amorpha: (Default)
2013-01-24 01:51 am

Oh hai, we has a Dreamwidth

We occasionally uses it, even

...errr, in all seriousness, we've actually been neglecting it pretty badly since getting a Tumblr, which we're not entirely happy with. There are a LOT of things the LJ/DW format does better, in our opinion. I think part of the problem is... if a discussion gets started on Tumblr, it tends to stay on Tumblr, even if it gets reduced to hurling angry "NO U" soundbites and insults at each other. And if someone is pouring an avalanche of misinformation into the discussion (which happens A LOT when plurality in any of its forms gets discussed on Tumblr), it doesn't really... seem possible to enter the discussion to say "No, look, you're wrong about this and this and this" without being on Tumblr yourself. It seems like a lot of what keeps some discussions afloat in Tumblr is being Righteously Ragey (tm), even if a lot of that Righteous Rage is basically tilting at windmills.

It just gets really hard sometimes for us to process the sheer amount of information that tends to go through Tumblr. Like there are days where we just want to skip all the picture and link posts entirely, because our brain can't keep up with it.

And Tumblr is also prone to... someone grabbing something you've said and running around quoting it out of context, and if your brain can't handle constantly checking the latest social drama, you may find yourself being targeted by a lot of trolls, or the misplaced rage of various windmill crusaders, before you can even say "No, look, you took that out of context to make me look bad."

So we still want to use this for... stuff. If it's useful to anyone, we're glad, even if there's no "like" button.
amorpha: (Default)
2012-09-12 10:38 pm

random frustration

Please people, for the love of whatever, learn to recognize trolls. Particularly the ones that are blazingly obvious from the first few lines, and just think they're being hilarious by getting everyone stirred up. Long-term, yeah, I think people who construct elaborate troll identities and then devote large amounts of time to supposedly making social connections in the communities they're trolling, ultimately do more damage. But if you can be continually dragged off into tilting at windmills by really obvious trolls, it's not going to be very helpful to whatever you're trying to do, activism-wise, either.

(Also: based on our experiences in the plural community and elsewhere, the most successful trolls-- or people assuming a fake identity for some malicious purpose or other-- are often NOT the ones who fit the most "faker stereotypes." In fact, they are often very skilled at figuring out what the "standard narrative" in a given community is supposed to be, and following it. I've seen people point out, for instance, that of the very small number of people who genuinely do fake disability, like pretending to need a wheelchair when they really don't, they'll try to conform to disability stereotypes almost exactly. Which means avoiding doing any of the things that often get real disabled people jumped for "fakery"-- like standing up briefly to reach for something on a tall shelf, which many wheelchair users actually can do, because it is possible to stand or push your wheelchair with your feet even if you aren't able to walk for more than a very short amount of time-- and adhering to social stereotypes of "the real ones, who can NEVER do X, Y or Z.")

amorpha: (Default)
2012-08-02 04:43 am

So... [Tamsin]

There are some things I want to write about right now, but I don't think this is a good time for us to do it. We've been having enough healthfail and frustration over doctors and insurance recently (physical health, but the end result is frustration in any case), that I think I wouldn't be able to write about certain issues directly without all kinds of hostility we don't want getting into it. And Cthulhu knows, some of these issues already have enough hostility and aggression involved in them that I don't think anything remotely productive could come from fanning the flames.

I will say this, though. Because it's something that seems to be true almost everywhere, not just in specific communities. If, at some point in your life, you genuinely adopted an identity that you thought was right for you at the time, and later came to feel that it wasn't right for you after all, and went to your friends and said "Guys, I don't think I really am this thing after all," and they respond with hostility and trying to shut you up... those people are not your friends.

(This is all assuming, of course, that this actually happened to you. And that you aren't just making up a concern troll identity claiming that it did in order to make a certain community look bad. I admit that when people claim that certain words or terms originated on Tumblr that I happen to know predated Tumblr by at least a decade, I get suspicious.)

And for what it's worth. I have not seen massive amounts of hostility directed against people for backing out on a certain identity, in any of the communities we've been in. The worst fallouts I've seen are not entire communities trying to silence people, it's the interpersonal hurts that can come out of things like... someone deciding they might be gay or bisexual, starting a relationship, and then deciding they're not and backing out on it. Or saying you're plural, pairing up everyone in your system with someone else's, and then backing out on it. Making ties, in other words, that you should not be making if you're that uncertain of your identity, and which get another party emotionally invested in you.

Another thing I have seen is groups of fucked-up people within specific communities, being problematically conflated with the entire community, or with everyone who has a certain identity, or similar.

We really have seen people attacked for saying "this person did terrible things to me," called liars, etc, by coteries that seem to gather around specific people. (And in some cases, things getting really fucked-up amd twisted with a person doing terrible things to another person, then trying to proof themselves against accusations by making up a bunch of really nasty lies about that person and convincing all their friends and followers of it, trying to make it so that if the person ever has the courage to come out in public and say "No, you were the one who hurt me," they won't be believed.)

The thing is that that is a fucked-up social circle. It is not a community. It doesn't represent some universal attitude across the communities its members may claim to be part of.

And fucked-up social circles can happen among people who are not "weird" or hateable in any way. They can and do happen all the time.

As does telling people "you must swear to this principle and never disagree about it, or you're not really One Of Us."

Anyway. Point is. A person who gets hostile towards you or even tries to take some kind of retaliation against you when you back off on something you told them is not your friend, because they do not care about who you actually are-- just that you keep acting out the role they've assigned you.

Admittedly in some situations it's borderline defensible. Like I can understand someone being upset if they find they were the partner of someone who was just experimenting to see if they were gay/lesbian/bisexual, and then backed out on it after the other person had gotten emotionally invested in the relationship. Being bitter and feeling like you were led on is understandable to an extent, there. But going around badmouthing and trashing that person to the rest of the queer community is going too far, if they just do it once and don't repeatedly get into relationships that they back out of.

And we've actually been on both sides of this kind of thing.

Like we've known people who began venting hostility at us when they wanted all of us to be past lives and we weren't marching in lockstep with that assessment of us. Or even when we said some things about ourselves after coming out as plural, that we genuinely thought were true of ourselves at one time, and later decided they weren't-- they were invested in this static unchanging view of us, and couldn't accept any change, not even from people just a few years out of the closet. If they had gotten really invested in the idea that one particular person in the system was The Main Person, for instance, and then that "main person" decided they actually were several people who'd been unnaturally integrated. (Yeah, this happened. Who stayed our friend and who didn't was pretty telling.)

And on the other hand, we actually have friends who identify as ex-otherkin, or who thought at one point they might be multiple or median, and then backed off on that view of themselves.

The reason they are still our friends is because our friendship with them wasn't contingent on one single aspect of their identity. It never was. And because they didn't blame entire communities for their having temporarily decided a certain identity that wasn't right for them actually was, and conclude that every single other person in it was having the same experience as them but just dragging out the lie for longer.

Also for what it's worth. In a community we've co-moderated for a long time, we've seen a pattern among people coming in seeming to have an... overly polished, very neat list of everyone who is supposedly in their system, acting like they have themselves completely figured out, making a few posts, and then disappearing entirely.

My conclusion is usually that they wanted to experiment with an identity to see if it fit them, and once they start to feel that it doesn't, they try to back out as quietly as possible. Especially if their journal suddenly gets deleted without a trace.

And I don't hold any particular hostility against people like that. Sometimes there really is no good way to figure out if a certan identity fits you other than to try thinking of yourself that way, and if the shoe doesn't fit, you shouldn't keep trying to force it on your foot. I don't see it as anything worth being embarassed about, if you did it honestly and not with the intent to manipulate people. (I have seen some people become Suddenly Plural for manipulative purposes, but that's something else entirely.)

And yeah. A lot of these people may be teenagers experimenting with an identity. But I'm frankly getting all-around tired, at the age of 33, of seeing "teenager" used as a covert slur. Teenagers, at least in this culture, often do a lot of experimenting with identity, trying to figure out their place in the world and what they will be like as adults. I know Yarrow and S. have brought up, at least in in-system discussion, that part of this may be because the Western world has pretty much lost anything like an initiation ritual into adulthood. The point is, a lot of people during that time are desperately searching for a place to belong. I'm not offended if they use a community I belong to to try out an identity, as long as they don't do it with massive amounts of drama. And tbh, most of the people who've caused the worst drama in the community have seemed to be genuinely plural, just with... a lot of problems.

...and I also have way fewer problems with them overall than with concern trolls. I'll just leave it at that for now.
amorpha: (Default)
2012-07-21 03:24 am

And it's not always just about "weird" identities, either.

...So I think we can conclude there is genuinely a significant problem with people going around trying to "police" for communities allegedly "claiming to be oppressed" or "appropriating the oppression of X community," when we start to get pissed off over seeing people do it to communities that we've never had any kind of involvement in. (Because our filters can't use our reaction as ammunition to insist that they're "really right" about us and similar crap, when it's about a community we've never had any connection in.)

So we were reading a fandom anon meme (I know, I know, terrible idea-- people post thoughtful things in them occasionally but more often they just turn into cesspools of nastiness and hate). Where someone complained about a person who said fans paired up characters too quickly or something. It didn't sound like anything horrible, just maybe a little naive/misinformed, and gods know the whole "how can you make these characters have a relationship/sex, they've barely even spoken to each other in canon" issue gets debated enough in fandom anyway.

