You ever do something that you know, beyond almost any doubt, is going to have severely negative consequences? Because I’m about to do that. And I’m really not sure what the fallout will be, but it’s going to be an interesting ride.
First, I was successfully voted into the Audacious Caucus of the Libertarian Party. In fact, I was voted in unanimously with 18-0, and am the second prison to have been voted in with no dissent (The other was Starchild). Even Arvin Vohra isn’t likely to be voted in unanimously.
Second, speaking of Arvin, he was chosen as the first inductee into The Call to Freedom’s “Libertarian Drama Hall of Fame.” It was decided that Arvin is basically the LeBron James of Libertarian Drama, and that’s true, although the drama around him has been pretty mild lately. It’s sort of like South Park–once upon a time, people were outraged, but not it’s just like, “Well, that’s just South Park being South Park…”
That’s the trick of being audacious. If you’re audacious all the time, it becomes almost passé. It’s like the left protesting constantly and marching all the time; eventually, people stop paying attention, because it’s just expected. It’s not exciting or interesting. Arvin seems aware of this (hence his place in the Hall of Fame), because he’s generated no controversy lately, but I’m positive that he will. He’s Arvin. It’s what he does.
In other interesting news, perpetual dickbag Augustus Invictus followed in Austin Petersen’s footsteps and left the Libertarian Party to join the Republican Party. As with Petersen, actual libertarians celebrated the development.
This seems to be the beginning of the exodus of the paleo-libertarians and alt-right fascitarians from the party, including the likes of terminal idiot Jared Howe, Molyneaux, Cantwell, and others who thought the Libertarian Party meant “liberty for me, not for thee.”
And, on that note, the stupid thing I’m about to do: I’m forming an affiliate for the county I live in. The first meeting is July 29th, but I don’t expect it to generate much buzz. The second meeting is when things will begin to get interesting, because by then word will have spread.
I’ve no intention of peddling being transsexual to any sort of advantage or as any tool for getting publicity, but I’ve been a resident of Mississippi long enough to know how this is going to play out. Once that ball gets rolling, it’s going to snowball to unknown degrees, but I expect that at least half the county will be buzzing about the transsexual atheist chair of the county party. This, of course, will motivate many of those people to learn about libertarian philosophy and, especially, how a transsexual person isn’t a Democrat and actually advocates for the right of free association (and has years of history doing it).
It will surely warrant a statement at some point, to which I’m looking forward, which will allow me to change a lot of people’s minds about trans people and liberty. I’d rather the transsexual matter never be brought up, but it will be–persistently. I will be the #1 thing people bring up when they discuss the Libertarian Party of the county, because the chair of the county party is a transsexual atheist.
This will create many problems. Many of my clients are old school, and needing to earn money to not die has left me in the awkward situation of having to continue working as a male, but it’s the elephant in the room. Everyone has noticed. Dudes don’t typically dye their hair vibrant red. Some employees at various clients have even discussed it with me or my colleague; it’s not exactly hard to notice for people who only see me once every few weeks.
I think that’s going to go better than other people expect, though, because the effect of rapport cannot be denied. I discussed this recently–relationships are the destroyers of bigotry, and I’ve got existing relationships with the clients and their employees. They like me. They already know that I’m strange (everyone knows I’m weird), and they don’t mind. The revelation for some of them will just be that I’m more weird than they knew.
Yet there is at least one client for whom it will present an irreconcilable problem, because the client is managed by a couple with a gay son, whose sexuality they are in denial about, and who pulled him out of school to shelter him from the corruptive agents of mainstream society. I could be reading that entire situation wrong, but that assessment is based on my conversations with the guy and with my own experiences with oppressive guardians. So I don’t think that I am.
The remaining two members of my family whose opinions somewhat matter to me will learn the truth, but that’s just as well. I sheltered them from it, but the bell is going to ring, and it really doesn’t matter to me any longer.
There is a real risk of danger and attack. I’ve been attacked before, both for being trans and for being an atheist. A year ago, someone was trying to find out where I lived so that they could pay me a visit. Oh, well. My shotgun stays loaded.
I fully expect the message of liberty to form a bridge between me and most people, because that’s what liberty is: a truce. From there, personal relationships will pick up the slack and allow people to at least rely on cognitive dissonance to not fire me as their I.T. contractor. Or I could be wrong, and they all fire me. I could very well be digging my own grave almost literally.
But I don’t think so. As I said, most of them already know. They can only make so many comments about how I remind them of their step-daughter before it gets to the point of, “Yeah, just go ahead and say it.” Like I said, in most cases it’s the elephant in the room that no one is talking about.
Let’s have some conversations about liberty, and let’s disabuse people of some incorrect ideas.
Libertarian mayoral candidate for Meridian has been shot to death in the woods outside of his home, according to Mississippi’s local paper The Clarion Ledger, and there is a bit of confusion regarding the circumstances. See, not long ago, Mariner Durant withdrew from the mayoral race, citing law enforcement officials who had advised him to withdraw because of death threats–there is no evidence of this suggestion, or indication of what law enforcement officer or official he may be referring to. Meridian is about three hours southeast of where I live (I’m right at the Mississippi/Tennessee border, so generally am more a Memphisian than a Mississippian), but I supported his candidacy nonetheless. Even though he supported Johnson/Weld–at the local, mayoral level that isn’t a big enough deal for me to refuse to support a candidate. Only in the national spotlight would that be a point of concern for me. While it did bother me that he never liked, replied to, or shared anything I wrote to him, I understand why, and held no grudge against him for it–being a libertarian in Mississippi is hard enough without having an openly trans ally.
C’est la vie.
Photo courtesy of the Clarion Ledger.
But now he’s dead.
Here are the facts as we know them:
Mariner Durant withdrew from the mayoral race, citing threats to his safety and the advice of unknown law enforcement.
Mariner Durant was found shot to death in the woods outside of his home, shortly thereafter.
Local police are ruling it a suicide, though are bringing in the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.
Most people seem to take the local police’s word for it that it’s a suicide, and that Mariner likely had some sort of psychosis or paranoia where these threats were imagined, and that this psychosis ultimately led to his suicide. That’s certainly a valid interpretation, and we’ll probably never know.
Now let me tell you some stuff about Mississippi.
Several years ago, we had a murder (on a street where one of my best friends lives) occur that was so barbaric and horrific that it made national news. This 18 year old girl was forced to imbibe lighter fluid (or gasoline), and was burned alive. All evidence suggests that she was with someone she knew and trusted, and the last visible sign of her was at a gas station where she bought gasoline and showed no signs of distress, and the other, unidentified person, was in the car. You may remember this, because it was truly a horrific crime.
Now let me tell you some other stuff that the national media missed.
The girl’s father is a police officer who served time in prison for cooking and selling methamphetamine before becoming a cop. Read that sentence again, because nothing shows how strongly filial attachments can pull the strings of people in Mississippi than the idea that a former meth dealer came out of prison and became a police officer.
Now let me tell you more stuff the national media missed.
The girl was a drug-addict and prostitute (when she needed the drugs or the money to buy the drugs), and had recently stolen $400 from a man by selling him fake pills. I used to be addicted to pain killers myself. I know that game well. One of the people I bought pills from was found several years ago in a ditch, with a bullet in his head, and neither I nor my father have any doubt: he screwed over the wrong person. It only takes once. And he screwed me over repeatedly*. Now, when you’re a drug addict, that won’t keep you from going back to them if you can’t find anyone else. My dad and I once took him to a trailer park around midnight, and he wanted us to give him $100 while he ran in to get the pills for us. We knew better than to do that. We’d give him the money, and we wouldn’t hear from him for months.
Yet there’s more to this “person who was robbed for $400” than most people know. For one, he’s a known arsonist, and helped burn down a building for its owner to collect the insurance money. Everyone around knows and knew it was arson, and knows exactly who did it–even the police. But this person… This person is above the law. This person has very high connections in politics extending at least to the governor of the state. This person has also been involved in at least one murder.
So let’s have a recap.
18 or 19 year old girl (I don’t remember her name) who is a drug addict and hooker and whose father is a cop who went to prison for cooking and selling meth before becoming a police officer was found murdered in one of the most awful ways imaginable shortly after stealing $400 from a known arsonist and person known to be “above the law.” Additionally, many, many people suspected that the girl was an informant–wouldn’t you?–and I know damned well that this accusation is often enough to get you killed. If you do heroin and your dealer thinks you’re an informant, he’ll lace your next batch, you’ll die, and no one will ever know it happened. There are few things as lethal as being accused of being an informant.
Oh, we need to also mention that the girl’s parents were racist and that she had a history of dating black men, often to the point that she’d been kicked out on several occasions and ended up living with her black boyfriends and their families. This isn’t a thing in and of itself, but it’s something to consider about the girl’s parents. Let’s see… What else…? There are so many Sleeping Dogs in this story that it’s hard to remember them all, and I followed it very closely–like I said, one of my best friends lives on the street that she was murdered on. This happened like fifteen minutes from where I live.
How does this story end? It doesn’t. Eventually, the murder was “solved!” rather innocuously last year–or the year before–when a seemingly random black guy who was already serving time in Louisiana was pinpointed as the murderer, despite his name never having been mentioned before or since in any context related to the girl. Because the Internet Detectives went to work, man. They dug up all her ex-boyfriends, harassed them on Facebook, and all kinds of shit. This dude’s name never got mentioned. No news article, no Internet Detective, no whisper among the community…
You know what the whispers around the community were?
Everyone knew who did it, but no one was going to say it. “They went too far,” was what people said. “They went too far with what they did.” Everyone knew who, and everyone knew why. But, if you knew, would you talk, knowing that everyone else knew already, and knowing what had happened to the girl?
So the sleeping dog sleeps.
I know of a family who lives on the edge between two counties with a similar “above the law” status. No one touches them, no matter how horrific their actions have been. They’ve been known to openly torture and murder dogs and cats, tying them to trees and to four-wheelers, and quartering them in a more Modern American way. The sheriffs know about this. They know about the allegations of rape, of people going missing, of child abuse. They know the property extends back mile after mile of woods and empty tankers that contain God-knows-what, and they know there may very well be victims in those tankers screaming right now. But County A says they’re in County B, and County B says they’re in County A. So no one does anything about the crimes alleged, much less known.
