Notes and Comment Blog


Jul 28th, 2015 7:01 am | By

6:50 in the morning.

The second thing I see after logging on.




Rosalie McMillian

Ophelia Benson: Making you question why you still call yourself a human one blog post and comment at a time.

7 people like this.

Ophelia Benson: She who smelt it dealt it.

5 people like this.

Ophelia Benson is the reason Tinkerbell was poisoned by Hook.

7 people like this.

Blade Stevens: yes.

Blade Stevens: yes more of these

Ophelia Benson: There will never be enough Zoloft to make me less sad that she exists.

7 people like this.

I’ve never heard of this person.

My life has become so random.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Seriously unskilled impersonation

Jul 27th, 2015 1:23 pm | By


People said the impersonator is imitating my style, but no – this doesn’t sound like me at all:

Embedded image permalink

I don’t think I tell people to “ponder” things.

I hate “he or she” and don’t use it.

I wouldn’t say “in what capacity” are you Xian because that’s meaningless.

I would never say “believing in christ.”

I would never say “Others would proclaim.”

I would never, ever belittle someone by calling her “miss.” Yuck.

I don’t use a hyphen, I say trans woman, because I understand it’s the preferred way of saying that.

I would never say “may meet the requirements set by certain people” – that’s ugly and clumsy and gross, and I don’t write like that.

I wouldn’t say the substantive part the troll ends with.

That doesn’t sound like me at all.

And, of course, it isn’t.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Make Facebook authorities aware

Jul 27th, 2015 10:47 am | By

Arifur Rahman tells us that Facebook is letting Islamists shut down bloggers and activists.

Few days ago, I came across an article being shared by Atheist Republic, discussing how they are under attack after publishing the Rainbow Kaaba. I got interested and read the whole article where the author described how their Facebook page, their Admins are getting abuse from Islamists, threats and how their Facebook accounts are getting suspended for no good reason.

To my surprise, I wasn’t surprised, at all!

Because, we, the Bangladeshi bloggers, have suffered this kind of attack all too often. This kind of mindless attack, which I call Facebook terrorism, was thrown at us since the dawn of blogging history. But until now, I used to think attacks such as this were only limited to Bengali speaking blog-sphere. We are the most attacked blog community, and have to deal with the worst kind of Islamic infestation. four of our bloggers / authors were killed earlier this year due to Atheistic / Science blogging / writing.

After reading the Atheist Republic article, it now looks like, this problem is not confined within Bangladesh anymore. The Global Islamic digital terrorism has now acquired enough resource and network to expand its attack anywhere in the internet. Atheist Republic, its Facebook page and its Admins are also now targets of digital violence.

I will explain below, for the unsuspecting bloggers, how Facebook terrorism is leveraging the ‘numbers matter’ strategy, and how the weak moderation policy of Facebook is harming freedom of speech and thought.

As you may know there’s 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. A great number of them have access to the internet and own a Facebook account. We potentially have millions of Muslims primed for protest against defamation of their religion (prophet).

Islamic authoritarian system works on a top-down approach. Social and psychological structure of pious muslims rely heavily on ‘scholarly’ person(s) who announces strategy and ‘to do’ actions. These actionable commands are then obeyed by average Muslims without thinking and thereby creating waves of action within a very short time span. However, for this kind of instruction sets to work, the average Muslim must be able to understand and excute without too much hassle and disruption.

Read the whole thing. It has screengrabs and artwork and different colors – it’s an aesthetic treat as well as a call to action and primer on what’s happening.

At the end –

What can we do? I think there’s little we can do as individuals.


But as a collective… We can…

1. Have our Facebook accounts secured with dual authentication.

2. Inform Facebook authorities to enable ‘captcha’ for reporting, so that direct link abuse can be reduced.

3. Make Facebook authorities aware that this sort of abuse is happening and make a policy level change so that groups congregating for such violence can be reported and with enough evidence Facebook should remove these groups and / or take precautionary actions against perpetrators.

end of the day, we must awake our selves that something dark is engulfing us. If we don’t know how to make ourselves aware, we will soon have nowhere to go.


Thanks for Reading. Please don’t forget to Share and let others know.


Arif Rahman

London, UK.


