Monday, October 28, 2013
N.B.: I am not a medical professional. I am not a mental health professional. I am not anything much. The following is a combination of my opinions and my memories and may or may not apply to anyone's situation, diagnoses, or anything. If you think this post could trigger you then stop now and use your back button.
My first exposure [that I know of] to trans-folk occurred in New Orleans many years before Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans was a hotbed of activity and I had gotten to know her rather well. I was familiar with the places that the tourists did not go to as well as the tourist traps. The French Quarter with Bourbon Street running through it is the part that most people bring up when talking about New Orleans. This happened at a bar on Bourbon Street.
We were young and drunk on a Saturday night. It was humid-- it was always humid in New Orleans-- and the street was lit up by the artificial lights from bars with patrons spilling out of them with large glasses of booze in hand and jazz music flowing out into the streets. There was one bar that was small and rectangular and unassuming in the midst of the wildness around us. We went in.
There was a mirror and a small rectangular stage directly behind the bar. We got something to drink and sat down on some old red stools. I looked up at the stage.
"Those are he-shes," my friend Villary the Cajun told me. "Watch."
[I have since learned to address folks by the gender they present as. In this blog post, I will do so. Back then, I knew nothing other than a couple of very short peculiar articles written about Christine Jorgensen. That is to say, I knew nothing about gender orientation].
The woman announcer on the stage informed the audience that she and the women behind her "have our mothers' breasts and our fathers' appendages." In other words, they were all pre-ops. [Pre-op was another word I didn't know back then]. She admitted that many pre-ops become strippers in order to finance the procedures they needed to have done.
The women behind the announcer were all dressed in sparkly styles and stripped down to fancy bras and undies. [I don't recall any nudity. It seems to me now that there was a law against that but I could be wrong]. The women certainly had breasts. Their penises were not evident to me.
It was hot and I wanted out of there. "You were getting off on them," Vill teased me as we made our way through the predominantly hetero-coupled patrons and back out into the throngs on Bourbon Street.
I consigned the experience into the category of "strange shit that happens in New Orleans." I carried on with my active addiction and with my life.
Years later I had figured out that I wasn't straight. I'd been free from active addictions for quite some time when I began to hang out at a community center for folks who weren't straight. There was no booze there. If folks were trading drugs there, I never saw that. There was a library and 12 step meetings and a coming-out group and a coffee bar and barbecues and presentations. It was a fairly active place. I was there the night that some trans-folk were scheduled to do a presentation. I decided to listen in on it.
The presentation was very informative. There was a slide show and an opportunity for questions. The audience this time was not straight. We were gay and lesbian and bisexual people. The presenter carefully explained to us that sexual orientation and gender orientation were two different things. Sexual orientation involved who you were attracted to. Gender orientation involved how you thought about yourself. Someone might identify as gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, or asexual. [The words pansexual and polysexual were not in vogue then]. Those words referred to sexual orientation. Gender orientation words included male, female and androgenous. Gender orientation is separate from sexual orientation. All of this was news to me. I hadn't a clue. The transgenderists had their own community center. A general invitation was issued to visit. So I did.
The following Friday night found me on a second floor surrounded by women who were applying make-up and getting dressed to go out on the town. There was one man there. The man had been a lesbian for some amount of time before deciding that he identified as a man and not as a woman. The man was a convincing man. The women were not as convincing, even to my untrained eye.
There was a discussion involving discrimination on the job. One pre-op woman was forced to wear a sort of smock over her clothing so as to hide her budding breasts at her job in the nursing home. Another woman-- who was quite tall-- had been informed by her boss that as long as she conducted herself as a lady, he had no problem with her presentation as a woman in the office where she worked. It was in that clubhouse that I learned some of the finer points of transformation surgery.
The surgery is not just one solitary event. Remove the c.b.a. and boom-- you're a woman-- uh, no. First off it is several surgeries. The surgical removal / rearrangement of the testicles and penis is the last step of the process which can take eight years or more. Pre-ops are required to attend counseling and to live full-time as a woman for a year before anything else. At some point, the woman is given estrogen pills which develop the breasts. The woman will also take lessons on walking and talking. She will replace her male clothing with female clothing. She is told that she must have either sexual intercourse or masturbate. The penis is not chopped off. It is sliced down the middle and some of it is used to construct the labia and clitoris. If a penis is not used sexually, there may not be enough tissue present for the final reconstructive surgery.
