I’m terrified because you are a perfect target for cults. When your Gramma was young, she joined a cult. They separated people from their families, fed them little, sleep deprived them, and made them believe that the central figure was faultless if not deific.
When I was young I noticed similar behaviour in school. In this case, it was a teacher with bad intentions who used all the same tricks to turn the class into his own private cult and he took advantage of select people. Even when he was caught, there were elements of the conditioning left in the class to make people want him to return.
You are growing up in a different age than your Gramma or I,
and in some ways it’s wondrous. The entirety of human knowledge is available to
you with little to no effort. As is the entirety of misinformation and hate
that we as a race are capable of. It means that cults today don’t need a
compound, they don’t need their old tricks. They have direct access to you
through multiple channels and they prey on your fear, distrust, hurt, and
Modern digital cults are cults of hate. They’re not new but they are much more far reaching. I’m scared I won’t have the ability to save you from them; I’m scared I won’t be able to prepare you to defend against them; and I’m scared they will steal you before you know what’s going on.
Your Mum and I do, and will do, our best to raise you and
your sister to think rationally. To look at the evidence, opposing views, and
make a critical decision based on that and your values.
I just hope it’s enough. I hope that in your darkest moments
where you consider joining or participating in these things that you know you
always have us to talk to.
As a parent, my goal is to help you be the best version of yourself you can be. That’s the goal, but on a daily basis I’m usually just trying to make sure you and your sister survive with limited trauma.
You’re on your way, two months now before you get here and I’m
terrified. I feel like I just got used to having three members of the family. I
have no idea what you’ll be like, or how you’ll get along with your sister and
it scares me.
I also harbour a strange fear. I’m not sure how to raise a boy. I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by girls and when I made friends with boys it almost always ended poorly. I often have no idea what to say or how to act around other males. I can count on one hand the men I’m close to and feel comfortable with.
Gender is a social construct, but with it comes social constructs on behaviour and shared truths. I feel like I missed the “male” seminar and that means in groups of men I often feel like I’m missing something. Some subtext that I just don’t follow.
Yes I’m empathic, yes I’m a writer, and yes I am a man. But those are despite my anxieties, not because of them.
All that to say I have no idea how to raise you to be a
good, great, or any sort of a man. Sorry.
What I do know is that I’m going to do my best to raise you
as a caring, intelligent, and good person. It means I’m going to try and ask
myself if I treat you differently than your sister and if it’s because you’re a
boy. I want to make sure you don’t just respect others but have genuine compassion.
No matter what, know that your Mum and I love you and want
what’s best for you,
Now if you’ve read my rants or posts you’ll know where I stand on most subjects…
But for those of you who don’t want to go looking let’s make this clear:
ALL HUMANS DESERVE RESPECT, HEALTH, SAFETY, AND FREEDOM!
That means that trans men are men, trans women are women. Trans, non-binary, two-spirited, gender queer, and every other form of gender identity is valid and they all deserve the rights and freedoms given to the rest of the world.
There is no weaker sex, there is no valid reason to think one is better than the other, the whole thing is a cultural construct and fuck you if you think I’m any less of a man for wanting to stay home with my child.
Healthcare is a fundamental human right. I don’t mean just emergency care, I mean all health care from teeth, to glasses, to mental health. If you’re thinking there are people who should be excluded, I disagree. Everyone!
No one should live in fear of losing everything because they get sick or can’t work. That’s total bullshit.
We have voice recognition tech, self driving cars, and other fantastical technology. There’s no reason for any community not to have safe, clean drinking water and access to food.
The First Nations of Canada (and many other countries) have been treated like crap for hundreds of years. We as a nation need to do better. I’m not well versed enough to make a detailed plan but we could start by making sure every reserve is livable and has access to water, good houses, etc. If we can declare Quebec a nation within a nation, why can’t we do the same for the First Nations? Give them their land back, induct them into the constitution, make them equal provinces and lets start fixing this shit. (Okay I have no idea if this would work or if it’s a good idea. The best thing would be to ask them what they need and negotiate fairly and actually follow through with our promises.)
Respect shouldn’t be earned, it should be the default.
The environment is essential to our survival and we can do a lot to fix the damage we’ve done.
Medical science literacy is an essential skill. If you believe GMO’s or Vaccines are inherently bad, you’re wrong and need to get a better education then Goop and other celebrity bullshit.
If your identity is defined by what you hate or by wishing the death of another, you should rethink your life choices. Humanity is humanity, there is no better combination of arbitrary genes than any others. So fuck off with this Nationalist, White Power, Proud Boys, Nazi, Autism Speaks, I’m an Attack Helicopter, etc. fuckery and learn to love something other than yourself.