[I am a Bangladeshi Blogger living in the UK. I am lucky (so far) that I’m in the UK. My friends have been killed and my name is in the ‘List’ as Arifur Rahman]

He has since been suspended from Facebook.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

A star is born

Jul 26th, 2015 6:08 pm | By

But now, a treat –

Meet the owlet who is my new avatar.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)


Jul 26th, 2015 5:57 pm | By

One more fun thing before the sun sets over the mountains –

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Guest post: Good wishes

Jul 26th, 2015 5:33 pm | By

Originally two comments by Julia S on The destroyer of worlds.

I also saw a comment under your name in a blogpost. I was a bit surprised as it was blatantly anti-trans but it seemed reasonable (as in, calm and non-slurry) and used similar language as you so I wasn’t incredulous about its authenticity. I was thinking about writing about or replying to it but decided against it. It’s uncool for someone to impersonate you, if that’s true and you didn’t just change your mind about a distasteful comment. Good wishes, Ophelia.

[I replied: Could you tell me where, please, so that I can do something about it?]

I would tell you if you weren’t such a transphobe (based on what you’ve said here, on this very blog).

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The destroyer of worlds

Jul 26th, 2015 11:30 am | By

I have developed superpowers.

I’m not friends with this person and have had zero interactions with her recently – I would estimate at least a year.

#tookmymeds + beta-blockers and double melatonin-> some hope of a) not bursting a vessle and b) sleep. Thanks a fucking heap, Ophelia Benson.

I make people suffer misery in their struggle to explain to the world how horrible I am.


Improbable Joe said:  

I’m trying not to wade too much into this, it has caused me some significant stress and pain. All I know is that trans women are dying, and relatively privileged women are treating their lives and experiences as an intellectual exercise AT BEST. And whether or not OB is actively transphobic or merely sympathetic/friendly towards TERFs, she’s been a real jerk about the whole thing.

Oh the pain, it must be awful.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The latest ploy

Jul 26th, 2015 9:27 am | By

Someone is impersonating me to leave terrible transphobic comments on blogs.

If you have a blog and you get a comment from “” that’s not from me, it’s an impersonator.

Please share that information.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

And now for something completely different

Jul 25th, 2015 11:24 am | By

From Twitter.

Gautam Trivedi‏@Gotham3
Breaking News: A police officer in Netherlands found a baby owl roaming on the streets today.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The land of ambiguity

Jul 25th, 2015 11:12 am | By

Ok. It’s too late for this (but then it probably always was), because there are a lot of people just hell-bent on spotting a TERF in the bushes and not changing their view no matter what; the well is thoroughly poisoned and is going to stay that way. The poisoner oolon, who went to Pharyngula to work up the troops against me yesterday, is one such; that dude wants scalps, period.

But there are, I’m told, people who are just plain hurt and upset, especially trans people, and I don’t to hurt people. Therefore I’ll try to clarify what I meant by refusing to answer yes or no.

(It’s like Bill Clinton and “is” – that was treated as a joke, but there actually is more than one meaning to “is.” Rumsfeld and his unknown unknowns were also treated as a joke, but he too was quite right – it’s only a pity he didn’t take the unknown unknowns a lot more seriously.)

There’s a difference, for instance, between an ontological is and a political is.

The more I think about the ontology of gender, the less I think I understand it. It’s slippery. That makes it impossible to answer yes/no questions about it.

But politically? Do you mean, will I take trans people’s word for it? Will I use their right names and pronouns? Of course I will. Do I want to make them jump through hoops to prove something to me? Of course not.

Do I get that trans people are severely marginalized, and have to jump through kinds of hoops I have no idea of? Hell yes.

I have thoughts and questions about gender, broadly speaking; gender as if affects all of us, and women in particular. I don’t think those thoughts are transphobic.

Jenora Feuer’s new guest post on the subject is illuminating, I think. Read it in tandem with this.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Guest post: We’re not trying to draw bright line boundaries at all

Jul 25th, 2015 10:51 am | By

Originally a comment by Jenora Feuer on We’re going to end up putting feminist intellectual history through its own extinction event.

I can’t comprehend what it means to “know that you are male/female,” because I don’t particularly “feel” my gender.

Me either.

