I'm pretty lucky. I don't have to face homophobes in person much. But OMFG. I read this and...just...I threw up a little, TBH. What the fuck is wrong with people??!
I have a daughter, and so reading this article made me so sad. I hope that we can all work to make sure that little girls don't feel so limited.
UPDATE! IF YOU HAVEN'T WRITTEN A LETTER YET, NOW IS THE TIME!! LETTERS NEED TO BE TO @nparmalee TODAY!
I know I should be used to it, but it blows my mind the way politicians can argue like idiots about important things. But shit is getting real now. And it's time for us (the BOSS of these politicians) to stand up and say "enough!".
Do you care about biomedical research? Because if the sequester happens, the NIH is basically FUCKED. Srsly fucked. You can read more about that here and here and here (among others). If you were wondering, here is the "plan" for NIH to deal with the sequester (NSFW, as it will likely induce swearing). It's NOT TOO LATE! Write a letter to your Representatives and Senator (find their address HERE). Tell them this is UNACCEPTABLE! Talk to them about why you value biomedical research. CALL THEM!!! If you write your letter now, you can email it to @nparmalee. She is in DC RIGHT NOW to advocate for basic research and will be on the Hill this Wednesday - and has told me that that she will make sure the letters are delivered.
Let's do this!!!
EDIT: see here for a description of what Nancy is doing in DC -which is TOTALLY badass, ftr.
I know there isn't a full season this year (fucking-A, NHL. ) Nevertheless, there is hockey, and though I don't have so much time to watch because teaching/life/etc *cough*FML*cough* that doesn't stop me from playing in the super awesome fantasy pool led up by Cath Ennis. Sadly, it does limit my success in said pool. sigh. Nevertheless, I present to you today the much-awaited WEEK FOUR UPDATE!
I had a super-shitty week, but managed to stay in the middle-ish of the pack. Sugar Scientist is still kicking ass, but hot on her heels are the dynamic duo of Mod Scientist and Lava. OMG the suspense! Bam294 and Genomic Repairman are still fighting it out in the gutter, as you might expect.
Hello again, friends. I have been sporadic with my blogging, I know. There is some IRL stuff going on that I can't blog about just yet. And this year I started my undergrad teaching which was...fucking crazy, honestly. More on that later. What I really wanted to talk about now is your CongressCritter (as Drugmonkey would refer to them). When was the last time you made contact with your elected representative to let them know where you stand on the "sequester"? Maybe you are a fan of biomedical research and know that the proposed cuts will totally fuck over NIH. Does your representative know how you feel about that?
Now is the time to make sure that you contact the folks that act as your voice in DC. There are a couple of ways to go about this. You could call them directly (find contact info for your Congress and Senate reps here). OR you could let the amazing @nparmalee (aka Nancy Parmalee) hand-deliver your message FOR you. How awesome is THAT!?!!
Seriously, you can't go wrong. Nancy will be on Capitol Hill to advocate for Parkinson's research as part of Parkinson's Call in Day. She has offered to deliver messages to reps and also to "Live Yell"* from twitter. I know that I'm writing a note for my Reps. Because what a fucking fantastic opportunity!! It's really not that much to ask. Oh, and while you are at it, the AAAS has something for you! Go here to sign the "Speak up for Science" petition.
* This will apparently involve her reading @ProfLikeSubst's tweets to the Critters. Loudly. Sounds like a winner!
My IRL life has been pretty...unsettled recently. I hope to blog about this a little more in the future. But one thing that has fallen out is that I've been thinking more about the immediate reaction to Jodie Foster's Golden Globes "coming out" speech. As I process these IRL events, I can't avoid thinking more about my own coming out process. And there is a lot of stuff that keeps running around in my head...so I'm gonna try to get them out on by writing them here. BE WARNED: this is going to be a little personal and navel-gazing. If that sort of things bothers you, now is the time to click away. But, if you would like to see what else I have to say about being queer as a tt-asst. prof, look here.
IME, when you are openly queer, someone will inevitably ask "when you knew". I've struggled with this question. On some level I always knew...but at the same time I really didn't know. It took me a Really Long time to admit to myself that I was gay. Being lesbian wan't an option that I was aware of growing up. Maybe because I grew up in a big-red-flyover environment. Not to mention that I didn't even know any queer folks (that I was aware of). Whatever the reason, the whole idea was off my radar. I felt a lot of pressure to act straight - to BE straight. And honestly, I BELIEVED I was straight. But...then folks I knew started having sex , and I didn't know how to react. I felt weird and isolated. Like I was failing somehow. So I tried to be straight the only way I knew how. I slept with guys - as many as I could. Not because I really wanted to, but because I felt like it was expected of me. That if I did that, then I would be "normal" and everyone would accept me. I went off to college and kept up with the whole dating (and sleeping with) dudes thing. I wanted to fit in. But still, something wasn't right. I didn't feel good about myself. At some point, I started to meet real, live queers - classmates, teammates, co-workers. They were my friends. They were great people, and I loved them. I asked a bunch of questions that are, honestly, embarrassing when I think back on them*. "How did you know...?", "But...how does it work?" etc. My friends were awesome: patient, kind, and so open.
