It’s Time to Tell Men What They Are Doing Right

I want to say a thing to my fellow women and non-men. And I’m probably gonna piss a bunch of you off.

We need to do a better job of acknowledging the good things men do.

Sit on your knee-jerk for a minute and hear me out.

A while ago, I was watching a program for parents and the guy up on stage made the point that in a healthy marriage, people say four good things to each other for each negative thing they say. But many kids here 10 negative things about each themselves for every 1 positive thing they here.

This is an important facet of human interaction. If we don’t tell people what they are doing right and only criticize them for what they are doing wrong, the vast majority of people will stop trying. The message they get is that they can’t do anything right, that you are going to be angry with them no matter what, so what’s the point?

Now, take a look at what gets said about men. I’m not talking implicit stuff like how boys toys are about doing stuff and girls toys about being pretty. I’m talking the clear, explicit statements about men, either individual men or men as a whole, that are all over our social media feeds.

Women and non-men tend to focus on the implicit stuff as needing to be fixed—and that’s fair because the implicit messages we get sent are fucking horrible.

But implicit messages and explicit messages don’t cancel each other out. Men and boys (most especially boys) who hear endless explicit messages about men being rapists aren’t going to magically not be affected by that message because most CEOs are men.

What message are our sons getting?

What are we teaching them about what it means to be a man?

Are they learning what makes a good man? Or are they getting hammered with messages about what makes a bad man/how bad men are?

How can we expect them to grow up to be good men if we don’t give them good models of manhood to follow?

I’m not talking about giving cookies to allies for good behavior. And I’m not talking about ignoring bad shit that men do.

But let me give you an example.

In one of the MCU movies with Captain America (I think it was actually Captain America, but don’t hold me to that). Steve asks someone out, gets turned down, accepts is politely and walks away.

This was a perfect chance for positive reinforcement. We could have had memes, blog posts, videos ‘that’s how you do it’ ‘why Cap’s a real man’, shit like that.

Instead, I only saw one person talking about how important and positive a moment this was in building Cap’s character, and that person was responding to people criticizing Cap for being willing to take no for an answer.

We had a chance to send a message, to men, to boys, and to Hollywood, ‘this is good, give us more of it.’ and we dropped the ball.

I can hear some of the responses I’m going to get already ‘it’s not our job! We already do a disproportionate amount of emotional labor! They need to fix themselves! Why are we responsible!’

This isn’t about fair. It isn’t about right. And it isn’t about equal.

It’s about building something healthy.

You ever been in a relationship with someone who was unintentionally abusive? Someone who wanted to learn better?

In that kind of situation you have two choices: get out or help them while they learn and grow. And if you can’t focus on fair, you can’t focus on fair. You need to do your part.

That doesn’t mean you need to put up with it when they screw up. You tell them, ‘you did X, that’s gaslighting. Stop.’ But it does mean that when you tell them to stop and they do you need to reinforce that, ‘that you for stopping when I told you. I really appreciate the effort you are making.’

The relationship between men and women & non-men has historically been an abusive one. And some of that abuse lingers today. But men have been saying, for close to a hundred years, that they want to do better. If men didn’t want to do better, then women still wouldn’t have the vote.

If we want to ever have a healthy relationship (on a cultural/political level) between men and women & non-men, we need to step up the positive reinforcement. We need to tell men when we something that is right.

Some people can shrug off negative messages and struggle through to stay engaged and do what is right. And the many, many men who have done that, who have stood up for and with women and non-men to call for changes, are amazing and wonderful.

But that doesn’t change what makes for a healthy relationship.

Fight to change the implicit messages. Fight to change the assumption that men make better CEOs or the way women politicians are criticized for their appearance in a way men politicians never are. That is good and important work.

But don’t forget that explicit messages matter. That in terms of explicit messaging, women are constantly getting positive reinforcement through advertisements, social media campaigns, even school programs. And men are constantly getting negative reinforcement with little to no positive reinforcement.

I’m not trying to blame anyone. It’s easier to criticize the bad than to praise the good. That’s human nature too. So it’s understandable that we’ve focused more on criticism than publicly recognizing the good. But we need to make a choice: are we going to dig in and make this relationship work, regardless of ‘fair’. Or are we giving up on the relationship?

If that latter is your choice, there are definitely limits to the ways you can disconnect yourself from men, but there are steps you can take, from only having kids through IVF from a sperm donor, to only reading stuff written by women and non-men, to looking for or starting a business that caters specifically to women and non-men so you don’t need to deal with men at work.

Me? I’ve known some pretty awesome men in my life. One of whom I owe my life to (okay, two, if you count my father). I’ve got two sons. I’m not walking away from them. And that means working to make a world where my sons, and other people’s sons, and all the men who want to do better, hear the positive reinforcement they need (and frankly, deserve) as they continue to grow.

A Deconstruction and Analysis of the Accusations and Evidence of Abuse and Rape by Laurelai Bailey

Evidence generated through websearch

Lolcow

This is the first I have heard of Lolcow. So I have no preconceptions about how valid the information might be on it. The name is doesn’t lead me to think of it as a factual information source, but that could be misleading.

