Just a Grain of Salt

How may I help you?  

19 | Taiwanese-American | she/her | Pansexual
Advocating rationality since 1995.

I now have a fandom blog. For the purpose of blogging fandoms.




A mini documentary on sex trafficking of Native women, with particular focus on Minnesota (Native women & girls are frequently sold on the shipping boats that travel around the Lakes, and have been for decades).

"People don’t see Native American women as humans. They see them as punching bags. Or something novel, like a new toy—it’s fun at first, but afterwards you throw it away." —Sarah El Fakahany, Sexual Assault Advocate at Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center

This is very sad, I didn’t know that the Native American women and girls were part of sex trade and prostitution.

it is a very big problem, much bigger than many people realize or want to admit, even among Native communities. if you go to a truck stop anywhere near tribal communities late at night, you will see young Native girls who have been trafficked. Minnesota, Arizona, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Oregon, & Washington are particularly bad. here’s some more resources on sex trafficking of Native women:

(via lord-kitschener)

— 10 hours ago with 2672 notes
#indigenous issues 

[In Canada,] indigenous people make up just four percent of the general population, according to a report released by Correctional Investigator of Canada Howard Sapers last year, but they comprise nearly one quarter of all inmates, he told CBC News.

Similar statistics would appear to hold true in parts of the U.S. According to the Montana Department of Corrections 2013 Biennial Report, American Indians make up 20 percent of the state’s male prison population. “One out of every five incarcerated male offenders is Native American,” the report stated. “That is almost three times higher than the rate at which natives are represented in the general Montana population”…North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and South Dakota also send disproportionate numbers of American Indians to prison, according to a 2009 report in the The Bismarck Tribune.

and this is why it’s important to talk about anti-Indian racism when we talk about racism on the Plains [source] (via nitanahkohe)

(via clarawebbwillcutoffyourhead)

— 13 hours ago with 64 notes
#indigenous issues 
"Some nationalities were deemed to be unworthy of membership in the new Soviet family. As early as 1923, the new regime had built high-security, fourteen-mile deep “frontier zones” along the new Soviet borders. But certain national groups living near the borders were still suspected of harboring sympathies for foreign powers. This was the official justification for a program of mass deportations of almost all ethnic groups with a Turkic connection, among them Crimean Tatars; North Caucasian Karachais, Balkars, and Kalmyks from the Caspian Sea; and Georgia’s Meskhetian Turks. In the Caucasus, they also deported Kurds, Armenian Hemshins, Chechens, Ingush, and Pontic Greeks. The execution of this policy virtually amounted to genocide. Soviet secret police troops closed off an entire region, rounded up hundreds of thousands of people—women and children as well as men, Red Army soldiers included—evicted them from their homes, crammed them into disease-ridden cattle-trucks, and sent them into permanent exile in Kazakhstan or Siberia. Their homelands were abolished, their cemeteries dug up, and their culture erased from the official record. As many as a quarter of the deportees died en route or never returned."

The Caucasus: An Introduction, Thomas de Waal.  (via thisiscaucasian)

and right on cue, a post about actual reasons, that are not “but communism” as to why the USSR was a shitheap. 

(via atomicdomme)

(via clarawebbwillcutoffyourhead)

— 13 hours ago with 219 notes
#ussr  #historical 

pirate queen x mermaid princess for tori  <3


pirate queen x mermaid princess for tori  <3

(via losthitsu)

— 14 hours ago with 3589 notes

Malaysia flight remains now out of rebel hands
BBC News: The remains of those killed in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 have been moved into Ukrainian government territory, away from rebels who had held them since the crash, moving a step closer to repatriation and burial. The remains will be transferred to refrigeration units supplied by the Dutch until they are ready to be flown to the Netherlands 

Photo: A newly released satellite image shows the crash site in the middle of Grabove in eastern Ukraine (Reuters)


Malaysia flight remains now out of rebel hands

BBC News: The remains of those killed in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 have been moved into Ukrainian government territory, away from rebels who had held them since the crash, moving a step closer to repatriation and burial.