And for some reason someone decided to respond by going on a completely unrelated rant against demisexuals, accusing them of wanting to be "special snowflakes" and slut-shamers and of wanting to appropriate LGBT oppression. And the... I don't want to say "tone," because that's been so firmly associated with "argument from tone" (...which is a concept that started out being valid, but we've seen it being abused in some places much like "free speech," when someone really is flaming and being abusive). Having trouble finding good words for things tonight. But the pattern. Underneath it. Like it was just this massive blast of hate with this sneering dripping all over it, this... blast of searing heat with some kind of caustic chemical in it so it doesn't just burn your skin but your mouth and nose and throat when you inhale it. (Trying to come up with a description based on cognitive synaesthesia. Not sure if it's working.)

But when people do those caustic hate blasts-- well, usually the ones we see are about some group we belong to. Not just various hateable communities; we've seen people do it about disabled people also. Like because they once knew a DD person who was violent or something it gives them free license to spew these giant acid clouds of hate and accuse everyone who ever says anything positive about DD people of having no idea what Those People are really like. Or the "oh you've only seen high-functioning people with autism" or similar crap.

And... there's this specific reaction we always have to stuff like that. And here we were getting that reaction about a community that we didn't belong to, that we had never even tried to participate in. (There are a few people in our system who identify as asexual individually but never tried to participate or make connections in any community for it.) Like initially cringing away from the massive blast of hate and feeling somehow like it was directed at us, even though we knew it clearly was not in this case. (...I think that's like... "diagnostic" of knowing that at least one of your identities is considered hateable, or something. When your immediate reaction to feeling those blasts of hate is assuming they must be intended for you, even though the intellectual facts are that they're not. And it feels disturbingly similar to the ingrained reflexes we have when people approach us in certain ways or using certain tones of voice because our instincts are saying they're going to abuse us or bully us even when we know it's really unlikely with some people.)

So we ended up reading some Tumblrs about demisexuality to see what the members of the actual community were and were not saying about themselves. As it turned out, most if not all people in the demisexual community seem to be extremely aware that people say all this shit about them. That they want to be "special snowflakes" and fence-sitters. That they supposedly all want to claim membership in the LGBT/general queer community while shaming queer people who have sex. That they get accused of "claiming to be oppressed" every time they even vaguely rant about anything, even if they never said they were oppressed at all. That trolls will repeatedly try to provoke members of the community into flamewars, and will try to incite flamewars by making posts attacking them and then tagging those posts with tags related to demisexuality/asexuality.

Oh, and apparently the community gets people making troll journals with fake identities too. And the troll journals are frequently the ones that make the claims the haters then insist All Of Them are saying, and hold up as typical examples of All Of Them. Like... there was one troll who made this journal where they kept comparing oppression of demisexual/asexual people to the Holocaust. Because this community is supposedly so ridiculous, it's so self-evidently ridiculous, but somehow it also needs you posing as a member of it saying things trying to make the community look ridiculous, claiming ridiculous things that no one in the community actually claimed until you came in and did it with your troll identity? How the fuck does that work. I have no idea.

And people have repeatedly made public posts trying to tell everyone things like "demisexuality does not equal slut-shaming" and "ranting about something does not automatically equal claiming to be oppressed." Or even "coming up with a name for what you are and forming a community does not equal claiming to be oppressed." (...the last one, we always thought was... self-evident. But apparently it isn't to the... pseudo-ally concern troll police.)

And... there was some sort of pattern that clicked in our head when we saw that no matter how many times people posted these explanations, the trolls and the accusations wouldn't stop. We're still trying to find ways to put it into words. Although a big part of it was "we've seen this, we've seen all of this before, we've seen this for over ten years."

Also that it says something about what the trolls and haters actually want and care about-- or, more specifically, what they don't actually want or care about, when people can post these explanations repeatedly with the honest belief that people are just attacking them out of some mistaken assumptions about what they do and believe and identify as, and it doesn't stop the trolls one bit.

Some thought like "if I'm supposed to 'convert' these people to being my allies through lengthy and repeated explanations of how we are not actually claiming to be oppressed, who needs enemies." And like... "No. If your definition of 'justice' is flaming and attacking people for supposedly claiming to be oppressed when no one except trolls and a minority of screwed-up people has ever claimed to be oppressed, and ignoring all attempts to explain this to you, and everything else in our community you're trashing on, I don't want you as my ally. Fuck you. I don't need you to be my ally."

(Using "I" here because... it's like the same patterns in every community that gets treated this way. I don't personally identify as demisexual. But I could say all of those same things to the trolls and griefers in a lot of other communities I am in.)

It's like... people get caught in this trap. Where the words, the language, the concept of "social justice" are used to bait people into thinking they just haven't explained themselves properly, and the idea that some overenthusiastic interpretation of it is the underlying cause of all the trolling and flaming, that people just want to make sure you're not claiming to be oppressed over something if you aren't really-- that whole idea, it's used as bait. And it is bullshit. A real potential ally will not put you through some glorified hazing that never ends with the vague promise that if you can just "explain yourself well enough" they'll stop harassing and flaming and trolling your community, and you can be accepted as a Real Member Of The SJ Community. (And that is about why I've quit caring about trying to be seen as one, and make clear instead that, like a friend of ours said, I'm neither "SJ" nor "anti-SJ.")

Because there can't be any "understanding" when one side has shown they don't want to even try to understand at all. It's not a productive discussion, it's more like giving a bully your lunch money so he won't beat you up on the playground later. (And then frequently breaks his promise anyway.)

There was also some thought I had about... the thing S. said about the undercurrents in the dominant culture that feed hateability. People justify trashing on plurals and Otherkin and therians and soulbonders with the claim that these are "obviously" stupid and ridiculous identities and therefore somehow inherently worth spending a lot of your time bashing. But with the asexual spectrum, I'm... not seeing anything that corresponds to the "haha, only a crazy delusional person would believe they were this thing" stuff. Yet the communities are being flamed and bashed and trolled in the exact same way, to the point where we have the exact same reaction to seeing people spew those giant acid clouds of hate at them. So there's something in the whole hateability phenomenon that goes deeper than "this is CLEARLY A CRAZY AND STUPID THING TO IDENTIFY AS." People getting up in arms about whether someone else wants to have sex and how often and with whom. Using arguments identical to the ones that we've seen some gay and lesbian people use against bisexual people-- fence-sitters, you just want to be special, you just want to be able to hide in straight privilege, bisexuality doesn't really even exist. (And this is not a thing of the past in the queer community like some people think it is. We STILL see these "arguments" being made against bi people.)

And I know that, generally speaking, asexual/greysexual/demisexual people don't experience the kind of systematic widespread social oppression that gay and bisexual people do. But it's significant in some way I can't quite get at in words yet, that the arguments being used are very similar, identical in some cases, if you substitute some words. In some way related to the way it's significant that both trans people and people with hateable identities get trashed on just for not identifying with their bodies, even if the latter aren't systematically oppressed as a group the way the former are.

And-- just the whole thing about beating down people for "claiming to be oppressed," assuming someone MUST be claiming to be oppressed and persecuted, the moment someone says they have experienced problems because of having a certain identity. Actually the person who runs put it very well, about how getting shit for being something does not always equal oppression but the fact that it is not oppression does not mean it is NOT A PROBLEM AT ALL:

If I didn’t delete all of it, I could show all the hate mail, claims that my orientation isn’t real and accusations of special snowflakery I’ve received. People post shit in the tags all the time attacking people for identifying as demisexual because apparently it doesn’t exist. In fact, about half of the posts that make their way into the demi tag are posts like these. When demis get shit, it more because the person saying shit doesn’t believe in the orientation and is attacking those who identify as such, so it’s more like you get shit for identifying as demi, not being demi, if that makes sense. I’m not sure how to explain that, but if someone else can, please do. Oh by the way, this stuff is not oppression (just to make that clear), but it is rude, problematic (especially when someone asks a demi to prove their orientation to them) and, well, shitty.

Yeah. Shitty is a good word for it. And I don't know in what universe shitty equates to "not a problem if it isn't Real Oppression." I mean, we were persistently bullied and sexually harassed through nearly all of our school years and in a few college courses too, but if someone could stand there and say to our face that that wasn't a problem or worth caring about or protecting us against because it was "just" bullying and not oppression (well, the parts that weren't ableism or sexually based anyway), I'd have to really fight myself hard to not do or say something I'd regret later. Because that's basically what it is. Bullying that people get away with because they can drape their language in all this ideological "social justice" talk, when what they're doing, at base, has nothing to do with any definition of justice we understand.

-not sure who started writing this, but it ended up as Yarrow
amorpha: (Default)
2012-07-16 03:56 am

On the issue of trolls, and debunking yet more myths.

(Wrote a lot of this lying down, since writing sitting up was causing TMI problems, even though I usually write better when our head's in some kind of elevated position. Hope all of this makes sense. Also, brainweirdness is causing hypergraphia and it's actually very draining on our energy right now, but the nature of hypergraphia is that it's... really hard to resist. Bleh.)

So we weren't in a mood where we could expand in the thoughts in that last entry fully, when we first wrote it. But there was a lot more we've been thinking about, on the issue of trolls, and how they can shape people's perceptions of hateable communities (as defined here). How, in some cases, the Tumblr SJ community's entire perception of what a community was like, was mostly created by trolls.

Like youneedacat said about similar issues, we've tried to write about this before, but it always ends up getting really convoluted. Hoping we can keep it understandable this time.