Main Article

Page: https://lolcow.wiki/wiki/Laurelai Accessed: 9/5/2018 ~8:00 ET

Page opens with a quote from Laurelai:

“Im going to ruin you Zoey, it was bad enough you lying about me. That i can kinda get, im an asshole. The others? WOOOW thats evil.”

—Laurelai, threatening a woman she had allegedly raped

 

In this purpoted quote Laurelai is alleging that “Zoey” lied about multiple people and says she can see why “Zoey” might want to lie about her. The caption cites it as evidence of Laurelai threatening her alleged victim. However there is no citation for this quote and it puts us at an impass of allegations: if this “Zoey”’ lied about multiple people including Laurelai, than this is Laurelai-a-victim standing up to her attacker. If this “Zoey” told the truth, than the caption is accurate.

In sum, this quote is chosen to get the reader emotionally engaged. Ignore it.

Summary opens with extensive accusations and no citations. Last paragraph makes reference to “Kiwi Farms” (more on them later) and includes the first citations of the article.

The first citation is titled in the bibliography as “Laurelai’s Twitter – Laurelai harassing people who bring up her crimes”

The link for the citation leads to a Tweet of Lauelai’s where she says “Anyone who is mutuals with ______ tell him to stop spreading lies started by reactionaries of hes gonna wind up getting someone killed.”

While tweets of this sort can result in a person being inundated by the same message and it is better to ask single individuals to make contact to avoid this, it hardly constitutes harassment.

Nor is it a valid citation for the sentence from the summary “She is absolutely willing to dox, threaten, and attempt to attack anyone who makes the mistake of trying to warn others about her.”

There is no doxxing here, no threats, and no attacks unless you count alleging someone is lying as an attack.

https://tweetsave.com/stuxnetsource/status/834135096315764737

 

The second citation for this same sentence is titled ”Laurelai’s Twitter – More Harassment

It again leads to a saved tweet which reads “Stop fucking trying to destroy my social networks. Im gonna find you fuckers and make you pay for it.”

This does, in fact, constitute a threat. It does not constitute doxxing or harassment. It is also a threat in response to what Laurelai implies in the tweet are repeated attacks.

We can debate the ethics of non-specific threats against people who have attacked you, but frankly, it’s a null point. Worse things than this are said everyday in kindgergarten classrooms across the country.

Moving on.

The very next sentence also has a citation and accuses Laurelai of defending herself by accusing her attackers of being transphobes.

The title of the citation is “Laurelai’s Twitter – My Critics are Transphobes

The link leads to an archive of a twitter thread where Laurelai does, yes, say that she is being attacked by transphobes. She does not attack any specific person and she ties her personal circumstances into the oppression and attacks experienced by all trans women.

Nothing here is evidence that Laurelai is defending against specific accusations with claims the accusers are transphobes. Nothing here that dozens, hundreds, of trans women haven’t said before.

The fourth and last citation from the summary claims that “Even the scam-artists of Trans Lifeline” banned Laurelai from contacting them. The title for this citation is “Laurelai’s Twitter – This is what Exile Looks Like” This is another tweet that, finally, gives evidence for the claim made by the author. Per the picture Laurelai included in this tweet, she HAS been blocked from following or viewing tweets from @Translifeline.

The text of Laurelai’s tweet is “This is what exile looks like.”

We now have evidence that Laurelai has been cut off from resources intended to support trans individuals, with no information for why she was cut off.

The next section is titled “Family Abandonment”

There are no citations, only a link to a main article called “Kari Emails.” More later.

The section itself claims that prior to tranisitioning Laurelia had a wife and children, pimped out her wife, and then neglected them “until they left him”. It also claims that Laurelai has failed to pay alimony or child support and doesn’t acknowledge responsibility to her prior family.

Laurelai’s supposed abandonment of her family is treated then tied into her other alleged offenses as evidence that Laurelai is, in essense though not stated explicitly, a psychopath. “Laurelai, when she hurts people, feels nothing.” “She is acutely aware of her actions and has neither shame nor remorse for what she does to others. She genuinely believes her actions are always justified, and that her victims deserve what they get by virtue of her being Laurelai.”

No evidence is given for these claims.

Until such evidence emerges, these claims are set aside pending later dismissal.

Next section titled “Transience”

It claims that Laurelai is perpetually homeless and reliant on the goodwill of others which she perpetually abuses. Linked Main articles are “Laurelai Testimonials” and “An Open Letter to my Rapist, Laurelai Bailey”. More later.

Next section titled “FBI Sellout.”

According to this section, Laurelai first became notorious in 2011 due to her involvement with the hacker group LulzSec. Cited claims include:

1) her involvement with Lulzsec (citation links to Gizmodo article about FBI raid on Laurelai’s home and has some info about information Laurelai may have given to the Feds. Key sentences:

“Bailey’s conversation with the feds lasted about five hours, during which she told them everything she knew. But Bailey says she knew nothing that anyone couldn’t find out themselves, using leaked chat logs and Google. The feds also asked if she could infiltrate the group.”

Bailey refutes the claim that “she told them everything,” in her Medium article addressing accusations against her.

