On bullying and being outed

(by gerty-z) Jan 20 2014

Hello again. I've missed you guys. But, there are things* happening in Real Life that have stopped me from spouting off here. And yet, I can't stop myself from commenting on events of the past week or two that, for me, demand comment. These events all share an "outing" quality that I think needs to be highlighted.  I will not comment on any of the things that have happened specifically, but I want to talk about how hurtful "outing" is.

Outing someone is bullying. It is spiteful, hateful, and hurtful. It has consequences for the person that is outed - being outed can fuck with your career, your personal life, and your safety. There are reasons that folks are not out. There are good reasons to blog with a pseudonym. This is a topic that comes up over and over. I could spend the rest of the day finding the links for the many people who have written about this in the past. But you can google that shit yourself. There are good reasons to not be "out" about your gender identity, orientation, and about a million other things.

Outing someone doesn't just fuck with the person that is outed. It is a violation of an entire community. When a bully outs someone, it is a display of (real or perceived) control and power. It is a warning to everyone else that they, too, might be outed. It is an affront to a sense of safety in that community. It quiets those of us that may have very good reasons not to be out.

People should be able to define themselves. Full stop. The fact that someone is not out is not their problem. The biases and judgement and power structure of society makes it unsafe to be out. If everyone could trust that they were safe and accepted for who they are, then getting outed wouldn't be an issue. We aren't anywhere close to this. If someone doesn't feel comfortable being out then that is their decision. And I think it is up to all the rest of us - those of us that want the society to be better - to totally support them in this. We have to step up, because they can't. If you talk to someone and you learn they are female, then fucking believe them. Use fucking female pronouns. If someone wants to interact with the community psuedanonymously, then respect that. It's really not hard, I promise.

When someone threatens to out a member of our community, we need to stand up and make it clear that is wrong and it won't be tolerated. There need to be consequences. It needs to be clear that it is wrong and hateful when journalists out a trans* person for fun. Nature needs to hear that when their editors decide to maliciously out someone that they betray the trust of all of us. Everyone has to decide for themselves how they can respond. Maybe you can go on twitter and forcefully push back against the bully. Maybe you cut ties with the bullies, or boycott Nature. Do what you can, how you can. But don't sit by and pretend that nothing is going on. 

Outing someone is stealing control over someone else's life. Stealing their ability to be safe and happy. Telling a story that isn't yours to share. It is the cowardly act of a bully. I know what it is like to be outed. I am, right now, IRL, dealing with threats of being outed, and even having people that I love be outed in some weird fucked up collateral damage scheme. It sucks. It hurts. It's scary. And its fucking wrong. 

 

*unbloggable

22 responses so far

I HAVE POWER! I HAVE A (guest spot on someone else’s) BLOG.

(by gerty-z) Oct 23 2013

This here is another special offering by the most awesome @bam294 - enjoy!


bam

As I was riding the up then upside down emotional roller coaster that is this week in ‘am I refreshing* my grant’ or ‘is study section going to meet and review it?’, it occurred to me that one of the good things that has come of the #RipplesOfDoubt conversations on Twitter is that many folks who felt isolated or unheard had an outlet to share their feelings and experiences.

I got to ‘meet’ scads of new smart, funny and thoughtful people and I’m hoping you, dear reader, did as well. As someone who has been fortunate enough to have found a community in the Twitterverse, I’m thinking we could give some love on Friday to these cool new kids on the block by throwing out some #FFs to our peeps that have <300 followers (or in the comments! ~gz).   Lets face it, if they started following me on Twitter thinking I was all nice and cuddly, they are going to need some help from you all to offset the impending trauma.

 

*Summers Eve has forever corrupted this word for me FTR, so NIH and Pepsi, please refrain from using it. NKayThanks.

