A Representative Sample of Search Terms That Got People to My Blog

People Who Were Looking for me

yetanotherlefty blog
yetanotherlefty wordpress
yetanotherleftie wordpress liam
yetanotherlefty

I suggest you read: erm, anything on here, you found me! Maybe try my About Page?
People Who Wanted Information About Issy Stapleton

Issy Stapleton
Issy Stapleton
Issy Stapleton
Issy Stapleton
Issy Stapleton
Issy Stapleton
Issy Stapleton
Issy Stapleton
Issy Stapleton
Issy Stapleton
issy autism uk
issy stapleton
Kelli Stapleton’s blog
issystapleton

My post on how to prevent yourself / your child becoming the next Issy is here and my open letter to Issy is here.

People Asking About Autism

what is autism acceptance day
“autism acceptance day”
do autistic people lip read
is autism painful
autism vegan

I’ve written a fair few posts on autism but I suggest you head over to The Thinking Person’s Guide To Autism, The Autism Positivity Project and/or Autistic Hoya.

People Asking About PTSD

who disclose ptsd
who disclose ptsd
how to make someone with ptsd feel safe
do not disclose ptsd

I wrote these posts on PTSD, one on why I don’t talk about “what happened” and the other on trigger warnings and activist spaces.

People Looking For Flavia Dzodan
what are feminists of color writing about intersectionality and human rights today?
flavia+dzodan+intersectionality

flavia dzodan intersectionality

flavia dzodan intersectionality

Please, please go and read Flavia’s own writing not just my reports of it! She can be found on her blog here.

People Searching Desperately For Useful Information About British Disability Benefit Payments

who has been awarded pip
fibromyalgia and i got pip payment
has pip been awarded for anyone with mental health illness
pib benefit claims for fibromyalgia
ive applied for pip and not heard anything
has anyone with mental ill health been awarded pip
iv been awarded p.i.p
fibro pip 2014
dla how much do you get autism
iv,e been awarded pip
i put in for pip payments in november 18th and haven’t heard anything
dwp and fibromyalgia
fibro new pip
i’ve been awarded p i p but been took off e s a
if you try to kill yourself are you elligable for disability
how to fill in pip form for fibromyalgia
pip and fibromyalgia
how complete form pip/ mental health
dla pip benefit for ptsd

A thing that must be noted about these benefits related search terms is that are all from the last ten weeks. They all relate to this post of mine about my own journey within the DWP system. You’re not alone. This *is* hard and there are massive unexplained delays. I can be reached on twitter (I’m @autistliam) to offer solidarity, virtual hugs and a bit of support and advice but mainly all I can say is you’re not alone, there are thousands of us and together we’ll get through this because there is no other choice.

Other less common searches included people wanting information on mental illness and vegetarianism, questions about fibromyalgia, a few searches for LGBTQ and religion and some slightly bizarre searches for “trans people who don’t look trans” and “trans person who works in a coffee shop”.

Trans 101

People I know are often in need of hearing this.

Trans and maybe-trans and I-don’t-fucking-know and my-way-of-being-isn’t-recognised-in-colonialist-culture people, this is for you. Read it whenever you need to remember that you are just as much of a person as anyone else and you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Cis, otherwise not-trans and I-guess-I-never-thing-about-gender people, this isn’t for you but read it anyway. Think about how you can help change the world into one where people don’t need to be reminded that they aren’t broken. Think about what you and yours may have said and done that contributed to making people believe such things about themselves. Learn. Be better.

Binary Subverter

  1. You are a person. You are worthy of respect. You deserve to be treated with the same dignity as anyone else. There is nothing inherently wrong with your gender. You are not broken, you are not disgusting, you do not deserve to be hurt.
  2. You’ve been brought up and live in a world that’s designed to erase and demonize your existence, you’ve probably internalized a lot of that- and that’s not your fault. But it can be hard to deal with. But you aren’t alone in dealing with it. And sometimes you have to buy into it to be able to handle it (trigger warning: transphobic violence). And that’s okay.
  3. Your gender is no more or less than anyone else’s. Your history doesn’t make you “not really” or “less” your gender than someone with a cis history, it just makes you a person of your gender with a different history.

