erynn: Gaelic merman image (GONZO!)
I've decided to change my approach to the whole photo thing and will deal with it tomorrow evening. I've got an appointment for tomorrow afternoon to have Garuda's brakes and tires checked so that all will be well when I hit the road Tuesday.

I stopped on the way home and did some errands, and one thing that I found was some imported ginger beer that is actually alcoholic (and in no way beer-y) that tasted really good over at Central Market. Alder smoked salmon for my sweetie in California has been acquired, along with a bottle of Whidbey Island port that I figured I would bring down with me and we could try. Other things I needed to acquire toward other purposes have also been attained.

I got this forwarded to me this evening, for anyone who might be interested:

Seeking lesbian and bisexual women who served in the military!
We invite you to participate in a study focusing on your life experiences as a lesbian or bisexual woman Veteran and the challenges you may have faced.

The goal of the Women Veterans' Survey is to better understand the specific experiences of women Veterans and promote their health and well-being. We are especially interested in hearing the diverse voices within our communities.

This is an anonymous, web-based survey conducted by researchers at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. For more information, please go to, or contact the Women Veterans' Survey staff at (206) 277-1511.

One of the researchers doing the survey is my shrink here at the VA. Their identification of persons eligible to take the survey is slightly problematic, but I'm going to talk to her about the wording of it so that it will hopefully be at least a little less insensitive to trans women.

This afternoon before group, I went in to talk to the woman who runs the Addiction & Recovery Clinic, who had been passed my letter from the Patient Advocate's office. She was the one who saw to it that the HIV poster was taken down when I initially made the complaint. She had called me but I hadn't been able to get in touch with her by phone. We spoke briefly. She thanked me for bringing the issue up -- apparently she'd been uncomfortable with the poster herself. I was kind of curious as to why she hadn't taken any action about it before, but so it goes. She did ask if there was anything else that I thought should be done. I told her I wanted to be sure the poster was not in any of the other clinics in the hospital, and that they should get HIV awareness/education posters that actually reflected reality. She agreed that this would be an excellent thing and that she would look into it.


The last thing I did at the VA today was check in with the women's clinic about getting a refill on my tylenol with codeine. I have to actually speak to someone about it. I still have one left, so I didn't need/want to wait around at the pharmacy near closing time. I told them to mail the scrip to me, but that I would be out of town for the next two weeks, starting Tuesday. I'm hoping that they won't try to deliver it while I'm out of town because I think I have to sign for it and I'm not sure if Brianna will be here, or if she can even sign for it on my behalf. I forgot all about the signature thing while I was there. Regardless, the order is in and I should at least be able to pick the stuff up at the VA next time I go in, if it gets returned there for some reason.

And now, contemplating my bed. Possibly even getting into it.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (OBEY THE FIST!)
Before I headed out to the VA today, I typed up a quick letter to deliver to the Patient Advocates office about the "educational" poster mentioned a couple of days ago. I didn't have much time, so I just dropped it off rather than staying to talk to them. I had to get up to my appointment, and the office would be closed by the time I was done. I did include my phone number and email address, so with any luck they will get back to me.

When I got up to the WTRC, though, the poster was gone! Denise had talked to Wendy. She didn't even get through the whole discussion -- she just described the poster (Wendy is blind so would never have seen it) and Wendy said she totally understood the objections, et voila, the poster she is removed. Now, with any luck, if there are further copies in other clinics, the advocate's office will be able to take care of that.

Several of the other women in the group today had heard me talking to the chaplain intern last week and they said they'd not felt comfortable with the poster either, so I got a lot of props for taking on the system and getting the thing removed.


Photos from Venice. Yep, I took them. They are pretty awesome. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Feminist dialectic brings 'em)
About Iron Maidens: an E-Anthology

Iron Maidens is an e-anthology with a purpose. Two purposes actually.

This anthology was born to fill a gap in the speculative fiction reading experience. Far too often in fiction, especially speculative fiction, strong female characters have faced sexual abuse somewhere in in their past. Frequently it is their only motivation for their acts of heroism, valor, and general kick-ass attitude. While there is a place for tales of sexual violence – both to show how terrible it is and to show that survivors can be more than just people who were once victims – it is not the only thing that can spur women into adventure. Women are fully capable of holding their own within the worlds fantasy without having first been subjected to sexual violence. We would like to prove it with a collection of stories from many voices across the fantasy genre.

The second purpose is directly linked to the first. All sales of Iron Maidens will be donated to the organization SAFER: Students Active for Ending Rape. In their own words SAFER “empowers students to hold their universities accountable for having strong campus sexual assault policies and programming.” This student run, all-volunteer collective is active on many university campuses across the United States, offering a variety of resources to help students, facility, and parents work together to make our universities a safer place to learn. Their cause is admirable and their goal is one we should aspire to hold everyone to in all phases of life – before, after, and during college. By helping them we help us all.