There was a comment at We Hunted the Mammoth a few weeks back (I commented on it here before) where someone said that they had found two different groups of people who really didn’t ‘get’ trans issues intuitively. One was the group of people who strongly identified with their gender, assumed everybody else was like that, and therefore that anybody who didn’t identify with their gender was wrong in some way. The other was the group of people who don’t strongly identify with any gender at all, and don’t really understand what it’s like to have a strong identity, particularly one that doesn’t match your physical body. Both of these groups have the same apparent problem on the outside, but completely different ways of getting there, and need different approaches. Especially since the first group is often personally invested in the concept of a gender binary, while the second group will consider the binary to be a default assumption if they haven’t thought about it, but they don’t really care about it to the same extent.

I get the impression most of the original TERF types were in the first group, or at least certainly acting like it: they were being explicit gatekeepers to the concept of ‘being a woman’, drawing boundaries, and in general acting like a mirror image of the problem they were ostensibly fighting against. But a lot of the people here I’ve seen here (including myself) are in the second group; we may make mistakes, but we’re not trying to draw bright line boundaries at all and don’t really intuitively grasp why other people are. Which often puts us on the wrong side of a lot of different lines that other people DO insist on, just because we don’t necessarily see them.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Guest post: We’re going to end up putting feminist intellectual history through its own extinction event

Jul 24th, 2015 6:27 pm | By

Originally a comment by A surprise to many on The art of the question.

What the hell is so difficult about a yes-and-no answer to the “trans women are women” question? For some, perhaps even most, purposes, yes, absolutely. For other purposes (women’s reproductive health, family policy, FGM), no.

This is no different from any other socially constructed group identity. Is Barack Obama African American? Yes. And no. Is the Nigerian immigrant who runs the pizza place near my job? Yes. And no. Is someone with a Jewish father a Jew? Yes. And no. Are messianic Jews Jewish? Yes. And no.

Am I a woman? Yes. And no. Even though I was identified female at birth and have gestated and lactated, there are ways in which I do not feel particularly comfortable being labeled “woman” and in which some people would classify me as not-a-woman. Being a woman is a social identity grounded in part, but only in part, on physical characteristics. It’s not a you-are-or-you-aren’t category.

(Disclosure: I too am a member of the frightening gender discussion group. Anyone who’s spent more than 5 minutes reading the group will note that there are many different opinions on gender and trans gender issues held by members of the group. I’ve learned a lot and been challenged to think of better arguments as a result of participating in the group. I’ve found myself agreeing and arguing with Hungerford in different threads on different topics. Gender is not an easy thing to define or analyze, and if we’re going to discard every single writer or forum with whom we don’t completely agree, we’re going to end up putting feminist intellectual history through its own extinction event.)

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

In some photos there is a shackle on one of her limbs

Jul 24th, 2015 5:31 pm | By

Ashley Ford interviewed Nona Faustine for Elle.

Nona Faustine’s photographs are blowing up on Facebook and no one is more surprised than her. Born and raised in Brooklyn, with a distinct city accent, her tone is as light as her work is somber. In the “White Shoes” photo series, Faustine appears in the places where African slaves were bought, sold, and traded in 1620’s New York City. Her expression is solemn, in some photos there is a shackle on one of her limbs, and aside from her shoes, she is completely naked.

Go to the article to see some of the pictures. I saw the first one on Twitter a few days ago; it’s very powerful.

I like to think that every piece of art has an inciting incident, some happening or realization that plants the seed of its own creation. What would you say was the inciting incident for your “White Shoes” series?

I always wanted to make a really powerful piece of work, and there are things you carry with you throughout your life: ideas, incidents, and history. The story of my life is a family impacted by the fact that I had a great-grandmother who was an enslaved African, and my mother grew up with her. She told [my mother] all the stories of her life. Then there was me, being a born and bred New Yorker, discovering the African Burial Ground and realizing there was slavery here in this city.

For some people, your photos have been a revelation. They didn’t realize slave trading ever happened in New York City. Why do you think people remain unaware of this city’s history with slavery?

I don’t know because it is not a secret. It’s like anything. You just pick up a book on whatever topic you’re interested in and you’ll find a lot of information.​

I wish we were a lot better at knowing our history though.

