civil rights

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Why I Take No Shit From Anyone in My Online Spaces

Published May 28, 2013 by Fat Heffalump
  • Angry fat bitch!
  • You’re so bitter!
  • You don’t care about the CAUSE, it’s all about YOU!
  • OMG you’re so rude!  It’s no wonder you’re hated when you’re so RUDE!  I was just giving my OPINION!!
  • You’ve got such a foul mouth!
  • Why are you so sensitive?  God, get over it!  What are you, paranoid?!
  • Well, you’re not getting MY support any more!  Not if you can’t be nice.
  • If you weren’t such a rude bitch, you wouldn’t have these troubles.  You catch more flies with honey than vinegar you know.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard something along the lines of the above statements, I would have a LOT of dollars.  It happens a lot.  I get people turning up here, and in my other spaces online, lecturing me on how I’m supposed to behave and react and address them… in my space online.

I feel like a broken record half the time, telling people to fuck off.

But I think people need to be told to fuck off once in a while.  It does us all good.  Actually, if being told to fuck off on a blog or a facebook page or somewhere else online is the worst of your troubles in a day, you’re doing well I reckon!  I wish the worst that happened to me in life was being told to fuck off!  In fact, at any given time that I comment on someone else’s blog or other online space, I do so knowing that they have the full right to tell me to fuck off.  After all, I’m in THEIR space.

There’s a reason I’m so vehement about telling people to fuck off.  Two reasons really.  The first is because most of the time, in everyday life, we can’t just tell people to fuck off.  Because people are so threatened by two words “fuck off” they’re likely to resort to violence, or ACTUAL bullying tactics.

Incidentally don’t let anyone convince you that telling someone to fuck off is bullying.  It’s clear, it gets the message across, it’s not hidden away from witnesses like actual bullying is.  It doesn’t denigrate someone or cause them any harm.  It is simply a succinct, profane instruction.  Fuck off out of my life.  As much as so many people want to clutch their pearls and carry on like they’ve been slandered or wounded or some other great harm, fuck off does nobody any actual harm.

The second is that unless we stand up and stand solid in our own little corners of the internet, then we just get silenced again.  And again and again and again.  We fat folk are constantly told that we have to play by society’s rules.  We have to put up with so much shit in this world.  From hearing that we’re sub-human, worthless and inferior, through to being the subject of hate, derision and scorn, and right through to physical harm – be it passive (diets, weight loss surgery, dismissal of our health needs, an environment that we have to painfully squeeze our bodies in to) or aggressive (actual physical assault and harassment).  Every day we are subjected to being policed for every aspect of our behaviour – from the mere space we take up through to what we eat and what we wear and what we do with our bodies.

So when we do carve out a little space, a tiny corner of the vast universe of the internet, then we have EVERY right to set up boundaries in that space and not tolerate anyone who tries to police us within those boundaries.  I have to sit through people telling me I don’t have the right to agency over my own life and body every single day, I’ll be damned I’m going to sit quietly while people do it in my tiny spaces online.

Actually I just thought of a third reason.  So that I can hopefully give you folk, even if it’s only one of you, the strength to tell someone to fuck off when they’re behaving in a manner that is unacceptable to you.  If I give just one of you some strength when you’re feeling like the whole world is just pushing you down at every opportunity, then it is worth it.

You bet I’m angry.  You bet I’m going to get hot headed and loud about it.  It’s WRONG and unless those of us who can speak up DO speak up, it’s never going to change.

I’m under no illusion that I’m “nice” or “sweet” or even “popular”.  I don’t want to be nice, or sweet or popular.  There are no “true colours” waiting to be exposed – I’m angry, I swear a lot and I have little tolerance for bullshit.   I want to be the thorn in people’s side when they’re behaving in a way that is unacceptable.  I want to be that painful bit of sand that irritates the oyster of the world and creates change.  So what if people hate me for it – people hate me already just for living in a fat body, they hated me even when I was a brown mouse fatty too scared to say anything to anyone.  I’m used to being hated.

I’m tired of playing nice with people.  Nobody plays nice with we fat folk.  We are forced to justify our existence time and time again, we are dismissed, dehumanised, derided and denied.  We are treated as though we are inferior, and we are vilified as monsters at every turn.  So I feel no obligation to be “polite” with people who turn up in my online spaces under the guise of “disagreeing” or “freedom of opinion” with our rights to live our lives on equal footing with any other human being.  Nobody gets to debate fat people’s right to fair treatment in the world.  NOBODY.

I’m not here to convince fat haters, not-fat people looking for superiority and “skeptics” of fat activism that fat people deserve to be treated as human beings.  They’re never truly going to be convinced anyway, and they waste all of our time putting caveats on that, on the condition that we “play nice”.  The minute they disagree with us or we stand up to them, they turn that hate back on to us all over again.  Don’t be afraid that you’ll “lose their support”… if they’re that easily turned away, we never had their support to start with.  And NOBODY is that important that their withdrawing their support is going to end the fat activism movement.  And I believe if you connect with ONE person properly that it’s worth far more than suppressing your voice to make a thousand people happy.

I’m here for my own sanity, my own voice but most importantly my fellow fatties, who are told everywhere else in the world that they are inferior.  I’m here for you my beloved fat community.  I’m here to show you that you don’t have to stand for shitty treatment and that you are valuable, that you are worthy, that you are equal human beings to anyone else.

I have no interest in catching flies with honey or vinegar.  We all know flies eat shit anyway – I’m here with a can of Fuck Off, to repel those flies from this one little corner of the internet.

32,001 Names – Will You Be One of Them?

Published September 9, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

I’m going to post something off topic tonight.  It’s another cause that means a lot to me and I think we have the power to make a significant change in our world.

It’s no secret that marriage equality for same sex couples is a hot topic in Australia at the moment. Why it’s a hot topic, I don’t know, because as far as I’m concerned, if people are competent and consenting adults, then they should have the right to legally marry regardless of their gender, sexuality, race or anything else.  Romantic/sexual partnerships between consenting adults should be of no consequence to anyone except those people themselves, least of all the government.  As far as I’m concerned, there is no debate, just a matter of how we’re going to adjust our legal system to accommodate the growing needs of our population.

However, there is a debate, and unfortunately it’s being dominated by a certain breed of very hateful, bigoted voice at the moment.  Loudest of which is Queensland MP, Bob Katter.

But this debate isn’t really about consenting adults legal right to marry other consenting adults.  This debate, at least from the anti-marriage equality sector, is about the oppression of non-heterosexual people.  That’s all it’s really about, these anti-marriage equality campaigners, want to keep non-heterosexual people marginalised and treat them like they are somehow less than heterosexual people, as though they are sub-human.  By removing the basic rights that we heterosexual people take for granted, they’re implying that our GLBTQ members of society are not equal to us.

Which is bullshit.

The thing is, these bigots are not the majority.  They don’t speak for Australians in general.  But they’re very vocal and for some reason the government take notice of them, and pander to them.  Not only on this topic, but all other matters of social justice as well.

We have to speak up as well.  We have to make it clear that these ultra-extreme conservatives are just that – an ultra-extreme minority.

Enter James Newburrie.

James is a young gay man who lives in Mt Isa here in Queensland.  Right in the heartland of Bob Katter country.  Bob Katter famously said and I quote:

“I would walk from Brisbane to Bourke backwards if the poof population of North Queensland is any more than 0.001%.”

Mr Katter is at some point going to have to take that long walk backwards for that statement.  However, it’s not going to happen with the way things are because young GLBTQ people in rural areas are so violently bullied, oppressed and shamed that they are forced to live their lives in secret, or move to metropolitan areas to survive.  The suicide rate for young GLBTQ people in rural areas is astronomically high, and it’s because of people like Bob Katter and their bullying statements.  It’s because of a very vocal minority that tells them they are worth less than the rest of us.  It’s because people like Bob Katter incite the bullies and violent arseholes in the community to harass and harm them.

I grew up in rural areas.  I had GLBTQ friends who I saw bullied and beaten for just being who they are.  Some of them couldn’t cope, and took their own lives to escape that hatred.  And I saw people like Bob Katter, or those involved with groups like Family First and the Australian Christian Lobby make these young people go through living hell because of their bigotry.

As a heterosexual Christian myself, it’s assumed by people like Bob Katter and the ACL that they speak for me, when they in fact do not.

But back to James Newburrie.  James has been spurred into action as a young gay man living in rural Queensland to stand up and be heard.  James has started a campaign called 32001 Names, a bid to collect as many names as Bob Katter claimed he had against marriage equality… plus 1.  I personally believe that there are more than 32001 people willing to put their name behind James’ campaign.  He already has over 8500 names so he’s well on his way.  But I think we need to pitch in and find him more.

As well as this campaign, James has organised an equality rally in Mt Isa for this Sunday, right opposite Bob Katter’s office, just to show him that there are more than 0.001% of the local population who are GLBTQ and their allies.  If I could fly to Mt Isa this weekend to stand beside James and the other participants, I would.  But sadly I’m not able to, so instead I’ve pledged to spread the word any way I can.

So there are some things you can do to help.  You can “Like” the 32001 Names Facebook page or you can attend the rally in Mt Isa (or show your support for it).  You can share both of these with everyone you know, especially rural Queenslanders.  Very soon, there will be a way for you to also submit photographs, videos and other media in support for the 32001 Names campaign as well.  If you use Twitter, you can use the #32001names hashtag to spread the word.  It would be great to get that one trending on Sunday during the rally.  You could do as I have, and blog about James and the 32001 Names project.  You can share this blog post around.  Or you can get creative.  Visibility is the key for campaigns like these.  The more support, the more mentions, the more images, the more we speak up, the more the word spreads and the safer and more encouraged our young GLBTQ people feel.  Just by showing your support in some way, someone who needs to know that support is there might just hear, and you might just change their world.

Wanna help change the world?