Defunding the police has finally come into the mainstream. With wide supporting from city councils and federal lawmakers, vital discussions of how to finally disband the police state and replace it with something useful are happening.
There’s a risk that the defunding argument will be too narrow in scope, though. Most of it has focused on the most visible element of the police: the beat cops. Eliminating their patrols is a great first step – but we have to make sure the less visible parts are dealt with, as well. Police are like an iceberg: much of their destructive mass is hidden below the waters.
In addition to beat cops, you have detectives who investigate and track things down. These are the ones who are right now hunting down protester identities and trying to lock up any journalists or activists they can get. There’s the Vice squad, for example, who hunts down sex workers to shut them down and deny them bodily autonomy. Detectives are the Gestapo wing of the police.
On the enforcement side, there’s SWAT. They need to be disarmed, their equipment seized, and disbanded. SWAT is who raids the homes of the poor, murders dogs, and throws flashbang grenades into the cribs of babies. And they never suffer any consequences for their psychotic slaughter. That needs to change.
What else? Police are more than just the forces who arrest. There are also cops who are those who prop-up the system in other fields. The District Attorney has investigators – fire them all. You can let go of court officers. Shut down the Fusion Centers the police use to spy on citizens and collect our private data to sabotage and infiltrate activism.
Abolish the prison system. This is another cause entering the mainstream. Shut the prisons down and move their residents to better quarters where they can receive the education and rehabilitation they need. Fire the prison guards and strip them of their pensions – give them to the prisoners they abused and beat.
The Probation and Parole offices have police who monitor those who have been victims of the legal system. They are offices dedicated solely to making a person feel as small and helpless as possible, using the threat of loss of freedom as a cudgel to beat them down. A person who gets out of prison for a crime they never committed finds themselves victimized twice as their parole officer can extort and bully them however they please without consequences. Fire them all and give people back their freedom.
We need to remember that defunding and disbanding the police is only the first step. One of the issues is that you now have a band of bastards experienced in using violence against the vulnerable and who possess sympathies to alt-right and white nationalist elements. You need ways of preventing them from forming militias of their own or training others. Otherwise, you risk sowing the seeds of a counter-revolution in your own neighborhood.
How to handle that? First, publish the names and home addresses of all police, serving and retired. Make communities aware of who they are and where they live. This is similar to the efforts made against ICE agents (another organization that must be abolished). Organize community efforts to seize any and all weapons they may have in their possession. Cops love to own guns – they think it makes them superior. Take their guns away ASAP. Breaking into their homes when they’re not present and taking them would be smart to avoid confrontation.
Next, host community trials of all cops with any complaints. Hold them responsible for their past actions. Anyone they’ve roughed up, attacked, or harassed gets to level charges against them. For example, you have the Dallas Police Chief, Renee Hall, who arrested 674 peaceful protesters in an amazing abuse of power – only backing off when her own job was threatened. All of them should be allowed to hold her to account and take reparations from her personal holdings.
Prison guards and probation officers in particular would have a lot to answer for as a group, as they have the highest rate of systemic oppression. No more blue line to protect them. Only justice brought on by the people they oppressed. They can be forced to paid reparations or sent to re-education to undo their anti-social programming. Those who raped or murdered can be given the French Revolution treatment: guillotines! (Right next to the landlords.)
Finally, their ongoing behavior can be monitored by the community replacements. To stop the intergenerational spread of their hateful ideology, their children would need to be removed and placed into community childcare. Cops are fascist by nature and you can’t afford having their children perpetuating that viewpoint.
If they show signs of supporting the alt-right, direct action against them can remind them of their place. Steps must be taken to remind them of their disgraceful role in society. The truly repentant ones might be allowed back into normal society eventually on a limited basis. But, sadly, you will have to deal with an underclass of ex-cops that pose a continual danger to a system that supports social justice over punitive measures.
All cops are bastards. Any solution to the problem must account for that. But with Minneapolis leading the way on abolishing the police, prisons, and other institutions of hate, we’re on our way toward having a wonderful and revolutionary future!
SweetBeans99 Did Nothing Wrong — So Why All the Hate?
Mallorie Jessica Udischas, a.k.a. SweetBeans99, is no stranger to targeted harassment campaigns by the alt-right and fake leftist bootlickers. As a prominent non-binary (she/her/they/them) gay artist, she’s had slings and arrows thrown her way before. Now as 2020 enters the second quarter it looks like she’s being hit again, this time even worse.
The year of 2020 began with her being attacked for her New Guy comic, where she took joy in seeing anti-Semitic YouTuber PewDiePie robbed. His fans objected so they mobbed her. Now many of those same reprobates are clutching their pearls and accusing her of “supporting shoplifting.” In question is a new three-part comic she released starring one of her original characters getting art block, going to an art store based on major national chain Blick’s, stealing supplies, and returning home without consequence.
A lot of the reactions to her drawings have consisted of awful art replies. One promoted Hobby Lobby, the infamous anti-LGBT group that has funded ISIS. Another compares her to literal Nazi comic artist Stonetoss. There are even pornographic takes on the comic, where the main character — a stand-in for the artist — is explicitly raped in “revenge” for her actions. That’s made even worse by the common knowledge that Mallorie is both trans and a lesbian, making her being violated by male characters an explicit transphobic and homophobic attack, with corrective rape mixed in. I’ve chosen not to link to these to avoid giving the bigots who made them free publicity.
Most of this toxicity is similar to the reaction against New Guy, which also had response art themed around violence against women, rape threats against the artist, and overt white supremacist views. However, this time, the attacks have done far more damage. Mallorie’s Ko-Fi — a major source of funds since she’s become a full-time artist — has been mass flagged and shut down. Hopefully this is only temporary.
Most of the criticisms are aimed at how the comic appears to endorse shoplifting. This misses the comic’s resolution. At the end of the comic, the main character is left still unsure what to do. The theft and excursion did nothing to address the real issue: art block. (A feeling a writer can easily understand.) As Mallorie herself says, “She’s a character who wanted something, made a flawed choice, then didn’t get what she was looking for in the end. It’s not glorifying or condemning at all. It’s just showing a thing that happens.”
Separate from this is the necessary debate on the ethics of shoplifting. As one reader commented, “Stealing from big chains is praxis,” to which Mallorie agreed. People tried arguing that employees would be fired if people stole — but that doesn’t happen. As Mallorie said, “I’ve worked retail most of my life. Nobody gets fired because a rando stole merch.”
At stores like Dillard’s, Harbor Freight Tools, Fry’s, and other major chains, employees are specifically instructed not to confront shoplifters. Retail workers are fired for stopping theft, not for having it happen under their watch. It shows how none of the critics of Mallorie’s comic have themselves worked in retail. They attack her because they have no connection to the actual working class. It proves their inherent bad faith and makes a mockery of any attempts at “discourse” with them.
But as Mallorie herself has said, it’s not the alt-right going after her that has her the most saddened. It’s “the queer folks and cartoonists and so-called progressive who are pouring the gasoline here.” She summarizes what happened thusly: “Literal Nazis started a coordinated harassment campaign and many folks had to have a discourse tearing each other apart coming up with ‘valid criticism’ against me and my little comic like this kid [sp] of shit hasn’t led to the suicide of others in the past.”
Quinton Reviews, for example, started out supporting her and liked the comic. He then backtracked shortly after, bootlicking to the public when the heat got too much. Proof that his support for LGBT comic creators only goes as far as he doesn’t get any criticism for it. Alternate History Hub mocked Mallorie outright, writing, “‘I live in a comfortable bubble and got away with crimes in my suburban neighborhood. Haha aint [sp] that progressive and quirky.’” He also claimed — falsely — that “stealing stuff isnt [sp] some political action.”
One of the worst art responses — so offensive it’s worth replicating here to marvel at its horror — comes from cryptofascist SqrlyJack. Their piece is nominally intended to be a show of support for Sweetbeans99, but on closer inspection, this falls apart. They twist the original character of the comic into a twisted demonic parody, clearly mocking Sweetbeans99 in the process. They clad the main character proclaiming Mallorie’s innocence in a Nazi uniform.
In the image, you can see a clear alt-right meme: Xi Jinping portrayed as Winnie the Pooh. This meme originated in China from anti-Communists. In the west, it was popularized by the alt-right as a way to mock President Xi in support of Trump. Using Winnie the Pooh as a reference to Xi Jinping is a racist dog whistle.