The remains will be transferred to refrigeration units supplied by the Dutch until they are ready to be flown to the Netherlands

Photo: A newly released satellite image shows the crash site in the middle of Grabove in eastern Ukraine (Reuters)

— 14 hours ago with 142 notes
U.S. senators say federal action may be needed to curb 're-homing' of adopted immigrant children →



U.S. lawmakers said on Tuesday that the federal government may have to take a stronger role to stop parents from transferring custody of their adopted children to strangers they meet on the Internet.

At a subcommittee hearing in the U.S. Senate, lawmakers took their first look at the practice known as “private re-homing,” which bypasses the government’s child welfare system to leave boys and girls in the custody of strangers, often with little more than a notarized power of attorney.

The hearing came in response to a Reuters investigation that found online forums where desperate parents solicited new families for children they no longer wanted. Testimony shed light on the potential need for federal action to strengthen protections for children and support state efforts to help parents with post-adoption challenges.

"(It) certainly makes sense to the extent that re-homing is happening over the Internet, that it’s crossing state borders, that that necessitates – even requires – a federal response," said Sen. Christopher Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat.

Joo Yeun Chang, the Obama administration official’s top official for foster care and adoption assistance programs, said the federal government needs to provide guidance for states on what she described as a new issue. But she called for an approach that would protect all children rather than risk singling out adoptive families.     

"There’s a lot of confusion about what legal custody of power of attorney documents even mean, what kind of responsibility that confers and what responsibilities parents have to maintain," she said during testimony.

"State laws need to be clear about what the parent’s responsibility is even if they do transfer legal custody."

No state or federal laws specifically prohibit re-homing. State laws that restrict the advertising and custody transfers of children rarely prescribe criminal sanctions and are frequently ignored.

After the news agency published its findings in September, at least four states passed new restrictions on advertising children, transferring custody, or both. Lawmakers in those states noted that the absence of government safeguards can result in children ending up in the hands of abusers.

Some child advocates say that congressional action is needed to limit re-homing by placing uniform restrictions on the advertising of children and requiring all custody transfers to non-relatives to be approved by a court.

But others say the need to seek court approval could be prohibitive for many families, in cases where custody of children is taken on by grandmothers or trusted family friends.  

In a report issued last year, the Congressional Research Service said the interstate aspect of re-homing and the role of the Internet in facilitating the practice gave Congress opportunities to act. “Although there appears to be no federal criminal law implicated by the general process of ‘re-homing,’ this does not preclude Congress from enacting laws to protect children that may be harmed by this practice,” the report said. The Government Accountability Office will begin studying state and federal policies related to re-homing this summer.

No government agencies track re-homing, but Reuters identified eight Internet groups in which members discussed, facilitated or engaged in the practice. In a single Yahoo group, a child was offered to strangers on average once a week during a five-year period. At least 70 percent of those children were listed as having been adopted from overseas; many were described as suffering emotional or behavioral problems. Yahoo has taken down the group.

Some re-homed children endured severe abuse, and the adults who used the online network to obtain children were not properly vetted, Reuters found. In one case, a man now serving prison time for child pornography took home a 10-year-old boy whom he and a friend found online hours earlier. They picked up the boy in a hotel parking lot.

At the request of U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., officials from the federal departments of State, Justice, Health and Human Services and Homeland security have been discussing ways to address re-homing. In May, Health and Human Services officials warned states about the dangers of the practice and encouraged them to use existing federal funding to support struggling adoptive families.   

— 14 hours ago with 14 notes
#what the FUCK  #adoption  #children  #child abuse 

US flags mysteriously replaced by white flags on Brooklyn Bridge
Gothamist: The American flags that normally grace the top of New York City’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge were mysteriously replaced with white flags Tuesday morning. 
Police are investigating.
(Photo: Rick Bruner/Gothamist)


US flags mysteriously replaced by white flags on Brooklyn Bridge

Gothamist: The American flags that normally grace the top of New York City’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge were mysteriously replaced with white flags Tuesday morning. 

Police are investigating.

(Photo: Rick Bruner/Gothamist)


— 15 hours ago with 2360 notes

Heat is the most deadly weather situation.


Heat is the most deadly weather situation.