Regardless of the truth or falsehood of this claim, everyone seems to agree that Laurelai had nothing new to tell the Feds even if she wanted.

https://archive.is/enq4b#selection-3021.0-3021.273 )

2) Laurelai sold out her associates to the FBI to save herself. https://archive.is/7hNgU#selection-4195.0-4201.385

The citation here is a Gawker article from 2011. The article gives evidence that members of Anonymous believed Laurelai was a volunteer with Wikileaks. If so, no evidence is given of her involvement.

In fact, this citation proves the opposite of what is claims to claim. From the end of the article,

“Metric and A5h3r4 also provided us with what they say are the actual identities of Sabu, Kayla, Laurelai, Avunit, Topiary, and other members of the chat. We couldn’t connect the handles to the names provided with any certainty, so we’re not publishing them.

But they say they provided the same information to the FBI. When we called the special agent they gave it to, he replied, “as an agent on that case, I’m not going to discuss ongoing investigative matters” and referred us to a spokesman, who had no immediate comment. Metric and A5h3r4 also say they’ve handed the material to the Department of Defense, but declined to identify to whom.”

So rather than selling out her colleagues, Laurelai was herself sold out.

(Personal note: The author(s) really should have just used the first citation for this line. It at least provides evidence that Laurelai spoke with the FBI, though under duress. Using the citation, which demonstrates the opposite of what the author(s) claim is a sign of either lazy research or citation stuffing.)

3) A claim that Laurelai informed on her colleagues to the Feds in realiation for “not sufficiently kowtowing to her.” https://archive.is/CdtwC#selection-149.270-149.405

The linked citation is a letter circulated in 2017, but is actually about the already established FBI raid. While it is understandable that an underground anti-Fascist group might choose to disassociate from someone who had cooperated with the FBI in the past, this is not evidence of any new interaction with the FEDs.

Uncited claims include: that Laurelai is not actually a hacker but just a “script-kiddy” trying to make a name for herself. That Laurelai has bragged leaking to NSA’s Stux Net program. That she has “continued to rat out her associates to various government agencies the second it suits her.”

Given that cited claims have thus far been more often false or unproven than accurate, I will from here on dismiss uncited claims out of hand.

Next section it titled “Reddit Activity.

Quote starting the section reads:

“Laurelai went on a rampage with Kayla to try to get “revenge.” At some point somebody was trolling them on IRC using my twitter nick, and they became convinced I was a cancer surgeon in Florida. She openly bragged about going to this man’s place of employment to harass him, and of smearing him publicly (to his neighbors!) as a pedophile.”

—InfinitySnake, on Laurelai Bailey

Again, the quotation is uncited. It alleges that Laurelai engaged in retaliatory doxxing and doxxed the wrong person.

Section claims that Laurelai was very active on Reddit including being moderator for “several” LGBT boards and was driven off because of her behavior.

Citation for this is Laurelai’s resignation from a single LGBT subreddt, which she says is the result of “a phone call from someone reading off our home ip and address claiming intent to burn down our house.”

The letter is very angry and potentially inflammatory, but if the alleged phone call actually happened, is understandable.

Comment threads indicate that Laurelai’s style of moderation was considered overly harsh and abrasive by many users.

This claim can be considered at least partially accurate: Laurelai was “driven off” at least one subreddit for a harsh moderation style. The claim of “terrible behavior” has not been unheld.

Next cited claim is that Laurelai has doxxed and threatened users. Citation is a Reddit thread where Laurelai responded to a question [no included in citation, comments indicate question was about specific subreddits and about transphobia on them] by asking if the questioner was trans, and lashed out at them when they responded by refusing to answer and asking why it was any of her business and talking about how their gender was irrelevant, and finishing up with claiming they don’t know what they are but might be genderqueer.

Laurelai’s response was:

“So you arent [sic] even sure who the fuck you are, and you want me to answer to you on trans issues? Get bent asshole.”

Many would view Laurelai’s response as excessive and out of line. But this citation does not support the claim of doxxing or threats.

The final citations for this section are that Laurelai doxxed a cancer surgeon and called the doctor a pedophile. These citations presumably relate to the section quote.

The first citation has Infinitysnake [presumably the same person from the quote] saying that the initial doxxing was done by someone named Kayla and Laurelai “cheerleaded and promoted the posting”

Some of the technical details on this citation are going over my head, but what is clear is that 1) the doxxing was of someone other than Infinitysnake, 2) she legit believed the doxxing was of Infinitysnake themselves, 3) that in this thread she is not taking responsibility for harm done through this mistake, 4) that Inifinitysnake gave info on “hundreds” of people to law enforcement (the same accusation leveled repeatedly against Laurelai as evidence that she is a horrible person) and this doxxing was in response to that.

Infinitysnake claims that what they did doesn’t count as doxxing because it was all info given ot law enforcement and none of the people they reported on were innocent.

Here finally we have evidence that Laurelai participated in a doxxing, though no evidence that she herself has doxxed anyone. Infinitysnake claims in this thread that the person doxxed was smeared as pedophile and Laurelai does not deny it.

