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from Tŵt Blog

Tŵt staff routinely boost toots to help your content gain visibility using boosts, featuring your content on #DyddDilyn or #MidweekMindful, and approving your content for the Explore pages and the Trending list.

Please note, to be included your content must meet our Code of Conduct and follow our guidelines: – no swears without a CW – media files must have alternative text descriptions – no links to Twitter or Meta-owned properties

If you'd like to nominate someone for Dydd Dilyn/Follow Friday please DM @teamtoot

 
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from Jennifer George

While I am on this explanation kick, let’s get some terminology down. If I get anything wrong, or missed some important terms, let me know.

Transgender: (Not “a transgender” or “transgendered”). Someone who is transgender feels that their gender identity does not match their assigned gender. They generally suffer emotionally from this, and it is referred to as dysphoria. CIS or Cisgender refers to someone who is not trans. “Cis” is a prefix from Latin meaning “on the same side”, which is the opposite of the prefix “trans”. Cisgender is someone who feels comfortable with their assigned gender.

Assigned Gender is the gender you were given at birth, usually based on a cursory glance by the doctor or midwife, or whoever delivered you.
AMAB means assigned male at birth. AFAB means assigned female at birth.

Transsexual is an old, out of date term that was intended to refer to transgender people. It has a negative connotation to most people and is not preferred.

Non-binary or NB or enby, refers to someone who knows they don’t fit into the strict male/female definition, but rather somewhere else on the spectrum.

Gender fluid, is an NB who’s gender identity is not fixed, but can change depending on their feelings at the time. It could be day to day, hour to hour, or year to year. It is flexible.

Gender Nonconforming or Gender Queer is anyone who doesn’t feel they match their assigned gender and/or don’t fit in the binary system.

Transfem or Trans Woman is a transgender person who identifies as a woman. MTF refers to a male to female transgender person.

Transmasc or Trans Man is a transgender person who identifies as a man. FTM refers to a female to male transgender person.

RLT or Real Life Test is an antiquated term that was used in the past to see if a trans person was serious about their trans-ness. The idea was that the person would spend a year living as their preferred gender before a doctor would prescribe hormones or surgery. The requirement was removed from most treatment protocols within the last few years.

TERF or Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist is the phenomenon of feminists who believe that trans woman are not “real” women and do not belong in women’s spaces and do not deserve equal rights.

Queer refers to anyone who is not heterosexual or cis. It is an umbrella term for the wide variety of people across the identity and orientation spectrum.

Intersex is a medical condition where the person has indeterminate sexual organs, or elements of both male and female reproductive anatomy. It is generally a result of a genetic anomaly in the sex chromosomes. The person may or may not experience any dysphoria. These variations are considered normal variations in humans, and corrective measures are not needed. Some doctors and parents sought surgery on intersex children to make them appear to be male or female. There is no guarantee that the child will grow up with the gender identity forced upon them and such procedures should be avoided until the person is of age. It is estimated that an intersex condition occurs in 1-2% of the population. The term hermaphrodite is not an accepted term for intersex.

Bottom Surgery or SRS or GRS or GCS or GAS all refer to the procedure to make a person’s genitals match the appearance of their desired gender.
SRS is Sexual Reassignment Surgery GRS is Gender Reassignment Surgery GCS is Gender Conforming Surgery GAS is Gender Affirming Surgery

Vaginoplasty is the surgical procedure to remove male genital tissue and create a vagina, clitoris and labia.

Phalloplasty is the surgical procedure to construct a penis and is often done in conjunction with several other procedures to remove the female anatomy and make male anatomy.

Top Surgery refers to bilateral mastectomy on FTM and breast augmentation on MTF.

FFS or Facial Feminization Surgery refers to the surgeries performed to make a person's face appear more feminine. There is also FMS Facial Masculinization Surgery.

HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy is the combination of medications and hormones used to help a patient reduce their dysphoria and gain some physical characteristics of their desired gender.

Estrogen or Estradiol is the female hormone given to MTF patients. It is available in pill form, sublingual form, in a patch, via injection and as a topical cream.

Anti-Androgen is a medication that blocks the production or effectiveness of testosterone. The most common is Spironolactone aka Aldactone. Others include Finasteride aka Propecia, Flutamide, Cyproterone acetate, and Bicalutamide. Occasionally Progesterone is used.

Testosterone is the male hormone given to FTM patients. It is available in pill form, as an implant, in a patch, via injection, and as a topical cream.

Deadnaming refers to the practice of people calling a transgender person by their former name. It is considered insulting and if done intentionally or maliciously, a deliberate attack. It can cause dysphoria, distress, anxiety, embarrassment, and even danger.

Transphobia is the hatred or fear or transgender people.

Internal Transphobia refers to the feeling a transgender person can have towards themselves. I difficult part of the journey of a transgender person is self-acceptance and the deeply ingrained attitudes of society can interfere with a person’s progress.