I am tolerant of all people up and until they are intolerant or wish death on others. I see no issue with this.
EDUCATION is the only path to a better society. It doesn’t have to be college or university but it does have to be flexible, adaptable, and open. Libraries, colleges, universities, and other education forms should cater to the people, they should not be businesses. They should be free and they should be available to all. That random 42 year old who suddenly wants to learn about physics or art history should be free to do it.
Sexual Education is important!
Capitalism and Democracy are fundamentally flawed despite being the best choice we currently have.
Billionaires shouldn’t exist.
We should be moving to a post-scarcity society instead of a feudal one.
Art and artists are valid and should be respected not derided.
People are people, they’re scared, easily manipulated in large groups, and capable of horrific injustices. BUT they are capable of great beauty, love, kindness, and creation.
ALL HUMANS DESERVE RESPECT, HEALTH, SAFETY, AND FREEDOM!
One last thing. If I discover that what I’ve said (above or in general) is hateful, hurtful, or just wrong; I will change my mind. (I might grumble and argue but I’ll get there.)
If you have a problem with me because of these things, leave a comment and we can discuss it. If you just want to change my mind because I’m obviously an optimistic dreamer with no sense of reality, feel free to just leave.
When I started to write Lust and Lemonade, I didn’t intend to write a book that dealt with gender.
Before writing Lust and Lemonade, I was primarily a romance and erotica writer. I delved into the lives of men and the ones that loved them, set in mythical worlds with otherworldly beings. The men fought for each other with every fibre of their being, using their magic to save the day and save the man they loved.
When I started writing Lust and Lemonade, I only intended to write about what I knew. I knew gay men being one myself. But as I continued to write, other characters wanted to come onto the page, too. One of them was a woman named Poppy and she was pregnant. She was also a lesbian.
I didn’t know anything about pregnancy and what women went through with having a child. I relied on my beta reader for info on the female gender and about what is involved with having a lesbian relationship. I was in uncharted waters and Google would only take me so far. I had written women characters before, but the focus was always on the men and the relationships they were having. The women were only secondary and hadn’t taken centre stage. Lust and Lemonade was the first of my novels to feature strong women in lesbian relationships.
As I kept writing, I began to realise something. Two of my characters were transgender. One of them is a transgender woman and the other is a transgender man. If I had no concept of lesbian relationships, I had absolutely zero idea about the transgender population.
This uncharted territory was rather frightening for me as a writer, but it was also freeing in a way. I have never researched a novel before Lust and Lemonade. I delved into the lives of transgender people and what they went through to become who they always were, who they were meant to be.
I also wrote about straight characters finding love. It seemed right that if I was going to write about all kinds of other genders, that I included them too. The characters demanded it, really. It was only fair, they said, that if I was going to have gay, lesbian, and transgender characters in my novel, that the straight people get fair representation, too.
So, when I started writing Lust and Lemonade, I didn’t intend to write a book about gender. The book let me know where it wanted to go and the characters that peopled its pages. I also knew that, even though I’ve written many romances, that there would be no sex on the page. It would all take place off stage.
A friend of mine asked me how I could have lust in the title and not include sex scenes? It’s simple. The lust that is in the title is about the lust of getting to know someone, of becoming enraptured and enthralled with them. Much as I became enthralled with all the people in Lust and Lemonade.
I may not have set out to write about gender, but I’m so glad I did. I learned something about others that I didn’t know before, learned about their battles to be who they were and who they were meant to be. Writing Lust and Lemonade made me a better writer and, quite possibly, a better person.
Find out what happens to Blaine, Nancy, Mike, Chuck, and company in Lust and Lemonade, available now from Renaissance Press! You can get your copy here:
There’s a trend that has been pissing me off practically my entire life. The self-righteous arrogance of judging what others do with their time.
It’s a hundred times worse when it comes to parenting. (Pro-tip for parenting: No matter what you do, you’re doing it wrong according to someone.) Here’s the meme that set me off most recently:
It’s cute isn’t it? Daddy teaching his little girl how to fix cars.
There is so much wrong with this meme but let me stick to two major points:
Men are not immature idiots and we shouldn’t treat them like they are.
Just because you don’t understand my hobbies doesn’t mean they’re stupid.
1. Men are not immature idiots and we shouldn’t treat them like they are.
It’s a common trope that men are irresponsible or unable to take care of themselves or children. It’s a common and pervasive stereotype. I mean boys will be boys… right?
