What’s the difference between promoting breastfeeding because it’s natural and promoting heterosexuality because it’s natural?

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For years many US and world health organizations have behaved likely wholly owned subsidiaries of the breastfeeding industry. La Leche League has been an advisor to such organizations for decades and had engineered near complete replacement of scientific evidence with the goals and personal beliefs of lactivists.

Whether or not a woman breastfeeds is no more your business than whether or not a woman is gay.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has begun to push back ever so gently and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine is not happy, not happy at all.

The latest piece on their blog is dripping with their hallmark contempt for women who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed.

Dr. Joan Meek lays out the problem as the ABM sees it:

Recently, the USPSTF proposed a new recommendation: “The USPSTF recommends providing interventions during pregnancy and after birth to support breastfeeding.” Note that this statement does not state “promote and support,” but just “support.” … In explanations about this change, a member of the Task Force, Dr. Alex Kemper, as quoted in MedPage Today, stated that “the reason the Task Force made this slight word change is to recognize the importance of a mother doing what she feels is best for her and her baby and not wanting to, for example, make mothers feel guilty or bad if they decide not to breastfeed,” he said. “It’s really a personal choice that needs to be made based on her own personal situation.”

In other words, the USPSTF has decided to support ALL new mothers in choosing the feeding method that is right for them and their babies, not only the mothers who breastfeed.

According to the USPSTF:

“We systematically reviewed the literature for a variety of potential adverse events associated with breastfeeding interventions, including mothers reporting feeling criticized by the interventionist, guilt related to not breastfeeding, increased anxiety about breastfeeding, and increased postpartum depression. Only two of our included studies reported adverse events that mothers experienced related to the intervention and included reports of increased anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, and concerns regarding their family’s confidentiality. Although the goals of these interventions focused on initiating and continuing breastfeeding and empowering women to do so, it is important that interventionists respect family’s individual decisions.”

Meek responds with a statement of doublespeak that would make George Orwell proud:

If breastfeeding is truly a public health issue with benefits that have been widely documented for both women and children, then health care providers should be promoting breastfeeding to empower women to make an informed decision about their infant feeding choice.

Pro tip: You aren’t empowering women when your goal is to convince them to do it YOUR way.

Why isn’t supporting breastfeeding enough for the ABM? Because they like shaming and humiliating women who don’t knuckle under to their efforts to intimidate them into breastfeeding.

We don’t seem to worry so much about guilt when counseling patients about smoking cessation, weight reduction, or need to increase exercise.

Actually, physicians DO worry about inducing guilt and have long recognized that it is not effective in motivating people to undertake healthy behaviors. Moreover, last I heard smoking cessation, weight reduction and increasing exercise can and do save thousands of lives while promoting breastfeeding doesn’t save the life of ANY term infant.

Dr. Meek’s protestations remind me of our long national debate about homosexuality. In just a few generations we have gone from viewing it as a form of deviancy to legalizing gay marriage and there are large groups of people (particularly religious fundamentalists) who are still upset about it. They spend their time devising ways to promote heterosexuality such as privileging “traditional marriage” and promulgating laws to allow discrimination against the LGBT community. They insists that heterosexuality is normal because “that’s what nature intended.”

Dr. Meek, what’s the difference between insisting that we promote breastfeeding because “our bodies are designed for it” and religious fundamentalists insisting that we promote heterosexuality because “our bodies are designed for it”?

I don’t see much difference at all. In both cases those who demand that we promote the preferred choice instead of merely supporting it WANT to shame those who don’t make their preferred choice. It’s ugly when fundamentalists do it, and it’s ugly when breastfeeding advocates do it.

Whether or not a woman breastfeeds is no more your business than whether or not a woman is gay. There is no more need to promote breastfeeding than there is to promote heterosexuality. Promoting either does not empower women, it humiliates and shames … just as it is designed to do.

  • Jennifer

    I was in bed miserable the last 36 hours with mastitis. I know this has nothing to do with the post just venting. I also has insufficient supply when he was 4 days old and he fell behind the growth curve. I then supplemented because I was not going to let him starve. Basically breastfeeding has been a disaster for me and I am stopping. I’m glad I found your blog.

    • Charybdis

      Hi there, and welcome! I’m sorry to hear about the mastitis, that is not fun to have and I hope you recover quickly.

      Bottles and formula are perfectly fine for your baby to thrive on. Everyone will be happier because the baby will be fed, satiated, and content, you will have stopped trying to breastfeed and can share feeding duties with other caregivers and you won’t have to worry about mastitis anymore.

      Again, welcome and we hope you will stay and comment. 🙂

    • moto_librarian

      I’m so sorry you’ve been through so much! Finding Dr. Amy’s blog helped me after I had primary lactation failure and was unable to breastfeed. Your baby is going to thrive because you are following the most important rule: feed the baby!

  • Guest

    I’m 32 weeks pregnant for the first time. I had antenatal class at the hospital yesterday and left halfway through because the lactation consultant who was running the class said one too many things that offended me. The afternoon session was going to be about “coping strategies to deal with pain”. I think I can do without the Lamazian magic breathing.

    • An Actual Attorney

      Make sure to let the hospital know.

      • Charybdis

        I’d call the hospital and let them know about that nonsense because they can’t do anything if they don’t know about it. Make it clear why you left and why you find that line of “education” objectionable.

        • Guest

          The lactation consultant actually said – regarding vitamin K injections – “do your own research before getting vaccinated, many parents like to delay the vaccines, whatever works for your family.” I nearly choked.

          • Who?

            That’s extraordinary-does the hospital know their representative is counselling against immunisation?

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            Or that she doesn’t know the difference between Vit K injections and vaccination.

          • Nick Sanders

            I swear, if anyone claiming to be a medical professional ever told me to “do my own research” on vaccines, I wouldn’t rest until they were fired.

    • Sarah

      No doubt the coping strategies were not going to include epidurals? I’m sure a lactation consultant is eminently qualified to provide antenatal advice.

  • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

    When commercially manufactured infant formulas first came along in the 1800’s there was a huge controversy surrounding them because it promoted suffrage. Bottles meant that men could be expected to take over some of the childrearing duties and women could maintain a job outside the home.

    Childbirth with anesthesia was also controversial because it defied the Will Of God. It is God’s Plan for women to suffer pain in childbirth because Eve ate the apple off the Tree of Knowledge.

    No, I’m not making that up. That’s really the basis for Natural Childbirth and Natural Childrearing. Nobody will buy it’s the Will of God anymore (except some really hardcore zeolots) so it was repackaged as “Natural”.

    • MaineJen

      I’m loving that picture…both the dad and the baby are like “Dude…WTF?”

      • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

        Anti-Suffrage posters really are rather entertaining. Not in the way the makers intended, of course.

  • Jules B

    Since I have found this blog and managed to shake off the last of the lactivist propagandizing that had infected my brain, I never really realized how awful the language was around most official (and non-official) writings that “promote” breast-feeding. Meaning, I didn’t see how horribly judgy and very UNsupportive of non-breast-feeding choices it all was, until I removed the Breast is Best idea from my thinking. Once you get rid of that and replace it with Fed is Best, the language certain public health orgs use is completely appalling. And as public health authorities, they are supposed to use neutral, unbiased inclusive and language (and stick to the evidence). It’s like reading old educational stuff from the 1940’s or 50’s, where they talk about how marijuana will make you crazy – and they use “he” and “him” as the default pronouns, always. Language may seem like a small thing, but it is not, because it shapes thinking and thus public opinion and policy.

  • 655321

    Natural things don’t need to be promoted. Unnatural things do.

    • Nick Sanders

      So, can I offer you an all natural salad of belladonna, amanita, and oleander?

      • Charybdis

        Don’t forget the cherimoya seeds…..

    • demodocus

      Eyeglasses and the internet don’t need to be promoted, either. Must be natural.

    • Box of Salt

      655321
      Cooking food to make it easier to digest and to kill pathogens is unnatural.

      Salmonella, poison ivy, rabies, and ricin are all natural.

      Which of those, exactly, do you want to promote?

      • 655321

        False argument, death is natural, so what?

        • Nick Sanders

          You show a depressing, although I suppose not surprising, lack of self-reflection.

  • Meg

    You say that no babies die because they are not breastfed. That may be true, but the risk of SIDS is far lower for breastfed babies than for non-breastfed babies. So breastfeeding does decrease the risk of babies dying (unless it is just correlation instead of causation).

    • Azuran

      But that would be like saying that because the risk of AIDS transmission is higher in male homosexual relationship, therefore heterosexuality decrease the number of death by AIDS.

      Seriously, every single insignificant decision you are going to take with your children every single day of their life is ‘statistically’ going to raise or lower their chances to die of something.
      Breastfeeding increases the risk of rehospitalisation for dehydration. It caused me to be hospitalized twice because I was allergic to the stuff.

      Both are just excellent ways to feed a baby and anyone should just do what works best for them because in the grand scheme of things, it’s going to be 1 of the millions of decision that made you who you are and will be pretty insignificant.

    • indigosky

      And where is the hard evidence of that? I have yet to see anything that proves this BS that was actually fact.

    • Sarah

      The ‘unless’ is the most important part of that post.

    • Dr Kitty

      An increased risk of SIDS is associated with low maternal educational attainment, poverty, teenage motherhood, maternal smoking and single parenthood too.

      But those are all harder fixes than BF, amiright?

    • mythsayer

      That’s a big unless.

    • OttawaAlison

      None of the big SIDS foundations spend a whole lot of time discussing the need for breastfeeding, their huge focus is on safe sleeping.

    • swbarnes2

      The risk of SIDS is lower for babies who use pacifiers too. Do you think about parents who won’t use pacifiers the same way as parents who don’t breastfeed?

  • Megan

    Slightly but not totally OT: At little lady’s appointment yesterday there was much discussion about formula because she has a cow’s milk protein intolerance/allergy, complete with hives, and has been on Alimentum. We’ve been dealing with reflux using Zantac as well and despite these things, she is falling off of her growth curve. I brought up the possibility of her being part of the 10% of dairy allergic kids who can’t tolerate even Alimentum/Nutramigen because they are still dairy based despite being extensively hydrolyzed. Anywho, the resident seeing her commented to me that she’d never heard of elemental formula (Neocate or Elecare) and had no idea what the differences were between any of the types of formula aside from dairy vs. soy. She said (like many of us have noted here) that her medical training included no formula education. So I did a quick and dirty teaching lesson during the appointment. I still find it really annoying that this education is not being provided in our medical schools (mine included). We know the vast majority of babies will get formula at some point. Doctors should be able to advise parents on this and understand the medical problems that necessitate specialty formulas and how to help with common formula feeding issues. At the very least, they should understand how to prepare a bottle correctly and safely and what the different kinds of formula are. Because of BFHI and lactivists agenda, this education is not happening, though the residents are all taught about how breastfeeding “prevents all kinds of medical problems and everyone should do it.”

    • Roadstergal

      It’s like never teaching birth control and barriers to STD prevention, as well as recognition and treatment of STDs, because abstinence is best.

      • sdsures

        When I went to school (I was a teenager in the early 1990s), even though it was a secular school, they only taught abstinence. :-/ Today, that seems bizarre to me.

    • sdsures

      Lack of formula education for budding nurses and doctors is worrying.

  • Amaya Smith

    Long time reader, first time poster, and a big fan of your work. I have directed many a crying mother to your no nonsense blog and purchased three of your books for my waiting room. I posted the following on their blog:

    Can you please show me hard evidence that the increase in breastfeeding rates has increased public heath? Because I am a pediatrician and have not seen any evidence that breastfeeding does anything health-wise over the long term. I have been practicing for over 10 years, so you would have thought I’d have less patients coming in less often but I have seen no change in the average times a patient comes in, and they come in equally whether breastmilk or formula fed. Over 50% of my patients are either breastfed or fed breastmilk through a bottle, up from 15% 10 years ago.

    • sdsures

      “I have directed many a crying mother to your no nonsense blog and purchased three of your books for my waiting room.”

      That’s wonderful!

  • Old Lady

    Question for those that enjoyed breastfeeding. I’ve been mostly breastfeeding my daughter now for two months and I enjoy doing it and don’t really want to give it up but it is sooo time consuming and I need to get to a point to where I’m not spending all my time feeding the baby. Breastfeeding guidance is not helpful because they just stay do it as much as baby wants but that’s just not realistic for me and I’m getting cabin fever. She is feeding generally for 30-60 minutes and less for some reason at night, usually one side and sometimes as short as 15 minutes and she’s sleeping 4-5 hour stretches. Since I want to continue breastfeeding I’m afraid of dropping feedings but necessity of caring for other children means usually 1-2 bottles of formula and 1 of pumped milk with the rest of the time at the breast (I pump a little at night mostly when she only takes one side and the other is still uncomfortable and sometimes during the day too). I can breastfeed on the go but it’s awkward and uncomfortable so I avoid going out too much. Breastfeeding was supposed to be easy! When does this happen? I’m trying to hold out with breastfeeding as much as I can handle but if it doesn’t I’m going to have to start replacing more feedings. I just worry about doing so prematurely and tanking my supply.