The way the community has singled out plurals and Otherkin as acceptable targets-- and decided they were all claiming to be oppressed and comparing themselves to other groups who are unquestionably oppressed, including trans people-- is so ironic it makes me feel kind of sick, considering how most of the community's "knowledge" about these groups came about in the first place.

There was a point-- I don't know exactly when it started, but it began intensifying sometime last year-- when a bunch of trolls and griefers started coming onto Tumblr. I don't know how many of them had planned their actions in advance, but some of them had come from places, like 4chan, where people had openly orchestrated trolling campaigns in the past. At any rate, a lot of them started playing off each other and 'supporting' each other, and took advantage of the hateable status of various groups to turn the SJ community against them. Some of them were just there to mock the entire concept of "social justice," and would do things like reblog the various Privilege Denying People memes just to mock the whole idea that certain groups were oppressed. There's one guy who calls himself "socialjusticeally" (I guess the name is supposed to be "ironic" or something) who continually gets into and reblogs SJ discussions just to make fun of them.

None of them started out targeting hateable groups above all others, that we saw. But there were several of these trolls who continually went after people who didn't identify with their bodies in any way at all, calling them delusional and pathetic and so on. Which included not only plurals and Otherkin, but trans people as well.

Every single thing these trolls were saying about plurals and nonhuman-identified people, they were also saying about trans people. They trolled the hell out of quite a few trans people, calling them delusional, pathetic, stupid, told them they were mentally ill and needed help, etc-- they'd reblog trans people's posts just to "highlight" how "pathetic and deluded" they supposedly were, and declare that it was obviously "impossible" to be male or female if your body didn't match standard biological definitions of what that meant. There was one person we saw reblog posts by trans people discussing the meaning of what it meant to be male or female, just to add a big macro saying "Men have penises. Women have vaginas," or some similar dead horse argument used against trans people.

And these were the people responsible for "informing" a lot of the SJ community on Tumblr about the existence of plurals and kin/therians and fictives. The trolls who were doing all this bashing of trans people.

And for what it's worth, when we saw plural websites get "highlighted" on snark pages ten years ago, we also saw trans people's pages get "highlighted." Many of the people posting on the messageboards would constantly misgender them, or call them things like "she/he/it," or "s/h/it," which was supposed to be really hilarious and witty or something. In some cases the trans people in question were saying things we disagreed with a lot, but that does not fucking invalidate their gender or make it okay or funny to refer to them as "she/he/it." Whether we agree or disagree with their opinions has nothing to do with it.

And yes, I do know that being transgender is not exactly the same thing as identifying with a nonhuman animal or a fictional character. I know it pretty damn personally, in fact, since we collectively experience dysphoria about our body and I identify as genderqueer myself. (And my own ideal appearance would probably cause me to get harassed for not looking clearly either male or female.)

The thing was that the trolls were conflating all forms of not identifying with your body. Including being trans. And regarded them all as stupid and delusional.

A lot of the time, people seem to think that ignoring trolls will make them go away. We used to think that. We used to use "don't feed the trolls" as a tagline on Usenet all the time. A lot of people think that trolls are basically just screaming for attention and they don't care whether the attention is positive or negative, as long as they get it, and that if you don't give them the attention they desperately want they'll go away.

And yeah, there are some trolls who work like that. I've hung out on video gaming messageboards so I'm familiar with that type-- the type who really would just go away if people stopped responding to them when they posted the same thing three hundred times. The thing is that assuming all trolls are like that is dangerously wishful thinking.

Some trolls-- and we were starting to see this back on Usenet in the 90s, and it was one of the main reasons we left it-- are practiced sociopaths and manipulators who've just taken the same kinds of things they do offline, and started doing them online. Some people basically learn how to be effective sociopaths through the Internet. In a way that can't be prevented just by "not feeding them." Because the kinds of people who do this stuff are not just getting shits and giggles out of seeing people respond to very obvious bait repeatedly. They want to hurt people. They want to turn communities against each other, or against specific people. They want to use people against other people, and they don't care who gets hurt. They find it funny, and some people have the mentality that the more people they can hurt, or the more people they can get to join them in trying to hurt a certain person or community, the better. And they can orchestrate some pretty elaborate social schemes in order to do this.

We saw several trolls approach trans people, and other people who didn't identify with their bodies-- again, it doesn't matter that not all these things are the same as being trans, it was that the trolls were TREATING them all the same way-- with typical concern trolling bullshit. "Get help. You are obviously delusional if you think you can be a woman/man when you're clearly not." And some people tried to argue with them, and the trolls responded with increasing insults-- calling them stupid and pathetic, reblogging their posts just to mock them and get other trolls joining in. (Because that's what people who are genuinely concerned about another person's psychological health do. Yeah.)


And for some reason this made the SJ community start to sit up and notice them. People who weren't checking the Tumblrs of the people blogging this stuff to see that they were saying the same things about trans people.

And this idea got started, I don't know how it got started, I think it was from a minority of people taking some kind of simplistic model of privilege and oppression, and trying to apply it sledgehammerishly to every form of human difference ever, like it worked the same for every single group. But anyway, suddenly it seemed like almost everyone talking about them in the SJ community was convinced that Otherkin, fictives, etc were all claiming to be persecuted on the same level and in the same way as trans people and people of color and disabled people and so on. And that they believed transgender experiences were perfect mirrors of their experience, you just replaced "gender" with the name of some species or something. That EVERY SINGLE ONE OF "THEM" BELIEVED THIS, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, AND THAT "THEIR" COMMUNITIES WERE ENTIRELY BASED AROUND THESE BELIEFS.

(Most of the people I know with those identities, who participate in SJ communities, are pretty damn closeted, actually, or very low-key about it. Or no one ever responds to them when they say that actually yes, they do bodily belong to various oppressed groups. And most of them are pretty adamant that no, it's not exactly the same as being transgender, or similar things, even if they have experienced oppression from the psych system.)

And a lot of the SJ community's callout beatdown rage response, in many places, seemed to be based in this myth that they were "claiming to be just the same as trans people." WHEN THE SJ COMMUNITY WOULD PROBABLY NOT HAVE KNOWN ABOUT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE, OR WOULD NOT HAVE CARED ABOUT THEM AS MUCH, IF NOT FOR TROLLS WHO WERE CALLING TRANS PEOPLE PATHETIC AND DELUSIONAL AND INSANE AND ALL KINDS OF OTHER NASTY THINGS.

Oh and some of these people who eventually ended up being "cited" by the Tumblr SJ community as supposedly being typical examples of how spoiled privileged teenagers with these silly, ridiculous identities were appropriating the oppression of trans people, and various other marginalized groups, and how we should all be angry at them and attack them for it? Those people were trolls themselves. People who had created troll personas, pretending to be members of hateable communities, trying to make those communities look as ridiculous as possible. Or because they believed they were making some kind of "point" about some supposed nonexistant widespread problem of the Tumblr SJ community supposedly accepting everyone who claimed any kind of marginalized identity at all, and therefore invalidating people who experienced real oppression. (Given the mass dogpiling and knee-jerk reblogging and agreement we saw when Tumblr SJ people attacked various people considered hateable-- or trolls pretending to be hateable people-- I'm not sure where they got this impression. We have seen people in various hateable communities who seemed to be treating every single form of identity in the same way, but they are a definite minority, from everything we've seen.)

For example, there was one person on Tumblr calling themselves "prince_koyangi," who claimed to be, if I'm remembering correctly, a pangendered, asexual, polyromantic, autistic catkin, as well as "trans-Korean." (...I have another rant I'm working on about various assumptions about the so-called "transethnic community," or more specifically, the fact that we have NEVER BEEN ABLE TO FIND IT outside from isolated trolls, and a very small number of people who naively but sincerely believed it referred to people of different ethnicities within a plural system. Which is actually something that was reported as early as the 18th century in Western medical literature. But this is definitely not the time to sidetrack into that.)

Anyway, after going on for a while, answering questions in various ways which all gave off indicators of being a troll to us but apparently not to a lot of other people, getting featured on Oh No They Didn't and (mainly because of their claim to be "trans-Korean," I think), "prince_koyangi" declared that they were actually a troll and the creation of three separate people working together, to "show the absurdity" of the various identities they had claimed to have. Actually we weren't able to read their full "explanation" post because we were having a rough time of it offline for unrelated reasons, and frankly got too triggered to finish it. Just that we, and various other friends, definitely saw them admit to being a troll.

A friend of ours wrote to them and said that while you could debate about the oppressed status of the other things they claimed to be, appropriating an autistic identity, to suggest that being autistic was somehow "trendy" or for any other reason, was definitely not okay. They never got an answer to that question, because the next day "prince_koyangi" deleted their Tumblr. I'm not sure how many other autistic people ever knew about this, although I expect that if large numbers of people had been saying similar things to them, the trolls (or some other troll watching the whole thing from the sidelines) might eventually have started strategizing to pit the autistic community against people considered hateable.

Anyway, summary of this entire mess: they were a troll, anyone who continues to point to them as any kind of "example" of the kind of identities they were claiming, do your research. They were a troll, the end.

And some trolls actually didn't seem to recognize that they were a troll-- the same trolls who were trying to pit the SJ community against everyone with a hateable identity. So in some places, the trolls actually ended up being trolled by other trolls, because their worldview was so pessimistic that they believed anyone claiming any 'weird' identity, even if that identity would actually be considered questionable, outlandish or offensive within much of the person's claimed community, is being totally honest.

