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Author of queer, wry sci fi/fantasy books. On Amazon.
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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

You're Not My Real Daddy: Sugar Scams, Part 3

So, I've gone over the basics and the legitimate part of the overlapping sugar daddy and financial domination communities - but what about the scams? Well, here's where the oldest internet rules come into play.





(Forgive me, I couldn't resist.)

So, the adage that you should never give out your banking info is a bit complex in the context of financial relationships - but don't give out your password or login info under any circumstances. In addition, though, scammers preying on the aspiring sugar baby community - comprised of everyone from those tweeting "I need a sugar daddy" to carefully dressed, angled, and groomed ingenues - are very creative and bizarre.

My own experience with this included a fellow ostensibly looking for someone to give money to in exchange for chats and any sort of relationship - no sexuality required. So, having run it by my partner, and getting his consent and curiosity, I set about conversing with him, as well as messaging a few other alleged sugar daddy accounts.

A kind follower immediately told me that the accounts with a name and a string of random numbers are mostly scammers. Chagrined, but now even more curious, I set about researching the matter. Sure enough, a few journalists had reported back - but apart from a Vice video, there was a dearth of info about the community.

And yet many of my friends had occasionally joked about or alluded to wanting a sugar daddy or something of that nature. In a financially strenuous era, while we vote for reforms and support candidates who promise to strengthen social service and welfare nets, or even expand them, we still have to get by.

And if you're young, attractive, and visibly able, it's hard not to listen to the siren song of apparent easy money. After all, women are often coaxed into offering emotional labour up in normal relationships - why not get paid for cooing and caring for people? Sex is optional, and far from mandatory. In such cash-starved times, anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit or curiosity might well be emboldened to give the sugary lifestyle a try.

That's where my assistant, whom I'll call Birdie, comes in. Seeing my post on Facebook about the strange and intriguing world of "glucose guardians," Birdie was curious, and volunteered to contact some of the randomly chosen profiles I unearthed. She immediately ran face-first into their intricate scams - but luckily, she was smart, and didn't offer anything up, while stringing along the flirtatious fraudsters.

The daddies you can't trust 


The problem is that from a scammer's perspective, possible access to someone's bank account and the bonus of flirting with young, attractive people, even getting some nudes or dirty talk out of it, is just about irresistible.

Scammers have gotten creative, though. It's not just a matter of, "hey, babe, I want your login info so I can put money in there - I promise I won't take your cash; here's screenshots of money I gave another girl" - it's "Here, I'll give you money on an Amazon gift card, and here's instructions for transferring it to Paypal..."


Screenshot provided by Birdie.

Of course, these daddies commit to their roleplay pretty intensely. One I spoke to said he was from a small American town, had succeeded by investing in gold and crypto currency, and talked about wanting to do good for others. Birdie's scammer made a point of claiming his religion motivated his ethical uprightness.


Screenshot provided by Birdie. 

Naturally, religion alone is no guarantee of morally upright behavior - especially on the internet. What the scammers' tactics amount to is a cup-and-ball game: they deposit thousands or hundreds of dollars in the form of a cheque or instant transfer, then withdraw the same amount immediately, or a portion thereof. The cheque, of course, does not clear - leaving the hapless mug with a huge NSF fee and deep overdraft. You don't have to have a lot of money to get targeted - all it takes is an open bank account.

Another tactic is to get someone to buy a gift card, and talking about overloading it. The thing is, the sugar baby is putting their own money down first, or getting a haircut or manicure that they normally wouldn't splurge on, as a sort of investment. Fake gifts with huge customs release fees also crop up. 

What really got me was that while some people see sugar babies as exploitative (which is false, because it's consensual), there's probably some other twenty-something sitting on the other side of the screen, who knows where in the world, and trying to make ends meet by grifting...another twenty-something elsewhere. At least people looking to be sugar babies are honest about their aims. Scammers aren't even doing that.

Is it safe to be a sugar baby? 