    • Michele

      I can’t remember exactly, but I feel like it got a lot faster and easier around 2-3 months. It really really depends on the baby though. If you want to speed things up, you may be able to increase the rate of flow by doing breast compressions while nursing (may help during pumping too). I know compressions seemed to speed up my pumping times slightly when I bothered to do them.

    • momofone

      When my son was 3-4 (ish) months old, feedings went much faster, from an hour or so to 10-15 minutes. I’m not sure if I finally got the hang of it, or if he wanted to get done eating and check out the world, but it got much easier at that point to do things (I don’t have other children, for what that’s worth). I pumped at work and once before bed (he was sleeping 5-6 hours at a time), but I never was very good at pumping, so I’m not sure my experience there is worth much.

      • Inmara

        I think it’s common and has to do with babies growing bigger and more efficient in milk transfer. I saw it with mine, he was mostly formula fed at that age but decrease in feeding time was noticeable with bottles too (from 15-20 min to less than 10).

    • An Actual Attorney

      Fwiw, my experience is that it really is supply /demand, not a one way ratchet. In other words, if you drop a feeding now, your supply will adjust and if you add a feeding later, your supply will adjust.

      Lactivists like horror stories.

      • Mac Sherbert

        Yes. My experience as well.

    • BeatriceC

      I’m going to echo what the others have said. It got a ton easier time wise around 3 or so months old.

    • Sean Jungian

      My experience was similar to what others are saying. It got a lot quicker/easier around 4 months IIRC, and your supply isn’t nearly as tetchy as lactivists like to imply. If you’re already making adequate supply, you should adjust to a variance in feedings.

      I think supply is much more responsive and flexible than lactivists like to admit, for fear women will feel the freedom to supplement a bottle of formula here and there if they’re not kept in abject terror of their milk drying up instantly. I suspect that reports of a woman’s milk drying up “too soon” are usually with women who are already having trouble with supply and maybe not quite making enough as-is. I was a veritable milk-cow so I didn’t have that trouble.

    • Mac Sherbert

      No advice mine never got faster…she so loved nana and nursed for comfort. The time issue would be my number #1 reason to not formula feed if I had another. I didn’t get any varicose veins during pregnancy…oh no I got them from sitting around BF all the time!! Ok rant over.

    • tariqata

      For me, daytime feedings got a lot shorter around the 3 or 4 month mark, although there’s fluctuation. At almost 9 months, most of our regular feeding sessions are 10-15 minutes (about 3-4, plus two at night), except the one right before bed which can still be as much as 45 minutes. Our big challenge for the past couple of months was that distract-a-baby just wouldn’t nurse on the go, or in the presence of other, more interesting people, so if we went anywhere he’d end up missing feedings despite my best efforts, but that’s improved, and I never noticed an impact on my supply.

    • guest

      I bottle fed my 2 and I remember feedings the first few months taking forever (45-60 minutes every 2 hours). It seemed like all we ever did was feed the baby. Neither kid would use a faster flow nipple. The only plus was other people could feed the kids too, but most people didn’t have the patience to sit that long while they finished the bottle so would stop early and make the next feeding come around even quicker. My sister lucked out with a baby that could suck a bottle down in 15 minutes. Maybe it’s baby temperament?? It definitely sucks when you feel trapped by the baby and nothing else is getting accomplished. Fingers crossed things improve you shortly and that you find solutions that work for you.

    • Chant de la Mer

      You’re still in that newborn stage where they eat all the time for extensive periods. Baby should start getting more efficient soon but until then it’s ok to use the bottles and formula for a feeding here and there. The great thing about regular bottles is that she will be used to them and won’t fuss about them if you need to leave her behind with someone and you can pump a bit as needed for your comfort. You sound like you have a good supply established if you need to pump if she misses a feeding. Your supply will regulate to her demands as you go along, she nurses more for a few days and your supply will go up and if she drops a feeding it’ll take a few days to adjust down.
      And yeah breastfeeding on the go is really hard at first because little tiny babies need so much support it’s awkward to be without your pillows and chair and everything else. This too will get easier as baby gets bigger and has more control of their head, but then the nosy stage will come and baby will be trying to see what every little noise is as they nurse!

  • Angie Young-Le

    “The latest piece on their blog is dripping with their hallmark contempt for women who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed.”

    the link here seems to be broken

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Thanks. Fixed it.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    This!

  • Amy

    Well that’s the thing. Lactivists tend to be either far-right biological essentialists or crunchy libertarians (some of them CLAIM to be liberal, but press them a little and they’re really not), and the far-right ones DO extend the same logic to back up their homophobia. The Catholic church actually extends it to its teaching against any kind of contraception other than NFP. And of course, if two gay men adopt a baby, the baby would have to be fed formula.

    • Sean Jungian

      This isn’t surprising really, since the common element I see in a lot of these discussions is punishment, the need to punish women for their choices. Similar to the argument we see against abortion in the U.S., and, since banning abortion outright has proved difficult, the right has managed to legislate it into something incredibly difficult to obtain. Again, because a woman MUST be punished for exercising her sexual freedom.

      Lactavists have found it similarly difficult to outright ban formula, so they’ve set up a number of hoops for parents to jump through in order to maintain autonomy. Again, punishing a woman for her sexual choices (in these cases, having a child) is paramount.

  • Gatita

    Ha, this one is really going to get people riled up.

  • Gatita

    Ha, this one is really going to get people riled up.

  • Sarah

    Delicious lactivist tears. I’m going to start buying formula for the food bank.

    • Sean Jungian

      Wonderful idea, I am co-opting it.

    • T.

      But if you make formula with lactivist’s tears, is it extra-nutritious?

      • Sarah

        Yes, especially if you throw in some homeopathic vaccines too.

    • Erin

      Our food banks specifically say they can’t/won’t take formula. I had several runs in with them over this in my previous job (I worked with homeless families) but apparently good old Baby Friendly has hit them too…

      “Food Banks should not accept any donations of infant formula or distribute any formula products to mothers. In addition to the dangers to the infant, there is also the potential for changing the infant feeding context, culture and norm in the area, or region.”

      http://www.unicef.org.uk/Documents/Baby_Friendly/Statements/UNICEF_UK_Baby_Friendly_Initiative_Statement_Food_Banks_April_2014.pdf

      Page two of the PDF helpfully provides a list telephone numbers of pro breastfeeding support for mothers who use foodbanks.

      • Megan

        WTELF???? This is insane. I have some extra fans that I’d like donate and this really sickens and disappoints me. I hope this is not the case with all charities. I had plans to donate to a local women’s shelter.

        • Megan

          *cans

        • Erin

          I don’t know whether they’re all signed up to it but there were two major food banks in the city in which I worked and both had as per this had a no formula policy. The Church whose Toddler group I go to has a local food bank and I was looking at their donation list with a view to picking something up next week and again, they are a no formula bank.

          Can’t remember if you’re in the UK or not but the Trussell Trust foodbanks definitely won’t take formula because of the whole “Baby Friendly” thing. Tried pointing out at a Homeless Conference to their delegates that women then just gave UHT to their very small babies but it fell on deaf ears.

          Now the local area has a terrible breastfeeding uptake rate, something like 32 percent are breastfeeding when they leave hospital so really the norm is formula but…

          • Beth

            wow. so if you’re poor/homeless and can’t breastfeed you’re just out of luck and your baby should starve? that’s just insane. and reprehensible.

          • Erin

            We had a lot of cases where the Police would turn up (usually 5 to 5 on Friday) with a woman fleeing domestic violence and her children. Sometimes they were from different cities and a lot of the time they had really small babies. We even had one or two discharged from the Maternity hospital to us. They had little to no money, some just the clothes they stood up in and no benefits in place because they’d only just left the family home literally hours before hand.

            In the end we had to have a cash fund to hand out for “emergencies” which often translated to infant formula/money for the gas & electric and food if it was out of hours for the Food Bank. We got receipts from them for their purchases to ensure it was for food/essentials or took them shopping ourselves.

            This worked great for a while until our Catholic father of five all breastfed by his Stay at Home wife Head of Department decided one night to examine a receipt. From his response you would have thought we’d been buying crack cocaine with public money, in fact I think he would have understood that more.

            We pulled in every string we could from journalists we’d met to Doctors encountered at case conferences and made it clear that if a baby became ill on our watch from lack of proper infant formula when we could and had helped supply it in the past, we would be laying the blame firmly at his door. He backed down but only we talked a Consultant Pediatrician into having a little chat (it’s amazing the topics of conversation which come up when you’re waiting for social workers at case conferences…also amazing coincidence that we just happened to be sitting next to each other…)

            People like said ex boss have absolutely no business being in the profession he is in. He threatened to sack me (idle threat but hey) when I pointed out that he was no better than the abusers those women were fleeing but I stood by it then and I stand by it now. We had a duty of care to help everyone who approached our service regardless of their circumstances until they had been assessed against the legislation we were bound by and that I believe includes making sure they and/or their family members don’t starve to death.

          • Dr Kitty

            When I worked in the kids’ A&E we had some mums who would come, complaining that their baby had diarrhoea and vomiting, and that they had “forgotten” to bring bottles with them.
            So we would give them the ready-to-feed formula and let them go home if the baby was feeding well.

            After a few weeks and some familiar faces I started giving extra bottles
            “Just in case”.

            If you can’t afford to feed your baby and are willing to spend 8hrs in A&E to get a free bottle of formula….

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            And to make it even worse, I would guess that a woman under considerable stress who is struggling to feed herself is at higher risk of insufficient milk production.

          • Sarah

            Exactly, the reality is that most low income groups in need of food banks in the UK have very low (I prefer this to ‘terrible’) breastfeeding rates. The exception would be asylum seeking women, who typically come from cultures with higher breastfeeding rates than the UK. But their numbers are of course much smaller than the British white working class, who have exceptionally low rates. And who also engage in unsafe formula feeding for income reasons. Nobody, of course, wants to hear that the solution to this is to create conditions allowing them to employ their chosen feeding method safely and successfully. Much better to run a few breastfeeding support groups at the few SureStarts still left.

          • Erin

            You’re right, “terrible” was a terrible word choice.

        • guest

          It seems to be pretty common. Over on FFF, a lot of people wanted to organize formula donations, and this rule was discovered and extensively discussed.

          Some in the US do accept it. A lot of the others seem to take their cue from international organizations, where the idea is that “uninformed” mothers would use the formula without realizing their milk supply will drop, and then the formula runs out and the baby has nothing to eat.

      • Sarah

        Ew. You might usefully think about complaining in writing.

      • swbarnes2

        It’s bizarre how they say “Food banks should offer mothers who are formula feeding their infant, food to the mother for herself and her family.”, but the infant is apparently not family, because no food is to be given that the infant can actually eat.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          It’s pretty disgusting. In an online group I’m in, there was a mom who’s having trouble with her very new baby eating. Mom has a history of lactation failure with prior kids. Mom is on WIC. WIC gave her standard formula, but baby is obviously in pain when she eats it and throws it back up again. WIC is being obstinate about her needing to wait another MONTH before getting Alimentum/Nutramigen. I get that this stuff is pricey as hell and has a high resale value, but I do NOT understand why it isn’t an option for mom to return unopened cans of the standard stuff in exchange for hypoallergenic formula.
          One of our local food banks, while otherwise excellent, doesn’t accept formula but cites only “safety reasons” for doing so. (As in, that’s all they say: “Due to safety reasons, we cannot accept baby food.”) This annoys me, and leads me to donate to one that does accept formula.

        • Sarah

          And indeed, regular food full stop will be dangerous for a young enough baby. But food banks don’t refrain from giving that out in case someone decided it’s a good idea to give a tin of tuna to a 3 week old.

      • Roadstergal

        Who was it who was saying it was the cultural norm among some Hispanic communities for helpful family members to feed the baby formula until mom is rested and her milk is in?

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I can’t speak to Hispanic communities everywhere, of course, but locally, it’s fairly SOP, and results in breastfeeding to 18-24 months being the norm in that community. *insert exploding lactivist heads here*
          Mom has baby. Mom’s mom/sister/auntie/grandma/whoever (or some combination of the above) takes over mom’s household duties (cleaning, cooking, care of baby’s siblings) while mom focuses on resting/recuperating. Mom breastfeeds during the day and once or twice at night, baby gets a bottle or two of formula at night and is also otherwise cared for at night by a family member so that once baby’s finished eating, mom just hands baby over and goes back to sleep. Somewhere between the 1 week and 2 week mark, baby is transitioned over to exclusive breastfeeding from a mom who is well-healed and well-rested, and things tend to go well because, I suspect, mom’s body is functioning very well indeed due to the rest, good nutrition, and low stress.