This citation supports the claim that Laurelai is willing to participate in retaliatory doxxing, and is evidence that sometimes she does not take responsibility for harm done by her actions.

The second citation for this claim is also a Reddit thread where Laurelai offers to share info on how to “get a hold of the person” she has been accused of defaming. Details of this supposed defaming aren’t shared, it may be a reference to prior claims of smearing someone as a pedophile, but given problems with prior citations I am not comfortable assuming that.

In the thread Laurelai admits that it looks bad to share someone else’s personal contact info as a way to defend herself “but honestly I dont see any other way here.”

This citation supports the claim that Laurelai has doxxed someone. This doxxing was a limited fashion (sharing contact info to individuals), and so cannot be considered support for the prior claims of widespread public doxxing. Though Laurelai does say that she would share the info on reddit if it wasn’t a rules violation.

The claim that Laurelai has doxxed or participated in doxxing is accurate. But there is no evidence of said doxxing being anywhere near as wide spread as Laurelai claims and no evidence that she has doxxed her personal enemies to get revenge.

https://lolcow.wiki/wiki/File:Laurelai_Defends_Dox.png

https://lolcow.wiki/wiki/File:More_of_Laurelai_Doxing_a_Doctor.jpg

The next section is “Involvement in GamerGate”

I’m going to skim over the section, I don’t have the knowledge or spoons to make sense of the many uncited claims. The only cited claim is that Laurelai owned “starrevolution.org” and that it was hosted on her hosting provider. The citations are screenshots showing which support this claim. (Relevancy: uncited claims are that this site was in some fashion involved in planting child porn on 8chan).

This section includes mention of Laurelai being a sex worker, putting sex worker in scare quotes and referring to her as a prostitute.

Next section is “Rape Allegations”

Interestingly, this is the shortest section yet.

Links to Zoey Wolfe’s open letter accusing Laurelai of rape (more later) and makes uncited claim that 5 other people accused Laurelai of rape.

Next section is “Laurelai vs The Kiwi Farms”

Section says on “Coming soon. Page was last updated Aug 22, 2018, so it is possible updates will be made in the near future.

Final section “Other Actions Online”

Contains further uncited claims in line with previous claims of harassment and death threats. Also claims involvement in AntiFa and that she has twice been suspended from Twitter. Additional uncited claims, some of which I have personal knowledge of accuracy (ie, pro-communism posts, yes Laurelai has made these), but are irrelevant to substantive accusations and so will not be addressed.

Kari Emails

This Lolcow page purpots to be a record emails between Laurelai (pre-transition) and her former wife. This page is uncited.

The wife repeatedly deadnames Laurelai, who at the time was going by Trinity, talks about Laurelai not being the person she married any more, shames Laurelai for needing financial assistance, and otherwise says she wants something from a spouse she apparently thinks Laurelai was not willing or able to give. There is no indication of abuse, no accusations of “pimping” wife, in nothing to support the claims made on the main page about Laurelai except that Laurelai was not as responsive as her wife wanted.

If these emails are accurate there was apparently some communication issues as both wife and Laurelai mention difficulty reaching the other and not getting responses to messages. In one message Laurelai asks why wife asked help from someone else and didn’t reach out when wife needed something.

https://lolcow.wiki/wiki/Kari_Emails

Laurelai Testimonials

This page purports to show evidence of Laurelai’s repeated transience, abuse of people who offer her space, and general toxicity.

This page is uncited.

Page has 4 “testimonials”.

Several of these testimonials are disturbing in their similarity. They all contain near identical claims of about Laurelai’s behavior. The all contain some pretty heavy ableism – “we eat out a LOT and she apparently “can’t walk too far anymore” ”, “Now see, in this household we generally eat out a lot (>10x weekly). The reality is she wouldn’t get up and come with us to go eat.”

Many of the claims made in these testimonials are upsetting but not evidence of abuse, toxic behavior, or anything other than potential depression and disability. Staying online at all times, rarely showering, not wanting a “conventional job”, sleeping excessively, not cleaning up after herself… anyone who has dealt with chronic pain and/or mental illness will be familiar with these symptoms and the way they make roommates hate you.

If these uncited claims are accurate, they may be reason not to invite Laurelai (or anyone else fighting chronic illness) to stay with you, but they are not evidence of actual harmful behavior.

Two different testimonials use the phrase “peeking my mouth [in]” to reference opening Laurelai’s door to tell her food was available. It may be this phrase is common in a subcultural I am unfamiliar with, but I have never heard it before and the only seach results for the phrase are about Laurelai Bailey. This extremely unusual phrase being used twice in two different testimonials caught my attention.

So did the fact that these same two testimonials claim they eat out multiple times a week (greater than ten times a week, in one case).

Two of these testimonials mention the writer getting threats due to Laurelai’s actions on Reddit. “She got us death threats from people on reddit IRL until she was forced to step down — true story.” “I know a Reddit administrator who warned me in fact that people were witch-hunting us and threatening to burn our house down”

Two of these testimonials claim Laurelai left immediately after her cell phone turned on “out of nowhere.” “finally left when her cellphone started working again (signalling time to leave I guess… phones don’t turn themselves on you know…)” “Well, her phone started working out of the blue — not even kidding. It just started working again for no apparent reason, being able to make calls and everything.”

