Every few weeks now it seems like the philosophy blogosphere has a big argument about trans rights. You are, perhaps, unsure what to think. You think of yourself, maybe, as a feminist, but both sides are calling themselves feminists: on the one side, the ‘gender-critical’ feminists, who say there are important conflicts of interest between trans and non-trans women; on the other side, a less cohesive but much larger group of feminists insisting that these conflicts are invented as a pretext for hate against trans people. Statistically, dear philosophers, there’s a good chance that you are, like me, a cis man, and not an expert on any of this. You’re wondering how to react.
Judging by my facebook feed, many of you are looking at the conflict and deciding that gender-critical feminism is a respectable view that is being unfairly vilified in an attempt to silence its proponents…
When I last signed off, I was on a train back to Toronto. Not all that much happened last night, so this is probably going to be a fairly short update. Still, I said I was going to try and update this travelogue every day, so let’s see what we can do.
If you’re in downtown Toronto and you need to get to the airport (or vice versa), the quickest (and probably cheapest) way is the UP Express train from Union Station. A one-way adult fare is currently $12.45, there’s only two stops between Union and the airport and it usually makes the complete trip in just 25 minutes.
Apart from the loudest screaming toddler I’ve ever heard and three teenagers behind me who only realised once we got in sight of the airport that they were on completely the wrong train, my ride to the airport was uneventful. I hope they got home alright.
This time I waited for the Hilton airport shuttle, and saved myself $20 CAD.
Hilton Toronto Airport
Renovation works continue at the Hilton Toronto Airport, which is fair, because I didn’t expect them to be done in the three days since I last stayed there. I got given a double queen room instead of a single this time for some reason, and this one was on the ground floor. Layout of the double queen rooms is slightly different to the single queens on higher floors, and allow me to assure you that the thin net curtains do not do a goddamn thing to stop people from looking into your room during the evening.
I was originally meant to meet up with a friend of mine from western Toronto for dinner, but he got caught up with after-hours work, so when my other friend Ronnie came by with my second suitcase which he’d very kindly been taking care of while I was in Kingston, he also quickly drome me to a nearby Lone Star Grill and back so I could pick up some takeaway quesadillas.
Quesadillas are an anomaly to me. Every single place I’ve ever bought them from has served me something completely different. Sometimes it’s like a taco, sometimes it’s like a burrito, sometimes it’s like an enchilda, sometimes it’s even like a samosa. The only unifying factor is the presence of cheese. I’ve never had a bad quesadilla, but I’ve also never had the same thing served to me twice, either.
The airport Hilton’s rooms are comfortable enough, but my room was very close to both the elevators and the parking lot, so I didn’t get all that much sleep. As recompense, however, the staff gave me a breakfast voucher that covered the cost of my meal, which saved a few dollars. Always mention problems you’ve had with a chain hotel to the management: they’re usually willing to do you a favour as an apology.
Coffee at the Hilton is always free, though.
So after a tiny amount of confusion on how to check oversize luggage with Air Canada, I managed to get both my checked bags onto my flight. I’m now currently waiting to board my flight onwards to the next leg of my journey. See you all soon!
Tuesday was an eventful day full of exercise and exploration, and Wednesday is shaping up to be pretty hectic itself. I’ll try to bring you up to speed quickly. VIA Rail WiFi isn’t great so I’ll have to add pictures later.
Recently, a right-wing troll masqueraded as a gay man to attempt to give the impression that the LGBTQ community was sheltering and welcoming paedophiles. His statements were, of course, taken at face value by a crowd of gullible right-wingers, some with major platforms, who repeated the lies because they wholeheartedly believed them to be true.
Or… is that actually what happened? As a matter of fact, no. Something slightly more sinister is occurring.
As a content warning, this post will contain examples of homophobic language and discussion of child sexual abuse.
Sorry for not updating in a while. I’ll probably continue my recollections of the United States and Canada at some point. Today I want to talk about depression.
When the body experiences physical pain, there’s some directionality to it. Usually, you understand what part of your body is hurting, and thus have at least some idea of what you need to do to make the pain stop.
Emotional pain is just as real as physical pain, but it doesn’t have the same directionality, and thus there’s no sense of what exactly needs to be done to make it stop. This, I would say, is the fundamental problem with depression. You’re in a lot of emotional pain, but you don’t know how to fix it.
There’s a lot to unpack from my trip, and I don’t just mean my bags. There’s a lot of thoughts and feelings I have about my trip that I’m still working through now, more than two weeks after I got back home. I spent about three weeks travelling in Ontario and the eastern United States, and I have a lot of things to talk about.
Let’s start with how I ended up stranded in Gatwick for two days.
As a werewolf who’s part of the furry fandom, I enjoy fursuiting.
To a lot of people outside of the fandom, fursuits are probably the most visible part of it. Private meet-ups, discussions and artistic endeavours in a niche subculture usually stay fairly well-contained within it, but the elaborate and expensive animal costumes we sometimes wear during public gatherings tend to end up on the camera rolls of passers-by, and from there tend to splash across social media. To most outsiders, in fact, we are those guys who dress up like animals. If we end up featured on TV, whether in fiction or in a documentary, most likely the show’s portrayal of furries will revolve mostly or entirely around fursuiters.
In fact, not every furry has a fursuit; for instance, of the roughly 7,500 attendees at Anthrocon 2017, currently the second largest annual furry convention on the planet, there were almost exactly 1,500 fursuits counted at the Fursuit Parade. While a significant number of fursuiters who attend Anthrocon don’t participate in the parade, it suggests that close to 20% of attendees owned a fursuit, and this is consistent with Parade participation as compared to total attendance for several previous years.
Why do it, though? I’ve often been asked by people outside the fandom what the appeal is.