Tag Archive | compassion

Turn the Other Cheek? Fuck that!

I don’t know very much about Islam, but that’s okay, because I don’t claim to, and so I generally stay pretty quiet about Islam and what it teaches. I know enough about it to know that it’s very close in tone to the Old Testament of the Bible, and I know that, from the point of view of an atheist, it’s pretty much just a different flavor of Christianity. So I generally don’t have any conversations about sharia or what it is, because I don’t know (or particularly care) what it is, just as I don’t particularly care to know exactly what parameters food must meet in order to be considered kosher. All religious systems have codes, laws, and layers upon layers of teachings. It’s both ridiculous and unrealistic to expect someone who doesn’t believe in the religion to know every detail–or even many details–about the layered teachings. My knowledge of Christianity is a result of my upbringing in the south, and not out of any desire that I felt at any part of my life to explicitly find out what is in the Bible.

I want to quote the Bible for a moment, though, if you don’t mind; Mathew 5:38-40:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.

Now let’s get to the point.

Recently, an anti-Muslim bigot was hospitalized, and libertarian vice presidential candidate and Muslim Will Coley started a campaign to raise funds for the guy, quoting various teachings of the Quran and actions of Mohammad to show that this sort of behavior (turning the other cheek) is perfectly in accord with Islam and should be encouraged. At first, this went exactly as one would like: people saw the wisdom in the teaching. After all, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, or so goes the saying. It’s similar to things I’ve talked about before, regarding being transgender in the south–it was not whining and screaming about victimization and bigotry that caused my landlord to change his mind about evicting me; it was my willingness to shrug and acknowledge that he was perfectly within his rights to do so. There are a few other people I know of who hated transgender people and the very idea of transgenderism until they came face-to-face with me, a real person who is simply trying to exist in peace and is very much against the idea of forcing anyone to do or be anything.

Then came the SJWs. And, oh man, did they come.

Suddenly Will was their enemy, despite having the approval of many prominent Islamic figures, and the reason that Will was their enemy?

Because he’s white.

I’m not even kidding. That’s what it all boils down to. It’s often said explicitly.

You cannot defeat racism with racism.

You cannot defeat sexism with sexism.

You cannot defeat sexual orientationism with sexual orientationism.

This is the mistake the alt-right makes. They’ve attempted to meet the left’s increasing racism, sexism, and orientationism with racism, sexism, and orientationism. I’ve directed this message at leftists and rightists. I don’t care who is being the racist–it’s never going to end racism.

That’s where I went after three prominent alt-right youtubers: Atheism is Unstoppable, The Non-Believer, and Autopsy87.

Here’s where I went after the left doing the same thing:

Now, this post is more than just a way for me to collect together various applicable things I’ve made on the subject.

The bottom line is that Will held up a mirror for Christians and Muslims alike to look into, and very few of them could stomach what they saw reflected back. When faced with this situation, they had no recourse but to either self-reflect (something most people are simply unwilling to do, because so few people are willing to acknowledge their flaws and mistakes) or to attack the messenger. Enter the cries of racism and the strange remarks that Will has no business teaching anyone about Islamic teachings… because he’s white.

This is a refrain typical of leftists, sadly. In fact, it just cost them the presidential election. Did they learn anything from losing to the most reviled presidential candidates in modern American history (after all, their preferred candidate lost to Hillary, who then lost to Trump)? Of course they didn’t. If anything, the worst losers in the 2016 election (indisputably, the “progressives”) have only doubled down their hate speech and violence, the very thing that landed them in this mess in the first place.

We have to be better than this.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus, and Mohammad would all be shaking their heads in sadness at what is going on, and I can only commend Will for staying on track. When I released my video about the Liberal Redneck, I faced similar criticism, though Will is obviously facing it on a larger scale (though, it’s worth mentioning, the scale of criticism that I faced for that absolutely dwarfed the attention that anything else I’ve created has received anyway), and I remember how difficult it was, when one comment after the next rolled in calling me an idiot, a traitor, a racist, a Biblethumper, and other similar things, to stay on point and not stoop to their level. In the end, I caved and pulled down the video. I really wish I hadn’t, but… c’est la vie.

I don’t think I’d cave today.

