Two Guardian blog pieces

One, about trans-positive and -negative language, was written ages ago and is now up here and the other, about demonic possession and its drift back into political discourse is here.

The demoonic possession one has some very interesting comments along the lines of ‘if you had seen what I have seen, you would not mock’ and demands that I read exorcism manuals before mocking.

Here’s the thing – I am reasonably sure that a lot of people who do believe in possession, believe that I am possessed. They want either to kill me, or stop me being me. Am I really supposed to study their offensive nonsense in depth? I have better things to do with my time. I am, as it happens, reasonably well-informed in these matters, without being obsessional.

What I want to know is – where exactly north of Holborn is it that teenager-killing Baal cultists hang out? One would rather not intrude on the pub where they drink. Enquiring minds want to know.

Oh, and then there’s the ‘if no one identified as anything, there wouldn’t be any problem’ comment on the trans piece. Yep, and Americans have abolished class distinctions by never talking about class…

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About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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18 Responses to Two Guardian blog pieces

  1. paratti says:

    Good articles:)

  2. skull_bearer says:

    Well, if you count Ipos-summoning not-quite teenagers then I suppose the bar in question is Soho’s Garlic and Shots šŸ˜‰

  3. andrewducker says:

    I picked up the Trans article earlier. Well written, and I’ve grabbed it for my link post tomorrow. I’ve now gone back and read the comments, which mostly served to remind me not to read the comments on (most) public sites.

  4. ibnfirnas says:

    I mean, full disclosure, Roz, I come from a family one of whose family businesses is witch-doctoring. I was raised with all this possession stuff and, while I have a very different perspective on it than Christians or Satanists do, I have indeed seen some really hair-raising horrific stuff.
    Difference is, I think, that I still think mocking is appropriate, that a sense of humor and perspective is called for, and that, yeah, it is really hard to draw the line between the beliefs and experiences of someone like me–who interacts with all of this spiritual skulduggery as a way of life, but isn’t, I should hope, a jerk–and someone who, two steps to the east or west, believes that queerness or Lady Gaga listening is a demoniacal affront that must be fought by any means necessary in the name of righteousness. I mean, seriously. And until there’s a good way to draw that line–and I don’t think there ever will be–what I do in the privacy of my own chapel–or someone else’s home, when they call me in to do an exorcism, as I’ve been called to do in the past–well, I think the lot of us should maaaaaaybe let rationality and empiricism run things, and keep the woo-woo out of politics.
    My politics run on woo-woo. I’m a religious activist. I’m a seminarian for crying out loud. But the minute I start thinking my religion ought to be legislated, smack me upside the head, you know?

    • calimac says:

      Show some film of it, without sfx or other trickery, made under laboratory conditions, and then I’ll start to consider whether to believe it.

      • ibnfirnas says:

        This is my point: I don’t care whether or not you believe it. Why should I? In what way do I benefit from you agreeing that my subjective experiences are objectively valid, and in what way am I harmed if you don’t? I’m not interested in convincing anyone. Or making it government policy. Or any other such nonsense. I don’t think where my religious convictions fall ought to bear any more weight on other people than who I fall in love with–I can’t prove under laboratory conditions that I love my wife, either, and it doesn’t matter, because it’s nobody else’s business and I don’t ever plan to make it anyone else’s business.

      • mevennen says:

        I am friending you right now on the strength of these posts and I hope that’s OK. I work in an occult industry.

        I do believe, for the record, that demons are separate entities. Do I think they’re Evil with a capital E? No. Do I think that people who exhibit traits which are apart from the ‘norm’ are possessed? Definitely not, and I don’t like treating the supernatural as an excuse for rampant prejudice. Do supernatural entities have a different agenda? Yes, I think they do, and there’s sometimes a clash with that.

        In the last week, we’ve had to deal with a possessed washing machine and a pair of cursed pyjamas. I give you, my working life.

      • calimac says:

        You wrote in a context of implying that this subjective experience has an objective basis.

        And if you really, really don’t care whether anybody believes you, why bother to tell them about it?

      • ibnfirnas says:

        Golly, you must be fun at cocktail parties.

        Because sharing with others is interesting and nice? Because it would be dishonest to give my perspective on the matter without mentioning the biases of my perspective? To provide a counterpoint of someone whose universe seems to share a number of elements but who isn’t dangerous or murderous or trying to make others conform to it? Seriously, do we want to play the “what’s really objective anyway” game, or can we just accept that you’re a very clever man, Sahib, but it’s turtles all the way down?

