Boundaries are a complicated thing- especially for individuals who have been through trauma or come from families that had poor boundaries. We first learn boundaries in our family unit and then it is briefly talked about in schools, but most people just assume that boundaries are a thing ‘you know’. People who have gone through trauma may have had good boundaries before, but find them disrupted while trying to recover.

This is meant as a bare skeleton on how to rebuild boundaries:

Physical Boundaries.

Consciously make a decision about who can touch you, where and how. Lay out both things that are okay- and things that aren’t. Boundaries are going to vary from person to person- but you could say something like:

'I am okay with my friends hugging me but only if they do it from the front'

'I am not okay with anyone touching my neck'

'I am okay with people I've just met asking for hugs- but not with them touching me without asking first'

Boundaries are allowed to change too. Something you used to be okay with- might not be after trauma, or not on days that you’re triggered. If this happens, just talk to the individuals involved.

When someone violates a boundary- call them out.  A simple ‘Hey, I really dislike being touched like that’ ‘I’m not a big fan of hugs’. Once you’ve laid out a boundary- you can just call someone’s attention to it with a simple ‘really?’ or ‘We’ve talked about this’ ‘You need to respect my decision on if I want to be touched.’

The best way to get someone to respect a boundary- is to say it in a calm but serious voice. Not angry but also not joking/nervously laughing. If you need to, physically take a step backwards to further reinforce the boundary. 

Emotional Boundaries

Sometimes it can be hard to draw emotional boundaries because ‘they need us’, ‘they’re just acting out’, or ‘a good friend would’.

Understand that boundaries are necessarily for everyone involved, and just giving in every time someone asks you for something isn’t being a good friend- it is being a doormat. Having boundaries isn’t selfish- it allows everyone involved to grow.

Figure out what being a good friend really means for you- and understand that the best boundaries are flexible boundaries.

which means that you can set a boundary of ‘You cannot call me after 10 pm’ most of the time- and still be there should something come up that you feel it is appropriate to shift that boundary. Like, ‘Usually it isn’t okay to call me super late- but you’ve been through some rough stuff lately, so it is okay if you call me when you need me right now.’ Or ‘I usually wouldn’t handle you snapping at me- but I understand that  x is going on. But I am going to make you aware that it isn’t going to continue. I’m happy to be here for you- but you are not going to use me as an emotional punching bag.’

You’re allowed to put boundaries on how much you can help too, ‘I’ll do what I can. but I can’t be there for you 24/7. It isn’t healthy for either of us for me to literally be your everything.’ and if you’re in that position- with a friend who is struggling, you can offer to help them find other means and other support- whether it be a hotline, a support group, or helping them make new friends… but you need to hold strong to the fact that you aren’t going to be ‘on call’ all the time. That you are a person too, and you have to take care of yourself as well. This does not make you selfish- I promise.

Material Boundaries

Material boundaries have to deal with our things. Such as whether or not you’re cool lending money to friends, or letting them stay at your house.

A big problem with material boundaries is that people often have a check list of ‘I can let so-and-so borrow stuff/stay over’ but they don’t set limits.

There is a big difference between someone spending a few nights on your coach because they’re only in the state that long, or they need a safe place to go too… and someone living in your house without paying rent for a couple of months.

and while there are some circumstances where you may permit that (helping a friend get out of an abusive relationship) there are others that you might not be.

And you are allowed to set those boundaries. It isn’t about how good of a friend you are. You aren’t failing someone when they need you most. You are setting boundaries that allow your relationships to survive.

It is also important to realize that if you have a friend that turns down things you offer- it is a boundary on their part. Sometimes people will try and convince someone to accept a gift or let them buy them dinner- and everyone needs to be aware that it isn’t cool to keep trying if someone is uncomfortable. A reason for this boundary may be ‘I can’t afford to pay you back- and I was taught to never be in debt to someone’ to ‘I am used to things like that coming with a price I can’t pay later on.’ and while on the first- you may be able to talk to them and be like, ‘hey, I’m in a better position financially right now… so let me get you dinner. you can pay me back with the pleasure of your company’  but understand when a no is a no.

Mental Boundaries

Mental Boundaries come in two main forms- our absorption of other people’s ideas, and how much what they say affects us.

Mental boundaries can be telling that friend that is just a little too pushy about their politics, “Hey, I would prefer not to talk about politics at the dinner table.” or “You know what? I don’t have information about either side right now. So I’m going to read up later instead of making an opinion based only off what your can tell me.”

Mental boundaries are what allow us to come in contact with gross individuals and come away less hurt. It doesn’t mean that you’re never allowed to be effected by someone calling you a slur, or someone making comment on your worth- but they’re what allow us to say ‘They might think I’m (unpleasant thing) but 1. their opinion does not matter to me and 2. I have all these reasons I know otherwise/ people that believe otherwise. I shouldn’t let this hurt me.’ Setting a mental boundary doesn’t mean not calling people out who spout cruel things, or that you have to sit around and listen to it though. Play it safe and take care of yourself.


