Aug 15, 2016 abc commented on At Least 10 People Say They’ve Been Drugged at Seattle Bars This Summer.
Of course many people are reluctant to involve the police. If you're among the fortunate who can rely on established power and authority to be on your side, lucky you. The police to bust criminals; the needs of sexual assault survivors aren't their concern.

For that, call your local sexual assault response agency (see Many will send an advocate to the hospital in sexual assault cases. If so, their concern should be strictly with the needs of the survivor, before the needs of the hospital, the doctors and nurses, or the police.

Hospitals can do a 'rape kit' without calling the police. Survivors can choose to do part or all of the exam and can decide to press charges (or not) later. Even if that exam doesn't result in a prosecution, it can be helpful for accumulating evidence against serial perpetrators.

Hospitals and police will often say that evidence of "date rape" drugs disappears within a few hours, though that depends on the drug. Drugs can be detected in hair samples (rather than the more typical urine samples) for days or even several weeks after the event (Adam Negrusz, Detection of "Date-Rape" Drugs in Hair and Urine, Report 201894, National Institute of Justice 2003), if police are informed and able.

If you're undecided about what to do, call your local sexual assault response agency. Well trained, experienced advocates will help you sort out what meets your needs, without pressure. Calling just to talk is totally ok, and many phone lines are 24/7.

There's no amount your can drink, nowhere you can go, and nothing you can wear that causes you to forfeit control of your own body. Sensible precautions are wise, but after-the-fact victim blaming "well what did you expect?" comments are inexcusable. The only person responsible for an assault is the perpetrator.
Jul 26, 2016 abc commented on Nate Silver Predicts If the Election Were Held Today, Donald Trump Would Win.
Trump could win.

Don't write him off with wishful thinking about post-convention bumps.
Jul 25, 2016 abc commented on Three Women Say Tech Journalist Matt Hickey Raped Them Outside of "The Audition" Scam.
The article says that, "SafePlace confirmed that Byrd used its resources in 2001."

It's important to know that for organizations such as SafePlace, contact with clients is strictly confidential. A journalist can't just call and get a confirmation, nor can anyone else.

To confirm that a particular individual used its resources, such organizations would have to have a signed Release of Information from the client, specifying what information they could provide and to whom.

Alternatively, a client can request a Verification of Services, which they could then show to anyone they choose. But that's entirely up to the client. Organizations such as SafePlace will not confirm contact with anyone without that person's permission.

Rape survivors need to know that the law protects their confidentiality. A list of Washington state accredited programs, which must by state law be confidential, can be found here:
Jun 27, 2015 abc commented on My Whole Life I've Been Asked If I'm a Girl or a Boy.
I was glad to see the writer get to "I'm basically female outside and male inside." I think the idea of gender as a spectrum is too limiting - the continuum concept seems to assume that an individual occupies one point on that spectrum, or maybe a moveable point that varies according to circumstances, but a point nevertheless.

I think people should feel free to occupy simultaneously multiple points, and on any number of spectra, not just one. And, of course, to move around.
Jul 1, 2014 abc commented on About the Word "Tranny".
It would hurt a lot if someone called me a tranny.

It hurts me when I hear people use the word even if they're not referring to me. @2, if you think that words only hurt if I allow them to, you can consider yourself lucky. I guess maybe you just don't understand what some other people's lives are like.

If I were told I was doing something that hurt people, I'd stop, but apparently some people are different.

Still, I don't want to police anyone's use of any words, though I'd ask people not to use it with me.
Nov 7, 2012 abc commented on God Said, "Hey".
A used copy of a Lamott book fell off the bookstore shelf at a time when my best friend was dying and I had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness (yep, still have it). At some level I can agree with this reviewer's comments. But I guess it depends on whether you're looking for things to criticize or for things that might help.

No, I don't believe in a personal god, a being who cares about me, nor do I think everything happens for a reason and all will be well in the end. Nasty shit happens to people who don't deserve it, like my friend, and I don't think it's because of any lord who works in mysterious ways. But Lamott piqued my curiosity when I saw a quote from her - "You know you've created God in your own image when it turns out he hates all the same people you do."

I think she offers some thoughts and perspectives that are worth some consideration without having to buy into her idea of a higher power. Perhaps not, though, for an adolescent who wears all black and is too smart and too cool for pretty much everything.
Aug 30, 2011 abc commented on Last Days.
#8 - exactly right on.