          • Julia Wurst

            My mom basically did this for me. My preemie was in the NICU for five weeks at a hospital far from home, so her and I stayed at a hotel. I only woke up once in the middle of the night to pump even tho I was told to pump every 2-3 hours by the hospital staff. Umm, nope and nope. I was pumping more milk than they ever used. Anyways, once I got baby home I took 1-2 feedings in the middle of the night and my mom took the 3am shift, gave baby a bottle and I went back to bed. We did that for three weeks. By the time she flew home my daughter was two months old and we were EBF. When I hear that formula supplementing or bottle feeding will tank a milk supply or ruin the “breast feeding relationship” I think that’s such BS. Having help is one of the major reasons I didn’t really suffer from PPD. Looking back the NICU was such a great time to learn for a first time mom. I had so much support. But my supply has always been great. I would have been very frustrated if I couldn’t pump the amount of milk she needed. Those five weeks also gave me time to rest and heal from preeclampsia.

          • guest

            I was also told to get up three times at night to pump while the babies were in the NICU, and I also said nope! Not doing it! I just had surgery and I’m anxious all day about how my babies are doing, and how I’m doing, and if I can sleep without interruption then I’m going to. Milk supply was more than adequate despite no pumping overnight.

          • Julia Wurst

            The NICU is stressful and pumping every 2-3 hours is insanity! I quit pumping shortly after we got home. I have like 5 oz in my freezer. I love breastfeeding but I HATE pumping. It takes away the convenience part of it for me.

          • Elizabeth A

            When my DD was in the NICU, a helpful friend linked me to her blog about an LLL leadership information session for helping mothers of preemies. LLL was weirdly sane – they had talked to some doctors and
            actually recommended that mothers of preemies *not* get up to pump in the middle of the night. The received wisdom was “if you happen to wake up, go ahead and pump, but don’t set an alarm.” There was a bit about recognizing that mothers of preemies already frequently suffer from anxiety and insomnia.

            I took this advice, and slept through the night whenever possible. When DD was two weeks old, the NICU nurses complained that if they took more of *my* milk, other moms wouldn’t have any room in the freezer.

            There were some days when I just couldn’t get the childcare together to come into the NICU. DD seemed to prefer bottles for a while, which I had mixed feelings about at the time, but in the end she nursed for 13 months, weaned of her own accord, and there is simply no way to argue that she isn’t thriving, and there has been no way to argue that for nearly six and a half years now.

        • Bombshellrisa

          My Hispanic sister in law did this, I was more than thrilled to be able to feed my handsome nephew. It seems do be a trend with her family and friends.

        • Inmara

          Here is a good story about this, including how lactivists can’t leave those successfully breastfeeding women alone because they’re not doing it RIGHT http://breastfeedingwithoutbs.blogspot.com/2013/10/las-dos-and-breastfeeding-diversity.html

      • Sean Jungian

        No. Effing. Way.

        I am going to call our local food bank. Since we’re out in the sticks, there isn’t such a huge NCB EBF etc. push, but still. This is absolutely outrageous, to discourage food banks from accepting formula. Holy moly. I’m stunned.

      • AirPlant

        That is actually pretty rage inducing. Like it is a whole lot of writing that can pretty much be summed up as “never give formula ever because the baby will die”. I mean ffs, they are claiming that giving formula to a formula fed baby will cause harm! WTF?

      • BeatriceC

        Given how litigious the US culture is, I’m not at all surprised to hear that this happens here, though I am a little surprised at it happening in the UK. I can actually understand the lawyers for the food banks in the US advising against giving out baby formula, and then the food banks saying something about “breast is best” to avoid having to say “we don’t want to get sued if a baby gets sick, so we’re just not going to give out formula and baby food.”

        • An Actual Attorney

          I would be surprised to learn of an actual lawyer (vs a CPL) give this advice.

          • BeatriceC

            I will defer to your opinion, but I just tend to think that any ridiculous rules have to do with either fear of being sued or insurance companies forcing policy holders to make stupid rules for fear of being sued. I would be happy to be proved wrong on that point.

      • CSN0116

        UNICEF and WHO are fucking nuts with their anti-formula stance.

        The Philippines had free donations of formula waiting at their borders post-typhoon a few years ago and it was all denied. Can’t go undermining the benefits of breast feeding, not even when your house has been destroyed and you have no food or water to feed yourself, let alone produce milk for your infant. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/should-baby-formula-aid-be-banned-from-the-philippines/article15448684/

        When discussing natural disasters, Dr. Diana Bienvenu begins and ends her lecture with “babies are born to breast feed!” She recommends infant formula last (re-lactate, get a wet nurse, obtain donated breast milk, and make sure 100% of the population is breast feeding in the first place just in case a tornado hits). I think the part I like most on her PowerPoint is that breast feeding will help moms decrease their stress levels after a natural disaster because of the endorphins released LOL. https://www2.aap.org/breastfeeding/files/pdf/DisasterPres.pdf

        In the case of orphaned babies in the developing world, care givers are encouraged to re-lactate (even grandmothers can do it according to one article!), or find wet nurses. Fuck trying to find a “sustainable, reliable, safe, and affordable” way to feed them formula.

        HIV+ moms are also encouraged to exclusively breast feed, per UNICEF and WHO, even if they can’t get access to ART.

        • Megan

          Relactate during a natural disaster??? Are these people nuts??? What a bunch of privileged twits! SMH

          • Madtowngirl

            Right, because, in the aftermath of a natural disaster, it’s going to be super easy to see a doctor to get a prescription for a drug that will make you relactate.

            Not only privileged twits, but morons who’ve clearly only ever seen natural disasters on t.v.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Oh come on, I’m sure they are only talking about those _mild_ disasters.

          • Amazed

            That’s right. What’s a hurricane? An earthquake? They’re NATURAL! It isn’t as if baby hasn’t been given to mom the moment they were born, thus dooming breastfeeing and all other relationships to hell for eternity. Now, THAT’s a disaster.

        • Angie Young-Le

          I am disgusted to hear about formula being refused. Obviously using contaminated water to mix it would be dangerous, so tell people to use bottled water. Give them a supply of bottled water when handing out formula. SOMETHING …. Wouldn’t it be better than babies starving?

          On a side note: last night I was attempting to look around for some non biased information on breastfeeding and thought that perhaps UNICEF would be just the place to look. Annnnnddd nope. When I read “Formula is not an acceptable substitute for breastmilk… Even one feeding of formula or other foods can cause injuries to the gut, taking weeks for the baby to recover.” They lost all credibility to me.

          • CSN0116

            Right?! Make the effort to supply safe infant formula, because it – you know- – can save lives.

          • CSN0116

            UNICEF is high off the Kool Aid.

          • indigosky

            And people were going to donate RTF formula, no water needed. AKA, the expensive stuff. And still a big fat no.

        • guest

          I can’t confirm this, but I know people were claiming that formula fed infants in the Philippines died because their caregivers did not have access to enough formula. That’s the reason formula feeding is discouraged by disaster recovery groups. They can’t guarantee they’ll be able to deliver enough formula to see a family through the disaster.

          • CSN0116

            To my knowledge, NGOs and “dreaded” formula companies were ready to donate a TON of formula. Like enough to well sustain these infants going forward. And I understand that keeping the supply of formula coming is a concern, but then ADDRESS IT. Pay for it when disaster hits. Subsidize it. Have infrastructure and relationships in place so that safe formula is ready to go. Fuck, prepare. Negotiate. It’s a widely available product. The fact that it’s a life saving substance with zero effort to provide it is disgusting.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            “All else equal, breast is best. But a FRIGGIN DISASTER is about as far from being equal to all else as you can get.”

          • CSN0116

            …or orphaned status, or a mother with HIV, or being born a triplet in some remote village in Tanzania where there is nowhere near enough of mom’s milk to go around…

            What upsets me the most is that we all come together on this blog and write about and discuss a woman’s right to choose to formula or breast feed. We talk about this issue as it applies to the first world. But the fact that random psychopaths with a God-complex and clearly deep-rooted agenda are sitting around board room tables, constructing “policies” and “recommendations” for women with nothing – no voice. Ugh, it just makes me sick. Talk about lack of choice! The women for whom these policies affect have ZERO.

          • Jules B

            Hear hear!!

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            What if the mother dies in the disaster? What if the mother is hurt in the disaster and is hospitalized? What if she is at work during the disaster and can’t get back to where the baby is? During Earthquakes and Tsunamis roads are often completely destroyed. What if the mother is so stressed by the loss of her home, spouse or other family members that her supply dries up? What if the mother is not getting enough food to be able to keep up her supply.

            Having actually been through several natural disasters and the chaos that follows, I have to say these people are idiots…

          • guest

            I’m not defending their position, just trying to provide what information I have on why they have those policies. When the Philippines disaster hit, FFF people really wanted to help with formula, and we were hit with wave after wave of criticism over it.

          • AirPlant

            I think that people really and truly cannot comprehend the horror and chaos of disaster until they encounter it. It feels like when they think of these extreme circumstances they think on the order of a really long power outage. You hunker down at home, light a few candles, have a picnic with all your perishables, raid the canned goods after and wait it out until things go back to normal. The reality is much harsher and much scarier.

          • Glittercrush

            This. This is so true. My family lives a block away from the water on the Mississippi Gulf coast. My senior year of high school was the year Katrina hit. My family evacuated for the storm. When we finally made it home 6 weeks after the storm, the emergency services were already embedded. It was still a horrible period in my life. We had a fema trailer. We had national guard providing water and MREs. All of our basic needs were met. But it took those 6 weeks for power to be restored to our area. Schools didnt open up for 4 months because people were still living in them. Our land was a pile of rubble so high I couldnt see over it, and I am 5 foot 7 inches tall. Our home was gutted by the surge and looted by the people who stayed. I would not have been able to keep up a supply to breastfeed. The stress of seeing your life turned upside down is disorienting to say the least. The physical work that goes on during recovery is exhausting. I watched my father age a decade in the year after that storm. If I ever live through something like that again and some stuck up chump tries to chastise me for not breastfeeding, they will most likely get chased off with the nearest splintered 2×4.

          • Charybdis

            I’d prefer one with nails sticking out of it or a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire.

          • BeatriceC

            I was 16 and a high school senior when hurricane Andrew wiped out my home town. I honesty can’t imagine trying to nurse an infant on top of everything else that was going on, and I’m one of those women who found nursing easy after the first few weeks.

          • Marie

            I’m breastfeeding my son and have a few unopened cans of formula and a good supply of bottled water in the house for this very reason. If he’s home with dad or grandma when disaster strikes I don’t expect them to start lactating for him

          • Sarah

            That is exactly what you should expect. Formula is never appropriate.

          • Megan

            Their logic makes no sense to me. So instead of giving a FF baby formula in a disaster where they might run out and die, we instead give them none and tell mom she should relactate and then the baby is even more likely to starve? That is bonkers. I don’t get it.

        • Inmara

          Yeah, good luck storing and transporting donor breastmilk in the wake of natural disaster. And lactating women who have lost their homes, belongings and maybe family members simply can’t wait to feed another baby in addition to their own.

        • Sarah

          Well the HIV part, in poorer countries at least, is because the risk of transmission is lower than the risks from contaminated water. Not to defend some of the more batshit stuff those organisations have come out with, but that one’s a numbers game that breastfeeding sometimes wins. We should all, of course, hang our heads in shame that any people are poor enough for breastfeeding whilst HIV positive to be the safer option.

          • Irène Delse

            Although I do wonder how the overall mortality is defined and accounted for. According to one study in Botswana, exclusive breastfeeding was associated with lower all causes mortality at 7 month, but when looking at the 18 month results, mortality was similar in breastfed and non-breastfed babies.
            http://jama.jamanetwork.com/mobile/article.aspx?articleid=203174

          • Sarah

            I don’t know, tbh. Everything I’ve read suggests the transmission risk from breastfeeding is i the region of 15-40% and obviously there are places where the water supply is such that 60% of babies wouldn’t survive drinking it. Especially if access to fuel to boil water isn’t guaranteed.

          • CSN0116

            Am I in a twilight zone? How did they come to this recommendation from these conclusions? The data doesn’t support this.

            “Conclusions: Breastfeeding with zidovudine prophylaxis was not as effective as formula feeding in preventing postnatal HIV transmission, but was associated with a lower mortality rate at 7 months. Both strategies had comparable HIV-free survival at 18 months.”

            “Recommendation: These results demonstrate the risk of formula feeding to infants in sub-Saharan Africa, and the need for studies of alternative strategies.”

          • Irène Delse

            You’re not the only one.