 
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from Tŵt Blog

A blurry picture comes into focus using spectacles

February is Low Vision Awareness Month

Vision impairment, including low vision, affects hundreds of thousands of people on the Fediverse. Vision impairment can make it hard to enjoy the visual media that gets posted to Mastodon and the wider Fediverse, especially if it's a screenshot of text.

Adding a simple description takes a few extra seconds, and can make everyone's experience so much more enjoyable.

We know that not all apps are helpful in showing you how to add alternative text descriptions, and we know that not all apps do a great job of showing it if it's there, but to raise awareness we are going to fuzz your ffotos on Fridays in February.

I repeat.

Fuzz. Ffotos. Fridays. February.

Hashtag #FuzzyFridays is intended to raise awareness of the ability to add a text description or caption to uploaded files.

To simulate what some see all day every day, on Fridays we are going to make any media with no description just a little bit blurry or add a red border for a few hours. Don't be offended, we aren't editing your pictures, they will show up 100% normal on Saturday and every day after that, but on Fridays, if your photo looks fuzzy, please consider adding a caption next time.

(To get help using captions try the #AltText hashtag.)

If you operate a Mastodon server and would like to join in, simply choose an option (blur, blur with unblur, red dotted border) from this CSS snippet to add to the custom CSS in your server settings and let your membership know about Fuzzy Fridays using some of the educational links below.

It will take a minute or two to show up, and you can quickly remove it later in the day.

Learn More

Examples

This is what images will look like with the blur added:

A blurry picture of the beautiful Brecon Beacons hills

A blurry picture of the group stage of an as yet unannounced competition

Here's the red dot border option: Red dotted border option

Here's an image that's not loaded, so the alternative text shows up:

A image of a broken image

Here's some #Defaidodon with a description

Alt text on mouseover

Participating Servers:

Participating? Let me know –> @jaz@toot.wales

 
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from Jennifer George

I find it shocking how ill-informed some trans girls are about their transition. I’m one of those people who researches everything to death. Before I accepted myself, I was obsessed with trans-ness and learned all I could about the science, medicine and history of trans people. Now that I am transitioning myself, I obsessively research the various options, medicines, and procedures that are available to me. I like being well informed.

I attend a bi-monthly support group for trans folks. It runs the gamut from questioning to fully transitioned and it is filled with some of the most supportive and lovely people. However, it also has some people who really should know more than they do.

One example was a girl who had been on oral estrogen for a few years and was approved for bottom surgery, yet, when the topic arose, was unaware that estrogen was also available as an injection, a patch, a topical, and sublingual. She really had no idea.

Another surprising, but not as egregious example was when a girl asked what dysphoria and dysmorphia were and what the difference was. I can understand this, but dysphoria is such a key word for our community, I was surprised.

So, I thought I could at least provide some explanation of those terms.

Dysphoria is a general sense of unease about one’s self and/or one’s life. It can arise in many contexts, but for us it is gender dysphoria. You don’t feel right about your gender. You look in the mirror and what you see doesn’t match what you feel. Your body seems wrong. You don’t feel comfortable in your own skin.

Dysphoria can range from mild to extreme. There has been recent debate online about whether you need to suffer from dysphoria to be trans. I’m not a gatekeeper and won’t tell someone who says they don’t feel dysphoric that they are not trans, but I suspect that they do feel it on some level. But, it is possible to be transgender and not feel any dysphoria about it.

Dysphoria is what people are feeling when they say they were born in the wrong body. Or that they “hate” a particular body part and wish it was gone or replaced with the corresponding part from the other sex. It can drive some to physically harm themselves, and others can feel so ambivalent that they never seek corrective surgery.

Dysphoria is the symptom that treatment is based on. In the past, “gender identity disorder” was a diagnosis, and medicine sought to treat that disorder. It laid the “blame” on the person’s gender. It labeled it as a mental disorder and stigmatized the whole community.

The presence of gender variance is not the issue. In fact, gender variance is considered a normal variance of human development. It is the distress that it causes that is the issue. Psychologists use the term ego-dystonic, which means “thoughts and behaviors (dreams, compulsions, desires, etc.) that are conflicting or dissonant with the needs and goals of the ego, or further, in conflict with a person's ideal self-image.”

Medicine now uses the term “gender dysphoria”, describing the symptom that needs to be relieved rather than the underlying “disorder”. Treatment is now designed to relieve that symptom, usually through affirmation of the person’s desired gender. So, hormone replacement therapy, social transition, name change, gender change, gender confirming surgery, all help the patient suffer less from the dysphoria.

Dysmorphia, on the other hand, is a feeling that a body part is distorted in some way, despite scientific evidence. It is a mental illness involving obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in appearance.

Often it is described in the case of a person with anorexia nervosa who, despite being thin, sees themselves as fat.

In men, it tends to manifest itself as an obsession that their body is too small or not muscular enough, and they work out constantly to try to become more “manly”.

Dysmorphia, in many ways is the more debilitating and difficult condition to treat and manage, since it is not based on a realistic view. A person with dysmorphia may be mere skin and bones, but they see themselves as fat, clearly a false perception. A person with dysphoria may see a man’s genitals, but feels they should be female. They are not denying the truth that they have male genitals, but they believe they are the wrong ones. Dysphoria can be relieved through affirmations, medications and surgery. Dysmorphia is a more difficult condition to relieve, and may require a lifetime of therapy and medications.

So, friends, I urge you all to learn more about yourselves and your feelings. If you are Trans, get involved in your treatment. Learn about the process and the history of Trans people. Look into the social and political issues surrounding Trans issues and be proactive with your doctors, get involved politically and in support groups. We are a group currently under attack and the more of us who are involved, the better.

 
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from Jennifer George

Welcome class. A surprising percentage of the population still can’t wrap their heads around the concepts of sexual identity and sexual orientation and the fact that they are not the same thing or linked to each other in some way.

Sexual identity is who you are. Sexual preference is who you want to be with. Simple as that. Recent census data puts the LGBT population at about 8% in the United States. 28 million people. That is a bit misleading since LGBT adds all the categories together. LGB is the preference and T is the orientation. One could, of course, be in both groups.

8% is not insignificant. It is real. Redheads only account for, at most, 6% of the US population. The French American population is estimated at 5.3%. Left handed American make up about 9.5% of the population. Being LGBT is real. It is not a choice.

LGB is the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual portion of the group. T is the transgender. You often see “Q” which stands for Queer, a sort of undefined category of someone who knows they are not straight or CIS, but haven’t hit on the right label. Another one is “A” for Asexual. Someone who has no interest in sex. They may love someone, but they are not sexually attracted to anyone. Finally you might see “I” for Intersex. Someone who was born with ambiguous sexual organs. Perhaps they are undeveloped, or they have vestiges of both male and female. It could be many different things.

A critical point in this is that none of these categories is set in stone and none of these are absolute.

Humans seems to have a need to categorize things. Perhaps it goes back when we needed to know if a plant was safe to eat or not. Or if an animal was a predator or prey. Once we put something in a category, we are loathe to take it out. See the backlash when Pluto was downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet. We still do it. Generally categories are based on a single, unchanging attribute. Water is 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen. Nothing else. It doesn’t change; if it does it is no longer water.

Straight, Gay, Lesbian, Bi, what do these terms mean? I think we have a general idea, but again, these categories are not fixed, not a binary. Is anyone 100% straight, well maybe, but you don’t have to be. 100% gay? Don’t have to be. Bi is kind of in between.

I like to think of sexual preference as a spectrum. Everyone falls somewhere on there, and maybe they move around a bit depending on his things are going. In my head I picture that classic image of a magnet with iron filings arranged in the magnetic field. One pole is men and the other women. You can fall anywhere on this spectrum. Like this:

Magnet-Iron-Filings

Now let’s move to Identity. We have to understand some definitions. First is sex and gender. They are not the same thing.

Sex is a biological thing. Written into the DNA. XX or XY or something else. Yes, XXX, XXY, just X. While uncommon, scientists are thinking these are normal variations in humans. Generally when you are born, the doctor takes a look between your legs and says “boy” or “girl.” Doctors can be wrong. The genitals on a baby can look different enough to confuse a doctor. But, the doctor’s pronouncement goes down on the birth certificate and there you are, a newly minted boy or girl.

That is your sex, but it is not necessarily your gender. Most people don’t understand this part. Gender is made up. Society decides what boys and girls do, how they are named, how they dress, how they act and behave. Other than bearing children, there need be no difference between men and women. Where in biology does it say that boys can’t wear dresses and girls can wear a business suit. Where does it say that men have to work and women have to stay at home. It doesn’t say that anywhere in biology. Society says it. Society says men cannot wear makeup and high heels. Society says that women are second class citizens and have fewer rights than men.

I suppose we got this way because on average, men are generally bigger and strong then women and can force their opinions on women. But there have been, and there still are, matriarchal societies.

So, finally we get to gender identity. Traditionally, boy bits between the legs, male role in society. Girl bits, female role in society. End of discussion.

But, that shouldn’t be the end, or it shouldn’t be set in stone because there are people who feel that they were classified incorrectly. Someone who is AMAB (assigned male at birth) can honestly feel that they are not male. That they should have been AFAB and lived their life as a female. It is deeper than just the clothes or the makeup. It goes down to the person’s own body.

You look at your body in the mirror and you see a man, but in your head you are screaming, that is not right. That is not how I am supposed to look. That reflection should be a woman. You look and you feel ill at ease. You feel uncomfortable, dissatisfied, uneasy. It doesn’t fit with what you see. You have a general feeling of not belonging, not being in the right place, never feeling comfortable. This is gender dysphoria. It is real. It is not pretend.

This dysphoria can lead to serious distress. Clinically significant distress or impairment that requires treatment. Gender dysphoria, like homosexuality, is no longer classified as a mental disease, but as a condition that leads to depression, etc. So, treatment for the depression will include gender affirmation in many different forms.