I hope you are as excited about this project as I am! Please take the time to check out our submission guidelines and frequently asked questions. If you have any questions please email (Please title the email “Query – [question summary]“) Thank you for taking the time to visit!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (foggy coast)
Today was the CR schmooze; as noted yesterday, I wasn't too clear on what we were to be talking about, but we did have an interesting conversation. A new person showed up whom I'd met last year at Eight Winds, and I don't think we terrified her or anything, so perhaps she'll come back again to talk with us.

My anxiety today was bad enough that I had to medicate for it. I dislike how the anti-anxiety meds make me feel, but they're at least slightly preferable to that horrible feeling of an impending panic attack. It was enough to get me through the evening, thankfully.

I left Everett a little early so that I could drop off stuff about the pilgrimage at East West Books. That was about a two minute stop. Some kind person had stuck their parking tab onto the kiosk so it could be re-used (it had over an hour's worth of time still on it). I used it for a few and stuck it back on the kiosk myself, to pass along the good karma, as it were. After that I hauled myself over to Travelers, where I ran into [ profile] nathan_fhtagn and another friend. I was reading a book but we did have crossover conversation, and Nathan says he'd be interested in coming when I screen the Cthulhu movies from the HPLHS, Call of Cthulhu and The Whisperer in Darkness, so I got a contact email for him and will include him on the list when the dvd arrives and I have some idea when I want to schedule it. He's off for Providence I think this weekend to do some stuff out there (with [ profile] meddevi, perhaps?), so I'll be wanting to schedule it for when he's back.

[ profile] gra_is_stor and [ profile] joyful_storm both came by Travelers for chai. I'll be wanting to talk with [ profile] joyful_storm again about travel stuff, as she's a much more experienced traveler than I am when it comes to the European stuff. She had a couple of suggestions for places to look for light, comfortable, multipurpose clothing that will work for packing into one light carryon bag. She said she'd email me links.

After the schmooze, I went off to Remedy to have tea with [ profile] thewronghands and we sat and talked for about 90 minutes, catching up with a bunch of things. She's only in town for two days, so I was glad to have the chance to see her. She said she liked [ profile] dpaxson's The Way of the Oracle that I brought back from PCon for her, though I haven't had the chance to read it yet. I asked if she'd like anything from Ireland and she said that a field guide to Irish plants or trees would be awesome, so I'll see about finding one when I hit a bookshop in Dublin or Sligo. I'm sure there are a fair few of them out there. I know that I like field guides and natural histories, so I'm hoping I'll have a good feel for what she might want in one of those. When I was there last, I bought a field guide to birds because I had seen a few that had fascinated me, but I had no idea what they were. Knowing what I'm looking at helps so much in orienting myself to a new place.

We talked a little bit about traveling solo and other similar stuff, and it turned to Badass Women In Seattle (we're looking at you, [ profile] lakmiseiru, [ profile] canyonwren, and [ profile] varina8, among many others). There really are a lot of amazing women we know here, who travel the world alone, who climb mountains and kick ass and save lives, who keep on doing astonishing things despite the health problems that nature handed them. I'm so delighted to know so many of you! Lucky Erynn is one lucky Erynn. We also carped about the right-wing and their attempts (far too successful recently) to rescind every fucking right that women have gained in the last 50 years; anyone who thinks we don't need feminism needs to fuck off. I am a human being and I refuse to condone a government that tries to tell me I'm not. GRAR.

I also noted that [ profile] thewronghands really needed to be introduced to [ profile] gra_is_stor because they have a fair bit in common. She said it sounded like an excellent idea, so we shall try to arrange that when she's going to be in town for a bit and we have some scheduling options.

[ profile] druid_medb got back to me and clarified about the whole Eight Winds versus PCon contexts. Both of us were having fibro fog and got a couple of wires crossed, but we're good now, and much more clear on what it was we were both attempting to convey. There are both Eight Winds and PCon components to what we were discussing and we just needed to sit down and sort where the salient points slipped by us. Eight Winds is definitely more of a personal with a few other folks in on it type conversation about some of the warrior stuff, geilta, and PTSD, with another private conversation on other issues, while PCon would be more involved, a lot more public, and more formal.

Tomorrow is my Skype chat with [ profile] vyviane, there may be some steampunkery at the AFK, and [ profile] gra_is_stor will be coming up before her band practice then heading out to play music with her friends. I really have to deal with sheet changing and all that kinda stuff. With my arms hurting like they have been lately, stripping and re-making the bed has been a challenge, so I'm hoping I can get a little help with it before she has to head for the rehearsal space.

Still way too busy, but at least working on getting some things done.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Breakin' Ur Geasa)
I was up way too late last night and the DoDC+3 woke me with a persistent nose to the face at about 11:30am, when I'd had maybe four hours of actual sleep. I pushed him off and managed to stay in bed for another hour or so, but had things to do today, so I ended up getting my butt out of bed and moving on.