-----
I think this is a great idea - I'd also love to hear about any new blogs you are reading. Some monkey was just whining about how nobody keeps a good blogroll anymore. And our friend Od has already got the party started. Yay! ~gz

 

5 responses so far

if you all could just work with me, here

(by gerty-z) Oct 16 2013

OK, peeps. I'm in the midst of writing my resubmission for the Nov 5 "deadline". I have to admit, it is not going awesomely right now. In part, because I have no actual idea when the fuck the government will open so I can actually submit the motherfucker. But also because of you. Yes, you, the internet. One thing that that the last 18 months has especially hammered home for me is that I sometimes have to ask for help. I can't always do everything on my own. So if you all could help me out with a few minor leeeeetle requests I would be very, very grateful. 

1. I'm going to need Patagonia and Timbuk2 to stop emailing me. I don't have the time or the money. I do, however, have a weakness for bags and outdoor gear. I promise that I will waste all kinds of time with you guys if we could just have a little break until after the A1 deadline.

2. It would be most helpful to me if we could all refrain from being assholes for a few weeks. I just don't have the time or the energy. This request has three (at least) sub-parts, directed at specific assholery that particularly pisses me off:

A. Looking at you, GOP. For realz. Open the fucking government - and FUND IT. Raise the fucking debt ceiling. Lose the sequester, let the economy recover. Find an actual idea to get behind. If you want to try limiting contraception, go for it. I won't vote for you, but whatev. But for the love of sweet baby jeebus, can we stop with the manufactured crises that cause a lot of pain for folks but accomplish nothing? that would be super.

B. This one's for you, sexist, self-important, misogynist, harassing fuck knuckles. Yep, I'm gonna lump all of you together. First, it is basically never OK to call someone a whore. Now, maybe some of you may think of exceptions where using "whore" is OK as part of an in-group vernacular. Fine. But if you are working then ALWAYS assume it is NOT OK. In fact, assume it would be a fireable offense. That doesn't seem hard, right? That way I don't get caught up in my feminist angst and end up spending so much time reading blogs and twitter. Much appreciated. In case you wonder where I fall on this, which I am sure you are sick of hearing about by now, I think SciAm should have said from the beginning that they were horrified that anyone would treat a young woman in the way that Ofek apparently did, and that they had to temporarily take down the post because of legal concerns. See, if they would have done that then I would have spent a lot less time on twitter, etc. Maybe I would have even gotten more of my grant finished off!

And now, Bora. I've heard him called "the blogfather". He helped start Science Online, and every year when folks congregate in NC for that even the #IHuggedBora hashtag takes over my twitter stream. I don't really know Bora. I've never blogged for/with him. I met him only once, and we barely talked. Apparently, Bora sexually harasses young science writers. On his own, non-SciAm blog, Bora corroborates the incident from the TOTALLY BELIEVABLE IN EVERY WAY Monica (conveniently, he didn't link to her post). AFAIK he has not addressed the other allegations that came up in the comments, not to mention here. WhatTheFuckEver. Bora has lost all credibility in my eyes. I feel horribly - for the women that had to put up with his creepiness. And it has made me sad to see so many (NOT all) bloggy friends, who normally join the #trollerderby or jump to respond to the #batsignal, sit quietly. I can only assume it is because Bora is, well... BORA.  has. I GET that folks need time to process what they are learning, because it is just So Hard to accept that someone you are friends with is THAT GUY. But I have no reason to doubt any of the women that have spoken up. Because, you know, I've had men that I thought were Good Guys (TM) treat me like a piece of meat. If fucking sucks, but it's a thing, sadly.

C. Put the gun down. Don't clean it. Don't let your little kid play with it. Don't try to gun down a bunch of your fellow citizens. We may not all agree, but surely that is not the logical answer. Find someone to talk to. Take care of yourself. Realize there are better ways.

