I Am Neutrois

This is my story of struggling with my gender identity. It isn’t going to be the typical story you hear, because I guess I’m sort of a late bloomer in the non-gender portion of the population. I’m just beginning to embark on my journey, and have only had the courage to discuss this openly with a couple close friends. I haven’t come out publicly to many people because I wasn’t certain what I was until just recently.

I am neutrois—what less politically correct sources claim to be “the transsexual of the non-gender demographic”. Some refer to me as a third kind of gender. Well, I suppose if that helps them understand me, then I guess it holds some truth. But I personally don’t identify with any gender. In fact, I physically attempt to hide all aspects of myself that portray gender. I’ve changed my name, wear baggy clothes, sports bras that smoosh my top half, and desire to change some physical aspects of my body that are tied to characteristics of womanhood. I have dysphoric struggles with parts of myself that scream “gender”, physically as well as socially.

While I was born with female organs and assigned female as a gender, I was never able to fully claim it as my correct identity. I don’t feel attached to a male gender identity either. None of them were right for me. Even in high school, I wore clothes, dressed up as, and went by a name that was neutral. I hated my name because of how girly it sounded. I felt it made me weak because of how much I hated it, made me a freak or forced me to be something I wasn’t. Someone saying it was like nails on a chalkboard. Once one of my friends stated that he didn’t (and even couldn’t) see me as an actual gender, that I’m just me. At first I thought what he said was bizarre, but not long after that I understood it to be true. I don’t belong in the binary.

When I turned 18, changing my name to something neutral was the first thing I did and I don’t regret doing it. On paper I’ve been confused with male and female, people don’t know how to pronounce my name or where it even comes from, which can get frustrating but it was much preferable over my birth name. Now I’m at a point in my life where I long to sterilize myself (this is the transition portion of neutrois, I suppose).

For a while I wondered if perhaps I was simply agender with an occasional display of feminine qualities. However I feel like agender represented more a person who was opting out of gender, but didn’t display any dysphoric qualities in their mentality. I have qualities physically about myself that I want to change. I hide a lot of my sexual features because I don’t want to be associated with feminine unless I choose to be (which is relatively rare). I hate the way men on the street look at me if I appear to be female. I hate having everything I do associated with being female and feminine gender requirements/expectations associated with me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate feminine qualities/women in general, I just hate MY physical feminine/female qualities.

I do, however, have demi-girl qualities from time to time, but that doesn’t make my connection to a neutrois identity any less true. I do have previous experiences with sexual assault and harassment that have damaged me to the point where I no longer wish to be seen as a woman. But my traumatic experiences don’t make my neutrois identity any less true. And being neutrois doesn’t default me to asexual or aromantic. Not all neutrois folks are that way. I have emotions. I have sexual desires. I’m ok with most of my body except for the fact that I have a womb and can be impregnated (which I intend to change). But the fact remains that I am neither male nor female. I’m not “inbetween”. I’m not “going through a phase”. I am neutrois.

People without gender exist. We have struggles. We deserve to be seen and respected, just like any other human out there.

Mental Illness Tips: How to Be An Effective Supporter

Yesterday I spoke with a friend of mine that was having a rough time with personal relationships and finances. She suffers from mental disorders as well, which as many of you know can play into the phenomenon known as suicidal ideation.

Well, I had to do a great deal to make sure she was calmed as a result of someone on a suicide hotline gas lighting her experiences and emotions. She was told that she was working herself up over nothing, that she has options that she’s choosing to ignore, that it’s all in her head and she needs to just get over it, etc. Basically things that no professional working for a suicide prevention hotline should ever say.

And so as a person who has loved ones go through tough times, and as a person who deals with mental illness, I wanted to make a post to raise awareness about what to say and what not to say to someone who is suffering from mental illness of any kind and reaches out for help, especially if they are having thoughts of suicide.

What NOT to say:
(1)–“I know you are going through something, but it doesn’t help the situation if you always dwell on it. You need to just be happy.”
(2)–“Things are not as bad as you are making them out to be.”
(3)–“I think you are remembering things wrong” (often said to people with PTSD, believe it or not).
(4)–“I don’t believe you are actually suffering from XYZ. You look fine to me.”
(5)–“You just need to get over it. You’re bumming everyone out.”
(6)–“The best way to get over XYZ is to just grow up and face your fears.”
(7)–“Stop crying. You’re just making it worse.”
(8)–“I think you’re just taking everything too personal.”
(9)–Don’t just start rattling off all of this advice on how they can make all of their problems go away and get happy quickly. Many mental illnesses are lifelong ailments that need professional treatment. Statements like “just get a different job”, “just cut everybody off”, and “just move on” don’t help at all.
(10)–“You just need to go see a doctor” (understand that a lot of people do not have health insurance, and so many resources that they need are not available to them).

