- Answering Questions: Jane Litte/Jen Frederick – So this is old news and not surprising, but I wanted people to see a couple good comments. Author Bree (who’s 1/2 of the writing team Kit Rocha) shares her hurt and confusion that her new friend Jen is actually Jane. Reader Megan S. takes the words right out of my mouth with a brilliant comment on how this affected readers’ ability to trust bloggers.
Since Jane Litte announced that she’s a published author under the pseudonym Jen Frederick, I know there’s been a lot of talk and questions and processing and discussion, and to be honest, I haven’t known exactly what to say. Then Dabney emailed me some questions which helped me articulate a lot of things I’ve been thinking about, and helped me organize my brain. So forgive the obvious and kinda pretentious format, but being asked helped me explain logically all the things I want to say.
Did you know that Jane Litte was Jen Frederick?
Yes. I’ve known since March 2013.
- Why We Need Queer Escapist Lit – A quick hit at the Lesbrary about the importance of representation in escapist fiction.
I think that queer readers have trouble escaping into a world that doesn’t include queer characters, because we know that we wouldn’t be welcome there. In fact, SFF that create worlds without queer characters seem to suggest that we wouldn’t even be able to exist there: our existence is not conceivable in the context we are given. When we read a story that doesn’t include queer people, a world that doesn’t include queer characters, it comes with the nagging implication You don’t belong here.
Whether it’s a horrific dystopia or a silly space romp, that implication makes it difficult to “escape”, because the truth is, we’re already all too familiar with that sentiment.
- Why I Quit Goodreads (or, The Bookternet Is Not Safe for Women) – Quitting Goodreads was one of my least-regretted actions. Everything I miss – talking about books, seeing what people are reading, tracking my library – is replaced by Twitter and Calibre and the drama and harassment is halved.
Once, a week or so before I deleted my Goodreads account, I gave a book that shall remain nameless a two-star review. A man claiming to be the author’s publicist messaged me to ask that I reconsider. I ignored the message (I never had that many followers on Goodreads and it seemed to me that I was a small potatoes target) and, a day or so later, received an angrier message, this time demanding that I take down the review. I wrote back and noted that I had made some positive points about the book but that overall it didn’t work for me. Reviews on Goodreads, I noted, are personal reflections for the most part — mine certainly were — and I wasn’t condemning the book as a whole. The person wrote back and asked, “How would you like it if people used the internet to say mean things about you? It can be done, you know.”
Hm, I thought to myself. Hm. Kathleen Hale just drove to some Goodreads reviewer’s house. There’s that weird blog for bitching about badly-behaving reviewers. And this guy is being kind of threatening in a way that I don’t like. What’s the cost-benefit for me to stick with Goodreads, in this context?
So I didn’t. I quit.
- Rust Chooses Players’ Race For Them, Things Get Messy – Hmmmmmm, I don’t know about this. It seems like it’d be interesting to gauge white players’ reactions if they’re assigned another race, but black players and other POC probably won’t enjoy being forced to play as a white avatar yet again.
Many games let you choose your character’s race, but not Rust. The chaotic survival game is doing its best impression of the gene pool—randomizing who’s white, black, and everything else—and players have reacted in unexpected ways.
Prior to this, everyone in the game was white and looked more or less the same. The changes to race and other physical features were added semi-recently with a simple announcement:
“Everyone now has a pseudo unique skin tone and face. Just like in real life, you are who you are—you can’t change your skin colour or your face. It’s actually tied to your Steam ID.”
So the game decides your appearance for you, more or less randomly.
- TSA Agrees To Stop Searching Natural Hair On Black Women For No Reason – This sounds like it should be welcome news for black women travelers. TSA running its fingers through people’s hair feels like a huge crossed boundary.
Novella Coleman, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California who has personally experienced this type of profiling, is celebrating the recent agreement. “The humiliating experience of countless black women who are routinely targeted for hair pat-downs because their hair is ‘different’ is not only wrong, but also a great misuse of TSA agents’ time and resources,” she said in a statement.
The resolution follows several complaints from black women who alleged they have been singled out for extra airport screening because of their hair. Coleman first brought the issue to the attention of the Department of Homeland Security in 2012, after she started noticing that her hair was always subjected to extra searches when she traveled with her white and Latina colleagues. Coleman, who wears dreadlocks, says she was told her hair needed to be searched because it had “abnormalities.”
Coleman went on to represent another woman, Malaika Singleton, who experienced the same thing on her own business trips. Singleton says that she felt “shocked” and “violated” when she was stopped twice during a trip to London to have her hair searched.
- Trans teens grapple with alarming rise of suicides – The Daily Dot talks about how social media both helps and hurts trans teenagers when it publicizes trans teens’ suicides.
Even for a community with extremely high rates of violence and suicide, 2015 has brought with it an overwhelming amount of public attention, as well as a major conflict for trans individuals and their supporters: the question of how best to publicly discuss and remember the lives lost, without triggering a wave of ideation and contagion.
Many trans Tumblr users and supporters are now begging other users of social media to tag their content accordingly, so they can avoid having to see it.