You know what happens when people are always expecting, and allowing, you to be a certain way? You start thinking you should be that way or that you’re wrong/broken for not being that way.
I don’t fix cars – am well aware of the place for junk car in Fort Lauderdale, I don’d build things, I hate yardwork, and couldn’t care less about the latest sports thingy. I do love to watch sappy movies, read, cook, and be responsible.
No matter what your gender identity is, it’s possible to be an inconsiderate deadbeat stupidface.
2. Just because you don’t understand my hobbies doesn’t mean they’re stupid.
I will never understand wanting to get on a motorcycle and cruise around. It sounds uncomfortable and bothersome to me. That doesn’t mean I think it’s worthless. It offers people a safe (when done properly) thrill that they enjoy. Yay to enjoying yourself.
So why is driving a dilapidated boat into the middle of nowhere to throw string into the water to maybe catch fish considered a wonderful bonding experience, but playing a video game as a family is an immature waste of time?
Seriously, why is one hobby considered more valuable then the other?
Video games are educational, emotionally compelling, and even the worst of them help develop problem solving skills.
Anything can be valuable
When I was a kid I didn’t have the greatest relationship with my father. I don’t think he knew what to do with a nerdy bookworm. He tried to get me into helping with the car and I was totally not interested. I tried, but it usually devolved into him calling his buddies and them drinking while they did car stuff. To me, it was smelly, greasy, and generally uncomfortable.
On the opposite side of the coin, my mother and older brother loved video games. I grew up watching and playing with them. I remember being the navigator for old role playing games. We played as a team, each of us having input in what we did and where we went. I learned so much from those games and those times we did things as a family.
I understand that this meme is trying to say that doing something with your child is more valuable then ignoring them. But a person can ignore their child while working on a car just as easily as playing video games.
How about we as people, and especially as parents, show tolerance for things we don’t understand and back off on the gender stereotypes?
It could mean a lot of things but mostly it means that they believe that it won’t appeal to their core demographic. Which is apparently mostly men between the age of 18 and 49. Which is the demographic that most networks seem to be targeting.
That’s why you get a kickass character like Detective Kate Beckett (Castle) and Doctor Constance Brennan (Bones), but the studio insists that they work with a male lead. Sometimes it works, and sometimes the male is just boring like Body of Proof where the male cops were about as interesting as the corpses. (Mostly less.)
Rarely do you get a mystery show where you have a female lead that isn’t saddled with a male partner to appeal to the “male demographic”. Other than Veronica Mars and Murder She Wrote, the only one I can think of is Rizzoli & Isles.
Does Gender Matter?
From a story perspective; no. You can tell a fantastic story with a male or a female lead.
From a demographics perspective; I don’t know. I’m not your typical man and I can’t speak for all men. I enjoy female leads, and I think a smart intelligent character is awesome. Female led shows have done well in the past; Veronica Mars, Buffy, Xena, Murder She Wrote, Star Trek Voyager, etc.
I have gotten more than one funny look when I’ve mentioned my love for Gilmore Girls or Disney Princess movies, so the stereotype is there.
The one place that it absolutely matters is in representation. I can turn on the tv and press any combination of buttons and there’s a huge chance that I’ll end up on a show with a main character that looks like me. (White male, 18-49) There are good guys that look like me, bad guys, smart, dumb, etc. etc. etc.
We don’t have the same for women. It’s improving but it’s not there yet.
And that’s not mentioning other gender identities, sexual preferences, cultures, ethnicities, etc.
What Can We Do?
Find and Enjoy the #TooFemale shows out there with well written female leads. Share your love on social media, buy the merchandise, go see the movies.
My experience is limited, but the following TV shows have female leads that kick ass (figuratively and literally) and are still on the air. Check them out, and if you love them let the world know:
On Monday of this week, we found out the sex of our baby Dragon. When it cam time to write the poll question for yesterday’s post, we briefly puzzled over whether to write “sex” or “gender”, because those terms are so often used interchangeably when discussing a baby. After some research, we found our answer.
What’s the difference between “sex” and “gender”?
Sex refers to whether the sex organs identify a person as male or female at birth. Factors which determine sex, such as chromosomes, gametes, internal organs, and hormones, don’t usually factor into determination at birth, which is why a ton of intersex conditions go unnoticed at first. When discussing a baby, unless you opt for the intensive DNA profiling, you determine the sex by the external sex organs…does the baby have a penis or vulva?
Gender refers to the roles that society places on a person based on their sex. Male, female, genderqueer, agender, and gender fluid would be words used to define gender. Gender identity can only be given by the person in question. This is definitely not something that an ultrasound can tell.