I wasn't ready to answer those questions for myself. It was too hard. It was half-way through grad school that I was able to admit that I was queer. To realize that sleeping with guys to "pass" made me feel cheap and fake. That it was self-destructive. When I finally admitted to myself that I was gay it felt like a huge burden lifted. I felt...more comfortable with myself. It wasn't "easy" - I could have kept on pretending to fit in. That would have been easier on many levels. Hell, I was terrified coming out to my family and friends. Every time I had the "coming out" conversation I had to prepare myself for the possibility that the person I was talking to might decide to cut all ties with me. It was (is) always possible. And that is really fucking terrifying. It still is.
Sometimes, I look back and wish that I had done things differently. That I had been strong enough to stand up for myself earlier. I think that us LGBTQ* folks are good at telling our coming out stories. These are awesome, empowering stories. And I love to hear them. But it is harder (at least for me) to talk about how destructive it was for me during that period when I tried so hard to fit in. When I actively denied my own truth. I am still working to understand the effects of that period of my life. I wish I could be as patient and understanding with my younger self as my fantastic queer friends were with me. I'm working on it, because this is my history. It's what makes me who I am today. I would never judge anyone else for behaving the same way in the same situation. I would cheer that they survived. I would give them a hug and tell them that IT GETS BETTER. It totally sucks that I have internalized so many negative judgements about what I did when I was younger. I know that I did the best I could back then. And the younger me deserves a lot of love and respect for making it through really hard circumstances.
Sure, I was goofy and somewhat misdirected as a youngster. THAT'S WHAT YOUNG FOLKS DO. And honestly, my life is pretty fucking amazing right now. I have a fantastic daughter. Being a mom is teaching me so much about patience and acceptance - and the process of growing up. I have a job that I love, where I don't have to hide who I am. I don't let anyone assume that I have a husband, or that Mini-G has a "Daddy".
And that is why I make an effort every day to be as out as I can. I want anyone else that may be going through their own struggle to know that they are not alone. To see that others have made it through. That it can be fantastic, even. And that is why I encourage anyone that CAN come out does, following the Rachel Maddow model and the slightly more..colorful.. version by Dan Savage. Being visible in the community not only helps younger folks that may be struggling, but can help gain support of straight allies. But no one can tell another person when they are ready to come out, or how they should do it. I don't care if you are Anderson Cooper, Jodie Foster, or a stick figure on the interweb. Everyone has their own journey to get to the place they feel safe and comfortable enough to make their statement. The journey is important, too. And every single person that does come out is fucking courageous as hell.
*I'm embarrassed now, but at the time these questions were very important to me. And really, they are not embarrassing questions. I would (and do) answer these kinds of questions pretty regularly.
I know I'm a couple of days late, but I just read this article by Melissa Harris-Perry (who is freaking badass!) and it reminded me of how awesome I thought Obama's Inauguration Speech was. So much great stuff. I especially liked the "from Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall" bit. It is a big deal to have the president literally link the fight for gay rights with other major Civil Rights movements. As Melissa Harris-Perry writes:
"When the president name-checked the watershed moments of the women’s rights, civil rights and LGBT equality movements, he offered a powerful moment of official recognition. ... ... ... Previous presidents have asked marginalized Americans to read themselves into the national story, but President Obama actively wrote these groups into our history. Obama positioned Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall as the fulfillment of a nascent promise in Jefferson’s declaration, and thereby recognizes the deeply American narrative embedded in these moments."
Fucking awesome. I hope the policy follows the rhetoric, but even so it is pretty amazing to get that kind of recognition from POTUS.
If you didn't watch it yet, it is totally worth 20 min of your time:
Hello again, bloggy friends! I've had an unexpected hiatus from the blogging. Real life kinda leveled me. I am hoping to be able to blog some of...but not now. Because last night something pretty awesome happened.
Jodie Foster "officially" came out.
I think this is fucking fantastic. Not that I didn't know Jodie Foster was a lesbian. It wasn't really a secret. She has acknowledged it in the past when she talked about her breakup with her partner and co-parent. But last night, she said it in front of 10 MILLION PEOPLE. Holy crap.