Also, some of us are busy. From what I hear, the government could open up ANY MINUTE. And I have a grant to write.

kthnks. <3

Gerty

5 responses so far

Well hello there, good looking

(by gerty-z) Sep 18 2013

Hi again. It's been a while since my last post. It turns out that my friend Prof-Like Substance was right: Year 3 on the tenure track does, in fact, suck goat balls. I am playing whack-a-mole with various grant-writing/paper-submitting/teaching/grad-student/postdoc/administration/colleagues issues. And that is the easy part, because LIFE has decided to also throw me some curve balls in the last year. I can't really blog about it right now, but hopefully soon. I miss you guys.

So what finally drew me back into this space? Hilarity, of course. The other day I was chatting with a friend who's kids go to a private (religious) school. And I learned about one of the most entertaining homework assignments of all time. Here it is: take an advertisement and use the tagline to describe God. Here was a common one:

God is like Nike: Just do it!

At first I thought this was weird because commercializing god, blah blah, whatev. BUT YOU GUYS...the potential for hilarity is awesome! Here are some favorites of mine* (start each with "God is like"):

Calvin Klein: Between love and madness lies obsession
Sony: Make Believe
GE: Imagination at work
KFC: It's finger lickin' good!

OK, I should stop now. I think something is on fire.

 

*h/t @Bam294 for collaborating, or at least laughing, on several of these

 

17 responses so far

I want to be outraged, but I'm just sad

(by gerty-z) Apr 15 2013

I started today with a super breakfast/lunch and then headed to the airport on my way home from a super-fantastic vacation week. I was shocked when I got on the plane and saw the news that there had been two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I watched in horror as the news stations replayed the horrific scene, showing the explosions. I almost cried when I saw the runner, just meters from the finish line, get knocked over by the blast. And I did get teary when I watched the interview with the doctor from the ER at Mass General who was describing the patients that had already arrived. I couldn't stop thinking of all the friends that I have in the Boston area, and trying to figure out where they were relative to Copley Square. I scoured my mind to try to figure out which of my friends were running today, so that as soon as I hit the ground I could try to check up on them. I can't imagine how scared and angry everyone in Boston must be feeling right now.

I want to be pissed off that anyone would decide that they were going to set up bombs in a crowd, at the finish line of a race. THE biggest marathon of the year. The one that almost every runner has thought about (even if, like me, you've never run it). I've trained with friends as they got ready for their qualifying race and then geared up for Patriot's Day. I've gotten up early to watch the race on TV and follow my friends online, cheering even though they couldn't hear me. The Boston Marathon is a Big Deal if you like to run. And thinking that someone would use this event to hurt the people that show up to cheer for people who decided they wanted to take on a 26.2 mile race For Fun is heartbreaking. What the fuck is wrong with people??

But even though I want to be pissed and angry at anyone that would do such a terrible, awful thing I can't get past just feeling sad. Sad for everyone that was at the finish line to cheer on the runners, and how they will live with the images from today for the rest of their lives. For the folks that were injured for no fucking reason and will have to rearrange their life so unexpectedly. And so sad for anyone that lost a loved one. And I'm sad to think about the reaction to this. Already in the news there are people arguing about whether Obama should call this a "terrorist" act. Who the fuck cares? I am so sick of hearing every tragic event get spinned by politicians and the media. It makes my stomach drop when folks use these events to play into to our worst fears, manipulating us into a reaction for their own purposes.

I wish that everyone would take a minute away from fear-mongering, spinning, and "explaining" to really think about how a lot of people got hurt very, very badly today. Some died. This is horrible and tragic. I have no doubt that our society will find someone to blame, get angry, and exact "justice". But just for today can we all just take minute to step away from the knee-jerk anger and mourn what was lost? To reflect on the lives of those that are changed forever by today, hug your friends and family, and take the time to check in with the people that you care about.

This is super-cheesy, and you probably already saw it floating around on FB or something. But I kinda like it anyway:

This quote went viral after the tragedy in Newtown and is making the rounds again, if my FB is any indication.

This quote went viral after the tragedy in Newtown and is making the rounds again, if my FB is any indication.