I don’t know what happened to Mariner Durant. I have no idea if he has a history of paranoid or schizophrenic behavior, but, if he does, this is the first anyone will have heard about it (which wouldn’t really be the case, since they’d have used that against him in the mayoral race, but, hey, let’s forget that for the moment).
But I do know that Mississippi has lots and lots of sleeping dogs. And if he posed a threat of accidentally or purposely waking one of them, then it’s not at all beyond belief that he’d have been killed for it, whether he withdrew from the race or not. Once you threaten one of those dogs, that’s often all it takes, even if you back down.
Just ask the man who went to prison for cooking and selling meth and then became a cop.
Regardless, it sucks that this libertarian candidate is dead, and I wish that wasn’t the case. I wish he hadn’t withdrawn, and I wish he had won the election. I wish there weren’t so very many things wrong in Mississippi.
* That sounds freaking awful. My point is that he had a known history of screwing people over. He was found dead long after I got out of that game.
For those unaware of this relatively obscure issue affecting this extremely small town, Rienzi, MS is a town of 320 that recently received threats from an atheist organization threatening the small town with up to $500,000 in fines and litigation if they did not immediately cease flying a Christian flag over a veterans’ memorial. While the mayor of the town relented, the people of the town are getting ready to fight back, and there’s so much confusion and misinformation around this issue that some things really have to be cleared up.
Not a First Amendment Issue
The First Amendment, in full, states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The wording is not accidental. It is concise and clear, and explicitly states that Congress shall make no law. I recently criticized Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nomination because Gorsuch does not respect the separation of church and state , but the fact is that “separation of church and state” is a colloquialism not expressed anywhere in our Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Politicians and elected officials absolutely are allowed, by the letter of the law, to legislate and rule based on their personal religious beliefs. I don’t like it, and I advocate against it, but the First Amendment does not in any sense prevent it. In fact, the First Amendment cannot prevent it, as doing so would be making a law prohibiting the free exercise of the politician’s religion.
Not a Federal Issue
Even if the First Amendment did apply to the issue, it wouldn’t apply to the small town in Mississippi, because the Constitution and the Amendments apply only to the federal government. There appears to be severe misunderstanding in the United States, in that most people don’t seem to understand what the “state” part means; they appear to think that “state” is to “nation” as “county” is to “state.” This is incorrect, and a result of decades of federal encroachment on states’ rights. Mississippi is a state in exactly the same sense that Germany is a state. Just as Germany surrendered some of its autonomy in joining the European Union, so did Mississippi surrender some of its sovereignty in joining the United States.
The only Constitution that has any applicability to this issue would be the Mississippi Constitution, and the only thing it states about religion comes from Section 18:
No religious test as a qualification for office shall be required; and no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect or mode of worship; but the free enjoyment of all religious sentiments and the different modes of worship shall be held sacred. The rights hereby secured shall not be construed to justify acts of licentiousness injurious to morals or dangerous to the peace and safety of the state, or to exclude the Holy Bible from use in any public school of this state.
Quite clearly, rather than prohibiting a town from flying a Christian flag, the Mississippi Constitution states that this mode of worship must be held as sacred. When I discussed this on Facebook, someone immediately asked if I’d care if someone flew a Muslim flag over the memorial. No, I don’t really care. One idol is as bad as any other in my book, whether the idol is the Christian flag, the American Flag, or the Muslim Flag. People swearing loyalty and obedience to scraps of cloth is an issue regardless of what is on that scrap of cloth, but to what, exactly, a person gives their religious dedication isn’t my business.
A Small Town
I don’t know the demographics in this town of 320 people, but I can tell you that, based on everything I know about Mississippi, chances are that we’re looking at 99% of the population being Christian. When I pointed this out, someone said it would be fine, as long as “everyone agrees.” As long as everyone agrees? Such a ridiculously high standard is not applied to anything else that the government does. Homosexual marriage gets legalized, regardless of whether everyone agrees. Marijuana gets legalized, regardless of whether everyone agrees. Abortion gets legalized, regardless of whether everyone agrees. The implication is that the government can do anything that it wants, but if it wants to go against the dominant liberal trend, then it must have unanimous agreement and no dissent.
This is a recipe for tyranny of the minority over the majority. Because <1% of the town doesn’t want the flag to fly, the 99% are tyrannized, their desires ignored and discarded. But, of course, if the 99% wanted to legalize same sex marriage and only 1% was against it, then same sex marriage would be legalized, wouldn’t it? Because it’s not about minorities or majorities; it’s about the liberal agenda and going against it. If you want to do what the liberal wants you to do, then 1% of the population dissenting is enough to get you your way. If you want to go against what the liberal wants you to do, then 99% of the population agreeing with you isn’t enough.
Disrespectful to the Dead?
I had another atheist tell me that they found it disrespectful to the dead. An atheist said this. Speaking as an atheist, that’s fucking retarded. To the atheist, dead people are dead. They don’t have feelings that can be hurt. They can’t be disrespected, because they are inanimate, rotting matter. But, again, when it’s convenient for the liberal agenda, it’s fine for an atheist to talk about being disrespectful of the dead, even though the atheist has no rational or justifiable reason for respecting the dead in the first place.
But don’t veterans have the right to a secular burial?
Well, we’re talking about a memorial, not a graveyard. I don’t know enough to say whether there are any remains there or not, but it would help these people to know what we’re talking about. However, no. Asking for a secular burial is asking for a secular religious ceremony. Burial rites are, and have always been, religious in nature. The modern embalming process has roots deeply in religion, and so does the burial ceremony. The only truly secular way to deal with human remains is cremation; every other method will be touched by religion to some degree, and many forms of cremation are derived from religion.
It’s very much like people who have secular marriages. It’s nonsense. Marriage has two roots: political and religious. Political in the sense of royalty and nobility, and religious once it spread to the commoners. There is a case to be made that monogamy itself is a religious concept, but it doesn’t matter how far we go back when talking about marriage. It evolved into a religious ceremony, orchestrated and performed by churches. “Secular marriage” is, too, asking for a secular religious ceremony.
The first reply my post got was someone pointing out that Mississippi has the highest high school dropout rate in the nation, and telling me that I should go back to school. Putting aside the high chances that I’m more highly educated than the person who said this, it is exactly this sneering, condescending attitude that pissed off middle America and got Trump elected. “Stupid hillbillies! Bible in one hand, and guns in the other!” right? President Obama himself said that. It is an attitude widely shared among liberals, and the implication is that, because the high school drop out rate is so high, the people in this small town are uneducated and thus can’t be allowed to govern themselves. Instead, they need this educated city slicker socialite to govern them, because otherwise they’ll just keep eating lead-based paint chips.
Atheists Need To Chill
I said that atheists need to stop looking for reasons to get upset. I stand by this statement. This one atheist in this town of 320 got a stick shoved up his ass and decided that he needed to contact an atheist group with powerful attorneys and threaten this town with half a million dollars in lawsuits in order to make these 319 people bow, acquiesce, and obey this one person’s demands. Threatening this town with extortion and violence in order to make them do what you want to do, when the end states are ultimately imprisonment, if the town doesn’t back down and then refuses to pay… I think we have a word for it, when you threaten someone with extortion and violence if they don’t do what you want them to…
It’s called terrorism.
So from a transgender lesbian atheist in the state of Mississippi to another atheist in the state of Mississippi near the town of Rienzi, fuck you, you entitled, violent extortionist piece of shit. This town of 320 people has the right to govern itself. If you don’t like it, you have the right to move. Their choice to fly a flag does not injure you, does not harm you, and does not affect you. Grow up, stop being a baby, and, if you want to fight for something, pick a real issue. There are plenty for you to choose from that aren’t stupid.
The part of the Mississippi Constitution, and, indeed, the First Amendment, that you’ve overlooked is that the government cannot prevent people from freely exercising their religion. That’s what the people of Rienzi, Mississippi are doing. Stop trying to be a tyrant, and let them be free.
I’ve got a difficult choice to make, about whether I want to try to fight this battle or not–whether I can fight this battle, whether I have the emotional strength and emotional need to fight this battle. It will be messy, and it will be painful. It will certainly land in a federal appeals court.
Earlier today I was arrested for driving on a suspended license. I’m not sure how long my license has been suspended–it’s part of the $3,000 the state wants from me because it decided that I owed it that money. So today when it found out that I was going about my life in full disregard of how they wanted money from me, the state did what the state does best: it used its armed thugs to kidnap me and hold me for ransom. The fines I’m faced with aren’t major, and aren’t even really of concern. What is of concern is a much more serious matter.
I was strip-searched.
I was strip-searched by a male officer.
I was strip-searched by a male officer over a traffic misdemeanor when my bail bondsman was literally there waiting on me and after I’d already explained that I’m transgender and identify as female. For all intents and purposes, a male officer strip-searched a female prisoner today when she was arrested over a misdemeanor and while she was waiting on paperwork to be processed so she could be released.
It may seem minor. The officer didn’t touch me while I was naked, after all, but if you’ve never been there, then you couldn’t imagine. These are the police. The “Do as we say, or we beat you or shoot you” people. It’s hard to express what exactly it feels like to be told to turn around and face the wall, pull down your pants and panties, to lift up your genitals, and to stand there presenting your ass to a male officer.
Because he said so.
And if you don’t comply, he might just beat you to death.
So here’s how it happened, the events I wrote down as soon as it occurred to me a little while ago to write them down.
After being arrested by the Senatobia officer–I’m horrible with names, and even though I tried damned hard to take note of them, I don’t recall them–I was taken to the Senatobia Police Department for processing. The officer can vouch easily for my good behavior, respectfulness, and politeness. It was always “yes, sir” and “no, sir.” The officer admitted this and handcuffed me so that my hands were in front of me–in fact, they were loose enough that I could have slipped out of them if I’d wanted to. I didn’t want to, obviously, but I did tinker with them during the ride. I still had my phone, my pocket full of things; the officer had given no thought whatsoever to me as a danger, and had let me finish smoking a cigarette precisely because I was polite, well-mannered, and cooperative.
