ananiujitha said: Do you have any suggestions for breathing protection? I am struggling with pine-sol exposure right now, and feeling very very sick. I saw your pics of your respirator. I have been using dust masks, so far, but don't know how to find a good respirator for dealing with worse exposures, especially one I can carry around every day and put on pretty easily.
Most dust masks are HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filters, which move air through holes small enough to block most particulates such as dust, pollen, etc. But chemical scents are barely slowed down by them. You need to be sure you are getting one with a carbon filter in order to have an effect. For a cheap, small, and portable carbon filter breathe mask, I recommend I Can Breathe Honeycombe Mask, it even comes in a variety of colors including lace patterns. I typically use my more heavy duty Respro Techno Mask, which has both a carbon filter, and a HEPA filter, and air valves for easier exhaling (I Can Breathe has a sport version with air valves, too).
A word of warning, though, both masks rely on a flexible metal nose piece to hold it firmly onto your face and frequently folding it shut in order to fit into a pocket will eventually wear it down and break it. In fact, regularly shoving either mask into a pocket is going to drastically increase wear. If that’s what you need it for, though, that’s okay. I even now keep one mask with a broken nosepiece for portability and one newer mask for other instances.
If you’re dealing with really strong chemicals, you can turn to something even more serious, like the 3M Organic Vapor Filter, which is designed for working in paint fumes, pesticides, industrial solvents, and other strong chemicals that may overwhelm a simply carbon filter. Keep in mind the link is only to the replacement filters, you still need to buy the mask piece as well, and it comes with pink HEPA Filters.
Finally, since you can buy as much gear as possible and still have an exposure, here’s a few tips I’ve found personally helpful for dealing with an exposure:
1- Get out of the area.
2- Wash up. Wash your face, wash your hands, wash your arms, or any other exposed skin. It can be good to keep a small container of unscented soap or a few unscented moist toilette on hand for this.
3- When you get a chance you can change your clothes or wash your hair if need be. Showers can be useful in general.
4- Get rest. Sometimes after a major exposure I get sick for a few days. I’m not sure if this is a result of the exposure or if it’s lowering my immune system so I catch whatever bug is around. Either way, some rest now can reduce the chance of being forced out of action for days.
5- Drink tea. Okay, maybe this is my solution for everything, but steam and hot water seem to be pretty effective. I like to choose herbs that are good for detoxing, but I’ve found any hot clear liquid (even hot cider) to has similar effects.
+1 to all of these, and +10 esp. to the notes about showering thoroughly & getting rest after an exposure.
While I don’t have MCS, I do have fibromyalgia. Many people I know with auto-immune disorders (esp. fibromyalgia, lupus, and Lyme disease) and/or chronic pain (chronic pain can severely weaken your immune system) have MCS-like reactions to chemical exposures. I am very lucky to be only mildly chemically-sensitive myself, most of the time. That said, I have absolutely had the experience of being exposed to chemicals (usually the trigger is something like: perfume/cologne bomb on a crowded bus, breathing in a lot of industrial chemicals walking by a construction site, breathing in fresh paint or tar fumes out on the street) and then being dizzy/fogged out/sick for a couple days after. Getting as far away as I can from whatever is making me sick, showering, and resting for a few hours can mean the difference between feeling sick for an evening versus feeling sick for several days, at least for me.
Also, a related tip: If you live in a city/urban area where there are a lot of cars and public transit, getting yourself to an area that is less polluted (like, a beach or a park or a forest), even for just a couple hours, can also really help. Once, after an esp. bad industrial chemical exposure, I showered, changed clothes, and took a bus out to the beach (I am lucky to live in a geographically small & coastal city [San Francisco], where there is pretty easy access to public beaches). Breathing in the beach air versus breathing in the traffic-y air around my apartment really helped!
Or How Jack Halberstam is Playing The Victim and Dismissing Real Concerns by Crying “Reverse-Abelism”
A few days ago Jack Halberstam - Or Jock Halberslam as I am tempted to refer to him from now on - released an article about how the “triggered generation” of millennials are preventing any real work from getting done because we are just whining about minor unimportant things. But for some reason he chose two examples that run counter to his point to focus on: accessibility needs and trans women working with others to reduce transmisogyny.
So to begin with, yes there are folks who misuse the word “trigger” when they really mean “I’m uncomfortable and I want everyone to cater to my needs and desires immediately.” And yes there is a fixation among some to try and point out every slightly oppressive thing others are doing as if that scores them points as a better activist.