Today was the CR schmooze's Burns Night party, and I was delighted to spend time with my friends, but I was definitely dragging. I actually went as far as lying down for a while as the rest of the group talked and waited for those who were going to be a little later. It helped some, but not really enough. We had dinner (haggis, neeps and tatties, salad, oat bannocks, chocolate, and - yay - Ardbeg) and hung out talking for a fair while before I was too tired to really handle staying in a crowd anymore. About 9pm I noted that I was about done in, so I headed north and gave Charles a ride home.

rantiness below the cut )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Liberty & Justice OTP)
I mailed in my ballot a couple of weeks back. Given that Washington has shifted over to a completely mail-in system, this means that it may be days before there is any clarity on some races. In the good news, Tim Eyman's most recent initiative has gone down in flames. Anything that has even the slightest whiff of him about it tends to send me into something of a frenzy. He's the guy who borked our public transportation system, and who once took signatures on an initiative down to Olympia dressed in a Darth Vader outfit. The guy has had huge financial scandals associated with his politicking and people still put his crap on the ballot.

In good news, the Mississippi "personhood" amendment that would have essentially given fertilized eggs more rights than adult women was defeated. Ohio rescinded a piece of anti-union legislation. We can hope that the Occupy movement has been raising some awareness as it has grown.

I spent a few hours down at Occupy Everett today. It was pretty quiet there while I was in attendance; apparently there had been a discussion of the movement over at Everett Community College and quite a few people had gone to that. I talked with several people, both supporters and people who were just curious. There were the usual "what's it all about" type questions. I seriously think that attempting to reduce a movement that is addressing a lot of issues down to a thirty second sound bite isn't doing anyone any favors. Sound bites remove any necessity for people to actually think about issues and to communicate about the deeper problems underlying what we see happening right now in the world.

One Canadian blog offered this analogy:

Social movements have often started out with a shared grievance, not a particular solution. Think of the flagship of today’s global movements, environmentalism. It ranges from conservationists who want to preserve wilderness, to more politically-oriented groups advocating policies to counter global warming, to radicals who see civilization itself as the problem. A smorgasbord of approaches. But united by a concern that the ecosystems on which humans depend are threatened, and need our conscious protection.

What we have are a vast number of shared grievances. Most people think the system is broken. Most of them have no idea what to do about it. No one answer is going to fix everything. We need to focus on a multitude of potential solutions and be open to the fact that we can't explain them all in one breath. If we could, we would be missing immense parts of both the problems and the solutions.

I'm concerned about a lot of things -- environmental issues (without an environment, we won't have any humans to be worried about), economic justice, corporate personhood, corporate money in politics, veterans issues and warmongering generally, just to name a few. I'm concerned about our police state, with its cops who teargas peaceful protesters and the TSA giving us a choice of being irradiated or groped if we are going to fly anywhere, with apparent plans to extend this intrusive abuse into other parts of our transportation systems.

At the same time, I need to have a life outside of these concerns, which is why I hang out with steampunks, why I am involved in music and the arts, why I write and practice a private and personal spirituality as well as participate in what I consider a spiritually engaged political life.

I was pleased to head over to the AFK tonight and be joined by nearly a dozen people, most of whom were new to the gathering and whom I hadn't met before. Several of them want to be much more involved in the community and there is talk of a new traveling tea party around the holidays, and attending the new Sherlock Holmes movie premier in steampunk attire. We have to have fun and emotionally sustaining things to look forward to in order to maintain any semblance of sanity while we deal with things that desperately need to be addressed in our political and economic systems. The two are not mutually opposed or even mutually exclusive.

Tomorrow I have yoga group. I'll be hanging out afterwards with people at Travelers. Thursday I've got the new spirituality group starting up at the VA again for the next six weeks. Friday I may or may not be doing volunteer work, depending on whether I hear back from the volunteer coordinator about whether or not I can come to work with them in the early afternoon; being there at 10am is going to be beyond my capacity, even if the work itself is something I can do.

It's been a busy week and it continues to be busy. I'm feeling a real need for some down time, just spending a few days at home without doing anything except maybe a little writing. I need to catch my breath.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (ow. Robertson Davies)
I spent a good part of last night and most of today with one of my hips periodically in spasm, so I didn't get down to Seattle for the schmooze, and [ profile] gra_is_stor is still here with me. This is okay -- her place is still all paint fumed, given that her roommate was behind schedule on the whole finishing up the kitchen thing he was supposed to be doing. Should be okay by tomorrow. If I'm doing well enough, I can drive her home, otherwise I can drive her over to one of the bus stops and she can take it from there.

