dieselsandwich: (pain)
This is unacceptable: http://synecdochic.livejournal.com/361781.html#cutid1

In case you don't like following links, LJ has decided to remove the unspecified option for gender and will require you to fill in either male or female.

This is bigoted. This is wrong. There are people out there who are not male or female. Genderqueer people, androgyne people, neutrois, etcetera. And there are even binary transgender people who may prefer to use unspecified to prevent outing or other issues. Removing this option is destructive, it is transphobic and it is wrong. I can even think of a few reasons why cisgender people would want to unspecify gender on their journal. I am joining in this protest by changing my own gender on my profile to unspecified and by adding to this post the copy of the letter in the post I linked as well as sending it to LJ feedback (with edits to represent my own writing style). Get all the details from synecdochic on any other relevant stuff to this.

My feedback sent to LJ staff:

Dear LJ staff

I, like many others, have recently read
http://community.livejournal.com/changelog/7932846.html and related posts, particularly the part where gender is now a) a required field and b) a binary option. This is not an acceptable way of doing things because gender is not a binary. There are people who do not identity as male or female and such an adjustment of LJ's system will exclude and hurt these people.

Your previous policy on the gender field had been fairly good, not requiring gender specified and not requiring a binary choice meant that you were at least slightly more inclusive to transgender people (genderqueer or otherwise) who did not wish to disclose their gender. You haven't really gone far enough in that you lack an Other option (or even options that cover at least some of the diversity in genderqueer, neutral, mixed and other identities in the transgender community that are not strictly male or female). This has been brought up before and you can read the early history of the "gender_petition" community for details. (
http://community.livejournal.com/gender_petition/38651.html and earlier entries). This change now is even worse of a backward step and is made especially troublesome in the face of repeated assurrances from LJ under both Danga and Six Apart that a). the Gender field would never be a mandatory field to fill out, and b). if it became so, the options would be expanded to include "Other". (http://community.livejournal.com/feedback/9967.html)

A simple interest search on "transgender" or "genderqueer" will illustrate how many people are aware of this issue, and you can review suggestions going back to 2001 (
http://community.livejournal.com/suggestions/36453.html) about it.

Those of the transgender community who do not fit the binary experience discrimination every day when they are forced to identify themselves with the gender binary when it doesn't apply to them. Those of the binary transgender community who for whatever reason cannot afford to go by their preferred pronouns are also often forced to go by their old pronouns, instead of avoiding specification altogether, causing further harm. Please do not contribute to this oppression even more.

Please keep the "Unspecified" option for gender, and add an "Other" option, if you are making the gender field mandatory. Please do not contribute to the suffering of the transgender people who would be affected by this. While I recognize that having a user's gender makes advertisers happier, collecting revenue at the expense of human suffering is not the action of a company I want to do business with.

Sincerely,
Sophia Lafergola


Please protest this. Raise your voices. This will hurt a lot of people who use LJ as a way to discuss with the world what they're going through. Allowing this to happen is not acceptable.
dieselsandwich: A picture of me with purple hair (Default)
I work in an office right now. Specifically in the multimedia group. We're mostly geeks so none of my coworkers really go any further than casual.

But I, being all cautious and new, was dressing in professional garb. Slacks, button down blouses, camisole under the blouses because I can't get the buttons to close over my breasts (fitting fail!) It isn't that I don't like looking snazzy, it's just that the clothing isn't all that terribly comfortable. It's tight, restricting and sometimes even annoying. And like most clothing made for womenfolks, it's designed to accentuate my curves and show off upper chest (and sometimes cleavage, which I combat with the camisoles, because I don't like showing cleavage.)

So it draws a certain level of ass and tits attention that I find discomforting. I normally dress in cargos (sometimes baggy androgynous cargos and sometimes fitted cargos, depending on how lazy I feel) and t-shirts that have round necks up near my neck. So no cleavage and not a lot of access to my hindquarters.

On campus, no one causes me problems over this. Maybe people are just used to unusual styles there? Because today, I decided, "fuck it, I'm going to dress comfortably". And now everyone is staring at my fucking pants.

The multimedia guys don't care. They wear more casual stuff than that. But other folk in the office environment apparently do. I'm getting stared at and I swear some people have commented to each other on it. I suppose its better than having my tits stared at but I swear there is just no way to win.

Ugh. Why can't people mind their own fucking business? I'm not a spectacle.
dieselsandwich: (pain)
As many of my friends know, I'm somewhat active (or used to be) on an online forum. The forum deals mostly with anime and video games but it has places for discussions of any topic and has a pretty hefty membership.

In a particular thread about magic use and witchcraft, I had only remained there because of one particular friend. All of my other friends in that thread had either left it, taken left the website or were so inactive that it wasn't worth bothering.