Honestly, maybe - but from skimming through Twitter's posts on the topic, it's easy to see a lot of names with a string of numbers after them, a sexy picture, and no profile details. Poor communication or writing skills and repetitive tweets tend to accompany these profiles. Although a plethora of emojis tend to frame most conversations, that alone need not disqualify someone.

I would say, however, that it seems sugar baby sites are disproportionate in terms of the number of providers to supplicants, with a three-to-one baby-to-daddy ratio. (There's a massive proportion of men seeking younger women compared to every other demographic.) Twitter seems to be where the scammers go, sadly - so someone looking to wade into the sugar baby life would be better off considering the financial domination world. That, however, is real work, just like any other form of sex work, and requires the cultivation of a persona, careful separation from one's real life, and other such precautions.

Stay safe by doing your research before you dive in. Consider checking out a site with moderation. Above all else, don't expect to be swept away by a millionaire - most sugar baby experiences seem far more modest, with hundreds or thousands of dollars as a weekly allowance, rather than the extreme surgeries and penthouse lifestyles featured in the most audacious and provocative profiles. Most sugar relationships don't seem overly emotional or exclusive, although some can be. Try to set your expectations to a moderate level, rather than listening to the secret cries uttered by wild hopes.

It's hard to be realistic when delving into what seems like a fantastical world - but even fantasy worlds have their rules, costs, and drawbacks. If all else fails, maybe listen to or read a bunch of fairy tales and internalise a balance of caution and adventure. At best, you might change your life radically. At worst? You could be stuck with a financial nightmare requiring hours of cleanup or worse.


***
Michelle Browne is a sci fi/fantasy writer and editor. She lives in Lethbridge, AB with her partner-in-crime and Max the cat. Her days revolve around freelance editing, knitting, jewelry, and learning too much. She is currently working on other people's manuscripts, the next books in her series, and drinking as much tea as humanly possible.

Find her all over the internet: * OG Blog * Mailing list * Magpie Editing * 

Amazon * Medium * Twitter * Instagram * Facebook * Tumblr * Paypal.me * Ko-fi

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Paying for Pain: Sugar Scams, Part 2

When last I left off, I described a few terms and communities that I'll be referencing throughout this series. From the basics, let's go deeper. It's hard to understand a scam without knowing how the system is supposed to work. Buckle up. It might get weird.

Now, to explain how the scams work, let's start with the legitimate side of the community.

Disclaimer


This post will cover adult themes and concepts. I will try to be discreet and tasteful, but after this point, expect allusions to BDSM and sexuality. Reader discretion is advised.



Sugar daddies vs Paypigs - what's the difference? 


One of the most interesting things about the sugar daddy community/concept is that it seems as though scammers make use of both the widespread familiarity with the concept, and the lack of actual personal knowledge of sugar daddies. There is a definite and distinct code of conduct that people are supposed to follow - for example, never demanding nudes, being polite, and not demanding bank logins.

Sugar daddies, in contrast, don't seem to band together as much, and appear to take a more dominant role in the interaction than the Paypigs. There's a fair bit of hay made and ink spilled on the controlling nature of sugar daddies, and many people who assume the entire field is too dangerous or degrading to enter will point to such stories.

This is even more ritualised in the financial domination community. Curiously, I noticed an overlap between Red Pill terminology (beta, alpha, cuck, etc) and feminist language. Financial submissives - who were almost entirely men - would enthusiastically allude to giving money to women and empowerment. The corollary of this is that Dommes, and the occasional Dom, would talk about how attractive they feel and complement themselves. Selfies with butt and cleavage closeups or leg shots were common enticements. Although the Dommes appear to talk about feminist issues less, they do seem fluent in the insulting terminology preferred by the submissives.

The community appears tightly-knit, eager to share, welcoming, and surprisingly cheerful and warm. Although accustomed to this kind of high-energy friendliness from exposure to other BDSM communities, seeing the enthusiasm of these financial submissives surprised me.

Financial submissives - who are they? 