Two of these testimonials claim the writer gave Laurelai a laptop. “we even bought a laptop for her for this purpose” “Congratulations me, you got played by a total fucking shitcunt. As for the $1500 macbook we let her keep? (btw, total bill of expenses for her: $4,000, in the grand scheme of things just a pittance)”

Two of these testimonials came when she moved in she was going to work for the writer “She came to our house under the guise she was going to work” “Now, I proposed Laurelai come here and use her many contacts to market a product that was really a front for the other things the company had planned. I should make note of that — she wasn’t doing anything major. She was literally there to be a social networking whore.”

These one testimonial also include several varieties of transphobia “I would like to remark she is not a very good transwoman. Most people who encounter her find her to be a joke of a transwoman.” “she ran off with this one FtM chick from southern Oklahoma.”

I could keep going on the similarities between these two testimonials. Suffice to say, I consider both of them extremely suspect.

This plus the near identical claims about Laurelai’s behavior makes me suspect that at least one of these testimonials was fake.

The third testimonial is from someone Laurelai has accused of raping her. It alleges the symptons of chornic illness or mental illness mentioned previously and the claim that Laurelai living their led to the writer getting doxxed.

I have no reason to doubt the veracity of this testimonial but also nothing to condemn Laurelai for in it except (possibly) being a bad roommate.

The fourth “testimonial” is nothing of the sort. It is summarizes Zoey Wolfe’s rape claims against Laurelai and alleges that Zoey Wolfe purposes waited to accuse Laurelai of rape until Laurelai was in a vulnerable place.

“In January 2015, seeing a vulnerable moment after Laurelai got caught in her notorious failed sting operation on 8chan, Zoey released the bombshell that she had been raped by Laurelai.”

Specifics of Zoey’s claim will be addressed next. This page contains no actual evidence of wrong doing by Laurelai and a great deal of evidence that at least some accusations against her are manufactured.

An Open Letter To My Rapist, Laurelai Bailey

I’ve seen this letter elsewhere, but this time found it through the Lolcow page. Unlike the prior two pages, it has a citation, an archive of the original letter which is identical to the Lolcow page. Of the five people Lolcow alleges Laurelai raped, this is the only one they give any citation for.

The letter is largely what one might expect. A lot of anger against Laurelai, a celebration of Laurelai’s supposed suicide, etc. There is a detailed description of the alleged rape. What jumps out to me is that this is one of those horrific situations when both people can be telling the truth.

“All I remember is you tugging me by the hand as I stumbled up the stairs. I could barely walk or stand. Then I’m on my back. Then nothing but a cold sensation and I feel your body over mine. I feel your cock sliding into me and I scream and pass out. I wake up and there you are grunting over me. I’m going in and out of lucidity. I convince myself that I enjoy it and play along, still struggling to stay conscious. You finish painfully in me and I roll over and I can’t remember anything else from that night.”

If this allegation is true, than Laurelai was either not aware that her sex partner was unconscious for part of the time or ignored it. Both of those possibilities are, to be blunt, shitty. But Zoey herself says that she convinced herself she enjoyed it and “played along.” Thus Laurelai may have no knowledge that Zoey did not want to have sex. If you “play along” and try to make your partner think you are enjoying sex, you cannot later claim that they knowingly violated your consent.

If accurate, Laurelai may have had sex with Zoey in a situation where Laurelai should have recognized that Zoey was unable to consent due to chemical impairment. This would meet the legal definition of rape and many people’s personal definition of rape.

Further allegations are that Laurelai purposely isolated Zoey and engaged in other abusive behaviors.

If these allegations are true than Laurelai committed rape, whether she did so intentionally or not, and behaved in an extremely unhealthy manner in her relationship with Zoey.


I meant to continue deconstructin through everything I found, but personal shit just exploded and I can’t. Here’s a brief summary of the rest of what I have looked at so far:

You can find Laurelai’s response to several accusations here: https://medium.com/@stuxnetsource/anatomy-of-a-social-disposal-71c887336429

While some of her claims are unsubstantiated she is MUCH better at provided accurate citations than Lolcow.

Regarding Zoey, among other things Laurelai says

“Her claim that i raped her is simply based in the fact she had one hit off of a weed pipe before hand, while i was actually very intoxicated.”

If this allegation is true that the situation is not one of rape but of two intoxicated people having sex and one of them not speaking up during the sex to say “stop.” It’s a graphic illustration of the importance of a yes-means-yes approach to consent, but as neither Zoey nor Laurelai provide a time the sex happened, it may well have been before yes-means-yes was well known. (Cali’s passing their yes-means-yes law in 2014 was the first time I was aware of that standard of consent.)

Laurelai also alleges and provides evidence that Zoey herself is a predator.

I won’t go into the rest of Laurelai’s response here, you can read it yourself.

 

Kiwi Farms, mentioned earlier, based on my quick skim is a transphobic site that repeatedly deadnames Laurelai and has the same general accusations that Lolcow did.