I'm sending every good thought I can to those that have been impacted by the events in Boston today - the folks that live there, anyone that has family or friends in the area, and all the runners and their supporters that were at the race today.

4 responses so far

Dealing with loss and March madness - guest post by @bam294 #fuckcancer

(by gerty-z) Mar 16 2013

This is a guest post by commenter and twitter bad-ass Bam D. Woodchipper (aka @bam294). Bam has organized a BRACKET CHALLENGE for the upcoming NCAA men's basketball tournament. She also recently lost a dear friend to cancer. FUCK CANCER. The Madness Bracket Challenge is set up to benefit the three girls that just lost their father - donate at least $10 to the girls' education trust fund to play. If you want to play along with the bracket challenge, leave a comment and I'll send you the info (but you have to include your email address-it won't be publicly visible). If you don't want to play but would like to help out the family follow this link to learn more. 

---------- by BAM294 ----------

Last week, my friend Christopher Maki died at the age of 40 from kidney cancer. There are heart-breaking facts that accompany this – his three gorgeous and crazy sporty daughters all under the age of 13 will never get to have their dad walk them down the aisle. His wife, my idol, won’t have Christopher to stare blankly at her as she tells him about how stoked she is to compete (and, did I mention, win?) the next Muddy Buddy.

The kids got their sports skills from their mother, but their competitiveness was something that had generational breeding of epic proportions. It is their mom's defining feature, but it was also Chris’s. Don’t get me wrong. Christopher could run. If there were police or some sort of beer-related challenge that ended in 50 yards. Other than that….not so much.

Tomorrow, I’m facing my first trip to see the family without Chris and I’m terrified. Chris was the youngest of a group of 10 or 12 of us from grad school. He was married after one of the funniest ‘ripped from the Spanish soap opera’ courtships around. She was a wee bit older, and might have known his sister before she and Chris started dating.

And yet, Chris took this all in stride. Actually, stride may not be the right word. He basked in it. He had a defiant ‘why the hell not’ attitude about his love that made the rest of us wonder who this brazen kid was. He had an amazing capability to back up talking smack with more talking smack. And this I loved. No, this I adored.

I am going to see a group of friends brought together by grad school and marriage; defined by humor-and Chris kicked all our asses in it. He was snark and sincerity in heaping helpings. I look at tomorrow knowing have lost my friend, but I have also lost my sense of balance in this group. I am snark. I’m not so great at sincerity. Those moments where I would occasionally wonder if I had gone too far in my humor, Chris would take things a bit farther and a bit funnier if only to offer me a safe dock back to civil discourse. And then as the conversation moved on he would catch my glace, and roll his eyes at me and I would install the small filter remembering not to voyage into that area again.

And he did the same, seamlessly  for so many others in the last year the awkward moments-where people wondered how Chris was and if it was okay to ask about cancer treatments and how he felt-would be caught by him before they had a chance to exist in real time as he looked at them and said, “Hey. Can you get me a beer. I have cancer you know.” He was super classy that way.

I wait for the first horrific silence of my group as we gather tomorrow. The one Chris should be filling in and I wonder if I’ve learned enough from him, from our friends, to find grace and say something of substance. And it will require something that the word ‘grace’ makes sound too trite. Something miraculous in fact, because I know no one will never replace my friend. As fabulous as our group memories are, our hearts will always be broken in a way that can and should never be corrected.

This week has made plain to me how selfish I am. I want more time, more jokes, more hugs and more Chris. I want these things not just for myself but for all of us. Yet no bargaining, disbelief or pains of loss are going to make that possible for those we want it most for – his wife and those three sweet kids.

I know this because I’ve lived it. My dad died when I was the age of Chris’ daughters. Growing up, the awkward silences when strangers asked about what my parents did, or where my dad was were filled with silence. Raging silence as no one wanted to mention my dad and make everyone cry. Because crying was a bad thing.

I hope we can show the girls that crying is okay. And laughing is okay too. But most of all, talking about Chris and the way he made us all funnier, kinder, more competitive, and far better people is okay. I know if love of family and love of life were enough to make anyone survive, Chris would have outlived us all. Of this I am certain.