I'm doing better at the moment, but being in that kind of pain most of the day and last night has certainly taken its toll. Despite that, I've read about half of [ profile] brandywilliams's The Woman Magician and we also worked more on the samhain ritual that's in progress. We've got it pretty much done except for writing two meditations, and those won't be very long ones, textually speaking. We're pulling in Gaelic for some of the ritual, to be interspersed with the English for stuff like lighting and smooring the hearthfire and whatnot. I'll probably work on writing the meditations tomorrow.

Brandy's work always makes me think. She's issued me (among others) an invitation to join a women-only magical group (given the context of Brandy's text, women are presumably defined as those who define themselves as and live as women) based on the work she's done in the book. When she was first developing the material, she asked a number of people if they were interested, and I was among them. I wasn't at the time, primarily because I don't feel much connection to the traditions of ceremonial magic, but given what I've read and her deconstruction of the tradition in terms of gender and power, I think I could get behind what the group is doing, and am interested in pursuing it when the round of initiations begins. I think it would be interesting to work with this sort of revisioned material, to see if it has a more visceral appeal to me than the dualistic, male-centered ceremonialism I'm familiar with.

One thing that had me very pleased was that she directly addresses issues of intersexuality and transgenderedness in her discussion of women and gender. She doesn't shy away from tackling the hard stuff, but she never has. She'll be at the Esoteric Book Conference next weekend down at the Seattle Center, and I'll be heading down there with my copy of her book so that she'll sign it, but I'll also be very interested in talking with her about the material she's provided. Once I'm finished reading her book and talked to her, I'll be able to make a more informed decision about whether I wish to pursue the initiations.

I am so dammed proud of my many extremely talented friends. I am blessed to be in a place and a time where the most amazing work is happening in magic and in Paganism. It's not easy, what any of us are doing, yet it's necessary. Deconstructing and revisioning gender in magic and ritual, reconstructing historical Paganisms, delving into the mystical practices implied in mythologies and lore texts, directly engaging with deities and spirits -- it's all difficult, challenging work, but my friends and their friends are doing it. We breathe life into what we struggle with; we transform what we touch. It's worth the time and the effort we put into it.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (lotus)
Mom emailed today. Her husband's son Deric died this afternoon. She will be going up to New Hampshire in a few hours to drive back home with Al after the funeral. I was sorry to hear it, but not surprised. From all that had been said, I didn't think it was going to be very long. I hope that everyone travels safely. My condolences to Al and his family.

Today I turned in my cable modem back to Comcast, then headed down to Seattle. I picked up [ profile] gra_is_stor; we had some food and wandered down to Edge and then to Travelers. I found a copy of [ profile] brandywilliams's new book The Woman Magician: Revisioning Western Metaphysics from a Woman's Perspective and Experience. I knew it was supposed to be out soon, and I'll possibly see her next weekend at the Esoteric Book Conference. I'll haul the book along just in case so that I can get her to sign it if I do see her.

After we had a little chai, we hung out in the park until things started to get a little chilly, then went to get dinner with some of [ profile] gra_is_stor's friends before we went out to the Mercury for some dancing and goth watching. A lot of my friends are members there, but I'd never been in before. They have periodic non-smoking nights, and this was one of them. There was a Grimm's Grimmest theme for the evening and, along with the usual gothy everything, steamgoths, and the rest, there were a few Red Riding Hoods, a Big Bad Wolf, and several other fairy-tale types hanging out. The music tonight was a little monotonous, but the crowd was friendly and interesting and I danced with [ profile] gra_is_stor for a while, which was nice. Sadly, my legs are a little achy now, but I'll be crashing soon.

Tomorrow we're heading out for tango down in Seattle in the evening. I'm going to try to get some writing done during the day before we head down there. I had a couple of potential ideas for getting started on the piece for Mandragora, if I can get into it.

And now, tired Erynn needs drugs.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (all your books!)
I went through and finished up most of the copyediting end of Circle of Stones today. It doesn't mean everything is done -- a lot of formatting needs to be done, but I'm leaving most of that for the editor to deal with. Typesetting and graphic design isn't my department.

I've done a very tiny amount of editing on the text itself, mostly a couple of corrections of gramatical errors and such. I don't intend to rewrite the book. I am, however, going to have to redo the bibliography and footnotes with proper forms for cites and bibliographical information. That's going to be annoying with the footnotes. The bibliography isn't very long, though, so that won't be too much effort.

I added a section to the text for the Preface and am about a paragraph into that at the moment. I will admit that for about fifteen minutes today, I was severely tempted to pick up a fanfic challenge prompt and work on that, but I have this project to finish and I'd like to get an essay out for Mandragora on sacred poetry in some capacity before the October deadline. That'll take some thought to get a premise together. I also need to put together a proposal or two for PCon for next year, though that will be considerably less effort.

The call for papers I posted earlier today for the Journal of Bisexuality is so very annoyingly worded. I've been having a conversation with several folks in the comments there about the ways in which there is Great Wrongness in the Force where said cfp is concerned. If you have any interest, drop by and give it a poke. I'd love to hear your take on the points that we've raised.