To give some background on this, I'm a member of a reasonably new (maybe 5 years old at most) religion called Etherism (which makes me an Etherist). It's sort of an arbitrary name for it but the basic idea is that the universe is a sort of folded mirror of energy which overall is called The Ether. One side of this fold is the physical or Material Ether. The other side is the metaphysical or Spiritual Ether. They reflect one another mostly without fail, but due to Dual Reflectivism (the concept that two mirrored things reflect each other equally) neither one is simply a reflection, both are real in their own right.

So this means that stuff can get severed from one reflection or another and float about until it realigns with something complex enough to match it. I guess a good way to tie it to something everyone else is familiar with is that realignment is a lot like reincarnation (except that everything can do it, not just us), getting severed ("breaking the mirror") is like death (except that it's based on a reflection undergoing a change too rapid for its dual reflection to catch up, which includes biological death) and realignment is based on energy affinities or resonance.

There's chaotic entropic affinity (matches the Void Aspect) and there's order inducing complexity boosting affinity (matches the "Evolution/Order" Aspect, there isn't a good name for it yet). Those are the most relevant to us and are often put into a positive/negative or good/evil duality. (Should be easy to figure out which is which.)

Etherism's philosophy orientates itself almost entirely around growing as a being, becoming greater but greater in your own right. Being absorbed into another being or working as a group towards elevating just the group doesn't really count towards this and is actually deeply morally abhorrent to Etherism. This includes worship, which is also regarded very negatively by Etherism's philosophy. This includes allowing others (through your own willful inaction) or encouraging others to worship you.

It also orientates itself around Wisdom and Power as well and generally is a very self empowering, self elevating religion. To folks in Christianity, for example, it would be seen as very contrary to their views.

There's a method of magic use called Etheristic Channeling (E.C.), that draws energy from the Ether through you and allows you to intersperse it with your own energies, which in turn allows you to control it as though it were your own energy (this allows you to achieve more than you can do with your energy alone). It often operates based on drawing the energy of beings called Aspects (either through barter, personal deals, friendship, partnership or simply from a nonsentient or inactive source). The Aspects aren't worshiped (and some of the sentient ones actually react pretty violently to being worshiped) and one can also use less powerful and major spirits called Essences. There's usually one Aspect per thing type, force type or energy type. So all Stars would relate to the Star/Radiance Aspect. But there are lots of star and light Essences of varying form and type.

And here is where the problem arises. E. C. is not witchcraft. This being because witchcraft is a collection of traditions that have their roots and heritage in the Western European folk magic practices of older days (don't remember the exact time frame). And a former friend of mine decided that decontextualizing, homogenizing and generally stomping on other cultures is just fine, just as long as a word she uses (improperly) for all magic can be used for all magic in every culture.

It led to a big nasty argument and I decided afterwards to leave the thread permanently and take a break from the site overall.

It just disgusts me how people can be so entitled and so culturocentric as to dismiss every other culture's word for magic use as irrelevant and impose the European and American primary word on them.

Just because it's her word, no joke. She cited her reasons as they understand English and she doesn't understand their languages, so they should use her word. How fucking disgustingly entitled and self centered do you have to be to 1: assume everyone knows your fucking language when English being a trade language does not mean its taught to everyone in a given foreign country and 2: assume that a word that does not properly or appropriately describe the concepts contained within a given magic or religious practice should be used for that practice just because it's easier for you?

There's a reason why I say former friend. I don't stay friends with people that pull this shit. On anything. Religion, personal practices, language, sexuality, race, anything. I won't be friends with an entitled piece of shit that doesn't care about homogenizing and delegitimizing cultures and people.

It's fucked up and people shouldn't do it. Is it so fucking hard to open your eyes and make the effort to research? I don't believe it is.
dieselsandwich: A picture of me with purple hair (Default)
I know I haven't posted in a while. Sorries!

Excuse the errors and typoes. I am operating on about 4 hours of sleep in the last 27 hours. x_x

I went to a local anime convention, got a table with a good friend of mine and we sold art to anime geeks. I didn't make nearly as much of a profit as her but I still pulled off a profit. It was really nice. The most popular pieces of art was a sort of bladed armored snake thing (I actually ran out of prints it was so popular!), a wolf/vine mix on a tree and some render work I did with Apop.

Unfortunately most of my art was too weird and not cute enough to really appeal to the high school age anime kids that populated this convention.

Well the except the wolf/vine thing. The young girl that bought it was so adorable about it. She just pulled out the cost money and looked at me with one of those, "plzcanhaz?" looks. I said, "what would you like, honey?"

And she just pointed at the wolf/vine piece and made the look again. I couldn't help but smile because she was so freaking adorable and shy about it. So she paid me and I gave her a print of it. And then she held it to her chest, squeed and said, "ohmygod it's so pretty!" and ran off! Most adorable moment of the entire convention!