      • calimac says:

        But if you say that you believe in the existence of something whose existence is controversial, others are likely to reply with, for instance, their skepticism. And for somebody who believes this is merely interesting conversational fodder, you sure are sensitive over other people’s beliefs. Try getting a thicker skin.

  5. Oh, the person being most vociferous in the ‘God be not mocked’ camp is a known nutbar who crops up spouting this sort of paranoid, stream-of-consciousness nonsense on any HYS thread to do with religion or the paranormal. I really wouldn’t take it to heart – they’re pitiful really.

  6. calimac says:

    The controversy over whether class distinctions exist in America is the result of a gigantic miscommunication over what the word “class” means.

  7. redbird says:

    Someone who saying “if no one identified as anything, there wouldn’t be any problem” in response to an article that talks about demanding to be called by your right name and about the ways that stealthing is no protection isn’t actually reading and thinking about what you said.

    If I remembered my login there, I would go in and suggest that he try it himself: spend a month refusing to give his name, describe himself as male, or do anything that is intended to signal maleness. No beard or mustache, no topless bathing unless he’s in France, and no use of any public restroom or changing room labeled for a specific gender. (I think that would do to make the point.)

  8. time_freak says:

    Read the trans language piece, very well written. x

  9. hairyears says:

    I’ve just read the Demonic piece: revisit the link and see the context-sensitive ads in the page footer. Next time you publish an article with those keywords, give me a week or so to get a website going – ‘Deliver yourself of the ANTICHRIST! Competitive rates for the posessee on a budget! – and buy up the relevant search terms.

    On a less cynical note, we’d all welcome advice on dealing with fruitloops; I make a distinction between harmless loonies and dangerous zealots but I have no strategy for handling encounters other than a firm but kindly “Yes dear, of course you’re right”.

    Meanwhile, the language for trans- (and cis-) people will settle down over the next decade or so. Assuming that a coherent set of underlying ideas emerges which, given the sheer variety of ways that people can be gender-queer, is maybe one assumption too many. For people with a clear gender identity, improvements in surgery and better skills in ‘passing’ might just make it all irrelevant anyway; the difficult issues lie with being temporarily gender-queer in transition, or permanently so by choice – but once the educated middle classes (and, eventually, the middle classes) have usable templates for acceptable behaviour, it will become far easier; I never thought it would be possible for civil partners to turn up at work social occasions or dinner-parties, but it’s now accepted (and pretty much unremarkable) in most places. The question is how those behavioral templates arise: hopefully through favourable media images – not tragic figures, caricatures presented in a ‘freakshow’, or figures in a soap opera whose only plot point is their gender ‘problem’ – but images of ordinary people and their interactions n a functioning community. Even the crudest of stereotypes is of some use: think of ‘are you being served’ with the cartoonish figure of a camp gay man… Who is actually just another shop assistant in a group of people who work and converse and have nothing to freak out about or even notice as particularly unusual. Although, to be blunt, I’d like to think that the media can do better than that – the stereotype was unflattering and came close to being offensive! We need media portrayals of gender-queer people who are just being people – think Milly in ‘This Life’; I think they only bothered with her Anglo-Indian identity as a plot point in a single episode; she was played as Milly-the-solicitor, Milly-the-urban-Twenty-Something, Milly-the-person and it was all far more interesting than Milly-the-strange-foreigner that would’ve dominated every second episode in the racially-polarised 1970’s.

    Be warned however: the language used in the first mainstream media portrayal will stick

  10. jessie_c says:

    Demoonic would pertain to Satanic cows, yes?

    I like the guy mansplaining why he couldn’t get the pronouns right for the butch trans woman yet he always got them right for the femme. Give him a cookie for being so introspective.

  11. geekyisgood says:

    Love the piece on language and trans. Pity the comments are full of cisfail, but it’s to be expected. I bloody hate it when people say that cis is offensive. It’s like saying heterosexual or white, etc, is offensive and that’s so bloody *obvious* to anyone who manages to extract their head from their arse for even the briefest of moments. Grrrrr. Not that me moaning about it is doing anything to help.

  12. annafdd says:

    Read the piece only now, to my shame.
    Yeah, I am guilty of getting pronouns wrong with a friend who’s transitioned. I have two problems about that – when I talk about the past, I tend to use the gender that was manifest then. I didn’t know for a long time that he was thinking of transitioning. Then I correct myself, but the harm is already done. And to start with, it was simply a matter of association: a strong association.
    It’s becoming more and more natural for me to refer to him as a male, but in the beginning, it was really hard. He moved away and then transitioned, so the afterimage I was left with was at odds with the new identity. The fact that I saw him in a short video he posted made it a lot easier: I had another image to refer to in my mind.

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