Ten of the Very Best Nose & Ear Trimmers Your Money Can Buy

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When gender non-conforming Bois like me get punched in the face, it’s always our fault

By K. Martinez The Brown man was with a small group of Christian extremists outside the main door of Philadelphia Convention Center. It was August 2018, the last day of the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference (PTWC), the largest Trans centered conference in the U.S. I’m sure you’ve seen these jawns in your city—they have large “God hates homosexuals” signs and amplify transphobic and homophobic obscenities over bullhorns. At the time, I was working for Mazzoni Center, the largest LGBT centered health care provider in Philly, which partly organized the conference, and I was inside attending a session. I was notified by colleagues that a group of protestors were outside of the building. I had just had a beautiful, life-affirming time, and I could not allow anyone to harm Trans conference attendees and allies while I was there. I marched outside the conference and witnessed the group of Christian extremists yelling, “God hates Trannies,” and, “You’re all going to hell.” They made pointed hateful comments about conference attendees’ appearance. A few people were already confronting the group when I showed up. I went up to the Brown man with the bullhorn and told him he needed to leave. He did not stop yelling obscenities and told me it was his constitutional right to do so. I remained standing right in front of him. He passed the bullhorn and got in my face, now directing his vitriol at me. “Did you know you’re going to hell?” “You Tranny, are you confused? Sick in the head?” I repeatedly told him to leave and that I would be standing as a barrier between him and anyone else. Next thing I knew, he uppercut punched me in the nose.

This was the first of two times cis men have punched me in the face over the past 3 months. To add insult to injury, when I shared what happened to me, LGBT people, especially white LGBT folks, gaslit and victim-blamed me. While GNC can be considered within the Trans umbrella, apart from it, or used interchangeably, to me, GNC speaks to a politic of non-conformity and rebellion. And by dressing and acting like I do as a Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) Afro-Latinx Boi, I am asking for it. I can never be a victim because Black and Brown Bois live with a presumed culpability, and only innocents are afforded victimhood. Even when Black and Brown cis men get a patriarchal pass for their violence because “boys will be boys” and fisticuffs is a time-honored expression of cis manhood, bad bois like me deserve to be hurt because we do not conform to society’s norms which repress and oppress us. We are always expected to go high while cis men are encouraged and rewarded for going lower and lower. Most people think hate crimes are only egregious and overt acts of violence involving victims who are innocently going about their life and are randomly attacked, and that is how they have largely been prosecuted. This leads to false equivalences if a GNC Black or Brown Boi fights back, even though Bois who fight back are defending themselves and their right to exist. We are disrupting patriarchal stasis as nonconformists who dare to no longer be oppressed. As Frantz Fanon wrote in The Wretched of The Earth, “at the individual level, violence is a cleansing force. It rids the colonized from their inferiority complex, of their passive and despairing attitude. It emboldens them, and restores their self-confidence.” But as soon as the Brown man hit me, my mind was forced to do calculations—Do I hit this guy back and risk being seen as the aggressor? No, don’t. Press charges. Don’t hit him back. A white male colleague witnessed what happened and I asked him to call the police. I never want to call the police on Brown or Black people, but I didn’t know how else to ensure this group would never target Trans spaces again. I knew if I hit him back, I would lose whatever slim legal standing I may have had, so I didn’t. I remained standing and told my assailant I would not be moving and I would not hit him back because I’m engaging in non-violent resistance, but I was going to press charges. The counter protest grew up to 50 people and we surrounded the Christian extremists. An interracial coalition formed to drown them out with cheers, music from speakers, and noisemakers. Two colleagues of mine, both Queer Black people, were pepper sprayed by the group during the counter protest. The Philadelphia police were called on several occasions and it took them 40 minutes to finally appear and intervene. They escorted the Christian extremists off the premises. When I filed a police report, I was repeatedly misgendered by the police department’s LGBT liaison, and asked by another detective why I didn’t tell police on site I had been hurt so they could have apprehended my assailant.

There’s always something more I should have done.