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CeCe McDonald is free.

This puts it better than I could.

CeCe McDonald is free. Finally, Cece McDonald is free.

If you haven’t heard of CeCe, here’s the deal: She’s been in prison since 2011 for killing a man in self-defence. And not the kind of self-defence where you think someone’s looking at you funny or walking around the place carrying suspicious Skittles so you shoot them point-blank and get away scot-free. This is the other kind of self-defence, where you’re walking down the street and a group of people attack you because they don’t like people of your race and gender walking down the street. Where when you attempt to walk away they smash bottles against your face, leaving you permanently scarred and with a severed saliva gland. And when you defend yourself with a scissors from your bag, you kill your attacker. Where, when the case goes to court, neither your attacker’s three previous convictions for violent assault nor…

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Guest Post: Aftermath

This is a guest post by someone I know who wishes to remain entirely anonymous. Please do not attempt to guess who they are, they will not be commenting and any comments trying to state who they are will be deleted and the commenter blocked from commenting on this blog entirely.

TRIGGER WARNING: THIS POST IS ABOUT THE AFTERMATH OF CHILD ABUSE

People know that child abuse happens. They might be a bit unclear on what exactly it is but they know that it happens and that it is bad. What most people don’t seem to really realise though is that most abused children survive childhood and grow up to be adults. Adults that could be and probably are people they know. What else people seem not to understand is that many people who were abused as children were never removed from the care of abusive relatives as children and may still have an ongoing relationship with abusive and abuse-enabling relatives as adults.

I am still in regular contact with people who deliberately and wilfully harmed me when I was in their care. I smile and play the dutiful adult offspring and act like nothing is wrong. I go home for Christmas. When people talk about how no matter what your parents always love you and want the best for you, I stay quiet and pretend it doesn’t hurt. When I need to write something like this blog post, I don’t and it swirls round and round in my head threatening to spill out of my mouth.
“I was abused”
“My mental illness was caused by child abuse”
“I cannot feel safe at my parents’ house”
These are sentences I have said aloud. But not to my parents or anyone who knows them. Not to most of my friends.

And even when I say them, people try to minimise and tell me that of course things must be okay now after all this time? Or they suggest that things can’t have been “that bad” because as a child I did not call the police or social services to rescue me. Because the teachers only saw a bright child and didn’t notice I was hurting. It was bad enough to have permanent effects on my development, mental health and my identity. That I was abused at all was “bad enough” because child abuse should never happen to anyone.
People tell me my parents were “trying their best” and maybe they were but it doesn’t matter. I was harmed. I am hurting. And I live in a society that so valorises the nuclear family that it seems like I am the only one who has to live with the consequences.

Because I cannot publically write about what happened to me. Because there is no polite way to say “Actually, my relationship with my family is fucked up”. Because never seeing the people who hurt me again isn’t a socially valid option – and seeing them without pretending nothing is wrong isn’t either.
There are hundreds and thousands of people like me. Quietly trying to piece our lives together whilst pretending nothing is wrong to save society’s ideals about family.

It hurts. It hurts pretending and it hurts when I don’t. There are so many things where I wish I could just call my mum or dad for advice and I can’t. I feel so alone at those times because I have no parental figures in my life and no way to find new ones. I have to be my own mum and dad all the time. Except when I go back to my parents’ house and plaster on a smile and talk about a carefully scripted version of my life – one without nightmares and nervous breakdowns and suicidal ideation, one where I am independent out of choice not necessity, one where I feel loved and wanted by my family. An acceptable, comforting lie. I can’t sustain it long. It hurts so much.

I feel alone so much of the time but I know there are millions of others in my position. I wrote this for them. You’re not alone.
It happened to me too.

Whiteness, Racial Prejudice and Racism (Part 1)

Part One: I Am The Hypothetical Child Bullied By POC Classmates For Being White And What Happened To Me Was NOT Racism

Link to Part 2

I am white.