One might expect an Amazon Romance-type of situation - a youngish or zaddy-type attractive guy with millions of dollars and nothing to do with them - but from what I could tell, it seems like financial submissives actually have a variety of different jobs. Although large sums were tossed around in conversation - a thousand dollars, 20K, more - most actual financial domination is in the tens or hundreds of dollars per go, not thousands. This suggests that men with relatively normal jobs may be interested in the fetish, and that Dommes have moderated their prices accordingly. This makes a certain amount of sense, because fetishes rarely develop based on affordability alone.

In terms of what submissives like, there was a strong emphasis on chastity, tasks, and cuckoldry; worthlessness and enthusiastic grovelling, as well as self-humiliation, were common among the profiles and tweets. Again, some of the allusions to feminism and exploitation almost looked sarcastic - but most appeared very enthusiastic and sincere.

Is this legit?


Although I did see some chatter about fake submissives and fake Dommes, I don't know what distinguishes the one from another yet. I would assume it's a case of someone pretending to be a Domme, demanding money, and then cutting off contact rather than actually providing the fantasy experience a submissive is seeking out.

In terms of scamming daddies, however, the search was much more fruitful. But this is running long, and I'll get to that in the next section. Stick around! I have a few suggestions and things that aspiring sugar babies and financial dominatrixes should watch for.


***
Michelle Browne is a sci fi/fantasy writer and editor. She lives in Lethbridge, AB with her partner-in-crime and Max the cat. Her days revolve around freelance editing, knitting, jewelry, and learning too much. She is currently working on other people's manuscripts, the next books in her series, and drinking as much tea as humanly possible.

Find her all over the internet: * OG Blog * Mailing list * Magpie Editing * 
Amazon * Medium * Twitter * Instagram * Facebook * Tumblr * Paypal.me * Ko-fi

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Everyone's Got an Angle: Sugar Scams, Part 1


The internet is a weird place. 


At this point, we're all used to that weirdness, at least to some extent. Shitposting meme lords taking credit for the election of a predatory president who has strong links to Russian powers? There was a time - as difficult to recall as it may be - when that sentence would not only have been nonsensical, it would have been absurd. But in a world that's seen the rise and fall of LiveJournal and MySpace, and the rise and corruption of Facebook - a world that encompasses furries, fandoms, podcasts, the resurgence of Dungeons and Dragons, and music like vaporwave and shoegaze - in this world, believing just about anything is easier, because the unspeakably absurd is eminently plausible.

So, with all this in mind, stumbling face-first into the financial domination and sugar daddy segment of Twitter didn't surprise me as much as it would have, say, ten years ago. It started with a few retweets of SugarDad1's content - the user conceals his identity, but generously sends money to randomly selected followers who retweet his posts. He appears to be genuine, at least from the size of his following and the screenshots in his feed. And if he's the real deal - who else might also be a genuinely altruistic person with more money than they know what to do with?

That's not to say I'm naive or unaware that people are sometimes keen to exploit others. Not everyone, but enough people. And isn't it always just enough people? I'm no stranger to the concept of scams. Podcasts like "The Dream" and "Sounds Like MLM, But OK" have done important and useful work in offering public access to information about multi-level marketing. It's inherently exploitative and nearly impossible to make lucrative, but social pressure and millions of dollars in lobbying have done their best to remedy that. We have all heard that "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," but it's always difficult to avoid the temptation. After all, what if, this time...it's real?

A brief disclaimer


Before I go any further, I should mention that this article series will deal with some very adult language and concepts. If you're not comfortable with sexuality and associated concepts from the BDSM and sex work communities, this might not be the series for you to read. If you're ignorant but intrigued, or comfortable and curious, then read on. 


Wait, what's a sugar baby? 


Back to the topic at hand. A sugar baby is someone who benefits from the financial and sometimes emotional resources of a sugar daddy or sugar mommy (a dearth of info about nonbinary parents exists). This is not to say that sugar babies don't do any work - the effort of replying to messages and various forms of emotional labor, sometimes with a sexual component and sometimes without it, definitely adds up. If it didn't, mainstream employment opportunities wouldn't have to pay people to man their customer contact and chat channels.