(via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

— 16 hours ago with 165 notes
Language Tips for Cis Feminists Speaking on Trans Issues


Over the past two years, I’ve shared a lot of space with cisgender feminists who are seeking to add a trans voice to their panel, event, or conference. I can often sense that these feminists’ hearts are in the right place with regards to trans issues. They’re trying and their effort is real but they’re still struggling to work past some conceptual issues that might affect their language.

So let’s start with the language and work backwards. Trans-inclusive cisgender feminists still have some pretty pernicious habits of language that stubbornly persist in their vocabulary.

Many friends and colleagues have written or tweeted about this problematic language but, much like I did in this frequently shared post on the sex/gender distinction, I wanted to compose a handy reference for cisgender feminists who know they want to be trans-inclusive and have learned some basic vocabulary, but want to learn “how to talk about it” without setting off any alarm bells.

1) Please remove the phrases “female-identified,” “male-identified,””female-bodied,” and “male-bodied” from your vocabulary.

These phrases are my number one pet peeve. Often the people using them think that they’re being really good by using these phrases instead of saying “women” and “men.” What they don’t know is that these phrases have a troubled, transphobic history and carry a lot of conceptual baggage. In their current instantiation, people who use these phrases are often just hypercorrecting, using language that is technically incorrect because it “sounds good.”

But why are they bad? “Female-identified” is a phrase that needlessly divides women with different body types from one another. When combined with language like “female-bodied,” “female-identified” carries with it the suggestion that women without vaginas are not really women, that they only identify as such in spite of their “male” bodies.

Bodies, furthermore, are not inherently male or female. Sex assignment is a social process governed largely by more-or-less arbitrary medical conventions surrounding ideal, normative genital appearance and heterosexual reproductive viability. The rigidity of our society’s two-sex system is by no means a natural outgrowth of our bodily characteristics: it’s our commitment to a two-gender system mapped in reverse onto our bodies.

“But chromsomes!” you might say. Nope. The things that you have learned and internalized about the sex of the human body are so affected by our social ideologies that they cannot be separated from them.

Even if distinctions like male/female-bodied vs. male/female identified were non-invasive or politically expedient (they’re neither), they also are semantically meaningless when we consider the full range of bodies that the category women includes. An intersex woman, for example, might not have a body that correlates with the full connotations of the phrase “female-bodied,” but may not have born with a penis, either.

Transgender women who have undergone genital reassignment surgery also frustrate the way in which “female-bodied” is used as a distinction between cisgender and transgender women: they have breasts, they have vaginas, and their bodies do not natively produce substantial quantities of testosterone. They don’t have a uterus, sure, but many cisgender women are born without a uterus as well.

By conventional and socially dominant methods of visible measurement, these bodies are female. But I’m pretty sure that people who use the phrase “female-bodied” are intending to exclude these bodies when they deploy that language.

What’s the solution to all this confusion? It’s easier than you might think. “Women” is a category that includes a variety of gender expressions and bodies. It will do just fine when you want to talk about women. “Men” is a category that includes a variety of gender expressions and bodies. It will do just fine when you want to talk about men.

You might not think it’s that simple, however. Feminism and other progressive political movements rightly engage with bodies in their political activism. Feminism, for example, focuses on reproductive justice and healthcare. How can we talk about sex, bodies, and reproduction without drawing lines between transgender women and cisgender women’s bodies?

Easy. When you want to talk about gender, talk about gender. When you want to talk about body politics, talk about bodies. If you want to talk about issues that affect people with vaginas, for example, you’re talking about both men and women.

And, as Katherine Cross observes on Feministing, feminism should fully integrate a focus on transgender women’s reproductive rights and healthcare with a focus on issues like abortion and birth control. Trans women’s bodies are women’s bodies and they deserve a place in the mainstream of feminist body politics and reproductive justice efforts.

To summarize, then, phrases like “female-identified” and “female-bodied” are biologically reductionist, needlessly divisive, and functionally meaningless. If you feel like they are necessary to engage in your form of feminist body politics, it’s time to shake up your body politics. EIther way, please quit using these phrases.

2) Please do not list “women” and “trans women” as different categories when listing marginalized groups or talking about oppression.

Separating out “trans women” from “women” carries with it the suggestion that a “trans woman” is not a woman unmodified, that she is a different kind of person entirely. “Women” is allowed to stand alone as an unquestioned and unmarked category while “trans women” are marked as the Other to a de facto group of cisgender women.