Maybe this is just meant to be a collection of other things I’ve said on the matter. Otherwise, I’d just be repeating myself. But it’s sad that podcasts that I released a year ago are equally applicable to things today because, if anything has changed at all, then it’s only been for the worse.

I recently wrote an article attacking the notion of LGBT Pride and Outright Libertarians. I’m going to repost it in the future, but not until the shit with Cantwell has died down. It’s rather similar to how I defended Gary Johnson with the “What is Aleppo?” thing. I’ll criticize someone “on my team” when no one else is, but if someone outside that team starts to criticize, I’ll have their back–assuming they’re right.

When they’re wrong, I’ll gladly tell them so. If they’re wrong and are rightly being attacked for being wrong, then I will at the very least hold off my attack until the attack from the outside is over (after all, you won’t find me defending Outright Libertarians from Cantwell and his people).

I find that I just can’t say much on this matter with Will. I’ve already said it all–and that, I think, is the sad thing, because I’m far from being the only person saying it. Jesus said it. Mohammad said it. Gandhi said it. MLK, Jr. said it. If people won’t listen to these esteemed leaders, why in the world would they listen to me or Will Coley? Christians, Muslims, Jews, and atheists alike have all had these wonderful ideas thrown at us from every corner for centuries and thousands of years. Yet we only pay them lipservice. Whether it’s Bill Hicks or Mohammad isn’t important.

And, yes, libertarians are guilty of it, too. When Fidel Castro died, many libertarians actively celebrated his death and digitally danced on his grave. Weird behavior from a group of people whose ideology is literally built on forgiveness and love.

We need less hatred in the world.

That starts with you.

 

Infidels Rejoicing in Fidel’s Death

I’ve seen a lot of hatred unleashed in the past few days, spewing forth from people across the political spectrum, including Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians. I, for one, refuse to rejoice over someone’s death, and I would urge you not to, as well, because love starts with you.

You can love the person while hating what the person does and has done.

In fact, you must love the person. No matter how great the injuries they’ve given others and no matter how much blood is on their hands, if you don’t love them then you’re hardly any better than they are. The libertarians and self-proclaimed anarchists celebrating Fidel’s death–the only difference between them and Fidel is that they waited for nature to take its toll, while Fidel, being part of nature as we all are, took matters into his own hands.

Fidel killed an estimated 7,000 Cubans, tried to get the USSR to nuke the United States, and tortured and imprisoned countless. This is why you hate him? Has it not occurred to you that, by this criteria, you must hate more than 90% of the world’s population? The United States, supported by a huge chunk of Americans, has killed way more people than that, just in the last fifteen years. We incarcerated far more people than Fidel ever did, and our reasons were every bit as empty and political as Castro’s–he might have incarcerated people for protesting, while we have police and quasi-military agencies lining up at Standing Rock to abuse American citizens. We have the highest percentage of prisoners in the world, and most of them have done nothing wrong by any rational standard. This is true in Europe, as well, and the Middle East, and Asia, and India, and Russia, and China. No matter where you go, these things are true.

And, let me just fill you in, if you are hating more than 90% of the world’s population, then you can’t possibly be any better than the people you hate.

Yes, condemn the murder of people, the incarceration of people, the robbery of people, the torture of people. Absolutely, but…

Whoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 3:15

It’s an irony that’s not lost on me, that despite being an ardent atheist I sound more like a follower of Christ than the overwhelming majority of Christians out there. I wouldn’t agree that you’re a murderer, but if you’re thinking in such literal terms then you’ve completely missed the point, and–

Holy hell, did I just say that?

hateForgiveness isn’t easy. Forgiveness isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to require a lot of restraint, compassion, and focused, intentional reflection on your part in order to forgive someone, and, the more harm they have done, the harder it is to forgive them.

But when you’re looking at the legacy of a bloody tyrant, that is when it’s most important to cling to your humanity and consciously choose love over hate. That’s the moment that matters, the moment when it’s most difficult; that’s the moment when the infidels are separated out from the rest. This is when the rubber hits the road, when the going gets tough, and when the people who simply talk shit are separated from people who walk the walk.

Whatever else is true, this is a human being who did love people and who was loved, and this human being is now dead. His brief moment of existence in the cosmological clock of the universe is over, and he will never exist again; a piece of the universe, a piece of reality, has been irretrievably lost forever.