The hormone pills may make a woman moody or break out in acne or even give her heart problems. At least this is what I remember being told. There was a feeling that taking hormones had some definite serious medical risks. This is not something I have verified so I don't know how accurate that info is.
A pre-op man will ask for surgical removal of the breasts-- I am not sure at what stage this occurs. Before that event, a pre-op man will usually wrap or bound his breasts tightly so as to disguise their existence. A man given testosterone will bulk out. He may also experience anger and aggression issues as a direct result of the testosterone.
Pre-op women may also visit an electrolysis studio for concerns related to hair. Some may elect to get their adam's apple shaved for aesthetic reasons. And a few have voice lessons.
We went out after everyone was ready. Although the cross-dressers in the bunch were all heterosexual men, the gay bars are the places that embrace transgenderists and so that was where we all went.
Going to the gay bar with the TG crew was fun! There was one cross-dresser who was into gender-f*cking or genderbending. He did not shave his legs. He had a beard. He wore an ugly dress and used balloons to emulate boobs. "Feel my tits," was his line. Some of the TGs camped it up. Others were more straight in sexual orientation and acted accordingly. I danced with anyone I wanted to and had a great time.
I got to be friends with a TG woman. We went backpacking for a week together out in the wilderness. She brought along her make-up. Having not visited an electrolysis, she needed to shave daily. Without the make-up, her male origin was more pronounced. Out there in primitive lean-tos every morning, she would hang her mirror on a nail and put on her face. She also brought along a solar shower. The solar shower was not a comfort I had ever availed myself of [and still don't. I am a serious back-packer type] and I luxuriated in warm water for the week. It sure was different than taking cold sponge baths with freezing spring-fed lake water.
We had lots of fun that week. My dogs took to her right away. We slept in the lean-tos, cooked camp food, drank hot chocolate and teas, hiked all over, went swimming, and logged I think around eight or ten miles a day.
I began serious gaming. I got into Dungeons & Dragons in a big way-- and Mechs. I attended sessions at a game room twice a week-- Saturday afternoons and Tuesdays. There was another TG woman there and we also got to be good friends. She had been in the Army when she found that she could no longer ignore her gender orientation.
And finally there was Annie. I knew Annie when she was still living as a married man. One day, Annie disclosed to me that she was TG. I had no clue. It was from Annie that I learned that hormones can unexpectedly change sexual orientation for a transgenderist.
[After Annie, I met and was friends with two A.I.S. women. Babies born with androgen insufficiency syndrome are genetically male but their bodies do not respond to testosterone. Thus they are commonly reared as girls and are subjected to operations very young in order to reconstruct penises into female genitalia. As teens they require estrogen in order to develop breasts. 100% of A.I.S. females are either bisexual or lesbian. That is what both of them told me. A.I.S. is sometimes referred to as being intersexed or as pseudo-hermaphroditism].
Annie came to a bad end. She had major depression and was getting inadequate treatment for that condition. She suicided. Annie was free from active addiction for six years and she died clean. That was not and is not a comfort to me because Annie is dead. And she didn't have to be.
One of my closest friends for many years was a man who eventually came out as trans-folk. His first therapist told him, "You have a penis. Therefore you are a man." I thought that statement was fairly idiotic and I still do. Gender is far more complex than the mere presence or absence of specific genitalia.
He went on to gender-competent counseling after that one. In his investigation, he elected not to do anything about his gender orientation. He does not even cross-dress. He decided to remain a male in spite of his self-identification as a female. His decision was difficult but it is one that I respect. Shortly after Annie's suicide, our own friendship came to an end. Through the internet, I am aware that he has continued to remain in his male body and has gone on publically to involve himself in political issues rather than gender issues.
radical sapphoq says: I support civil rights for all civils. As a bisexual woman, my issues are more similar to those of transgenderists than they are to mono-sexuals. I have marched along side my TG brothers and sisters in the Pride marches. The transgenderist community is at its' best when celebrating. But there is a darker side to all of this.
Adam's apples can be shaved. Breasts can be removed. Genitalia can be surgically reconstructed and rearranged. Someone can be taught how to speak, how to walk, how to dress.
The size of hands and feet, the narrowness or wideness of hips and shoulders, the feel of the tongue [yes, male tongues feel different than female tongues] are things that no hormones or surgeries can correct to date.