That said, the article doesn’t make a distinction between folks who are misusing the concept of being triggered this way and people who are actually being triggered. It encourages people to dismiss or even mock accessibility needs. Yet Jack depicts people with allergies or MCS as yelling and biting someone’s head off over minor things that don’t matter. But as someone with MCS, I can tell you it isn’t minor. It can and will make me very sick, yet despite that I’ve *never* yelled at someone for smoking or wearing perfume because I’m often quite afraid to speak up for my needs.
He isn’t actually trying to discourage a victim mentality, he just wants everyone to see him and others who have to listen to our accessibility needs as the real victims. Considering how much pressure there is already to keep quiet about accessibility needs this is really messed up. I’ve often chosen to get sick (even once losing my voice) because I was afraid to speak up and create an imposition.
One time I hosted an event and created a scent free policy as a requirement of my being able to host it. I got hate mail for days. People demanded their right to wear perfumes that would make me too sick to give my presentation. Others demanded I take some unknown shots that would solve the problem. A few even threatened to boycott. That’s the behavior Jack is encouraging when he tells people that my accessibility needs are minor and that even my timid attempts to get them met are an affront to those I’m asking a minor accommodation from.
The other thing, too, is that I see it as very common for any criticism or concerns that trans women raise to quickly get interpreted as over-emotional tantrums and screaming at people. I actually was very involved in the conversations around Trannyshack and it was very positive, cordial, and constructive. The organizers of T-shack thanked us for our input and designated our organization the beneficiary of their show. We gave them an award. Everyone was happy and thought it went great. Then a bunch of bystanders simply assumed that we must have strong armed them into it through whining about being triggered. Folks who weren’t involved in the conversation wrote about how terrible trans women are for censoring and being PC police. Hecklina from T-Shack wrote up her perspective trying to clarify that wasn’t what happened and that in fact she got way more pressure from cis fans demanding she not “give in to the trans women word police” but her words never got the same reach or publicity as the folks complaining about emotionally reactive trans women.
The fact that Jack relies so heavily on this example, when in reality no one was complaining about being triggered but instead were having a reasonable conversation between organizers about how the event would be received and how to strategically frame it to best benefit the community, really undermines his point. Yes, a lot of the “triggered generation” he’s talking about are not trans women, but it really makes me wonder how much of a problem “trigger whiners” are and how much of it is a matter of other people characterizing someone that way in order to dismiss them.
- T-Shack: Hey it's 2013 in Seattle and we're having an awesome show!
- Trans Organization: Since you're visiting our town you should know the local context that we've had a ton of recent community discussion about the use of the t-word and your show might stir up a lot of controversy you don't actually want to be dealing with.
- T-Shack: Hey thanks, that's good to know. We'll do a different show with a different name and it'll be fine.
- Performer: I'm super excited to be in the show, but I'm embarrassed to say the name out loud.
- T-Shack: That's a really bad outcome, both financially and politically. We'll have to work on a solution.
- T-Shack: We're back now that it's 2014 and we've renamed our show for while we're here, but still have the old name on the poster
- Trans Organization: That's awesome, we really appreciate that. But you might want to reconsider the old name on posters. Because if they are going to be put up all around town it could still raise some problems. Also, did you realize you scheduled the show to be at the same time as Trans Pride?
- T-Shack: Oops, give us a moment to confer.
- Cis Gay Bystander: Oh my god you guys are terrible, stop being word police! Stop censoring everyone! I love the word 'tranny'. Tranny, tranny, tranny! Trannyshack folks, please don't give in to this pressure.
- Trans Woman Bystander: Are you trying to upset folks on purpose, this was a productive conversation.
- Cis Gay Bystander: I don't understand you trans women. You think that being a keyboard warrior will win you everything but you're just alienating your allies.
- Trans Woman Bystander: Fuck you if you think you're my ally. With allies like you, who needs enemies!
- Cis Gay Bystander #2: *Pulls out popcorn* I love to watch trans women freak out and get super emotional.
- T-Shack: Hey guys, that's not helpful. Also, we've decided to permanently change our name and keep the t-word off our posters and we'd like to make this show a benefit for Trans Pride!
- Trans Organization: That's awesome! You guys really are the best! We're going to promote your show and please stop by Trans Pride we want to give you an award for allyship!