The DSM 5 changes the categorization of this issue. Previously it has been called “gender identity disorder” and was focused on the identity as the problem. Now it has been changed to “gender dysphoria” and focuses on the dysphoria, and relieving the dysphoria. It’s not the fact that you have gender dysphoria, it is an issue if causes you distress.

Likewise, the DSM changed the definition of homosexuality. It was originally classified as a mental disorder called “sexual deviation”. They changed that to “sexual orientation disturbance” in the 2d edition in the early 1970s. It was no longer a problem in itself, but now the disturbance caused by it was the issue. It was finally completely removed in DSM 5. So, we are back at the spectrum thing. This gender identity is not a binary, Male of Female. It too is a spectrum. Some people feel that they are completely the other gender. Some less so. Some are variable and their identity isn’t fixed, this is known as being gender fluid. Non-binary is when someone feels that have a mixture of male and female. Maybe a 30/70 split, or a 90/10. Everyone is different.

Now, the big reveal. These things are not related at all. An AMAB can grow up liking girls, and then go through gender reassignment and still like girls, or they could change and like boys, or both. There has been a lot of talk on social media about how people cannot wrap their heads around this. They obsess over whether the person is straight, or gay. Are they a straight man or a lesbian.

It seems that they are unable or unwilling to grasp this concept and they are looking for ways to shut it all down. The seem convinced that this will “corrupt” their children or destroy their innocence. That it will lead to the downfall of society.

 
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from Jennifer George

Discussion on topic of “both sidism” and respecting other opinions and good faith. With some Trans content in there.

I’ve been thinking about our society’s dysfunction when it comes to debate. Debate has certainly been a part of humanity since the earliest days. It was a part of ancient Greek and Indian civilization. The Romans were masters at the art form, elevating it and degrading it at the same time. Senators debated issues in public, but at the same time, were viciously attacking each other in the process. Cicero famously accused Clodius of incest with his brothers and sisters. This practice was known as “invective” which entered the English language in the 15th century after passing through Middle French from the Latin “inveho” meaning “carrying in”.

But I digress. Debate ran through the history of Europe and came to the United States with the ideals of the founding fathers. The debates of the constitutional convention, the ratification debates. The format of the houses of Congress for debate of issues. The famous Lincoln – Douglas debates leading to the 1858 senatorial election in Illinois. The concept of debate has been an idealistic one of academics in a debating society with formal rules and polite respectful behavior.

Of course there are always outliers, in 1856 South Carolina representative Preston Brooks beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner unconscious on the floor of the Senate, with cane, following a debate wherein Sumner insulted Brooks’ friend South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler. Brooks resigned and was immediately re-elected to his position. Sumner eventually recovered and remained in the Senate for another 18 years.

I digress again. What I was thinking about was public debate of issues in today’s society. Who deserves a say in the public debate. What does it mean to say you are impartial. The past decade or so has seen a big change in the issues we discuss and how we discuss them. Voices are being heard that we haven’t heard in a long time.

When an issue comes before us we like to hear the various sides of the issue so that we can make an informed decision. Is there a plot of land that will be developed? We would like to hear all the proposals. [more examples needed] But, what if the issues have bigger implications? Abortion? Gun Control? Discrimination? Who gets a spot at that table? People can have good faith positions that differ on these issues. But there are also people who have opinions that are so far out of the norm as to no longer be in good faith.

The first 80 or so years of our nation, and for a good time after, there were people who legitimately thought it was fine to own another human being and make them work for you. The Lincoln – Douglas debate I mentioned above is an example of that. The infamous three fifths compromise was an example of that. Anti-slavery delegates were more interested in preserving the country than the rights of slaves.

Those delegates who supported slavery, had a place at the table and were given a voice in the debate. Would they get that today? Should they get that today? It seems to me that they are. People with opinions that have no basis in fact are given a platform on the national news with no challenge. Vaccine deniers and Covid skeptics were given time next to medical experts like Dr. Fauci and were able to spread their falsehoods to the detriment of thousands of gullible people who are now dead.

Likewise, the election fraud crowd has been featured on the national news, despite the overwhelming lack of evidence of any election fraud. In fact, the little fraud that has been found has mostly been committed by members of the same party that are alleging the fraud.

The people who are out to harm transgender children are given air time despite the fact that their arguments are based on lies and misinformation. They are alleging things that just don’t happen, but they are given a voice. They say that small children are given puberty blocking drugs, they are not. Kids with gender dysphoria are counselled and supported until the time that puberty would normally commence and only then are blockers considered. Puberty blockers are however, prescribed for children with early onset puberty, also known as precocious puberty. That keeps the child in line with their peers and allows them normalcy.

Opponents allege that children are too young to know if they have gender dysphoria and that adults are forcing the change on them. Nothing could be further from the truth. The general idea is to allow the child to explore their identity safely until they are at an age and level of maturity where a decision of such import can be made. Hormone therapy can be started and stopped if needed. No one can get gender conforming surgery until they reach the age of majority.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) Standards of Care—Eighth Edition (SOC-8) was published in September 2022. This sets forth the standards of care for transgender patients and all ethical practitioners should be following its guidelines.