What to say/do:
(1)–When they need to talk, shut up and listen to them. Don’t invalidate their statements. Don’t tell them to buck up and get over it. Don’t start talking about yourself and your problems. People call help lines because they typically need to vent and need someone to hear them out.
(2)–Educate yourself on what it means to actively listen to people when they need someone to talk to.
(3)–Don’t, in any way by any means, start calling them crazy for what they are feeling and going through. Validate their emotions.
(4)–Be there for them when they need someone. You don’t have to give them a bunch of physical resources, but just be a person they can trust when they need an ear or to lead them to professionals who can help them if you are unable to. Usually hotlines are helpful. If one doesn’t work, try to find a different one that will.
(5)–If someone in your life has a mental illness, be actively supportive by educating yourself on what it means to have that illness and what those people go through on a daily basis. Many forums have tips for supporters on what they can do to help their loved ones.
(6)–Follow up with them periodically to see how they are feeling. It’s nice to know people care about what someone is going through.

Quick Thoughts: Comedy and Rape Jokes

TRIGGER WARNING for discussion of rape

You know how all of these comedians seem to be placing the brunt of their shows on making rape victims the butt end of their jokes? I just really don’t understand what they think is so funny about rape? No, seriously. I don’t.

I mean I understand the social dynamics of it (namely, rape culture and patriarchy make the mockery of rape victims, who are predominantly women, acceptable because– well –subjugation of women by men is socially acceptable). But what about on the individual’s level?

I mean what exactly about this heinous crime makes people go, “You know what I think I’ll do? I’ll antagonize people who’ve been raped. I’ll antagonize people who have faced this sort of torture and have had few people believe them when they speak of it.”?

And I really wonder how these comedians come up with some of their rape joke material. Do they all just come into some kind of a pow wow after a breaking story about how yet another rapist got away with it and start brainstorming?

I just imagine someone like Daniel Tosh sitting with all of his buddies bouncing ideas off of each other for the next show:

“Hey guyz! What if we mention how someone got beat up before being raped? That’s, like, super funny!”

“Oh wait! What if we high lighted the fact that no one believes them when they go to the hospital or police when they try to seek out help?!”

“No, dude! GANG rape!”

*the group busts up laughing*

“Oh I know! What if they get diseases from it?! HAHAHAHA!”

“You know what the funniest part about rape is? People fucking get PTSD from it! Watching someone tear themselves apart after trauma is funny because they pretty much were given a life sentence while the perpetrator lives their life happily!”

“Yea, man! That one! PTSD is hilarious!”

I mean seriously?!? What kind of sociopathic asshat genuinely thinks rape is funny?

Dear Facebook: DO SOMETHING about this Misogyny!

To the leaders and admins of Facebook,

In the previous years, your website has transformed from a small college connection website to a monolith that shrinks the size of the globe. Now people thousands of miles away can share ideas and experiences in a way that was only dreamed of by entrepreneurs and Internet users alike. People from all walks of life, with all kinds of identities, use your website to help broaden their horizons and network with like minded individuals. Some even use it to gain support when they are going through tough experience and need a little help along the way. This tool you’ve created has great potential to make the world a better place.

I have made use of this tool since 2008 and have used it for community organizing, seeking out old friends I’ve lost contact with, keeping in touch with relatives, and engaging into dynamic political discourse that has opened my mind to the wonderful ideas the world has to offer. I have been around to see the shifts, changes and successes Facebook has endured.

But along with the good experiences I’ve had using Facebook came many negative experiences. As with any other Internet site, there’s always a chance that people with malicious intent will also spend time on the site, which eventually ruins the experience for other users—sometimes causing unnecessary traumas in otherwise diplomatic settings.

While this may take the form of antagonizing, identity theft, and blatant bigotry, the focus of this letter is to make you aware of the very real presence of misogyny that exists on your page in hopes that perhaps you may address it with more fervor in the future. These pages aren’t simply fringe pages with one or two dozen followers making offensive commentary periodically. There are bigoted pages that have a commanding influence in the website, such as “Masculinist India” which has 20,000 followers and repeatedly makes commentary about women being “inferior” and rape needing to be decriminalized.

Not only that, there seems to be a very real fundamental issue with your reporting system, which in the past has permitted to continued existence of racist and sexist pages but has resulted in the removal of pages that confront this bigotry. A very recent example was the creation of a page called “The Queer, Black Feminist Must Die”, which has been reported by dozens of viewers and has sent death threats to the creator of “The Queer, Black Feminist”. Upon reporting this page for violence, I received a notification from the Facebook admins stating that this page did not violate the Facebook policy.

The page, “The Queer, Black Feminist Must Die” is by far not the only blatantly sexist and racist page Facebook has permitted to exist despite multiple reports. Groups are some of the other places where misogyny and conspiracy to harass are nurtured. Just recently, Facebook finally removed a page called “Misogynists”, which required raising awareness across multiple human rights groups and pages in order to eliminate.

May I ask, why does it have to take massive amounts of effort from the regular users of Facebook to get a clearly sexist, racist or homophobic page/group removed? And to respond to those who report these bigoted pages as “not breaking Facebook policy” when they OBVIOUSLY do? What message are you sending to your users by allowing hateful pages to prosper at their expense?