By anecdote only, I have often wondered if gender identity disorder is more closely related to body dysmorphic disorder than is commonly acknowledged. Both involve an intense dissatisfaction with one's appearance. Gender identity disorder adds to this base an intense dissatisfaction with assigned gender identity societal roles. Both appear to this formally untrained eye to have bits of obsession woven into the psyches of the folks who have said disorders. Is it possible that some percentage of folks who have been identified as transgenderists [with the label of gender identity disorder] actually have an obsession with surgical mutilation?
I am aware that it is said by some that the younger transgenderists may have more evidence of a mild intersexed state [without qualifying for a diagnosis of A.I.S. or hermaphroditism of various sorts] than those to whom an awareness of opposite gender orientation comes later in life. I am also aware of the common supposition that the younger someone is reaching post-op, the more aesthetic the results are said to be. I don't know how accurate either anecdote is.
The problem is that-- as least as far as post-op TG females are concerned-- the results are somewhat ugly. The issue is far more than a transgenderist being taught to "pass." I'm not saying that cis women are automatically beautiful either. Specifically, the size of hands and feet along with the size of hips and shoulders detract from the appearance of pre-op and post-op women. [The male vs. female tongue is a minor issue here I think]. We live in a society where appearance dictates everything. That is a problem that we all face.
I support civil rights for all civils. [By civils, you may read the word "civilians."] I support the right of any civilian adult to determine how that adult shall live, including but not limited to decisions involving gender and sexual orientations-- as long as that adult does not harm children-- yet I also support the right to ask questions. I have questions which have not been satisfactorily answered yet by science. Among those questions is the question: Is transformation to match one's perceived gender the best option? I suspect we do not really know yet.
When transgenderists look to others for approval-- just like those of us who are cis do the same thing-- transgenderists are bound to be disappointed. No adult should be focused on the approval of others as justification for existence or lifestyle choices or life decisions. By all means, continue marching in Pride parades and seek legal protections against discrimination. But please, do not expect that society owes you kudos for being true to yourself.
Approval is something that kids need out of necessity before they learn how to develop skills of accurate self-appraisal. Acceptance may be a bit closer. Tolerance misses the mark entirely. I want society as a whole to accept that people exist who are not clones of the majority. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, asexuals, those born into intersexed states, transfolk, non-theists... We are who we are. I am not a product to endorse. I am a human being that deserves the same rights and responsibilities that any other human being deserves. I accept that people very different than I am-- a bisexual, cis [non-transgendered], non-theist woman-- do exist and have a right to exist without my interference. I do not have to approve or disapprove of the existence of people different than myself. I do have to accept that people exist regardless of my personal feeling about them and how they conduct their lives.
P.S. A word to the trans-folks who are involved in heated tweets with conservatives on Twitter: You are wasting your time and breath. When you come at someone demanding that they approve of you, it isn't going to happen. When you come at someone insinuating that they have micro-penises or that their deeply-held convictions are stupid, it should not be a surprise when they snark back at you viciously.
If someone makes a statement in your Twitter stream and you cannot tolerate its' presence, block them. Do not respond to them. Or respond once, re-tweet them if you want to, and then move on. Ultimately, it does not matter what anyone thinks about us in social media. Seeking out people to swipe at makes the seeker a readily available target. Don't bother. Pick your battles wisely. Fighting with conservatives on Twitter to the point where everyone is calling everyone else names does nothing for your cause. Stop it. Just stop it.
It's not about what others say or think about any of us. It's about what we say and think about ourselves.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
The Feds and their informants on Twitter call themselves computer consultants or radio dee jays or poets. [On FakeBook/FailBook/FB they refer to themselves as "your friends"]. The mother of a close friend in high school used to always tell us that truth is stranger than fiction. It certainly is.
I tweet [a.k.a. converse] with a truly diverse bunch on Twitter. It is fortunate that Twitter is not happening in real-life in someone's living room. Guns would be drawn and people would die. My Anonymous friends and the ninjas dislike each other. The good-time trolls and the anti-cyberbullies can find little common ground. Even the child abuse and human trafficking folks are divided into camps.
