Category Archives: Paragraphs

Asking gender on surveys

Frequently, when people set up surveys, they ask for gender. This question is often included out of habit, but it still is often a relevant question, even if the only contribution of the question is to show that gender doesn’t have a significant influence on other responses. In modern efforts to be more friendly to gender minorities, the gender question is often updated. And it’s often updated in silly ways.

Here’s the two most common “inclusive” ways I have seen the gender question presented over the last few years:

a) What is your gender?
* Male
* Female
* Transgender
* Prefer not to say

b) What is your gender?
* Male
* Female
* Other

There are minor language variations, such as sometimes using “transgendered” instead of “transgender”, but this is the gist. So, what’s wrong with these? Continue reading

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If something says “please copy and paste to share”

If you see something presented as information (as opposed to opinion, fictional story, joke etc) along with “please copy and paste”, ask yourself: what is served by copy and pasting, thus erasing the source?

There are valid reasons for asking people to copy and paste before sharing to obscure the sources of some things. Some common reasons include:

  • Managing distribution of information about protests and similar activities where the source can become a target of law enforcement, but many copy and pasted sources are more than law enforcement can do anything productive with.
  • Minimizing spectator influx when something on Facebook gets shared beyond the sphere of people you’re up for interacting with.
  • Getting past the shared-with-friends wall set by the poster of something you’d like to share.

The first of these is likely to include information that, by its nature, can’t easily be confirmed. The latter two have no reason not to have sources. Included sources. Continue reading

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On being an ally to friends, enemies, and strangers who make choices we don’t understand

Being an ally is not the same thing as being a friend. This may seem obvious, or it may seem baffling, and hopefully this can be relevant reading either way.

You can be someone’s friend while also marginalizing them, either through microaggressions (such as being a cis person telling a trans person that they don’t look trans) or outright aggressions (such as being a white person calling a person of color a racist slur). They may or may not perceive what you’ve done as marginalizing. They may have gotten really good at finding internal ways to manage that marginalization (such as apologizing for your behavior for you, or agreeing with your behavior and its implications about them) in the interest of maintaining the friendship, or maintaining jobs, family, housing, whatever. They’ve likely lost any or all of those things before when advocating for themself about that thing. Yes, your friendship with someone can matter enough that they would rather put up with being repeatedly hurt by than risk losing yet another damn thing in their life.

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Resource list for challenging exclusion of trans women from women’s sports

This is a brief list of resources addressing the question of if trans women have a physical advantage over cis women in sports. (Spoiler: no.) Exclusion of trans women from women’s sports due to supposed physical advantage is often considered scientifically valid and therefore not transphobic. These links demonstrate the lack of scientific evidence that trans women have a physical advantage over cis women, and explore the history of developing policies of both trans exclusion and inclusion in sports. These are intended to meet the needs of people who are potentially open to this type of proof for trans inclusion, or at least who claim to be interested in science, but lack the interest, resources, time, and/or energy to seek out and interpret information which challenges familiar ciscentric standards. Allies, take this stuff to your cis friends!

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On the Family Guy bit about Caitlyn Jenner

Family Guy didn’t predict shit.

Homophobia is directed at straight people too, to remind them to not be like us, and sometimes it hits a straight person who is actually not straight and just closeted. Transphobia is directed at cis people too, to remind them not to be like us. And so many trans people have early experiences while living as the gender they don’t identify, managing every little behavioral tick so that no one would guess that they were trans. Sometimes that’s for fear that everyone would actually believe it, and then the transphobia would never stop. Sometimes it’s just because even worse than transphobia is the transphobia you face before even getting to transition, the transphobia that teaches some of us to never transition. I know too many people who have chosen to never transition because of this.

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This whole “Catching Wine” thing

I almost never talk about religion on here (I don’t remember if I have at all yet, so this page may be the exception), but I think in this case it’s useful for describing what this blog is about and who I am, and hopefully it’s more interesting to read than a list of credentials. I promise to keep it non-preachy. If you wanted a sermon this isn’t generally the blog to read. I am more likely to talk about things like transgender issues, kink communities, design quirks, and media bias. Most of what I do here is intended to show the complications in apparently simple situations, or to make apparently inscrutable situations a bit more accessible to people who aren’t already intimately familiar with their workings. (Relevant credential: my day job includes writing technical documentation that doesn’t make end users miserable and bug reports that make developers want to throw as few things as possible.) Anyway, my point is that this isn’t a sermon, it’s about me.

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Mixed play experiences: or, why one person had fun and another got hurt

This is a fictional story to look at the question of how a person can play well with some people while others experience consent violations, abuse, and even rape. I think often we imagine that people are either always abusive or never abusive, and while we’re getting better at recognizing that people can make mistakes and work to own and address them over time, there’s still not a lot of understanding of how a person can violate consent over the long term with some people and not with others. I wanted to group together a bunch of common perspectives in a tangible example to show what this often looks like in practice. Content warning: this is primarily descriptions of sexuality, consent violations and abusive behavior, occasionally graphic and including some systemically oppressive behavior and ideas and characters defending abusive/oppressive behavior.


Joy plays with many people of any gender as a top, and has a reputation for exciting, extreme play. Most people report great experiences with her, and she vets well both as a player and as a community member for her years of involvement. A number of people report that after consensually tying them up she engaged in nonconsensual gender humiliation and gagged them without consent, preventing them from safewording. Those people are all trans women. Outside of play she is a dedicated trans ally, and no trans men have come forward about any concerns, but she’s got a pattern of bad play behavior with trans women.

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