Meanwhile, the ideas that this man embraced live on. While you’re over there rejoicing in his death, to the observer you look no better than he. I hate everything Castro represents. You won’t find very many people in the public eye who represented the diametrical opposite of my beliefs, worldview, and ideology as much as Fidel Castro did. For fuck’s sake, I’m a transgender anarcho-capitalist. Castro would have hated me if he knew I existed, and he would surely have put me to death if I lived in his country.

But hate gets us nowhere.

Libertarian Love

A lot of people say that libertarians are without empathy, that they feel no sympathy for people who struggle, and that they care about no one else’s plight. Seeing as I’ve spent the last few days burning straw men, I thought I’d burn one more: the Straw Libertarian.

Particularly on the left, I’ve noticed people tend to use the word “empathy” without knowing what it means.

Like this:

Notice also the arrogant and condescending pet name of "sweetie". They've learned nothing.

Notice also the arrogant and condescending pet name of “sweetie”. They’ve learned nothing.

Here is a woman so confused about empathy that she thinks it’s being okay with violence and people’s property being destroyed. I’m not going to get into how this woman’s current “suffering” is entirely in her head, because just notice what she said. I, a transgender resident of Mississippi, have no understanding of her plight and no empathy for people who, entirely in her mind, are being attacked and having their property destroyed–an “empathy” so powerful that it leaves her being okay with people being attacked and having their property destroyed.

Her “empathy” isn’t empathy at all, is it? It’s a disguised division of Us and Them where she doesn’t give a damn about Them. Those Trump supporters and innocent bystanders having their cars totaled, their businesses broken into, physical bodies assaulted–she doesn’t care about their real pain and loss, because it is her side inflicting it.

I’m not against protest. I’m not even against rioting. There sometimes does come a time when it’s necessary to take up arms against the government. Not against hapless bystanders who just happened to park their car in the wrong place. Before you attack someone or destroy their property, there are two things you must be absolutely sure about:

  1. The person you’re about to victimize has done you real, quantifiable harm. Esoteric harm does not count. That you heard it from a guy who heard it on Twitter from someone who like totes 4 real watched a video where Trump totally said it does not count.
  2. The person you’re about to victimize is directly responsible for your real injury.

If those criteria are not met, then your protest is not in any sense just; it is indiscriminately inflicting destruction and violence with no goal or effect except to hurt people.

Unlike the left, I condemn violence against the right. Unlike the right, I condemn violence against the left. I condemn all violence against innocent people and condemn all destruction of random property.

So do all libertarians.

We condemn violence precisely because we do have empathy for our fellow human beings. A political disagreement does not affect our desire to see them happy and unharmed. “Just because they disagree with us” is not enough justification for us to want to see them harmed. If it is enough for you, then I would suggest that you are the one who lacks empathy. If you only care about people on your side of the political aisle, fine, but don’t you dare pretend that blatant tribalism is empathy.

img_20161111_125747

These are my people.

img_20161111_125726

If you define empathy as that warped thing, or as refusing to acknowledge that a person can stand on their own two feet, then it’s true: libertarians lack empathy. Libertarians don’t want the government to protect me, to help me, or to cradle me in the nest so that I never have to fly. They will stand with me. They will not stand for me. They do not care in the slightest that I’m transgender (except that it makes me an oddity, since most lgbt people are democrats, so it gives me an edge gaining supporters). They care that I’m standing.

img_20161111_125708

Pictured: empathy.

There has been a large outpouring of support because of something I said elsewhere, on one of Tom Woods’ posts, about how people need to chill out and live and let live. I’ve no doubt that hearing that from a transgender person is a breath of fresh air, juxtaposed with all the lgbt people screaming that religious people can’t be allowed to act in accordance with their religious beliefs.

But that’s the key element, isn’t it? I’m not one of many. I’m not sacrificing my identity to the group for safety in numbers, chaining myself to a dogma that homogenizes me into a tally mark on a page. I am not so insecure and afraid that I sacrifice my sovereignty to others who totally promise to have my best interests at heart, and libertarians don’t want me, or anyone else, to sacrifice my identity so that they can act in my best interests.

They want to make sure that I am able to act in my own best interests. They don’t want to give me a fish. They want to get the state out of the way because the state’s restrictions are what is keeping people from learning to fish. They will do nothing for me. But a lot of them will choose to do stuff with me.