On the ride to the Senatobia Police Department, I informed this officer of the fact that I am transgender and identify as female. I pointed out that it probably wouldn’t matter since I was immediately being bailed out, but if it became important to know, he needed to know it. He asked a few questions mostly out of curiosity and, as he said later, to make sure that all of his “i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed,” a position that I completely understand. As I’ve said to all of my friends and everyone else, I’m not going to get worked up over someone using the wrong pronoun to address me, or using my old name. So I made it clear to the officer that there was no chance that I was going to make it unnecessarily difficult for him; I was just verifying that things wouldn’t get unnecessarily difficult for me.
As further evidence of how the officer considered me no threat and nothing but polite, during the processing he left me alone for long periods of times, never searched me, and only asked what I had in my pockets. I complied to the fullest extent to his offhanded query and placed all the contents of my pockets on the desk, and put my phone on silent, even though he had requested none of these things. In fact, he explicitly told me at one point that it was fine for me to look and reply to a text message. He removed the handcuffs through my stay at the Senatobia Police Department, and left me more or less to wander at my leisure through the room. Clearly, nothing about my demeanor or appearance suggested that I was remotely a threat.
Then he had to take me to the actual jail, the Tate County Jail, and again handcuffed me with my hands in front for the ride. They were even more loose this time, and as we pulled into the parking lot he remarked that my father and grandmother were already there with the bail bondsman, and that they’d beaten us to the jail. I didn’t reply, because there were too many thoughts racing through my mind. He asked if I’d heard him, and I replied that I had, but had been lost in thought. Through this ride, he listened to music and invited someone to go with him to a ball game after work. It was a relaxed ride–considering–and more evidence that I was nothing but polite and compliant.
Once inside the jail, the processing began again, and I was told to turn and face the wall, where I was patted down. This was done professionally, and was not odd in the least. The officer who had brought me there–the Senatobia Police Officer–had gone. This other male officer emptied out my pockets and patted me down while the other officer on duty, a female, helped him process the paperwork so that I could go. He then took my shoes and my belt, as well as the rest of my possessions, and placed them in a basket. He then instructed me to enter a nearby room, and I did so.
He asked something about my size–I don’t recall exactly what, but he made it clear that his intention was to get one of the jailhouse jumpsuits for me to wear. Thinking he must have overlooked the fact that the bail bondsman was there and had already been talking to both officers on duty, including the officer I was then speaking to, I said, “Is it really necessary to do all this? The bondsman is right there to get me out, and… I’m transgender. I’ve been taking hormones for months. I’ve got breasts, I’m wearing a bra and women’s underwear.”
Then he stated that no, it wouldn’t be necessary, but he would still have to search me for weapons–one would have expected this to be included in the pat-down that he had done, but more than anything there was the vibe that this was in response to my statement that I’m transgender. It may not have been, but it absolutely felt that way, and is a moot point anyway. The moment that I informed the officer I’m transgender and identify as female is the moment it became unlawful for him to search me. Regardless, he shut the large steel door, leaving just the two of us in the concrete box. “Turn around and face the wall,” he instructed, this authority figure with a gun.
I obeyed. You don’t have a choice but to obey. It’s “obey or get the shit beaten out of you.”
“Drop your pants and lift up your shirt,” he said.
I gulped, and braced myself. God only knew where this was going, but none of it felt right–obviously. So there I stood, door shut, with this officer standing behind me, with my pants down around my ankles and shirt lifted, broadcasting to him my panties and ass.
Then it got worse as he said, “Pull down your underwear and lift up your shirt.”
Again, I complied. What manner of society is this, where a man can lock you in a concrete box and command you to drop your pants and underwear to your ankles? It was humiliating, degrading, and terrifying, to stand there with my pants and panties around my ankles, effectively presenting my ass to this male officer. He instructed me to lift up my genitals. So I stood there then with my pants and panties around my ankles, one hand holding up my shirt, one hand holding my genitals out of his view, naked and presenting my ass to him.
I don’t know how long we stood like that. I was busy trying to convince myself that I was literally anywhere else and doing literally anything else. I really don’t think it was very long, but there was absolutely no reason we should have been in that situation in the first place, as I was arrested for a misdemeanor and was simply being processed, with the bondsman already waiting outside. After some period of time elapsed, the officer said “Okay, you can pull your clothes back up.”
I’m sure it seems minor. It may even seem routine. But no part of it felt routine, and I’d already been patted down and searched–one would presume that he was patting me down for weapons, after all. I identify as female. That has been the case for more than a year. I’ve got A cups, some curves, and I perpetually wear both a bra and female underwear. Because of the nuances of life in Mississippi and still being relatively early in the process, it is necessary that I still pretend to be a male some portions of the day, especially in regard to work. This is done, though, not to present myself as a male but to minimize the consequences of certain people finding out before I am able to deal with those consequences. When you’re being arrested, the consequences of not informing the police are multitudes higher than the consequences of telling them, and at that moment it became illegal for the male officer to strip search me–alone in a concrete box with the heavy steel door shut.
As soon as I told him I’m transgender, it became unlawful for a male officer to strip search me alone.
Much less make me stand there with my pants and panties at my ankles with my balls pulled up and showing him my ass.
I do believe I’m going to pursue this. I haven’t stopped shaking since the event happened, and I’m sure that it’s noticeable on the lobby camera, since we returned the lobby after this utterly pointless strip search by a male officer of the female prisoner who was arrested for a misdemeanor and whose bondsman was merely waiting on the paperwork for her to be released. Even if they could justify the strip search–which isn’t at all likely, given the circumstances–there is absolutely no justification for a male officer strip searching a female arrestee, and certainly not in that manner, certainly not in private.
I don’t like the government, and that includes when the government has things like its Civil Rights Act and all that other stuff that is supposed to help transgender people. But clearly the state of Mississippi has no transgender policy. When they entered my information into the system, I saw this second officer–the one who had performed the strip search–enter me as “male.” The prompt offered him only the choices of “male” or “female.” It is backward, and the police exist to lord power over people and hold them at their mercy. If anyone must have their feet held to the flames, it is them.
Following Brexit, many Remain advocates wanted to vote again, because so many people hadn’t voted at all–this despite the Brexit vote having the highest turnout in the UK since the 90s. As I pointed out then, those people did vote. They simply voted “Indifferent / Doesn’t Matter To Me.” There’s no other way to slice it; refraining from voting is voting for “it doesn’t make a difference to me.” A second round of voting, then, is nothing more than an attempt to let these people change their votes after the fact, from “indifferent” to “leave” or “remain,” and, they presume, the lion’s share of them would change from “indifferent” to “remain” if they’d known Leave had a chance of winning.
But I’m a believer in consequences and giving things a chance. The Brexit issue is complicated, isn’t it? What if most people would now change their vote from Indifferent to Remain, and the previous vote was nullified. If I love democracy so much*, then wouldn’t I be glad to see that? Yes, and no. See, it’s a matter of bailing out, isn’t it? Brexit took a gamble; I think they should have to bear the responsibility of seeing it through before they change their minds. Isn’t that pig-headedness, though? “Stay the course” and all that?
Kinda, except that, in regard to Brexit, we haven’t even begun to see what consequences it will have. The consequences so far are completely reactionary and are the case of self-fulfilling prophecies. People expecting the UK markets to crash pulled their money out of the UK, which caused the pound to fall, which caused more people to pull money out, which caused the pound to fall further. It’s a self-fulling prophecy all the way, and a simple matter of confidence.
The average person wants nothing more than to get on with their life and be left alone. They don’t want to be told how racist they are because they live in a rural area with a very low minority population and happen to not have any friends who are black. They don’t want to be called racist because their jobs were outsourced to Mexico and India thanks to the Minimum Wage. They don’t want to be called sexist because they are from a world where husbands are somewhat subservient to their wives, and where the wives want to be somewhat subservient to their husbands. The wives don’t want to be called “female misogynists”** because they love and support their husbands, are housewives, and all that. They don’t want to be told how homophobic they are because they’re grossed out by two dudes kissing, and they don’t want to be told how transphobic they are because they think penises belong in tidy-whities, not panties.
They just want to work, support themselves and their families, and enjoy life in the way that they enjoy life.
Democrats, you lost these people because of the above paragraph. I implore you to stop doing that. They’re not the ones who divided America into “white working class people without college degrees” and a coalition of “blacks, women, LGBTQ people, Muslims, and Hispanics” and then pitted those two sides against each other. You did that. What did you expect to happen? Did you expect they would just let you assault them and their values in perpetuity without ever striking back? You did, and I know you did–you thought they couldn’t fight back. As Trae Crowder said, “This is our world now, and you’re not getting it back.”
And so now, instead of realizing that insults, ignorance, and attacks are not the way you will win these people over, you double down on the offensive, hateful rhetoric, saying that you are not failing to understand these people. But yes… You are. If you are equating fifty percent of the population to this racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, misogynistic straw man that you’ve built up in your echo chamber, then yes, you most certainly have failed to understand.
I will never stop talking about the tragedy in Orlando, when a Muslim terrorist murdered 49 people, and I will never stop talking about the way that mainstream conservatives extended the olive branch to the LGBTQ community. “You’re one of us, an American,” they said. For fuck’s sake, bridges in Little Rock, Arkansas were lit up in the colors of the rainbow. All over the United States, including places deep in the Bible Belt, there was loud outcry and support for the LGBTQ community. And, because one tragedy was just not enough, liberals and the LGBTQ community slapped back the proffered hand of peace and shouted, “No! We are not one of you! You are just as bad! You did the Crusades!” as though an idiot preacher like Steven Anderson saying mean things is actually as bad as murdering almost fifty people.
Recently, Donald Trump was on 60 Minutes, and the host asked him about overturning Roe v. Wade. Trump responded that he would certainly appoint conservative judges, and that the matter of abortion should go back to the states. The host then replied, “But then some women won’t be able to get abortions.”