SqrlyJack has prior involvement with QuQu on a podcast. QuQu is a well-known leader of the “alt-furry” movement. Those are furries who support fascism and endorse committing violence against citizen groups like ANTIFA, BAMN, and the DSA. SqrlyJack is clearly a cryptofascist — likely with ties to 4chan — creating propaganda that they claim supports communism but in fact is designed to subvert and mock it.
The good news is that despite the targeted harassment from the alt-right and people on the left revealing themselves as bootlickers, the comic itself has been a success for Mallorie. As of the time of this writing, it has over 15,000 likes, 2000 retweets, and around 3,700 comments. Any attempt the Nazis made to “ratio” her failed utterly, as the Internet overwhelmingly supported her comic and its message.
What can you do to help? Mallorie’s Patreon is still alive and well. You can sign up there to support her in these trying times. You can also follow her on Twitter and like her page on Facebook.
Landlords are parasites. This is a truism understood since the days of Mao that remains true today. Two landlords are providing more evidence for this: Nat Hyman in Allentown, PA, and Gary Whitaker in Dayton, OH. During a time of crisis for millions of Americans caused by the plague Trump allowed to run rampant, these two landlords have decided to threaten and intimidate tenants to get rent.
Nat Hyman oversees 15 properties in Allentown and runs Landau Jewlers. In late March, Nat Hyman sent his tenants not just a rent reminder but an illegal threat. “You are required to pay your rent on time…April 6th: Evictions will be filed and cable service will be disconnected for all tenants who have not paid their rent in full.” Not only is Hyman threatening to make unemployed families homeless, but to also cut them off from the ability to call loved ones or search for work.
How did Hyman justify cutting off cable? “Part of your rent paymen to us includes payment for the use of our wiring from the cable connection to your apartment.” The cable company has since responded to this threat. They have made clear that — so long as the service is not included in the rent — the contract with them does not allow Hyman to interfere with the connection in this manner. They have promised residents to sue Hyman if he attempts to interfere in their private contract for cable service. Good to see one company having proper respect for its customers.
When one tenant emailed Hyman to ask for help, Hyman cruelly responded: “There is no delay in getting your unemployment checks…Go file tomorrow and you should have no problem having your money in time to pay the rent.” Hyman doesn’t care that the $1200 in relief and the $600 additional in unemployment that Democrats secured for the average American may be needed for food or other needs. He only wants his rent money and doesn’t give a damn what happened to you.
Hyman said that “no tenant will be evicted during this crisis.” That’s only because Pennsylvania Supreme Court has said no one can be evicted in the state for now, so Hyman’s attempt to destroyed lives has been put on hold. There’s no question he would evict anyone he could if the government didn’t stop him.
Even worse, Nat Hyman has considered running for Mayor of Allentown in 2021. This letter should serve as an epitaph for any political ambition he holds. The property office phone number for Hyman Group is 610–433–4114. Their office address is 727 North Meadow Street, Allentown, PA 18102.
Gary Whitaker owns 8 properties in Dayton, OH. In late March, around the same time as Hyman, he sent a heartless text to tenants reading in part: “We are not giving any discounts or help. It is up to you to find a new job if you are effected by lay offs. If you do not feel you can get a job, they we suggest you move Out.” Luckily, the Ohio courts have said they won’t allow landlords to evict tenants right now.
Thanks to Anti-Fascist Journal, people were made aware of Gary Whitaker’s parasitic tendencies. He has since had to delete his business and personal Facebook pages, his personal YouTube channel, and called upon Yelp to protect his business page. (Google reviews are still allowed unabated as of the time of this writing.)
On Whitaker’s YouTube channel, he made a video (now private) where he admitted to knowing one of his residents is a woman hiding from an abusive spouse. He knows she needs refuge to stay safe, but says that he is trying to evict her anyway. The man has is a complete psychopath who must be held accountable by the community. Comments on Facebook show that Whitaker is a slumlord, allowing his properties to fall into disrepair.
Whitaker’s church, the Ginghamsburg Church, was made aware of Gary’s un-Christian behavior and immediately apologized. “We are so sorry to hear this and certainly do not believe in this kind of response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Good on them for immediately disavowing him and making clear his behavior was not representative of their values.
Whitaker claims the message was sent by a hacker, which is an obvious lie. His property office phone number is 937–461–5422. His office location is at 200 Central Ave, Dayton, OH 45406. If you’re unable to reach him, his home address is 620 W Martindale Rd, Englewood, OH 45322. There is nothing wrong with sending him mail or knocking on his door to have a polite conversation about his barbaric attitude toward people in need.
If your landlord tries any of the same heinous garbage as these two, remember to reach out to your local organizations and put them on blast. Work with other renters to form coalitions and bargain collectively. Find lawyers who can help you navigate the laws. When possible, find the landlord’s personal residence and contact info to allow for direct action against their tyranny.
Nat Hyman and Gary Whitaker show why America needs anti-landlord policies immediately. That means rent freezes and nationalizing land ownership. Make sure to vote for people who will make that happen.
A White Male’s Unhinged Racist Rant For Being Exposed
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of retail workers have lost their jobs. But some, such as those at Harbor Freight, have been deemed essential. And now a white male retail terrorist — Paul Mallet — has decided to unleash threats on them in a profanity and racial slur laced rant.
I have written about Paul Mallet before. He’s an Austin, Texas resident with a long history of scamming multiple retailers, including Harbor Freight, with fake complaints to their corporate office. This often comes at the expense of wage slave employees.
“Get this: convinced a dumb cashier I owned a failing business. He gave me an extra 20 percent off my purchase. So I sent the receipt to HF [Harbor Freight] corporate and told them he scammed me! Gonna get that new saw for free!” — Paul Mallet in a February 2019 Facebook post
Brandon Small, who worked at the Cedar Park Harbor Freight as their Sales Supervisor, confirmed that Mallet was a customer, provided his customer info, and acknowledged that their top-performing cashier had been laid off due to Mallet’s actions. When I reached out to Mallet for comment, he deleted his social media and never replied.
Sometime in April, Paul Mallet became aware of the article written about his history of scamming stores. He still did not reach out to me with comments or clarifications. Instead, he fired off an angry email to Harbor Freight, making threats against employees and using assorted profanity and racial slurs.
A source from inside Harbor Freight supplied me with the email he sent in mid-April. He sent it via Harbor Freight’s web form. Here’s a copy of the message he sent, with the racial slurs censored:
WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS ARTICLE?! IT SAYS BRANDON SMALL TALKED SHIT ABOUT ME! HE WORKS FOR YOU! YOU WILL FIRE HIM, HIS N — — — STORE MANAGER, AND THAT FUCKING C — — CASHIER AT CEDAR PARK! TAKE DOWN THIS ARTICLE YOU MOTHERFUCKERS! I WILL NOT BE DEFAMED! I WILL SUE ALL OF YOU FOR THIS! FUCK YOU!!!!!
He included a link to the previous article about him. Let’s examine his message in greater detail.
Brandon Small is not currently employed by Harbor Freight. It’s why he was willing to go on the record and confirm Mr. Mallet’s customer information. This is mentioned in the original article, indicating Mallet failed to fully read it.
His chosen racial epithets are telling. The store manager of Cedar Park at the time Mallet made his scam purchase was African-American. That store manager is no longer at that location. The cashier Mallet had fired with his lies was an Asian-American, hence the slur against Chinese. This shows Mallet is part of the riding tide of Anti-Chinese and Anti-Asian violence and racism currently sweeping America. That racism is part of Trump’s hate propaganda campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning Mallet could well be a Trump supporter.
While he threatens to “sue all of you” for the article, he has not sent any legal notice to Harbor Freight or myself. And since it’s based on posts he made public (and then tried to hide), there’s no defamation case to be made. Texas has anti-SLAAP laws that specifically make it impossible for him to win such a suit, as any lawyer will tell him.
What can we learn from this? The white male ego is a fragile thing. Confront them with their wrongdoing and they’ll immediately jump to insults, violence, and other attempts to intimidate the other parties into silence. He dehumanizes his targets by relying on racism. He makes demands from people he scammed, somehow convinced they will listen to him despite him having caused harm. That’s the attitude of a narcissist. It’s clear Paul Mallet is drunk on his own white male privilege.
There is as yet no word on what actions, if any, Harbor Freight will take on this matter. They have not sent him any official reply to his threat as of the time of this writing. Their reaction is likely delayed due to being an essential retailer nationally and helping to supply vital supplies to others. Let’s hope Harbor Freight bans Paul Mallet from their stores given the clear safety risk he poses.
If Paul Mallet makes any other threats or statements I will report on them here. Anytime you make a white male retail terrorist rage impotently, you’ve done a public good.
Retail work is the modern day wage slavery of the American people. Society’s disadvantaged — people of color, LGBT, and women — are often forced to work in retail to provide for their families. Sometimes as a secondary job and sometimes as the primary job.
One of the worst aspects of working retail are customers who use their position of privilege in society to make things even worse for these retail workers. These are customers who will lie to employees to try and acquire discounts. Once secured, they will then go to the corporate office in an attempt to get an even better deal, often turning on the employee who helped them.
These kinds of people are not customers — they are retail terrorists. They destroy the lives of innocent retail employees for their own budget. While they can be men or women, they are almost always white. They frequently know that the employees they pull these scams on could lose their jobs — and they don’t care.
We saw this recently with David Leavitt, who terrorized Tori, a female manager at a Massachusetts Target. He tried to game the system by taking advantage of a mislabeled toothbrush. When the store refused to honor the price, Leavitt took to trying to shame the female employee, Tori, on Twitter.
He invited harassment, death threats, and other attacks because he saw her as a weak female. His toxic masculinity was plainly on display. He also fabricated a story about not having seen a dentist for three years, when his own tweets showed him in a dentist office in 2018.
“If you’re prepared to go to Target and harass a hardworking female employee over a wrong toothbrush price tag, then waste police resources, all because you can’t afford to visit a dentist” said Imam Tawhidi. “You actually need a psychiatrist…You’re simply human garbage for bullying a hardworking young lady.” A GoFundMe has been established for Tori to help her take a vacation for having to deal with Leavitt’s toxic manbaby antics.
Let’s look at the behavior of another self-admitted white male retail terrorist in our own backyard: Paul Mallet, an Austin area resident.
While some of his kind are known only through speculation, Paul Mallet happily admits to being a chronic scam artist who screams and complains in order to get better deals. His Facebook and other social media contains many posts bragging about scamming companies.
Mallet’s journey into being a con man began in February 2019 with a transaction from Harbor Freight. Harbor Freight is a tool store that has several retail locations in central Texas. His Facebook post from that period read: “Get this: convinced a dumb cashier I owned a failing business. He gave me an extra 20 percent off my purchase. So I sent the receipt to HF [Harbor Freight] corporate and told them he scammed me! Gonna get that new saw for free!”
I contacted two of the Austin area Harbor Freight stores. The former sales supervisor for the Cedar Park Harbor Freight, Brandon Small, confirmed Paul Mallet’s customer profile and the transaction in question. Brandon also confirmed that Mallet’s scam had indeed cost an employee — a person-of-color — his job.
After Paul had grifted Harbor Freight, he didn’t stop there. Wal-Mart, Target, Big Lots, and others have all fallen victim to him. Using his posts and location info, I was able to identify which stores he’d targeted for his terrorist acts. I was then able to reach out to management and employees at several of those stores. They spoke on the condition of anonymity, as revealing information about a customer could be punished internally.
“Yeah, I remember him,” said one employee. “I didn’t deal with him but my co-worker did. He said his kid had some medical bills to pay and if he could get some help. So she hooked him up with her employee discount.” The cashier who aided him — an African-American single mother — was later terminated because of complaints filed by Mallet. He does not have any children.
“Paul loves sob stories,” said one manager. “That’s how he sucks them in. He’ll convince someone to put their neck out for a price override to help him out. Once you do that he has you.” Mallet’s pattern of specifically targeting women and minority cashiers was noted, too. “That guy picks out the cashier who looks like they come from a hard background, so underprivileged folks. They’re the most likely to sympathize. He uses their empathy against them.”
Another manager explained further: “He knows better than to go to a store manager. He’d be shut down that way. What he does is go to corporate. Those guys are way more gullible, especially the way he words his emails to them.”
According to multiple sources, Paul’s emails rely on a mix of fake outrage and certain keywords. Terms like theft, fraudulent, lie, cheat, and aggressive appear frequently in his messages. This tone closely matches the same fake hysterics that David Leavitt used in the Target case.
“You tell a corporate office that an employee ripped you off, they tend to believe the customer,” said a manager. “Employees don’t even get a chance to respond. They just get a write-up or are outright fired. I lost a good worker because of that.” To date, none of the employees fired because of Mallet’s false complaints have successfully appealed the loss of their jobs.
After reaching out to him for comment, Paul has deleted these posts and locked down his social media presence. He provided no response to my questions. However, there is no indicator he has ceased in his behavior.
Paul Mallet and David Leavitt show us how easy it is to be a white male retail terrorist in the current year. Companies need to do more to protect their employees from people like them. Especially those most vulnerable, such as woman and people of color. They should not have to worry about losing their only source of income to these “steaming, gaping assholes.”
How to Prevent TERFs and the Alt-Right From Hijacking #MeToo
A difficult reality faces the #MeToo movement: we have to acknowledge that not all women are going to have the same credibility. We should definitely believe victims. What we need to be careful of is determining exactly who the victims really are. TERF’s and other fascist bootlickers are never credible— they will lie about anything to seize power over others. We must find a way to believe the women who are worth believing. Tempering the axiom of “believe all women” with situational guidelines is the key.
It is normal human tendency to want to believe in absolute principles. Philosopher made this mistake for millennia, preaching absolute truth and unchanging morals as a way to secure patriarchal domination. We know better: the world is made of subjective lived experiences of every individual. We are not beholden to absolute truth anymore than we have to believe in the impotent European sky god of far right evangelicals.
Yet it’s still easy for us to fall into this trap. We like to take “believe all women” and “listen to all victims” as absolutes. Believing in absolutes of anything makes us vulnerable. It makes is predictable. It leaves us open to manipulation. And our enemies — the alt-right, TERF’s, MAGA chuds — can use that against us.
We should continue to believe women when they present their genuine experiences. But in the current political climate, we must also be wary of bad actresses in our midst, who will try to pass lies as personal truth to sow discord. Fortunately, we have a tool to rely on to navigate this minefield: intersectional feminism.
How can intersectionality help us? It tells us the power dynamics between groups. Straight white cis males have the greatest institutional power and are therefore the group most likely to abuse others. That is why all anti-racism, anti-homophobia, and other anti-fascism efforts begin with having that group acknowledge their historic role in brutally oppressing others.
What about other groups? A white woman has more institutional power than a POC woman. Cis women have more power than trans women. Straight women have more power than queer women. We should let these dynamics inform who we should believe.
I wrote before about a queer non-binary who was entrapped by a straight white girl. She and her parents possessed privilege and favor within the legal system that he did not. She got away with lying to police not once but twice with no consequences. Her white parents were able to leverage the media’s preference for middle class white faces to bully prosecutors into forcing a deal that even the states’ expert said was excessive and unnecessary.
If we took “believe all women” as an absolute truth, we would normally side with the straight white girl immediately and label her the victim in the case. But the intersection of factors in his lived experiences gives us better nuance to the case. We can see that a queer non-binary neurodivergent POC was railroaded because of his lack of institutional power. The case against him had no merit — it was founded on white privilege, not any predatory tendencies. The lack of power he had within the system made him the victim.
This same analysis holds when you compare the other two cases. A wealthy white family persecuting a working class POC family. A white homophobic family convinced their own son couldn’t be gay and blaming the bisexual POC. A pattern emerges: if one side with greater institution power levels an accusations against one that has less institutionalized power, then the accusation has less to do with what actually occurred and more about using that power to abuse the target. Thus, we have a guiding rule: the side with less institutional power has greater credibility when it denies accusations leveled by someone with more institutional power.
This guideline neutralizes one of the common counter-arguments used by pro-rape misogynists: historical racism. They like to cite To Kill a Mockingbird, for example, as a situation where women falsely accused men. To date, these sorts of claims have been refuted by pointing out they’re made in bad faith: those arguing against #MeToo are also the same people who openly support racism.
Instead, we can analyze incidents of historical racism through a lens of power differential. For example, in 1921, Sarah Page lied about Dick Rowland assaulting her, sparking the Tulsa race massacre (as brought into mainstream awareness by the recent Watchman TV show). Sarah Page was not a victim — she lived in a system that favored her because of her race in all respects. Dick Rowland, being powerless, was the victim. The claim of assault was therefore not one of a man victimizing a woman, but of a white person leveraging their power against a black person to encourage racial violence.
This also counters a tactic TERF’s use to try and justify “women only spaces” as a basis for discrimination: they level false accusations of violence or sexual assault against trans women. For example, fake stories of trans women being a danger in the bathroom or in a women’s shelter. A cis woman wields more institutional power than a trans woman. These accusations are never grounded in reality or what actually happened. White women used accusations as a weapon to enact racial violence against black men and TERF’s use accusations as a weapon to enable transphobia and encourage violence against trans women.
There are parallels between TERF’s fabricating accusations out of transphobia and the Christian right fabricating accusations of pedophilia against queer people. We see the latter taking place right now in Poland, where a law is being considered that equates LGBT activists with pedophiles. This parallel is not accidental, since the same Christian conservatives trying to smear the entire LGBT community fund TERF organizations. I documented this link in one of my previous articles about TERF’s being regressive fascists.
TERF’s use false accusations to try and paint trans women as intruders or outsiders — as somehow dangerous (they’re not). Understanding that these accusations have nothing to do with “women being victimized” — and the broader #MeToo movement — and are actually “abuses of institutional power” denies them this hateful tactic.
Are there other guidelines we can follow? There are probably many, but there are two more that come to mind. First, straight white males are almost always going to be guilty. Harvey Weinstein, Trump, and Kavanaugh are all great examples. There’s the case of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, but that is the lone known exception that proves the rule. I doubt Depp would want us to pardon Trump because of what happened to him.
Let’s look at the opposite end of the spectrum: trans women. They arguably have the least institutional power of any group. Would it be a guideline that “all trans women tell the truth?” No, and with good reason.
Consider Blaire White. She’s a vicious fascist trying to sabotage social justice efforts by mocking important efforts such as supporting trans kids to reduce suicide rates. Were she to claim a radical activist assaulted her, are we obligated to believe her over someone who fights for social justice? Even if that activist may not be trans? Clearly not! She has no credibility because of her views. Blaire White may lack institutional power because she’s a trans woman, but she is acting in the best interests of the powerful. She is similar to Clarence Thomas, who works against the best interests of African-Americans, or Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay man who works as court jester to Neo-Nazis.
Another example comes from the Texas anime and comic convention scene. Lizzy Silvas is a Hispanic cis woman. Normally, we would say her accusations have weight because of her lack of institutional power. But she is also a Christian conservative and strenuous opponent of gay marriage and rights for undocumented immigrants.
Silvas is well known for using sexual harassment accusations as a political weapon against those who stand in her way. Some of the people she’s accused include Michael Loredo and Ken Wallen, the chair and vice-chair of Ikkicon in Austin; Dave Henkin, the chair of San Japan; various staff members of Comicpalooza in Houston; and many others. None of her accusations have ever had merit — no evidence to support any of her accusations were ever found. And while she has fooled one or two people with her lies, for the most part it’s acknowledged she is a congenital liar trying to abuse the system by attacking anyone who disagrees with her right-wing ideology.
This brings us to a third guideline: we should openly doubt the accusations of anyone who does not believe in social justice. False accusations are exactly the kind of game the alt-right and TERF’s will use. They advertise this strategy by how they projected false accusation labels onto Christine Blaise Ford, Zoe Quinn, and others. They regularly make rape about politics, not about the facts of what happened. We should not trust those of institutional power using accusations to persecute those lacking power and we also should not trust their agents among us.
This gives us three guidelines:
1. If the person being accused has less institutional power than the accuser, then it is likely an exercise of power by the accuser to oppress the accused.
2. Straight white cis males, as the most common rapists and having the most institutional power, can safely be assumed guilty of what they are accused of.
3. Always doubt any accusations from those who support unjust power structures, such as fascism or bigotry. They will abuse the trust of others in service of societal oppression.
If we consider these guidelines, we can avoid having the #MeToo movement be something that is turned against us. It should be a movement that pushes social justice forward. We cannot allow the alt-right, TERF’s, and others to turn our sympathy for victims into a weakness they can exploit to make us eat our own.
The American legal system is corrupt. Every day, fascist cops, predatory prosecutors, and corrupt judges force thousands of innocents to accept plea deals that label them guilty — all for the sake of maintaining institutional oppression. Who are the most common victims? The economically disadvantaged, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community.
To illustrate the widespread miscarriage of justice that surrounds all of us, here are three stories of people who have lived through injustice: Alejandro, Jaime, and Harry. All are Texans of color and Jaime and Harry are part of the Texas LGBTQ community. Each of their stories demonstrates a failure of the American system to deliver anything resembling justice and the desperate need for reforms and abolition of prisons and registries.
Names have been changed to protect their identities. Certain identifying facts are also omitted from the stories to protect identities.
Alejandro is an economically disadvantaged person of color who was born and raised in a small rural Texas town. His family was one of the few POC families in the area — and this did not sit well with several of the wealthier white families. The force arrayed against them would not become apparent until the incident that changed Alejandro’s life forever.
One day, Alejandro was at home in his room. Downstairs in the house, his kid sister was playing with the young girl of a white family of the same neighborhood. The parents of the two families did not get along, but the girls were friends regardless of the tension. “They saw us as intruders on their space and we didn’t trust them much,” Alejandro’s older brother said. “But those two girls got along just fine. Everyone thought it was cute. Until it went bad.”
Alejandro summarizes what happened next thusly: “I was on my computer in my room looking at porn and doing what guys do. Next thing I know, my bedroom door opens and in walks the little girl! I turned around in surprise, forgot to cover up, and she goes running out of the room screaming!” According to his younger sister, the girl had gotten lost looking for the bathroom, causing her to wander into Alejandro’s room by mistake.
What happened next was a series of ever worsening over-reactions and traps. The girl’s parents had Alejandro arrested for raping their daughter. “It was complete bullshit,” Alejandro said, growing upset at the memory. “The parents lied to the cops and put words in her mouth.” The medical reports showed he never laid a hand on her (no fingerprints, no fluids, no trauma of any kind).
The girl was interviewed by police twice. The first time, she asserted nothing happened and that he hadn’t touched her. A week later, though, the parents insisted on a second interview where the girl claimed something did happen. “They obviously coached her,” Alejandro said, shaking his head. “I don’t know what they did to her, but whatever it was, they got her to lie to the police when they knew it wasn’t true.” Despite a complete lack of physical evidence or credible testimony, the prosecutor indicted Alejandro for first-degree rape of a child.
His family couldn’t afford bail and he had to stay in jail. Jail population is not friendly to those accused of assaulting children — even if those accusations are false. “I was stabbed so many times I lost count,” Alejandro recalls. “Three of them were pretty serious. If I wasn’t such a big guy I’d probably have been killed outright.”
Alejandro had to rely on a public defender. But quickly found the defender had no interest in helping him clear his name. “Day one he just tells me to take a deal, plead guilty, and get it over with,” remembers Alejandro. “No attempt to fight for me. No advocacy. Just, ‘Take the deal or you’ll go to jail for 20 years.’ He told me flatly that if we went to trial it would be a white family versus a Latino family and there was no question who would win that in rural Texas.”
In light of the alternative, Alejandro took the deal. He pled guilty to a lesser degree of sexual assault of a child. He spent a few additional months in prison and had to register as a sex offender for life.
All because a white girl walked into his bedroom without permission.
The true extent of the corruption would not come out later. The public defender that had foisted the bad deal onto Alejandro? He was a college classmate with the father of the little girl. The family had donated to the judge of the case.
The parents, defender, and the judge were also members of a “neighborhood improvement” group. “In other words, they were part of a local white supremacist group,” clarified Alejandro. “That’s not a group all too friendly to people like me.” This information would not come out until later, but despite the obvious probative value, the family was simply unable to afford any kind of appeal or review. The result has gone unchallenged as a result.
Alejandro’s family was forced to leave the town, settling into another small town with a more diverse population. Alejandro lives separate from them, unable to be in the same house as his little sister for several more years.
However, Alejandro’s future is not all doom and gloom. He recently got married and is hopeful for the future. “I have learned not to let setbacks keep you down,” Alejandro says. “The people who want to hurt you only win if you stay down. White supremacists win when we fail to move forward. I’ll raise my kids to understand that.”
Jaime is a bisexual person of color who lived in a medium sized Texas city. Active in his community, he volunteered with the local high school on numerous events. He helped with the booster clubs, field trips, and especially enjoyed helping with the sports program as a volunteer coach.
This changed one evening when the football team was celebrating a victory. There was a pool and a generally upbeat atmosphere. “I think someone brought some alcohol,” Jamie said, sighing. As the party wound down, Jaime found himself alone in the pool with the team quarterback. Unknown to Jaime at this time, the quarterback was gay and had a crush on him.
“He began to flirt with me in the pool,” Jaime recalls, tensing. “I made it very clear I was not interested due to his age. I’ve had boyfriends before, but always adults.” Jaime had never been super open about his sexuality due to the conservatives in his midst. When asked if he thinks the quarterback knew he was bi, Jaime wasn’t sure. “I honestly don’t know. A couple other parents knew I identified as bi, but I wasn’t open about it. It’s possible he learned from them.”
After declining the student’s advances, Jaime says the young man started to get aggressive. The quarterback grabbed Jaime’s shoulders forcefully — the student was far stronger than Jaime. He tried to force Jaime’s face down near his groin. After a struggle, Jaime was able to push away and leave the pool.
“I was flustered,” Jaime said. “Flustered and confused. This was a kid I’d been helping since he was in middle school. You hear about adult men assaulting kids, but you don’t hear about the other way around. I had no idea what to do or think.” He went home and rested on it.
Complications arose when the quarterback’s parents got involved. The high school student told them what he had done. “I think he chose then to confess because he realized what he’d done was wrong,” Jaime says. The parents could have chosen to accept their son for who he was. Instead, they immediately went to the police and insisted that Jaime was the aggressor. They claimed that Jaime was trying to “make their son gay.”
They went to the police and pressured their son to file a false police report. “He was pressured not just by his folks, but also by the school,” said Jaime. “The head coach told him he’d never get a scholarship if he was gay.” The coach’s role came as a shock, as he and Jaime had been on good terms beforehand.
The prosecutor indicted Jaime on sexual assault of a child and offered a plea deal for indecent exposure that carried jail time, probation, and sex offender registration. Unwilling to plead guilty to something he hadn’t done, Jaime took the case to jury trial — and lost. The football player lied on the stand about what happened and the jury believed him over Jaime. He became a convicted sex offender, having to register for life. He spent years being shunned by former friends and forced to move to a different city to escape the infamy.
Fortunately, Jaime was later able to acquire some material for his defense. He took a polygraph, showing that he’d been telling the truth. The quarterback, who ended up never going to college, recanted after becoming an adult and getting away from his parents. “That’s what really turned the tide,” Jaime says, sighing. “Once he had the chance to tell the truth, he did the right thing.” That allowed Jaime to file an appeal, which is still ongoing — and unfortunately not assured to go well. “Once you’re in the system they do not want to let you out.”
Sadly, things took a tragic turn two years ago. The quarterback committed suicide. In his note, he cited his parents’ rampant homophobia as a contributing factor as well as the guilt he felt over Jaime suffering for something he never did.
The parents’ inability to accept their son for who he was and their campaign of hate against an innocent man cost them their only child. A sobering reminder of what can go wrong when parents emotionally abuse their offspring. Yet the irony here is that Jaime, the actual victim, is regarded as a worse monster than them.
“His death shook me,” Jamie lamented, clearly saddened at the memory. “Make no mistake: he was a good kid. He was just confused. I don’t blame him for what happened. I was barred from having any contact with him, so I was never able to tell him I forgave him. I would’ve preferred he’d been able to grow into an upstanding young man and give back to the community. His death was a senseless waste of human life. And absolutely avoidable.”
Harry is a queer non-binary person of color (he/him) who fell prey to a straight white girl with a history of running honey traps on older men.
He met the “victim” through Fetlife — a website explicitly for 18+ users only — as she was dating a friend of his. The friend was a 20-something that Harry knew from the local tabletop gaming scene. He struck up a conversation and the two would talk off and on. On Fetlife, she listed her age as 18. Harry had no reason to doubt it, either. “She looked 18, my friend believed she was 18, and so did others who met her,” relayed Harry. “It seemed a safe thing to take at face value.”
She eventually broke up with Harry’s friend and expressed an interest in meeting Harry in person. He agreed and picked her up. “I’d told her I was not expecting or looking for sex on the first meeting. I’m a ‘gray demisexual’ — I prefer to connect with someone before being physically intimate.” The girl had other plans, though. “Shortly after we got back, she jumped into my lap and began to grind, then begged for sex. I gave in.”
The nightmare for Harry would start a few days later. He got a call from police wanting to talk to him.
“She was underaged,” he says, choking up at the memory. The girl lied to police not once, but twice. The first time she claimed nothing happened. The second, she said that Harry had physically abused her, including cutting her with a knife. “I’ve never used a knife during sex ever,” Harry says. The medical report showed no bruises, cuts, or signs of trauma, proving her account false.
As part of trying to make his case, Harry was formally diagnosed by a top state expert. The expert specialized in testing people for pedophilia and other sexual disorders. He wrote the state mandated therapy program used in treating sex offenders and created the testing criteria Texas uses to determine if someone is a danger to women and children.
The expert’s findings cleared Harry of being a pedophile or sexual predator. His battery of tests found no indicator that Harry was attracted to children. Harry was also cleared of an assortment of other disorders, such as sociopathy and psychopathy. The one diagnosis the expert did find grounds for? Autism.
“That surprised me,” Harry said. “I’d always thought of myself as socially awkward. But autistic? Once he explained why a lot of things fell into place.” Harry’s autism had caused him to be overly trusting, explaining why he failed to approach the situation with an appropriate level of skepticism. Combine that with the girl’s history of using older men for sex, booze, and money. Harry — and his friend — had been played.
In the end, the expert stated flatly that Harry should never be classified as a sex offender or given jail time. He said there would be no benefit to the community for doing so. “I think the phrase, ‘putting you on the registry would be utterly pointless’ was used,” Harry recalls with a muted chuckle.
Another break for Harry came in the months after that report. The girl finally came clean after a third interview about what happened. She confirmed that she had lied about her age, had sexual encounters with a number of older men, and had pushed the sexual encounter with Harry despite him being reluctant. She also admitted that her mother had invented the account given in the second interview. Harry’s own statement was now fully corroborated.
However, this did not matter to the prosecutors — or her parents. The Brock Turner case was in headlines during this time. The girl’s parents went to the DA and threatened them: make Harry a registered sex offender or they would go to the press and accuse the office of being soft on “child predators.” The DA bent to the pressure. It did not matter what the state expert said, that Harry was neurodivergent, or even what the “victim” herself said — the DA would not allow a PR scandal to occur. Justice was not the objective.
The final plea deal required Harry to be a sex offender for 10 years, but he narrowly avoided prison.
Harry has thankfully managed to slowly turn things around and rebuild. With the support of friends, he has managed to carve out a small but enduring social circle. Thanks to polygraph results further proving his account correct, Harry has also faced fewer restrictions on travel and other activities. Currently, he has plans to release a book advising others what they can do if they’re subjected to the legal system.
“The system wants to put you in a box,” Harry reflected. “It wants control of everyone who’s part of it. But no matter what rules they impose, your mind is always free. Learn to build worlds in there and you’ll never be a prisoner.”
What we have above are three people that the legal system would have us call “sex offenders.” Yet none of them are pedophiles, none of them are a danger to others, and all of them were victims of white privilege using the courts for something other than justice. Each of them is proof why the “sex offender” label cannot be ethically used with a broad brush. It paints over so many who have been unjustly processed.
With Alejandro, we see the overtly racist power structures of a rural county collude to drive a family away by destroying the life of one of their members. With Jaime, parents who could not accept their son’s authentic self rammed their abusive delusions through the courts to find a scapegoat for their bigotry. And lastly, with Harry, we see a naïve neurodivergent adult taken advantage of by a system that cares more about a threat from a white family than meting out actual justice.
Their stories are not rare, either. Thousands of people just like them experience the same cruel miscarriage of justice. For some, it’s all they know: brutal police state oppression. It is up to us to end this widespread oppression as soon as possible.
Let’s Work Together to Neutralize Their Vocabulary
Behind every alt-right meme is a myth or lie that has taken root in society and needs to be weeded out. Part 1 dealt with three common insults used by the alt-right: kinky, slut, and prostitute/thot. It covered how they’re used and how they can be neutralized. Now, Part 2 will deal with two even worse insults: pedophile and sex offender.
Pedophile and sex offender are two of the biggest invectives fascists will throw around. They want to cause a moral panic. They want to convince people that the anti-imperialist coalition is going to hurt kids as a way to undo all the progress we’ve made so far. As in Part 1, I will look at both what they mean when they use it and how we can render the two inert.
To the alt-right, a pedophile is anyone in the LGBT community working to educate children about healthy sexual norms and practices. It’s the people trying to create healthy well-adjusted youth who don’t look at drag queens, gay marriage, or being trans as reasons to hate or discriminate against other people.
Some of the people who like to try and force pedophile under the LGBT banner include far right bigots like Blaze TV’s Lauren Chen and Activist Mommy’s Elizabeth Johnston. Exclusionary feminists like to use the label as a weapon against trans women. Two of the biggest hoaxes trying to tie pedophilia to LGBT are the fake MAP pride flag and the fake clovergender identity. These originated from 4chan, a well-known hate site known for wanting to promote the persecution of queers.
Standing beside them is GOP Congressional candidate Angela Stanton-King: “This is confusion, pedophilia and sexual exploitation wrapped up in acceptance.” Stanton-King was pardoned by Trump and is trying to unseat Democrat Congressman John Lewis. That’s the kind of person who thinks pedophile should be synonymous for the LGBT community.
What they count on is the natural revulsion conjured by the “pedophile” label. Pedophilia is an unhealthy mental trait. The act of molesting children is a grave evil. By associating it — falsely — with gay men, pansexuals, or trans women, they seek to rub the evils of child abusers onto innocent targets.
These people will spread lies about some kind of tie between being gay and being a pedophile, failing to recognize that pedophilia is a disorder wholly unrelated to being queer. Who comprises the bulk of child abusers? Straight white cis men. That demographic is responsible for the vast majority of child porn production, consumption, and abuse. Police in the UK are now warning that straight white men 18–26 are pursuing child porn because normal pornography doesn’t stimulate them anymore. That is who is driving pedophilia today, not the LGBT community.
What can help neutralize this accusation? For one, we can stop throwing “pedophile” around casually ourselves. Comic creator Julia Gfrorer stated it wonderfully: “It’s a good rule of thumb to never call a trans woman a pedophile…because the mortal harm you do against all trans women by spreading transphobic propaganda is inexcusable, and the possibility that you’re correct is vanishingly slim.” This rule of thumb applies broadly to all queer folk.
We should recognize that the people who are going to be most aggressive at labeling queer people pedophiles are, in fact, cryptofascists seeking to tear us apart. If someone pushes that label onto a queer person or a minority, our skepticism should immediately be placed on the accuser. We should require proof and evidence that the person deliberately acted to abuse children. Chances are good that the root of the accusation is false and the person making it is working against progressive interests. (This is a common way to identify exclusionary feminists trying to sow discord.)
On the reverse, since pedophiles are overwhelmingly straight white males, we should recognize that it is among the ranks of the alt-right where the actual child abusers are lurking. How many times have we seen someone on Twitter with a taste for lolicon art disparaging the queer community? That person would abuse kids if they had the chance. There’s an increased chance that they are part of that 18–26 CP consuming demographic, in fact. We should never shy from calling out someone like that.
While pedophile is neutralized by simple facts — it’s unrelated to being queer by all measures — “sex offender” can be a harder one to deal with. It’s a title handed down by the American legal system — an institution rooted in mass injustice. Our society places more value on corrupt police and prosecutors than actual lived reality.
Using indoctrination media like Law & Order SVU, the oligarchs have convinced people that the system shouldn’t be questioned. They promote blind faith in the court system specifically to sabotage the truth of systemic oppression from entering the public consciousness. People who subscribe to nonsense like the “Thin Blue Line” are not going to acknowledge the existence of the school-to-prison pipeline no matter how much evidence is laid before them.
The courts routinely send queers, POC’s, and trans women into the system when they’re done nothing wrong. They are sex offenders because of bad plea deals, ineffective counsel, or bigoted judges. In Texas, for example, about 39,000 of the 66,000 registered sex offenders in 2016 were minorities. They tend to be non-white, poorly educated, and young. This combination creates easy targets for predatory prosecutors looking to boost their quotas.
The sex offender registry exists mainly as a tool to silence LGBT pride activists by punishing them with sodomy laws or whatever fake accusations a prosecutor can invent. That doesn’t stop the alt-right from taking advantage of the injustice. One of the favorite weapons Nazi adjacent group Mass Resistance likes to use against Drag Queen Story Hour is calling them “sex offenders.” They love to harp on the unfortunate criminal past of two drag queens as if that makes them unworthy to work with children.
Just because someone had their life ruined by a system dedicated to shutting down queer voices doesn’t mean they should never be allowed to work with kids. Being a “sex offender” means practically nothing given the system’s toxicity. As Jimmy Flannigan told Mass Resistance when they tried to defame drag queens as sex offenders: “ To those who have come here to spread their hate, I only have two words: sashay away.”
As with pedophile, the goal of emphasizing someone’s “sex offender” status is to promote fear. And sadly, we see the stigma from this label perpetuated even within our own queer communities. People will become spooked from associating with “sex offenders,” as though they are poisoned after being abused by the legal system. This dread is exactly the goal of the registry: the courts want us to hate our own, so they do whatever they can to force queer people into the system with that title. The result is the legal system’s victims end up victimized yet again as their friends and allies abandon them.
Fear is what plants fascism into the hearts of even otherwise dependable allies. A lot of people do this without realizing. But the ones you really have to watch for are once again the cryptofascists who perpetuate panic on purpose. Anywhere you hear, “we don’t hire sex offenders” or “we ban sex offenders because this is a safe space” — that’s where hate is alive and well.
Those who paint sex offenders with a broad brush instead of considering their cases individually and based on lived experience is not an ally. Callie, a “kinky commie enby trans girl,” summed this up well: “The language of ‘if you’re not guilty, you don’t have anything to fear from our justice’ is so prevalent in our community…and for some reason no-one ever point out that it’s a fascist idea.”
How can we neutralize this stigma? Awareness of the dysfunctional justice system is one way. Black Lives Matter has done fantastic work undermining the credibility of cops and prosecutors. Efforts to abolish the prison system are similarly excellent. Like with sex ed, California has lead the way on this struggle. They have legislation in the works that would help keep LGBT people off the sex offender registry by recognizing that they are less of a threat to the public. This is a great effort to combat how DA’s push queer people onto the registry whether they ought to be or not.
We need more efforts to reveal how often the agents of the state get it wrong and how often they purposefully target queer communities. We should make sure our spaces are open to “sex offenders” when they are the victims of persecution and not dangers to our well-being and safety. Learning to tell the difference between victim and predator is gate keeping we should do locally and not outsource to a corrupt and broken system.
We need to resist the labels of hostile 3rd parties, whether that be the alt-right or the police (ACAB). We should not allow them to tell us who we should fear or who we should exclude. We should determine on our own terms the people who are and are not welcome. Believing the lies spun by the fascists in power makes us complicit in victimizing the innocent.
If we’re to continue pushing forward and securing greater and greater change in America, we have to remove the power these insults have. We need to make their insults meaningless. And we need to monitor our own so we don’t perpetuate those insults within our own communities.
Their Insults are Their Swords, So Turn Them Into Plowshares
Fear is the primary weapon of the alt-right. They seek the extermination of LGBT activists, people of color, those who fight for economic equity, and self-sufficient women. And their favorite way of stoking that fear is with insults and false labels.
In part 1, I’ll look at three common insults fascists use: Kinky, Slut, and Prostitute/“thot.” What do they mean by each? How we can neutralize the stigma they try to invoke?
“Kinky” is an attempt to demonize alternate life styles. The only reason this insult works is by invoking a sense of “other” to things like BDSM. At the root of the alt-right and sex negative pseudo-feminism (trans excluding, sex worker excluding) is a blind adherence to outdated Christian notions of sexuality. This dogma holds pleasure as a sin and anyone who seeks pleasure in sex as “sinful.”
Kink, as a means to discover someone’s authentic sexual interests, threatens those Puritan values. So they work to demonize and shame the pursuit of sexual discovery. Elizabeth Johnson (Activist Mommy), for example, tried to shame school librarian Roger Grape for his involvement with the Austin leather community. It didn’t matter his service to the community or the school. Never mind that everything he did was between consenting adults. All that mattered to the bigots was he was part of something outside of their boring vanilla existences. They want to condemn anyone having sex that makes the puritans clutch their pearls. It was “kinky” therefore it was “bad!”
Education is a key way to counter this. We need to make sure alternate lifestyles are taught nationally in sex ed courses. Sonja of Bold Pleasures said it well: “Damaging and misguided statements about BDSM and Kink have a nearly irreversible effect on younger people who realize they are interested in Kink, and, they’re being filled with fear.” That fear is what hate thrives on.
Research by Tanya Bezreh, Thomas Weinberg, and Timothy Edgar further reinforces the need for normalizing Kink using a national mandatory K12 sex ed program. They found that an interest in BDSM began in the early teen years. Yet the lack of proper guidance or positive affirming materials caused widespread “anxiety and shame.” Failure to provide “reassuring information” about BDSM to young adults as they enter puberty is a form of mental child abuse.
Dispelling the notion that BDSM is a fringe or niche experience ensures young teens will become functional healthy adults. We can also put it in historical context, as a commonplace part of human sexuality that will take away any harm the barb can do. A person of any age called “kinky” as an insult should be able to laugh in the attacker’s face and say, “I am. So what?”
“Slut” is used against anyone who enjoys sex. The enjoyment of sex is completely natural and healthy. Often, the white men who throw this insult are incels — boys no woman desires because of their garbage personality. Jealous of women who refuse to feel shame for feeling pleasure, they lash out. They are convinced that a woman choosing not to sleep with them is somehow the fault of the woman. They fail to realize it’s because they’re shallow, bigoted, or casually misogynist. This is an essential part of American rape culture.
As previously stated, Christianity hates the female body and female sexuality. In addition to jealousy, other common reasons men will try to condemn women as “sluts” include opposition to bodily autonomy, hatred of sex, and clinging to out dated notions of “purity.” Women who use the term “slut” are usually repressed and self-hating. They can’t stand to see other women having fun, so they are driven to ruin it for them. The archetype of a Karen is the face of sex negative feminism.
Fortunately there are a lot of efforts to reclaim the word “slut” and turn it into a positive. The Slut Walk movement has done a major part to remove the stigma. They push to redefine the term from a derogatory word by men into one that means any woman who controls her sexuality.
Research on female sexuality and normalizing women taking the lead on finding sexual partners helps. We already have science establishing, for example, that monogamy is harmful for women. Open relationships do not indicate any kind of “commitment issues.” Incels like to push “pair bonding” and “oxytocin,” but we now know that’s pseudo-science nonsense. Normalizing polyamorous relationships through healthy pop culture representation and in national sex ed programs will help to further dispel the myth that monogamy is good for women or should ever be expected from them.
“Prostitute” and “thot” is what the alt-right uses to try and make sex work sound demeaning, dirty, or unacceptable. In reality, the insult is nonsensical. It’s like calling a doctor a “doctor” and asserting that’s a bad thing. Sex work is as valid and necessary to society as any other line of work. The people who pursue it are no different from any others.
As with slut, the ones trying to make prostitute or thot sound like a bad thing are frequently incels and MRA’s. These are men who cannot attract women based on their own merits. They cannot acquire women who are independent and in many cases are rejected by professional sex workers for being unworthy clients. Unwilling to improve themselves, they instead attack women. “Thot” in particular is applied to any woman who uses her natural beauty to her advantage. To them it’s as though the natural attractiveness of women is a defect instead of a feature.
Sex-worker excluding feminists are fond of portraying sex workers as abuse victims. They rob sex workers of their agency by insisting no woman would willingly choose that career path. While it’s true that child porn is based on trafficking, child porn — like trafficking — caters to the tastes of men (see below). Sex workers are self-employed, not forced into it by any male structure. Their agency allows them to deliver sexual content on their terms, independent of any male control.
We even see the insult used by so-called progressives. Miles Luna, one of the show runners of RWBY, recently use “prostitute” as a pejorative against Final Fantasy 7 character Tifa Lockhart. Tifa is a bartender and martial artist, a fighter who stands as an equal to the men around her. Miles Luna use of “prostitute” is intended strictly to demean sex workers and to attack Tifa’s character. It takes an even deeper problematic tone because the show’s creator, Monty Oum, was a huge fan of Final Fantasy. He based Yang, one of RWBY’s main characters, on Tifa. Luna’s insult was disrespectful toward sex workers and the memory of the person-of-color that created the show he now profits from.
The main problem with being a prostitute in the classic sense of the term is not the work involved. It’s how the American patriarchy criminalizes it. The legal system is designed to penalize women who want to give and receive pleasure with their bodies. It forces them into dangerous underground situations where their safety is at risk. Sex-worker excluding feminists make this situation worse by condemning the profession and often failing to support legal reforms that would keep sex workers safe. They fail to see that the oppression of sex work is an expression of the patriarchy.
What can we do to neutralize this term? The first, like Kinky, is rooted in education. We need more education that sex workers are just as respectable as teachers, lawyers, or doctors when it comes to professionalism. There should be more shows that help normalize careers in porn, prostitution, and online cam work. The Bunny Ranch show on HBO has helped, so did VH1’s old Porn to Rock series. The increasing crossover of porn stars into “mainstream” features is also helping move the needle in the right direction. We need a major network show depicting the trials, tribulations, and humor of being a cam girl.
Next, we can promote sex positive feminism as the baseline required feminism for allies. We should recognize that the censorship of the female body by major tech companies like Facebook, Twitch, and Instagram are male ordered attempts to shame us. The latter infamously censored the #stripper hashtag and related dancing terms — even going so far as to block results for “woman!” Facebook also shuts down the accounts of sex workers, making it harder for them to access support resources or make a living.
If every women has the choice to display their body however they please in every venue, then the incel term of “thot” will mean nothing. It won’t be some particular group of women who are confident in their body — it’ll be every woman.
Lastly, we need major legal reforms. The American justice system is broken (more on that in Part 2). National decriminalization of all sex work needs to happen immediately. As Reese Piper writes, “The erasure of consensual sex work is a weapon that targets immigrants and men of color.” The same way African-Americans are unjustly locked away for petty drug crimes that harm no one, so too are women brutally penalized by a male created “justice” system.
Right now, men are free to abuse sex workers because of the power differential of the underground economy. Changing the laws — while it won’t solve the issue of police responding to the needs of women — will at least reduce the harassment sex workers face. “Decrim is a start,” says Piper. “It’s one less way to arrest someone. One less reason to stop-and-frisk someone in the sex trade. And it will begin to take away some of the stigma associated with the industry.” ACAB, so we need to stop making women in sex work a target for them.
The most effective way of neutralizing all of these words is education and outreach. Comprehensive national sex ed, crafted to refute the MRA’s, incels, and exclusionary feminists, can shape the minds of an entire generation. They will grow up to look at those who think kinkiness is wrong, being a slut is bad, and confuse sex work with sex trafficking the same way we look at the white people who protested desegregation: with shame and embarrassment.
What are some elements a worthwhile sex ed curriculum should contain?
Introduction to BDSM and consent
Monogamy is harmful to women
How to be in an open relationship
Difference between prostitution and sex trafficking
Sex work is a valid career choice for any adult
Historical normalcy of kink, polyamory, and sex work
Fortunately, we’re already seeing some of this begin to be implemented. California has led the way on this with its new sex ed curriculum. The emphasis on consent, gender identity, and history is excellent. Sadly, strains of Puritanism can still be found, with the state requiring them to “teach the value of committed relationships such as marriage.” That sadly helps perpetuate the “slut is bad” myth.
Even in Texas we’re seeing progress being made. Austin ISD will begin teaching sexual orientation and gender identity to their students soon. We have a long way to go before sex ed is where it needs to be, but we’re moving in the right direction.
Recognizing the Injustice of the Sex Offender Registry
It’s time to stop tolerating a system rife with corruption, racial bias, and abuse. Why should we allow myths about “public safety,” fearing our neighbors, and fictional boogiemen to dominate discourse? Why should an institution beloved by bigots and championed by the alt-right be allowed to persist? We need to abolish one of the most loathsome tools of mass incarceration: the sex offender registry.
Every part of the American “justice” system preys on the poor and helpless. More often than not police send honest people to jail. Corrupt prosecutors withhold evidence to get guilty verdicts on the innocent just to pad their resumes. The courts keep up the school-to-prison pipeline for financial kickbacks from the prison industrial complex. Laws against drugs and sex work ruin lives for no reason. The “broken windows” and “stop and frisk” target minorities and the poor.
The sex offender registry is just one more outrageous component of how America demonizes the defenseless. Like every other crime, prosecutors funnel minorities into plea deals and wrongful convictions for sexual offenses. Those convictions lead to an epidemic of ruined futures. Close to 97% of all registered sex offenders in Texas should never have been registered in the first place, according to the Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment.
Propaganda from pop culture reinforce lies about the people on the registry, sowing fear and spreading objectification. It serves as a tool to oppress our communities and weaken our collective voices in the face of injustice by normalizing the idea of a second-class citizenry.
The Targeted Groups
The sex offender registry targets mostly minorities and the poor. These groups cannot afford good legal representation and are the most under-educated about their rights and the consequences of being registered. Compare this to middle and upper class whites, who are often more aware of what being a registered sex offender entails and can hire a lawyer with the connections needed to avoid that.
When prosecutors offer plea deals to minorities, they deliberately make worse offers to pad their own accomplishments. They know they can get away with it. In some cases, they will even withhold evidence that might exonerate the minority, since they know there will be no consequences for their unethical behavior. District Attorney’s build their “win” quotas on the backs of the most vulnerable.
In one notable case, four Hispanic lesbians — Kristie Mayhugh, Elisabeth Ramirez, Cassandra Rivera, and Anna Vasquez — were falsely accused of child molestation. While fully exonerated in the end, all four faced a lifetime of registration as sex offenders — based solely on their identities of LGBT women of color. And while their arrests and convictions brought headlines, there was no such coverage of their names being cleared. They will spend the rest of their lives being perceived as monsters even though they did nothing wrong.
Statistics from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in 2016 give a breakdown of those on community supervision (including sex offenders). By these numbers, 59% of those supervised for felonies are non-white — almost 2 out of 3 — with an average age of 34. Data from 2014 shows that 87% of them only had a high school education, with 43% high school dropouts.
As of 2018, Texas has over 66,000 registered sex offenders. That means roughly 39,000 are people of color. About 57,000 of them have some high school, with nearly half — 28,000 — high school dropouts.
The majority of sex offenders are non-white, poorly educated, and young. They’re easy prey for prosecutors more interested in criminalizing youth without cause than serving actual justice. How many on the list are in the same boat as Kristie and her co-workers? Those four are sadly not the exception — they are the rule. Yet many of us are unaware of this because of the lies spread about the registry and how it “keeps us safe.”
Myths about registered sex offenders are all over the place, many created by the prison industrial complex and spread by pop culture propaganda like Law & Order SVU.
One of the myths is we need the list “keeps the public safe.” You will hear this in any discussion of the registry. But what kind of safety? The list targets poor minorities more than the white middle and upper class. It’s not a tool for protecting the innocent — it’s a tool for segregating the population along racial and economic lines.
Professor and activist Angela Davis debunked the myth of incarceration and monitoring improving public safety in her 2003 book, Are Prisons Obsolete? She wrote: “The most obvious pattern was that larger prison populations lead not to safer communities, but, rather, to even larger prison populations. Each new prison spawned yet another new prison.”
Another myth is that sex offenders are in every corner and ready to keep attacking women and children even after being caught. The truth is the opposite: sex offenders have among the lowest rate of committing another crime in their lifetime (recidivism) than others. According to the Department of Justice in 2004, among non-sex offender criminals, the normal recidivism rate within five years is 69%. In a 2004 study of sex offenders by Canada’s Solicitor General, that same recidivism rate is only 12.7%.
That is, 69% of all non-sex offender criminals will commit another crime within 5 years of serving their time, while less than 13% of sex offenders do the same. That’s a difference of over 56%!
That 12.7% rate applies if a sex offender receives no treatment at all. If they get treatment, that rate decreases even further. In other words, sex offenders are among the least likely to commit a crime again after being punished once.
Data for Texas in 2014 shows that among people who had their parole revoked, only 1% were those who had originally committed sexual assault. Compare to violent robbery (7.9%), assault (8.1%), and drug-related offenses (30.9%). Even after going to jail — something normally associated with the “worst of the worst” of sex offenders — they have the lowest rate of returning to prison while on parole of any “violent” offender.
Why are sex offenders so much less likely than other criminals to ever commit a crime again? Because the vast majority of people registered aren’t dangerous to anyone. According to the Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment, 97% of all registered sex offenders shouldn’t be registered.
A member of the council and former law enforcement officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had this to say: “That 97%? They’re not interested in preying on anyone. They made a simple mistake, like forgetting to ask for ID at a bar or having a spouse accuse them of molesting the kids as part of a custody battle, and the system trampled over them.”
With 97% of Texas sex offenders unjustly registered, that’s over 64,000 people right now who are registered when they shouldn’t be! That doesn’t keep our communities safe. That creates fear and distrust where none should exist.
This debunks a third common myth: that everyone who is a registered sex offender is also a pedophile and rapist. Some even call the sex offender registry “the pedophile list.” It’s nothing of the sort.
“You have people who went streaking or skinny dipping in college lumped into the same category as serial rapists,” says the officer. “They’re slowly narrowing down the scope of who needs to register, but it’s still too broad. Right now, a 15 year old who takes a nude selfie could end up having to register for possessing child porn. That’s insane.”
The registry is a list of people no different from you and I that the “justice” system has decided to arbitrarily classify as second-class citizens. Compounding this injustice, according to the Center for Prosecutor Integrity, sexual assault is the second highest charge for which people are falsely accused and wrongfully convicted (the first being homicide).
According to the Innocence Project of Texas, the estimated rate for wrongful felony convictions is around 2–5%. With nearly 750,000 registered sex offenders nationally, even the low end would mean over 15,000 innocent people are in the system. The more likely wrongful conviction rate for sexual assault is around 10%, or 75,000 innocent people labeled monsters.
In the state of Texas, it also means that of the 66,000 people who are registered, 6,600 of them are completely innocent! It used to be that the justice system held to a code of, “Better to let 9 guilty men go free than to send 1 innocent man to prison.” Now the system is so morally bankrupt it happily sends innocent people to prison or brands them monsters for life with no regard for the consequences.
Motives and Money
What motives do counties have for making a lot of citizens register? One obvious motive is money. Once someone becomes a sex offender, they pay the county hundreds of dollars in monthly fees — sometimes for life. They pay for monitoring. They pay for being listed online. They pay for new driver’s licenses every year. They pay for Internet monitoring to use computers — money that goes to whatever company provides the best kickbacks to county officials. They pay these fees even if they’re homeless.
If they can’t pay? They go to jail. The widespread use of background checks as gate keeping to deny minorities jobs means many sex offenders can’t get work. More sex offenders means more money for all involved — it lines the pockets of the private prison complex in a corrupt feedback loop like so many others. The more sex offenders in a county, the more money goes into their coffers.
The other motive is to sabotage collective resistance efforts. With the stigma of being a sex offender, young people in that system can never rise to challenge the elites or enact meaningful change in society. It’s another tool to sabotage young voices before they can become leaders. It traps potential leaders and creators with false accusations and forces them to accept plea deals that destroy 10 years, 20 years, or their entire life.
The myths about sex offenders serve to undermine collective efforts. How many of us have had a moment of worry or panic when we learn a friend is a registered sex offender? How often has that prevented you from collaborating or working with that person for a common cause? The falsehoods– that sex offenders are all pedophiles, that they’re all repeat offenders, that they are all remorseless predators — create fear that tears our communities apart.
The myths promote apathy toward anyone with that label. Many turn a blind eye to the abuse registered sex offenders suffer, not questioning the injustice before their eyes. They don’t care if an entire generation is silenced by lies and prosecutorial misconduct, because they’ve been trained to see a sex offender as someone not worth caring about.
The most damning evidence that the sex offender registry is a tool of oppression is found in its strongest supporters: the alt-right. Most, if not all, of the “anti-pedophile” push today is from the alt-right. They use the pedophile label as a way to discredit and dismiss the efforts of so many activists fighting for equity today, including Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, #MeToo, and ANTIFA.
“Raising awareness” of pedophiles and warning others about someone’s criminal history are both dog whistles among the alt-right. They know that registered sex offenders are predominantly young minorities, since those groups are targeted by the police state more than whites. They see the registry as a prototype for registering anyone they label a “degenerate,” including minorities and LGBT. Championing it is their way of normalizing the behavior of labeling anyone who doesn’t fit their notion of “normal” so no one will bat an eye when they begin handing out yellow stars.
Whenever you see someone making a “public service announcement” about a pedophile or warning others about someone’s criminal history? They’re part of the alt-right. If they claim to be progressive, they’re a cryptofascist working to undermine progressive causes as an agent provocateur. Push them out of your safe space immediately before they can pollute the bonds there.
Judge James Doyle in the 1970’s wrote: “I am persuaded that the institution of prison probably must end. In many respects it is as intolerable within the United States as was the institution of slavery, equally brutalizing to all involved, equally toxic to the social system, equally subversive of the brotherhood of man, even more costly by some standards, and probably less rational.”
The sex offender registry is just another form of prison, where its inmates walk among us in fear, marked yet in plain sight. It’s yet another example of over-criminalization: take people who have done very little wrong if anything, treat them as incredibly dangerous, and then force them into the system to extract money. It’s a system decades old yet still abuses thousands of people in Texas alone, leaving them with no future or dignity. The sex offender registry is the modern Jim Crow and its supporters are the Klan, just without the hoods.
It’s no longer an issue of reform — we need total abolition!