I've written posts about Lori Handrahan and I've written about WWASPS-- I don't like either one of them. I've discussed the alleged infiltration of the Million Dollar March in D.C. by a poet which some believe to be a Fed [and I believe that too. I could be wrong. At any rate, I will not be going to D.C. on November 5th]. I haven't blogged about the PayPal 14 or the PayBack 13 for two reasons. I think others can tell the tale better than I can. One of the PayBack 13 is someone that I've never met in real life but I consider him to be a friend.
I've written some about my politics but not much about the political ideologies that I've found on Twitter. I will do a little bit of that now. Those who know me know that I am pro-gun, anti-amnesty for illegal aliens, pro-secularism in the public schools, anti-N.S.A., pro-free internet, anti-CISPA and the current exaggeration of copyright "protections" in effect today which pretty much render fair use dead, pro-civil rights for all civils, and anti-Obummer Care. I don't like the A.C.A. stuff because I found a chart with the rates on the U.S. government site-- a chart with public permissions and a download button-- and even with "rebates," I found that the Affordable Care Act is not affordable for me. Quite frankly, when my circumstances change, I will have to leave the country in order to afford healthcare if ObummerCare is still the ahem law of the land. The A.C.A. would have been a better idea if it was not 2300 pages of something that Nancy Pelosi has been quoted as saying that we will have to pass it in order to find out what is in it. Or something like that. If it was Open Market [versus tied to the federal government and to the states] and did not penalize the uninsured for not joining up, it might have been less of a disaster than it is. Universal healthcare is a grand idea but the implementation of it to date has sucked. Period. It needs to be re-worked and not just patched.
I can no longer call myself a liberal. I have refused to join Unite Blue on Twitter. Although I am an atheist and not a christian, I have found myself a political home of sorts on Twitter with Todd Kincannon and some other conservatives. I have no desire to argue with christians over their religious and spiritual choices. I do have a desire to write snarky things at the pope once in awhile [yes, his unholiness is on Twitter along with the apologetics for bad behavior of the roman church]. I will engage in snark with a few muslims who think that we ought to follow islam; and with a few of the more extreme christians who are as obsessed with conversions on Twitter as a transfolk is with mutilation via surgical means. Besides, Todd and Ashley have a dog named Noodle [who is also on Twitter].
Todd's Twitter stream is full of people who randomly attack him for his viewpoints, coarseness, and language. It is never dull. He does not seek out targets. They seek him out. The results are rather zany. He's been accused of being a bully and several other things which I won't print here. Todd has several long-standing adversaries and bunches of folks who find his comebacks too witty and have the sense to depart quickly. The long-standing ones don't have the sense to use their block button, to drop the endless tweets accusing him of all kinds of things, to accept that not everyone on Twitter has to approve of them or their thoughts or beliefs. Believing in equal rights-- or in civil rights for all civils-- is not an endorsement of all lifestyles on the planet. This is something that many folks get mixed up about. Todd says stuff that an average person may think but doesn't say.
Last night a guy who characterizes himself as a "real brother" and his allies appeared on Todd's stream. This real brother has been accused of being racist and a drug-runner of sorts in other places on the interwebz. Todd informed this real bro that Todd wanted him to put away or put down for drug crimes [of the foul nature that the real brother is alleged to have committed, and may or may not be continuing in the present]. A quick search engine search revealed that the real brother was doxed by someone in Anonymous and that the real bro is suspected of having turned fed informant. Another name to add to the list of people that other people think are fed informants. Ha!
Then we all heard from an anti-bullying coalition of sorts. Calling names is bad m'kay. One guy pointed out that cyberbullying is a bit of fakery as we all have the choice to step away from the computer or go do something else online. In response, another guy inferred that anyone who finds Todd's stuff to be witty has a mental deficiency. I snarked back in fun that the latter guy just insulted me and my kin, and that we are hashtag MentallyDivergent. The anti-bullying coalition account retweeted my snark-- perhaps not realizing that I was having fun. And so on. Hanging with Todd and other conservatives on Twitter is never boring. It is a nice break from the drama of current news and current political disasters and reports of earthquakes in places that I may have never heard of.
So last night resulted in the outing of yet another possible Fed informant to add to the list that I keep in my head. I enjoyed my time on Twitter last night. It's nice to be nice. Sometimes we can be too nice. In my life I certainly have been too nice. I learned from Todd Kincannon what to do when people attack me with name-calling and their supposes of my character rather than arguing with my ideas in a logical manner. I retweet them, being careful to add a period before the enclosed a and their twitter handle. Sometimes I favor their tweet. Because I can laugh at myself today.