One additional thing we've noticed about trolls and hateability, and another thought about hateability and culture in general. )

...Anyway. I don't know what to do right now except to keep writing the truth as I understand it and dealing with various myths, distortions, and outright lies as we encounter them.

(And if I've genuinely gotten any of this wrong, like about the timing when the trolls started to interact with the Tumblr SJ community or similar, let me know. Because if I'm going to deconstruct something I want to do an accurate deconstruction of it.)

amorpha: (Default)
2012-07-10 08:21 pm

So I'm not sure what we should think...

...about the fact that a lot of people are genuinely shocked by the fact that a person on Tumblr got a death threat from someone in the Tumblr SJ community. (Not so much the person whose post we linked, but... a lot of other people who were responding to it.)

Don't get me wrong. It is NEVER, EVER OKAY to send someone death threats over the Internet or anywhere else. It is never okay to send people threats of violence, and it is definitely not okay to send death threats together with someone's address and a picture of their apartment. No matter whether they've made transphobic and racist comments, no matter what they've said.

I guess... I'm not sure what to think right now. There are a lot of conflicting thoughts going through our head.

One of them is how the Tumblr SJ community has frequently attempted to slap down various people by insinuating that those people are all spoiled privileged teenagers who know nothing about, as a friend put it, The Horrors Of Real Life (tm).

Another one is that we have several friends who have been the targets of death threats. For saying the things they said online. We have friends who have had people post their address and pictures of where they lived online and encouraged other people to go there and kill them. We have friends who have gotten death threats from anonymous people saying that their webpages supposedly encouraged abuse survivors to stop seeing their therapists and taking their meds, and if even one survivor was harmed from doing this, the anonymous person would supposedly hunt down the webmasters and do something violent to them, implied to be murder. (And seemed to believe their case would hold up in court.)

We know other people, friends of friends, who have had people threaten to go to their workplace and take pictures of them, and post the pictures in places where people were already talking about killing them. We've seen, in general, quite a few instances of people in oppressed and hateable communities having pictures and addresses posted on the Internet, along with either death threats or encouragements for other people to kill or hurt them.

So it is horrible. It's never not horrible. But it's hardly something we've never seen before.

This is part of the "real life" that the Tumblr SJ community keeps accusing various people of not understanding or having never seen. A world where people will stalk you and threaten to kill you or encourage other people to kill you because you said something they didn't like. Or even just had an identity they considered hateable. Or were even just accused of having one.

There's irony there that I can't easily put words to. Except that that's not the only vicious thing I've seen done to people, that I've seen people throwing accusations of "you've never seen the real world the way I have" be shocked by. Telling people to kill themselves and sending them detailed suicide instructions. Trolling people by posting hundreds of pictures of dead cats because you know it will trigger them. (As well as people suddenly backing off on being quite so horrified when they learned the target was being targeted for being in a hateable group. Which makes us feel even more cynical.)

And we also wonder, after seeing the way the Tumblr SJ community seemed to be going, how people could expect that this wouldn't happen sooner or later. Given that in many places it seems to be based on... soundbites and encouragement of knee-jerk rage and me-tooing of it. Given how it's developed some nasty memes that seemed to come out of "turnabout is fair play" mentality, like the "die cis scum" thing, that had absolutely fucking nothing to do with any definition of justice as we understand it. (The fact that it's an oppressed group attacking a privileged group doesn't change the fact that it is a nasty thing to do and helps no one.)

I guess in a way, I'm just surprised it took this long for people to start noticing that large portions of the community are not so much interested in "justice" as they are in tearing people down, and in finding more and more and more things and people to attack and convincing themselves they're doing it in the name of righteousness. And not giving a crap about whether the target ever admits to having made a mistake or shows interest in wanting to talk things out, just the shiny promise of having someone new to add to their shit list, someone who Broke The Rules and whom they can now consider an acceptable target.

-S. and Riel
amorpha: (Default)
2012-07-10 05:10 am

(no subject)

I really, really hate having the feeling that you are somehow the only thing standing between your community (or one of them anyway) and unrestrained trashing, hate, and lies. Even when intellectually you know you're not. And I hate that it's been burning us out for the past week with all the other personal crap we've had to deal with.

-s mostly.
amorpha: (Default)
2012-07-06 01:06 pm

A thought about trolling

Specifically people who create troll personas for the purpose of impersonating members of other communities to mock them, or slapping together a bunch of identities that they think are ridiculous (including ones that don't actually exist, like the nonexistant 'transethnic community'), and claim they did it in order to demonstrate how ridiculous/stupid/pathetic/etc these people are.

If you believe they are that obviously ridiculous/pathetic/etc, why do you think they need your 'help' to make them look worse?

Is it actually going to help your 'cause' of trying to get as many people to hate them as possible, when it turns out that people that many of the haters had been holding up as some kind of typical example of These Crazy People are, in fact, trolls, and don't actually have any of the identities they claim to have? That much of their 'case' against a whole community is based on trolls? (Or, in other cases, the idea that a community for a certain thing exists at all?)

...we could write a lot more about this, but we're too tired right now to keep structuring words well. Trolls in general. Having spent fifteen years in various "weird" identity communities and how you start to get a sense, after a while, for who's honest (maybe naive and overdramatic, but still honest) and who's a troll. The fact that we've seen repeated incidents where self-proclaimed SJ crusaders began attacking people who gave off all the warning signs of being trolls, to us, and no one else seemed to notice any of those signs.
amorpha: (Default)
2012-07-04 01:40 pm

Pertaining to that last entry [S, Julian, Riel and Yarrow]

Talked a bit more with a friend about what exactly is going on with the latest round of Tumblr shit and what some people have been saying. Are now literally nauseous with rage and trying not to puke.

(Granted, various forms of healthfail in the past few days are not helping with that. And because of said healthfail, we're trying to explain all this through a brain that is not at its best. Apologies for any grammatical and etc. errors.)

Okay, I want to make a few points really clear for people who are upset at natural plural/multiple systems specifically because they believe it's "appropriating DID," and have not bothered to do any research, or get to know anyone from the community they're trying to smear as a bunch of thoughtless appropriators.

-This debate is not new. This debate did not start on Tumblr. This debate has actually been going on, online, for about fifteen years.

-For that matter, we ourselves used to believe we were trauma-split. Because we do have trauma in our past. We don't talk about it much publically or how we deal with it, but it's there. (The fact that when we first got into communities of self-identified non-disordered systems, many of them were still full of people playing My Trauma's Bigger Than Yours and competing to see who had the worst trauma history and the most drama over their flashbacks and PTSD, did not help at all.)

-As teenagers, we believed that we had a dissociative disorder, because there was clearly some kind of "more than one" phenomenon going on with us. Back then, in the early 90s (yeah, no, we're definitely not Teenagers Who Found It On Tumblr And Thought It Was Cool), the only material we had available to us was MPD/DID stuff.

-The reason we did not start saying, as a teenager, that we had MPD/DID, was because we were not having blackouts, finding clothes in our closet "I" didn't buy, waking up in places we had never seen, etc. In fact-- and this is the real irony-- we actually believed everything we read in books at the time, about psychology, since we had this idea that because it was "academic," it somehow wouldn't be allowed to be published if it weren't true. So we took as granted that all "real" plurals experienced these things, and because we didn't experience them, filters started hassling us about how if we said we had MPD/DID, it would "insult people with the real disorder."

Yeah. Think about that for awhile.

-Our therapist, though, also believed we had a dissociative disorder, because we made the mistake of telling her about "the other people inside me." And even though she didn't diagnose us with MPD (I think it became DID in the year after we told her, when the DSM-IV was released), she still thought it was her duty to integrate all of "your parts."

-This had the effect of completely fucking destroying our communication and the very tentative support network we were starting to build up at the time. Because "I" was not supposed to talk to "the others" after a point. Because "I" had to "own them as parts of me." And if "I" continued to treat them as if they were separate, "I" would dissociate more and become more fragmented.

-So a few of us got artificially integrated and stuck out at the front as the "whole real person." Even though we did not feel like it. Even though there was something just under the surface that felt like it was constantly screaming and like something was horribly wrong. We didn't feel like a real person. We thought everyone would somehow be able to sniff us out as a "fake person." Granted, there were some other mitigating factors in this, like abuse, autistic communication difficulties, etc, but having been trained to "pull the others back into me" sure as hell did not improve anything.

-Ironically, what literally saved our sanity was finding places online where people discussed talking to "the characters in their heads," and that gave some of us-- including fictive members, which we'd had for a long time but hadn't wanted to acknowledge-- a kind of legitimization.

-By the way, during this time, we had a bunch of suicidal and PTSD crap going on, and the way we'd been trained to act got us into several abusive relationships and friendships, which brought even *more* happy fun trauma issues... etc. Things got bad enough that we actually had several incidents that psychs would probably have called psychotic breaks, if we had ever gone into the hospital for them. (We didn't get any kind of decent anti-anxiety meds until almost seven years of this, and spending a lot of our time in a near-constant state of fight-or-flight panic, had been going on.)

-Our main saving grace during all of this was each other-- not just as "characters talking in my head," but some of the older, traumatised frontrunners got swapped out for newer ones. In that sense, even though we now consider our system natural and possibly coming from some kind of neurological predisposition to it, we were actually working in a "classic DID" way more during that time than any other time in our life. (Riel actually considers himself a sort of "split"-- in a "splitting or branching off" sense who was created during that time, in response to a need for new frontrunners.)

