My Life In Neon

Sci Fi / Fantasy writer Autumn Nicole Bradley – Dream in digital, live in neon

Archive for the category “Politics”

Creative Conflict Jam Games

Your Enemies Don't Have To Die Game Jam June 7 to June 11



The Entries


Choice by Matt (@MatthewWWillard)

Free Balloons by STREAM KING CNIAngel (@CNIAngel)

Laika by Misty De Meo (@MistyDeMeo)

Player 2 by Lydia Neon (@LifeInNeon)

Projection by Zoya Street (@rupazero)

Pure by Devon (@lalanl)

Resolving Conflict By Acquiescing To The Overwhelming Violence of Time by Cameron Kunzelman (@ckunzelman) and Tara Ogaick (@inspectorbeans)

Waiting In Line by BaguetteShark (@baguetteshark)


Thank you to everyone who participated!

If you participated but didn’t finish in time, just link it below and I will add it to the list!

If you participated but you don’t see your game on the list, please let me know!


I have an article up at

Larry King is why L, G, B, and T are together.

I often hear the question asked, “Why does T belong with LGB?” It’s usually followed with the logic “LGB all refer to sexuality, while T is about sex/gender.” Larry King is why we belong together.

During the pretrial and trial we learned that Larry King was gay. The media coverage focused significant attention on that fact: this was a gay murder trial, not just a murder trial. But between the crossdressing and the potential name change to Leticia, there was also compelling evidence that King was in the process of discovering they were trans, and that I and many others are remiss in not using female pronouns. (Sadly, King was killed before they could say one way or another so I will keep the pronouns neuter.)

Read the whole thing at


I got called a faggot to my face today.

Nevermind that I am not the first to have this epithet hurled at me; nevermind that this is hardly the worst thing that I have been called or the worst thing done to me; nevermind that it is not even accurate. I know these things, and they change nothing about what I have to say, or how threatened I felt.

Allow me to set the scene:

Right now, as a mid-transition trans woman, I have obvious breasts that my t-shirt almost hides and are just shy of needing a bra. I have longer hair which naturally curls out, and I have a womanly sway to my walk.

It started at Wal-mart dropping off my progesterone prescription, where I had just gotten done explaining “Yes, that is really me, and yes, my doctor is prescribing progesterone for me.” I return to my car. I check my pocket for my keys and realize only my phone is there. I had locked my keys in my car.

I am only about a mile down the road, and I did a hell of a lot more walking in Chicago, so that is no problem. I figure it is a great excuse to walk a couple miles now instead of later in the evening. Things go fine at first.

A car rounds the corner up ahead. There is no sidewalk, so I am walking down the shoulder of a four lane road. My other option is to walk through the unkempt field, and I’ve walked and jogged down the road a thousand times. There’s plenty of room on the shoulder, so I don’t think anything of it when the car doesn’t move over to the middle lane.

I’m only a block from my home.

Then the car slows down. Strange, but they might be turning so I think nothing of it. First a head, then shoulders, then an entire torso emerges from the passenger window as it comes toward me. A young man, late teens, early twenties hangs out of the car and makes eye contact with me. Whatever this is, it is about me. I can’t see if he’s holding anything, I can barely see his face with the silhouette. As he passes, he shouts “Faggot!”

I can hear the laughing as the car accelerates away, but I don’t turn around. I’m too startled to even look back for the license plate.

I reach my house, and I close my door. I get my spare keys. I know I need to go back out there and walk down that very same road. Toward Wal-mart where my car is, but also the largest concentration of people who think “faggot” is just what “those queers” are called. I just stand there with the door closed behind me.

Now, I know what you are thinking; I thought the same thing myself:

Was this just some kid who was probably going to say that to anyone who was walking down the street? Yes. They had committed to hanging out the window well before they could tell who I was or see any distinguishing features.

Was this completely harmless and juvenile? Yes.*

*This time.

And there is the problem: the asterisk. It was harmless this time.

Anti-transgender hate crimes account for 1 in every 1000 murders per year.

This list comes to mind.

Or more recently, the beating of Chrissy Lee Polis.

This didn’t happen on the internet. This wasn’t some 12 year old on XBox Live. This was live and in person.

When you are visibly gender variant, and someone shouts “Faggot” at you from a moving vehicle, it doesn’t matter that it’s totally the wrong slur for the moment. It doesn’t matter that for the people in the car, it was just a cheap laugh. It doesn’t matter that slurs are rarely coupled with violence in practice.

When the slur gets hurled at you by a complete stranger, presumably based on your appearance, and you’re alone, what can possibly cross your mind in that instant other than, “Is this time my time to be the target of hate violence?”