As of today, the Philadelphia Police Department has yet to identify my assailant, despite having pictures of him and video leading up to my assault. According to the detective, I needed to go find a police officer and report my assailant, but that would have been nearly impossible amid the chaos. When the police finally arrived on the scene, a fleet of officers on bicycles descended onto the space and commanded us to disperse. One officer’s bike struck me in the leg as they used their bikes to clear the way. Should I have reported my assailant to him? He sure didn’t seem like he was open to conversation. Who do they really seek to serve and protect? I wanted to believe I could go high when this cis man went low and cleverly use the system to deter this group from targeting trans spaces, but I was reminded that the system does not work for me and I remain the target. The city failed us that day, and always does. This was foreseeable harm and they were grossly negligent. I mentioned the need for a safety plan several times during my employment at Mazzoni Center prior to PTWC, but my suggestions were disregarded by the former CEO and COO who have since resigned. After the incident, Mazzoni discussed LGBT safety planning, but it shouldn’t have taken the injuries of 3 Queer/Trans Brown and Black people to prompt this. Black and Brown LGBTQ people continue to make the ultimate personal sacrifices to make things better and safer for the rest of the LGBT community. People have told me there are “other ways” to handle these situations. I should have walked away and let the police handle it, even though they have shown they have no interest in handling anything. The police were called on many occasions and they did not come and would not have come if not for the counter protest we orchestrated. How much faith can we have in police to serve and protect us when we have seen police killing unarmed Black people and siding with right-wing extremists across the country from Charlottesville to Proud Boys rallies? We are left to defend ourselves and our community, so sometimes we have to engage. Standing my ground and using my words have always been my weapon of choice. My way with words got me into a war with a white man at a Terminal 5 Tash Sultana concert in NYC in November 2018. I’ve never heard of Tash Sultana, but my white Trans friend had an extra ticket and I went with him. “Tash is non-binary,” he said. “It should be an LGBT friendly space,” he said. But the concert was also an overwhelmingly white space. I was the only Brown body as far as I could see. It was my friend’s birthday so we had been celebrating prior to the concert. I had about 5 whiskey drinks in 2 hours prior to the show and 1 more at the concert. I was feeling the whiskey, but I wasn’t blackout drunk. I recall the event and I know how I felt. Earlier in the evening, an older Black man security guard told me to move from a place I was standing because I was blocking an exit, but he did not go up to other white folks who were also standing there. I felt targeted early on. I moved to another spot in the crowd. I was surrounded by white folks and my friend was a few rows of people behind me at the bar when it went down. I remember some pushing, shoving, and bumping into people, as happens at every concert. I remember bumping into a white femme couple who both had long hair and one had a backwards hat on. I bumped into the one with the hat and they looked at me in a hostile manner, shoved me and told me to “watch out bro.” The way they looked at me reminded me of the way white women look at me in women’s restrooms before assaulting me for my nonconformity. They’re scared and angry because I’m a masc brown person in a woman’s space. The mental calculations began, but since I was not sober, I was not catering to white feelings that night. I dared to challenge status quo and be my full self. As an educator, I offered a quick gender identity lesson. I’m not a “bro,” and I told them to never shove me again as I dared to hold my space in a white crowd. Words and more shoves were exchanged. Then a white man and woman couple in front of me chimed in the discussion and sided with the other white couple immediately. I felt tone policed and verbally ganged up on by this crowd of white people. Their mob mentality was on full display. The white man commented on my gender to the effect of, “What are you, a boy or a girl anyway?” More mental calculations. I commented to the white crowd around me and asked everyone to witness what’s going on here. I suppose it was my attempt at getting white allies to help. Once again, no one came to my rescue, and once again I was wrong to defend myself. My white Trans  friend at the bar told me he saw things escalating into a fight which he tried to break up. I wouldn’t back down and kept exchanging words, which led to this white man punching me in the face multiple times and also hitting my friend. Security did not intervene at any point and they did not capture the man who punched me. Security called an ambulance, the police came and they both misgendered me throughout the aftermath. My white friend insists security did everything they could to help me. The FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” This white man and the femme couple hated me. They hated me being there, hated me bumping into them, hated me taking up space, hated me having intelligent retorts and not being silent and subservient as they’re used to. I was out of my place. I was not conforming. But this type of hate is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties. Dr. Siobhan Brooks, Associate Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Cal State Fullerton, interviewed me for her upcoming book examining the community and family impact of hate crimes on Black and Latinx LGBT people.
“In the first draft of one of my chapters, I use the FBI definition, but since it is not a crime to hate people, that definition is limited,” Dr. Brooks told me. “So, I add a cultural climate that exists in our society making various people marginal and subject to hate. Trump has created a climate where hate and hate crimes against queer/trans people of color is almost to be expected from attacks on immigrants, anti-trans laws, freedom for right-wing religious groups to discriminate. Added on with widespread police violence.”

