitute for a real-life, in-person community. We need to be cultivating our own local bi communities that support us and build us up.

-- Rio Veradonir @ bi.org

Romney's administration blocked publication over the words 'bisexual' and 'transgender.'

“Because this is using the terms ‘bisexual’ and ‘transgendered,’ DPH’s name may not be used in this publication,’’ wrote the official, Alda Rego-Weathers, then the deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

-- Romney's administration blocked publication of anti-bullying guides @ boston.com

Lauren Jauregui

"A bunch of my fans have come up to me and said, 'because of you and because you came out, I have finally begun to accept myself'. That is infinitely incredible for me. I didn't expect to get to the point where I would own up to it within myself," she smiled.

-- Lauren Jauregui @ tv3.ie

Orlando Memorial Service

Overnight, those directly touched by the June 12, 2016, tragedy — survivors and family of victims — gathered in the parking lot outside the club for a private memorial service. They weren’t allowed inside the building, which has been boarded up for months, but just being near the place was emotional enough.

“It’s totally different now. It’s like all the terrifying and awful memories I had have been replaced with tonight, with this unity and all this love,” Ramses Tinoco, who survived the massacre, told the Orlando Sentinel. “We’re all still grieving but this gave me some closure. I could smile and remember the 49.”

-- Katie Mettler @ Washinton Post

The Feels

Tim Manley discusses creating the youtube show The Feels.

In most shows with a queer character, that is their defining feature. In my real life though, only some of my concerns are related to my gender or sexuality. Sometimes I’m just trying to figure out how to get my cat to stop peeing on my clean laundry. A lot of times I’m just trying to feel less sad.

So queerness both does and doesn't define all my experience. Part of that, for me, is being cis and bi: I can pass for straight, and often have to choose to out myself. It’s a privilege that can also feel disorienting.

It was affirming to portray a character whose experience of love and attraction mirrors mine, since I’ve never seen that outside myself before. But it also felt necessary to show the other moments, since we are all so much more than one thing.

-- Tim Manley interviewed @ Teen Vogue

cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)

Based on the "climb to a prime" problem @ Programming Praxis

Select a number, then compute its prime factors, with multiplicity; for instance, 90 = 2 × 32 × 5. Then “bring down” the exponent and write the resulting digits, forming a new number; for instance, the exponent of 2 in the above factorization is brought down, forming the number 2325. Repeat the process with the new number, and again, and so on; for instance, starting from 90, the chain is 90, 2325, 35231, 72719, where the chain terminates. I conjecture that the process will eventually terminate with a prime number.


#lang racket
(require math/number-theory)

(define (factors-to-list n)
  (define factor-list (factorize n))
  (define (iter fl results)
    (if (null? fl)
        (reverse results)
        (letrec ([p (car fl)]
                 [x (first p)]
                 [y (second p)])
          (if (> y 1)
              (iter (cdr fl) (cons y (cons x results)))
              (iter (cdr fl) (cons x results))))))
  (iter factor-list (list)))


(define (list-to-integer li (result 0))
  (if (null? li)
      result
      (list-to-integer (cdr li) (+ (car li) (* (expt 10 (digits (car li))) result)))))

(define (digits n)
  (inexact->exact (floor (+ 1 (/ (log n) (log 10))))))

(define (next-conway n)
  (list-to-integer (factors-to-list n)))

(define (conway-chain n (results (list)))
  (let ([next (next-conway n)])
    ;;; (displayln n)
    (cond
      [(= next n) (reverse (cons n results))]
      [(prime? n) (reverse (cons n results))]
      [(> n (expt 10 20)) (printf "limit exceeded at ~a" (reverse (cons n results)))]
      [else (conway-chain next (cons n results))])))

I threw in a limiter of 10^20 because factoring numbers that big can get pretty obnoxious, even with the math/number-theory library.

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equality sign

A modest crowd but the event wasn't very well publicized. Had two speakers from area youth organizations, which still blows my mind coming out in high school.

Signs

Plenty of signs. At the end of the rally, the organizer collected the signs for display in the LGBTQ center that's due to open next month.

Here's a link to my pics minus the teen speakers.

cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)

warn: discussion of sexual assault in fiction

The past few days I've been a bit more stressed than usual. Part of it is due to coming off of a big project, and part of it, I suspect, is due to my lunchtime book: The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin.