Rune (who was an absolute darling and waited in line with me. <3 my sister) also managed to get all the boys in a tizzy over me by basically pressing me against a wall all sexy like. Not just once, but twice. So it was amusing to watch the nerdy boys falling over themselves to peer at us as she fake flirted with me for amusement.  It did backfire though as the creepy boys paid a lot more attention to me than I'm comfortable with though. Or maybe I'm just hot or something. I've got no clue anymore.

I also got to chat up a really cute Asian-American girl who was selling nintendo related knit plushies. I wish she had them ready enough to sell (she only had the samples up for decoration) because she had a little knit plushie Navi and I wanted it sooooo badly!

Those were my high points. There were low points too.

I saw someone who looked exactly like my abusive ex in the line for registration and over the course of the day several times. And when I say exactly, I mean exactly. Same hair. Same teeth structure. Same facial shape. Same voice. Same eyebrows. Same height even. The only differences being that she had a little more meat on her bones than my ex (enough to make her simply look healthier not fat) and had red dyed hair.

The simularities were so close that for a few seconds I had the terrifying thought that my ex had actually come to my city and was coming after me somehow. I almost went into a panic attack in the line but Rune and Mercy were there and I managed to hold myself together until the lookalike was out of view. Mostly because Rune told me in no uncertain terms that she would protect me lethally if my ex ever came after me. It sucks how helpless I feel in that situation, and I hate the idea of even needing protection, but the thought of my ex just puts me into frozen panic still. I'm getting better but it takes time.

We also had to wait in line for two fucking hours. And I still didn't sell nearly as much as Mercy did. It was... unpleasant... to sell so little when she sold ten billion things. Discouraging was probably a better word. I really don't know if I want to sell at that con in the future because of how discouraging it was. And I know that she was doing her best to encourage me, but I felt like shit about people just glancing at one page of my art book and moving on. It wasn't the right market for my art style, I knew this beforehand. But it still sucks.

And there was a fucking bee in the car on the way back! I admit to crying, freaking out and generally making a fool of myself. To the point of actually ducking and rolling out of the car when Mercy's boyfriend came to a stop. >.< Yeah, I know, I'm sad.



We did go out to get steak at Ruby Tuesday's afterwards though, which was nice. And I'll get to curl up in my bed with Lee tonight so overall it's not a terrible day.  The steak was so tasty and the dessert was too. ^^
dieselsandwich: A picture of me with purple hair (Default)
One of my housemates has been seriously hostile lately. Everything I do is wrong somehow or subject to snarky asinine comment these days. I get why it is. He doesn't like change and things are changing a little. We're not necessarily as close as we used to be and my attention isn't all on him like it was when all of us moved in at first and only had each other.

This is sort of the natural effect of having a partner move in, but his response hasn't been to try to set up more things for us to do. It's to be a hostile ass with me. The worst part is, we even fucking talked about this and he brought up his concerns and worries. I made huge compromises, telling him stuff about me that very few people know so he could know why I'd been so withdrawn and hurting lately.

But still I get the snark. Still I get the insults. Still he's being hostile when I just want to get to fucking school or get through the day. I don't need that shit in my fucking home. This is where I live. It's supposed to be a safe place, not a place where I'm constantly getting verbally attacked because he thinks its funny or is pissed off with me.

I've told him about this shit. I've told him I don't appreciate it and I'm tired of it. I've told him that I didn't like it when we were in the dorms and I don't like it now.

Me and Lee had left out some dishes by accident and we didn't realize they were ours. He showed us that they were and we apologized and handled them. Then he decided to say, "yeah, we aren't your cleanup crew" and I was like, "I'm aware of that, I never asked you to be."

He says he said the comment to explain why he didn't put away our dishes, which is a "what the fuck" moment in and of itself as it's been abundantly fucking clear in this house that people put their own dishes into the sink. I even have a persistent reminder in my calendar program from a previous fucking conversation with him about the dish issue.

And even if that was the way he meant it? It still came off as a hostile verbal poke, after we had fucking apologized and after Lee had cleared the dishes already. It wasn't fucking necessary to further rub our faces in it and that is exactly how I (and I assume Lee, based on the short talk we had before I left for school) saw it.

I ask him why he felt it necessary to fucking poke us after we had apologized and he pulls out this explanation bullshit and proceeds to bitch me out for having a problem with it. It finally ends with him realized that I felt like he was being hostile and a jerk and him pointing out that he doesn't give a shit how I felt about it.

So I basically told him, "fine, you don't give a shit that I think you were a hostile ass for no good reason and you don't give a shit about how I feel. We'll leave it the fuck at that." and I stormed off when he parked the car. I have a class with him in a half hour and I'm still upset.