The thing about boundaries is that usually, they are found through bumping into them. Most of our boundaries are things we’ll never speak aloud because usually we don’t need to. (Think of it this way- you probably don’t have to tell your friends that it isn’t okay to punch you. Because this is a generally understood boundary.) People don’t sit down when they meet and go ‘Hi- I am so-and-so and never touch me here here and here, and never bring up this and never ask to do so and so’ and it would probably be a little weird if we did that about everything.

But when something is a strong boundary- such as a trigger, it is perfectly okay to bring it up before the boundary is bumped. Just a ‘Hey, I know this might sound weird, and you’d probably never do it- but I have a really bad reaction to people touching me without my permission and I’d rather put that out here now’ 

And a verbal/written call out of boundaries is the best one. while we should try and be conscious of people’s body language/ unvoiced cues- sometimes they can be hard to read or people don’t notice them. 

So many people say that setting boundaries is one of the most valuable skills sex work teaches.

This is a really clear primer for thinking about boundaries in advance, and not stressing about the fact that most boundaries are discovered by running into them.

(this post was reblogged from fuckyeahsexeducation)
(this post was reblogged from theredheadbedhead)

On Privilege, Leadership, and Passing the Mic

This morning, Pagan activist and author Thorn Coyle wrote the following on Facebook:

White people: when a group asks you to come speak on social and racial justice issues and organizing, please ask if you can also put them in touch with an African American, or Latina, or… and be willing to give up your slot if need be.

Men, do the same with women.

Heterosexual people, do the same with LGBQ.

Cis, with trans*.

Christians, do the same with minority religions.

(We can keep filling in examples. I figure you get the idea.)

Regardless of the topic, community is served when we inquire: “Who else is speaking? Would you like an introduction to this transman/Hindu/Black activist/female tech guru…I know their work. They’re really great.”

Systems will not change if we do not do this part of the work.

This piece hit home. I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ve been invited to speak or give a quote while uncomfortably aware that I’m speaking in part to experiences that are not my own, sometimes to a roomful of people who may have those experiences.

I’ve also been the sex worker, or the trans person, sitting silent while someone else without those experiences talks about my life as though I’m not in the room with them.

(This is especially pronounced for racially charged discussions and trans issues, since there’s an assumption that all the “others” in the space will be visible as other.)[¹]

Always remember: The people you’re talking about may be in the room with you, even if you can’t visually identify them. They should have their experiences respected and reflected.

As a speaker or a source, always ask yourself: “Who is not in this room that should be?”

When I offer to pass on underrepresented leads for a group, organization, or journalist that has reached out to me, I do notice who appreciates it and jumps on it and who looks for another “relatable” speaker instead. I also notice the trainers and speakers that pass the mic or collaborate vs. those that are happy to be paid experts on someone else’s experiences.

If you’re a go-to source, trainer, or speaker and you don’t have a list of folks to bring in or refer to, start by looking on the edges of your bubble for up and coming voices. Keep expanding. And ask your colleagues who they know. You’ll meet great folks and learn a lot.

This is in no way meant to encourage those who are speaking out to shrink back. This is too important for any of us to shrink back. But if you find yourself in the position of talking about an experience or perspective that is not your own on a regular basis because of work you do, you’ll find that collaboration will enrich the work. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the best thing to do.

There’s a piece of intersectional privilege that’s hard to talk about, and that’s the way that some of us have more internal (and cultural) permission to speak up and step up than others. We’ve had others look to us early on, or reinforce us when we shared an opinion, in a way that others didn’t. 

What this means in practice is that even if you step back, sit down, and are silent, media may not reach out to voices that have been sidelined but will instead go hunting for more voices like yours. In practice, members of marginalized groups have been told so many times that they’re not enough that they often won’t put in to speak or to lead without a lot of encouragement, because they know they’ll probably be held to a higher standard of qualification.

This is where people can use their privilege for good. When you see someone who is ready to step up and lead, tell them so. Reflect their qualifications to them, because it matters, especially for those with a non-traditional life or career path. Encourage them. Signal boost them. Share your privilege by putting together a panel or a co-presentation and making sure they’re on it.

People who might not listen to them if you weren’t in the room, or who might not give them a chance if you weren’t on the ticket, will have their minds blown. People who might be unconsciously passed over will have a chance to shine.

Pass the mic. Hold the door open. And listen.

[¹]  As a visibly-white person whose relatives aren’t, I know what I look like, and I know what that’s meant for me, and I know what not looking like me meant for other members of my family. I also know that discussions about race take a funny turn when everyone in the room is read as white. Aside from that, there is so much I don’t know, and won’t pretend to. This is why it’s crucial to pass the mic to those who can speak to different experiences of race.