Today on one of the email lists I'm on, someone was talking about why they are not a Celtic Reconstructionist. Fair enough, I've never thought anyone had to be. Unfortunately, this person's arguments were that all CRs are positing some kind of fictional historical pan-Celticism, that the movement is tied to the IRA, and that we're so hung up on linguistics that we don't bother with anything else (but that we, despite this apparent fetish with language, don't realize that P-Celtic and Q-Celtic are different language groups that are not necessarily mutually intelligible). Oh, and we ignore everything but Roman writings, apparently. I've had debatesarguments with this person in the past, and she's still just as annoying about it. We went back and forth a couple of times before she retired for the night. She's apparently looking at this as a pleasant debate. I'm looking at it as a misrepresentation of my spiritual community.

My primary annoyance is that she insists we're all like this, rather than allowing for the fact that, sure, some individuals might be doing one or more of the things on her list, but that we are not some monolithic religious group where everyone agrees. It's like saying all Heathens have political ties to Stormfront or something.

Tomorrow I'm heading over to Bj and SJ's place with [ profile] gra_is_stor, who met the two of them this past winter at a party. There will be food. There might be hot-tubbage. There is a high probability of Munchkin Cthulhu, or perhaps Monty Python Fluxx.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Feminist dialectic brings 'em)
Special Issue: “Advancing Feminist Scholarship on Bisexuality”
Journal of Bisexuality
Guest Editors: Breanne Fahs and Eric Swank

Journal of Bisexuality invites manuscripts for a special issue on feminism and bisexuality—particularly the ways bisexuality advances feminism, and the ways feminism advances understandings of bisexuality—to be compiled by guest editors Breanne Fahs (Arizona State University) and Eric Swank (Morehead State University).

Deadline: November 1, 2011

Recent feminist scholarship on bisexuality has identified new directions in thinking about the relationship between bisexuality, gender norms, and feminism, finding (for example) that women’s bisexuality may be more than a “phase,” while also finding that bisexual women less often engage in political activism than lesbian women. We are interested in papers that move beyond the use of “bisexuality,” “men,” and “women” as mere categories of analysis, instead using these identities as a way to theorize and extend notions of bisexuality and queerness in light of feminism and feminist theory. This special issue seeks to challenge and provoke new thinking about how bisexuality informs feminist politics, and how feminist politics shapes and influences contemporary notions of bisexuality. We are particularly interested in how bisexuality may both subvert traditional notions of sexual selfhood while also potentially reinforcing heterosexual and patriarchal privileges. By analyzing links between bisexuality and feminism in this manner, this special issue will explore the contested terrain of what bisexuality has to offer to a feminist politics. This special issue seeks works that explore feminism and bisexuality through theoretical, cultural studies, and social scientific approaches (qualitative or quantitative).

Topics may include, but are certainly not limited to:
Sexual fluidity, bicuriosity, and experimental bisexuality
Feminist activisms, sexual identities, and social movements
Intersections and fractures between bisexual, trans, lesbian/gay, queer, and hetero identities
Social inequalities, pay inequities, sexual harassment, and glass ceilings bisexuals face
Bisexuality and feminist pedagogy
Intersections between bisexuality and fatness studies
Gender attitudes of bisexual women and men
Reading bisexuality onto the body
Raced and classed dimensions of bisexuality
Bisexual sex
Mothering and bisexuality
Anger, aggression, and hate crimes toward bisexuals
Links between bisexuality, polyamory, and “friends with benefits” relationships
Bisexual identity as self-identified vs. other-identified
Popular culture representations of bisexuality
Bisexuality as a “phase” vs. long-term identity
The politics of “passing” as related to bisexuality
Performative bisexuality at parties and clubs
Traditional and non-traditional gender roles and bisexuality
Reproductive rights and healthcare issues related to bisexuality
Bisexuality and immigration
Body image, menstruation and nudity in bisexual relationships
Religious identifications and bisexuality
Coming out as bisexual
Adolescence and bisexuality

Authors are encouraged to clearly frame the project through a feminist lens. While we will focus primarily on empirical papers, theoretical and review papers that make substantive advancements to the understanding of bisexual identity will also be considered. Authors who plan to submit manuscripts are asked to do so by November 1, 2011. Early abstracts and inquiries are particularly welcome. Manuscripts should be between 25-35 pages, double-spaced (including abstract, tables, figures, and references.). All manuscripts should be prepared in APA style and should be submitted online directly to Breanne Fahs at Please indicate in the subject header the words “Journal of Bisexuality Special Issue Submission” along with last name(s) of all authors. All papers will be peer reviewed. For further inquiries, please contact Breanne Fahs at

Eric Swank
Associate Professor of Social Work
Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminology
Morehead State University
Morehead, KY 40351
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Feminist dialectic brings 'em)
Today saw the last editing run on the statement just previously posted. I talked with [ profile] activegnome about it at AFK this evening and got another stamp of approval with a request for permission to pass it to all and sundry, which I happily granted. I hope people will spread it far and wide, and that it makes at least some difference in the community and the dialogue that arose regarding the gender fu incident. It's so much broader than just what happened at PantheaCon this year. I'm conscious of the fact that I have at least some small influence in the broader Pagan communities, even if it's only by virtue of having been around since 1984 and knowing a lot of people. I try to use my powers for good when I can.

My brother was refused unemployment today because he doesn't have his most recent DD-214. He's feeling angry and frustrated and I wish I could help in some way. He's going down to McChord tomorrow to talk to people about access to a particular Air Force computer system (I'm a little fuzzy on the details but I'm under the impression it has something to do with a jobs database), and will talk to personnel about getting the DD-214. I'm hoping they'll be able to get him a copy without having to wait for weeks for it. It would probably ease his frustration some to be able to at least have a little income until he manages to find work.

Tomorrow I'll be seeing [ profile] alfrecht, who's coming down from Anacortes. He's spending some time tomorrow afternoon in Seattle with [ profile] sebastian_lvx and then coming up here to crash on the couch and hang with us until my birthday party on Sunday. It's looking like 20ish people or so will probably be coming over the course of the evening (party starts at 6), but one can never really be sure with these things. Thankfully, Sunday evening should be quiet at the AFK, and we shouldn't have trouble finding seats for everyone, even though I've only told them I had a dozen or so people coming. I explained that I had no way of knowing until people actually showed up.

And now, tired Erynn is tired. I'm going to try to get some sleep tonight, as yesterday I didn't get to bed until after 5am, and the DoDC+3 woke me up at 12:30, bouncing on me wanting to go out. He's already hauled off to bed, the little blighter. He never has problems sleeping for some reason.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Liberty & Justice OTP)
Gender and Transgender: A Statement of Solidarity
March, 2011

I stand with my trans friends in their demand for equality and full acceptance in ritual and in our communities. They will never be turned away from my work.

My primary spiritual practice is a Celtic Reconstructionist (CR) path. Many of the founders of our movement are queer, and some are transgendered individuals. As such, we have generally been open and accepting of the diversity of the human condition. I do not speak here for the CR movement as a whole. No one does. I speak only for myself and for my own actions and rituals.

Recent events have highlighted ongoing tensions about gender, identity, and participation in ritual within our Pagan communities. Some traditions restrict participation to people of certain genders, while in other traditions only some rituals or roles are gender-restricted. A problem arises when one person attempts to define another person's gender without their consent; this is particularly problematic for transgendered individuals, who have historically been excluded from rituals and, often, from all facets of community life due to various issues including prejudices against them within our communities, and the denial of their gender by those who do not understand or refuse to accept the complexities of medical and biological reality.

CR rituals are not usually restricted to particular genders, but are based more on the celebration of community and the seasons, honoring our deities, and communing with the denizens of the Otherworlds. Some rituals are predicated on identities such as "warrior," "adult," or "poet," which are bound by action and affinity, not by gender.

I will not participate in ritual that excludes transgendered people because they are transgendered. No class I teach, no group I organize, no ritual I officiate will ever exclude transgendered people because they are transgendered. My work strives for inclusiveness and is generally completely unrelated to gender expression or concepts of gender "polarity" as popularly understood in many parts of our Pagan communities.

In my Brigidine work within the CR community, I am a founding member of Brigid's Irregulars, a community of flamekeepers and other Brigid devotees. While flamekeeping within the Catholic Brigidine tradition – we do not know the pre-Christian context – was historically a woman's ritual, in keeping with CR's stated emphasis on equality, the Irregulars are open to anyone who has been called by Brigid to keep her flame, regardless of gender. Gender-restriction may be traditional, but the CR movement has never been afraid to reject those traditions that we consider harmful or unnecessarily restrictive; rejecting slavery, human sacrifice, and trial by ordeal or combat are not questioned so I see no reason to question the rejection of any traditions that support and perpetuate prejudice and inequality. We look to the past for our inspiration, but we are building our communities and traditions for the future and, for me, that future includes equality of treatment and of access.

I invite you to join me in solidarity as we all create that inclusive future.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Navy seal)
Women Veterans’ Stories, Photos Needed for Book

February 9, 2011

What: Women veterans' stories and photographs are requested for a book

Who: Published by the NOR-CAL Chapter 111 Woman's Army Corps Veterans' Association; written by Irene Castro

Why: "To reflect how the military shaped lives. Each and every woman veteran has had unique experiences and valuable service. All of these stories need to be told."

The NOR-CAL Chapter 111 Woman's Army Corps Veterans' Association has decided to expand the book its members are publishing to include ALL women veterans. Their goal is to get a story in the book about each member in the Women’s Army Corps Veterans Association and stories from women veterans of ALL military services.

Please send stories and photos to: Irene Castro, 31386 Emigrant Trail, Shingletown CA 96088. If at all possible please make copies of photos at a Wal-Mart, Costco or other photo copying location. All original photos will be returned if requested. Newspaper articles are also very helpful. Stories can be emailed to, but not the photos.

The association would like information on what the veteran did prior to joining the military, when and why she joined and what the duties and duty stations were. Please let them know how the military changed or affected your life as a veteran or the life of the veteran you are writing about. The association members also want to know what the veteran did, after being discharged, on topics such as: family, education, work and careers, and retirement. Please detail any specific incident, experience, and historic or humorous event. They want this book to reflect how the military shaped lives. Each and every woman veteran has had unique experiences and valuable service. All of these stories need to be told.

The book will be similar to the size and style of the cookbook Served and Still Serving, except the association seeks longer stories that will be at least one page in length or more. Please include phone numbers where you can be reached. Irene Castro can be reached at 530-474-5560.

-from press release
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Not a Patriot)

On Tuesday February 15 the PBS television news magazine Frontline will be on LaVena Johnson. VFP is collaborating with the Johnson family to ensure that the truth about their daughter is told. I am recommending that you host a Chapter meeting / community event when the documentary is shown. As many of you know, LaVena is from St Louis. We have the honor of working directly with the Johnson family.

The documentary is going to highlight sexual trauma in the military. In this case, it was originally announced that she had committed suicide. However, through the 5-year investigative commitment the family has uncovered the truth. It is our hope to show it again at Webster University then have a Q & A afterward with a panel of experts.

In March, the Women's / Sexual Trauma Working Group will be initiating a coordinated program to promote this issue with the Chapters. We will distributing the DVD of the original documentary to each of the Chapters for their use. You will be hearing from Chante Wolf & Rosemary Greenlee in March. I encourage you to get involved with this Working Group if it is an area that you have a strong interest.

It is especially important that VFP takes the lead on this issue and expose The True Cost Of War. I believe that VFP will make a viable difference on this issue.


erynn: Gaelic merman image (lynx seek)
I was rather worried about the DoDC+3 today, as he started out the day pretty tired and didn't really want to eat or drink anything. Once I brought his dish to his cage, he did eat about half a bowl (a normal amount) of kibble, so that was good, though I don't think he's had as much to drink as I'd like. He may just have been feeling crappy, but he did turn up his nose at some broth earlier today. Later, though, he drank some but wasn't too keen on plain water. I'm not surprised, given how spoiled he's been getting about his food in recent days, but better that he get something.

Later in the day, though, he showed a little more energy. We went for a somewhat longer walk today than the last couple of days. He's still moving very slowly, but he led me not just up to the usual walk area, but across the parking lot to the smaller area under the cedar trees to check things out. I felt that was a really good sign. I'm still trying to figure out what's okay and what's not enough at this point. He has been sleeping in his crate in the bedroom a lot; I put one of my pillows from the bed in there because he can't actually get up onto it, and he seems to like that a lot. Right now he's up on the couch lazing around. He wanted me to rub his tummy today, which I did (very gently).

Overall, I think he's doing well but I'm slightly concerned about whether or not he's getting enough to drink so I'm going to be trying to encourage a little more liquid intake. Most of this, I'm sure, is just due to the fact that I've never actually had to pay attention to how much he's been drinking before. I put a bowl down for him with a half-gallon jug to keep it full, and when it's empty, I put more water down.

This afternoon I spent some time talking with a woman at the University of Maine as part of a study of women veterans who are members of Veterans for Peace. It was an interesting conversation and she asked about the kinds of activism I've been doing, as well as my time in service and my thoughts about women veterans issues. VFP isn't doing the study themselves, they're not affiliated. The woman who's doing the study is a veteran herself. VFP is, however, interested in women veterans' attitudes and experiences with the organization, apparently in the interests of dealing with issues of recruitment and retention.

I (and apparently an awful lot of other women members) feel that they don't put nearly enough emphasis on women veterans issues. There's almost nothing coming from national about the topic and the local groups that I've seen rarely address this either. If it helps raise some awareness and kickstarts a little action, I'll be very pleased, though.

I gave her the url for the NPR interview I did a couple of years back and will be sending her the warrior rituals our CR group did in the interest of illustrating how some communities deal with these issues. We talked about how different people approach and engage with activism and that that constitutes. There are differences between folks who are willing or able to go out and be arrested at protests and those who are, for various health or other reasons, more able to be activists through writing, public speaking, and financial support of organizations. Both of these approaches are necessary, really.

We also talked a little about activism I've been part of outside of VFP and veterans/DADT issues, including Pagan community organizing, queer community stuff, interfaith work, and AIDS/HIV work. It was a pretty good conversation and, though it was stressful in that I had to talk about things in my past that are very painful to the point where I was quite literally shaking as I typed (we did the interview through IRC), I felt good about having done it. I think that people speaking out about their experiences is important, even if all it does is illustrate that others are not alone.