What kinds of reactions has “White Shoes” elicited from people around you?

My Facebook page exploded, friend requests exploded, my Instagram exploded. I’m not really great at Instagram, but I have an account, so when those numbers went up I knew something happened here. Lots of black women have embraced the art. It’s talking about pain and it’s talking about celebration, and they want desperately to see themselves in the larger media. It’s not often we see someone who looks like me out there, and they embrace that. People have reached out to me from Tasmania, Paris, Germany, some guy told me all of Africa was behind me, and I thought Really? All of Africa? [laughs] You sure about that?​

Wellll people exaggerate. They don’t read history, and they exaggerate.

ny negative reactions?

You expect that from white men because they always want to try to talk about black women’s bodies, and they stay lusting after black women and secretly fetishizing black women. Yet, they’ll publicly get on an article that’s talking about me and make a derogatory comment about my body. But when you see people who go out of their way to come to my Facebook page and leave a message under whatever article, “No one wants to see your big ass.” I laugh because at this point, I’ve accepted my body and who I am, whether I lose weight or not. I have self-love. I have walked the walk, I have paid the price, and I accept myself with love. So, I laugh because those people have a problem that has no relation to me.

Do you know what it takes—knowing how the world looks at fat people, imperfect bodies, or old women—to actually say I’m going to strip my clothes off and I’m going to put myself out there? I’m not putting myself on a pedestal, but I’m saying know how the world looks at that action. Know how the world feels when I defy that and say, “I don’t give a shit.”

I do know. I gasped at her courage when I first saw that photo.

Any advice for a young woman of color who dreams of being a photographer?

Go for it. We need more artists of color out there. And we need artists of color who are going to go the distance. Don’t them stop you. There are so many roadblocks, ones they put out there for you, and ones you put out there yourself. I did that. I put roadblocks up for myself, and it took family support to encourage me to go back to it. It took me maturing a bit.

My life changed when I had a baby. I had to think about what was really important, what was the message I wanted to hand down to my daughter. You’re talking about legacy? I wanted my daughter to be proud of me. I didn’t want to have to tell her I gave up on my dreams.

Photography, and being an artist is not a career, it’s a calling.

Go for it. Always go for it.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Comment-liking crime

Jul 24th, 2015 4:57 pm | By

Ew. Now they’re monitoring what comments I like on Facebook, and blabbing about them on Twitter. It’s exactly like the slimers – they too obsessively monitor every word of mine that they can get access to. It’s creepy and disgusting and loathsome.


Where’s the brain bleach.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Guest post: Back in fundie-land

Jul 24th, 2015 1:18 pm | By

Originally a comment by A Masked Avenger on The art of the question.

M. A. Melby @11:

As a recovering fundie, I can tell you that there’s only one answer to a question that ends with, “…yes or no?”, and that’s “Fuck you.”

Lawyers get to say “…yes or no?” because you’re compelled by the court to answer. You’ll go to jail for contempt if you don’t. And you’ll face contempt if you answer a yes/no question with a question, or a long answer, or a non-response. [Unfortunately] the lawyer is allowed to make such demands, because they are empowered to compel a response, and to punish you for your refusal.

Inquisitors get to say “…yes or no?” for the same reason: an inquisitor is a prosecutor, generally in a religious court, and can have you tortured or executed not only for giving the wrong answer, but for refusing to answer.

Back in fundie-land, I’ve been asked [and, to my shame, I’ve asked] these “…yes or no?” questions. The asker does it because they think they’re an inquisitor. Their intention is to either force compliance with some norm, or to identify you as an outsider as a prelude to punishing or expelling you from the community. They have the power to do that. Sometimes because they’re actual gatekeepers, like church rulers. More often because the social group stigmatizes the wrong answer to such an extent that it doesn’t matter how an answer is extracted from you; once you fail to say “shibboleth” correctly, you’re a heathen, infidel, outsider, unperson.

I find it hilarious–but in a sad way–to see “rational” or “freethinking” people set themselves up as inquisitors. It’s a healthy reminder that religion is just a well-adapted vehicle for delivering the toxin, and human nature is its source. The need to cement our “we” status by inflicting “they” status on someone else. I.e., self-righteousness. The inability to care for “us” without simultaneously hating “them.” Etc, etc.