But of all the hilarious, selfless, even keeled and great things he did, Chris’ daughters are without question the best (with his wife's help, of course). In some way that defies all logic, I look to the them for my hope. I want desperately to see them tomorrow. I want to see how many of Chris’ attributes they have. Who has the glint Chris had in his eyes when he did something ever so sly that might pass under his wife's radar. I want to see if any of them bob their head and hold their face the way he would when something was overwhelmed him with laughter. And when I am too heartbroken to think of this for another second, I close my eyes and look to a future where when each of the girls turns 21, we take them out, as we did when his wife turned 40, and and tell them stories about their dad.

For those interested in contributing to his daughter's education fund, find more information here.

35 responses so far

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse...

(by gerty-z) Mar 13 2013

OMG you guys. O M F G. I thought that I couldn't be surprised by stupid, homophobic things said out loud anymore. BUT...BUT...THIS IS JUST SO FUCKED UP THAT IT IS BLOWING MY MIND.

You may remember that in Minnesota there is an on-going debate about marriage equality. The voters actually became the first to reject a constitutional amendment against marriage equality (YAY, MN!). And now the Minnesota State Legislatures have even advanced a bill legalizing marriage equality! Holy progress, Batman!

And that is where shit gets fucked up. In a public hearing on the marriage equality bill, a "concerned father" decided to "enlighten" the lawmakers on what actually happens when TEH GEYS get married. And guys...I hope you are sitting down. Because, well...THIS dude is out of his fucking mind. Seriously. See for yourself, if you are drunk brave enough to watch.

I...just...but...OH FOR FUCK SAKE. You can read a transcript of this dude's fucked-up-beyond-belief testimony here.

There is too much stupid here to unpack it all. But holy fuck. The dude seems to think it is a big shock to the legislatures that gays have sex. FOR REAL. And he is really freaked out about this idea of "ejaculation inside the colon". Not to mention the fact that he clearly doesn't have the faintest idea of what an enzymes are, not to mention how they are different from viruses (like HIV, which causes AIDS) and bacteria (which you treat with antibiotics). Way to take stupidity + homophobia to a whole 'nother level, dude.

24 responses so far

Ugh. #WTFIWWP

(by gerty-z) Mar 12 2013

I'm pretty lucky. I don't have to face homophobes in person much. But OMFG. I read this and...just...I threw up a little, TBH. What the fuck is wrong with people??!

8 responses so far

Things that break your heart

(by gerty-z) Mar 06 2013

I have a daughter, and so reading this article made me so sad. I hope that we can all work to make sure that little girls don't feel so limited.

4 responses so far

AYFKM, politics edition

(by gerty-z) Feb 25 2013

UPDATE! IF YOU HAVEN'T WRITTEN A LETTER YET, NOW IS THE TIME!! LETTERS NEED TO BE TO @nparmalee TODAY!

I know I should be used to it, but it blows my mind the way politicians can argue like idiots about important things. But shit is getting real now. And it's time for us (the BOSS of these politicians) to stand up and say "enough!".

Do you care about biomedical research? Because if the sequester happens, the NIH is basically FUCKED. Srsly fucked. You can read more about that here and here and here (among others). If you were wondering, here is the "plan" for NIH to deal with the sequester (NSFW, as it will likely induce swearing). It's NOT TOO LATE! Write a letter to your Representatives and Senator (find their address HERE). Tell them this is UNACCEPTABLE! Talk to them about why you value biomedical research. CALL THEM!!! If you write your letter now, you can email it to @nparmalee. She is in DC RIGHT NOW to advocate for basic research and will be on the Hill this Wednesday - and has told me that that she will make sure the letters are delivered.

Let's do this!!!

 

EDIT: see here for a description of what Nancy is doing in DC -which is TOTALLY badass, ftr.

11 responses so far

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