The WI situation in 30 seconds

As I explained on Facebook to a friend:

Fed Gov: We have some money left in the stimulus. Want it?

Doyle: New high speed rail? Reopening Amtrak routes to Madison and the Fox Cities? Thousands of private sector jobs spurred by contracts? Sure!

Wisconsin: Down with socialism!

Doyle: Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool, fuck you. I’m out.

Walker: Did someone say down with socialism? We don’t need the federal government’s “handouts,” so they can take their DoT funding and shove it. While we’re at it, I hear the state employs a lot of people. That’s socialism too, right? So raise your hand if your pay has been frozen for at least 3 years. Yeah, we’re taking your benefits since you should be able to get by without handouts, and we’re giving it away as a tax break but not to people in your tax bracket. Oh, and we’re busting your unions too because we don’t want to hear any whining from you lazy freeloaders.

Wisconsin: Wait, what?

Since Walker’s policy is the source of this budget shortfall, the burden of proof is on him to explain why it is necessary to redistribute wealth upwards to those who do not need more of it. The workers whose benefits are being cut have no need to justify their outrage. They earned every bit of what is being taken away from them. If Walker wants to claim it is some public good, he needs to make a damn convincing case for it.

Liu Xiaobo Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Liu Xiaobo wins the Nobel Peace Prize – BBC

He’s been in and out of prison for the past two decades for advocating democratic reform in China. A well-deserved award, and China’s opposition to him receiving it once again just amplifies the message. They probably would have been better off staying silent, rather than daring the committee to give it to him.

Read Liu Xiaobo’s “Final Statement” from last year

DADT is social engineering

I was recently engaged in a debate on DADT, spurred by yesterday’s disappointing vote. While debating, one of the people said this:

If your purpose is to keep an effective military, this doesn’t help. If your purpose is social engineering, just say so.

(Bolding mine.)

That phrase stuck out to me. At first, I just passed over it and didn’t immediately respond, instead I replied to the other points being made. But as I thought about it, it occurred to me that this is what this debate is really about. There is a belief out there that repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and allowing gays to serve openly in the military is an attempt at social engineering.

Social Engineering via Wikipedia:

Social engineering is a discipline in political science that refers to efforts to influence popular attitudes and social behaviors on a large scale, whether by governments or private groups. In the political arena, the counterpart of social engineering is political engineering.

(Not to be confused with social engineering that refers to tricking people into violating security protocols.)

Let’s make one thing clear. Social engineering isn’t by itself bad. In a democracy, one must persuade, inspire, and convince others that your side is correct. That is a necessary part of the process and democracy breaks down without the ability to freely share ideas with the obvious intent of convincing others that those ideas are good. Under a military dictatorship, all one needs is coercion, which is a form of social engineering premised on forcing others to agree with your ideas, be they good or bad, or else.

What this tells me is that opponents to DADT repeal see this as a form of coercion. They are being forced to accept the mandate of someone else against their will. They are being forced to accept gays serving openly alongside them, or their family members, or serving in their stead for those who are not in the military or a military family.

But this ignores the obvious truth: repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell increases total freedom of ideas and opinions. Homophobic service members and their families have every right under DADT to hate, loathe, and distrust gay service members. No law will ever take that away from them. The only “freedom” they will lose is the ability to harass and demean gay service members with impunity, since the gay service member cannot report the crime without outing themselves. That’s a “freedom” no person should enjoy, in the service or out. If DADT is repealed, homophobes have just as much right that next morning to hate, fear, and distrust gay people as they do today.

Obviously, this is still bounded by the normal military restrictions on speech and political activity; namely, don’t let anything you do interfere with your obligations as a soldier or the ability of other soldiers to fulfill their duty. That catch-all includes everything from religious proselytizing and political speech to showing up late.

So I posit the opposite: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is the more coercive form of social engineering. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines can serve as openly Jewish, openly Muslim, openly an immigrant, openly non-white, and every anti-Semite, anti-Muslim, and national or racial purist needs to suck it up and serve alongside them, or leave the military. No one will form an all-white, all-Christian unit just to appease a few who let their prejudices get in the way of their service. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell fixes in law the idea that homosexuals are a class of people where the burden is on them to make others “comfortable” with their service, rather than those around them to buck up and deal with it.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is the social engineering platform of a shrinking minority, seeking to force others to adhere to their idea of what is right and what is wrong, rather than competing openly in the war of ideas like everyone else.

Lady Gaga said it right: if you have a problem serving next to a gay soldier, you are the problem and need to resign your commission, not them.

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