Summary: Everyone shouting about rape and abuse as if it were an open-and-shut case and all accusations against Laurelai were 100% true are just as naive and foolish as I thought. MOST accusations are demonstrably false. Those that aren’t are she said-she said grey areas and/or have extremely limited evidence.

PS, disabled and mentally ill people make bad roommates. We don’t mean to, but we do. If you don’t like it don’t invite us to stay with you.

PPS. I don’t know for a fact that Laurelai is disabled, but those testimonials describe classic life-with-disabled person-who-doesn’t-have-adequate-support. So it’s relevant either way.


Written before I started deconstructing:

I should be working on my book right now.

Instead, I’m writing a lesson on deconstructing internet accusations for the terminally naive, because people can’t be bothered to fucking Google for themselves. Yes, I’m pissed. I do not have the SPOONS for this shit right now and will probably end up having multiple panic attacks about this while my partner is in danger of fucking organ failure. So fuck you all who made me do this work, now, instead of bloody doing it yourself.

I first met Laurelai Bailey on Mastodon sometime in the past year. She seemed a bit abrasive but it’s the kind of abrasive I’ve learned to expect from people who have multiple marginalizations and have been fucked over by the world.

A few months later, I heard the first claims that Laurelai was a rapist. I was somewhat concerned, but no facts were given, just claims that it was “well known.” Laurelai herself shared an article she had written on Medium about the claims and her version of them.

I read that article, and decided that her evidence of false rape accusations was reasonable. Not an open-and-shut case, but enough for me to say “I think this is probably the truth, and so I’m going to move on now.”

Recently the accusations have sprung up again on Mastodon, partly fueled by an Instance Administrator who has claimed that all the allegations of his admin allowing Nazis and shit was made up as a harassment campaign by Laurelai. Well, I saw the Nazi jokes and racist jokes, and shit myself. Whatever your opinion of Laurelai, this was straight up deflection.

But Laurelai started getting hammered anyway. I reached out to her to offer support in private because, as mentioned, I can’t fucking afford this shit right now. But I had two different thoughts niggling in the back of my head. 1) I might be wrong to trust her. 2) If I believe she is innocent and I’m not defending her than that’s a really shitty thing to do.

So I did what I should have done in the first place (just like all of you fuck heads cluttering up my feed with claims of rape) and I Googled. Well, actually I DuckDuckGo’d, some bloody difference.

I went through first pages of search results and found three sites containing allegations. So far I’ve glanced over Lolcow and Kiwifarms. The third’s preview sentence indicates it’s a TERF site and I haven’t opened it yet. These are the sites I will be looking at today.

Questions about Raising Children in Polyamorous Households

Like I posted about the other day, I did a “taking Questions” session on Quora about raising children in polyamorous households.

I got 5 questions, which is the most I’ve received in any Taking Questions session so far. For those interested, here are the questions:

Are some adults in the family more involved in the parenting process than others? How is this split to most benefit the children?

What are some approaches to balancing overnight visits between non-nesting partners alongside co-parenting commitments?

In certain cases, it’s the parents’ word against that of the whole world. What should be the parental approach to correct a child’s misinformation on topics such as homosexuality or polyamory?

Do children raised in polyamorous households get bullied because of it and if so what do they do?

How did you talk to your children about healthy relationships?

I try to do a Taking Questions session on Quora every few weeks. So if there is a topic you’d like me to talk about, feel free to suggest it in the comments!

(For more on raising kids in polyamorous households, see my older blog posts here.)

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Echo Chamber or Comfort Zone?

Echo chamber has become a bit of a buzzword over the past few years. The basic idea is a space where everyone is saying and supporting the same ideas. People in an echo chamber are never challenged to think beyond their assumptions, to see a different perspective, or to learn new things that don’t agree with them.

Many people agree that echo chambers are bad. That we need restructure social media  to reduce the echo chamber affect. That it is unhealthy to be in an echo chamber.

I agree with most of the criticisms of echo chambers. But I think it’s time to reframe the idea, because the criticism is also missing some of the benefits of echo chambers.

Benefits? Of echo chambers? Yes, really. Though I don’t blame you for doubting. After all, everything we’ve heard about echo chambers is bad. It’s almost as if we are in an echo chamber–about echo chambers!

Social Comfort Zones

But what if we didn’t say echo chamber? What if, instead, we called is a “social comfort zone”?

Comfort zones are already a familiar idea. From school, to relationships, to work, we sometimes need to “reach outside your comfort zone”. And when we are stressed or sick or worried, we sometimes need to “retreat into your comfort zone.”

The comfort zone isn’t inherently  good or bad. It is a place where we are comfortable. It has all the same features of an echo chamber–it prevents us from growing if we stay there too long, it only holds the things we are comfortable with, it doesn’t challenge us, etc. But it also has good features that we don’t associate with the idea of “echo chambers”. Comfort zones are places we can relax. Comfort zones are low stress. Comfort zones help us heal.

What we call “echo chambers” are really social comfort zones. They have all the negative traits of comfort zones in work or daily life. But also all the positives.

What’s in a name?

Once we acknowledge echo chambers as social comfort zones, we can start having a healthier discussion about them.