- Cis Gay News: Why do trans women hate drag queens? Yet again local trans women are creating drama. These radical activists are strong-arming our beloved Trannyshack into changing their name. They just whine and make a fuss until they get their way. They are giving our community a bad name. This is exactly they kind of infighting that we need to put an end to.
- T-Shack: Hey that's not exactly what happened, here's my open statement about why we thought changing the name was a good idea and were appreciative of the help and feedback I got in that process.
- Jack Halberstam: This story about over-emotional trans women throwing tantrums and claiming to be triggered by a single word is a great example for my work on the Neo-Liberal Rhetoric of Harm. They really should lighten up. We need to put an end to finger snapping moralism like that.
- ...: ...
- ...: ...
- Note: The above is obviously all paraphrased since the actual account was 30-50 pages long. Actual wording or phrases were used when possible. Mainly I wanted to share this because it's super tiring to have everything you say framed within the box of "trans women are over-emotional, over-reactive, shrieking, and behavior policing" no matter how much what we're doing differs from that.
Today marks the launch of the newest addition to the TroubleFilms web network, DoingItOnline.Com.
DoingItOnline.com, a collaboration between Handbasket Productions and Trouble Films, offers fresh, trans female-focused content created and curated by filmmaker and activist Tobi Hill-Meyer.
“In the media lately, it seems like everyone gets to have their say about trans women’s sexuality. Everyone…
So prepare for my specialty – a math inspired rant about sex. So I like reading craigslist casual encounters ads (I wrote a zine about it) and there’s a tendency for folks not to sell themselves in any way other than stating what they are looking for. I understand how that works well for some folks, but I’m always a bit resentful. Sure I’d love to do that, but why should I do that with you? Especially in ads seeking trans women, they seem completely unaware of the issue of supply and demand and just seem entitled, sometimes even complaining about how no one is responding to their ad. I saw one recently that was so specific and detailed in requirements I just had to crunch the numbers.
It was from a cis male and cis female couple looking for a trans woman penetrative top who must have 8 inch bits or longer to have sex with them both – “uncut and heavy cummers go to the head of the line.”
I was curious how many women actual fit their description. First off, they live in a metropolitan area that holds 1.95% of the US population. Craigslist says that they get 60 million unique visitors each month, so 1.95% of that is 1.172 million. Trans people are about 0.2% of the population, so we can estimate that there are 2,345 trans people in the region who read craigslist. Guessing that half of them are women that leaves us with 1,172. In order to fit the ads criteria, a woman would have to not have had vaginoplasty and must be attracted to both men and women. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey – the largest trans survey ever completed – 43 percent of surveyed trans people identified as bi or queer and 23% of trans women have had vaginoplasty. That brings our numbers down to 388 trans women in the region who use craigslist, are bi, and pre/non-op.
Now there’s the demand that you must be 8 inches or larger. Stats say that 3% of cis men have genitals that large. For trans women, it’s likely to be a lower, but we’ll go with that for now. So now we’re looking at 11 people.
And remember, these are all craigslist users, not just the folks on casual encounters – I’m guessing at least a third of those folks could be looking for a job or to sell furniture rather than looking for sex. And many trans women are completely uninterested in being a penetrative top. There’s no numbers on that that I know of, but I’d say it’d be generous to say a third would be up for that activity. Now we’re looking at 2-3 people who fit this criteria, but just as likely it might be only one or even zero! What are the chances one of those people will read the ad? What are the chances they’d be interested in you?
But there’s no attempt to be flirtatious or enticing. Just “uncut and heavy cummers go to the head of the line.” What line? Think about how awkward this would be if it was clear and up front how few people were being talked about:
“I’m looking to hookup with someone who works as a teller for a Seattle branch of Bank of America. You must be blonde and be named Marissa, Marsha, or maybe Sara. If you had a birthday last month, that’s even better! You must be into anal. Multi orgasmic squirters go to the front of the line. Send me a message with ‘At your service’ in the subject line or it will go in the trash. No pic, no reply.”
Tobi & I are currently re-writing the Grampa Simpson Onion On My Belt Speech in the style of Queer Pervert Grandmas.
"The important thing is, I had a hanky in my back pocket, which was the style at the time. You couldn’t get silk hankies, ‘cause of the war. All we had were those biiig paisley cotton ones…"
"And back then, Hitachis had pictures of bumblebees on ‘em! ‘Gimme five bees for an orgy!’, you’d say…"