“Yes or no?” Fuck you is my answer. Even if I agree with you, still fuck you.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Guest post: Submission

Jul 24th, 2015 12:58 pm | By

Originally a comment by Blondin on An overzealous state trooper.

The cop did a u-turn and covered a lot of ground to catch up with Ms Bland. From her point of view I think she did what most people would do if they saw a cop car charging up behind them. Just that aspect of the story looks suspiciously like a despicable tactic. Anyone who gets out of his way but fails to signal gets pulled over, either because he has a quota to fill, because he’s a loathsome bully who gets a kick out of antagonizing the powerless, or maybe a bit of both.

I keep reading comments saying she should have just complied; she should have just put out her smoke and she would have been on her way. I don’t think that would have made any difference. Refusing to put out her cigarette was not her “mistake”. Showing her irritation was where she went wrong. Answering his question about why she was irritated is what sealed her fate. Calling “bullshit” on his bullshit was not a sin he could overlook.

We always tell our children to obey a policeman’s commands and answer his questions truthfully because we assume he has a legitimate reason for asking those questions or issuing those commands. We always advise people to show similar compliance with muggers but for a different reason. If a man waves a knife in your face and asks for your wallet you don’t want to piss him off or he might fuck you up. We should not have to worry about pissing off a cop because he might fuck you up.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The art of the question

Jul 23rd, 2015 5:44 pm | By

Wikipedia entry: Loaded question.

A loaded question or complex question fallacy is a question which contains a controversial or unjustified assumption (e.g., a presumption of guilt).[1]

Aside from being an informal fallacy depending on usage, such questions may be used as a rhetoricaltool: the question attempts to limit direct replies to be those that serve the questioner’s agenda.[2]

President Bill Clinton, the moderator in a town meeting discussing the topic “Race In America”, in response to a participant argument that the issue was not affirmative action but “racial preferences” asked the participant a loaded question: “Do you favor the United States Army abolishing the affirmative-action program that produced Colin Powell? Yes or no?” [8]

Complex question:

By a complex question, in the broadest meaning of that term, is meant one that suggests its own answer. Any question, for instance, that forces us to select, and assert in our answer to it, one of the elements of the question itself, while some other possibility is really open, is complex in the sense in which that term is here employed. If, for example, one were to ask whether you were going to New York or London, or if your favourite colour were red or blue, or if you had given up a particular bad habit, he would be guilty of the fallacy of the complex question, if, in each case, the alternatives, as a matter of fact, were more numerous than, or were in any way different from, those stated in the question. Any leading question which complicates an issue by over simplification is fallacious for the same reason.

Suggestive question:

Yes/no or forced choice questions like “is this yellow or green?” force people to choose between two choices when the answer could be neither of the choices or needs more explanation. This generates more “interviewer-talks” moments, where the interviewer is talking and controlling most of the interview.[7] This type of question is also known as a false dilemma.

Professionals at risk for using suggestive questions

Interrogators and police

Unethical or unskilled police officers can use suggestive questioning in interrogation rooms. Such interrogators use different kinds of techniques and questions in order to get people to confess. They use response framing when getting people to falsely confess. This is when they purposely limit certain answers and suggest others.

Did you follow all that? Yes or no.



(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Did you do your homework?

Jul 23rd, 2015 5:21 pm | By

I got a long condescending mansplaining email from James Billingham today telling me how terrible and telling it is that I refused to answer a question that demanded a yes or no response, and how extremely simple and uncontentious it should be to answer the question with a “yes” end of story.

That claim betrays an unfamiliarity with thinking.

Thinking just doesn’t work like that. If you can answer yes or no, there’s precious little to think about. Yes or no is for simple factual questions, or practical plan-making questions. Is the light on? Did you get milk? Are you ready to go? Did you feed the cat?

Questions that are more complicated than that can pretty much never be answered with a yes or no.

You could demand of me, “Are women equal to men? Yes or no.” I would refuse to answer the question in that form.

Why? Isn’t it simple? Shouldn’t I just say yes, of course?