Trump rightly pointed out, “Yes, they can, but they’ll have to go to another state to do it.”
Conservatives in Mississippi don’t want to ban abortions in California. You get that, right? They think it’s abhorrent, unforgivable, and murder, but they have no desire to govern California. Let the Californians govern California. The conservatives in Kentucky have no desire to outlaw gay marriage in New York. They think it’s weird and gross, but they have no desire to govern New York. Let the New York people govern New York. This is where the Great Divide truly occurs, because liberals are not willing to compromise, as the 60 Minutes interview clearly showed.
That a woman might actually have to drive to another state to get an abortion… is unacceptable to the liberal. They see it as a violation of the woman’s rights. They see it as oppression. The liberal does want the people of California to tell Mississippi that they must allow abortions and gay marriage, but the conservative does not want the people of Mississippi to tell California that they must not allow abortions and gay marriage. This is what is meant by “small government.” The liberal, whose entire worldview is built upon big government being the answer to all of life’s problems, is no longer capable of understanding that.
The liberal doesn’t hear “The woman can still get an abortion. She just has to drive to a different state.”
The liberal hears “The woman is being oppressed, and her right to choose is being thwarted by hillbillies.”
Of course, I’m against all of it. I think this should be a matter between a woman and her doctor, and no one else, but this means that the doctor would have to be allowed to say, “No. I don’t perform abortions. Here’s a pamphlet for adoption agencies.”
And I just lost the liberal again, didn’t I? It sounds great to leave the matter between the woman and her doctor, right up until we allow the doctor to determine what the doctor does and doesn’t do. So what, the doctor doesn’t want to perform abortions? Doesn’t the woman have the right to have an abortion? Doesn’t the doctor have the right to not be enslaved and ordered to do things he doesn’t want to do?
Yesterday, I spoke with someone on Facebook who insisted that the Confederate Flag is a flag of white supremacy. Now, my grandfather owns a store with “Confederate State” in the title. I know these kind of people very well, and I know exactly why they fly the Confederate Flag. When she said that she “guesses” she doesn’t know what the flag means, I suggested that she ask someone who actually flies the flag what it means. Her response?
Congratulations, lady, on ensuring that compromise is impossible.
She believes that people who fly the Confederate Flag are white supremacists, and she will not ask them what the flag actually means because they are white supremacists and she doesn’t listen to what white supremacists have to say. It is circular reasoning; it is the reasoning of the echo chamber, of the safe space, as she and the other liberals sit in their self-imposed isolation chamber telling themselves how racist, homophobic, islamophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, and evil everyone else, and then refusing to listen to what those people have to say because they don’t listen to racist, homophobic, islamophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, and evil people.
Just read this article. It equates to “I understand them perfectly. They’re racist, homophobic, islamophobic, transphobic, misogynistic evil hillbillies carrying a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other.” So I want to address that article’s author quickly, since I’m sure they’ll be notified I linked to their blog.
Look, asshole. I’m from Mississippi. I’m a transgender atheist born and raised in Mississippi, surrounded by fundamentalist Christians in a way that you can’t understand, regardless of where you’re from. My family has actual compounds for when the Antichrist takes over, okay? I have spent more than my fair share of time criticizing them and trying to reason with them. And you don’t know what you’re talking about.
It is not racist to not have any black friends, although I would point out that the people in the south are substantially less racist than the people everywhere else. Look, the town I live in is 70% black. And when I went to Vegas in 2015, I encountered tons of people who assumed that I was racist because I’m white and from Mississippi. That’s absurd! We can’t be racist. You, in Michigan, with your 2% black population–you have no idea what it’s like to actually live among high concentrations of non-white people. You’re not afforded the luxury of racism in such an environment. If I didn’t want a black cashier, a black dude at the gas station, a black woman doing my taxes, or whatever else, then I wouldn’t be able to get anything done.
It is not racist to recognize that there are some pretty big cultural differences between white people and black people. I’ve dated black girls. Hell, I lived with a black couple when I was 18. I can tell you from firsthand experience that there are major cultural differences, but none that can’t be bridged. I can tell you this, too–I’ve never had my ass kicked in dominoes/bones like that, or Spades. This is a statement of fact: the black people with whom I’ve played dominoes and spades would crush any of the white people I’ve ever played with; they take it to an entirely new level. It’s like checkers and chess, really.
Every Thanksgiving–prior to when my family stopped inviting me because I’m transgender–my family, after eating, plays Spades. We’ve never played dominoes, but we’ve played a ton of poker and Spades. And my dad may be the only one who could even compete with any of the black people I’ve ever played with, and I’ve no doubt that my father would ultimately lose. I was playing checkers while they played chess. Is that racist of me to say? Probably, but it’s more a matter of culture than anything, and I don’t care if it’s considered racist or not; it’s my experience and a statement of fact regarding my experience. As I’ve said elsewhere, we can’t let ourselves get into the mindset of calling facts racist.
I have nothing in my heart but love for everyone. I don’t care what the hell their skin color is, or how different their culture is from mine. If I can bridge the gap, then I’m going to. If I can’t, then… that sucks, but that’s life sometimes. I would ask the liberal how many black friends they have. I’m being honest here. I have many liberal friends on Facebook, and, to my knowledge, they don’t have any black friends. The only black dude some of them know is one they’ve all nicknamed “Nigger Dave.” No, I’m not kidding. And these people are as far north as you can get without crossing into Canada. And they’re millennials. And they’re liberal.
For years, the singer in my rock band was a black lesbian. Did I ever care? No. Why would I? She remains the best singer I have ever heard, a truly talented musician who should indisputably be on the radio.
I don’t give a shit what her skin color is, what her sexual orientation is, or anything else. She’s my friend, and she’s fucking amazing.
I can’t say that this is true of every Mississippian, and goodness knows I have no idea what it’s like to be black–or anything but “me,” actually–
–and I’d certainly never suggest she’s never experienced racism in Mississippi, or homophobia in Mississippi. I have absolutely no doubt that she has, and that’s fucked up. My point is that, per capita, far less racism goes on in the south simply because of pragmatism.
It is not homophobic to be grossed out by gay people and to not want to be friends with them. It is not transphobic to not want to associate what what you consider to be a guy wearing girls’ clothes. It is not transphobic to think of a transgender person as a guy wearing girls’ clothes. People have different worldviews. You have to tolerate them. As long as they’re not forcing people to bow to their worldviews, tolerate them. Is it messed up? Sure, so don’t be friends with them. That’s where your rights end.
There are millions and millions of us who just don’t care. And that’s okay! I know the liberal response to that–I’ve addressed it before. You’re not allowed to be neutral on LGBT issues. If you’re straight and you’re pro-LGBT, then you’re an Ally. If you’re straight and not pro-LGBT, then you’re homophobic. Neutrality is no longer acceptable to the left. Compromise is no longer acceptable to the left.
Allowing conservatives to ban abortion in some states, thereby forcing women to have to go through all the trouble of driving to a different state*^ is not acceptable to the liberal, because all they can do is think of that straw woman who can somehow afford an abortion but not the gas to drive to it. But that gets into its own problem, doesn’t it? They don’t think the woman should have to pay for the abortion; they think the doctor should be their slave, not getting paid and not getting a choice about the work he/she does.
You have the right to FREEDOM not FREESTUFF.
Conservatives don’t want to take your birth control pills away. They just don’t want to pay for them, just like you don’t want to pay for the Westboro Baptist Church. They don’t want to take your abortions away. They just don’t want to pay for them.
Governmentally, Donald Trump’s presidency is bad. There is nothing about Trump’s policies for me to really get behind. However, every indication that I’ve seen suggests that Trump is going to spend most of his time attempting to bridge the gap between conservatives and liberals. He is, after all, a deal maker–much adieu has been made about his ability to make deals.
The problem, as I see it, is that liberals aren’t willing to compromise, and so there can be no deal. And even if Trump does manage to miraculously work out a compromise where liberal states get to be liberal while conservative states get to be conservative, without a pervasive ideologically awakening to the ideas of self-governance and liberty, I don’t see it lasting beyond the next president, because as soon as liberals are back in power they will start forcing Mississippi to allow gay marriage and abortions all over again, taking us right back to where we are now.
It all starts with compromise, and compromise starts with understanding, tolerance, and empathy. But evidently it’s not enough that they lost the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the White House, 900 federal positions, and lots of governorships because of their unwillingness to tolerate and their unwillingness to compromise.
I’ve spoke before about how the people advocating that Mississippi employers and clients should be forced to accept me as transgender aren’t doing me any favors, because their dislike will have resentment piled on top of it. Their dislike of me will move from the open, where all they can do is shun me, into the shadows, where they can do whatever they can get away with. If you take away someone’s ability to say “I hate you” and condemn that person for saying it, yes, you drive them into the shadows to express their hatred, with resentment and bitterness added to it.
If you want to reach these people, then follow my lead. Your methods won’t work and, in the end, will only get people killed.
You have to reach these people on a personal level, by alleviating their fears and showing them that you are just a human being, just like them. You can’t do that if you treat them like they aren’t a human being worthy of respect and compassion.
Tolerance starts with you, not them.
* I hate democracy. I hate democratic republics, too. They’re the best of a terrible situation. As Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that we’ve tried.” He’s exactly right. Democracy sucks, and republics suck. If we are going to have a state, though, it must be a republic.
** “Female misogynists.” You’re really a jerk if you say something like that sincerely. You couldn’t more transparently say that “Everyone who disagrees with me is a misogynist” if you tried. I’m with you in that there is a lot of self-hate here in the United States, but you’re not thinking big enough if you think it’s as simple as women who vote for Trump hate themselves.
*^ This is already necessary in many cases. I had to drive my sister to Little Rock to get an abortion a few years ago, because she had already gone past the point at which Mississippi would allow one. It was not the end of the world.
You would obviously be correct to observe that this is most certainly not a selfie.