We were grabbing a bite of lunch at a small cafe, in a mall, right across from a booth that sold jewelry and where ears could be pierced for a fee. A mother approaches with a little girl of six or seven years old. The little girl is clearly stating that she doesn’t want her ears pierced, that’s she’s afraid of how much it will hurt, that she doesn’t like earrings much in the first place. Her protests, her clear ‘no’ is simply not heard. The mother and two other women, who work the booth, begin chatting and trying to engage the little girl in picking out a pair of earrings. She has to wear a particular kind when the piercing is first done but she could pick out a fun pair for later.

"I don’t want my ears pierced."

"I don’t want any earrings."

The three adults glance at each other conspiratorially and now the pressure really begins. She will look so nice, all the other girls she knows wear earrings, the pain isn’t bad.

She, the child, sees what’s coming and starts crying. As the adults up the volume so does she, she’s crying and emitting a low wail at the same time. “I DON’T WANT MY EARS PIERCED.”

Her mother leans down and speaks to her, quietly but strongly, the only words we could hear were ‘… embarrassing me.’

We heard, then, two small screams, when the ears were pierced.

Little children learn early and often that ‘no doesn’t mean no.’

Little children learn early that no one will stand with them, even the two old men looking horrified at the events from the cafeteria.

Little girls learn early and often that their will is not their own.

No means no, yeah, right.

Most often, for kids and others without power, ”no means force.”

from "No Means Force" at Dave Hingsburger’s blog.

This is important. It doesn’t just apply to little girls and other children, though it often begins there.

For the marginalized, our “no’s” are discounted as frivolous protests, rebelliousness, or anger issues, or we don’t know what we’re talking about, or we don’t understand what’s happening.

When “no means force” we become afraid to say no.

(via k-pagination)

(this post was reblogged from moremaggiemayhem)
At this time, within the Collective, I was planning on converting the living room of the house next door to be a school so that we could teach women to record, so that there would be a lot of women with engineering skills. In the meantime, we’re getting hate mail about me. After a while the hate mail got so vicious that Sandy, who worked in the mail room, made a decision to not pass that mail along to me. This was vile stuff. A lot of it included death threats. They would let me know about the death threats after a while. The death threats were directed at me, but there were violent consequences proposed for the Collective if they didn’t get rid of me.
We had organized this tour and we had gotten a letter telling us that when we got to Seattle that there was a separatist paramilitary group called the Gorgons. The Gorgons was a group of women who wore cammo gear, shaved their heads and carried live weapons. We were told that when we got to town, they were going to kill me.
We did, in fact, go to Seattle, but we went as probably the only women’s music tour that was ever done with serious muscle security. They were very alert for weapons and, in fact, Gorgons did come and they did have guns taken away from them.
I talked to Robin Tyler and she told me about how TERFs physically attacked her for standing between them and a trans women they wanted to beat at the 1973 Lesbian Conference. These radical feminist institutions – the 73 Conference, Olivia Records – they were trans-inclusive. Each time TERFs turned to harassment and violence to insert themselves into feminist spaces. Thus far, TERFs like Raymond have gotten away with creating this false narrative about how their Radical Feminist spaces were being invaded by violent trans women and it’s just not the case.

From Cristan William’s interview of Sandy Stone.  

But TWEF’s just theoretically disagree with the existence of trans women and have never risen to threaten, much less enact, violence against us.

(via labhag)


(this post was reblogged from queershoulder)
(this post was reblogged from ftmfags)


Also I don’t see enough white feminists giving credit to Nicki Minaj beyond the interview of her doing her eyeliner.  Did you guys forget that she recognized and IDed as cisgender, and recognized that vagina does not equal womanhood, when she called herself a “woman with vagina.”  And that asshole talk show host laughed and said “as opposed to a women without one?” and she gave him a the meanest look and said “yes.” We need to gif that. 

Hell yes.

(this post was reblogged from thecrazykatgirlboything)


REFUGE restrooms is now live on the web at It is viewable on any browser.

REFUGE seeks to provide safe bathroom access for transgender, intersex, and other gender nonconformist individuals. A few months back the valuable safe2pee database stopped working. We present Refuge as a replacement. Starting with the existing database of listings from Safe2Pee, refuge makes the database easily searchable and mappable to allow folks to find the nearest safe restroom.

This is very much in its alpha stage and had a lot of growing to do. I started learning how to code not that long ago so I’m still learning how I can make the app better and better. The app is open source so please contribute to the project on github @
stay tuned both here and on twitter @refugerestrooms.

Worth knowing about.

(this post was reblogged from originalplumbing)


Really loving this book so far!

How have I not yet read this?

(this post was reblogged from moremaggiemayhem)
(this post was reblogged from kippslinger)