A more extreme and aggressive version of this is the financial domination subculture, which does overlap with the sugar parent world. "Paypigs" clean themselves out to fund their dominatrixes and Doms. Interestingly, "alpha," "beta," and "cuck" language has leaked into this subculture. Sometimes, tweets from the paypigs have an almost sarcastic tone when they refer to being cleaned out, being exploited, and etcetera. Many also appear to have foot fetishes and associated humiliation-based kinks.

However, it's important to remember that as with other BDSM and lifestyle posts, the apparent callousness and cruelty of these financial Doms is an act, part of the scene that is consensual - and probably not applicable to the rest of a Dom's life. (I mean, it might be, but I know a Domme or two, and apart from having strong personalities, they certainly aren't "on stage" at all times.) Ultimately, it's just another form of fetish and lifestyle escapism - if a particularly meta fetish in some ways.

Is it real? 


Here's where it gets complicated. There's a surprising number of posts on Twitter from people who claim to be sugar daddies that don't want/need sex, nudes, or videos, "just chat." Being a fiscally-disadvantaged Millennial, I couldn't help being intrigued. But the more I clicked on associated accounts, the more it became clear that investigating this on my main Twitter profile would, ah, contaminate my work profile.

I set up a secondary Twitter account so I could start talking to these alleged sugar daddies and find out what their deals were - and whether everything was as enticingly easy as it seemed.

Throughout this series, I'm going to share what I've learned - and most importantly, relay the byzantine and obtuse strategies that scammers are using to entice potential sugar babies into yielding up their info. Get ready for a wild ride and a dip into some very unique subcultures, and hold that credit card close - because even when it's maxed out, lot of people want it.




The irony! 


One of the things that caught my attention was that people tend to demean sugar babies and refer to them dismissively. As a sex work rights nerd, I'm accustomed to seeing that kind of talk directed at femmes and people in such realms - but I'm not used to seeing people scam said folks. While sugar babies - who straightforwardly admit that they're looking for financially-advantageous relationships - often get accused of being "gold diggers" and such, it would appear that the real scammers are on the other side of the equation.

I'm going to explain both the world of financial fetishism and the people looking to make a profit. This one's going to be short, but get ready for the next installments in this series. In the meantime, you can learn more about the world of sugar babies from the links already included in my article.





***
Michelle Browne is a sci fi/fantasy writer and editor. She lives in Lethbridge, AB with her partner-in-crime and Max the cat. Her days revolve around freelance editing, knitting, jewelry, and learning too much. She is currently working on other people's manuscripts, the next books in her series, and drinking as much tea as humanly possible.

Find her all over the internet: * OG Blog * Mailing list * Magpie Editing * 

Amazon * Medium * Twitter * Instagram * Facebook * Tumblr * Paypal.me * Ko-fi

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Louie C.K. and the Sith Lord Dilemma

Happy new year!

(These are the kinds of headlines I only get to write because I don't have an editor to whom I answer. Whee!)

We still have Nazis, so let's talk strategy. I'd also like to talk about something related - the infamous, often contested Centre. To keep advancing leftist ideals (such as healthcare, housing, and basic needs coverage for all; universal access to education and higher education; equal and fair pay for all genders and backgrounds, and accessibility resources for those who require mobility devices or have medical problems, among a few other things!) it can help to figure out who we're trying to talk to - and sometimes, who we can trust.

The time before #MeToo and after it are now crisply delineated by this social event. The freedom to talk about and voice the universality of sexual harassment and assault against people of various genders (yes, men too) has really shaken things up. It's just the beginning of making things right, and society in North America and around the world has some serious adjusting and compensating to do, but it's a good step in the right direction.

#MeToo also torched a lot of sacred cows, exposing people we previously trusted as participating in very bad behavior. Kevin Spacey, George Takei, Stan Lee and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, among others, are a couple who surprised and disappointed me the most. But it seems like some of the people who transgressed are already trying to stage their comebacks - not understanding, it seems, that it shouldn't be up to them to decide when their stint in the time-out corner is over.