No, because I wouldn’t even know what was meant by “equal to” – so I couldn’t answer until I did know. Therefore I would have to refuse to answer at all, if the other party had been such an asshole as to order me to answer yes or no.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Guest post: He’s thinking of leaving policing

Jul 23rd, 2015 4:43 pm | By

Originally a comment by sambarge on An overzealous state trooper.

The mentality isn’t that you can’t back down. It’s that you can’t escalate needlessly. As you mention, you negotiate or talk. You don’t have to be a social worker but you have to be a human being. You don’t demand something of a person that you don’t have a very good reason for demanding. Because officers are armed and empowered to use force on their own judgment, they have to be of the very best judgment. That is not what we have now.

In short, I agree with everything you’ve said.

I was discussing the Bland case with a good police officer (one who believes he serves the public) and he recounted a story of a welfare call on a pregnant woman who had been involved in a dispute. They were checking in to make sure she was okay because she had fallen during the disturbance/dispute and left the scene before they arrived. She wasn’t happy to see them and told them to “f*ck off.” His partner wanted to push past her and search her house. Why? Because she was rude and she swore at them. The good officer (and the senior in this case) pointed out that there was no law that said people had to be polite to police officers. She’s pregnant, she’s just had a shitty day and of course she’s going to be rude. But he could see her the next day on the street and she’d be friendly and smiling. He had to physically restrain his partner from tackling a pregnant woman half his size because she wasn’t nice to him. I mean.

Too few officers have his approach to it though. And, the result is that POC are paying the ultimate price while white folks wonder at what’s going on.

Perhaps not surprisingly, he’s thinking of leaving policing.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Tangerines and fish

Jul 23rd, 2015 11:55 am | By

A very interesting Fresh Air a couple of days ago about making the movie Tangerine, about a friendship between transgender sex workers in LA.

When film director Sean Baker moved to Los Angeles three years ago, he found himself drawn to one of the city’s most infamous intersections. The corner of Highland Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard is “an unofficial red light district,” Baker tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. But Baker’s interest in the area went beyond the usual transactions: “I thought there must be some incredible stories that take place on that corner.”

Baker wanted to tell those stories, so he and co-screenwriter Chris Bergoch began walking the streets in search of a collaborator who could act as their “passport” into an unfamiliar world.

Many of the women Baker and Bergoch approached assumed they were cops and refused to talk. But then they met Mya Taylor and something clicked: “There was just something about Mya — she attracted our attention from 40 feet away — and we went up to her and introduced ourselves and started talking about this project and it was that ‘eureka’ moment where she expressed just as much enthusiasm back to us. … She was that collaborator we were looking for.”

She played one of the two main parts but she also collaborated on the writing and directing and probably more. It was her idea to make it a comedy, which Baker didn’t like at first but now thinks was the only way to go “because it wasn’t condescending to the subjects.”

Mya Taylor: It was a very sensitive time of my life, because I went through life with my transition keeping shades on my face and covering up with a whole bunch of clothes — like turtlenecks and jackets and things — because I wasn’t comfortable with my body or with my face at that time, because I knew that it wasn’t developed to the way that I wanted it to be, and I knew that it was going to take a few years…

During the filming and everything I was very comfortable, though, because of the crew and Sean and Kiki [co-star Kitana Kiki Rodriguez], those are the two people that I’m closest to, but I was very comfortable during the whole thing, I guess, because [by] acting I kind of took my mind away from that.

It’s not one of those happy-clappy stories about how great sex work is. Taylor didn’t like it at all.

Taylor: I’ve done sex work in my life and it’s not fun, it’s not easy and it’s nothing that you can just get used to. I was pretty much thrown away from my family when I came out to them when I was 18. … I left and I moved to LA with another family member, who actually treated me horribly. … I was forced out to the streets and I came across the youth center — at the time it was called the Jeff Griffith Youth Center — and I went to the center and they helped me a lot with housing and everything to pretty much get myself back on my feet.

But I was constantly surrounded by all these sex workers and drug dealers in the area, and I needed money and I was applying for all these jobs over and over and over and I was like “Why am I not getting any jobs?” So eventually I started applying for more, I did 146 jobs in one month and the last month that I applied for jobs, before all this movie stuff, was 186 jobs and I found myself being discriminated against and I could actually prove it. So you have to ask yourself, “Why are there so many sex workers on Santa Monica and Highland?” Me personally, I did it, because I could not get a job.

