Because we live in such a monogamy-centered society, it makes sense that many people can only conceive of non-monogamy in what ultimately still amounts to monogamous terms. There is a common misconception that a polyamorous relationship is really no different from an open-relationship agreement: one committed couple, with some lighthearted fun on the side. But the word “polyamory,” by definition, means loving more than one. Many of us have deeply committed relationships with more than one partner, with no hierarchy among them and no core “couple” at the heart of it all. To me, this notion that there must be one more important relationship, one true love, feels a lot like people looking at same-sex couples and thinking that one person must be the “man” in the relationship and the other must be the “woman.” After all, both of these misunderstandings result from people trying to graft their normative conceptions of love and relationships onto people who are partnering in non-normative ways. It seems that it is somewhat easy for many people to acknowledge that humans are capable of loving one person and still enjoying sex with others (assuming, of course, that the terms of their relationship make such behavior acceptable). But it is much harder for people to think outside the fairy-tale notion of “the one” and imagine that it might be possible to actually romantically love more than one person simultaneously.
(this post was reblogged from fuckyeahsexeducation)
(this post was reblogged from fuckyeahsexeducation)

sugaryumyum:

Argentina: doing it right. After passing a groundbreaking gender identity law on Wednesday, Argentina, which became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage, now leads the entire world when it comes to trans rights.

The new law, which was passed by 55-0 and is expected to be signed by president Cristina Fernandez, grants trans people the right to legally change their gender identity without having to get approval from doctors or judges–and, importantly, without having to change their bodies at all first. Not having a valid ID that matches your gender identity is a huge barrier to access to education, employment, health care, you name it. As Kalym Sori, an Argentinian trans man said, “This is why the law of identity is so important. It opens the door to the rest of our rights.”

Fuck. Yes.

(this post was reblogged from professionaltrans)
People assume that I was in the closet because I didn’t disclose that I was assigned male at birth. What people are really asking is ‘Why didn’t you correct people when they perceived you as a real woman?’ Frankly, I’m not responsible for other people’s perceptions and what they consider real or fake. We must abolish the entitlement that deludes us into believing we have the right to make assumptions about people’s identities and project those assumptions onto their gender and bodies.

It is not a woman’s duty to disclose she’s trans to every person she meets. This is not safe for a myriad of reasons. We must shift the burden of coming out from trans women, and accusing them of hiding or lying, and focus on why it is unsafe for women to be trans.
Janet Mock, Redefining Realness. (via queerbookclub)
(this post was reblogged from journeyintomanhood)

gaylionboy said: Hey Cyd, I'm a gay bio-male and who's into and has had several opportunities to get with some hot transboys. But I always chicken out cuz I'm afraid I won't know what to do to make him feel amazing. Any pointers for a guy like me?

ftmfags:

Hey!  I talk to so many gay men who have this anxiety.  I totally understand how intimidating it is as an adult to have sex in a new way or with a different group of people, but I think that cis guys over estimate how different hooking up with trans guys is from hooking up with cis guys though.   I mean trans guy dick is different and a front hole is different than an ass but the basic mechanisms of licking, sucking and fucking is the same.  Every single person you have sex with is going to have different things that feel amazing to them in bed, so asking, not just with trans guys, but with cis guys is the best way to be an amazing lover.  

These are some things that for ME PERSONALLY don’t feel great, which in my experience are  common things that cis guys who are newer to having sex with someone with a pussy do:

1. gentle laps at my pussy, my cock may not be that big but you can still suck it.   Getting gently trepidatious head is not my favorite

2.  The one finger jabbing fuck: this doesn’t feel good in your butt either so I don’t know why this is so common.  I can do some fevered hand fucking but after some strong, steady and wavelike warmup, and generally not before there are three fingers in at least.  Too poky!  Speaking of which if I say more fingers/put the fist in - trust me.  I can take it, I am not a delicate flower.  Also remember the g spot and aim your fingers towards it.

3. Provide running commentary about how much my body is not like a woman’s.  That my cunt doesn’t taste fishy or like I really look like a man except for down there.  Not sexy.  

Remember not all trans guys are the same.  Some will not want to have sex vaginally only anally and some will only want to top, some love nipple play and some couldn’t even couldn’t tell you were touching their nipples with a blindfold on.  You should just ask questions and acknowledge this is new to you without making it a ‘please do all the sexual and mental labor for me’ type of situation.  

Even as a porn person I want people to understand that the best sex I have is not that smooth transitions, no communication stuff you see in porn.  Its stop and starty, often kind of goofy, with a lot of dirty talk that has the second benefit of getting peoples reaction to something verbal before you try it physically.  The first time I have sex with anyone it is ALWAYS a little bit awkward at some point, even after being a pro for 10 years, and that is ok.  A genuine desire to please the other and the thoughtfulness to ask how really goes a long way in the bedroom and if the first time isn’t like a scene out of True Blood with rose petals falling from the ether, don’t sweat it!  

Also I think cis guys who have the proclivity and the income should hire trans guy escorts for a low pressure ‘how too’ session, support the trans community financially and also learn how to be a better lover!  

Those are my basic recommendations - what are other peoples?

Good advice.

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

selfcareafterrape:

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)