For those of you feeling discouraged, or lamenting that it didn't look like a Blue Wave, pause a moment. Breathe. We didn't win (or haven't yet concluded) the "sexy" races. O'Rourke/Cruz, Kemp/Abrams, DeSantis/Gillum... but so many good things happened last night. Look at these victories. Let this be confirmation that your work mattered, and your vote mattered. Your vote still matters. Change is happening. Keep up the amazing work, y'all.
Con season is upon us, and unfortunately, that means an uptick in horrific stories of people being harassed. People are made to feel unsafe at an event they paid to attend because they have a passion. That, frankly, sucks. Being that I'm trying to decrease some of the suck output of the world, I would like to tell you about the Backup Ribbon Project.
So, I heard about this from Karina Cooper last year. (Oddly enough, I met Tina, the woman who started the Backup Ribbon Project, at a New Year's party. Small world.) The Backup Ribbon is a purple ribbon you add to your Con badge to let people know that you are willing to help. If you see someone being harassed, you will step in. You will listen. You won't judge or say, "Well look what you're wearing. What did you expect?" I think this is amazing.
Anywho, I'd been talking with Emma Lysyk about it and we were going to do this, but in light of the recent tragedy at UCSB, it seems this is even more important. Next week, at Phoenix Comic Con, I am teaming up with Emma Lysyk to offer Backup badge ribbons.
The Backup Ribbon Project site (link above) says it like this:
If you take a Backup ribbon or you wear a Backup t-shirt, you are promising one very simple thing: You WILL help out anybody being harassed. Gender, orientation, presentation is irrelevant. You WILL find a way to help, whether by directly intervening, getting help from elsewhere, or simply listening the person being harassed. You WILL be there for them. You WILL accept that they believe they have been harassed. You WILL NOT question them or doubt them, You WILL give them whatever help they wish.
No judgement. No exceptions. We got your back.
And that's what we mean. Emma's booth (#1838) will not only have her awesome swag for sale, but it is also a Safe Place. If you need help, she or a likewise helpful person will be there. If you are being harassed or do not feel safe, if you need a ride or escort because you had too much to drink, if you are in danger... we want to be your backup. And if we can't help you, we will make sure you get to the people who can and we will back you up.
So yeah... Emma will be at her booth. I'll be at my table (#2432) when I'm not at panels, or gaming at night. I am a safe place. I'm an ear if you need it. And I've got enough friends on the PHX CC staff that I can get you to Security or whatever you need. We'll have ribbons on us for $1 each (to cover the printing/shipping costs). If you choose to donate extra it will go directly to the Backup Ribbon Project. Supplies are limited to 250 ribbons. (I will have 125, Emma will have the other half.)
Also, this is not gender specific. Men, women, gay, straight, bi, cis, trans or Siamese... doesn't matter. We'll back you up if you need help. Everyone has the right to enjoy their con without being harassed or made to feel afraid.
EDITED TO ADD: When you get your ribbon, selfie that and post it to Twitter with the hashtag #PHXBackup!
To put it bluntly, this pisses me off.
Dishonest? No, dishonest is telling the world you are one thing while being another. What this girl sees as dishonesty is actually truth. These kids are being allowed to live their truth, to be the people they are without bias, judgment or cruelty. I think that is beautiful and a step in the right direction for the LGBTQ community. However, I can see where people who are less open and understanding of LGBTQ concepts might mistake this for a lie of some sort. So, I'm more inclined to educate than fight on this one.
What boils my blood? The idea that allowing a 6-year-old child be themselves is somehow a danger to others. In her video the girl references a rule stating that adult males cannot share tents or bathrooms with the girls, so I'm assuming that her concerns for safety are of a sexual nature. She postulates that an 18-year-old boy is legally an adult male. Completely ignoring the fact that she is falling victim to an obscene amount of logical fallacies, she clearly doesn't grasp what transgendered even means. I'm curious if she has confused transvestite (wears the clothes of the other gender) with transgender (born with the body of one but mind of the other).
But I digress.
If this girl's beef with the GSUSA's policy is that the hypothetical trans kid is a threat to safety--specifically safety from sexual predation--we can end that one right quick. First, she's just aiming for the top of the age spectrum rather than taking each developmental stage into account. Secondly, she's making the gross assumption that transgendered living is about sex and/or sexuality. It isn't. Period. Gender issues may effect one's sexuality, but a first grader isn't thinking about sex. They are thinking about friends and sleepovers and the social aspects of a strange world that tells people who to be based on what's between their legs.
The video touts that an all-girl organization is statistically proven to be a safe place for girls to be themselves and talk about things they can't talk about with boys because of shared experience. Okay, seriously... I don't know where this chick's troops are but when I was growing up it was the opposite.
You might think this is hilarious, but I was a Girl Scout once. I did two years in Brownies and didn't go to my graduation ceremony because my parents and I were moving. I joined because I thought it would be like Boy Scouts where I'd get to learn how to build fires and chart the stars and read tracks in the mud. You know...survivalist stuff that is tested when you're dropped in the middle of the woods and have to make a functioning radio using only tree bark and the hair from a skunk you tamed with Morse Code. Do you know what my actual Girl Scouts experience was? A sit-upon. We made a sit-upon. A fucking vinyl table cloth, a bit of yarn and some fiber fill pieced together to form a portable chair you wear around your waist.
And this place of communion with other girls that the video speaks of? Yeah, none of that. My troop was a handful of judgmental bitches of the same quality I got every day in school. I was the fat kid trying desperately to fit in. I stood taller than most boys in my class and was broad as a race horse. I was stronger in some respects and I didn't go for a princess unless she carried her own sword and held it aloft for Greyskull. In comparison to my peers, I was masculine. Not tomboyish, just ... butch. I wanted so badly to fit in, to be accepted by my peers. That was part of why I did the Girl Scouts thing in the first place! All I got out of it was a feeling like it was yet another club I didn't belong to. The other girls in my troop talked with each other and I got left to do stuff on my own. The people I felt like I *could* talk with freely? Guys. It has always been that way for as long as I can remember. The boys didn't judge me. They didn't think I was too fat or too broad or weird for liking race cars and Star Trek.
Again, I digress.
This video bothers me on many levels because in a way it is spreading its own dishonesty. When I first watched it, I hoped that her parents had written the script and put her up to it so that a video could go viral on their agenda. An adult saying these things wouldn't be heard, but a 14 year old Girl Scout? Hell yeah, people listened. But the more I thought about it, I realized they didn't have to write the script. This girl's parents may not have put her up to this. God knows at 14 I was a little militant and if I'd had YouTube I would've been posting anti-establishment videos daily! No, her hand didn't have to be forced. She didn't have to be exploited to get some intolerant message out there or get 15 minutes of air time.
This girl's words are her own. And that's sad because there is so much ignorance and intolerance in them. Her parents didn't have to put those words in her mouth, they raised her with the ideas and beliefs they instilled in her heart.
if you have any questions about trans issues, my dear friend Rhys is answering questions as he goes through his own transition. Visit AskRhys.com and start a conversation. Learn. Expand.