          • CSN0116

            Terrible 🙁

            But why isn’t RTF formula seen as the “medicine” that it is? If the water contamination is the #1 issue, and the water can’t easily be controlled for, then why not a mass effort to stock and distribute RTF?

            What I know about powder infant formula is that it’s marked up over 20 times by your name brand companies, like Enfamil and Similac. And it’s marked up over 10 times by the generic suppliers. It’s really difficult to get information on RTF and why it’s so pricy. Is it the convenience piece that jacks the price up, or is it legitimately more costly to produce? I don’t know. But what I *do* know is that, true to form, it is ALSO likely marked up about 20 times its wholesale price. And it does not come generic.

            So – CRAZY IDEA – why could relief organizations not either, (1) purchase it at wholesale cost and distribute it, or (2) link up with a company/produce it themselves at less than wholesale cost and distribute it? This isn’t rocket science. The same way in which they get their ARV drugs is how they could provide safe infant formula.

            There is this documentary called “Slingshot” about a man who created a water distillation system that can purify some 250 gallons of the dirtiest, most contaminated, water per day – making it safe to drink. He invented the thing 15+ years ago and has spent all of this time trying to get governments and organizations to purchase them and bring them to people without clean water. The system is affordable, ~$2,000, and a single one can help hundreds of people, daily. But alas, he has hit brick wall after brick wall. Nobody seems to care.

            It all just seems so. fucked. up.

          • Sarah

            I suppose because it wouldn’t be realistic to provide every HIV positive woman in an area without clean water with 6 months ready made formula, in the same way that not all HIV positive people are able to access ARVs. Those words fill me with shame as I type them, even more so as I read about the ‘slingshot’ which I hadn’t heard of before. That women have to choose between risking death for their babies through HIV transmission or through diarrhoea is, well, there aren’t any words for that.

          • CSN0116

            Not that long ago, P-MTCT programs prioritized the use of infant formula. It was routine to provide ARVs *and* free infant formula to HIV+ moms to lower transmission rate. All of that suddenly stopped. And there’s no real explanation for it except that for 12 years LLLI and other lactivists in global health organizations relentlessly petitioned for the WHO guidelines to change, encouraging EBF despite HIV+ status. They were finally successful. The science doesn’t support it. At all. The science would respect the legitimate obstacles of safe infant formula feeding, but encourage organizations work around it. For instance, in a P-MTCT program in Rwanda, new moms are given tins of powder formula, a stove top device for boiling water and bottles, the bottles themselves, clinic education on how to formula feed, and 3-4 in-home follow-up visits to ensure babies are being fed properly. It’s all part of the initiative.

            Probably thee grossest example of lactivism as it pertain to HIV. This shit is so dumb it will make you want to throw up: http://internationalbreastfeedingjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1746-4358-5-19

          • Sarah

            Yes, it pretty much did. Thanks for the information.

        • sdsures

          “The Philippines had free donations of formula waiting at their borders post-typhoon a few years ago and it was all denied.

          HIV+ moms are also encouraged to exclusively breast feed, per UNICEF and WHO, even if they can’t get access to ARV.”

          *speechless*

      • indigosky

        That’s crazy. I am on Los Angeles, full of crunchy, anti-vaxxing crazies. Yet a quick Google search brought me to no less than a dozen places that accept formula, from food banks to places that do formula and diapers for low income moms in the county.

    • OttawaAlison

      I used to buy numerous cans of formula for my local foodbank when the Alpha parent wrote crappy things about Formula feeding moms… I figured writing angry stuff towards her did nothing (she knew fully well she was being an a-hole), so I figured it was a way I could make some good out of her crap.

  • Mel

    “If breastfeeding is truly a public health issue with benefits that have been widely documented for both women and children, then health care providers should be promoting breastfeeding to empower women to make an informed decision about their infant feeding choice.”

    I completely agree with this statement. IF that data existed, THEN doctors should share it with their patients. SINCE that data does NOT exist, doctors are ethically obligated to share the information that EFF, combo and EBF give similar outcomes in for children over the long-term.

    • Sean Jungian

      I thought the same when I read this article yesterday – in fact, I wonder why breastfeeding is thought to be a public health issue at all. I don’t want the public weighing in on my boobs.

      Insuring that infants are fed is more appropriately the public health issue.

      • MI Dawn

        THIS!!! As long as the infants are fed appropriately so they are healthy, then THAT is what is of the public interest. NOT what they are fed with or by (though I really love the “feeding apparatus” phrase and wish I’d taught it to my kids)

      • Amy M

        This is a great point. We know that families that are having a hard time affording formula (or any food for that matter), may prepare formula incorrectly, to stretch it. Maybe resources would be better spent on teaching people how to prepare formula correctly and explaining why it is important to do so. And maybe offer resources to lower income families, so they won’t have to try stretching the formula. Before we left the hospital with the babies, the staff there gave us the shaken-baby talk, which I’m pretty sure was standard for all new parents. The proper formula prep talk could go along with that.

        • Megan

          Given how many babies will receive at least some formula in the babyhoods, not doing formula feeding education is rather like not doing nutrition education for diabetes or heart disease and instead saying “oh, that won’t happen to you”

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Exactly!!! Even if some of this stuff *seems* obvious, it becomes much less so when you’re exhausted and stressed. I consider myself a very safe cook, possibly to the point of near-obsession. I’ve worked in food prep/serving. I was so sure I’d breastfeed that I never even looked up the basics of formula feeding, and since the nurses at the hospital never educated me on it beyond giving the impression that I was a failure for using it, it simply did not occur to me for about 2 weeks that leaving bottles of formula out at room temperature for hours before feeding them to baby was a Really Bad Idea.
            Fortunately, she was fine, but someone simply spending 5 minutes saying “this is how you prepare a bottle, this is how long it can be out, this is why it could be a problem otherwise” would have avoided the majority of the risk. I also thought at first that you were supposed to add the powder before the water–I mean, you add wet ingredients to dry when cooking for better mixing, so why not? Yes, I do know better now, but…argh!

          • Jules B

            Same same same! I just assumed I would be able to EBF, given all the “support” and education I had, plus the fact that it is the expected norm in my community (many Moms do extended breastfeeding – it is not uncommon to see a toddler walk up to Mom and ask for the boob in public). As a result, I didn’t read up on formula feeding at all – and no one ever told me anything about how to prep a bottle, or even how to pump. It was all just relentless Breast is Best stuff, which I already (thought) I knew.

            So when I got the Triple Crown of jaundiced then reflux baby plus genuine supply issues, and my daughter eventually totally refused the boob, I was left scrambling to figure out handling bottles and pumping and formula prep etc etc in a very short space of time, totally sleep deprived and stressed, not thinking properly etc. It was a lot to learn and very challenging to learn under those conditions! And, like you, I made some mistakes that make me cringe in retrospect – I am so lucky my daughter was OK and did not get sick!!

            And the fact that that happened because of the lactivist agenda and tunnel vision makes me so mad. What if my daughter had been harmed because essential FF info had been denied to me??

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Yes!
            I would never have said this before I had DD, but I now consider knowing how to correctly make up a bottle to be on my list of essential life skills that I’ll expect the kids to know before they leave the house. The list’s pretty long, and ranges from changing a tire to cooking a few basic meals to simple household repairs. Changing a diaper was always on there, but it literally didn’t occur to me that “good moms” wouldn’t breastfeed, so the bottle thing…not so much. I also grew up in a community that nearly all breastfed, and I had to prepare a bottle exactly once before I had DD. To add insult to injury, the parents of the baby I was taking care of didn’t explain how to prep a bottle, so I did it by, I kid you not, filling a bottle with water and adding powder ’til it “looked right.” In my defense, I was about 14, and the kid seems fine now, but ugh!

  • Mel

    I don’t understand why people believe that breastfeeding needs to be promoted anyway. The word promotion implies that women are clueless that their body produces milk that can be used to feed babies. That’s pretty common knowledge now….

    I would accept the substitution of the word “enforce” rather than promote. That’s much closer to the outcome of the lactivist practices.

    • Roadstergal

      Perfectly put.

  • Roadstergal

    Does that make bisexuality the combo feeding in this metaphor? 🙂

    • AirPlant

      In that people refuse to believe that it exists and both sides shun association with it?

      • Roadstergal

        And refer to ‘confusion’ when discussing it?

        • AirPlant

          On a personal note, do you know what was confusing? Spending a solid five years trying to pick a side and failing. Like everyone in my life was like “You know bisexuality is cool right?” and I was just all “NO. I must choose forever!” and then got all freaked out when despite being happily partnered with a man or a woman I was still, in fact, bisexual.

          • Gatita

            Bi erasure is real.

          • Roadstergal

            It’s a sucky thing. I’m glad bisexuality is becoming more accepted as a Thing unto itself, in all its myriad manifestations.

            I was lucky to escape a lot of it, but my husband went through a lot of “am I gay?” moments in his youth. Being unable to give up extreme interest in the vagina eventually ended that line of questioning.

          • Gatita

            It’s like the Kinsey scale never existed. Not sure why this stuff is so hard for our culture to deal with.

          • BeatriceC

            I’m seriously weird. I’m way, way to interested in the penis, and while I’m also attracted to women, I have no desire to actually have sex with them. Then I get confused because how on earth can I be attracted to and sexually turned on by women yet not want to actually do anything with them????

          • AirPlant

            Sexuality is some weird shit, man. I actually have no physical or romantic preference, but when I am with a man I feel like I have the freedom to be a lot cutesier. Like I feel like women will recognize feminine affectations for what they are, and will think I am being fake so I get this weird compulsion to take my bubbliness down about a million notches. Culture is some weird shit.

          • LaMont

            Culture is some VERY weird shit – part of my hangup about actually being with a woman is that I start to act more traditionally masculine when there’s a woman am attracted to. I actually really enjoy the feeling, but then I get in my head about power structures and why on *earth* my tastes and behaviors would be so disparate with men versus women.

          • BeatriceC

            I think my hang up is the exact opposite. In my non-bedroom life I’m always in charge, so in my bedroom life I’m very, very submissive. I’ve mentioned in the past but MrC and I have a bedroom only D/s dynamic. I am, however, turned off by a female Domme, so it’s a mental disconnect there. The only time I “play” with women is when it’s an order. (And to be clear, it’s not on my list of hard limits, so it’s consensual).

            Edited because I left out half a sentence that made my post confusing.

          • MaineJen

            I identify with this…I definitely appreciate a beautiful woman, in a “Wow she’s incredibly beautiful and I can’t help but stare” kind of way, but I have never ever had a desire to actually be with one.

          • MI Dawn

            Word. Though I do occasionally want to have sex with women, I’m far more interested in penis. And when with a woman, am far happier if there’s also a man, too.

          • BeatriceC

            I’m actually surprised that what I’ve already disclosed hasn’t shocked you guys or made you shun me. I’m normally a lot more closeted about those things. I really appreciate this community for that. It’s even better that there’s some of you who even feel similarly. I sometimes read these comments and think “I’ve found my people. “

          • Well, it’d be hard to be shocked by what you wrote, because you just described me down to a T! I call myself mostly-straight as a quick descriptor, because while I can definitely see myself involved with heavy petting sessions with other women, the actual sex part isn’t something I’m super interested in. For that part, I like men 🙂

          • Charybdis

            Why would we shun you? We LIKE you :).

            I lean the other way, although I recognize other women as being pretty, sexy, attractive, etc, I’ve never had a desire to get sexual with one. Two men with an edge of rough, however, *swoons* .

            I think a lot of people don’t like to look too closely at sexual things because it makes them uncomfortable, can be awkward and opens them up to judgement about what they like.

          • BeatriceC

            Awwwww. Thanks. I’m just used to having to hide that part of who I am, and I don’t have to around here, which is very nice. I have been shunned. Actually, my parents made a pretty vicious CPS complaint against me which boiled down to them saying we were swingers and had wild, drunken sex orgies at the house. What MrC and I do behind closed doors is none of anybody’s business but our own. And while we have the perfect house for parties, we have kids, so we don’t throw them. Four years from now, maybe, but not now. It’s kind of funny in retrospect. They talked to all of our neighbors to “catch” us lying about the fact that we don’t have parties. Our next door neighbor told the investigator “Wait, they have friends? Really?” Yeah. That’s how often we have people over.

          • Amazed

            You weren’t around when the great wave of anti-vaxx sciency scientist hit us here around the Disneyland vaccine moment, were you? I think you found us later. We had the latest fashion in anti-vaxx rhetoric – guys and galls who pretended to hesitate but their masks fell off pretty early in the game. Somewhere in the great debate “Should We Give Young Girls That Shot, Or Should We Teach Them Abstinence” some things about sexual lives of many of us came to light. We’re all still here. If I, someone who by the grace of God has avoided getting infected this far despite liking sex and having done it with quite a few men without holy matrimony with any of them, was not casted out, why should you?