I will always be demonized as hostile and aggressive, which are racially charged stereotypes hurled at Brown and Black people to keep them oppressed and docile. People like my white Trans friend have said I shouldn’t have handled the situation in the way I did. That I should have walked away with no recognition of the physical and verbal provocations hurled at me. I didn’t want to walk away. White folks were quick to team up against me, police me in the space and Trans-antagonize me. Their comments about my gender revealed an animus, and my race is an inherent factor. I chose to take them all on with my words. I never put my hands on any of them first, but I shouldn’t always be expected to turn the other cheek either. I know I’m capable of not punching people back as I did not hit the Brown man who hit me at PTWC, but this time, I didn’t want to give this group of white people the satisfaction of bullying me out of a space in an era when the Trump administration is trying to erase me every day. But this is what happens to uppity GNC Brown and Black Bois who have a way with words. I’m left to wonder if Black and Brown bois like me can ever be safe. We live under constant threat and we can’t depend on anyone for protection. No one is coming to save us but ourselves. We have to keep each other safe by learning self-defense skills and being hyper vigilant of each other when we are out together. We are all we have. I continue to wish for a united LGBT community to fight off the forces that harm us, but until we solve the harm within this community—namely the racism, transphobia and anti-Blackness—we can never really fight together. I saw flashes of what a united LGBT front could look like in the counter-protest in Philadelphia but even in that space, Black and Brown bodies took on the most harm. Even in “LGBT friendly spaces,” like the Tash Sultana show, my guard as an Afro-Latinx person must always remain up. Another world is possible, but constantly turning the other cheek won’t lead us to it. GNC Black or Brown masc folks are harmed just because of who we are and what we look like. Our daily resistance as Black and Brown non-conformists escalates situations and makes folks more violent to us. Cis men in particular get violent with me because of who I am. They want to maintain their dominance and hegemonic power and they feel my threat to it. These men have punched me to shut me up and to keep me in my subordinate place. But I will never conform or be quiet. I won’t be erased. Suggested Readings: Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of The Earth, 1963 Pauli Murray, “To The Oppressors”, The Poetry Foundation, 1939 Martin Duberman, Has the Gay Movement Failed?, 2018

by Rafaella Angelica

Kay Martinez (they/them/theirs) is an Afro-Latinx prettyboi. They’re a writer, educator, and rabble rouser from Boston. They have a M.A. in Higher Education and a professional background leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. They can be reached at : kaypmartinez@gmail.com. IG: K_pmz.  The post When gender non-conforming Bois like me get punched in the face, it’s always our fault appeared first on RaceBaitr.

End of Year Check-Up Questions For Christians

Kevin DeYoung writes, “I should hasten to add that measuring your progress in the pursuit of holiness is easier said than done. For starters, you shouldn’t take your spiritual temperature every day. You need to look for progress over months and years, not by minutes and hours.” Agreed. One of the best times to take your spiritual temperature is at the end of the year as you reflect on what was. To help us do that, let’s look at a few questions. These questions were similar to the ones I posted earlier this year. They’re meant to help you identify areas of spiritual growth. I titled the original post “check-in” to prepare you for the year. Now that the year is almost over, it’s time for the check-up. It’s time for the physical; time to see if you’re in a healthy spiritual place or not. In no particular order, here are some questions to help gauge your spiritual health:
  1. Did I make regular devotions with the Lord a priority?

  2. Unless there was an emergency, did I commit to attending church every single Sunday?

  3. Did I preach the gospel to myself to remind me of the grace that is available to me through Christ?

  4. Did I confess and repent of my sins quickly?

  5. Did I live deeply in Christian community and seek to bear the burdens of others?

  6. Did I regularly share the gospel with nonbelievers in hopes of persuading them to repent and trust in Christ?

  7. Did I steward my time, talent, and treasure to the glory of God and for the sake of the church?

  8. Did I seek spiritual mentors?

  9. Did I disciple others?

  10. Did I trust God’s providence when things didn’t go my way?

Some of these will apply to you; some of them won’t. For example, you may already have had a spiritual mentor or perhaps because of this season of life, you may not have the capacity or energy to disciple anyone. That’s fine. These questions are provided not to make you feel guilty, but to provide some guidance to help you check your soul for spiritual health. Spiritual growth is costly. But it’s worth it. Often, we should make a plan to help us grow, and check our temperature every once in a while to see how we’re doing. You may also like: 

  1. 9 Diagnostic Questions Every Single Christian Should Ask
  2. Questions to Ask Before You Preach Your Next Sermon 

  The post End of Year Check-Up Questions For Christians appeared first on Gospel Relevance.

