“Cycling and Gender Intersect in Meaningful Ways.”

Any bets on whether my local bike club will survive beyond this season? Emails lightly edited for brevity, all names anonymized except my own.

Sat, Mar 19, 2022
MEMBER A:
I was able to renew my membership with the link to the Website.  I noticed that the application requires a “gender” designation that only includes male or female.  This is now very out of date.  I identify as Female, but there are many who find this restrictive.  We need to replace the gender with more options for our gender-queer or LGBT or other gender options friends.  I can recommend a consultant for language, or we can reach out to the UP Center.

 

MEMBER B:
Better yet, get rid of the “Gender” check box!

 

MEMBER C:
What is the purpose of the gender check box? 

 

NINA PALEY:
There is no reason to have a gender checkbox.
If there’s a reason to know someone’s sex, there can be a checkbox for Male, Female, and Prefer Not To Say.

 

MEMBER D:
No boxes for me, I’m out!  And, please take me off the mailing/e-mail list.

 

MEMBER E:
I agree with A and B.
I will be happy to renew my membership after BIKECLUB has spoken with Uniting Pride of Champaign County about how to be non-binary in the membership form and how to be a LGBTQ+ Affirming organization.
If you do away with the gender box, that might solve a small part.
Thank you A!!
Sincerely,
MEMBER E
(she/her) but related to people who identify in many other non-cis, non-binary

  Continue reading ““Cycling and Gender Intersect in Meaningful Ways.””

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The Human Threat

I’m one of those self-unemployed introverts who is adjusting quite well to our pandemic lockdown. I feel especially peaceful because forced quarantine has temporarily quieted many of the garden-variety “alpha” humans, the ones who thrive on dominating others. They have to stay at home too, and haven’t been able to conduct their usual bullying and stirring up trouble. Under “normal” circumstances, they have power over other people, and the other people just aren’t available to lord it over right now.

But that will end. I don’t dread getting sick as much as I dread what the alphas will start doing. Of the lockdown, they warn us, “this is not sustainable!” and “people will start going crazy!” I know they are right. At least half of Americans are expected to get COVID-19 before a vaccine is available (if one ever is) so I’ve made my uneasy peace with that. But human beings have always hurt me more than any disease. Humans have always been the biggest danger to humans. I appreciate that, in this brief moment, the human threat is made visible, and keeping distance is the rule of the day. I sense on the horizon the impending doom of our newfound boundaries being violated by angry, entitled, self-righteous alphas.

They are already abusing whoever is unlucky enough to be quarantined with them. Wife-battering and child abuse is on the rise. (I am immensely grateful I live only with my Momz, an excellent woman of 78.) Their rage and sense of impotence is building, and soon more will leave the confines of their homes to violate others. Then all the “nice” alphas will up their social policing, virtue-signaling, tribe-forming, scapegoating, and witch-hunting in response. The COVID-19 coronavirus is “novel,” but human behavior is not. I have enjoyed my little respite from it.

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The Internet Is Broken

The Internet is broken,
The Freedom Train has stalled.
The Netizens are woken,
The gardens all are walled.
If anyone’s outspoken,
They soon will be recalled.
The Internet is broken
and I’m sitting here, appalled.

The Internet is busted;
its people are at war.
The principles I trusted
I don’t trust any more.
Our minds are maladjusted,
but we cannot restore
the Internet we busted
to the one we had before.

This song actually has a cheerful melody, but since I can’t write musical notation you’ll just have to trust me on that, until I attempt to record it.

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Another way the Internet is like the Printing Press

10 years ago, the Free Web was revolutionary, democratizing, and empowering. Many of us correctly compared it to the advent of the printing press, another revolutionary technology that was inextricably linked to the Reformation that soon followed.

What I didn’t consider was that also inextricably linked to the Reformation were the European Witch Hunts. (Perhaps not inextricably linked, but simultaneous, were the European Enclosures.) Now we’re seeing online Witch Hunts (and Enclosures too, hello Social Media). So my enthusiasm for the Internet is a lot more qualified now, as is whatever I had for the Reformation.

Recommended reading (albeit in leaden academic prose – someone should rewrite it for a popular audience!): Caliban and the Witch

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