As discussed here, it would seem that Louis C.K., who previously admitted to sexually harassing women by masturbating in front of them without consent, has taken a turn for the dark side. Making jokes about transgender people and school shooting survivors, and apparently, insulting black and Asian men, is now part of his comedic repetoire. So much for "learning and listening."

But he continues to be defended by a few people who - apparently, come from the centre - and want to believe that he still has good intentions somehow. To quote that Huffpost article, however -

"C.K.’s new set, according to its leaked version, doesn’t merely punch down; it stomps, pettily, to the bottom. None of it is smart or brave; it is simply cruel."

And how did Louis C.K. - and for that matter, J.K. Rowling - start to internalise and support such negative beliefs?

more of my dubious art - based on Anakin Skywalker's first lightsaber 

Star Wars and political strategy


So here's the thing about the two people I've alluded to - they're both wealthy, and they've both been criticised. Now, being criticised is hard at the best of times. But wealth tends to make people more fragile. Is the answer, then, to just not criticise anyone ever? (That probably sounds like a stupid thing to even say, and it kind of is. But the internet likes a good reductio ad absurdum argument, taking things to their most logical extreme, so I'm going to follow that format - as I often do in my posts!)

That would seem to be an over-correction, and to make advancement impossible. But how to we criticise someone without alienating them?

Well, I'm still working on the "doing it right" part, but I can tell you about how not to do it.

In the much-maligned prequels of Star Wars, one of the concerns expressed about Anakin Skywalker is that he's too old to learn the Jedi ways and be successfully indoctrinated in their belief system. In the following movies, as Anakin goes through puberty and discovers that at least one girl exists, this is quickly proven - so it seems - to have been an accurate fear. A lot of people have argued that the way the Jedi turned their back on him as soon as he started to screw up and the way they endorsed such extremist perspectives on emotion had doomed him to fail in the first place. I would say that Anakin actually got a lot of second chances, but the ideology did set him up to fail - and because a single misstep was seen as an inevitable sign of failure, how could he help but find himself tempted by the apparent freedom of the Dark Side?

But as we see examined in The Last Jedi, fearing someone's future and darkness and treating them badly on the basis of that can, in fact, lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. By assuming the worst of Ben Solo, he becomes Kylo Ren. Now - you could argue about the role of fate in the Star Wars universe, and even in our own, but it's not a discussion I can brook in good faith because if fate was as iron-clad as it is in fiction, all psychics would have 100% accuracy in their predictions - and that, obviously, is not the case.

But are we repeating the mistake of the late-era Jedi Order? Are we scaring off allies when we call them out for bad behavior, or scaring off future allies when they see Leftists chewing someone out?

A digression on the centre, which cannot hold


Oh, the Centrists. The Left hates them, the Right courts them, and they usually don't even identify as such. Most of the time - from what I've seen - Centrists are actually people who would identify as liberals or Liberals, but haven't caught up to every nuance; alternatively, they're soft conservatives. The centre isn't so much a fact as a product of two overlapping political bell-curves, more of an illusion than a real political movement. After all, the centre and centrists usually tend to have either conflicting beliefs or a reluctance to engage with certain groups.

But the centrists that I tend to hear about, as a leftist, are generally the ones who still fall on the liberal side of the equation. Now, here's the thing - I'm not saying that being conservative or liberal are, arbitrarily, either good or bad on an objective scale. BUT - right now, in North America and in a few other places, it sure seems like conservatism has relied too heavily on courting xenophobia in various ways. And that has led to an association of conservatives with racist, sexist, generally horrible beliefs - for instance, the Republicans in the US, and more locally, the UCP. (United Conservative Party, not to be confused with the Progressive-Conservative Party of Canada. They're very good at being polite and rewording their racism and homophobia, because this is Canada, but the underlying platform and beliefs is disappointingly rote.)

But is falling to the racist wayside the fate of all centrists? Should leftists treat anyone who fails to meet certain standards of conduct with suspicion and curtness, because they're inevitably going to betray any progressive ideals in favor of the fear-eater, conservatism?