(Oh yeah, re: that essay, it was written ten years ago so it's got a bit more of a psych view than we take nowadays. But we still stand behind the basic concept Tamsin suggested in it, that a self isn't just this fixed, finite amount of material.)

-But we couldn't open up and fully communicate with each other and say "Okay. We're separate people. Let's all work together as a team and fight this shit together." Why? BECAUSE WE WERE STILL HUNG UP ON THAT FUCKING IDEA THAT IF WE CALLED OURSELVES MULTIPLE/PLURAL IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM AND DECIDED WE WERE FULLY SEPARATE PEOPLE IT WOULD "INSULT PEOPLE WITH THE REAL DISORDER."

-By the way, our common memory wasn't as good as we thought during these years. Far from it. We didn't realize just how shitty it had been for a few years until we started working together enough to get good communication working. Oh yeah, and it was also merry hell dealing with things like having fronters who were good at math disappearing, and leaving people who didn't have much of an aptitude for it, or learning it the way it's usually taught anyway. (And this is not meant to sound in any way like the "REAL DID IS SO HORRIBLE!" self-righteous bawwing that terrorized us out of identifying as plural for years. Just pointing out the irony in the fact that with our communication messed up, we didn't even notice how certain aspects of our life became more "stereotypically DID-like.")

-And we did experience actual dissociation. Like the kind where something is going on and you know if you could feel anything about it you would feel like it was very wrong, but you just can't feel anything at all, like nothing is real. We don't think this had anything to do with what made us plural, though.

-So it went on like this... and then at the end of 2000, we found a webpage.

This webpage said something really astonishing we'd never seen before. Something that was like water quenching the flames of the "You can't say you're multiple! You'll insult people who suffer from the real disorder!" tapes raging in our head.

Which was that, for some people, being plural might have nothing at all to do with dissociation and with being abused, and that all it required was identifying as many people in one body.

-This page also wasn't new. It had been around since the mid-90s, started by a system who had also once assumed all plurality was caused by trauma and had been hanging out on MPD-related BBSes and WWIVnet boards since the late 80s. (I don't want to be snarky here, but I feel like we've earned a right to a little bitterness at this point: How many of the people reblogging or ranting about "appropriating DID" right now were even born then? How many of them know what a BBS was, or WWIVnet? Our point is, all of this stuff started long before the people ranting about it now seem to think it did.)

-We didn't agree with every single last thing on it. We do have links to them on our page, but that doesn't mean our opinions perfectly match up with Astraea's about everything. But I don't know what would have happened to our life if we hadn't found an alternate view when we did, when we had begun to seriously struggle with the issue again of whether the "people inside" were real individuals with separate wills, or if even letting ourselves think they were would be Insulting People With The Real Disorder. Some of us are convinced we would even not be alive now if we had not come into contact with someone, anyone, with a lot of knowledge about the subject, telling us it was okay to call ourselves multiple and say we were many people sharing a body even if we didn't have constant blackouts, back then.

-Ten years ago-- actually starting in the late 90s, really, after Astraea's page had been out there for awhile-- there were MPD/DID identified systems complaining about the existence of systems who said they were natural. We ran into a few. One of them raged so much about "people who pretend to have MPD for fun" (not to say we haven't run into people faking plurality in some form or another, but) and how it insulted "the damned hell that REAL multiples go through," and were a major factor in intimidating us out of considering ourselves as separate people, because of how they inflamed all the old filters/tapes/etc from our adolescence.

-There were flamewars on mailing lists about this, too, ten years ago. Systems who said that no one could be "really" plural without being trauma-split. That anyone claiming to be plural who'd never been abused, or even anyone who said they HAD been abused but that their system was natural, were insulting the suffering of "REAL" plurals. There were systems who insisted they refused to believe plurality could ever be natural. That if a system thought they hadn't been abused, they had just repressed the memories of it and had "alters who were hiding the truth from them." We were on a messageboard with someone who said that systems who thought their plurality was natural were "losers in denial," and the forum mod then compared everyone who disagreed with him to Nazis. There was one person who wrote anonymous letters threatening physical violence to all self-identified natural/non-disordered systems who maintained websites, claiming they were "threatening survivors," and that if anything bad happened to someone he decided was a "real" survivor after they looked at these sites, he would hold the maintainers of these websites responsible and hunt them down and kill them or something. (Yeah, it was a big festering mess of wank and drama. Ten years before non-disordered plurality supposedly got "invented" by spoiled privileged teenagers on Tumblr, kids. Oh yeah, and most of the people involved here were middle-aged.)

-For that matter, there's one thing that has persistently bugged us about the SJ community's approach to everyone identifying with the DID model, as trauma-split systems, etc. Which is that in a lot of places, there seems to be this... all or nothing attitude about acknowledging that there were, actually, some serious breaches of ethics and some pretty bad therapy going on among doctors and therapists who claimed to specialize in dissociative disorders, in the late 80s and early 90s. Some doctors used hypnosis and drugs to coerce patients into believing they were plural when they weren't, or that they were recalling memories of abuse that had never actually happened. Some of them were sued by their former patients, and some doctors were disbarred from practice and stripped of their medical licenses, in some cases where the evidence that they'd practiced fraud was overwhelming.

-Also, some of the fraud was insurance-related, in that some doctors would keep patients in therapy uncovering "new alters" until the insurance money ran out. (FWIW, there's a rant we should also probably write sometime, about how perception of MPD/DID being an "American thing" had more to do with insurance than we think people generally suspect. Because of the whole business with this being the only major industrialized nation that doesn't have universal healthcare.) Some of the doctors genuinely did believe in what they were doing, but were dangerously misguided.

-And for some reason there's this all-or-nothing attitude in some places that we really don't understand. That either you must never question anyone claiming to be an abuse survivor or have DID-- even if they're describing memories of things that aren't physically or logistically possible-- or anything and everything ever related to plurality, as a psych diagnosis or otherwise, is just a bunch of fraud and bunk.

Okay, brief rant:

Part of it's that "if it's not this, IT MUST BE THAT" thinking confuses us in general. Part of it is that our own life is testimony to the complexity of this issue. For instance, there were a bunch of self-proclaimed debunkers going after anything and everything to do with plurality and repressed memories when the scandals were starting to come out. Much like people persistently equating it with otherkin on Tumblr, there was this... reasoning we never really understood, which insisted on connecting the philosophical issue of whether a body could have more than one person, the psychiatric diagnosis of DID and the theories about it, and the controversy over repressed/recovered memories, in one big messed-up ball of... Things That Are Wrong And Bad, or something.

And the memories thing is a mess too, because... well, frankly, we ourselves were actually talked into "remembering" false memories at one point by a manipulative ex-friend who coerced us into believing we were remembering past lives with her. So we know it can happen, and not just in therapy. But we didn't go "oh noes, since false memories can happen, this means plurality and everything associated with it cannot exist either."

To be honest, our brain goes off the tracks the minute we see someone making the leap from "philosophical question of what self/personhood is and whether a body can have more than one in it" to "psychiatric ideas about it that grew out of a specific place and time period." Because apparently in order to prove the concept that more than one person can exist in a body, you must prove that it must work exactly like Cornelia Wilbur described in Sybil, and if any of her conclusions fail to hold up at any point, then any concept ever, in any place or time, no matter what the theories about origin, that a body can have more than one person in it, is WRONG AND CANNOT EXIST. And seeing this kind of reasoning come out of people who thought of themselves as super-rational thinkers just... makes us want to beat our head into a wall until it bleeds. (And it is STILL GOING ON in some places. With people acting like Sybil-- which we'd probably use as kindling if we had a copy of it nowadays, by the way-- is some kind of lynchpin that is holding up ALL of the entire concept of plurality, and if you can prove that ANYTHING in the book was wrong or exaggerated, then EVERY CONCEPT OF MORE THAN ONE PERSON IN A BODY EVER, IN EVERY TIME PERIOD AND EVERY HISTORICAL ERA, WILL TOTALLY AND UTTERLY COLLAPSE. Just... THERE IS NOT ENOUGH "YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG" IN THE WORLD FOR THIS.)

-Okay, rant is over. But we do want to note here, even though our brain's starting to burn out, that if you go reading historical and anthropological documents, you'll find that not only was plurality acknowledged in other eras and cultures, but people had some very different ideas about what caused it and what it was all about. It did not start in the 20th century, the US, the publication of Three Faces of Eve or Sybil, etc. (Just as a starting point, we'd recommend the book "The Passion of Ansel Bourne" by Michael Kenny. Also "Rewriting the Self" by Ian Hacking, although some of us thought his conclusion was a completely meaningless mess and he seems to believe plurality is real but also somehow wrong or something, he does have a lot of genuine historical information that is rarely or never mentioned in mainstream books about plurality. Though he does also, just to warn, have some unpleasant stereotypes in there about other diagnoses, like schizophrenia.)

-As for the issue of self, we've always thought there's a lot of fundamental Western arrogance wrapped up in the idea that the self is universally perceived and experienced as this one unitary thing, and that if there is any alternative to experiencing it that way, it has to be "fragmenting" of that single unitary self. If there's a "lower rate of MPD" in non-Western cultures, it may be because those cultures don't all share the concept of the self as one fixed unchanging thing, and so plural phenomena may not be regarded as deviant everywhere, or seen as an interesting or unusual thing for doctors to study.

-And I think we've run out of brainpower for writing any more of this. Might add to it as we think of things. But people really should do more research before they go jumping on the "APPROPRIATING DID!" dogpile. (Actually one of the mitigating circumstances in the past few days has been some events that-- among other things-- provoked some PTSD stuff for us. We actually would prefer to keep most of it private now, but having this "appropriating mental illness/appropriating DID" business crop up at the exact same time that we're fighting this shit just made some of us see red, seriously. Though in our case it's the PTSD we're fighting, and our plurality is helping us support each other...well, honestly we don't like to talk in terms of violence and we wouldn't really do it, but just the "appropriating mental illness" business on its own made us want to slap someone really fucking hard.)

-You can reblog, repost, etc, this wherever you want. Comments are on but screened. Anonymous comments are allowed, but trolls, griefers, etc, will have their posts deleted. (And, depending on our patience level, things showing that someone clearly didn't read this entire thing. Please read the whole thing before responding.)

-Us. (S/J/R/Y)
amorpha: (Default)
2012-07-04 12:15 pm

Here we go again. [Yarrow]

So apparently, there's stuff making the rounds again on Tumblr about "plurals are just a bunch of privileged rich white teenagers who have NEVER KNOWN REAL OPPRESSION!" *facedesk* another system we know pointed out in a place where it was discussed recently, we missed the part where claiming an identity as plural, as multiple or median or DID or whatever, of any origin, gets you any kind of privilege at all. I mean, FFS-- we're only out to four people we know offline, and all of them we met on the Internet first, and only one of them is someone we see on a regular basis. We haven't even tried coming out to doctors, because when we came out to therapists when we were younger, our experiences with how they responded to us were pretty much universally bad-- one of them basically destroyed our communication system in the name of "helping us heal." (Even though we don't identify as trauma-based, these days, but... back then, we thought we had no right to question a therapist.) We really don't want to get phoned in to a mental institution, especially when we know from talking to other systems that some doctors, if they know you're plural, will give you neuroleptics in an attempt to "make the voices stop" (i.e. your communication), because there's no longer big money in DID diagnoses in most places. And there are several neuroleptics we have a high likelihood of dying from an allergic reaction to. For some reason, autistic people have a much higher likelihood of fatal reactions and of developing movement disorders from taking them, than non-autistic people do.

And we're in a precarious enough situation already with being autistic and not always able to communicate well verbally with doctors. And this is from when we're just having normal verbal communication difficulties and aren't being left incapable of communication because they triggered our PTSD all over the place. (We actually got "fired" by a doctor and his nurse practitioner once, because we freaked out and ended up nonverbal in the examination room, after the nurse completely failed to read anything in our file and triggered the hell out of us. They basically told us to go away and never come back to their office again. And these people were supposed to be really good in dealing with PTSD.)

...I almost think a bunch of us should get together and make some kind of group statement on this or something. Like "no, we're not all a bunch of privileged airheads, some of us deal with discrimination quite regularly at the front, and we are NOT TEENAGERS, OKAY." Not in a feeding-the-trolls sense, but... I've gotten this nasty, unpleasant perception a few times that while some of the people flaming plural systems on Tumblr are just trolls following the snark trail (like people did on Something Awful and Portal of Evil ten years ago, back before Tumblr apparently invented plurality), or people who just want to spew nastiness about any available target, there are also some people doing this who think of themselves as being genuinely invested in The SJ Community and think they're seeing something real that needs to be called out and dogpiled. Even if their perception of it is incredibly distorted by what they want to see and/or are being told is there by other people in the community pulling this shit.

...also for some reason (and this is an indication of how little they actually know about our community, I guess) the people making these "privileged teenagers who've never known oppression" accusations keep repeatedly conflating plurality with Otherkin (and saying the same things about everyone in that community). I actually considered that label for myself years ago but decided I didn't really identify with it, even though I identify as half-human, because it just... I don't know. We met some individual great people, but the community didn't fit for me. Most of the people in it were singlets and we saw several instances of people being dismissive and nasty to plurals. Like "you're clearly mentally ill, you crazies need to get out of our community so the rest of us will look good!" (Because, yeah, a community of people identifying as nonhuman would otherwise find it really easy to get taken seriously if it weren't for freaks like us messing it up for them. Yeah. Not that I think the kin community overall deserves even a fraction of the trolling and flaming it's gotten over the years, just... still. The fact that Tumblr people keep conflating it with plurality when we've seen people treated like shit in it for being plural is just kind of like salt in the wound.)

And the fact that for some self-professed social justice activists treating Discrimination Against The Mentally Ill as one of Their Issues, those supposed principles fly out the window the moment someone even mentions 'classic' DID... I just don't know what the hell to do any more, honestly. The thing about snark site trolling was that no one involved in it could claim any kind of moral high ground, because they were there to troll and/or laugh at the Crazy Stupid People. So all you could really do was just not respond to it and wait for them to find a new target to go after. When it's coming from people claiming to be committed to justice and ending discrimination... I have no idea how to respond to this crap.

oh, ETA (after we did find a way to respond to it somehow, even though it used up most of our energy for the evening): Talking to the person who mentioned it to us clarified that the people who'd started it were not looking for people going "DID doesn't exist!" (I'd gotten the impression that they were) but for people agreeing with them that non-disordered plurals are "appropriating mental illness." (See our other post for why we just wish that idea would DIE ALREADY.)

Also, bizarrely, claims of plurals and Otherkin (which get continually conflated for no reason we can possibly understand) being a bunch of spoiled teenagers who have never known "real oppression" like the kind of oppression that people of color and trans people deal with, are almost entirely coming from people who are white and cis themselves. Well, it's actually not all that bizarre in the SJ community, unfortunately-- people trying to slap down someone else by invoking comparisons to some other community they're not part of at all, and saying essentially "You're not as oppressed as them! Shut up!" Basically grabbing onto the oppression of some group they're not even part of in an attempt to gain moral superiority points.

What's ironic is that the friend& (it was one person but they're part of a system) who first mentioned it to me, has reblogged several of those threads to mention that they are bodily trans and black, and identify as plural-- and no one ever responds to them. Just keeps on reblogging/responding the "Yeah! You go, girl!" crap because they seem to think that ability to write lots of angry litanies of how horrible their life is in a tone of outraged righteousness, equals actual rightness. This says something I'm finding extremely unpleasant about the SJ community on Tumblr, but I'm having trouble putting it into words.
amorpha: (Default)
2012-05-26 04:39 am

something I was thinking about earlier tonight [S.]

there are times when i think a lot of ostensibly "normal" (non-disabled, non-autistic) people actually have no idea what they are actually saying to each other. as difficult as words are for me, at least... when i use them to deliberately communicate a point, i know exactly what i'm trying to say. (and i am talking about deliberate use of words here, not echolalia or hypergraphia.)

but sometimes I look at the stuff people say and I wonder if they even know if they have a point in any of it, or if they know what that point is, or if they're even talking about the same things as the other people in a conversation, or if what they're saying is logically consistent. i sometimes think that we can actually have a better grasp of all those things than... a lot of people who have accused us of not knowing what we're talking about or not understanding what other people are talking about.

(...i also think "normal" people can also repeat word-sets and ideologies echolalically. and that this has been a problem in some communities we're in. but because it happens so often to us-- involuntarily absorbing and repeating word sets, i mean-- we've had to get good at telling the difference between when we're being echolalic and when we're not, and the different degrees and types of echolalia. whereas people who experience it only rarely, or only in certain places, often seem to think their echolalia is coming directly from them and representing their true opinions and perceptions, because they haven't had a lot of experience in having to tell the difference.)
amorpha: (Default)
2012-05-03 03:53 am

(no subject)

we missed badd again. ffffff. i hope i'm not sounding like i'm doing a "creating an ever-increasing list of things considered screwing up and suggesting you dogpile people every time they 'screw up'" thing when i say can we just make it like blogging against disablism month or something. because we have not had enough directed language ability in the past week to write anything deliberate for it, and the fact that it was coming up got pushed out of our memory entirely by various survival stuff. the fact that we now think there's something we can do as a job and have been dumping most of our energy into trying to get some technical certificates for it. just, people's writing ability doesn't always line up in time for one specific day, and then we worry that no one will ever read it if it's not On The Official Day.
amorpha: (Default)
2012-04-21 02:53 am

Someone hand me a spork

So apparently there are autistic bloggers who are also anti-trans feminists. I feel like we should apologize on behalf of the whole autistic community for this person or something, except I know that kind of thinking is a trap-- the idea that any member of a marginalized community should have to apologize to everyone else for the existence of asshats within it. But ugh. We're unfortunately well versed in the fact that being in a marginalized community doesn't mean you can't be a privileged douche to other kinds of marginalized people, but it's like... I'm also kind of terrified that non-disabled bloggers would declare that this person hates trans people because of some kind of bullshit about autism and "lack of empathy." As opposed to, no, she's just a bigot.

(Oh yeah, this is probably kind of self-evident, but if you're likely to be triggered by trans* bashing, especially of trans women, then yeah, don't click the link, because it's full of it.)

Also she apparently makes a distinction between "radfems" and "funfems." There's probably someone who could explain to us what that meant, but we'd kind of prefer not to try because I'm pretty sure the ideologies behind the words are the kind that make our brain hurt.


amorpha: (Default)
2012-04-18 01:53 am

note to selves

Do not post when you're angry. No, really. Do not post when you're angry. Nothing good will come out of it. Do not post when you're angry. The world will not change overnight to fuck you over if you do not say exactly what you're thinking right now. You can and have come down out of this state and posted calmly and rationally before.

I think the major problems here are:

1. Years of unresolved inability to vent about things. Like people assuming using certain words always equals holding certain beliefs or ideologies. As well as compounding warning signs of people who are Not Getting It and thinking they are getting it, over a period of months or years. And unwillingness/inability to deal with confrontation because our expressive language can crash to rock bottom in a matter of seconds if people agitate us in specific ways. (As well as the problem of people throwing out those warning signs that they don't believe our type of neurology, the type of neurology that can do that, even exists-- that it's all excuses, or runs so contrary to their set ideas about how people and brains work that they just refuse to believe it.)

The inability to confront and address things directly is the real problem here. And this goes not just for things like... having to admit you've been forced to hoard a grudge against someone for months or years because they insulted or dishonored you and we weren't capable of, at the time, telling them "Look, if you believe we don't understand X and need to have it explained to us, in my book, that's both untrue and a serious insult/dishonor and we have to talk about this right now." But also for... positive things, personal life things, that we want people to know about. Somehow it can end up being just as hard to write about those.

I know it's learned behavior, and what's learned can be unlearned. Growing up autistic and having trouble with indirect communication, in a variety of environments where you're punished for communicating things directly, plus a bunch of doctors and therapists who all have their own ideas about what's going on with you, is a "great" way to end up with fucked-up communication styles. I know we have been working on it actively for years, and we're much, much more direct than we were ten years ago, and much less angry and passive-aggressive. We recently described to someone else, some of our attempts to explain certain nonlinear things, when we were younger, as "verbal trainwrecks."

(And that also feeds into the worry that people who have known us over a long period of time believe the things we described as verbal trainwrecks, and the aggression/passive aggression, are still "who we really are" and what we really think, and we're just hiding it the rest of the time.)

2. We still don't like Tumblr. We don't want to be on Tumblr even though almost all our friends are, not even just to reblog pretty pictures. It's not just that it's full of drama and fail and even mining it for pretty pictures, or to follow friends, will run you into drama and fail and more drama and fail sooner or later. It's that we know if we tried to get involved in the drama and fail (and some of it involves plurality and people who can't get the idea that several minds/selves/consciousnesses in one body is a philosophical issue, and possibly a neurological one, that has nothing inherently to do with doctors who used it for their own ends), it would take a lot of time away from things we need to be doing much more nowadays. We used to let that happen with LJ-multiplicity back when we were one of only two mods, and it did take away time from more important things we needed to be doing offline. And we're afraid we wouldn't be able to help ourselves from getting caught up in it again. We don't trust ourselves not to.

And sometimes it seems like everyone interested in any kind of self-advocacy anything is now on Tumblr, and any time something Big And Important happens with those issues (or even minor dramas that get turned into a tempest in a teapot) it's on Tumblr. And we feel like we "should" be there posting something big and important about it, except no, our expressive language rarely works that way even on our best days. Hypergraphia does not equal ability to do directed writing, to write directly about a specific issue instead of whatever your brain is steering you towards like some kind of weird amusement park ride. It's not that we don't want to be self-advocates, far from it. It's just that the way the dialogue is being done, especially on Tumblr, is in a way that's neurologically inaccessible to us. It is also frequently full of words that bite our brain.

(And by the way, if you think this is about not liking "political correctness" or if you have some ideology in which you've defined "self-advocacy" or "activism" as a bad thing, don't think you're on the level with us opinion-wise or that you understand what we're going through [you don't] or can sympathize with us [you can't], or that you can rope us into your particular little ideology just because we don't like this stuff for a different reason than why you don't like it. It won't work, it won't happen, you aren't on the level with us even if you think you are. If you can't deal with that, then stop reading our journal. This also goes for people who have ideas like "neurodiversity is about the idea that there are absolutely no downsides to being autistic!" No, stop it, just knock it off, go away. In fact, defriend us if that's what you think.)

3. This applies broadly to any kind of marginalized group, but we get really tired of feeling like we can't vent in public because we're supposed to somehow represent our entire group, and that if we have bad days or get annoyed like normal people, and dare to speak up about it, it "makes our whole group/movement/etc look bad." Or that we're somehow supposed to be some kind of shining paragons of perfectness, proving to all singlets everywhere that Plurals Can Be Functional (tm), and apparently that means not ever being allowed to have any intersectionality stuff that can screw you over for reasons unrelated to plurality. And people with more privilege can and will do no-holds-barred public takedowns of you for things like this-- or passive-aggressive takedowns based on how they want to make you look to other privileged people (e.g. some of the people still fixated on Sybil and/or therapy scandals of the 80s and 90s, and apparently can't take any of what we say on its own merits or accept that the way we live has no connection to any of that stuff).

We never thought we were a Shining Paragon of anything. We were just a plural system who wanted to make a website to cover some things we thought weren't adequately covered or mentioned on other websites, and got roped into the "if you are not constantly perfect in every way, you are not a good representative of your group!" mentality before we knew as much about how patterns of oppression work. We found out pretty quickly that even disclosing minor "weaknesses" will attract people who will hold them up and parade them around gloating about "Ha ha, these people aren't as functional as they claim!" Some of them... based in complete misreadings of what we were actually saying. Like the guy who thought our mentioning that in singlet/plural relationships, you should work out beforehand if you want to have a monogamous relationship or a poly one, meant we ourselves went around sleeping with as many people as possible and saying it was because we were plural (uhhhhh no) and told us it was no wonder we'd had problems with anxiety, depression, and various other things because we probably couldn't keep a boyfriend (...because everyone is cis and heterosexual, amirite). So we ended up having to remove a few things from our page because we didn't want to deal with more crap like that.

But apparently, because we had a webpage and moderated a community, some people thought we were claiming to speak as some kind of unified voice of an entire community, or to be this shining paragon of functional something-or-other. When we found out that even some people in the plural community thought we were presenting ourselves as role models, we were actually frankly shocked.

We're less tense about it nowadays, only because we know this whole "you claim you want rights but you have all these problems, nyah nyah nyah!" and deliberate misinterpretations of what you're saying as an excuse to shit on you, happens to just about every marginalized group out there. It happens to disabled people, it happens to people of color, it happens to poor people, it happens to women, it happens to GLBT people, it happens to fat people, it happens to any group whose minds or bodies or identities or beliefs or lifestyles differ from a dominant culture norm. (And no, that doesn't mean we're condoning every single group or every belief or practice or difference out there as okay and great in some moral relativist way. Yet another one of the traps people will try to spring on you, that you have to constantly remember and prepare for. *sigh*)

The one thing we still don't know how to deal with at all is how to prevent people from thinking you're some kind of big leader in a community when you never saw yourself(selves) as one or signed up to be. But we know people in other communities who've gotten hit with that and are still trying to figure out how to deal with it too, so at least we know we're not the only ones.

amorpha: (Default)
2012-04-17 04:34 am

(no subject)

The words "rhetoric/rhetorical," when they appear in writing, have the equivalent effect on us of taking all the words and phrases and cutting them up and rearranging them in this nonsensical jumble, as far as our brain's ability to understand the writing is concerned.

Not saying that no one should never use them ever. Just that they create what I guess could be called an accessibility barrier for us, along with several other words that have that effect on our brain, in terms of comprehension.
amorpha: (Default)
2012-04-12 02:25 am

Sometimes it's really nice to (temporarily) not need to say anything because someone else said it.

Autism Acceptance Month: Fuck Your Awareness

(Comments screened only because we absolutely will not tolerate any attempts to condone or justify murder or abuse of autistic people or disabled people in general in our space. Especially not "but I live with one of Them and the stress blah blah blah..." As we've said before, there are many aspects of our past and family we don't talk about publically, so don't assume what we have and haven't seen. And we also are not interested in attempts to spam opinions or ideologies that aren't actually about what we're talking about at all-- if you think this stuff is about anything but power and what kinds of people are valued by society, take it elsewhere, because we'll never agree with it.)

ETA: Oh yeah. This too. There are numerous people in our family who've had cancer. There are numerous people in our family who are autistic. Several of the ones who had cancer died from it. None of the autistic people have died from being autistic. (We don't like "pink ribbon culture" any better than we like "autism awareness" culture, but the comparison isn't a good one-- one of them is a life-threatening disease that can kill you, the other isn't. And having watched a parent die of cancer, we can certainly tell the "autism awareness" people which one we'd prefer.)
amorpha: (Default)
2012-03-08 03:54 am

omg wtf lol [S.]

I can read a map. I can read a map upside down. I can read a map turned left or right. I can read a map diagonally. I can even memorize it to the extent that I don't actually need to look at the paper.

But I can't make any sense out of a fucking bus timetable. FFFFFUUUUUU--

"Are you drawn to tables, charts, and graphs of information?" I have an interest in them when they're being SHOVED UP YOUR ASS, Simon Baron-Cohen.*

*(Metaphorically. I do not have an actual interest in doing something I actually know would be unethical, even to someone who has made it so that I now have to disclaim every sarcastic wish for something bad to happen to someone, because Eminent Scientists think I'm a sociopath. Add that one to the Neurotypical Privilege Checklist if it's still being added to.)
amorpha: (Default)
2012-03-07 03:03 am

Every once in awhile, we start thinking we should finally get a Tumblr...

...and then we hear about things like how the buzzwords/widget trigger words of the week stuff has perpetuated to a point where some people now believe the word "ableism" originated on Tumblr.