If I have thoughts of suicide, something is wrong with me and I ought to make an appointment with a health care professional. If I am that fragile that I think some mean comments on the internet can push me over the edge, then I better take up crocheting washcloths and watching soap operas for a hobby instead of social media. Getting faux-fended is my problem, not the problem of the big meanie poo-poo head who rocked my unself-esteem with their words. If a stranger from the interwebz shows up uninvited to my home and neighborhood, then it is time for cops and guns and dogs with sharp teeth.
p.s. A final word to parents with kids and teens. They're your rat bastards. You parent them. You are responsible to know what they are doing on their computers and cell phones. The computer should be out in the open like in the living room. You should be monitoring what they do on-line as well as off-line. There are ways to do this. Find those ways. Learn the technology. Supervise your children. They are your responsibility until they become adults.
p.s.s. "Twitter" refers to http://www.twitter.com. By using the word Twitter, it is not my intention now or ever to take over, cybersquat, make profit from, or otherwise defame the Twitter name. I am not affiliated in any way with Twitter other than being a tweeter. And the staff and owner or owners of Twitter probably have no idea who I am and don't care who I am as long as I am not being mean to them on the interwebz which I am not.
It's listed as public permissions and there is a download button too. These are prices for
the healthcare plans it seems.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
There is much noise being made about the planned Million Mask March scheduled for November 5, 2013-- especially the one that will take place in D.C. Some of this noise appears to be originating from the wikileaks poet a.k.a. the polymath poet a.k.a. anonomobile a.k.a. Christine [Ann or Herron or neither] Sands a.k.a. who the frig knows. So what is the problem?
Anonymous is supposed to be well, anonymous. It's in the name.
* * * * * Anonymous * * * * *
Anonymous does not have leaders or spokespersons or membership lists.
Anonymous has been infiltrated by Feds and Informants, just like any other movement of the people.
The March in D.C. appears to have been billed by said poet with a phrase similar to "Overthrow the Government!"
So there is this woman whose image is posted on at least one of her Twitter profiles as well as across the web, an easily identifiable blonde woman claiming to be a sort of benefactor to Anonymous-- UNASKED she bought and registered some percentage of the Million Mask March domains currently in use for the March-- who has also now bought and decorated a massive R.V. and labeled it the Anonomobile. She claims to be a poet. And yes, she does write poetry. Whether or not the poetry is worth reading is outside of the scope of this blog post. What is clear to me is that Chris Sands is listed on Linked-In-- along with the same picture that graces at least one of her Twitter profiles-- as working or having worked for the feds, specifically at the Department of Justice through the year 2012. Hello Anonymous, can you spell trap?
Yes, I've said it. Trap. I fear that the Million Mask March in D.C. will very much function as a trap. Christine Sands will be on hand with her handy dandy not so anonymous Anonomobile. I suspect that a host of her friends the Feds, Fed Informants, and others will also be there in D.C. on November 5, 2013. To wit, there is probably a heavy presence of Feds and informants any day on the calendar, D.C. being what it is.
There is more stuff in the references. Intimations and accusations which I've listed for those who want more. Because I am not the only one sounding the alarm. I don't know how many people are doing so. I do know that a few of the Twitter nimjeh [accepted plural of ninjahs-- the accounts there that are usually marked by @my________ninjah -- fill in the blank--- go look in the Twitter search engine for ninjah and you will find them] have also been tweeting about the Million Mask March in D.C. being somewhat of a trap. As the nimjeh are quick to remind us, None of us alone is as stupid as all of us together. A few of the nimjeh have advocated for a return to the black bandanna. I agree. The icon currently in use-- the Guy Fawkes mask-- is "owned" by Warner Brothers. Anonymous will not die because people are deciding that the use of a black bandanna is safer than using a mask. But I digress.
Those Anons who are attending the Million Mask March-- specifically the one in D.C.-- I beg of you to please don't be stupid. I know the oldfags know all of the things that I am about to list. Some of the newblood may not. Here are suggestions culled from Twitter and various other sources-- and my own experiences with protests, sit-ins, and demonstrations-- in no particular order:
Way before the March
~ Advertise the Million Mask March on social media. Do not advertise your participation in it. Don't be a leaderfag or a famefag or an egofag. There are too many of those as it is.