I've written before about how it can be tough to come out over and over again. I can't imagine how much harder it must be to have to do this when you have been in the public spotlight since you were 3. I think Andrew Sullivan is off-base critisizing her timing or what words she used. Coming out can be hard and emotional. Give her a fucking break. I like the perspective of Dorothy Snarker much better. I think it is great that she felt like she could do this. I could see the nervousness, and I totally related to it.
So YAY JODIE FOSTER.
That is all.
Hello again! I hope that everyone out there is having a super holiday, no matter what (if anything) you are celebrating!! I have been a little absent recently...I have had some IRL issues that have been taking up all my energy. Seriously. This is one of those unbloggable things (for now) that have certainly tipped my work/life schedule almost fully into LIFE mode. Things are kinda rough for me right now, but I know that it is all for the best. I have been trying to focus on keeping sane and working through things as best I can*. I'm looking forward to 2013, which I hope will bring new beginnings, professional advancement, and a little peace. Of course, being in my third year of the tenure-track doesn't bode well. But really, things in lab are going pretty well. The folks in my lab are kicking ass, and I'm cautiously optimistic *knocks on wood*.
I recently attended the annual meeting for the American Society for Cell Biology. This is a meeting I go to pretty regularly, even though I don't know that I actually classify myself as a cell biologist. Nevertheless, it was a really good meeting. I always enjoy the diversity of research I can learn about at this meeting. It is big, but not TOO big. I even got to give a talk this time! I also took one or two shopping breaks, which was great to outfit my new place and start to catch up on my Xmas shopping. WIN!
But I really want to tell you about my trip home from the ASCB conference. I stayed a little after the meeting, so I was flying home the Friday before Christmas. I was standing in a ridiculously-long and slow-moving line at the airport with a good friend (who can reveal hirself in the comments if ze so desires). Turns out, the woman behind us was one of those crazy cell-phone-shouters. Yay! And she called everyone in her phone book. Because apparently her one-legged cat, Shadow, had recently died.
Shadow had a rough life (we heard about it MORE THAN ONCE). First off, Shadow had only one leg - how did s/he walk around?? I have no idea. Not only that, but it turns out Shadow also didn't get along with the other kitteh that was brought into the house to be hir companion. And recently loud-talker (LT) went home, and found the remaining leg was all swollen! Shadow had an bad tumor, so LT had to euthanize the poor critter. The kicker was that LT couldn't bury Shadow in her yard because of her neighbor, Crazy Charlie (srsly, you can't make this shit up). I have no idea why Crazy Charlie would want to mess with Shadow, but this was a major concern for LT. Though she said it so matter-of-fact "of course, I couldn't bury the cat in my yard because of Crazy Charlie". There's a sentence that is a little scary to hear! I was basically laughing so hard it is pretty incredible I didn't pee. It was either that or strangle the old woman, which I did consider.
I'm not exaggerating that we heard this story at at least three (hundred? it seemed like it!) times. And just when it seemed like it couldn't get worse (after 90 min or so)...well, a person with a ukelele showed up to serenade us. In a Santa hat. While we were trapped in line. I was convinced we had hit rock bottom. BUT NO. Instead...wait for it...a dude showed up with an accordian. I am not shitting you. And then the accordian and ukelele played a duet of "On the Road Again". WHILE WE WERE STUCK IN AN UNMOVING LINE. What. In. The. Fuck. On the bright side, after I got through security it didn't seem so horrible when my flight was delayed.
I hope that you all have safe and sane travels this holiday season! See you (more regularly, I hope!) in 2013!
*better living through chemistry FTW!
The last week has been heartbreaking to watch as Hurricane Sandy tore across the northeast. The images are devastating, and it is going to take some time to recover from the aftermath. Like many of you, I have given some money to the Red Cross (you can text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10). I wanted to give blood, but my stupid low iron levels prevented it. grrrr.
But there is MOAR we can do to help. We can help make sure that kids in areas affected by Sandy still have the opportunity to have a great science education. The Science Bloggers Challenge for Donor's Choose has been EXTENDED! So there is still time! And even better, any $ you give will be matched - that's right DOUBLED. Just enter SCIENCE when prompted for the gift/match code. I've picked out some new projects that are specifically aimed to help kids in the Sandy-affected areas. Go to my giving page, and drop a couple of dollars to help them out. Even $1 is awesome, just to show these kids that we care about them now, and also we want to see them win in the future.
Here are the Sandy-area projects I added:
"We need basic supplies :)" in Paterson, NJ (OMG, the smiley face breaks my heart)
"Help my science guppies find Nemo!" in Brooklyn, NY (this is a special needs class)
"Mission Nutrition" in NY, NY (only $20 to go!)
"Learning through games in the testing grades" in Brooklyn, NY (because you shouldn't only have to learn for the test!)
Let's finish out one or all of these, whaddayasay?