            Do you force yourself on someone who is unwilling? No? Do you make moon eyes at someone who is willing but incapable of making that decision due to age or something else? No? Well, what happens under your sheets is your own business, then. It is this simple.

          • BeatriceC

            I think I showed up not too long after that. I lurked for a long time before I started posting, and recall you guys making references to it, but I never saw it.

            And I really like the “live and let live as long as what you’re doing is legal and isn’t hurting anybody and you know the real risks of your decisions” approach to life. That’s part of why I started commenting.

          • Amazed

            We actually crashed the freaking site with our 2000+ comments. I guess it was stupid of us. We knew we wouldn’t change the minds of all those sciency scientists. But then, we couldn’t let them post unchallenged. God knows that they attract the hesitant by being vocal. WE are the bloody majority but if we keep silent, it simply isn’t reflected here, in the internet world.

            I was big on pointing out the case of those poor German babies who were too young to be vaccinated and years later died from a dreadful complications of measles that they caught in their pediatrician’s waiting room because someone chose not to vax special snowflake AND chose to rush SS to the pediatrician with clear symptoms of measles. I posted it each single time I saw someone ask, Well, if shots work, then why do you care if I vax?

          • Jules B

            Same! I would actually say I am more attracted to a wider variety of women than I am men. I am really really picky when it comes to guys – it does not take much for me to turn off a man, I rarely see guys out in public that make me take a second look etc. But I really have never wanted to get physical with the women I am attracted to. For a long time I just thought I might be hung up on the same-sex thing but no, I am just content to appreciate from afar (and you could say I just have an issue with sexual desire in general, but I am definitely not asexual or on that spectrum, trust me hah). I do prefer men in actuality, but women in theory.

            So yeah, talk about weird and hard to identify 😉

          • BeatriceC

            Y’all have no idea how comforting it is to hear that other women have similar feelings. Even in the kink world I feel kind of abnormal. Maybe it’s just that there’s shades of grey (not 50) that nobody talks about? It is difficult to explain that while women can be sexually attractive to me, and I will have sex with them if ordered to by a Dom I’ve already consented to doing that, I really get nothing out of it except for watching the Dom be pleased by it. When it comes to actual sexual satisfaction, I must have the penis. It’s non-negotiable.

          • Jules B

            Agreed, very hard to explain! I stopped trying to explain quite a few years ago. Also, to add to the confusion, it had changed for me over the years – meaning sometimes the “girl thing” (as I call it) is more at the forefront of my mind than others. Right now I am just a tired middle-aged Mom of a young child, so having sex with anyone (including my poor S.O.) is low on my priority list haha.

          • Amazed

            I think I might actually be kind of asexual. I like sex and I like men but mostly I become physically attracted to them only after we have established some rapport. I need to like something about a man before I feel attraction. Oh, I find some handsome and I can’t tear my eyes off them. But it isn’t the same thing.

            Between relationships it isn’t sex that I actually miss. It’s the connection. And when I like someone, THEN I remember that yes, I do like sex.

            What can I say, many people are weird in their own way.

          • Nick Sanders

            I think that’s what’s called “demisexual” but I’m not entirely sure.

          • Amazed

            Thanks! I only thought of that when I started reading this thread. Since my sexual drive IS high, I never thought about the fact that for prolonged periods of time, it isn’t there.

          • Jules B

            It is yeah. But I would argue that many women (not all) are thus demisexual – meaning they need the connection before attraction can develop.

          • Mishimoo

            I think that’s more of a societal issue – girls are still brought up with the whole Madonna/Whore thing and given the risks involved in having sex it’s not surprising that a fair chunk of women fit the criteria for demisexuality.

            I also think that women are more likely to talk about being demisexual because even though there is still the whole ‘frigid’ nonsense, there’s less of a penalty for admitting being a demisexual woman. In fact, I get praised for being “one of those rare good women” which is just gross. Two of my male friends are demisexual as well and they get the full gamut of insults from “not being a REAL man” to “you must be a closeted gay” WITHOUT them actually saying anything about being demisexual.

          • Who?

            I get that but very occasionally (once every several years, and I meet a lot of people) I meet a man I find very sexually attractive from the moment I meet him. Given that part of my being married deal is no cheating ever, I make sure to keep well away. Who knows what that is-weird hormones that would make Donald Trump desirable if I met him that moment, a potential genuine connection, who knows.

            And yes, for the curious, one of those few men is my husband.

          • BeatriceC

            I do a little of both. Some men I find extremely attractive just looking at them across a crowded street. Others, like MrC, took a little bit more time before I was “on fire” for them. I think I’m more quick to judge attractiveness when I’m looking for a casual, recreational sex relationship rather than a long term, life partner relationship, if that makes any sense at all.

          • Spamamander

            My daughter is panromantic asexual. Talk about “not existing”.

          • indigosky

            I’m demi-sexual so the aces won’t accept me because I have sex and the sexual won’t accept me because I must have something wrong me be/been abused/etc to be demi. I don’t exist to either.

          • Spamamander

            Uggh. See, this is exactly why labels suck. Identity is good, but people get tied up in who belongs and who doesn’t. 🙁

          • Chi

            I’m bi. I’ve had both male and female partners over the course of my life and though I am married to a wonderful man, I do find women sexually attractive.

            My (ex) best friend has decided she’s a lesbian, which I’m totally cool with but we had a conversation last year where I basically said that women/women fanfiction didn’t really do it for me and that I find guy/guy fanfiction that much hotter (personal preference).

            I also said I suspected that that was because as I’ve gotten older, I’ve slipped more into a ‘hetero mindset’.

            That statement (hetero mindset) upset her because apparently by saying something like that I was ‘perpetuating society’s ingrained homophobia’ (her words exactly and didn’t I realize just how damaging that was to the LGBT community?

            She sent me a passive-aggressive email a couple of months ago basically saying that she no longer wants to know me because (insert list of past crimes from as far back as over a decade ago) and that I needed to get over my own ‘internalized homophobia’.

            Which basically to me read as me not being gay enough. Even though I associate as bi.

            Bi-erasure is totally real. It’s like, because I can swing either way (and in this case it’s not the way SHE wants me to swing) somehow that makes HER feel threatened???

            I think I’m better off without that in my life, but it’s really hard because we were best friends in high school.

            Guess the relationship meant more to me than it ever did her.

          • Roadstergal

            Guy on guy is very hot. I’m not seeing how it’s indicative of a ‘hetero mindset,’ though…

          • Charybdis

            Yes, yes it is.

          • Chi

            Even in high-school I preferred to read guy/guy.

            So it’s not like it’s a new preference. The hetero mindset was my explanation for why I wasn’t really into the woman/woman thing because lately women haven’t really appealed to me like they used to.

            ETA: She feels that woman/woman fiction is totally underrepresented in all communities and that is probably why she got so defensive when I said that woman/woman wasn’t my thing.

            In some ways it feels like she’s become a militant feminist too, which also didn’t help the issue.

          • Charybdis

            See, it is this sort of thing that gets me. If you do not immediately agree with or embrace their worldview, you are somehow “against” them. Even registering surprise at some sort of revelation (I’m bi. Really? That’s a surprise) is somehow verboten. You must maintain a poker face in public, never react to anything with an emotion other than enthusiasm and complete and total support.

          • Chi

            Exactly!!!

            As I told her in my response to her ‘break up’ email to me (which incidentally she only sent because she’d quietly unfriended me on Facebook and I resent her a friend request, which made her feel obligated to send an ‘explanation’)

            “I have always been willing to accept you for who you are, even when you were struggling to define yourself.”

            Because I don’t think I’ve ever put strings on our friendship (not consciously). So I got the impression a lot of it was her projecting her own insecurities.

            But yeah, still made me feel like I wasn’t ‘gay enough’ for her.

          • AirPlant

            Oh ffs, that is just six types of bullshit. This could be privilege bisexual shit, but gay is not a personality. Gay is an orientation. Expecting gay oriented people to conform to a set of behaviors is such a narrow black and white way of thinking. It is every bit as oppressive as the suburban neighborhood that told me that girls couldn’t be good at math. Mandatory stereotypes are just lazy shorthand for people who don’t want to live with a multifaceted world and hopefully your friend will grow the hell up and get over herself.

          • AirPlant

            Sometimes I feel like gaybies are like new Christian converts. Like give it a year to get their crazy wiggles out and then maybe they will be bearable to be around again.

    • Sean Jungian

      Yeah people will SAY they’re combo feeding, but everyone knows they’re really just formula feeding and don’t want to admit it!

      • AirPlant

        What can I say, it is just so hard to resist the call of a long hard can of formula.

        • Amy

          Or a deep, inviting, open can of formula for that matter.

          • Roadstergal

            Oh myyyyyy…

      • SporkParade

        Actually, there are quite a few combo-feeders who hang out on the Fearless Formula Feeder facebook page. We tend to prefer the people who don’t feel the need to insist that we’re poisoning our babies. 🙂

        • Fleur

          I’ve loved combo feeding because there’s always a back-up. My daughter is happy taking the bottle so I didn’t need to panic when I couldn’t breastfeed for a few days due to nipple damage, but the breast is there as a distraction when I have to re-sterilise the bottles at 3am because I dropped them in my sleep-deprived state. Being given a bottle never put my daughter off the breast, either, despite dire warnings. Actually, she prefers her own magic milk-producing fist (or so she thinks) to both!

        • Sean Jungian

          Forgive me, I was making a weak play on the incorrect stereotype that bi people are “actually” gay but won’t admit it. 🙂

          • SporkParade

            I know. I’m just saying it falls apart. Also, since I’m a woman, I was actually thinking more of how bi woman are supposedly just straight and experimenting. I had forgotten about “the bi men are really just semi-closeted gay men” stereotype.

  • LH Smith

    Interestingly, although I am religious and I do believe heterosexuality is a bit more natural, I don’t find shaming people over that or anything else to be effective. I have read that a lot of Christians push breastfeeding and see it as some sort of religious thing… I guess I didn’t get the memo or at lest God didn’t because I was not blessed with breasts that produced milk. That doesn’t make me a failure at “natural” motherhood because while the desire to be a mother is natural to most (not to all), bodily functions have always suffered impairment. Frankly, I’m not really in favor of discriminating against women whether they be lesbians or formula feeders – for goodness sakes just let people make their own decisions. I’m sick of people trying to intervene in everyone else’s personal lives and choices.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      for goodness sakes just let people make their own decisions. I’m sick of people trying to intervene in everyone else’s personal lives and choices.

      Or non-choices as the case may be. Many don’t breastfeed because doing so is not an option. Others choose not to, given their personal situation. Similarly, lesbians typically are not lesbian because they choose to be. So let’s not even focus on their “choices.” Choices implies there are options. In many cases, there aren’t.

      I do believe heterosexuality is a bit more natural,

      I don’t even know what that means. For most homosexuals, being gay is 100% natural. For them, opposite sex attraction is completely unnatural.

      • LaMont

        And for bi people, it can be confusing as hell that someone would categorically find an entire gender unappealing.

        • AirPlant

          WORD.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Yep. Perfectly natural to be attracted to both (either?)

        • Roadstergal

          I have to say, what I find most confusing are the asexuals. I know some, I understand that it’s how they’re wired, but putting myself in that brainspace…! Can’t do it.

          • Amy

            Agreed. To continue the metaphor, it’d be like someone not wanting to eat and living a perfectly contented life not eating.

          • Sean Jungian

            Of course no metaphor is perfect, but this one – really off the mark. Being asexual is more akin to not wanting, say, chocolate, a food that isn’t required for survival but which nevertheless is extremely tasty, readily available, and some people do crave it.

            I don’t want to get all stick-up-my-ass about it but it’s kind of a drag when people who have a different type of sexuality get all hyperbolic about “not even able to UNDERSTAND this completely ALIEN way of being!!!” I mean, I’m a regular person. I have had a high sex drive in the past. I don’t anymore. That doesn’t make me inhuman or incapable of being understood.

            I get it, sex is important to you – to MANY people – and that’s totally cool! Sex isn’t important to me at this point of my life, and it doesn’t make me an indecipherable alien.

            Just my two cents on coming off as overly judgy about things maybe not well-understood.

          • Roadstergal

            To me, I think my reaction is partly due to my own personal experience – that loss of sex drive for me has been highly correlated with depression in the past.

            And I intellectually know that it’s different for asexuals, and can intellectually act and treat them accordingly, but there’s definitely that little disconnect deep inside of myself.

          • Sean Jungian

            I do get it, and I hope I’m not coming off as a giant assh*le about it.

            We’d no more say, “I can’t even understand how anyone can be attracted to (the opposite sex, same sex, neither, either, and/or both sexes)!” anymore than we’d say “I can’t even understand how anyone can formula feed/have a CS/not have a homebirth!” you know?

            ENNYway, it just jumped out at me, with the metaphor about being happy not eating. It’s nothing like that, and it’s kind of close to the edge of insulting without technically going over.

          • Roadstergal

            Ja, I wanted to make it clear that I do understand it, in all of its forms, but just to comment on that lizard part of my brain that doesn’t let me fully go there. Honestly, I feel the same when talking to a friend of mine who can’t do poly; I moderate what I say out of respect for her because I can intellectually understand, even though I can’t immerse myself in that brainspace.

          • MI Dawn

            Exactly!

          • guest

            I can’t upvote, so THIS. It is very off-putting to be told that people can’t “understand” how I can not have sex. The thing is, the people who make comments don’t actually want me to explain (as I said above, I’m not technically asexual, since I do engage in masturbation, and when I was younger I had a more traditional sexuality) how and why I do not have sex with partners of any kind, and have not in over twenty years. If someone wanted to know more (and thereby gain a greater understanding) it’s easy enough to Google…

          • Sean Jungian

            I am, at this stage of my life, effectively asexual, due in part to my antidepressant, but also just from aging and life circumstances. I am very contented, in fact much more content than when my libido was certifiably out of control. There were days in my 30s when I literally could not function without masturbating or having sex 2-3 times a day. Which is seriously distracting when you just want to GET SHIT DONE.

            I don’t credit my diminished sexual feelings entirely for my content nowadays, a lot of it has to do with just feeling settled and at peace with many things – again, I would credit aging for this in large part. Truth is, I just don’t know, but I do know I am much happier without the distraction of sex constantly on my mind. When my son is grown and moves out, I may find that my mind changes and I desire companionship more. but so far I like this.

          • guest

            But that’s not really confusing, is it? Just because you don’t feel a certain way (or in this case, you have certain feelings asexuals don’t, or have less intensely/less often) doesn’t mean you don’t understand the concept. Do you think they don’t understand you because you’re wired differently?

            I’m not technically asexual myself, but I don’t have sex or a partner, so I identify with them more than any of the other recognized categories of sexuality.

          • Roadstergal

            Yes, that’s what I said, that I do understand. Just like I’m sure an ace person generically ‘understands’ what it’s like to be me – but there’s that subjective, qualia bit that’s missing that makes me, me, and them, them. That’s what I’m talking about, and I think it’s interesting to discuss.

          • guest

            I don’t know. I’m not gay, but I don’t find the existence of gay people at all confusing. I wouldn’t pretend to understand it in the sense that I feel I can speak *for* them, but I do think I understand the basic concept and I don’t need to go around saying “I have to say, what I find most confusing are the homosexuals.”

          • Roadstergal

            Why not? I don’t expect a woman who has never been sexually attracted to a woman to be able to get into the headspace of a woman who has a visceral sexual attraction to another woman. She might understand it, without being able to put herself into the headspace of _living_ it.

            I did not realize my post would be so offensive. I will delete it.

          • guest

            I can get in the headspace of a gay man or lesbian woman well enough to not feel the urge to say I’m confused by what they do, and I consider myself about as straight as they come as far as my own orientation. I guess your definition of “confusing” is different than mine. You can get past confusing without having to feel as though you’ve lived the experience.

      • LH Smith

        Choices are things we CAN control, obviously not the things we can’t. Who we are attracted to is not something we control – what we do about that is something we control. Some women DO make choices regarding breastfeeding, and others have no choices at all regarding that situation.

        You seem to willfully try to misunderstand me. I don’t really care what lesbians do or don’t do, and I don’t really care how women feed babies, but when women make choices to be open with their sexual preference, it’s just wrong to be rude to them about it. When women are open about formula feeding their child (or in some cases breastfeeding) and people are rude to them about it – that’s wrong also. It’s just dumb.

      • Megan

        I suppose formula feeding was a choice for me in that I chose not to let my baby die of starvation.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Indeed. If an intruder holds a gun to your head and says, “Give me all your money or I’ll blow your brains out!” it means you have a choice, right?

          Doesn’t mean that you can dismiss it because they chose to give up their money.

          • Megan

            It’s similar to how NCB types pretend that women having MRCS are a significant proportion of those who have CS* rather than the reality, which is that most women who have CS have a medical indication to do so and trying to reduce those CS will inevitably result in more morbidity and mortality.

            *To be clear, I am in no way implying MRCS is unacceptable. I think it’s a perfectly legitimate choice.

          • Fleur

            Plus an MRCS doesn’t necessarily mean the mother wasn’t motivated by genuine medical concerns. I pushed for a c-section because (a) I was very worried by the results of a growth scan at 38 weeks (just within normal range but with the caveat that they couldn’t get a proper look at the head), (b) my daughter was ten days overdue with no sign of labour and they wouldn’t let me have an induction until 40 plus 12 at the very earliest, (c) I have a family history going back generations of enormous babies, shoulder dystocia and stillbirth, and (d) the midwife team kept dismissing my concerns and wouldn’t record them in my notes. I’ve since learned of several healthy babies who died under the care of that same hospital after they were allowed to go very overdue, so maybe we’d have been fine but maybe we wouldn’t.

            (For the avoidance of doubt, I think “sorry, I’m not pushing a baby out of there” is also a perfectly good reason to request a c-section!)

    • demodocus

      It does depend mightily on the kinds of christians you run into. My church has 3 (that I know of) actively serving in various aspects. Some of my more fundamentalist relatives, however, are freaking out over “perverts” in the women’s toilets.

      • Amy

        This. My church, both the denomination as a whole and our individual congregation, are officially “open and affirming.” Sexuality has no affect on one’s acceptance or full participation in our church, up to and including ordination and higher offices.

      • Charybdis

        This is true. Although, to be honest, I am having trouble with this whole bathroom thing. Not so much with the big, national companies like Target, etc, because they ARE big, national companies and need to appeal across a huge swath of humanity. You are free to shop there or not, depending on your feelings about the whole issue. Or shop there, but not use the bathrooms, AT ALL, EVER. It is the smaller businesses (locally or regionally owned) that do not want to adopt the “use the bathroom of the gender you identify with” policy.

        Here’s why. If Hobby Lobby ( a national company) can refuse to cover birth control for women because of the owner’s religious beliefs and pharmacists can refuse to fill a birth control prescription or sell Plan B OTC because of their religious beliefs, and this is OKAY UNDER THE LAW, then small business owners should be allowed to refuse doing a wedding cake for a homosexual couple because of their religious beliefs or to not allow people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. It’s not like they have a bathroom monitor that asks to see your genitals before you can enter a bathroom, so how are they going to know?

        You can’t call it discrimination for the latter without including the first situation. The BC issue discriminates against women in general, sexually active women, married or not, generally classified as “sluts, whores, trollops, loose women or promiscuous” if they are unmarried, women whose partner’s condom broke, if they are taking antibiotics and those antibiotics can interfere with BC, women who are raped or otherwise sexually abused and women who want to plan for their children. That doesn’t even take into account those women who are on hormonal BC for other issues like super heavy periods, irregular periods, etc because those reasons aren’t covered either. Somehow, this is okay and just fine for a pharmacist to refuse to fill your BC prescription because they personally don’t believe it is right according to their religious beliefs, or for a large national company to refuse to cover BC in their health insurance package. There are ways around it: another pharmacist on duty who will fill the prescription, BC is provided by the insurance company/government, NOT Hobby Lobby, etc, so it is not really discrimination is the general feeling I get about it.

        If you are going to allow the “religious objection” reason for denying BC coverage to women, either by the company’s insurance not covering it or a pharmacist not filling a prescription or refusing to sell Plan B, then you should have to let people refuse to provide a wedding cake to a homosexual couple or to not let people use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. Same idea: either you allow for religious objection clauses or you don’t.

        *ducks, runs and hides before the torches and pitchforks come out*

        • MaineJen

          “If Hobby Lobby ( a national company) can refuse to cover birth control for women because of the owner’s religious beliefs and pharmacists can refuse to fill a birth control prescription or sell Plan B OTC because of their religious beliefs, and this is OKAY UNDER THE LAW, then small business owners should be allowed to refuse doing a wedding cake for a homosexual couple because of their religious beliefs or to not allow people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.”

          But these are not equivalent things. The wedding cake thing is just silly…:I wouldn’t want to do business with someone who “didn’t agree” with who I was as a person. But not making a wedding cake doesn’t threaten someone’s life. Refusing to allow your health plan to provide birth control, refusing to fill a prescription for emergency contraception, or forcing a woman to use the men’s room because she was born with a man’s body…those are real, life threatening problems.

          • Charybdis

            But if the bakery owner is a devout religious fundamentalist who truly believes that same-sex marriage is sinful, then s/he should have the option to refuse to make a cake for a same-sex couple. Or have an assistant, friend, or other baker who has no problem with same sex marriage to whom s/he can refer the couple.

            I’m just noting that is hypocritical to allow people who firmly believe some birth control to be a form of abortion (whether it is or isn’t is not the point) to not fill a prescription for BC or sell Plan B OTC, and to not allow those who firmly believe same-sex marriage is a sin to refuse to do wedding cakes.

            **Note: this is just my “but it’s not fair that some discrimination (BC) is allowed but other types are not (same sex marriage)” thing rearing it’s head. I know things in life are not fair, ever. It just seems so hypocritical that the broad discrimination against women in general is allowed (the BC issue) while narrower, more focused discrimination is not okay (same-sex marriage, etc).

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            But if the bakery owner is a devout religious fundamentalist who truly believes that same-sex marriage is sinful, then s/he should have the option to refuse to make a cake for a same-sex couple.

            And if the asshole racist truly believes that interracial marriage is sinful, s/he should have the option of not serving black people.

            Right?

          • Roadstergal

            I agree with the point you’re making. I think a lot of people who shrug over the ‘gay cake’ thing live in reasonably big cities, where a non-gay-serving business would be just one (odd) option amidst many, easily avoided. It’s another matter if you live in a place where options are limited, and where the general consensus is ‘no, we don’t want to serve your kind.’

            And even if you live somewhere with other options – walking into a business and being told “No, get out, you fag/n-word/pervert/etc” is a really nasty experience.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            And even if you live somewhere with other options – walking into a business and being told “No, get out, you fag/n-word/pervert/etc” is a really nasty experience.

            Exactly. This is not about having other options. “Separate but equal” was dismissed as a viable option decades ago.

          • Roadstergal

            “It just seems so hypocritical that the broad discrimination against women in general is allowed (the BC issue) while narrower, more focused discrimination is not okay (same-sex marriage, etc).”

            Also, I will mention that the Hobby Lobby decision was, IMO, an egregious miscarriage of justice. And holding firm on other injustices, like the gay cake thing, is a way to push back against that.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I should add, how many of the bakers that want to refuse service to gay couples are also refusing service to those with tatoos?

            Because tatoos are listed in Leviticus right along with “lying with a man as one would with a woman” as abominations.

            If they are willing to serve someone with a tatoo, then their discrimination is not based on the bible.

          • demodocus

            There’s an old meme floating around where some guy has the lying with a man verse tattooed on his arm. The caption reads something like “getting a tattoo of Leviticus 18:33 =$200, not knowing that Leviticus 19:21 forbids tattoos, priceless.” (The numbers are almost certainly wrong.)

          • Charybdis

            Let me mention that in my neck of the woods (buckle of the Bible Belt and Southern Baptists abound) it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to hear of someplace that didn’t welcome those with tattoos. Or same-sex couples. Or mixed-race couples.

            Personally, I have a strong Libertarian streak and really don’t give a damn about who or what you are sleeping with, if you drink alcohol or not, if you dance or not, use birth control or not, have a gazillion tattoos or none at all, etc, because it is NONE OF MY DAMN BUSINESS and it doesn’t affect me at all. Nor are any of my choices anybody else’s business because it doesn’t affect them at all.

            I also despise the Hobby Lobby decision, which is why I refuse to step foot into one or have any of my money spent there. I just find it fascinating in a very odd sort of way that their brand of discrimination against women & their healthcare passes as acceptable and other kinds of discrimination must be eradicated root and branch.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I just find it fascinating in a very odd sort of way that their brand
            of discrimination against women & their healthcare passes as
            acceptable and other kinds of discrimination must be eradicated root and
            branch.

            I think you are working with a false premise. The only ones I hear supporting Hobby Lobby are the same ones who support discrimination by bakeries.

          • Charybdis

            The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby. They also ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. This is what has caused a lot of cognitive dissonance in my part of the country. A big “Yay for religion!!” because of the Hobby Lobby decision and a big “WTH!!” because of the same-sex marriage decision.

            Again, it is probably just the culture/attitudes of everyone in my neck of the woods. I hear a lot of discussions and arguments about these things in these here parts.