It’s scary.

Taylor: When you’re getting inside a car with somebody, it’s scary as it is, because you never know what they could do to you, or you never know if they’re a cop that’s going to take you to jail. It’s really, really, really scary. I think I was more scared of being taken to jail, which I had been [to] already, quite a few times, for doing that. … The whole time, every time I got out there, my heart was always just pounding and pounding. It pounded even harder when a car would pull up, because I know that this person is here, but I know that I need this money.

From the transcript: Gross introduces a bit of dialogue from the movie:

In the opening scene, the two women are in a doughnut shop, talking about what happened on the block while Sin-Dee was in prison. To understand what they’re talking about, you need to know that Chester, the guy they’re going to talk about, is Sin-Dee’s boyfriend and a pimp. And the word fish is used here as a slang term for a woman born with a woman’s anatomy. Alexandra, played by our guest, Mya Taylor, speaks first.

RODRIGUEZ: (As Sin-Dee) I’ve been keeping a secret about me and Chester.

TAYLOR: (As Alexandra) Girl, (laughter), I know what it is. You’re breaking up with him. Thank, God because Honey, for him to be cheating on you like that…

RODRIGUEZ: (As Sin-Dee) Wait, wait, whoa, whoa – what?

TAYLOR: (As Alexandra) You didn’t know?

RODRIGUEZ: (As Sin-Dee) How the [expletive] would I know?

TAYLOR: (As Alexandra) Girl because everything that you been hearing on the block about the girl that he’s been with.

RODRIGUEZ: (As Sin-Dee) Girl, you’re the first girl I seen on the block.

TAYLOR: (As Alexandra) You…

RODRIGUEZ: (As Sin-Dee) Who is she?

TAYLOR: (As Alexandra) Girl, she’s some white fish, I don’t know.

RODRIGUEZ: (As Sin-Dee) Chester’s gonna cheat on me with real fish?

TAYLOR: (As Alexandra) Like, a real fish, Girl – like, vagina and everything.

RODRIGUEZ: (As Sin-Dee) I been gone for 28 days, and you mean to tell me that he’s been out here cheating on me with fish?

TAYLOR: (As Alexandra) Yeah.

RODRIGUEZ: (As Sin-Dee) Do I know her?

TAYLOR: (As Alexandra) I don’t know, I just know that her name starts with a D. It’s something like Danielle, Desiree, Deedee. I don’t know, girl.

Um, thought I. “Fish”? That sounds pretty…contemptuous.

I thought they were going to gloss over that, but they didn’t.

GROSS: I want to ask you about the word fish, which is used in the movie by the trans sex workers to describe cisgender women – like, women who are born with a woman’s anatomy and are comfortable with that…

BAKER: Right.

GROSS: …And identify with that.

BAKER: I guess the proper term these days is chromosomal female.

GROSS: Oh, is it changed already from cis?

BAKER: It’s already changed (laughter). That’s semantics.

GROSS: Wow, I can’t keep up with it. It’s chromosomal now?

BAKER: Nobody can keep up with it. Yes, nobody can…

GROSS: So it’s chromosomal woman.

BAKER: Female.

GROSS: Chromosomal female. OK, so, Mya, have you been hearing fish for a long time? Is that a new word or an old word? I’d never heard it.

TAYLOR: It – you know what, it’s an old word, and I used it in the film because I knew that it’s used in that area a lot. But, like, I knew how to use it, but I cannot tell you exactly where it came from. I just know how to use it. I do not use it in my daily speech (laughter).

GROSS: It sounds a little derogatory (laughter).

BAKER: Yeah, I think that’s where, (laughter) I think we all know where it comes from.

GROSS: (Laughter) Right.

BAKER: I mean, it’s a derogatory…

TAYLOR: Oh, my God. Yeah, yeah it does. Yeah, I don’t use that in my daily life. I don’t talk like that.

It was a nice conversation. They were able to laugh about not being able to keep up with the changes in vocabulary, and at the fact that calling cis women “fish” is an insult based on the old “eww women smell like fish” trope, and to agree that it’s not all that cool to insult women, no not even if you’re trans women.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)