As a woman poised to undergo treatment for abuse and gender violence, the things that Facebook allows on the website are absolutely appalling to say the least. In fact, one could argue that it has become less of a safe space for all users because of the hostility, threats of violence, and harassment that have gone unpunished for so long. It’s even difficult to partake in discussions about entertainment without running into triggering misogyny.

If nothing is done about the hate speech that saturates the Facebook community and the very broken reporting system currently in place, you risk alienating a significant number of users from your site. Racist and sexist pages/groups should not be permitted to exist, and you need to listen to the reports and concerns expressed by your users when these hostile conditions exist.

I call upon you to address these problems that exists on your website. Users shouldn’t have to fear being harassed, threatened or triggered by sexism, racism, etc if they make use of your website and they should be able to trust that if such a condition arises, you will address it!

Below, I have added various pictures of misogynistic Facebook groups an posts with descriptions as proof of my claims. This includes the aforementioned groups that have been involved in internet misogyny and threats of violence.

I have left the pictures out until the end of the letter because of their hostile nature. For the other readers of this letter, these posts come with a TRIGGER WARNING for extreme misogyny and rape apologism.

This was the feed back I got from Facebook when I reported this group. It took a great effort of raising awareness to get it removed.

This was the feed back I got from Facebook when I reported this group. It took a great effort of raising awareness to get it removed.

An example of harassment of Facebook users by hostile pages.

An example of harassment of Facebook users by hostile pages.

Post made on a notoriously sexist group.

Post made on a notoriously sexist group. Below is Facebook’s refusal to remove this picture.10710291_325291254308932_2037093909841617910_o

Sexist pages permitted by Facebook to exist.

Sexist pages permitted by Facebook to exist.

Another misogynistic page on Facebook.

Another misogynistic page on Facebook.

The page that's threatening the creator of "The Queer, Black Feminist" and sharing her personal information for the purpose of harassment.

The page that’s threatening the creator of “The Queer, Black Feminist” and sharing her personal information for the purpose of harassment.

Facebook's refusal to remove the page that's clearly harassing the user that reported it.

Facebook’s refusal to remove the page that’s clearly harassing the user that reported it. TQBF admin’s identity has been protected here.

Another report of the hate page, along with Facebook's response.

Another report of the hate page, along with Facebook’s response.

Examples of racism and sexism on that page.

Examples of racism and sexism on that page.

As mentioned before, while Facebook will refuse to remove content that is clearly sexist and threatening, below is a picture from a page dedicated to raising awareness about the bigotry in the Men’s Rights Movement, which in 2012 was declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (source posted below). Facebook has removed multiple pages that are designed to raise awareness about this hate group, and has removed many photos from our page called Exposing Men’s Rights Activism.

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/myths-of-the-manosphere-lying-about-women

This photo was meant to serve as an example of how bigoted the MRM is.

This photo was meant to serve as an example of how bigoted the MRM is. Facebook will remove a photo designed to raise awareness about hate groups but they won’t remove the pages that breed this kind of hatred.

Here is an example of the kind of Men’s Rights Activist commentary that appears on Facebook.

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Samples of Facebook Misogyny

Sexism online has become a great obstacle for women looking to partake in cyber dialogue, but becomes much worse when one explores the corners of the web that specifically call for attacks against feminism. The purpose of our blog is to raise awareness about this issue so that it can be addressed appropriately by the cyber community. One way we accomplish this is through screenshots.

This array of screenshots came from various groups on Facebook (which Facebook allows to exist, BTW, despite many reports from myself and my comrades). The following pictures were taken from the Women Against Feminism group, the Anti-Feminism group, and the Exposing Feminism page. These come from a slew of topics, but essentially boil down to one common theme: the belief that women are inferior to men and should be policed.

This should give you a small taste of what Facebook tolerates as far as blatant misogyny goes. Obviously we will be posting new photos of misogynistic rants periodically, most with a focus on a discussion about MRA “theory”.

These pictures come with a trigger warning, since much of the content is extremely misogynistic and bigoted in nature.

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The picture above was floating around on many of these Facebook groups.

What follows are posts found on “Women’s Rights News”, which has become notorious for allowing MRA and anti-feminist trolls to make very threatening statements to women and feminist commenters, and the Anti-Feminism group.

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The next couple of photos came from “Women Against Feminism”, which has a following of 20K people.

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Next we have sample troll posts made to our page. These comments are homophobic, transphobic, and sexist in nature.photo

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Another page to look out for is one called “Female Sex Predators: A Crime Epidemic”, which is known to spread lies including alterations of feminist memes with the logo of the “Ad Council” stamped onto the posters. Here is a sample of their lunacy, which claims that false rape accusations are more traumatizing than being raped.

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Something Men’s Rights Activists do online, other than troll the hell out of feminist commentary, is make threats of stealing and publishing personal info of feminists onto anti-feminist websites for the purpose of harassment.

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Stay tuned for more exposés of online sexism.