In terms of the radicalization of young men, a number of people have spilled ink and filled hard drives creating better and more informative videos and articles than myself. And a lot of them also struggle with this problem: who can be reasoned with, and who is a die-hard danger to humanity?

No. Be nice sometimes, but don't hug every Nazi.


All of this is to say that I think the way we deal with people who don't act in good faith and the ones who do act in good faith need to be set in two different streams. It can be hard to tell, and people can switch motivations during a conversation - deciding to troll or being interested enough to start learning, for instance. But I think it would help the Left to confine some of our sharpest criticisms to internal dialogues - you know, saying things with the door closed. We have to meet people on their level.

Unfortunately, sometimes that level is also going to mean putting boots on the ground in terms of showing up to protests and engaging in adequate self-defense against Nazis.

So when it comes to Cousin Jason or Brayden saying that he thinks these dudes wearing yellow vests and talking about how we need to reduce the number of immigrants coming to Canada "might have a point," I would suggest being hard on the ideology and empathetic with Jason or Brayden himself. There's a difference between being empathetic and being a doormat - but we have no choice except to take on these conversations whenever we can, even when we're exhausted. The problem is that people in the centre often agree with us - but are too scared to speak up, or too tired, or even too confused.

We have to make a better future and present by walking the line between having boundaries and making it clear to people that we care about them and their rights. As frustrating as it can be, emotional labour from a person in a position of power, or even an oppressor, is still emotional labour. And we cannot take for granted that people will educate themselves, or yell "educate yourself!" in every conversation. That doesn't mean the most oppressed person should always yield their time and energy to people who may be acting like blockheads - but it does mean that anyone who considers themselves an ally needs to step up or be willing to tag-team something to avoid their own exhaustion.

This stuff is intricate. The problems don't have quick, glib, easy fixes. But they're also not insurmountable, because our opponents aren't monsters or fictional villains. They're people. And most of them actually want what we want - to live in happiness, health, and safety.


***
Michelle Browne is a sci fi/fantasy writer. She lives in Lethbridge, AB with her partners-in-crime and their cat. Her days revolve around freelance editing, knitting, jewelry, and nightmares, as well as social justice issues. She is currently working on the next books in her series, other people's manuscripts, and drinking as much tea as humanly possible.

Find her all over the internet: 
The mailing list * 
Amazon * Medium * Twitter * Instagram * Facebook * Tumblr * OG Blog


Monday, 3 December 2018

The Free Speech Fallacy

In the wake of the sudden and catastrophic announcement of Tumblr's new policy, I found myself startled by the collapse of something long-assumed in discussions of free speech. "Female-presenting nipples," "sex acts," and "depictions of genitalia" between consenting adults or adult characters are among those being banned, but erotica is still okay to write. Ostensibly, the purpose of all this is to protect the internet from child pornography - but as usual, the cure is almost worse than the crime. Plenty of artistic photos are getting annihilated in the purge. 

Obviously, child pornography is Bad, but banning all depictions of sexuality has sent Tumblr's stock plummeting and already devastated the community. But is it even working?

Predictably, since an automated ban system is being used, both hilarious and troubling results have been reported - on my dash, a building with three windows, a lumpy slime shape, and pictures of black men smiling were all flagged as containing "sensitive content." Obviously, this is ridiculous, but more nefarious and concerning is that posts about activism and LGBTQ+ issues were also immediately flagged. 

As we speak, the exodus from Tumblr to Newgrounds, which does protect NSFW content, has already begun. So have the floods of sarcastic (but very funny) memes.  The rest of the users are panicking or trying not to panic, and often staggering between the two emotions haphazardly.

I'll have more honest and cutting thoughts about this below, but for the time being, here's a visual pun about free speech.

Yes, I did create this silly, mediocre art just for the blog post. Learning to make art is hard. 

Censorship - like, actually


Hate speech and sexy speech - and art - are often thrown together, as if they were one and the same or shared the same traits. Anyone who wants to support pornographic or artistic works for their own sake - such as myself - is often forced to accept their nastier cousins, hate speech and violent speech, as part and parcel of the ban list. 