In common with many other feminist science fiction authors, Jemisin deals with rape culture in the context of dystopian forces, including imperialism, racism, and sexism. And let's be clear, unlike many other authors in the speculative fiction world, Jemisin is pretty damn careful about not using rape and abuse either for titillation or as a "kick the puppy" moment to prove the villainy of a character. I have to take Alan Moore at arms length because of how he frequently deals with sexuality. Jemisin wrote on this issue with a previous series:

There’s only one way to get rid of rape culture: acknowledge it. Discuss it. Subvert it. Don’t stop talking about or even depicting sexual violence — just try to do these things in a way that does not at the same time perpetuate it.

I appreciate what Jemisin, and Butler, Atwood, Tepper, and Slonczewski write regarding rape culture and abuse. But when I encounter it as a survivor, I have to do conscious work to process that particular scene. If I'm reading that text out of professional or academic obligation, I will make space to do that. But if it's just for entertainment, well, I need to make a choice about whether I really want to tackle what is going to be a difficult text. I'll probably tackle Fifth Season at some point in the future, but not this week.

That's why I take advantage of content warnings. It's not about keeping myself in a bubble, but about giving me a fair estimate about how much work I'll need to understand a particular text.

cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)

Just a reminder the equality march is on Sunday with satellite locations around the world.

cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)

"I'm Proud to Be Bi — So Why Haven't I Come Out to My Parents?"

They say coming out is a constant thing, that it's never over. People spend all their lives coming out again and again and again in small and big ways. You come out to your friends, your siblings, your co-workers, your parents. . . . There's so much focus on the big moment of "coming out" now, the dreaded "Mom, Dad, I'm gay," but that's only a sliver of the reality. Each time it's a little thrill of fear in the back of your throat, even in my case. After telling my brother, my friends, my co-workers, strangers in bars and at parties, a cousin or two, even the internet, somehow I've still yet to tell my parents that I'm queer.

-- Rachel Crowley @ POPSUGAR

"I'm Proudly Bisexual—and Being Married to a Man Doesn't Change That"

It took me an entire year of working at a national LGBTQ organization to stop subscribing to the one of the biggest myths society perpetuates about bisexuality. I thought that since I’m happily married to my husband, Scott, there was no reason to “come out” as bisexual because people would never understand. I was convinced I’d lost my opportunity to come out and should have done it when I was single and had the chance.

Eventually, stifling a major part of my identity became too much to bear. I realized that I needed to be who I am, regardless of my marriage to a man, because that was the only way to give my authentic self room to breathe.

-- Candace Bond-Theriaut @ Self

"Why I’ll Be Holding onto These Five Nuanced and Inspiring Bisexual Characters for Dear Life This Pride"

And so now, whenever I see a character who is without-question, canonically bisexual in a TV show or film, I latch onto them for dear life.

-- Teresa Jusino @ The Mary Sue

"FPSs and dysphoria"

My discomfort in playing as men in first-person games comes from years and years and years of playing that character so deeply and convincingly in my daily life that it has caused deep and lasting harm to myself, both my body and my soul. I am tired of playing as that character. I want to play as me, or at least as someone who is not that. Games are a place of escape for me. They always have been.

-- Niamh @ I Need Diverse Games

“Pick Your Poison: Character Creation & The Gender Binary”

And not only for me. There are a bunch of trans gamers out there—and a bunch of specifically nonbinary trans gamers. There’s also a bunch of cis gamers who either would like more flexible character creation or, to be honest, could do with realizing not everyone is ‘like them’—even if most of the world likes to pretend that’s the case. Most importantly, though, there are a bunch of gamers who are figuring themselves out, and the opportunity to try out different gender identities and pronouns with no real-world implications could be invaluable to that process. I know I still don’t have answers to a lot of gender questions, and being able to feel out my gender through my virtual self would be incredibly useful.

-- Teddy @ Femhype

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Mild spoilers follow.

Wonder Woman

Overall, Wonder Woman didn't suck. Audio design made some of the dialogue in my theater incomprehensible, but the dialogue didn't really matter that much, did it? (Although its a bit of a shame, because I normally love David Thewlis.)

More I'm mulling over the issue of blink and you'll miss it LGBTQ representation. That the Amazons are lesbian is implied by a score of secondary performers in the first act. An early battle between Amazons and Germans results in the death of some, with grief-stricken lovers. Then Diana gets an awkward line on the boat about how the Amazons prefer women. The inclusion of this line is very much a "tell, don't show" moment. After the first act, Wonder Woman quickly becomes the only woman on a team of men, a pattern likely to repeat with Justice League.

Diana's own sexuality is left thankfully ambiguous. While there's an implied love scene involving a closed door and a light in a window, it passes without much in the way of comment. Wonder Woman neatly avoids the usual "conversion" narrative that pervades science fiction where a single-gendered culture discovers the joys of superior heterosexual love. If anything, the relationship strengthens Diana's moral compass that even flawed humans are worth protecting.

On the one hand, it's nice that LGBTQ people are moving from completely invisible to marginally visible. On the other hand, DC and Marvel have a long pattern of keeping their LGBTQ characters primarily on the margins of their stories. Wonder Woman is probably the most high-profile character to come out of the closet in the comics. Maybe that will be explored in a future movie, but I'm skeptical.

It's also worth noting that Wonder Woman was created by a man in a queer, polyamorous relationship so that subtext was there all along.

cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)

I've been hitting a few bump on the road to selfhosting most of my stuff. The first came from trying out Shaarli as a bookmarking service to replace pinboard.

shaarli screenshot

Shaarli does almost everything you expect for it to. Pinboard usually makes new links searchable after a few days, Shaarli does so instantly. Shaarli doesn't have a read/unread field. So what's the problem? I can't seem to stay logged in for more than an hour or so. This isn't such a big deal on desktop, but on Android where the process of getting passwords into a browser can be annoying, it's a deal-breaker.

The other speedbump was in trying out dokuwiki as a note-taking platform. The problem there? The pre-packaged spam filter:

https?:\/\/(\S*?)(bi\s*sex|gay\s*sex|fetish|incest|penis|\brape\b)

Not a hard fix to figure out, but still a bit of an annoyance.

cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)

I completed my first pattern in years, a boomerang scarf using some hand-dyed yarn I picked up when I was in Indiana during my sister's memorial.

Yarn: Hand-dyed merino/nylon blend from Frankofille Knits
Pattern: Quaker Yarn Stretcher Boomerang
Needle: US 6 circular bamboo

RS: KFB at the start of row. K2T at the end of row.
WS: slip one at start of row, KFB and slip one at end of row.

Horizontal rib pattern:
5 rows stockinette
1 row reverse stockinette
5 rows stockinette
3 rows reverse stockinette

boomerang scarf

boomerang scarf detail

still life with cat

cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is not only holding a Bi Pride march on June 9, they have an anthem.

lyrics

Jill Soloway

Transparent director Jill Soloway describes her experience of being trans:

I identify as trans, which means that I am not seeking to synthesise my appearance with the label assigned to me at birth and instead am opting to live in a space where a label other than male or female is used to define me.

-- Jill Soloway @ The Guardian

India Fashion Shoot

Amit Bittoo explores the pressures faced by bi men in a fashion shoot.

Eliel Cruz on Identity Labels

There are over thirty different identity labels in the Bi+ umbrella. At national events like the Bisexual Community Briefing at the White House, the vast majority of those labels are represented. It would be surprising to many who get into these identity label arguments that some of our bi leaders identify as pansexual, queer, or fluid in their day to day but understand the importance of coming together as a non-monosexual community under the Bi+ Umbrella.

This is why I don’t engage in these arguments. My work as an activist centers our community and the disparities we face. Arguing labels isn’t productive and doesn’t do anything that tangibly benefits our community. What we can focus on is the unique reasons why we choose our identity labels, how as a community we face the same struggles, and ways we can work together.

-- Eliel Cruz @ Bi.org

Babel-17

Leah Schnelbach revisits Samuel R. Delany's Babel-17:

In order to find Navigation team for her ship, Rydra has to hire a Triple – three people involved in a complex marriage/psychological bond. Their ability to steer the ship and think their way out of tight spots is directly connected to their ability to communicate with each other, and foster a healthy and loving three-way-relationship. When she finds Callie and Ron, the two remaining members of a former Triple, she takes the time to find them a new One at the morgue. (In Delany’s future, people who are depressed can cryo-freeze themselves for a while) Rydra finds a woman, Mollya, who had herself frozen when her previous Two and Three died. After she’s resurrected, considers the two men before her, and decides to take another shot at love—but there’s a catch. Rydra has specifically found a Callie and Ron a woman who only speaks Ki-Swahili, because the three will need to find more direct ways to communicate than speech alone can provide.

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