I dunno. I'm starting to regret moving in with someone like him. I thought he'd be less of an asshole in a living space or that he'd calmed down a little after leaving the dorms. But it seems like his only way to deal with situations he doesn't like is to be a complete douchebag to everyone around him.

I'm fucking tired of it and I'm really wondering sometimes if this is a good place for me to live in.
dieselsandwich: A picture of me with purple hair (Default)
Oh fuck no.

Not only are they trying to take away the job of my most favorite and best professor, they're also trying to slander her to the academic community at large. This was the woman who gave me my passion to write and the skills to pull it off.

These fuckers try to slander her and fire her. All because she wouldn't play their little bullshit in departmental politics games. Fuck them. It's time to write angry letters.


To whomever it may concern,

           

The first class that I had with Rebecca Housel was Creative Writing: Prose Fiction (0502-452-02 during Spring quarter of 2006). I hadn’t written in a while and had mostly given up on it as something that I could really work with. I took the class because I needed an elective to fill out my quarter not because I expected to gain much.

           

The class, however, was beyond what I had ever expected. Not only did Professor Housel re-invigorate my interest (and later passion) for writing but she also did an amazing job in helping me build the skills I needed to ever have a future in writing. I went on from that class to take Creative: Nonfiction (0502-459-01 during the winter quarter of 2007) with her and learned even more of the necessary skills to write confidently, capably and to get across my ideas in ways people would not only understand but be receptive to. She helped me develop my skills so much that I felt confident in changing my liberal arts concentration from psychology to writing studies. Because I took several literature courses after that and Advanced Creative Writing with Stephen Huff (an excellent teacher in his own right) I now have all the courses I need to obtain a Creative Writing Minor. None of that would be possible without Rebecca Housel.

 

Her class structure builds critical skill and writing skill at the same time. We read over several varied types of literature within the prose fiction category (and within the nonfiction category for the nonfiction class) and wrote a small analysis piece on each of them. This built up my critical skill, allowing me to understand how good writing is done and allowing me to analyze descriptive language, settings, tone, story structure, visualization, dialogue and a host of other important aspects of writing. This capacity in turn helped me to analyze and improve my own writing. Of course one learns the best through practical experience and that was something else we received in great amounts in those classes. We worked on several small projects or one large writing project; building the experience we need from writing ourselves. We even did class critique workshops on each other’s work, further developing critical skill, while seeing analysis and critique of our own work firsthand. This was a necessity in building the skills I needed to be a good writer and a confident one at that.

 

She gave us theory lectures on writing, English and literature and even went in depth on the publishing process and how one goes about getting published. Things like this hadn’t even been touched on in previous writing classes I had experienced or known of and I would have been lost without them as I go on to attempt to publish some of my works now.

 

Professor Housel also gave an encouraging and fertile environment to formulate our own ideas and style, and especially in the nonfiction class, a tolerant and safe environment to write about things that were truly difficult to write about. I was able to open up about one of the most difficult things I have ever dealt with (and still deal with) in my life through writing because of that class. Without that I never would have gained the confidence to be able to write from within and from my own experiences in anything, much less nonfiction. She was available and constantly helpful. We knew we could always go to her with questions, concerns or to ask for some advice and critique on our work. I still trust her as a source on my works even now that I’m writing on my own, outside of classes. She was far more available and helpful than most teachers I had, throughout the entirety of my career as a student.

 

She is a professor that cares about whether her students not only do well in class, but come away from that class having learned something truly beneficial and having gained real skills they need to succeed as writers. When I heard that the English Department of Rochester Institute of Technology was attempting to oust her I was disgusted with them. They could only be so lucky to have even one professor as good as her. They could only be so fortunate to have even one professor that actually cared about her students as much as she did and gave them the skills, experience and knowledge that is so important for not just writing but doing it well. They could only be so lucky to have Rebecca Housel.

 

It is not their loss if they attempt to get rid of her. It is the loss of the students who will lack her knowledge, her experience and her willingness to go the extra one thousand miles to make sure her students gain the confidence, knowledge and experience they need to be writers. I may not be able to change the flimsy and foolish case that her department makes against her using less than ten poor student reviews (knowing full well that they likely had to scrape and search to even find that number) but I will not stand idly by while these English department bureaucrats (who seem to care more for politics than for teaching) attempt to slander her reputation outside of RIT as well.

 

Without Rebecca Housel I would not be a writer at all, much less a good one. Without her I would not have taken those other classes within that same department that seeks to drag her name through the mud. Without her I would not be filling out the paperwork for the Creative Writing Minor with all the requirements already filled by fortunate accident. She is, and I do not exaggerate, the single best professor I have ever had. Better than any of the professors for even my major.

 

Sincerely,

Sophia Lafergola


There may be some editing before I send it. For grammar and whatnot.

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dieselsandwich: A picture of me with purple hair (Default)
Sophia Lafergola

October 2010

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