          • Valerie

            Not a lawyer, but my understanding of the difference is that one is an issue of discrimination. A person’s right to participate in society irrespective of their race, veteran status, sexual orientation, religion, etc, trumps another person’s religious beliefs. A particular bakery store employee would not have to, say, bring a cake for a gay wedding if it were a violation of their religious beliefs (provided it wasn’t too difficult for the bakery to have another employee do it). The bakery, however, cannot discriminate against customers based on sexuality because of the owner’s belief.

            To the best of my knowledge, Hobby lobby cannot deny somebody employment or service because of their sexual orientation. They can, however, say that providing birth control violates their beliefs (as long as their religious beliefs were that, say, that only married people can use birth control, because you can’t discriminate based on marital status). I don’t agree that they should be able to deny their employees basic health care coverage, but there are two different issues involved here, and it’s not the same thing.

          • Roadstergal

            “The wedding cake thing is just silly…:I wouldn’t want to do business with someone who “didn’t agree” with who I was as a person”

            I do see that side, but then I see the other side – sit-downs at discriminating cafés in Jim Crow land. You could say the same thing – “Why eat somewhere where they ‘don’t agree’ with who I am as a person?” But it’s fundamentally about equal treatment for all, including access to business. Religious freedom is a Jewish deli not having bacon, but they should serve lox to all patrons, regardless of gender, skin color, or sexual orientation.

          • MaineJen

            I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past day, and I realized I was wrong in thinking the wedding cake thing was silly. Understand, I’ve lived my whole life in a kind of semi-urban, northeastern US environment, where secularism is the norm and there are many, many different choices for any place you might choose to spend your money. 🙂 If someone refused to serve me, I could just raise one eyebrow Vulcan-style and say “OOOOOkay then, I’ll just give my money to the business down the street,” because such discrimination is not at all common in my experience.

            Not everyone has that option, and discrimination is wrong no matter what or where or why. *still learning*

        • demodocus

          Can I pretend to have a religious objection to viagra? 😉

          • BeatriceC

            No. I forbid you. I’m a big fan of Viagra. Seriously. DON’T TAKE IT FROM ME!!!!! (Or MrC, as the case may be, but it affects me too).

        • mstudent

          I think the hobby lobby ruling was awful. I think these anti-trans laws are awful (and in general, anti-lgbt laws). I don’t feel the need to concede to new laws because there has been a recent precedent set by the courts if I whole-heartedly disagree with the precedent itself. Now, I suppose if someone supported the hobby-lobby decision, then perhaps your point would apply.

      • Roadstergal

        IMO, the bathroom bills have a lot of Gender Norms overtones to them that are features, not bugs. I’ve been yelled at for going into womens’ rooms because I’m gender-androgynous in appearance, and I’ve heard of women being outright assaulted for trying to use a bathroom that matches their genitalia. They want transgenders to feel too uncomfortable to go out in public at all – and those who don’t conform to the societal norms of gender expression to, as well.

        Which might dovetail back to the ‘normalization of breastfeeding’ thing. If you’re not the norm, you’re a deviant, a freak, to be ostracized and denied rights to. (A la the women who think that women shouldn’t even have babies if they don’t plan to/can’t breastfeed.)

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          In discussions I’ve seen, when you bring up the problem of women-who-don’t-look-woman-enough being assaulted/harassed for using the women’s restroom, the response has been, “What do they expect?” Yep, androgynous women can’t complain about being assaulted. They asked for it.

          But now the law says that transmen have to use the women’s restroom. But since they look like men, they should expect to be assaulted for doing.

          So what’s the transman to do? Easy. 1) Deny themselves, or 2) Don’t go out in public.

          Easily solved.

          • MaineJen

            Are those the “good old days” that I keep hearing about?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Make America great again.

          • MaineJen

            Make America “white, heterosexual and male, and everyone else better know their place” again.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            The Donald is using “Make America Great Again” as a dogwhistle, for sure.

            But Marco Rubio on the other hand, wasn’t worried about making it not obvious, when he went with the “Do the things that made America great” line.

            Oh really? What things were those that “made America great'” in the past that we aren’t doing now?

            That’s not even thinly veiled.

          • Kesiana

            What things were those that “made America great'” in the past that we aren’t doing now?

            I’m as liberal as they come, but a minimum wage that’s enough to actually live on sure sounds nice… of course, that’s exactly what conservatives seem to be AGAINST these days.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            What things were those that “made America great'” in the past that we aren’t doing now?

            Adequately funding the VA and the NIH. Oh, wait, those were things that were done under Clinton. Perhaps another Clinton could bring them back? No harm in trying.

            Also, I agree with Kesiana about minimum wage. The minimum wage needs to increase. The highest tax bracket needs to increase. Rich people need to pay their share.

          • Sean Jungian

            I think a LOT of people would be stunned to learn that, after asking so much of our soldiers over more than a decade of war, they still can’t get adequate health care when they return home. Its honestly an outrage – and I, too, am as liberal as they come, anti-war, etc. But we have a duty as a nation to take care of these military men, women, and families!

            Of course, every time I am reminded that first responders at Ground Zero had to practically get an act of Congress to cover their medical needs, I get a little more crestfallen.

            This isn’t even touching on the minimum wage, homelessness, hungry children, the disparity in public schools, etc. etc. I mean you’d think taking care of our military personnel would be something all parties could agree to.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            For a brief, glorious period in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before Bush turned his attention to the VA, it provided care comparable to that provided by the best academic medical centers. It also had a, for the time, extremely good EHR. Add to that the complete lack of need to bill and it was an excellent place to work as well. Then, underfunding took its toll. I hope we could get back to where it was at its best, but, well, we’ll see what the election brings.

            Ground Zero first responders were denied care by an act of congress. Literally. The Republican Congress refused to approve funding for care for first responders who are ill after working at the 9/11 attacks.

          • Sean Jungian

            It DID eventually pass, though, didn’t it??? I thought it had.

            Ugh, I can’t start getting into politics, and honestly I shouldn’t have already started down that path. It isn’t fair to the people on this thread, there are already thousands of places I can post my political opinions. Suffice to say: I agree, and I find it appalling.

          • AirPlant

            Ah the good old days! I am in an interracial marriage so I occasionally like to point out that my love would be illegal back then. Doesn’t really shut people up much, but it feels good.

          • Valerie

            Exactly. The law is meant to humiliate and subdue non-gender-conforming people (of any identity or sexuality) to make them stop being so deviant. Act like a man (or woman), or get out of North Carolina. It’s a feature, not a bug, of the legislation.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Don’t forget, it’s also a big F U to those liberal commies in Charlotte who had the nerve to suggest treating everyone nicely

          • Amazed

            What? There is such a law now? Let’s see if I get this clear: anyone who identify themselves as woman should use the women’s restroom?

            if I were based in America, the law would have also humiliated and subdued me since by reasons leading to my lucky escape from being raped as a preteen and a very young teen by two males who were basically doing it in places that was not hidden, just without anyone going by right now AND (among other weirdos) having an encounter with a man who sniffed and licked at our linegerie while we took shower in the gym, I’ll never use a public restroom where any man can enter and I won’t be able to say anything because he might be transgender and then I’ll be the intolerant bitch. How am I to know that he is? It isn’t transgender men that I fear, it’s that I’ve had enough experiences with “straight” (not in the head, obviously) men to know that they’ll happily pretend being transgender just to have a look and perhaps something more. Oh and now I feel myself bristling as soon as I find myself in anything that can be taken as leering if I am not able to get the fuck away from the man in question the moment I decide. Such a public restroom is not for me. Especially when I remember how my second attacker, the 17 y.o. neighbour snatched and grabbed me as we were going past his front door. (Us being two girls at 10 and 11 and them being two boys at 17). I’ll never feel safe going past a door in a bathroom if I know that a “straight” man might be behind. But hey, I guess lawmakers don’t take women like me in account. Here, childhood molestation was not admitted to be a thing in my childhood.

            It isn’t just transgendered people who might feel helpless at being told where to pee, although they probably will, I fail to see how it helps anyone.

          • Azuran

            Actually the law is that you are supposed to use the bathroom according to the genital you were born with.
            So a man who became a woman must use the man’s bathroom.
            A women who became a man must use the women’s bathroom.

            I’m sorry about what you went through. But those laws are not going to prevent any kind of bathroom assault. If someone want’s to assault someone else, he’s going to give it a try no matter what bathroom the law says he/she has to use. He’s already planning a crime anyway.

          • Amazed

            Ah, I see. But don’t you see the double standard ? I KNOW there isn’t going to be any kind of bathroom assault, most likely. Just as I know that that male hand reaching out from behind that front door (in all probability, of his own house) isn’t going to grab me. But it doesn’t help with FEELING scared shitless. Just like those men and women can’t help but feel that they’re, in fact, not that.

            What you’re saying is, in effect, that I should shut up and stuff it because it isn’t real, it’s in my head. What you’re saying is that what’s in the heads of those men and women born with such a mismatch is more important than what’s going into my head. They should be accommodated. I should not be.

            Mind you, I do wish there was a way for everyone to feel safe and not discriminated against. I can’t see it. But what you’re saying is discriminating against me.

          • Jules B

            I really can see your point, and the point of those who rightly state that the safety of trans folk/non-binary folk is being compromised by these unethical bathroom laws. Why should anyone – including yourself – have to feel unsafe using a public bathroom? It’s not right.

            The argument I have issue with a bit is the idea that perverts will find a way to assault, regardless of what the law says. I mean, I don’t disagree – I think that is true…pervs will find a way, sadly. But it begs the question of why have any laws at all, if criminals do not care about laws? (To be clear, I do not agree with the proposed bathroom laws, just making the larger point that laws still matter even if some folks break them). Maybe that is a slippery slope, I dunno.

            All I know is that when I was a young teen and a competitive swimmer, the pool where I used to practice used to switch the changing-rooms on occasion (temporarily make the men’s room the women’s room the men’s) if work needed to be done on the women’s room by work men. And every time that they switched the rooms, there would be MULTIPLE (cis/het) men who would “accidentally” walk in to the women’s changing room (and stand and stare) – they had their plausible excuse to enter, do they did it. And it happened a lot – every time, multiple guys. So I do not think it totally far-fetched to think that there are perverts out there who take advantage of situations where they have plausible deniability.

            It is a complex issue with no easy answers – but again, I emphasize that bathroom laws are NOT the answer. We need a way for everyone to feel safe.

          • Amazed

            The very name souns ridiculous. I mean… bathroom laws? For real? A slippery slope if there was one.

            The issue I have is that in the rush to be nondiscriminating, the needs of someone like me are left invisible. You can see it in this very thread: I write about how I wouldn’t FEEL safe if a perv is given a greater chance to enter unchallenged – and I get a “but you ARE safe”. Well, I happen to agree. And it doesn’t help with this irrational thing called FEAR. I might know I’m safe but I won’t feel comfortable and safe – and that’s being ignored because non-discrimination. Thanks, Dr Kitty, for mentioning that cis women might feel unsafe without attaching any attempts to explain why they shouldn’t.

            Bathroom laws are not the answer, definitely. But neither is pretending that everyone who feels unsafe and uncomfortable can be successfully fixed with a good dose of rationality.

          • Jules B

            I agree – you and other assault survivors feeling unsafe (regardless of whether it is “rational” fear or not) needs to be addressed in the discussion. And pointing out that you feel that way does NOT mean you wish to take away the rights of trans/non-binary folks, either. It is not an either/or thing – but the solution to help make *everyone* feel safe has not yet presented itself in the discussion, IMO. Unfortunately, for both survivors and trans people (which are two groups, I might add, which are often over-lapping).

          • Who?

            I wonder if a big space, with a bunch of individual self contained cubicles-toilet, washbasin, mirror, with a door-would do the trick.

            Everyone queues together, next person takes their turn, do whatever in the cubicle, and leave again. Open, brightly lit, accessible to all.

            I’m a bit with you on the feeling unsafe. I tend to avoid public toilets in quiet public spaces, or if they are at the end of a long corridor or similar, because anyone could be in there, though I know they probably aren’t.

            When I was at uni a young woman was beaten, raped and left for dead by a man who broke into then hid in her car in a public car park. He revealed himself after she had paid and left-in the day when you paid at the gate. He made her drive to an isolated spot. I decided then if it ever happened to me I’d drive my car as hard as I could into a wall/tree: preferring to go out on my terms than his.

            One creep can spoil a lot for a lot of people for a long time, regardless of having only one direct victim.

          • Charybdis

            I like that idea a lot. Or even maybe floor to ceiling walls for the toilet stalls with doors that are the same. The sinks, hand dryers and paper towels could be in the large “common area” outside the toilet area. Or more of the larger “family” bathrooms that are becoming more common .