She also mentioned that she and another woman vet were going to be doing some kind of writing project (presumably an anthology) and was very interested in having me write something for it, but that call for papers will be some months away.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Genius Signal)
As I'd mentioned a while back, I got asked to offer a presentation at the Mensa annual gathering in Portland, OR. I'd wanted to do a panel, but things are getting a little complicated and I've written up a proposal that I can either do as an individual or as a panel if I can talk a couple of people into it. I just sent off the email.

The session is titled Military Women, Post-Traumatic Stress, and Sexual Trauma: Personal Experiences and Veterans Administration Responses and I'll be dealing with things like personal experience, media coverage, statistics, and VA programs and how they've changed over the years I've been a part of the VA system.

Here's the session description: Post Traumatic Stress and sexual harassment and assault are a part of too many military women's experiences. Governmental response has ranged from coverups to opening new Women's Trauma Recovery Centers in some Veterans Hospitals. One disabled Navy veteran speaks out about her experiences, good and bad, within the system and offers some thoughts about negotiating that system if you have had similar experiences.

The programming director is both a Navy vet and a friend's mom, and I'd been highly recommended. She's expressed a great deal of interest in something about military women on the program, so I suspect I have a pretty good chance of getting in as a presenter.

If you're a military woman or female vet and you'd be interested in speaking as a part of this program, let me know so I can contact the program director. The annual gathering is the weekend of June 30-July 4, 2011 in Portland, Oregon. Speakers can get in free the day of their presentation.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
First the bad news -- another unsanitized medical equipment failure leading to potential infections with HIV and other equally wonderful diseases:

VA: Possible Exposure to AIDS at Clinic

St. Louis, MO )

And the better news:

Bill Would OK Abortion at Military Hospitals

This is a proposal, not something signed into law. )

Naturally, the potential legislation is going to face an uphill fight so that military women and dependents have the same theoretical rights that civilians do. Remember, folks, anyone in the military has signed away most of their civil rights while they're in service. The rules are/have been entirely different for us than they are for you. Contact your legislators and urge them to support this legislation.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
For the Michael Pollan fans on my flist, he's blaming feminism for taking women out of the kitchen and thus "wrecking one of the nurseries of democracy" because they urged women to explore possibilities outside of cooking the family meal.

Pollan, you have some good stuff to say. Why are you being a dick? What about all those men who never bothered to set foot in a kitchen? Do you think maybe they might have had a little to do with fast food culture? Funny, I thought men invented it -- MacDonalds and all that, you know? I don't recall any fast food franchises that were actually started by women.

If we're going to change the culture surrounding the way we cook and eat, it's everyone's responsibility. It can't be women's work that men can indulge in as a cool occasional hobby. We all need to be responsible for what we put in our bodies and how it gets there. Having ovaries doesn't make us biologically more suited to the use of a saucepan. And I say this as someone who loves to cook when I have the energy to do so. Pull your head out of your over-privileged masculine ass. How dare you tell women we should get back in the kitchen without telling men the same thing?

erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
Time magazine reports that Obama has signed a bill authorizing expanded care for women vets. The bill was sponsored in part by Washington senator Patty Murray, so this is one thing, at least, that one of my state's politicians has done that's helpful.

One issue addressed by the bill is that of sexual assaults within the military:

Among other measures, the legislation — which was passed with broad bipartisan support — requires the VA to train mental health professionals in caring for the 1 in 5 military women who have survived sexual trauma, which increases the risk of mental health issues like posttraumatic stress disorder by nearly 60%.

Along with this, an act has been proposed titled the Defense Sexual Trauma Response Oversight and Good Governance (STRONG) Act, which calls for increased access to legal counsel, priviledged communications between survivors and advocates that cannot be subpoenaed by the defense attorneys of their assailant, and mandatory training for all military personnel regarding sexual assault.

Additionally, a male Navy veteran who is a survivor of military sexual trauma is seeking others to send statements to be presented when he speaks to senators Specter and Lieberman about this issue. The deadline is May 8th, only a few days away, so please pass the word along. Here is the relevant information:

Jay Herron, a Navy vet, is traveling from his home in Florida to Washington, DC to speak with Senators Specter and Lieberman about male Military Sexual Trauma, and difficulties with dealing with the VA.

He is soliciting letters, both signed and anonymous, from survivors and those who know survivors, to present to these Senators and other representatives.

Jay has been keeping a survivors blog at, that details how his life was changed because of circumstance.

You can forward correspondence to him at <>, or send hard copy to his snail mail,
9950 NE 132 Terrace
Williston FLA 32696

All testimony must arrive before May 8th, to give him time to copy and prepare for his departure on May 9th.


erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)

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