So thank you, libertarians, anarchists, and voluntaryists, for standing with me, rather than for me. Thank you for caring enough about people that you want them to be strong, independent, sympathetic, and free.

I was going to include all the comments from people showing support, but it seemed kinda masturbatory for me to do it. Liking their support even felt masturbatory, but it was better than replying “Thank you!” over and over.

Corporations, Communism, and Nihilism

I want you to imagine a group of people who communally share their resources. No one person owns anything; everything belongs to The Group, not to an individual. Each individual contributes according to the rules of the group, and they receive some restitution for their labor. There is a hierarchy in this group, however. At the top of the pyramid are elected people who set the policies that they are voted to set, and, though these elected people have authority, none of them can just take the group’s resources and run. Instead, what allotment of the resources these elected officials receive is determined by a sort of another group–a board of people.

When a person needs to use part of The Group’s resources for something, they fill out some paperwork, which is in turn sent to people who are higher on the totem pole, and someone approves or disapproves of the requisition. However, each person is guaranteed a specific amount of the resources as part of their labor agreement, and these guaranteed resources can be used in whatever way the individual wants. Strictly speaking, additional resources could be requisitioned for any reason the individual wants, too, but it’s more likely that a requisition will be approved if the request for additional resources is more an investment than a consumption.

What did we just describe?

Socialism? Communism?

Or a corporation?

We have to focus more on what things are than what they are called, and this is precisely why. If I were to tell someone that corporations are socialist in nature, I would be laughed out of the room. Yet here we are. The above description could describe either a communist society or the inner workings of a corporation. This is not a word game. It’s not a pun, and it’s not clever linguistics. This is what they are.

Putting anarcho-communism aside for a moment–because the majority of communists aren’t anarchists, and neither are most socialists–the one distinguishing factor between corporations and the socialist society would be that, ideally, in the socialist society, everyone’s personal “restitution for labor”–that is, “wages,” but I avoided that word purposely–would be equal.

This is always a question that we must ask the communist: do you truly believe that the McDonald’s worker and the President of the United States deserve an equal wage? Does the socialist truly believe that the Wal-Mart stocker and the Congressional official deserve an equal wage? For those rare individuals who would answer affirmatively, there is little more to be said; we cannot argue with people who believe that these people are making equal contributions to society.

The question of wages is a strange one, because we have not long been selling our labor in such numbers. Throughout most of human history, a person’s sold labor was a supplement; we did not buy food and clothing, because we grew our own and made our own. We sold our labor when we needed to purchase those things that we could not produce ourselves; when we needed to visit the blacksmith, for example. While there were blacksmiths, of course, who did primarily sell their labor as a means of living, they were still rare–artisans, craftsmen, and tailors constituted a middle class.

Recent times have redefined human society such that virtually everyone sells their labor, no one grows their own food, and your kids would be laughed out of school–you might end up facing criminal charges, as well–if you sent your children to school in clothing that you made. This is a relatively new state of affairs, though. Throughout most of human history, you put in the work to grow your own food and, if you did not, you starved.

This is where communists and socialists wholly break with nature. It is the responsibility of an animal to secure its sustenance, either through predation or production–hunting or gathering. That it would even be possible for one animal to contribute nothing to their own survival, yet still survive, is a new development. Remembering that compassion is a luxury, the Johnson family would not have been willing to share their food with the Lennox family when the Lennox family chopped down a few trees and proclaimed, “There. I tried.”

A fundamental truth has been lost in the nihilistic fervor of western society: the universe doesn’t give a fuck about us, we are animals, and it is the responsibility of an animal to ensure its own survival. In the event that it cannot, compassion should probably be afforded to the animal by those who can afford that luxury, if they so choose, but that we can have this conversation in the first place shows that we have lost all semblance of reason and sanity. What the hell do you mean that I must have compassion?

Suffering is made contagious by pity.

We have reached this point where we are today because of capitalism. Let there be no doubt about it. It was capitalism that allowed us the luxury of deciding that we must not send our four-year-old children to be maimed in glass factories. If you went to Victorian London, do you know what you would see?