Chapter 7 covers children. The recommendations include therapy and counselling for the patient and the family, age-appropriate education on gender development, education as to treatments that are available when age appropriate, and the risks inherent in social transition. They also recommend support for the child to explore their gender identity and expression and that the child’s choice of gender be acknowledged and validated. It is all about therapy, counselling, and support for the child. It does not recommend any medical intervention in childhood.

Chapter 6 covers adolescents. After assuring that providers are properly trained, they recommend counselling and therapy, and support for the adolescent in a way that no particular gender expression is favored over another. It is the patient’s decision. They strongly recommend against any sort of conversion therapy. They recommend puberty blockers for those patients experiencing dysphoria until the patient graduates to adult care.

The recommendations include continued therapy and counselling on the options that will be available and the risks associated with those options including loss of fertility. Then they have strong recommendations on who and when to recommend a patient move into gender conforming treatment. The patient must fit the diagnostic requirements of the ICD-11. The patient’s gender incongruity must be marked and sustained over time. The patient must display the emotional and cognitive maturity to provide informed consent.

The patient must have reached a certain point in puberty and been on hormone treatment for at least 12 months before surgical intervention can be considered. They generally recognize that blockers would begin no earlier than about age 12, hormone replacement at 16 and surgery after 18. No one is pushing children into gender changes recklessly.

This is also happening with climate change. It is happening with white supremacy, racism, and anti-Semitism. During the Trump – Clinton campaign news outlets gave time to the people claiming there was a child trafficking ring run by Hilary Clinton operating out of the basement of a pizza restaurant in Washington D.C.

Alex Jones and his Infowars show spreads despicable lies on many topics, from pizza-gate and Hilary’s emails to the sad situation at Sandy Hook. He shamelessly exploited the 2012 tragedy for his personal gain. It wasn’t until 2022 that he was finally held accountable through billion-dollar judgements against him. But for all that time, he had a voice that was reported on in the main stream media without any substantial challenge.

Alex Jones and the late Rush Limbaugh were good examples of this issue. They had opinions that were not based on reality, they were based on their own prejudices and used solely for personal gain, yet they had a huge audience. Why were they given a platform?

White nationalists, American Nazis, The KKK, The Proud Boys and the Oathkeepers. Why do I even know the names of these groups. How did we let them get into the national conscious.

These are all very important issues that need to be discussed and considered in the public forum but who gets to participate? When a white supremacist is invited to speak at a college campus by a student group, should it be permitted? Well, generally it would be at a state school thanks to the First Amendment, but does the press have to give the speaker a platform? When the nightly news reports on the story, do they give the speaker’s arguments any airtime?

When the Sunday morning news panel shows are looking for ratings, should they invite the extremist positions to debate? It lends an air of legitimacy to the far-out opinions. Four hundred years ago, the extreme position was that the Earth orbited the Sun and not the other way around.

The First Amendment prohibits the government from infringing free speech. I support this wholeheartedly, but it does not guarantee the speakers a platform in the public debate. News outlets do not need to report on them, which lends a sense of legitimacy to their position. Internet providers do not need to allow their hate on the internet. The saturation of social media and electronic communications, gives the extreme opinions a way to spread that was not available 20 years ago.

The BBC has prided itself on its impartiality but in the past few years it was perverted in their misguided attempts to be impartial. During the Brexit debate they gave a platform to those contributors who based their positions on racism and nationalism, particularly Nigel Farage who had nothing to contribute to the debate but racism and lies.

A recent academic survey showed that the BBC was giving more airtime to the conservative government representatives than liberal representative at a rate of 4 to 1.

A former BBC presenter recently gave lecture where she described their process during the Brexit debate, “It might take our producers five minutes to find 60 economists who feared Brexit and five hours to find a sole voice who espoused it … But by the time we went on air we simply had one of each; we presented this unequal effort to our audience as balance. It wasn’t.”

This is known as false balance or bothsidesism. Another good example shown in the Wikipedia article centers on climate change. In 2013, 97% of climate scientists believed that climate change was happening. However, in 2013, among Fox News guests 31% believed it was happening and 69% did not believe climate change was happening.

Likewise, they have given platforms to the same transphobic people I described above.

The First Amendment protects everyone from the government infringing on their right of free speech. That does not mean everyone’s speech is equally valuable or equally entitled to the heard. Some say that we need to give these people a voice so that we can know what they are up to. I disagree. I fully support their first amendment right to say horrible, evil things, but I do not support their right to have those words broadcast to the public or be allowed a place in public debate. I am not suggesting the government get involved, I am calling on the media to be responsible. Do not fear the cries of bias from the extremists on either side. Provide the truth.

I am completely happy giving different sides of an issue a chance to speak, assuming those opinions come from a good faith basis. However, we should not give the time of day to the outrageous, bad faith opinions of people who are hateful and harmful and want nothing other than to improve their own situation, sow hatred or sow chaos.

 
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from Jennifer George

I was talking with a friend (F) who is not aware of my transness the other day and the conversation turned to all the anti-trans feeling circulating everywhere. She is generally accepting of things, but is having a hard time with the idea of transition. She said, “I would have one question for a Trans person, do you want to have a period? Bleed and have cramps every month? Because, it is not fun.”

I think this is evidence of the belief that being Trans is a choice, not a biological imperative. Just like so many people used (and still do) to believe that being gay was a choice, so now, do people believe that being Trans is a choice.

Of course, acting in accordance with that feeling can be seen as a choice. Like the Catholic Church says, it is not a sin to be gay, but it is a sin to do gay things. There is a similar attitude about Trans people. But, this is a false choice. Not doing gay things is not a viable option. You are asking the person to ignore an inherent element of their person.

It is no different than asking a straight person to act gay, or a cis person to act Trans. The classic response to a straight person saying that being gay is a choice is “when did you choose to be straight?” So, the same applies to cis people, “when did you choose to be a man?”.

The “just don’t do it” concept doesn’t even work with things that are not an internal part of you. Just don’t eat that cheeseburger…no fat people. Just don’t open that beer can…no alcoholics or drunk driving. The concept has finally been officially recognized as useless with the de-criminalization of marijuana in so many US states. Remember how effective Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” was. That’s right, not at all. Think of how many problems we could solve if “just don’t do it” worked. It doesn’t.

What straight and cis people don’t get is that it isn’t a choice. It’s not just a game of dress-up. With very few exceptions throughout history, being gay has been fraught with danger. It has been outlawed; its punishment, in some places, even today, is death. Execution for the way you were born. Why would someone “chose” to expose themselves to that hatred and risk of death?

We’ve seen the results for people who try to hide or deny their essential nature. From depression and anxiety to self-harm to suicide. It is not a matter of saying “just don’t do it”. If it were that simple there wouldn’t have been gay and Trans people throughout every era of history. I know for myself, denying my Transness did not do me any good. I spent my first 50+ years hiding from the world, depressed, anxious, alone, and comforting myself with food. I was living life as a zombie in some ways, just shuffling forward, doing what was expected of me. I went to college and then law school. I worked in a firm in NYC. I got married and had two fantastic kids, but I had no joy. I had no direction, no meaning to my life.

It finally came to a head when I was approaching my 50s. I weighed an astonishing amount and I went through the process to get bariatric surgery. It took almost a year to get the insurance approval. The incredible support of my therapist and GP made it possible. I had the surgery and lost over 100 pounds and was pleased with things. But, treating the weight did not cure the underlying issues. The weight began to creep back on and after 5 years or so I had put 40 or so pounds back on. At that point I just didn’t care. I had hit the bottom. I thought I had hit the bottom 6 years before when I decided to get the surgery, but this was worse. I was ready to just eat until it killed me.

I had no reserves left to suppress my feelings. One Wednesday evening, during a therapy session, the dam gave way and it all came flooding out. I finally admitted to myself and to someone else, who I was. When I say burst, it burst and more emotions flowed out of me at that point than I think had my entire life up to then. It was like the weight of the world was lifted from my back. Like the sun was shining for the first time, all those clichés. But it is true.

The result of that revelation has been more difficulties, but these difficulties have a positive energy. I am overcoming them to improve myself and get where I belong. The process of assembling a medical team, seeing an endocrinologist, getting medical clearance from a cardiologist, dealing with insurance companies, starting on testosterone blocker and estrogen therapy.

There is a positive goal now.

So, to go back to the original question. Yes, I would take the periods, the cramping, and the bleeding to be who I am. While I do want to get bottom surgery, it is only a small way to being who I am. It is cosmetic. It will help dramatically, but if there were an option for a transplant of the whole area, I think a large majority of Trans women would jump at the opportunity. The bleeding and cramps would be an affirmation that we were complete. I have no doubt I would be miserable and complain about the pain and curse the powers that gave this beautiful curse to women, but inside would feel peace, knowing things were right.

 
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from Tŵt Blog

Starting in November 2022 we have seen an influx of members seeking to migrate from Twitter to Tŵt Cymru. We are very happy to accomodate the move and are glad to welcome everyone, however we are now seeing a large number of accounts exhibiting various habits that are disruptive to the community. Of particular note is the unmonitored use of a Twitter crossposter, a means to automatically post Twitter content to Tŵt.

We understand many people are testing the Mastodon waters and are worried about losing their Twitter community. However, our public timelines are not intended for absentee tweeters pushing content into the public feeds that includes non-functional Twitter usernames, bot spam, and high volume retweet content that is only available on Twitter.com, a site many of our membership prefers to avoid.

Personal accounts registered on Tŵt are generally intended for engagement, not broadcast. Our members expect to be able to engage with you and your posts. If you wish to use both platforms and plan on using a bot of some kind to mirror content from Twitter, the following rules will apply beginning Monday January 16th, 2023:

  1. Do not crosspost retweets or quote tweets to Mastodon. Only crosspost your original content, your personal tweets. These settings should be available in your crossposter settings.