I was born into a world that white people had already slashed and burned into our own image, a world where white people are a minority yet we are treated as default examples of humanity. I have always seen white people on my television screens and been taught about the deeds and sayings of a great many white people at school. I was brought up in a way that formed and fed the assumption that white people were everywhere, that we did and said almost everything of any real consequence. Images of both the past and the distant future presented to me by books and TV portrayed a world just as full of white people – often more full of white people than the town in which I lived where segregation was socially enforced. There were white areas of town and Asian areas and we all knew to keep ourselves in our place. I was taught that this was the fault of the Asian people who weren’t trying hard enough to “integrate”and definitely had nothing to do with the white people’s disproportionate response to Asian families moving in to an area – white families would simply move out.

I was born into a world that was set up so that I would be advantaged over my Asian friends and still feel able to blame them for their own relative lack of success.

Two things happened that have massively changed the way I see the world. From the age of 11 to 16, I attended a school where white pupils made up just two or three percent of all pupils and I was ostracised, bullied and harmed because of my skin colour and my race. Then, from the age of 23 I began to experience something that might accurately be called racism for the first time. This is because I had knowingly done something that made my previously unquestionable status as a white person become conditional and precarious: I began living openly as a Jew.

As a white child in a space where almost all the other children I spent five plus hours a day with were Asian (specifically, almost everyone was either of Indian or Pakistani descent) I was subjected to a range of unpleasant treatment specifically because of my skin colour and stereotypes and perceptions associated with it. I was called names, rumours were spread about me, I was hit, spat at, had things thrown at me, had people stalk me, got death threats and rape threats. I was stared at, I was ostracised and frequently ditched by so-called friends if popular children of their own race wanted to hang out with them. I was fetishised and told by boys that all girls of my race were sluts (I was still in the closet about being trans and was living as though a girl at the time). I was repeatedly told that being white made me a Christian even though I wasn’t. My decision to learn to speak Urdu was treated as incomprehensible. I was frequently mistaken for other white pupils or assumed to be related to white students who shared my (very common) surname. Teachers and pupils alike couldn’t understand why I wasn’t friends with other students whose only commonality with me was race.
And yet, while all of this was unpleasant and certain seems on the face of it to resemble racism, that was not racism. Racism requires power and privilege. Racism is structurally enforced. Those other children were not in a position to assert power over me nor was the prejudice they showed me structurally enforced. Nothing they could do to me would change the fact that I was born white in a white supremacist world and they were born not-white into that same world.

It was no coincidence that more than half of our teachers were white. It was no coincidence that I, often the only (other) white face in the room, was the star pupil, the teacher’s pet, the favourite and first unofficially and then officially the public face of the school. I was literally the school’s poster child, appearing in local papers, on local radio and on the local news. If there were to be cameras around, I was brought out and put in front of them. Parents interested in the school were told about my achievements. Was I bright? Yes – but not really the brightest pupil there. But I was white as well as intelligent and that is why a school with hundreds of pupils choose me to be its public face.
Looking back, I had a lot of power. If I had not been white, would the (also white) senior teachers have listened to me and accepted my wishes when I argued my way into only studying the subjects I wanted to, into taking a completely different syllabus from the rest of the school for one GCSE topic, into switching classes because I didn’t like the teacher or into the Gifted and Talented group? I honestly don’t know. I somehow doubt I managed all those things with reason and intelligence alone, rather than perhaps the spectre of one of the school’s few white families going to the local paper should I not get what I wanted. I walked out of classrooms without getting told off. I “lost” homework. I consistently turned up late to class and I often forgot my PE kit and yet I never had a single detention or note sent home. When teachers gave whole classes detention they let me go. If my skin had been a different colour, I doubt I would have been afforded so much lenience. I was assumed to always be telling the truth and to always have good intentions – not all my classmates were so lucky.