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry ” ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!”
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.
There’s little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head
That curled like a lamb’s back, was shaved, so I said,
“Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when your head’s bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.”
And so he was quiet, & that very night,
As Tom was a-sleeping he had such a sight!
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, & Jack,
Were all of them locked up in coffins of black;
And by came an Angel who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins & set them all free;
Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they run,
And wash in a river and shine in the Sun.
Then naked & white, all their bags left behind,
They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind.
And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy,
He’d have God for his father & never want joy.
And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark
And got with our bags & our brushes to work.
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm;
So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.

During the Irish Famine it was not unusual for parents to sell their children. We look back on those 19th century atrocities and condemn them–as rightly we should–but we condemn them without understanding them. Parents sent their children to work in glass factories to be maimed for life because they had no choice. It was that or starve. Parents sold their children into slavery–or worse–because it was that or starve. What would you do, if you went back in time and saw these things happening? Would you come forward and outlaw it? Would you say, “No! If I see you sending your children to work in glass factories, I will throw you in prison”?

Then you would condemn them to death.

It was not legislation or happy feelings that put a stop to this practice. It was not people slapping their foreheads and proclaiming, “Oh, shit. You know? It’s probably not a great idea to sell our children.”

It was capitalism.

It was prosperity.

People stopped sending their children to be maimed in factories when it was no longer necessary, and shortly thereafter we condemned and outlawed it. It was a necessity born of poverty–a poverty that stretched back to the time when peasants grew their own food, something that had become increasingly unfeasible.

Look to China today. How much sweatshop labor and child labor is there in China today? Oh, there is still child labor and sweatshop labor, but it has been drastically reduced from what it was thirty years ago. People in China are now buying vehicles, building better homes, securing more stable electricity–why? Why are the Chinese prospering?

Because of capitalism.

We are such a curious species.

We use these tools to climb to such high plateaus, and then we cast off the tools and condemn them, insist that we don’t need them because we have better tools, and then we flounder on the side of the mountain, thrashing about and asking stupidly, “What went wrong? We had it all figured out!”

The greatest example of this is how Trump is being condemned for expressing that he uses his power, fame, and wealth to cajole women into sleeping with him. Even if Donald Trump never touched a woman without her consent, the same people would be condemning him, and for the same reason.

Fuck that.

Good for you, Donald.

We are animals–stupid, petty, violent, horny animals. Unfortunately, at some point during our evolutionary line we developed sentience, which in turn led to an out-of-control ego, which we immediately fed by convincing ourselves that we are anything but animals, despite all evidence to the contrary. All the evidence suggests that nothing but your own perceptions separates you from the chair you’re sitting in, and nothing but ego distinguishes you from the wolf.

The difference is that the wolf has forgotten what it is. It’s a stupid, petty, violent, horny animal, and it has no delusions about it. So the wolf survives, doing what it was programmed by biology to do. The wolf has no compassion because the only things the wolf could conceivably have compassion for is its prey–and it cannot be allowed the luxury of compassion for its prey; its own survival depends on it.

We humans, though… What is the soul?

The soul is two things. It is a delusion that we are immortal, and it is a symbol of our own vanity. Ask any person who believes they are immortal* whether animals have souls, and they will almost all answer the same: “No.” The soul is what allows this delusion to persist today, when, by all rights, it should have been cast off when it was proven beyond all doubt that personality is an electrochemical reaction in the brain, and that neither personality nor self exist external of the brain. Yet it persists, a delusion that we cannot let go of.

It is the greatest of ironies that, yes, we can be better. We can be better than the other animals with whom we share a planet and a lineage. We do have a sense of self, and we are afforded the luxury of compassion. It would be foolish to suggest that we forego this luxury in the name of some Neo-Luddism insanity. We are what we are, and “what we are” includes wonderful potential–a potential that has actualized and allowed us the luxury of compassion.

But we must not forget, as we exercise that compassion, that it is a luxury, and the very things which purchased that luxury are the very things we must control if we are to show compassion.

* Let’s not mince words about it–this is what advocates of “souls” are suggesting.

Well.

IMG_1469I did make the music video again–I’ve actually done several today, and I got one that was finally acceptable enough that I was willing to upload it. Then, as soon as I uploaded it and went to transcribe it for the lyrics, I deleted it. I’ve asked a friend to do something similar, but I simply can’t–my singing voice just sucks too bad. And I knew that when I uploaded the video, but I thought maybe it was alright. But no.

That’s frustrating, because I think something like that would be an effective way to get the word out.

Apparently, if I block someone for hate speech, it doesn’t delete their comments on my video. It just hides them from me. Well done, Youtube. That’s completely fucking broken. I only became aware of it because my first video about the GoFundMe campaign has like 15 comments. So I switched to a different profile, and there they were–the initial asshole’s comments, as well as someone who kindly took on the dipshit for me by pointing out that the rules of most places don’t really apply to Mississippi.

I’m really frustrated with my friends, but there’s no point in continuing to harp on that. But it’s really anger-inducing, because I can look over there, to the list of friends on the right and say:

  • I just sold you a $55 part for $15, taking a $40 loss to my company. I also gave you 45 minutes of labor and a $55 part for free, on top of the one I sold you.
  • I gave you a half-ounce of weed (years ago).
  • I borrowed a suboxone from my sister and gave it to you because you were withdrawing from heroin.
  • I gave you a ton of rides all over the place, and ecstasy (years ago, granted).
  • I’ve removed viruses for you and helped set up your controller for your PC.
  • I gave you money for you to start a company.
  • I shared your music for years, even though I don’t even like hip-hop.
  • You came in me.
  • I’ve been supporting your bid for state representative of Pennsylvania.
  • I share your podcast.

And yet none of them have liked, commented, or shared any of my statues. I posted this one early today, a warning to them all masked behind subtlety:

getting snippyIt’s certainly fair to say that I’m getting a bit snippy, but obviously it’s subtle enough that no one would feel like I’m taking shots at them. Unless they actually scrolled down my wall, in which case they’d see:

The answer to my question is "No."

The answer to my question is “No.”

Here I am, literally doing everything I can to try to improve my life forever, to get out of this hellhole, and put all this bullshit behind me, and I’ve resorted to running ads on Facebook and Twitter because I’m more likely to get likes, comments, shares, and donations from random strangers on the Internet than I am people that I’ve known for two decades. There are a few reasons for this:

1 – They’re Broke

I don’t expect any of them to donate money to me. Most of them are at least as broke as I am, and some of them are doing even worse. A few of them aren’t doing very badly, and I certainly am surprised that one in particular has not donated a fucking thing, but I’m not going to begrudge anyone for not donating money to me. Even though they’re the people who know best that I’ve spent my entire life trying and overcoming obstacles. What sort of message does that send people on the Internet, if my friends and family are unwilling to even pitch in a dollar? If the people who know me best and who, allegedly, care the most about me aren’t willing to throw in at least a few bucks, what does that tell people on the Internet? That’s why it pisses me off so much.

None of these people even bought my story on Amazon, despite the fact that nearly every friend I’ve ever had has told me, “Let me know when you have something published! I’ll definitely buy it!” Then none of them did. Well, one friend did, and then promised to leave a review. He never did, because he never actually read it. I don’t know how to feel about that. Thanks, I guess, for paying that whopping 99 cents to buy my story. Would’ve been nice if you’d taken the time to read all eleven pages of it and leave the review that you promised to leave, but I guess one can’t have everything. Other friends frequently post shit about how important it is to help friends get started. Seriously.

2 – They’re Self-Absorbed

bullshit

Yes, I had to call him on that, and there remain only two copies sold of my story. Out of all 7 billion people on the planet, two of them bought my story. Worse still, a few friends even have told me that they did purchase it. They assumed, presumably, that I had sold at least a few dozen copies, and that they could therefore hide in the numbers and say that they’d bought it when they didn’t. But only two people have bought it, and I can identify both of those people. But yes, I had to call this guy on his thing about how important it is to support local businesses and family and stuff, when he had never even shared any of the dozens of posts on my wall about my story. It’s ridiculous Feel Good bullshit. “I want to act like I believe this, but I don’t really want to do it. Help a friend? Fuck that.”

Take this, for example:

disgusting

This was so horrific I had to call the guy on it. “Are you attempting to sell something that you’re otherwise going to burn?” I added the “lol” because he was a friend, and for no other reason. To my horror, his response was “Yes. It’s garbage to me, but if anyone wants it, they have to pay for it.”

He literally tried to sell his garbage to people.

Literally. He literally tried selling his garbage to people.

Then the very same friend will post this, making fun of other people doing exactly the same thing:

garbage

Like “Dude. You literally tried selling your garbage to people. Something that was of no use to you whatsoever and that you were going to destroy, you attempted to sell to someone. And if someone had come to you to get it, and asked for it for free, you would have said, ‘No.’ You might have gone down to $3 or something, but that doesn’t change the fact that you literally tried to sell your garbage to people–and you knew it, and you admitted it. You value things not by how much value they have to you, but buy whether or not other people want them.”

The ultimate irony is that, yes, the same friend posted both things. The same friend that literally and knowingly tried selling his garbage to people made fun of people in Buy, Sell, Trade groups who do the same thing. I’ve rarely seen such a lack of self-awareness.

He has picked up on my agitation, though, because earlier today he shared one of my posts about my GoFundMe campaign, and he did it in exactly the way that I said he would: without text, without saying anything. Just an empty click of the share button, a gesture, a token–an obligation. I don’t want my friends to feel obligated to share my stuff, and I don’t want them to feel obligated to help. I want friends who want to help, and mine simply don’t.

obligationNothing like

This person has been my friend for 15 years and has overcome a lot of bullshit, and now needs a little help to get out of Mississippi and go somewhere that she’ll be safe and secure.

No

I’ve known this person for 15 years, and if there’s anyone who has tried hard to move forward, it’s her. Now she needs a little help.

Just an empty share.

I said two days ago that this is exactly what I didn’t want:

called it

I want friends who act like fucking friends. Is that so much to ask?

I’ve always been there any time these people needed. With this particular friend, let me tell you a little story.

His wife had a skirt that she couldn’t wear because she’d bought a Youth 24 instead of some other 24, so the skirt was more like my size than hers. He asked if I wanted it. After looking it over, I told him that: While I did like the skirt, it was simply too short, and I wouldn’t be able to wear it in public. Therefore, I couldn’t purchase it. I have enough clothes that are too short/tight for me to wear anywhere but home, and I’m not going to pay to add to that. He told me to hang on to it anyway, because he had no use for it.

A few weeks later, I decided that I liked it after all, and he asked if I was going to pay for it.

Process that for a minute.

If I didn’t want the skirt, then I could have it for free. But if I did want the skirt, then I had to pay for it.

I don’t typically keep cash on me, and he dropped by my house like three times unexpectedly and out of the blue, asking for money for that goddamned skirt. It got to the point where I was considering just telling him to take the damned thing back, because it was horrifically offensive (Yes, offensive) that he had given me this skirt until I decided that I liked it, at which point he wanted $15 for it. Rather than telling me at any of these points that he stopped by unexpectedly and I had no cash on me, despite my telling him that he had to give me advance notice before he came by because I don’t keep cash, “You know what? Don’t worry about it. I told you to just keep it, so just keep it. I gave it to you as a gift because I had no need or use for it, so it wouldn’t be right for me to take your money for it now…” he just kept asking for money for it. I was in a video session with John McAfee the last time that he stopped by, and I was just so goddamned tired of dealing with it and happened to have cash on me that I put a $20 bill under my windshield wiper and ignored him the rest of the night. How dare he take that money?

Only when I was writing this post did I realize that he sold me his garbage.

I would unfriend all of these people right now if I knew how long it would take to garner the money I need to go to Vegas and escape this living nightmare, but it’s not like he’s a bad guy. He’s not. He’s just… very greedy when it comes to money, clearly–and I don’t like saying that about my friends, especially since there is the possibility that he might read this, but the dude sold me his garbage. I don’t know how else to characterize that. He’s a great guy in other respects. Hey, I’ve got lots of flaws, too. I’m extremely argumentative, and I’m sure that’s pissed my friends off on several occasions. I’m very thankful that they’ve dealt with that and generally just ignore it.

But one thing that I can’t simply forget is that I’ve always been willing to help my friends, and I don’t think I’ve ever refused to help a friend. When this same friend called me while I was at work, and his wife’s car was messed up in a nearby city with a dead battery, I was willing to contact someone I knew in the area and ask them to go jump off her battery. Because I’m willing to help friends. Maybe my mistake is expecting that people value me as much as I value them.