I went to the polling place with the knowledge that there was a fair-to-strong chance that I was going to be arrested. The last time I voted, it was just a single room with 5-7 electronic machines in it, all of them in plain sight of everyone else–though little flaps did ensure that no one could see your screen. There was no privacy. Everyone stood in full view of everyone else, and there was a county sheriff there. I knew if those circumstances were repeated, then I was going to be hassled about it, probably demanded to delete the pic, and promptly arrested when I refused to say that I’d even taken a picture.
In some ways, I was looking forward to that. I had a good defense that probably would have kept me out of handcuffs. If my rant about living in a free country where I can’t take a freaking picture of my ballot didn’t work, then I had one more bombshell to drop that probably would have kept me out of jail: I’m transgender, this is Mississippi, and I doubt very much that anyone in my county is prepared to deal with the headache that arresting me would involve.
All that said, I was trying to exercise my right to take a picture of my ballot. I was not trying to get arrested. If there was a good chance of getting the picture without causing problems, then that was always my intention; I just didn’t anticipate being able to ninja my way out of it.
The situation with the voting machines in Mississippi is completely unacceptable.
There is absolutely no record that I even voted–except that I signed a log. There is no evidence that my vote was recorded at all, much less recorded properly. For all I know, it was the equivalent of standing here and pressing a few buttons that do absolutely nothing. How do I know that the machine recorded my vote? I don’t. I have absolutely no way of knowing that. I want to see the source code of these machines.
Moreover, how do I know that the machine didn’t write my vote down as one for Hillary Clinton? Again, I don’t. There is so much darkness here that it’s ridiculous. Not only do I have no way of knowing if my vote was recorded properly, but I have no way of knowing if it was recorded at all. The situation is ripe for abuse. For all we freaking know, they’re programmed to record 67.971728% of votes for Trump, 29.718381% for Hillary, and 2.117284 for other candidates, regardless of what people actually choose. We don’t fucking know, man.
That’s why it’s not a selfie. There was nothing to take a selfie with. Try to take a selfie of you and your dinner cooking on a stovetop, and you’ll understand what I was faced with by taking a “selfie.” There’s just no way to do it with any dignity or elegance, and, even if there was, it’s flagrantly illegal and happening in full view of people who will stop you. I wanted to get a pic of my ballot–I couldn’t have done that if they stopped me.
So I’m sure everyone has some questions.
Q. Why John Mcafee?
Because he’s a libertarian. Next question.
Q. Why not Gary Johnson?
It’s true. I *don’t* want the Libertarian Party to be successful this election. I didn’t want Johnson to hit 15% before the debates, and I don’t want him to hit 5% nationally. I want the Libertarian Party to grow for the RIGHT reasons, and Johnson represents all of the wrong reasons.
Q. Why didn’t you put Darryl W. Perry as your VP?
Because I’m retarded. I was expecting to be asked about the VP separately, and it didn’t occur to me until after I was finished that I didn’t even enter one. Not that it matters. Mississippi will throw my presidential vote in the trash the moment they see it’s a write-in.I do hate that I neglected to put a VP, because I would like to formally show my support for Darryl W. Perry. Complete brain fart–clearly. I mean, I didn’t even put down a VP. Obviously, the whole thing was an oversight.
Q. This isn’t a Ballot Selfie.
And that isn’t a question.
Q. Why isn’t it a ballot selfie?
Mississippi uses voting machines, placing 5-7 of them out against a wall, with no curtain or any other divide separating them. When voting, you are in full sight of about fifty other people, ten of whom work there and are watching you, specifically to ensure you don’t do anything illegal–like taking pics of your ballot. I had to do some ninja shit to get these. Additionally, crouching down and doing a back-bend in order to get my face in the pic would have been both ungraceful and stupid. I welcome you to attempt to do it without looking retarded.
Q. Isn’t this illegal, though?
Yes. And fuck them.
Q. Yeah, but–
I said “fuck the system” twice today. Once with the vote for McAfee, and once with the ballot pictures. Not to mention the “Anyone Else” I wrote in for most elections.
Q. Who the hell is Chase Wilson?
I don’t know, but he had “Libertarian” by his name, so I voted for him. I don’t want a liberty-leaning conservative as President, but liberty-leaning conservatives–whether he is or isn’t a true libertarian–will be fine as one member of 500+ in Congress.
Q. Didn’t John McAfee kill someone?
The government of Belize attempted to extort him, and he–being John McAfee–said “You guys can fucking go to hell.”
Because what else would he say?
John McAfee “killed someone” in pretty much the same way that Julian Assange “is a rapist.” He didn’t, and he’s not.
However… The story is that a neighbor poisoned some of John’s dogs, and that John killed him/ordered him killed (like he’s some kind of Hollywood drug lord)/hired a hitman in retaliation. So let me be 100% upfront and honest about this.
I don’t care if he did.
Look, if a neighbor poisoned my cats, then there isn’t a force in the universe that could protect them from my wrath. Punishing them would be a single-minded devotion, and I would not rest until they had paid the ultimate price for doing it. I don’t see this as a violation of the NAP, because I don’t hold to the bigoted idea that non-human life is inherently worth less than human-life. If someone breaks into your house and kills your wife, in the absence of a state police force, there are very few ways to deal with it than direct retaliation. It’s not as much “punishment” as it is prevention against future attacks, and this person has already attacked you. The idea that it’s not a violation of the NAP if you kill the guy while he’s still in your home and killing your wife, but it is a violation if you kill him two hours later–is nonsense.
If I return home to find someone raping and murdering my wife, grab my 38 and kill them, then it’s not a violation of the NAP. Yet if I return home to find my wife raped and murdered, and I know for a fact who did it, it suddenly is a violation of the NAP to shoot them? So what is the statute of limitations on it? If he hides in the bushes and I see him fleeing across the field, is it a violation of the NAP to shoot him, since he’s already killed my wife? What if I chase him for thirty minutes and finally catch him?
I don’t often touch on the subject, either, but it is bigotry to suggest that non-human lives are not as valuable as human lives, and that it’s wrong to kill a human because they murdered a non-human. So because this living being isn’t the same species as you, its life isn’t worth as much? To really get a handle on how bigoted that statement is, replace the word “species” with the word “race.” So because this living being isn’t the same race as you, its life isn’t worth as much? That’s right–you’re basically a 1944 German arguing that Jewish lives aren’t worth anything, or a 19th century slave owner arguing that a black man’s life isn’t worth nearly as much as a white man’s. It’s the exact same bigotry, only here we direct at at roughly 99% of the rest of the planet. Because they happen to be a few chromosomes away, their lives are not as valuable as ours. It isn’t “okay” to kill a dog or cat, but if someone does kill a dog or cat, that doesn’t make it okay to kill them.
It’s just another flavor of the same ego and arrogance. I don’t advocate killing people who kill your pets, and I’m not a vegan. I’m not even a vegetarian. I do, however, recognize that it is immoral and without justification to eat meat and consume animal products. It simply can’t be justified. I still do it, but I accept that it’s morally wrong. Am I saying that you shouldn’t kill a wasp? Not really. But I know that when a wasp gets into my house, I’ve spent quite a lot of time coaxing them out of the door rather than killing them. I’ve never hesitate to kill a spider, though. Fuck a spider.
Hell, a few weeks ago I spent 45 minutes helping a bumble bee get untangled, and then I took him and carried him to a flower. He was going to die, and nothing could be done to prevent that. His struggling while tangled caused him to break a wing, so there was no way he could fly. I felt like he at least deserved to eat.
It’s nuanced and difficult. As I said, I eat meat, and I have no idea if my makeup was tested on animals or not. I’m pretty sure that the estradiol I take has something to do with horse vaginas, too.
I don’t demand that everyone agree. I’m well aware that most people don’t. Happily enough, I side with Richard Dawkins on the subject–long before I’d heard Dawkins say anything about it. I know it’s morally unjustifiable. And the only reason I continue to do it is that it’s the dominant attitude of the day. It’s too much work and effort to avoid all animal products, especially in Mississippi and especially when you don’t really have the money to waste.
Vegans get really pissed off about this, naturally. Of course, to everyone who supports a cause, their cause is the single most important issue in the universe. I support the cause of liberty, based on the NAP, and yes–there is a contradiction between that and not being a vegan. There are, to piss vegans off further, bigger fish to fry. Most vegans aren’t anarchists or libertarians anyway, so it’s not like they have any ground to stand on, either. The only people who can rightly criticize me for my position is all two vegan anarcho-capitalists out there. If that’s not you, then move along.
If you’re a vegan, then you basically apply the NAP to all non-humans. If you’re an anarchist, then you basically apply the NAP to all humans. If you aren’t both, then you have no ground to criticize anyone for not being both. And here I’m as much a hypocrite as anyone: I’d eat a cow, but I wouldn’t eat a human. It would quite obviously be a violation of the NAP to kill and eat a human; it would also be one to kill and eat a cow. Gotta pick your battles, though. If someone wants to take up every single cause, then they’ll find that they don’t get anything accomplished. You fight your battles; I’ll fight mine.
One of the most bizarre aspects of American liberalism is the alliance that exists between the LGBT community and Muslim communities, despite tremendous amounts of hostility that project from the Muslim community directly at LGBT people. This isn’t to say that Islam is the problem or that Muslims are the problem–we shouldn’t even be thinking in such limited terms–but one is a fool to reject the visible correlation between homophobia throughout the world and Islam, or between terrorism and Islam. Whether we want to admit it or not, these correlations exist, and they’re not going to change simply because we refuse to acknowledge them.
I realize that liberals have already called me “Islamophobic” and stopped reading, and may even have left a nasty comment about what a bigot I am. We have to let such people go. They are lost to us, and their minds are trapped in a duality from which they cannot escape. In the world, you must either love Islam or hate Islam, so there is no room for them to even understand someone who has no feelings toward Islam one way or another.