  2. If you are a high volume tweeter you must post Unlisted or Followers-only. This setting should be available in your crossposter settings.

  3. If you are not monitoring replies to your crosspost-connected Tŵt account you must mark your account as a bot. You can accomplish this by visiting https://toot.wales/settings/profile and check the box that says “This is a bot account” – this is a way to tell followers that the account mainly performs automated actions and might not be monitored.

Starting on January 16th, Tîm Tŵt will reach out to any account that appears to be an unmonitored account. If we get no response after a week, we will try one more time to contact you. If we still cannot reach you, we will limit the account such that your toots will be restricted to those accounts that follow you; they will not appear in our public timeline. You will be searchable and messageable. In very rare instances where the volume of unmonitored content is considerable, we may suspend the account.

Additionally, any message that we see from Twitter containing irrelevant spam or tweets that are solely images of text with no alternative text option will be reported and deleted. For example, if you use fllwrs.com to tweet about your follower count and it is crossposted to Tŵt, we will report and delete the toot. Accounts posting excessive spam may be limited or suspended.

If you have questions or feedback about our approach to this issue please comment here: https://toot.wales/@jaz/109625492544360829

 
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from Tŵt Blog

Going forward we will be posting our donations and expenses to this URL: https://github.com/tootwales/documentation/tree/main/finances

We operate three managed services: Mastodon, Pixelfed, and WriteAs, for which we pay managed hosting fees.

In addition we have four domain names with annual fees, and some administrative fees to operate the non-profit.

Cyber liability insurance is the only other major expense, and will be reflected in the New Year.

As of November 2022 we have seven volunteer staff who take no money from the charity, but if donations increase we will consider a stipend or a wage as the service becomes self-sustaining.

 
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from Tŵt Blog

Discussing politics on Mastodon is fast becoming a hot-button topic. I’ve seen a lot conversation lately about whether or not “politics'' should be behind a CW and there’s one side asking for “politics” to be CWed and another side declaring it to be the most important thing in the world and should never be CWed. (skip the intro and go straight to the play)

I do not see or hear the ninety percent of people who rarely speak up. As with all things, a small selection of voices is speaking up one way or the other (ref. the 1% rule).

We’ve worked hard on explaining the subtleties and expectations in our Community Code of Conduct, but nonetheless it’s important to note two things: 1. Sociopolitics and lived experience are some of the most important things people should be able to talk about in a welcoming, inclusive community 2. Avoiding politicians’ and political parties’ endless back and forths, and the angry or frustrated army of voices in favour or against, is one of the most important reasons many are on Mastodon instead of, say, Twitter.

With the recent influx of new members from Twitter, we are running into our members who want less of (1) and members who want more of (2).

I’ve worked on a few different ways to communicate the issue, but I’ve settled on a short play, which I present to you now. If you’d like the short version, skip to the summary

Play

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

MABEL: a mother of two, a nurse, and fan of handicraft, most usually a supporter of OTHERPOLITICAL PARTY, although Mabel doesn't get too involved unless there's an election happening PIERCE: a supporter of POLITICALPARTY ESMERELDA: a supporter of OTHERPOLITICALPARTY CHRIS: a young person, usually withdrawn

ACT I

SETTING

The family room of a small suburban bungalow. There is a cosy settee and a mid-size flat-panel television.

TIME

Saturday morning, elevenses. The children are at their respective sporting events, the spouse is down the allotment pulling beetroot and potatoes. Mabel has to do the shop, the wash, collect the children, figure out how to pay the electric, and think about dinner.

MABEL (to herself)

Oh dearie me! I have so many things to do today! I think I will take one hour to entertain myself and catch up with friends before I do the very serious and important things I must do today. I shall watch the French and Saunders box set. The ones with Mel Giedroyc in, I like her. (MABEL inserts the DVD and settles in to watch, checking her tea is still hot, and opens her text messages to chat with a few friends. She watches two scenes and laughs out loud at the funny bits. The phone rings, it is Pierce.)

PIERCE (shouting)

DID YOU KNOW POLITICALPARTY DID SOMETHING I DISAGREE WITH! I CANNOT BELIEVE IT! CAN -YOU- BELIEVE IT! TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW WHAT I THINK SO I KNOW YOU THINK THE SAME WAY I DO!

MABEL

That may or may not be something I need to worry about, but right now I'm watching French and Saunders, the ones with Mel Giedroyc in, I like her.

PIERCE (shouting)

FRENCH AND SAUNDERS IS NOT IMPORTANT. WHAT I AM SAYING IS IMPORTANT. IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THERE IS.

MABEL

Okay, but, can you say it somewhere else? I'm watching French and Saunders. With Mel G...

PIERCE (shouting)

I DON'T THINK YOU UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT THESE KINDS OF TOPICS ARE TO A HEALTHY, FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY.