~ Avoid hooking up in social media with known or suspected informants or feds beyond brief interactions, if that.
~ Do NOT publish your travel plans on social media. Ever.
~ If your nics are easily connected to your wallet info, get new nics. Duh.
~ Obtain a map of D.C. and mark the March route on it. Start memorizing street names.
~ Begin to learn bus routes and subway routes so you can get back wherever it is that you are staying from any point on the March route.
~ If you've never participated in a protest or direct action of any sort before, visit various Anonymous and survival sites on the web. Study and learn how to keep yourself safe.
~ If you are on FB [a.k.a. FaceBook, FedBook (the site that is actually named FedBook is not the one I am talking about), FailBook, FakeBook...] and you gave them your wallet info when you signed up and you used your real name and you don't use it behind chained vpns, proxies etc., ask yourself why.
What to bring
~ Maps of D.C. A map of the march route.
~ Scripts from the doctor's office for any prescription drugs that you are taking with you.
~ Your prescription drugs in their original prescription drug bottles. Carry doses required for the number of days away plus two. In other words, if you will be away from home for three days then take three days worth of prescription drugs plus dosages for two extra days. [Cops have seized prescription drugs from people for testing at a lab].
~ A mini-first aid kid or first aid supplies that are not heavy and not bulky that you can fit into your pockets and retrieve during the March if you need them.
~ A bandanna dipped in MOM [or vinegar or lemon depending upon what advice you accept on this] stored in a tin. Instructions exist on the web for making such an anti teargas/pepper spray kit.
~ The memorized phone number of an attorney that you have contacted ahead of time. The memorized phone numbers of any people that you will be contacting during your time away from home.
~ A throwaway cell phone that you will be using during your entire trip. Or, a cell phone with a camera that is fairly "clean" or new i.e. not containing any photos or contact info for other anons.
What not to bring
~ Illegal drugs. Any weapons or items that can be construed to be weapons.
~ Expired prescription bottles, prescription bottles that have someone else's name on them.
~ Your cell phone that you use daily with your contact list in it.
~ Your laptop.
~ Your expensive camera with or without incriminating photos stored on it.
~ Your thirst for social recognition via the media.
Just before the March itself in D.C.
~ A good night's sleep so you have your wits about you.
~ Study maps of D.C. and familiarize yourself with the route before the morning of the march. Memorize the location of alleys and side streets so that you can cut away if you have to. Then leave the actual maps at the place you are staying.
~ Make sure that your mask does not impede your peripheral vision.
~ Stuff your pockets with your first aid items, including your bandanna soaked in MOM stored in a tin.
During the March itself
~ Be alert. You are not going on a casual stroll or a picnic. You are not a tourist. Pay attention to what is going on around you and over you.
~ Identify the Anon Medics around you in the March. [And know that police action may focus on the medics first.] The medics are valuable to you if you get hurt or sick during the March.
~ Use your brain. If something seems suspect to you, pay attention. Do not let your guard down. Do not give in to the herd mentality that springs out of being with a mass of enthusiastic people.
~ Do not drink alcohol or get high before or during the March. You do not want to make it easier for the police to arrest you.
~ Kettling. If you do not know what that is, look it up. Be prepared to break away from the crowd for your own safety if you have to.
~ The friendly person in the mask marching next to you may not be your friend. That stranger may be another Anon. He or she may be a cop working undercover, a Fed or fed informant, a professional provocateur, an agitator, a crazy person. Trust no one, not even me.
~ Do not talk about your great hacking skills, what illegal activities you participated in as an Anonymous or otherwise, your use of drugs-- or anything else that you do not want the feds or law enforcement to know-- to the friendly stranger next to you at the March. Bragging can be dangerous.
~ Stay away from and OUT OF the Anonomobile. I should not have to even say that.
Contact with Law Enforcement Agencies during the March
~ If an agent of the police asks you to "step over here" or similar words, consider yourself as being under arrest even if they say you aren't and that they are only investigating something.
~ Keep your hands in plain sight and out of your pockets. Do not make any sudden moves. You do not want to do anything that an officer of the law can conceive of as a threat to his or her own personal safety. Move slowly and state what you are doing before you do it. Follow directions.
~ Ask politely if you are under arrest. If you aren't under arrest or being detained for investigation, leave. Immediately.
~ "You fucking pig" may be protected speech but endeavor to refrain from name-calling, fighting, and running away from the police.