Earlier this year I watched in absolute dismay as a Muslim terrorist swore allegiance to a Muslim terrorist group while shouting the praises of his religion as he killed 49 people in a club in Orlando. It is what prompted me to do my first “on camera” video on Youtube, a personal plea to the LGBT community to stop denying the simple fact that Mateen’s act was an act of Islamic terrorism. Instead of accepting that it was both homophobia and terrorism, they denied that it could possibly have been terrorism, instead shifting the blame onto Christians of all people. I could not begin to guess how many “Christians are the ones who started homophobia!!!1!!11one!!” posts on Twitter and Facebook I saw.
That’s right. Following an attack where a Muslim terrorist shot and killed 49 people in an LGBT club, people were jumping up and down to blame Christians for it.
It was absolutely disgraceful, and my plea was simple: for the first time in my life, there was the opportunity for the gap between conservatives and LGBT people to be closed. “You may be gay, but you’re an American first, damnit!” conservatives and Christians were saying. “They didn’t attack you–they attacked Americans, and we’re going to stand together through this! It doesn’t matter that you’re LGBT, because you’re Americans first and foremost–you are one of us.”
And petulantly–yes, petulantly–the LGBT community shouted back, “No, it matters that we’re LGBT! You weren’t attacked! Americans weren’t attacked! We were attacked, not you! Because we’re LGBT, not because we’re Americans! So fuck you!”
And then… poof. The opportunity was gone. The greatest opportunity for reconciliation that I have ever seen, vanished in the blink of an eye as liberals and LGBT people bent over backwards to avoid saying what needed to be said:
Muslims have no love for LGBT people.
In fact, the numbers are rather clear that most Muslims support the idea of sharia law. This is less true of those that I’m going to call Westernized Muslims, and this is the heart of the matter and the thing that needs to be discussed openly and honestly. Most of the world’s Muslims support sharia law because most of the world’s Muslims don’t recognize the value of the separation of church and state. They aren’t Western.
They didn’t grow up in the west, where the separation of church and state is taken as a given. In their zeal to make excuses for the state of Islam throughout the world, liberals remind us that Christianity was once every bit as bad. Yes, once it was. This led to the foundation of the United States of America and the systemic peeling back of the church in European countries who, yes, learned from the American model.
We take the separation of church and state as a given and give no thought to it. In the Middle East, they take the marriage of church and state as a given and give no thought to it. There’s no separation of church and state in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or Iran, and the people of these countries reject the idea that there should be. To them, their religion is law and the law is their religion. Separation of church and state is more than just “the church can’t tell the government what laws to enact.” It is the foundational idea that the church and state are separate entities.
Yet there are countless Muslims who do value the separation of church and state. The people that I buy gas from several times a week undoubtedly recognize the value of this separation, and would never support bringing Sharia Law to the United States. Why would they? Our entire system is built from that separation, and reuniting the two disparate entities would harm their own interests by placing them in a country that was then on the path to becoming a Christian theocracy, even if the minority of Muslims did somehow miraculously manage to impose Sharia Law for a while.
This is the crux of the matter, the one great truth that liberals dare not speak or even admit to themselves: there is a world of difference between a Westernized Muslim and a Middle Eastern one. This isn’t universal by any means. Surely, there are Middle Eastern Muslims who value the separation of church and state, who campaign for women’s rights and LGBT rights. So, too, are there surely Westernized Muslims who do want Islamic law to become state law. We are adults, though, and we don’t have to operate on the extreme ends of the spectrum, where everything is Either/Or, and where false dichotomies rule the mind.
Still, though, there is a consequential difference between the Westernized Muslim and the Middle Eastern Muslim, and it is largely a difference we would expect to find: for the most part, these westernized Muslims have assimilated our values, and chief among those values is a love for the separation of church and state. The average American couldn’t tell you why they love this separation, but they’ll tell you if you ask that they do love it. Even when their religion is the one with the majority, they value the separation, and still can’t tell you why.
To what we’re calling the Middle Eastern Muslim, all of this is heresy and anti-Islam. Surely we can understand this? There are many Christians here in the south who think that the separation of church and state, as expressed through having administrator-led prayers in schools banned, represents a direct assault on their Christian values. While few actually campaign to put such prayers back in school, they do harbor resent and do come from a place that views it as anti-Christian.
One of the great No-No’s of the Muslim faith is homosexuality. This shouldn’t surprise us, because it’s one of the great No-No’s of the Christian faith, too. And it is here that another example of liberal hypocrisy is shown for the world to see:
Liberals cheer that Canada has refused to allow members of the Westboro Baptist Church into their country because, based on the numbers, they are more than likely to be homophobic. Yet liberals react with anger vitriol when Trump proposes refusing to allow Muslims into our country because, based on the numbers, they are more than likely to support Sharia Law. As I’ve said before, I will support Canada’s decision when they show me even one example of a member of the Westboro Baptist Church killing 49 LGBT people.
So they’re okay with rejecting Christians because of their faith.
But here we have a group of people who come from a region where they are extremely unlikely to value the separation of church and state, are extremely likely to support Sharia Law, and are extremely likely to hate LGBT people, and liberals are totally fine with it. It’s madness.
…and, apparently, Lebanon can be added to that list.
I’ll give you one guess what the majority religion is in every single one of these countries–even Nigeria, though Nigeria does have a higher Christian population and may be more even with the Muslim population these days.
But that’s a moot point, isn’t it?
The people in Nigeria will continue prescribing the death penalty for homosexuality even if the population is 99% Christian. They are, of course, still burning people for witchcraft in Nigeria, and that is almost certainly the fault of Christian missionaries. And this is precisely my point:
Islam isn’t the problem. It’s not Islamophobia that compels this.
The problem is that countries in the Middle East and some parts of Africa have allowed religion to run unbridled, and they never separated it from the state. This is most easily visible when we look at the percentage of Muslims throughout the world who support Sharia Law–religious law, as it were. Whatever we want to say about the matter, the truth is relatively simple:
The Middle East hasn’t gone through what the western world did. This isn’t to say we’re more evolved or more advanced; it’s simply a statement of fact. We went through a bunch of shit, our Crusades, our Inquisitions, our witch hunts, and we eventually put that shit aside (unless you’re a clown these days). We went through torture, murder, war, and widespread immorality before we separated church and state, and we’re still working on doing it.
Oh, we’re far from perfect. Our anti-sodomy laws, which were 100% based on religion, are only a decade out from being repealed by supreme courts. We still love the notion of using the state to force our morality onto other people. We simply don’t use religion as the basis for doing that any more, and we have put some restrictions on what morality we can force onto other people.
Still, these are just the reasons for the current state of affairs. The current state of affairs is that there is a bizarre marriage between Muslims and the LGBT community, and it’s a relationship that the LGBT community needs to end. Christians are far more likely to become your ally than Muslims are, and Christians even attempted to do exactly that after the shooting in Orlando. You rejected them and blamed them for something that a Muslim did.
Most of the world’s Christians reside in the west, too, and most people in the west don’t give a shit about your sexual orientation. So if we’re going to go on averages and likelihoods, then it’s indisputable that Christians should be the ones you’re allying with, not Muslims. When was the last time a Christian stoned someone to death for homosexuality? Oh, sure, it’s in the Bible.
I’ve talked about this before–the LGBT community doesn’t seem to have any appreciation for how incredibly far Christians have come. Their holy book explicitly tells them to kill us, to punish us, and to stone us to death. They’re not doing that. Even the most extreme ones aren’t doing that! They’re protesting funerals and weddings, and we can discuss whether they are right to do that–though they obviously have the right to, this doesn’t mean that it is the right thing to do. They’re not taking over the government and assigning the death penalty to anyone who is caught being gay! In fact, I doubt you’d find very many Christians who would support such a horrific idea.
It’s not Christians who I fear, as a transgender resident of Mississippi surrounded by fundamentalist southern baptists. Most of them will leave me the hell alone. It’s rednecks that I fear, most of whom do happen to be Christian. I fear them because I know how easy it is for people to get swept up into a frenzy that they don’t want to take part in–I’ve been watching people do it for years, against Christians, against Muslims, against clowns. And invariably they find that the ball is impossible to stop rolling once it has sufficient momentum. But that they’re Christians is largely coincidental.
Just as it’s largely coincidental that the Middle Eastern Muslims are Muslims.
One thing is certain, though. If you’re calling them your allies when 62% of their population would cheer and throw stones at you until you were murdered, then you are an absolute fool.
As I pointed out previously, my situation here in Mississippi is not good, and I’m hardly more than a serf. My landlord is my employer’s father, and I’m not going to go into that whole situation again–you can click that link for the details–but my landlord does not know that I’m transgender. He suspects it, though, and there’s no real indication that it’s a problem–he just hasn’t seen it or dealt with it.
My employer has also not seen it, but he ostensibly doesn’t have a problem with it, and has even said he’d like to meet me. He stumbles around the terminology as much as you’d expect someone to, and that’s my biggest issue with the whole transgender thing. The terminology is absurdly clunky. However, it’s of note that he hasn’t met me–despite the initial conversations happening six months ago–and it’s always noticeably awkward when the subject is brought up.
Sunday night he emailed me this.
The house in question is literally within a hundred feet of where I live; it is on the same property. In fact, it’s so close that I use its garage to park my car under, and it’s a short walk from there to where I live. It’s seriously like right there. If I look out my bedroom window, it’s just… right there, about fifty feet away.
I replied politely and firmly, but making my position clear.
Seems like the simplest way to handle it would be to let him know I’m transgender. It will become obvious, no matter how unobservant he is. Either the cats will look out the window and pull the curtain open just at the wrong time or he’ll pop open the dryer or I’ll drop a bra while loading the dryer and not notice until I go to retrieve my dry clothes–who knows. Living with someone at that proximity, though, it is inevitable. Then it becomes an awkward, uncomfortable elephant in the room, and I don’t maintain it as a secret any longer anyway. It’s more like how I’m an atheist–I’m actually rather upfront about it, but I still know better than to tell the Good ole boys at Perimeter than I’m an atheist, so I simply don’t tell them.
It’s also inevitable because I learned today as I got a lot of really weird looks that boobs are visible beneath my t-shirt. While I knew I could no longer wear “wifebeaters,” I also can’t just throw on a t-shirt any longer.