So, I was able to use my White privilege even there to get what I needed / wanted – whether that was an extra day to finish my homework, the right to sit in the G&T library or even to study a course no one else in the school was taking. Yet there’s more to why what happened to me at that school was not racism.
The school was a large part of my life but ultimately, it was escapable. 35 or so hours a week, 40 or so weeks a year for five years I was in a space where people who looked and sounded like me were massively outnumbered. The people I went to school with, on the other hand, will all spend much more time than I ever will in spaces where people who look like them are massively outnumbered by people who look like me. At the end of the school day, I could go back to my white neighbourhood to read books written by, for and about white people and watch television shows made by, for and about white people – and all my non-white friends would head home to Asian neighbourhoods to read books written by, for and about white people and watch TV made by, for and about white people. Whilst at school, we would read books written by, for and about white people, whatever the lesson. Everything, from English Literature to Science to History to Maths was about how White people had done just about everything ever worth noting except Islam which was the one thing brown people had ever done.
Any school in the UK would have taught pretty much the same. I could have chosen to leave the school for one where more people looked like me and that choice was not one my fellow pupils could make. It was seen by all as highly unusual for a school to be so non-white but no one questioned other schools having massive majorities of white students. In short, the prejudice I experienced for being white in a space where white skin was atypical was temporary, escape-able, considered highly unusual and greatly ameliorated by my White Privilege. The racism experienced daily by my fellow students who weren’t white was permanent, inescapable, commonplace and they had no white privilege to use to make it more tolerable. For as long as this world is a white supremacist one, I will be afforded advantages that I do not deserve any more than my fellow pupils did and they will not be afforded them. And that *is* racism.

The Obligatory Year-In-Review Post

TW: mental illness, disability benefits

It would be far, far too easy for me to claim that “nothing happened” this last year. My ill health forced me to take time out of my degree and to spend pretty much the entire year chasing up disability related benefits. It’s been a hard year.

I think, though, it has taught me a lot about myself. Mainly that I’m not as helpless as I often feel. I mean, who found me a new house to move into? Who got Adult Social Care to assess me? Who sorted out my claims for Personal Independence Payments, Employment Support Allowance *and* Housing Benefit? I did.
Who decided it was necessary to take even more time out my degree and organised for that to happen? I did.
Who is living in a house which contains no other members of his family for the first time in years *and* actually making that work? I am.

And whilst I’ve been doing all that, I’ve managed to maintain a social life, two romantic relationships and to keep politically active.
That’s not nothing.

With no partner living in the same city as me, I’ve discovered to my surprise that people like me in my own right, not just as one of a pair. I’ve also discovered that I can hold my own in activist circles when I thought I needed someone to back me up. I’m glad I’ve learned (finally) that I usually do know what I’m talking about and people want to listen to what I think.

I started this blog in 2013. It’s the first blog I’ve had under my own name – which is oddly freeing as I’m not trying to hide from my stalkers any more. I don’t worry about them reading this because I refuse to be ashamed of anything I write here. Yes, I am trans and bisexual and disabled. I claim benefits and I may not ever be well enough for full time work. I refuse to be ashamed of that.
I have things to say and I’m going to say them.

My new year was Rosh Hashanah and I thought up hopes and wishes for the next year then. Right now, I don’t know what 2014 will hold for me. I’m hoping to finish my degree, have a break from running around after benefits, spend more time with my two wonderful partners and to, well, stay alive as best I can.

When I was younger, I didn’t expect to live to be 25. I couldn’t see a future for myself that lasted that long without me taking my own life. This year I want to make it to and past my 25th birthday. This year I want to prove my younger self wrong and show him that even mentally ill disabled queer trans people like me get to have lives full of love and happiness that he couldn’t have even imagined.
It’s not much of an ambition but it is mine.

2013 (and 2012 before it too) was not an easy year for me. There’s been tears and mental health crises. But there’s also been joy and triumph and solidarity. There’s been love and hope. Things have changed massively from how I thought my life would be but I know I am making the most I possibly can with what I have.
2014 will bring it’s own challenges and difficulties, no doubt. But I’ve learned this year both that I can take on challenges myself successfully and that I don’t have to.

Happy New Year. Especially to the woman who’s loved me and wanted me throughout all the hard stuff and to the man who made the leap from being my friend to being my partner: I love you both and I look forward to continuing to do so for as long as I possibly can ❤