~ Beyond personal identification, lawyer up. Tell them you cannot or will not speak to them about [whatever it is they say they are investigating] without a lawyer.
~ The police are legally allowed to lie to you. Remember that. Anything they claim to you may not be the truth. They will lie to you in order to get information out of you.
~ The police cannot determine how you will be treated in a court of law. They may say things like, "This will go easier on you if you tell." Again, lawyer up. Offer them very little if any information beyond your name, address, and telephone number.
~ If your cell phone is seized, the cops will hunt through it for your contacts. This is why it is better to have a pay as you go throwaway phone with you in D.C. or a cell phone that you do not mind "losing" to the cops forever or for a very long time rather than one that has the names and numbers of every Anon you know on it that you depend upon to make your life manageable.
~ If you find yourself in a holding pen or a jail cell, resist the temptation to talk with the other detainees or inmates about any suspect or illegal activities, your personal observations of the cops or guards, or anything else that might incriminate you in a court of law or among the guards.
The best advice that I ever received was from a judge. I was attending a session of a Drug Court being held just before the graduation party of several friends who had been drug court participants. A not so fortunate participant had been caught driving without a license. The judge asked him why he was doing this. What followed was a long list of excuses. The judge was fairly angry and in a raised voice, emphatically stated to the hapless young man, "You gotta have a Plan B!"
~ You gotta have a Plan B.
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney. This blog post shall not be construed of as legal advice. I am not responsible for your actions. Names of informants, suspected informants and other musings listed in the blog post or under the references are not to be treated as evidence, facts, proof, or permission to take illegal actions upon said persons or their network of friends and relatives. Anecdotes are not evidence, period. Taking the law into your own hands will probably result in massive butthurt. Any information that I provided is just that. I made this blog post in the spirit of wanting new blood to think about safety. This blog post is not an exhaustive list of how to conduct yourself while in a large assembly of people. As usual, you are encouraged to conduct your own research and to draw your own conclusions. Please do so.
a highly incomplete list of federal informants and suspected federal informants in ref to the Million Mask March
what to do if you are being detained for investigation or are under arrest
a few attorneys on twitter who are sympathetic to Anonymous and to protests
tiny bits of history of Anonymous and the culture of Anonymous and tidbits of info-- I cannot vouch for accuracy
(targeted for Occupy protest in NYC)
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
The video can be viewed here at: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-13th-step
or at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-_xPU3KC5E
if the vid is not showing up here.
The video is titled "The 13th Step" and a woman named Monica Richardson made it. She and some women in California are on a mission to make the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous safer. Or at least to spread awareness of several issues surrounding the rooms.
Those issues are people and the people in particular are predators. Predators operate by looking for a vulnerability in their mark or vic, and then using manipulation to ease their way in. So yes, women [and I suspect a few men but the men aren't talking yet] do get raped by predators that they have met in the twelve step rooms of recovery. [I have direct knowledge of one such woman who was raped by someone she met at a meeting]. Yes, people do get robbed, beaten, taken advantage of financially, and murdered by others who they got acquainted with in the rooms. People in the rooms commit armed house robberies. These things happen. I know they happen because I've known people [as in "more than one person"] that these things have happened to. No murder vics in my direct knowledge but the other stuff yes.
Monica approached the A.A. General Services Office in New York City when she began receiving copious e-mails from women who were raped by other members of A.A. But the A.A. Trad "A.A. has no opinion on outside issues..." was presented to her as an excuse for not doing anything about it. So Monica said screw this shit and left A.A. She currently has thirty years or so of continuous sobriety.
The trouble with citing a tradition as a "reason" for non-action is that this issue is not an "outside" issue. It is very much an inside issue-- one that very few people have dared to brooch. In typical A.A. fashion, a sponsor who does not know any better will ask the sponsee, "What part did you play in this?" This question really misses the mark.
To those who have been fortunate enough to survive sexual assaults, beatings, and other such things which were perpetrated by people that they've met in recovery meetings, I can say this: You did not deserve it. You did nothing to make this happen to you. You are blameless. And, I believe you. If you find that you cannot return to 12-step meetings but you wish to get support for your continued abstinence, I encourage you to check out alternative programs such as the ones listed in the links here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-_xPU3KC5E under the first section labeled "Non-cult Pro-Recovery."