If he wants, I’d bet my grandmother can get him a dorm. That’s not related to the preceding paragraphs. But she worked at ________for most of her life. She easily got my sister into the “good” dorm. ________ wouldn’t have wanted one of the dorms anyway unless he’s an athlete. They’d have put him in ___________, which is filled with loud, obnoxious, 18 year old people. I’ve delivered pizzas there; you couldn’t fucking pay me to live in that dorm. I’d be homeless before I did that.
More pursuant to the first two paragraphs, I live in an almost constant state of “Did I remember to…” already. I’m almost constantly going over mental checklists, to the point that I nearly freaked out walking into [a client’s] the other day because I suddenly thought I was wearing a female shirt (I have no idea why I thought that–it was an ordinary t-shirt). But that kind of thing is constantly going through my mind. “Did I remove nail polish? Did I remove eyeliner? Is mascara still there? Am I wearing the right clothes? Am I wearing the right flip-flops (yes, I have two pair, and yes, one pair is pink with flowers on them)?” Under most circumstances, I’m in a state that could best be described as “between genders.”
And all this assumes that it wouldn’t be a problem for ______, though I’m obviously a pretty private person myself. Damn. Too many variables.
I was polite, but firm, in my statement that this is not something that I hide. Toward the end, as I lived with my sister, I was forced to hide in my bedroom all night every night. The entire reason that my living there came to a head was my being transgender and her unwillingness to “allow” it. So I was forced, despite paying tons of money each month in rent, to cower in my room all night every night, always ready to quickly change clothes when my nephew came and knocked on my door and barged in without waiting for an answer.
I simply will not do that again.
I don’t care if his son finds it awkward and uncomfortable. His son can either stay someplace else, or he can throw the gauntlet down to his landlord that I make him uncomfortable, and I can be forced to move. I do not care which happens, but under no circumstances will I cower in my house with the curtains drawn, not allowed to go outside at certain times of day because he’s home or whatever. I simply will not do it.
I am already enough of a prisoner here in Mississippi. There are already many places that I cannot go. I have to constantly be on guard, because too many people would recognize “my male identity” within my female one, and, yes, our clients would stop working with me over that, and the reality is that I need that money.
This would likely place the landlord in the position of having to choose between his grandson and a loyal tenant who has been living here for 8 months. I have no doubt that I’ll be told to leave. It’s happened before, and it will happen again.
There is very good reason to believe that the kid in question will not be okay with any of this. He’s evidently vehemently racist, according to his dad, and I know that his mom takes issue with me being transgender:
Of course, “more later” never came, though I explicitly asked him twice.
The same thing has happened here. He has not replied to my response. When I texted yesterday to find out if he was going to be staying down here last night, four hours passed before I got a response via text message. For four hours, I languished in a state that could best be described as “between genders” (primarily because my hair isn’t very long yet) trying to figure out whether it was safe to just be myself. That is a condition that will become permanent with a neighbor living in such proximity to me.
I talked with my landlord briefly this morning, and he suggested it’s a foregone conclusion that the guy will be living there.
I do appreciate the awkward situation my employer is in. He’s the “gatekeeper,” so to speak, but that’s a responsibility that he chose when he directly asked the question and I answered. I’ve since repeatedly made it clear that I do not live in secret any longer. I will go out in a heartbeat as my true self, and people can deal with it or not. I do not exist on their terms.
This is, however, his son, and my landlord’s grandson. That only raises the awkwardness of the situation.
And I was not the one who put us in this situation. I will not suffer for it. I will not be made into a recluse again.
I’ve been upfront and clear that I will not let this remain a secret or an elephant in the room. The guy can deal with it, or not. But I will not allow him to hide from it, because I will not hide from him.
But I’m not kidding myself.
I know how this will go down.
I’ve been down this road before, after all, with my own sister.se.
Today I was faced with a problem. As I arrived on-site to set up a client’s computer, I got down into the carpet and began connecting things, and–“What the hell is that smell?”
It did not take long to find the source of the problem: the jeans I was wearing. Around the knees, there was an awful and pungent stench. I have no idea what caused it–they were basically fresh out of the dryer–but it presented an immediate and serious problem: after that client (thankfully, there was no one there, and no one would have been close enough to me to smell around my knees anyway–the only reason I caught it was because I was in the floor) I had two more to visit, and I simply could not visit them like that.
I told my colleague that I wasn’t going to be able to hit the other two clients, because I was going to have to sort out this issue. I only have two pairs of work pants, to be clear. Most of my male clothes are casual–black Tripp pants with chains and things on them, and not the sort of thing a person can wear for work. He told me just take his credit card and go buy some.
As I stood in the men’s clothing aisle at Wal-Mart, it occurred to me that I no longer even know what size men’s clothing I wear. I’ve been thinking in size 7 and 5, Smalls and Mediums, through the last year, and I’ve never bought many male clothes in the first place (a curious thing, too). In fact, my male wardrobe is just enough to get buy. It is exactly the minimum that can be reasonably had. I no longer own a single pair of boxers or men’s socks. I could probably sit and list, off the top of my head, every article of male clothing that I own. There are three types: Formal Work, Casual Work, and Casual. I have about two outfits of each, really. My male shoes are old and needing to be replaced, but I just don’t care about them. My Led Zeppelin shirt is practically grey now, but I just don’t care enough to replace it. One of my casual work jeans has a hole about as big around as a pencil around one of the knees, and I just don’t care enough to replace it.
Compare that to my female shoes.
It’s worth mentioning they don’t actually look THAT bad. It was muddy today.
So it was muddy today, and I haven’t bothered to clean them since I’ve been home. I’ll tell you about the horrible day shortly, but… it was not a good day. Yes, it gets worse than finding myself wearing a pair of stinky pants that smelled in a weird place.
Compare that to my female tennis shoes on the right, which are spotless and in remarkable shape. I’ve needed to replace (or at the least polish) my male shoes for something like two years, and I just can’t be bothered to. But I won’t let so much as a speck of dust stay on my female shoes.
Of course, you wouldn’t know it from looking, but I wear my female shoes a hell of a lot more than I wear my male shoes. My male tennis shoes literally get worn only for work, and then only for some clients–the more casual ones. This same disparity exists between my flip-flops, as well–I have two pairs, and my female pair is in infinitely better shape. Each night, I put up my female flip-flops out of reach of the cats, because they try to use them as a claw sharpener.
No, cat, that’s what my recliner is for!
On the other hand, I don’t bother to put up my male flip-flops. In my defense there, though, the cats also don’t mess with them.
Right now I’m wearing a pair of jeans that are nicer, cleaner, and better than any pair of male pants that I own, including the ones that I bought today. I don’t give the smallest shit about my male clothing. It is a means to an end, and in some cases I’m actively beginning to hate it. The last thing I wanted today was to buy male clothes, and I made that clear. There’s a reason he told me to use his credit card–because then I couldn’t really object. This one I couldn’t fight, as I could the television and other crap he wanted to buy, because this was more or less necessary for work. However, there was no chance that I was going to spend my money buying clothes that I didn’t want.
“This is ridiculous,” I texted. “A true testament of how insane our society is, and how obsessed we are with the arbitrary values we place in things. I’ve got tons of really awesome clothes. Like really, I’ve got more clothes than I should, and I’m running out of places to put them. But because the angle of the legs on this pair of jeans is this way, I can’t wear them. Because the sleeves on this shirt are angled this way, I can’t wear them. Because the neck is cut this way, I can’t wear that shirt.”
It was surprisingly difficult, even with it being at no expense to myself, to buy male clothes. It felt too much like resigning to continued existence as a male. I didn’t want to buy new clothes, because I want to be escaping to where I don’t have to pretend to be a guy. I don’t want to replace my shoes because I want to move and just throw them away, not stay here for another year. I want to have moved before I have to replace them, the same for my pants and shirts. I give my colleague/employer credit for knowing immediately that there was no chance I was going to spend my money paying for more clothes, and that we’d have difficulties to deal with otherwise, but I’m not done with the story.
While on my way to the men’s clothing, I passed by the women’s clothing and immediately saw an outfit that I wanted. I’m in dire need of women’s shirts, and they’re the hardest things to find online for a decent price. I’m not interested in paying $23 for a shirt. I’m just not. Maybe one day, but I’m way too broke to find that even kinda reasonable. If I’m paying $23, I expect it to come with 3 shirts, at the very least. So sales racks and stuff at Rue21 are where I’d do my shopping for shirts–if I could.
It seemed so easy. Just walk by when there were no huge, burly, bearded dudes around, right? Quickly grab the outfit I was looking at, throw it in my basket, and reposition things so that they were covered as I went to check out. Simple, fast, easy.
So many people don’t get it when I talk about this. They say things like, “Just grab it. Fuck what people say.”
I can only shake my head at such things. Walk a mile in the shoes of a transgender Mississippian, and then come back with that. If I want to buy clothing, then I have to get a female friend to accompany me. I simply can’t stand in the aisle and inspect things, hold them up to see how they’d fit, or whether this top would match with those shorts.
“They don’t know they’re not for your girlfriend,” is another common statement.
Even if there were tons of guys running around Wal-Mart, Rue 21, Target, and Marshall’s shopping for clothes for their girlfriends (something the girlfriends wouldn’t appreciate, either) (and there aren’t anyway), it would be a flagrant denial of reality to say that people wouldn’t instantly guess that the clothes were for me. People aren’t that stupid. I knew when I went into the shoe store months ago and bought these awesome shoes that I’d get weird looks, not just for shopping for women’s shoes, but for buying a size 13–actually oversized, as it turns out I’m a 12, but it’s not like I could try them on…
The scathing, contemptible looks.
Of course, by this point I’m used to them. I’ve been getting hateful looks from people since being a goth kid in the ninth grade. However, the vitriol takes on a decidedly more lethal substance when you’re transgender. It’s not just people who don’t like my appearance or who don’t like my lifestyle; it’s people who feel threatened by my lifestyle. It’s not the female cashier that is the problem. It’s Bubba shopping with his girlfriend behind me. It’s Wyatt who is walking by. It’s the guy with a can of Skoal in his backpocket. It’s the guy who looks like he fell out of an episode of Duck Dynasty. These people are rare outliers in other parts of the world; in Mississippi, especially these more rural areas, they are the norm.