One that encourages people to reach outside their comfort zone and expose themselves to other perspectives and ideas. But also one that doesn’t shame people for having and using a comfort zone. One that recognizes that some people live in places or situations where they are constantly exposed to other perspectives and their online or IRL comfort zones are a necessary part of how they manage their stress and care for themselves.

I want to give a shout out to Gargron and for inadvertantly inspiring this post. And a shout out to the Fediverse in general for being a place that not only allows but encourages multiple accounts with lots of options for privacy controls so folks can have a comfort zone and a stretch zone on the same social network.

 

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Fantasy Twists Anthology Is Out!

Okay, so the announcement is a bit late, but better late than never, right?

Fantasy Twists anthology, the trope-pretzeling short story collection from Cuil Press, is available as of last Thursday. My own story, One Hell of an STI, is included as well as pieces for six other authors.

If you are looking for creatively written stories inspired by some of your favorite tales as well as diverse characters you should check out Fantasy Twists from Cuil Press

from TheNerdyGirlExpress

I think my favorite part of the anthology is how varied it is.

While all the stories are fantasy, they range from fairy-tale retellings to superheroes. They explore, twist, and recreate, a wide range of fantasy tropes. Some authors took tropes so old they have become cliches and then fallen out of fashion and given them new life. (The scary old person next door) Some authors took tropes that will likely never go out of fashion and took them in a completely different direction. In my case, I took one of the most popular tropes of urban fantasy and turned it inside out.

The characters are varied as well, including werewolves, PoC, superheroes, trans characters, witches, fae, and a character I have been told is loosely based off of the Goblin Kin from Labyrinth. (See if you can spot him.)

Check it out today!

An Interview with Grandmother: Fantasy Twists Blog Tour

I love fairy tales. And I really like well-done new takes on old tales. So I was delighted when Kelseigh N. shared a very different version of “Red Riding Hood” with Cuil Press for our Fantasy Twists anthology.

When Desy starting putting together a Fantasy Twists blog tour, I immediately knew what I wanted to do. I offered to host a stop on the tour and said I’d do a character interview. Kelseigh was good enough to let me “sit down” with Grandmother and learn a bit HER perspective on things. Some of our discussion doesn’t sound much like Red Riding Hood, but that’s because there is a lot more to the story than you ever heard.

I hope you enjoy as much as I did.


Hi Grandmother, thanks for joining me today.

Why hello, Jess. How nice of you to take time out of your day to keep an old woman company. Or perhaps not so old as all that, eh?

So, one thing I can’t stop wondering—what’s with the red and blue cloaks? Is there a special meaning there, or are they just for convenience with the villagers?

A good question, that. Indeed there is, although the current villagers don’t know anything about it. Culture changes over time, you understand, and what once had a particular meaning shifts to mean something different. And we three, our cycle, we have been rolling along for a quite a long time.

But not to put too fine a point on it, from what I understand from the records of Grandmothers past and my own feelings that confirm it to be true, red was once considered the colour of youth, where blue was for those who had come of age. For the Girl and I, the division between those two roles isn’t so much dictated by age of course. But it fits well enough don’t you think?

When did you first notice the Girl? Was it something you gradually became aware of or just an instant realization that she was the one you were waiting for?

I would say the former, although it’s a much less clear-cut feeling than you may think. The three of us who make up the cycle, we are essentially the same people as we always are, but in many ways we are entirely new people every time. Memories don’t really carry well from our Wolf stage to the new Girl, but feelings and instinct…those are a much different matter. I had no idea when my Girl would come, only that she would and there were signs to look for. But in the end it was more a feeling that grew, until one day it dawned on me that this Girl out of all girls was the one I’d been waiting for.

Let me tell you, it was a relief!

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about the Wolf?

What can one say about their first love that doesn’t sound foolish to others? That she is a goddess? Perhaps she always was, in my eyes, even in her original form. Certainly she was as beautiful then as she is now, albeit in a different way. One hell of a kisser, too.

But I suppose you’re looking for something a little more objective. She is, at the heart of it, the embodiment and protecter of her entire realm. Both the things we humans would see as good and natural, or frightening and arcane, make her up and she does not judge either. She is the unseen danger that puts an edge on the villagers’ lives, and that too is a thing of value. She, that is the part of the cycle she occupies, has watched over the forest as long as there has been a forest to watch, or perhaps longer. I’ve thought long about it and discussed the matter with her, and neither of us are sure there ever was a beginning to what she is, although we each have our theories. Suffice to say she has effectively always been and always shall be, and so will the forest she guards.

How did you feel when you first became Grandmother?

Sad and happy, all at once. Excited. Terrified. Change is like that.

You must remember what I saw happen to the woman I’d loved for years. The two of us had more chance to be together before that day and I had a better idea what to expect, but it was still shocking. But now, so many years later what sticks with me are the happier thoughts. The sight of her, radiant in power, continuing the noble work of ages. Years of being together after that. Her wise counsel when it truly struck home that I was now responsible, alone, for the safety and welfare of the whole village, and for teaching my own Girl when I finally found her. She guided me through those early fears that I would not do as well as she.