Macro Monday Will Make It Quick

Some quicky bits — A bunch of my eBooks just popped up for sale, I believe going for the whole duration of December. Those titles include all my Skyscape-pubbed YA books:

Under the Empyrean Sky (Heartland 1)

Blightborn (Heartland 2)

The Harvest (Heartland 3)

Atlanta Burns

Atlanta Burns: The Hunt

They’re all a buck a pop. (Well, $0.99.) The Heartland series is a Steinbeckian Star Wars riff, and Atlanta Burns is a dark teen noir with, honestly, a bunch of trigger warnings in tow. Both series are ostensibly about sticking it to rich people, to be honest. The audio looks like it’s on sale for each, too, for $1.99. Also it looks like my run on Turok is collected for $3.99 if you so desire it. And I think that might be all the news that’s fit to print. HAVE SOME MACRO PHOTOS. First is a… well, a stick. It’s just a stick. And it has snow on it. But the glow of the morning light and the shallow depth of frame gives it kind of a magical vibe. Second is broccoli. Yep, broccoli. Wet broccoli, in fact. Point of trivia: Wet Broccoli was my nickname in the CIA. Enjoy!

A visualization book using only hand-drawn illustrations

RJ Andrews has a visualization design book coming out in January called Info We Trust. He hand-drew about 300 graphics for the book. One of the reasons:

I decided very early that Info We Trust would not use any existing images, mine or others. Found examples work fine for certain books. They are also convenient, the work is already done! But found images bring baggage too. You might choose an existing work to highlight one aspect of its design. But the reader will see other facets too.

I’m intrigued. On the upside, you get a consistent visual flow. A focused point of view. On the downside: the possibility of a view that is too focused. I have a feeling there will be more upside than downside. [Amazon pre-order]

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10 Steps To Hero – How To Craft A Kickass Protagonist is coming to a bookstore near you

Silly ol’ me, in the chaos of finishing the book edits and excitement of launch prep, I completely forgot to reveal my next cover. If you’re on my mailing list, however, you’ll have seen an advance peek at the cover. Props to you. For those of you who aren’t on my mailing list, then I have a treat for you today. I’m super excited to announce 10 Steps To Hero – How To Craft A Kickass Protagonist. My second non-fiction baby is coming into the world in a matter of weeks. Literally. Launch date below.  I’ve talked about second book syndrome before and it seems that this time, writing my second non-fiction book was just as hard as writing my second fiction book. I’m not sure why, if any of you out there have been through it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. But forget that… I made it through people. Grabs megaphone Clears throat I MADE IT THROUGH PEOPLE. And boy am I exited about this book. Like 13 Steps To Evil, I’ve also created a workbook companion for Heroes. Here’s why:
“Malcom Gladwell is famed for arguing that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice in order to become an expert at something. While I’m not suggesting you need to practice creating villains for 10,000 hours before you create a decent one, I am saying that you need to put the lessons into practice. This is a workbook. There are exercises. Do them. Do them again. Then put what you learn into your manuscripts.” 13 Steps To Evil How To Craft A Superbad Villain Workbook by Sacha Black

AND NOW, LADIES AND GENTLEBLOGGERS, here are both the covers A bit more about the textbook: From cardboard cutout to superhero in 10 steps. Are you fed up of one-dimensional heroes? Frustrated with creating clones? Does your protagonist fail to capture your readers’ heart? In 10 Steps to Hero, you’ll discover:
  • How to develop a killer character arc

  • A step-by-step guide to creating your hero from initial concept to final page

  • Why the web of story connectivity is essential to crafting a hero that will hook readers

  • The four major pitfalls to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs

Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create your perfect protagonist. Whether you’re writing your first story or a professional writer, this book will help supercharge your hero and give them that extra edge. These lessons will help you master your charming knights, navigate your way to the perfect balance of flaws and traits, as well as strengthening your hero to give your story the conflict and punch it needs. First, there were villains, now there are heroes. If you like dark humor, learning through examples and want to create the best hero you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting heroes. Read 10 Steps to Hero today and start creating kick-ass heroes.

RELEASE DATE: 4th January 2019. The best bit is, the textbook is up for pre-order right now, click the icon below to go to your regular store. And I’ll be back to give you some sneaky insights into crafting heroes soon.      Everywhere Else     If you want awesome writing tips, you can grab a copy of my book 13 Steps To Evil – How to Craft Superbad Villains. Click this link and tap the logo of your reading device or regular bookshop and it will take you to the right page. You can also get a FREE villains cheatsheet by joining my mailing list just click here. You can also find me on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestGoodreads