Que leur souvenir demeure

I’ve been reflecting a lot about the events of 6 December 1989 in Montreal. Many of the victims of the Ecole Polytechnique shooting were born around the same time as me, but their lives were abruptly cut short by a man with a grudge against feminists (or his distorted idea of what a feminist is) and a history of domestic violence (frequently the case with the perpetrators of mass shootings). The 14 women were engineering students, or worked in the school of engineering. I am a woman and a feminist and I work in IT, part of the STEM field. That could’ve been me. So this feels personal in the same way that the Pulse nightclub shooting felt personal because I am bisexual and genderqueer, and the victims were LGBTQIA.

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Time and tide

It’s sad to see certain parts of the world abolishing regular time in favour of permanent Daylight Savings Time.

Natural time (hereinafter referred simply to as time for brevity’s sake) is the rising and setting of the sun, and the changing of the seasons, which are caused by the Earth’s axial tilt. In a system that reflects natural time, noon is when the sun is overhead.

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The Overton Window

I’m finding the concept of the Overton Window increasingly useful right now, as various sociopolitical ideas gain or lose ground, and debates change and morph.

The Overton window, also known as the window of discourse, describes the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse. The term is derived from its originator, Joseph P. Overton, a former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, who, in his description of his window, claimed that an idea’s political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within the window, rather than on politicians’ individual preferences.

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Trans solidarity

I woke up this morning to the news that the Trump regime has decided to restrict the definition of gender to the gender you were assigned at birth, based on genitalia, first via LGBT history on Instagram, and then via The Guardian:

The Trump administration is attempting to strip transgender people of official recognition by creating a narrow definition of gender as being only male or female and unchangeable once determined at birth, the New York Times reported.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has undertaken an effort across several departments to establish a legal definition of sex under title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex, the Times said, citing a government memo.

That definition would be as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals a person is born with, the Times reported.

Such an interpretation would reverse the expansion of transgender rights that took place under Barack Obama.

This is horrifying and has widespread implications for transgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer people. It legitimizes the widely-held view that biological sex is an absolute binary, despite the fact that numerous scientific studies have shown that it isn’t.

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Halloween and Samhain

The season of Halloween is fast approaching, and with it, the opening of several different silly seasons. It’s the season for racists to dress as caricatures of other ethnic groups. It’s the season for journalists to find the gothiest witches they can, and write dramatic articles about them. And it’s the season for spooky films on TV, and (gods help us all) pumpkin spice latte.

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