I think it would have been a much harder transition without her there.

Okay. That’s all the questions I have. Thanks again for joining us.

Thank you as well. I’ve quite enjoyed our chat.


Fantasy Twists is available for pre-order on Amazon, B&N, Google, and Kobo. It’ll be out on Thursday. (I have a story in there too!)

If you want to learn more about Kelseigh’s work, check out her Patreon.

Miles Vorkosigan Is my Role Model (or How I Horrified Lois McMaster Bujold)

I’ve always felt a strong connection with Miles Vorkosigan. As an undiagnosed autistic teen growing up in an abusive household, I quickly learned that the key to survival was simple: stubborn your way through.

I’m nowhere near on Miles’ level when it comes to being a sheer, unstoppable juggernaut. But Miles was one of the people who showed me that it could be done. That no matter what your obstacles, if you are stubborn enough (and creative enough, and maybe just crazy enough) you can still beat everything in your way.

A few years ago, I learned that Michael had nearly died several times over the past year and we hadn’t known. That he was likely to die in the next few years if we couldn’t get him medical treatment. Treatment that we had no way to get because we were broke and living off money my aunt sent from Israel to keep a roof over our heads.

It broke me. Utterly, completely broke me. I remember going out for a walk and not being able to see where I was going for the tears in my eyes.

There was a little park with a circular garden in the middle. I remember walking around it several times just trying to come to grips.

And a line from Memory floated into my head.

“I am the man who owns Vorkosigan Vashnoi.”

And another,

“A mountain man, dumb as his rocks, doesn’t know when to quit.”

I took a breath. Walked back to the hotel we were staying in. I opened up Memory and re-read Miles Vorkosigan’s revelation about himself.

I wrapped myself in my own elemental stubbornness and knew we would find a way.

A little later, I got on Goodreads and for the first time ever sent a message to an author that I like. I thanked Lois Bujold for Miles, explained that he was something of a role model for me and that her writing was helping me through one of the worst times in my life.

She was awesome enough to write back. I think I scared her a bit. The idea that someone could take her “hyperactive little git” as a role model was… well, not something she was prepared for, apparently. She said she was glad that her writing had helped, but expressed… concern at the idea of someone modeling themself off of Miles.

It’s nearly 5 years later. My partner, while not health, is nowhere near in danger of dying anytime soon. Miles Vorkosigan is still one of my favorite characters.

And somedays, I remember Bujold’s supportive, but appalled, reply, and I just have to laugh.

Don’t worry Simon, I have a rheostat installed. And thanks to Miles, I’ve learned how to dial it UP when I need to.

 

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Special Interests: Autistic Acceptance Month Day 5

Personal opinion: There is no difference between autistic special interests and allistic special interests. Autistic folks just one-track more so we get deeper into our special interests than the rest of you distractable folks 😉

Anyway, some of my special interests:

Polyamory (If you know me, this one is obvious.)

Polyamory on Purpose

Autism (New-ish, in the last year)

A rainbow infinity sign, popular symbol for autism among autistic people.

Languages (Including linguistics and conlangs)

A word cloud made of "why" in several dozen languages.
by Maierstrahl

People (Psychology, Sociology, Archeology, Anthropology)

(Yeah, I couldn’t find an image I liked)

Reactions to Coming Out: Autistic Acceptance Month day 4

What sticks in my head the most are the number of people who responded to my saying “I am autistic” with “Oh, I knew that.”

Apparently I’ve been surrounding myself with people who are either autistic or have autistic family members without realizing it. And several of them saw the signs and symptoms in me and all, independently, just decided not to say anything.

For the most part, this is perfectly understandable. You don’t randomly walk up to the new member in your synagogue and say, “By the way, are you autistic?”

I’m still a bit miffed at my sister.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my sister, and I understand why she didn’t say anything. My biological family really got into the whole “don’t label people thing.” The problem is that labels aren’t always bad things.

When labels become boxes, that’s bad. But sometimes labels are road maps. Guidebooks.

They show you how to find the information you’ve needed but never knew how to find or even if it existed.

My sister, when I told her I’m autistic, said she realized that almost as soon as she met me. And I nearly screamed at her for the decade of trouble I might have avoided if someone had handled me that road maps just a little bit sooner.

I didn’t. Instead we talked about labels, and how sometimes they are good things. And she admitted that our brother, diagnosed as a child with Asperger’s feels the same way I do.

I admit, I’m a bit more amused than miffed at this point. And a bit envious. She seemed to assume it was obvious to me that I wasn’t neurotypical, so there was no point in saying anything. And she was sort of right. I always knew I wasn’t like the people around me, that something was different about me. For her, the important thing was being supportive and accepting of my differences and treating me like an individual. Because that is what the family she grew up in DID.

It would never occur to her that being different would seem like being broken, being wrong. To her, it was just being different. And god I envy her that.

But still, 10 bloody years, sis. I love you, I thank you for your support, the next time I see you in person I may just strangle you a little, and thinking of you and this right now, I can’t stop smiling.

This post is part of the 30 Days of Autistic Acceptance and Appreciation posting challenge.

Please help spread the word about Autistic Acceptance.

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