I know people are correcting that assumption and others like it, but it's just so... I don't know, the whole "I've never heard of it so it MUST have come from the place I first heard it in" thing makes us want to crawl under the bed.
amorpha: (Default)
2012-03-03 12:29 am

(no subject)

So... this is something we don't talk about a lot, but it's not a secret if anyone asks us about it. Basically, we've been involved in fandom pretty much since we got online. Actually it was one of the first things we sought out; the first place we started going to regularly online was a Star Trek chatroom. We used it and other, similar places and messageboards to really start getting the hang of the whole "using words for communication" thing. There was still a lot of echolalia and (somewhat embarassingly, in retrospect) varying amounts of chatspeak dumped into it, if only because we were imitating what we saw others saying, and filters preventing us from saying certain things or in certain ways.

But there was this point at which we started having this feeling we couldn't understand or put into words, this realization that this was what it actually felt like to use words to communicate with other people, and that maybe this was how it actually felt for other people all the time.

Anyway. Cutting this short because there seems to be a limit on how much we can go into detail tonight, basically, for several years, we used fandom to help teach ourselves how to use language for communication with others. (We had expressive language back then that other people thought was communicative and meaningful, but very little of it actually was. Even if it made sense on the surface most of it did not reflect our real thoughts and emotions. This isn't uncommon with autistic people, don't want to/can't go into the details of how it worked, other people have written about it better than we can.)

And overall, it was a hell of a lot more helpful than any kind of ABA program or anything would have been. Instead of being taught to repeat phrases that had little relation to anything in our head, we were trying to use words to build a picture, even if a clumsy one, that looked sort of like what was going on inside our head. Instead of getting "rewards" of M&Ms and stickers, we got... people who liked us and seemed to want to communicate back with us and really be our friends. (We did seem to have some kind of limit that we didn't know how to interpret, where with rare exceptions we couldn't talk to one person for too long without feeling overwhelmed, and since we didn't understand that we had a social overload limit both online and off, we beat up on ourselves mentally because we thought if we got overloaded during an online conversation, we were "being a bad friend." Since we'd been taught all kinds of nasty lies and misinterpretations about what overload was, we thought any feelings of overload during a conversation meant we didn't care and were bad friends, and would beat up on ourselves for it. Suck on that, Simon Baron-Cohen. :p)

It was not all sunshine and roses, obviously. We ran into various bullies, flamers, trolls and manipulators. We figured out that the Internet was not the safe refuge from bullying we'd thought it was. (Although I am still infinitely glad that we discovered it as a teenager sixteen years ago, rather than being a teenager on the modern Internet, since we thought we were undiscoverable online and would go around giving all sorts of details of our life without any sense that we should draw some privacy boundaries somewhere. Back then, it was relatively unlikely that we'd run into any of our offline bullies from school. Nowadays the offline bullies would likely have tracked us down and continued their bullying online, finding more people to pull into it.)

We ran into people who were seething with hate and wanting to hurt others, for reasons we still can't understand. We were pretty naive about who was and was not our friend. When we started to have problems on one Usenet group, it took trolls flaming us literally every time we posted anything, to convince us that we shouldn't stay there. There were a lot of lessons about people we wish we hadn't had to learn in ways like that.

But anyway, so, fandom. We wrote some fanfics, a lot of which we're somewhat embarassed about now, not because we "think our ideas were stupid," as some people have interpreted it, but because in a lot of them we were basically just... bashing around echolalia to come up with this sort of purplish prose. There's something about people seeing our echolalia stripped bare that makes us, nowadays, feel kind of stripped naked and invaded. Like someone had filmed us on the toilet or something. And in some cases that's what echolalia is. It's basically... word poop coming out of you, digested and broken-up parts of language that you took in.

Even after we stopped being public with our fanfic, though, we still continued to read others', on and off. And we still do sometimes. And a lot of it is bad, yeah, and a lot of what's popular is (in our opinion) overrated, but we do find some out there that we like.

If you read a certain amount of fanfic, you get to be familiar with all the cliche plot devices. All the fanon and AUs and various cliche types. And... well, today we were reading something on Tumblr asking why people were interested in exploring old abandoned institutions. Which is something we don't understand either, even as admitted urban explorers when we can do so safely. (Somewhere we have a bunch of pictures from an old boarded-up motel that we found a way into.)

Which kind of tied together with some thoughts about fanfiction in our head tonight, and there's also something we can't figure out, in the "why would anybody want to do this" sense: writing AU fanfiction that puts the characters in mental institutions, if that wasn't part of the original story.

There's a subtype of it that we understand even less. Which we wish we could just... I don't say this about many things, but we wish we could just somehow stop it from being written forever, we hate it that much. Which is mental institution fanfics, or hospital fanfics, where a character "wakes up" and is told that everything they thought was their life was a delusion, or a dream they had while they were in a coma, and that they now have to "face their real life" and accept that what they thought was their life was a delusion/dream/etc.

Seriously, I think I can get closer to understanding why someone would explore abandoned institutions than to understanding why someone would write fic like this. Why? Seriously, why? It's not even just that we don't understand it, it's that even seeing summaries of it can trigger the crap out of us under some conditions. We even deal with "multiple personality killer" fanfics better than we deal with that plot, unless they end in a character being told "you invented this personality because you couldn't cope with your life, you have to accept that they're not real/just a part of you."

(And by the way, this is not some sort of official call for everyone to go and add mental institution fic to some official list of things that need to be trigger-warned for, or to dogpile on anyone for writing it, no matter how we react to the fic itself. In fact, we'd feel really uncomfortable if anyone did try to do that on the basis of this post. Like the author of that Tumblr post, we have some heavily considered reasons for not using trigger warnings most of the time, that do not have anything to do with wanting an excuse to be an asshole or thinking everyone needs to suck it up and deal or that they're "too politically correct" or anything like that. We may warn people that something has content that a lot of people tend to find upsetting, or that we personally find upsetting, but we don't keep some official list of them lying around.)

But... seriously. Why do people write this type of fic? I remember the first time we found a fic with that plot, we couldn't finish it and started crying, against our will-- not because we found it "touching," but because it was making us freak out. Because of years of having our reality fucked with by people who told us we were coping mechanisms, parts of an original, better person. Because of therapists who did things like encourage us to develop the "safe places inside us" in great detail and let us start to think we were free to interact in them with their approval, only to turn around and pull it out from under us and basically say "okay, your nice coping mechanism has served its purpose, you don't need it any more, now it's time to rejoin the rest of the world and put all your pieces together to become the original you again." When many of the most important aspects of our life were all taking place in that space.

Because of having our head fucked with in various ways from the time we could communicate at all, being told that things we were experiencing and perceiving weren't real, that we weren't in pain when we were, that we weren't feeling various emotions when we were. Because of abusive people, both in and out of our family, who would gaslight us and tell us that things we'd always had continual recollection of never happened, that we were making them up. Because of running into manipulative bullies who would turn friends against us by telling distorted lies about what we had supposedly done in the past. And all of this covered over with the idea, set in place in childhood, that there was something Not Right about us psychologically, that we should always take others' versions of reality in place of our own when the two conflicted.

Because there were times in our life when all of this stuff brought us to a point where we had such a precarious grasp on our own reality, that at one point, when someone on Usenet thought that we were the sockpuppet of another poster, and a person made a joke post as "us" made to look like it was coming from our email, we actually freaked out and ran around for a while in genuine fear that we might not actually exist. That our entire life really had been another person's fantasy and that we were going to fade away and vanish. And couldn't convince ourselves that this wasn't so until we could get a person we knew offline to post to the newsgroup confirming that we were an actual person (well, we were trying to be a singlet at the time) and not a sockpuppet.

The idea of all of that being... preyed on by someone who thinks it would make a "cool story idea" makes us literally physically nauseous.

So, yeah. I know we can't tell people what to write. I would feel much worse telling people not to write it than just saying it makes us ill. I just... don't understand it. There's something in it that just seems like such a horrible degradation of the character, like the author feels they have to "pull them down" to one of the most horrible states a person can be in, psychologically speaking. Especially if the fic is from a canon where things like magic and stuff do exist, and they're being told they were never part of that world at all, that the world itself was a delusion. Just... no. Do not go there. Do not want to see stories go there, rather.

Even setting it up to subvert it can be incredibly disturbing. There was one Star Trek TNG episode which used this as a plot device, where one character woke up in an institution being told his life had been a lie, but it turned out to be a simulation that he was being trapped in. I remember someone mentioning that episode once as one that you should be really cautious about watching if you've had bad experiences in the psych system. Just seeing those power dynamics, someone having absolute power to dictate your reality, even if they're subverted in the end and the character's "delusion" really is their real life.

So... yeah. We don't understand it. But wanted to rant about it somewhere, so here it is.

-S. and Riel
amorpha: (Default)
2012-03-01 12:42 am
Entry tags:

I have these ideas that probably aren't good for us. [S.]

Like this idea to set up a blog or website cooperatively written by actual autistic people, that goes through and takes apart the writings of various autism "experts" line by line, pointing out all their fallacies and cherry-picked information.

It would be cathartic. But it would also probably be draining as hell, even with other people working on it. And I think for me personally, half the time it would end in incoherent "rargh rargh RAGE KEYBOARD SMASH TAKE THIS BROKEN KEYBOARD AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR ASS SIMON BARON-COHEN AJLDSGFSJHJDHGH,SJGF." (Other people in here, uh, could probably keep a cooler head. But I'm the one who comes up with the ideas a lot of the time for some reason, that... I can't hardly do, because I seem to be better at more blunt forms of self-protection.)