MABEL

I think politics affects us all, each and every day, but now is not the time nor pl...

PIERCE (shouting)

IT IS ALWAYS THE TIME AND PLACE. EVERYWHERE THAT I EXIST, IN ALL SPACES, AT ALL TIMES, THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THERE IS. PAY ATTENTION!

MABEL

I understand, and it's probably the most important thing to you right now, clearly, but there are times and places where what you're talking about is encouraged and engaged with by people who have expressed a desire to discuss these matters, maybe go there?

PIERCE (shouting)

IT IS ALWAYS THE TIME AND PLACE. EVERYWHERE THAT I EXIST, IN ALL SPACES, AT ALL TIMES, THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THERE IS. PAY ATTENTION!

MABEL

But THIS isn't the place. I have chosen to rest, catch up with friends, and entertain myself for a small time, after which I will focus on important things. I'm expecting a friend to ask for help with stitching any minute now. Please go somewhere else or at least lower your voice so I can ignore you for a while.

PIERCE (shouting)

DO NOT IMPEDE HOW QUICKLY MY IMPORTANT MESSAGE CAN BE HEARD BY ALL! (ESMERELDA joins the phone conversation using a technology akin to party lines)

ESMERELDA

Actually Pierce, Mabel is correct. It's OTHERPOLITICALPARTY that has made the correct statements on this important issue. Also, POLITICIAN from POLITICALPARTY is a liar and a thief.

MABEL

Esmerelda, even though I probably agree with you, please don't assume my point of view. And I'm really not thinking about these things right now, I was just watching French and Saunders for a minute.

ESMERELDA (Shouting)

I DON'T THINK YOU UNDERSTAND HOW IMPORTANT THESE KINDS OF TOPICS ARE TO A HEALTHY, FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY. (The doorbell rings, it is Chris)

CHRIS

Hi Mabel. I'm having a really bad day and I have no-one in my immediate vicinity to talk about this with, so I'm reaching out to my community for support. I believe my issues are due to POLITICALPARTY policies, and hearing POLITICIAN talk about them is really upsetting me today.

MABEL

Oh my goodness! I was watching French and Saunders but this is more important! Let's talk.

CHRIS

Thanks Mabel, I really appreciate it. Can I come in?

MABEL

No, it's too loud in here, let's go down to that nice caff down the road and talk there? I think it's called Organic Roastadon. It's a lovely place built specifically to allow people to be heard and engaged with.

CHRIS

That's oddly specific, but yes please, let's go there. Thank you for engaging with me. (Mabel and Chris go to Organic Roastadon and talk. They like it so much they meet there regularly for six years.)

ACT II

SETTING

The warm and inviting cafe "Organic Roastadon". Most tables are in use but there are some seats available. The cafe is the busiest it's ever been, and the manager looks a little worried. Nonetheless, everyone is chatting and sipping hot drinks while comforting music plays in the background.

TIME

Saturday afternoon. The weather is sunny with clouds on the horizon.

CHRIS

Mabel, it's been so nice to catch up. I can't believe it's been six years already since we started meeting like this. It has really helped me out in ways I could not have imagined.

MABEL

I love this time with you Chris, and I get to meet other new people here too. Look around, most of these people I've managed to have a chat with at some point. I love how close knit and supportive we all are. I especially like it on Sundays when we all bring a photograph of our favourite sheep.

CHRIS

I'm just so glad I can talk about personal issues that affect me and those around me without being drowned out by... (A bell sounds and the door of the coffee shop opens, it is Pierce, blocking the doorway, and behind him Esemerelda is struggling to get past.)

PIERCE (shouting)

DID YOU KNOW POLITICAL PARTY DID SOMETHING I DISAGREE WITH! I CANNOT BELIEVE IT! CAN -YOU- BELIEVE IT! EVERYONE IN HERE SHOULD START TALKING ABOUT THIS AT ONCE!

ESMERELDA

Actually Pierce, you are incorrect. It's OTHERPOLITICALPARTY that has made the correct statements on this important issue. Also, POLITICIAN from POLITICALPARTY is a liar and a thief.

CHRIS, MABEL, AND ALL PATRONS' VOICES IN UNISON

Aaaaaaaaaagh. (Blackout)

Summary

Here’s how we put this in our Community Code of Conduct:

Politics and politicking are a divisive issue for many. Politicking (i.e. activities performed to acquire or retain the power of politics), seeking someone’s vote or agreement, content intended to sway political opinion, content about politicians, elections and electioneering, or party political messaging should include a CW.

We don’t enforce the CW with an iron fist; we are asking you to be mindful of others.

We are not asking you to suppress your lived experience; we are asking you to restrain from the day-to-day, neverending red vs blue team wars.

We are not asking you to silence yourself; we are asking you to use hashtags and CWs so others can filter those posts out if they want to.

And mostly, we are asking you to allow everyone the space to use the service in the manner that best fits them, and not force divisive topics into everyone's feeds.

 
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