3 – Fear

Almost none of the selfies I post ever get Likes, and the few likes that I do get always come from female friends. None of my male friends will go anywhere near that Like button on one of my selfies, and we all know why. In the back of their mind, they don’t know what it will mean if they Like the picture. “Does that mean I think she is hot? Will everyone else think that I think she’s hot? Will she think that I think she’s hot? Does that just mean that I like the picture? What if I just like the picture because it’s a good pic, but everyone else thinks I liked it because I think she’s pretty in that picture? She’s got a penis, so I can’t think she’s pretty without being gay, and I’m not gay…”

Some of my pics are pretty damned good, if I do say so myself:

I gotta tell ya... I'd lick the hell out of that belly.

I gotta tell ya… I’d lick the hell out of that belly.

IMG_1466As I’ve said before, I’m not in the least attracted to guys, and I never have been. To be totally honest, I find the idea of two guys kissing to be repulsive, but it’s not because I think it’s wrong for two guys to kiss–it’s because I don’t think guys are attractive, so how could two guys making out be anything less than unattractive? I find the idea of kissing a guy to be gross. I like girls–it’s a major part of me being transgender, after all.

The point of all that is to say that the pic on the left is one of the few pics I’ve taken where I can honestly say that I’d totally make out with that person. And I’d really enjoy it. I happen to think I look pretty hot in that pic. Not incredible, gorgeous, or anything like that, but… fairly hot. And when I went outside to tan yesterday afternoon and removed my shorts, I realized… “Holy shit. I look like a bronze goddess.”

I’m not saying that I expect you or anyone else to agree with those statements; in fact, it’s irrelevant to me whether or not you do. I want to look at myself and think that I’m hot. It means absolutely nothing to me whether anyone else thinks I’m hot. Obviously, for the sake of having a relationship, it would be good for another girl to find me attractive, and I think I’ll be able to find such girls without much issue in Vegas, which I’m really looking forward to. I can’t wait to go out on the city, and be safe, hit some LGBT clubs, and meet some fellow lesbians.

For similar reasons they won’t like my pictures, my friends won’t share my statues about the GoFundMe campaign. Though they may not have a problem with transgender people, what about their family? How would this friend’s mom react if she found out that he was supporting a transgender friend? How would that friend’s church group react if they saw the post? How would that friend’s coworkers react? The answer to these questions, since we are talking about people in Mississippi, is “Badly, Badly, and Badly.”

“Oh, I didn’t know you were into that sort of thing!” would be the mildest of the messages such a friend would get from other friends and family–joking jabs meant half in jest and half in sincerity, to get the person to explain. For the most part, though, they’d get comments and messages saying things like “Instead of donating, we need to be praying for this poor soul, for the devil to release his hold on him.” For the most part, it would be largely ineffective for them to share my campaign.

But it wouldn’t be totally ineffective.

Most of my friends have other friends who live in Washington, Canada, New York, Florida, New Jersey, and other places where people are far more tolerant and open.

I need $3,865 more. If I could reach 3,865 and all of them give just $1, then I could forever be free of this nightmare, could move to an economically stable city, and live in peace and security. If I could just reach 1933 people, and all of them give just $2, then I could put the despair of Mississippi and the American south in the past and relocate to a city where I will not have to sleep with a loaded gun on my headboard out of fear for my life, where I can’t even go to the nearest LGBT bar because people are routinely attacked as they leave them–the news stories for which have been buried by the Orlando attack. When I first looked into going, however, that’s what caused me not to: the LGBT bars in Memphis are often in the news because patrons are attacked, beaten, and hospitalized after leaving the club.

But as I said: I shall endeavor on. And I will continue donating everything I can to the campaign in the hopes that it sends the right message to people, in the hopes that the word spreads, and in the hopes that people outside of Mississippi are as good, kind, and compassionate as I know them to be.

To me, friendship is reciprocity of care. I don’t think I’m yet jaded enough to say that people only have friends based on what those “friends” can do for them, but there’s certainly a case to be made for that. Even myself, I would argue–I have friends because I don’t like loneliness. But this cold statement hides the real emotions that underscore a friendship: the care and the concern. If these things are not reciprocated (which is clearly shown in a person’s actions), then there is hardly a friendship there. There is only a parasite and a host.