This linguistic habit also runs the risk of suggesting that trans women do not experience the same marginalization that women do. I most recently heard it used in the context of “I know what it’s like to be a woman but I don’t know what it’s like to be a trans woman.”

While there are forms of oppression that are unique to transgender people, transgender women share in cisgender women’s oppression. Sexual and domestic violence, street harassment, employment discrimination, body image issues, lack of access to reproductive health care, eating disorders, self-harm, the list goes on; if it affects cisgender women, it affects transgender women, too.

Furthermore, if you utter the word “women,” you are already including transgender women by definition. At that point, it’s up to you to be sure that your feminist politics also includes issues that acutely affect transgender women in particular such as police harassment, stop and frisk laws, gender identity inclusion in civil rights legislation, access to trans-inclusive healthcare, etc.

In some contexts where it’s necessary to highlight your own privilege, it might be worthwhile to note that you are unaware of the added layers of marginalization that transgender women experience. But do not do this at the expense of disavowing the common struggles of women, unmarked, unmodified, transgender and cisgender alike.

When you must speak to the specific issues that affect cisgender women and transgender women respectively, don’t leave your own womanhood unmarked while marking a transgender woman’s womanhood.

Transgender women’s particular struggles are yours too as a fellow woman; they’re not mythical, comprehension-defying.forms of oppression. If you’re a cisgender woman, you don’t get to speak from experience about transgender women’s specific oppression, true, nor do you have the authority to prescribe directions for transfeminist politics, but you also don’t get to mark transgender issues as a very important special interest compartment of feminism. They’re your issues, too.

3) Please do not self-label as “cisgender” unless you are directly commenting on your own privilege.

There are moments when one’s cisgender status needs to be acknowledged. When making claims about transgender people or speaking about transfeminist politics, it’s probably useful to let your audience know the location from which you’re speaking.

But don’t drop your “cisgender” status so much that it becomes an empty disclaimer. You do need to consider issues of authority and perspective, but please be aware that constantly reminding everyone that you’re cisgender is a way of highlighting differences between women rather than building community among them.

This is why I generally advise other women not to disclose their cisgender status on Facebook now that gender options have expanded unless they primarily use their Facebook as a political platform and feel it necessary to disclose their position of privilege.

4) Don’t make distinctions between sex and gender or use phrases like “biological woman” or “biowoman.”

I have written about this before: here and here. The justification for removing these phrases from your vocabulary follows point #1 in this piece as well.


The general lesson across all these points is: don’t draw distinctions between cisgender and transgender women unless you have to. When you do need to draw these distinctions, don’t use language that ties specific genders to specific kinds of bodies.

While I generally give most cisgender feminists who use this language the benefit of a doubt, I do want to mark a troubling mindset that often lurks behind these phrases and linguistic habits. If you’ve read through this article, clearly see what’s been happening with your language, and you’re ready to change it, congratulations! My work here is done.

If you were still encountering some internal resistance as you scrolled through this piece, read on:

Some cisgender feminists want to practice trans-inclusive politics, they know how to repeat the mantra “trans women are women” like it’s their job, but somewhere in their heart of hearts, they still approach a transgender woman on an interpersonal level as a different kind of woman. Somewhere, it still matters to them what kind of genitals another woman has. Somewhere, they don’t feel a transgender woman as their sister, they see her as an asterisk.

If this is you, you’ve got some internal work to do that goes beyond your use of language. You have to ask yourself what womanhood means to you, you have to internalize what it means for you personally that the category of “woman” includes people without vaginas or people who did not have them since birth, you have to examine and challenge your own cisnormative feelings of entitlement to know the intimate details of other women’s bodies. You have to figure out a way not just to say that transgender women are women, but to embrace transgender women as such in a way that is not tokenistic, condescending, or hollow. If this describes your position, start with the language and let your heart follow.

(via queer-cheer)

— 17 hours ago with 4928 notes
#trans issues 
More than 84,000 displaced from Gaza as UN issues appeal for humanitarian aid →

(Source: quickhits, via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

— 18 hours ago with 33 notes