There's been some caterwauling about liability in lawsuits, revenge porn, and other such things, but the answer to that is not blanket banning. It's lazy, ineffective, and tars consensual and voluntary work with the same brush as harmful acts. If it's hard to understand why that's a problem, please watch this video about consent.




Lessons from the Exodus


However, this event shows that all forms of controversial speech are not, in fact, created equal. This has long been an argument, but - given that hate speech is surviving this purge easily enough and that nipples, of all the ridiculous things, are not - we can now officially divorce the two. The one is being attacked without any impact on the other. As much as they have often been companions in the penalty box, they are not the same issue, and we ought to be more honest about this, rather than letting Nazis take shelter behind our protection of sex workers and sexy content.

Hate speech, which I personally do not believe should be protected, is visual, verbal, and written expressions encouraging violence towards and harm of marginalised groups. The impact of hate speech and discrimination is directly dependent on how much harm they cause towards people. So for instance, a Muslim woman is subjected to far more prejudice than a white man on a regular basis, so she might be more in need of protection than the white guy. BUT - that does not mean that the white man doesn't need protection from individual acts of violence, such as a mugging or domestic assault (because men are abused, too, and our lack of men's shelters is criminal).

However, advocating for acts of hate using coded language, such as the ((( ))) technique used by alt-righters to distinguish Jewish people, or references to the Fourteen Words and that sort of thing, can be harder to pick up on. Do we silence those too?

On one hand, people should be allowed to exist freely. On the other hand, if those people decide their existence is predicated on harming others, the conflict that arises does not need to be defended. It does not materially benefit or even defend, for instance, the European cultures being talked about. If one demands that the existence of presence of others be punished merely at their whim, that person is wrong.

I can see someone saying, "BUT SJWs OR NPCs [Social Justice Warriors, or our new nickname, non-player characters] DON'T PERMIT THE EXISTENCE OF PEOPLE THEY DISAGREE WITH!"

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the position. What "we", broadly speaking, want, is to be tolerated and accepted as we are. We often have family members or friends who are or were centrists, right-wing, or even alt-right. It's their beliefs that are the problem. You might say, to put it in Christian terms, that we love the sinners and hate the sin.

But in all seriousness, "white pride" parades and groups have never done anything to actually preserve great works of art or literature. In fact, a lot of preservation work that's been done by various societies - such as by Muslims during the Golden Age of the Ottoman Empire - was done in a spirit of tolerance and sharing. In addition to that, questioning something is not the same as destroying it. I've talked about this stuff before, and it's a huge topic, so let's get back to Tumblr specifically and the future of the arts and queer community on it.

Where do we go now? 


Well, Mastodon seems to be an option. I've heard Newgrounds, as mentioned, is a possible haven. 

At this point, I think it's time for businesses to be more honest about sexual content compared to other banned content. This purge is timed to match with December 17th, the day to end violence against sex workers. I have gone on record many times as being in support of sex workers, and have occasionally tried to talk about the difference between trafficking myths and trafficking facts, as well as other related issues. Sex workers and creators of sexual content (including writers, artists, cam girls, photographers, and etc) are all being harmed by this foolish and ill-judged, puritanical move - and nobody is being saved from actual hate speech, things that could, in fact harm adults.

Maybe we can talk Tumblr down from its terrible, foolish decision. Maybe not. But I'm making a profile elsewhere just in case, and I'll keep posting and sharing there - and on Tumblr - for as long as they let me.

Queer people are not a mistake, nor filthy.

"Filth" is not necessarily even harmful.

We don't deserve to be erased.


***
Michelle Browne is a sci fi/fantasy writer. She lives in Lethbridge, AB with her partners-in-crime and their cat. Her days revolve around freelance editing, knitting, jewelry, and nightmares, as well as social justice issues. She is currently working on the next books in her series, other people's manuscripts, and drinking as much tea as humanly possible.

Find her all over the internet: 
The mailing list * 
Amazon * Medium * Twitter * Instagram * Facebook * Tumblr * OG Blog

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