You said it was awful but that wasn't near enough of a warning. Please — next time.... give a warning more in proportion to its horribleness, which is about as horrible as it gets. Please.

Seriously — I picked up the Stranger to read idly over a slice of pizza, having made a quick stop on the way to work. Oh my ....

Thank God for benzodiazepines, but I think it'll take more than that to give me a few hours of nightmare-free sleep tonight.
Jun 30, 2011 abc commented on Trans Advocates.
Background (some readers are unfamiliar with it) -

A guy named Ray Blanchard in Toronto proposed that there are two types of male-to-female transsexuals: the "homosexual" type, feminine boys who transition young rather than face the fact that they're gay, and "autogynephilics", men who are erotically obsessed with the idea of themselves as female, who are allegedly not feminine, transition late, prefer female partners, and are not, in Blanchard's view, women in any sense (even if Blanchard et al. are ok with physical treatments).

In short - if you're an mtf trans person, you're either in denial or have an autoerotic paraphilia.

J Michael Bailey is a Blanchard acolyte at Northwestern in Illinois, who has based his "research" on anecdotes about people he met while hanging out in gay bars.

He has pissed off many mtf trans women because he insists that if they say they don't fit either of the Blanchard models, they're lying. Trans men (ftm) are not dreamt of in Bailey's philosophy. Maybe they would complicate matters too much.

Dreger has been a diligent defender of Bailey. Given the Blanchard/Bailey/Dreger assumption that the experts (them, it turns out) know you better than you know yourself, to start off with the Tommy the locomotive story reads to me like a deliberate, condescending provocation. Certainly let's not put kids on an irreversible path when they're less than 10 years old, but everyone I know with a trans identity (male or female) says they were aware of it by that age. We need to listen to these kids, to let them teach us about themselves.

I can agree that in a better world people could claim whatever gender identity they felt was right for them, without a need for surgery or hormones. But I'm not sure that would entirely eliminate everyone's need for physical modification.

@7 - being a woman is not just a matter of not having a penis.

@21 - clear thinking, well expressed. thank you. (recognizing of course that what works for you might not work for some others.)
Jun 30, 2010 abc commented on Doctor Treating Pregnant Women With Experimental Drug To Prevent Lesbianism.
#19 wrote "To what degree do we embrace science as truth, and to what degree reject it? Do these decisions change when we don't agree with the results?"

You misunderstand. Science is fundamental research with no predetermined outcome; the goal is to expand our knowledge and understanding. This isn't science, it's technology: using a particular method to achieve a specific outcome. We accept or reject any given technology by balancing the desirability of the outcome and the severity of the risks.

Those who want to geek out on this stuff (21-hydroxylase deficiency) can read (The Online Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease) (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man) (Merck Manuals Online Medical Library)

The last of these says "Dexamethasone is used only in postpubertal adolescents and adults." They write that this drug has been associated with conditions such as adrenal suppression, immunosuppression, myopathy (problems with muscle development), problems with kidney function and salt balance, Kaposi's sarcoma, and psychiatric disturbances. A list of adverse reactions is here:

On the website of the people who are doing these experiments, they write "Dr. New maintains contact with all children treated prenatally, and has found not permanent adverse effects of treatment on mother or fetus. Thus, with nearly 20 years’ experience, the treatment has been found safe for mother and child."

But Alice Dreger, Ellen K. Feder, and Anne Tamar-Mattis wrote "In the Q&A period, during a discussion of prenatal dex treatments, an audience member asked New, “Isn’t there a benefit to the female babies in terms of reducing the androgen effects on the brain?” New answered, “You know, when the babies who have been treated with dex prenatally get to an age in which they are sexually active, I’ll be able to answer that question.”

The Merck website says that dexamethasone has a category C pregnancy risk factor. describes category C this way: "Studies in animals have shown an adverse effect but no studies have been done on pregnant women or no animal studies have been done and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women."

Jun 26, 2010 abc commented on Dear Science.
Some girls in the U.S. of A. get clipped because somebody thinks their clitoris is too big. There's someone doing "research" on these unfortunate kids, checking for post-surgery sensitivity using cotton swabs and vibrators — on little kids.…