And there are tells, as I learned a few weeks ago, when a random girl at a store to which I’d never been asked me out of the blue if I preferred to be called “sir” or “ma’am.” That someone even asked this question should tell you right off the bat who we’re dealing with: southerners, for whom “sir” and “ma’am” are second nature. I don’t even think about it. A man older than me gets called “sir,” and a woman gets called “ma’am.” It’s one of the few things ingrained in every single southerner, and a dead giveaway to people in other parts of the country where you’re from.
I wasn’t doing anything odd, and this random person picked me out. No one will assume the clothes are for someone else; they will all intuit that the clothes are for me.
Even big dumb Bubba.
Seriously, Disturbed’s “Asylum” could easily be about being transgender and forced to repress it for so many years.
No remnants were ever found of it
Feeling the hot bile
With every fake smile
Though no evidence was ever found
It never went away completely
I try to hide from the unholy sound of it
Another day gone
Another night’s dawn
Dark forces pull me underground
They never went away completely
How can I feel this empty?
I will not recover this time
This loneliness is killing me
Will I never know peace of mind again?
I don’t believe it
I can’t achieve it
I think it all is just another sign
That never went away completely
Terror is coursing in me
Dreading the final moments
When I have to dream
And feel you die
([Background:] Death inside of me keeps a diligent watch on everything.
Keeps a terrible hold on my belief.
Just waiting for the moment when I…)
In Asylum (I live a lie)
Don’t you know I’m in love with you
And I wasn’t ready
For Asylum (Relive a lie)
To let go
Now it’s dragging me into your grave
Your Asylum (Forgive the lie)
Overcome by the feeling that I won’t get to join you in time
For the loneliness is killing me
Death’s images are all around again
They’re right behind me
They’re gonna find me
Judgment for the immortal sin
That had enveloped me completely
I know I’ll never know a peaceful night again
Afraid they’ll hear me
They don’t fear me
Punishment for the immoral crime
The debt was never paid completely
Terror is coursing in me
Dreading the final moments
When I have to dream
And feel you die
([Background:] Death inside of me keeps a diligent watch on everything.
Keeps a terrible hold on my belief.
Just waiting for the moment when I…)
In Asylum (I live a lie)
Don’t you know I’m in love with you
And I wasn’t ready
For Asylum (Relive a lie)
To let go
Now it’s dragging me into your grave
Your Asylum (Forgive the lie)
Overcome by the feeling that I won’t get to join you in time
For the loneliness is killing me
In the end there will be no suffering (more suffering)
In the end you will find out everything (not anything)
In the end you may question your belief (what belief)
In the end you will realize someday
How you were deceived
This has gone on too long (too long)
No more demonic dreams
Destroyer come to light
Because the memory is killing me
In Asylum (I live a lie)
I let go
Now it’s dragging me into your grave
For Asylum (Relive a lie)
Overcome by the feeling that I won’t get to join you in time
(without you) this world is not fulfilling me
Don’t make me live in Asylum
I live a lie
Don’t want to live in Asylum
I live a lie
Don’t make me live in Asylum
I live a lie
Yesterday was like my grandmother’s 87th birthday or something. 88, 89, I’m not really sure. She may even be in her nineties. I’m not sure, and it’s not important. Anyway, my employer had just told me a few days prior to take the company credit card and take out a girl with it. Because of things I’ve talked about before, that isn’t really an option at the moment, but the timing was too great. So I talked to my sister about us going to my grandmother’s “favorite restaurant,” El Charro’s. Obviously, we’re white trash from rural Mississippi, so naturally, that would be someone’s favorite restaurant. We did the math and discovered that it would be easily done under the $50 that I was authorized to spend for this purpose, so we offered it to my grandmother.
We soon learned that she does not like El Charro’s, and that she would rather go to Applebee’s instead. Oh. Yeah, well… that kinda doubles the bill, you know? And I just paid my phone bill this morning and ordered hormones yesterday. It’s not like I have a ton of money. In fact, there was no way for me to afford taking me, my sister, her husband, her two kids, my dad, and my grandmother to Applebee’s. Even El Charro’s would have had me spending $15-20 of my own money, but I simply couldn’t handle that with Applebee’s. I could, really, but it would mean that I’d have to stretch the pack of cigarettes I was smoking until this upcoming Thursday, at least, and that wasn’t going to be possible, because I had two cigarettes left. But I couldn’t back out, then. My grandmother was visibly excited; I’d never offered to do anything like that, and it clearly meant a lot to her.
They have margaritas for a dollar.
They have many fewer margaritas now than they did when I arrived.
Anyway, so after we placed our orders,I learned that my nephew added $1.99 to the bill by playing the games on the tablets they have on the table, but it was again asking for authorization. $1.99 isn’t shit to make my nephew happy (he’s more like a little brother honestly), so I authorized it again. Then my dad’s appetizers showed up as I realized that Applebees isn’t for people like me who don’t really eat brown food (you know what I mean), but I found a Thai Shrimp Salad that was acceptable, even though I was probably more Thai than it was.
As the waitress took our orders, she wrote nothing down, and my dad asked if she’d remember it all. She said she would, but I had my doubts, because she’d already forgotten my sweet tea. Twelve minutes later, my dad’s appetizers showed up, but noone else’s did, and it took six more minutes before my appetizers showed up. Three minutes later, my sister and her husband’s appetizers arrived, exactly when everyone’s entrees did.
Amusingly, everyone’s food was burnt and improperly cooked, except my Thai shrimp salad, which war bomb as fuck. We ate in almost uncomfortable silence, with everyone thinking the same thing: I was about to have to drop a hundo on food that was easily outstripped by a McDonald’s dollar menu.
I gave the waitress my credit card (company card) and my debit card, and told her to charge $50 to the credit card. I also told her that I don’t carry cash, so she needed to add a 17% gratuity. The food was awful, but the service was decent. After I stood by the door for nine minutes thinking about how badly I wanted a cigarette, she returned and told me that all of it had been put on the credit card.
At this point, I’m pretty sure I’d be justified in telling her to reverse the charges because I wasn’t paying for a bad meal to a server who can’t follow simple directions, but I firmly and politely said that wasn’t going to work; the charges HAD to be reversed, and she HAD to do it as I told her. Her manager came and took care of it, I added the tips, and walked outside.
My dad and grandmother were GONE. These old ass fuckers VAMPED, dude. Didn’t say thanks, didn’t even wait for me to finish paying. Just left.
As though I needed another reason to hate my family. The same people who oppressed me for fifteen years. Didn’t even wait for me to finish paying the bill man.
I was stunned when I stepped out into the parking lot and saw only my sister’s vehicle. Surely, my dad and grandmother hadn’t left, right? I’m sure they said “Thanks, we enjoyed it” offhandedly as they boxed the leftovers, but that didn’t actually qualify as a true “Thank you for doing this,” did it? What they offered was a token response, the way I was programmed to say “Thank you, that was good” after eating a meal–as my grandmother programmed me to say when I was a kid. That was all that was. Surely that isn’t what they considered sufficient to the fact that I’d just dropped a hundred freaking dollars when they know how broke I am, and they know that I had to have made some pretty major sacrifices to afford this?
I thought my dad must have moved the car on one of his many smoking trips. But as I approached my car, parked beside my sister and her husband’s, it became inescapably clear, and I looked around the parking lot. They were gone. G–o–n–e. My father and grandmother showed the same level of appreciation that my nephew shows when I give him a stick of gum or something. They dined and dashed in almost every sense, and the only way that idea is broken is that they did offer up the token of manners, that “Thank you, it was good” line that people in the south are taught to say.
Thank you. It was good.
It was good?
I didn’t fucking cook it.
The best they could offer was the token mannered bullshit that kids say to their mom after dinner? The same unenthusiastic bullshit that I said to my grandmother probably thousands of times growing up? You know, when I was six? And then… And then, they didn’t even say bye?
My dad knew how fucked up it was. I know that, because he texted me shortly after I got home, saying:
Thanx we both enjoyed it.Nice place.Be safe.Watch the blue lites.
I’ve been on the verge of tears pretty much perpetually through the last week, and this is going to be what finally makes me cry. This brazen disrespect, this utter disregard, this almost psychopathic handling of the situation when their child/grandchild took them out for a fucking goddamn birthday dinner, to not even say goodbye, and to offer up nothing more than a mumbled expression of gratitude as they boxed up what they hadn’t eaten.
Isolation will kill you, you know?
I shouldn’t be willing to even speak to my family, other than my sister, and even my sister is in a huge grey zone, and there’s a growing elephant in the room there. The verdict is still out on whether she is really going to reject me (she hasn’t yet, but she also hasn’t accepted me yet), but the verdict has long been delivered with my dad and grandmother. And here I am, taking $45 that I should have put toward my GoFundMe campaign (that’s not true–with the phone bill and hormones, there was no way that I would have been able to donate to the campaign this week) and using it instead to buy them a dinner, and the best they can muster is the reply of a child whose mother reminded him to say “Thank you.”
It’s hard to even explain how much it hurt to walk out into that parking lot and see my grandmother gone. The dinner was for her fucking birthday.
I’m just thankful that my sister was still out there.
My grandmother expects me to come out tomorrow and reformat her computer.
That’s not going to happen.
That was flagrant abuse of my emotions, an absolute disregard for my feelings, and a shining bastion of selfishness and arrogance.
I replied to my dad a simple “Really disrespectful.”
He replied back:
I did say we enjoyed it. Right? And thanx
You’d honestly get the impression that these people are sociopaths. Maybe they are. Maybe that’s why my worldview has always been so skewed: I was raised by sociopaths. This is… actually pretty likely. So now they’re going to pretend like they didn’t do anything fucked up. That’s fine, I can pretend, too. I can pretend not to give a shit.