          • Azuran

            I did not mean that you should shut up and stuff it. If you are still having problems with it I would support you in getting any kind of help you need.
            But your own apprehensions cannot be used to discriminate against other people when there isn’t a real risk. For example, If a black woman assaulted me and I was then afraid of black women, I couldn’t in any way expect that black women not be accepted in public bathrooms I might go in.
            Someone tried to assault you. But it has nothing to do with the LBGT community. And yes, how you feel is important. But I don’t think any kind of bathroom law is ever going to make you feel better.

            I don’t have the answer about what is the optimal situation with the LGBT community. One could make the argument that homosexuals should not use the bathroom or changing rooms of their sex, because they are sexually aroused by same sex people. But then again, you don’t want to send a lesbian in a male bathroom, because she’s not going to feel safe there. But we can’t go and build 10 different kinds of bathroom for all possible situations.

            The new USA law actually means that a women who became a man, meaning: he dresses like a man, talks like a man, act like a man, probably has a beard, might even have a penis and is probably taking testosterone, has to use the women’s bathroom. He might even be attracted to you for all you know.
            And on the other hand, a man who became a woman: Wears a dress, has breast implant, is also taking hormone and might now have female genital organs. Has to use the men’s bathroom.

            Honestly. which one do you think fits better in a woman’s bathroom?

          • Amazed

            In fact, I was quite tired when I first read the thread (it was late here) and I took it completely backward. Yes, a man who became a woman isn’t a problem for me at all, unless he’s male looking enough.

            And no, the fact that I got it backwards doesn’t change the fact that you’re again telling me to shut up and stuff it. If you really thought how I felt mattered, you would have just stopped at the part about the optimal situation when I already explained that it isn’t rationality that I have a problem with.

          • Azuran

            I’m sorry. I did not meant to offend you in any way nor tell you to suck it up. I apologize that is sounded this way.

          • Amazed

            Thank you. I guess I am taking it to heart because I really don’t want anyone to be affected – and what they’re doing with this ridiculous law is quite the “affecting”! – but at the same time I do feel how I feel, no matter how unreasonable it might be. It just sucks for everyone.

          • demodocus

            i have a lot of relatives in North Carolina, where that law was just passed. As Azuran said, it’s mostly directed at transgendered folk,
            i’m sorry about your experience, too

          • Dr Kitty

            The “bathroom bill” is just…wrong.

            It will not solve the problem it is “supposed” to solve- cis male perverts putting on dresses and pretending to be trans women for the express purpose of assaulting women in ladies’ rooms. That is not a problem which actually happens often enough to justify sweeping legislation which impinges on the human rights of trans people and non gender conforming people to this extent.

            What it will mean:
            Trans men, sometimes with facial hair and a male physical appearance will be forced to use female bathrooms. They will have to out themselves as trans EVERY TIME THEY USE THE BATHROOM.

            Trans women, sometimes with breasts and vaginas, will be forced to use male bathrooms. They will be uncomfortable doing so, will be placed at risk of physical and sexual assault and will have to out themselves as trans EVERY SINGLE TIME they use a bathrooom.

            Cis women are going to feel threatened by having trans men in the female bathroom.

            Trans women are going to feel threatened by having to use the male bathroom .

            Anyone who is androgynous, non binary or who does not conform to usual gender stereotyped appearance is going to feel threatened with people questioning their “right” to be in a bathroom.

            These bills don’t protect anyone, they make people’s lives riskier and that are an affront to the right of people to have their dignity and private lives respected by the state.

          • MaineJen

            Yes, the law is meant to push trans people back under the rug and into the closet, where the religious right thinks they belong. It’s disgusting.

          • Amazed

            Oh I have no doubt it’s directed at transgender people. I am just saying that it will affect people like me as well, even though we likely weren’t even a passing consideration when the decisions were being made.

          • Valerie

            I’m sorry that you have had those experiences, but forcing trans-men to use women’s restrooms and trans-women to use men’s restrooms would have done nothing to help you. As Dr. Kitty summed up so well, there is no reason to think an anti-trans law will prevent assault (by straight men who nobody can ask to leave the women’s room because they claim to be women). Assault, harassment, stalking, etc, are still illegal.

          • Azuran

            So…if you dress like a women it’s your fault if you get sexually assaulted because you aroused the man. But if you don’t dress like a women it’s your fault if you get assaulted in the bathroom for not being womanly enough.
            We can just never win.

          • LeighW

            Short version..

            Women, it’s your fault

        • demodocus

          indeed. Hell, I’ve been called “sir” while pregnant (in winter with bulky sweaters on). And I’m not all that androgynous.

        • BeatriceC

          I actually worry for one of my step-daughters in this respect. She’s skinny, flat-chested, not much in the way of hips and other curves, and keeps her hair cut in a “boy cut”. Depending on how she dresses she could easily be mistaken for a young man. If she’s wearing tight running pants, then it’s obvious, but if she’s wearing regular pants and shirts, it’s a bit more ambiguous. Of course she wouldn’t put on a dress or a skirt if her life depended on it. She hates them. She’s even wearing a suit for her wedding, she hates dresses that much. She also happens to be lesbian, so she’s got that “against” her as well. So I worry if she ever steps foot out of California, or even goes to some of the more conservative areas of the state.

          • Amazed

            What are they going to do to her in those conservative areas? I am not asking this to be snarky. I am not really well-acquanted with the differences in regions over there. Just HOW conservative can those areas be? So she looks like a man when dressed in a certain way – so what? So she’s a lesbian – what of it? Is someone really going to stick their nose into her business? I mean, someone can mutter something but is she really this sensitive? God knows that I’ve had enough mutterings by strangers in my life. I guess we all have. Is it truly this much worse in conservative areas?

            I’ve never been addressed as “sir” but I had a girl giving up her place in the bus to me. She was older than me. At the time, due to illness and plain old exhaustion, I looked somewhere around forty. (I was twenty-three).At the time, I just thought she was being stupid. When I got home and had a look at the mirror, I almost cried.

          • BeatriceC

            Bigotry can get really nasty in the Sourhern US. There have already been reports of extreme harassment. It’s only a matter of time until somebody gets hurt.

          • Amazed

            Thanks for making it clear! I can see why you’re worried.

          • momofone

            I don’t disagree, as bigotry can get really nasty anywhere it lives, and certainly the Southern US has a history of it. As someone who lives in that region, though, I want to point out that I have actually been surprised that I haven’t heard or seen reports of harassment. I have seen and heard lots of disagreement on social media, but not much in person (though that probably has a lot to do with the people I’m around not being bigots), but I’ve been pleasantly surprised that it hasn’t been a free-for-all (other than verbally).

          • Well, it’s not common, but “reparative rape” (ie, raping a lesbian to try to force her straight) is a thing. Being socially ostracized or beaten up is more likely, especially if she dares to walk around with her girlfriend in plain sight, or goes out to a restaurant and they share a kiss or something.

            Conservative areas are becoming less bad, but there are still parts of the country where simply being lesbian means she is at threat for being physically harmed, denied jobs, and denied housing.

            In most cities she’d be fine. And, honestly, being a stranger is actually protective. The worst abuses are saved for people from small towns who are rejected by their friends and families.

        • Rach

          My sister was yelled at and shooed away when she was six years old trying to use female public toilets. She had a pageboy haircut for a few years and as kids we were always in shorts and tshirts so she looked tomboyish. It’s still a memory she brings up, decades later.

      • Amazed

        I would have freaked out, too. Not because I am fundamentalist. Because I have had encounters with sick (looking normal) people and I know that there are perverts. Oh, and because I was physically grabbed and dragged into a house where a rape was attempted on me before I had my first monthly cycle (which I got at 11).

        Demo, do you really think that one needs to be “fundamentalist” to “freak out” over “perverts”?

        • demodocus

          No. Only that in my family, it is the fundamentalist Christians who’ve never been sexually assaulted who are upset by transfolk preying on their daughters in public toilets. Being concerned about real perverts is one thing, God knows I’m aware they exist. There was a teacher in the area who snuck into both kids’ bathrooms and put cameras in. I’ll agree with anyone who calls *him* a pervert. I used freaked out to describe my mother’s cousin and bil because it’s appropriate for them. i don’t blame people who’ve been bit by a dog for being afraid of dogs but that’s not the case with these 2.

          Wouldn’t a transman (Ie. with 2 x chromosomes) who’s had enough hormone therapy to grow a beard upset you as well?

          My husband was raped by a man. That experience suggests I have to worry as much for my son as for my daughter, at least during his youth. Jerry Sandusky never went into the women’s room, after all.

          • Amazed

            I see. And yes, I agree that being fundamentalist equals freaking out about anything that isn’t just, exactly, precisely the norm. Your norm, of course.

            Trans people don’t worry me at all. It’s those who can enter without questions because people will just assume they’re trans who do. My bad experiences were never with people who were truly different, they were with males who looked so normal that no one would have suspected a thing, yet in their heads they were vastly, enormously sick. Other experiences were even more gross. And they were with people I would undoubtedly consider pervert enough to go into women’s bathroom. Not trans. They looked and behaved sufficiently, entirely like men. They lived like men when they weren’t busy being perverts, deceiving anyone. So yes, I suppose I will always freak out. Then again, when young, I had something that attracted young perverts and old perverts alike. Oh, and older men. I was in my twenties when men my own age finally started noticing me. I do look strangely, age-inappropriately “pure” in my old photos. Guess that isn’t the norm either, so of course, I got more pervert attention than the norm supposites a girl should get.

          • demodocus

            You have a damn good reason to be frightened of/ nervous around men.

          • Amazed

            I am extremely grateful that I was never truly raped. I’ve written here about my disagreement with “a rape is when a woman feels she was raped” because I realized what was first attempted on me really later in life but it was still a rape attempt. And I am not nervous around men, not really. But there are some things that truly scare me, so I try to always have a “back plan”. And in such a bathroom, I wouldn’t have one. Oh I know that the vast chances are that nothing’s gonna happen. But some things FEEL real to me. I do think women like me deserve to be included in the thought process about such things. I am not saying that trans people should be driven to appropriate restrooms whatever the hell that means. But it would be nice to see that we matter, even if it’s all in our heads, and be given some consideration beyond “get over your prejudices” and “you’re making them feel bad!”

          • Sean Jungian

            I am so sorry you were attacked. By anyone, anywhere. It should not have happened and it isn’t right.

            I hope you’ve sought and received good care for coping with the trauma. I only mention that because you seem to blame yourself in a way – for “attracting perverts” – and I hope someone is helping you to understand that in no way, shape, or form is that something you were responsible for. NEVER. Those men were predators and exploited an opportunity to attack and abuse you, it has nothing to do with who you are or what you look like.

          • Amazed

            Thank you.

            No, I did not receive any care because in my country, it was not admitted at the time that child molestation happened. Such things simply did not take place in a country headed for the great times of Communism. I don’t know if anyone can understand if they haven’t lived in this insanity of a regime. It permeated everything. As a result, my parents truly didn’t know how to react. And there weren’t any specialists prepared to deal with children like me.

            I am not blaming myself. When I say I “attracted perverts”, I mean it as a fact. I developed quite early physically but of course, I was a child in mentality and it showed on my face. I know what it was that attracted them. Many men feel drawn to womanly body attached to the face of a young girl, almost a child. I just happened to have those. No one’s fault except for the perverts. Because they’re freaking sick. And no, I don’t think treatment would have helped them. I just think such people are rotten in their core.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Well, of course, because if you get that sort of attention, it’s your fault! Somehow. Or other. Leave logic out of it, okay? You should have arranged your genes better!
            (Obviously, sarcasm. I’m sorry you had to deal with that. To a certain extent, I did, too–somewhat naïve, and I’d been taught to be polite and respectful no matter what…not a great combo. Ugh.)

          • Amazed

            Of course! Blame the woman! Or the woman-to-be anyway! But then, what can we expect of a country where a normal, educated, intelligent woman thought it was enough to keep her girl away from the predator and not say anything BECAUSE HIS WIFE WILL LEAVE HIM AND SHE WILL HAVE TO SUPPORT TWO KIDS ALONE ON HER NONEXISTING SALARY! Real case. That was my mom. We were all such children babied (and punished) by the state that it never occurred to her that he might try it on another girl. Not once. She thought it was something like a fluke, believe it or not. No one had ever mentioned to them (their generation, their circle, their freaking fellow countrymen and women) that molestation was a thing. No wonder that the first psychologist I talked to about that, in high school, asked me to describe what I was wearing the first time and – in the case of 9 yo me who let the neighbour place his hand against the bare skin between my legs because politeness and stuff – if I enjoyed it. (For the record, I didn’t.) She seemed to think that because I hadn’t told him to stop, that somehow made it more acceptable.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            That’s absolutely disgusting. I am so sorry. 🙁

          • Mishimoo

            Trans people are also more likely to be the victim of a crime (sexual assault and physical assault) than the perpetrators of such an attack. I personally don’t care about trans people in bathrooms with me; I do care about entitled cisgender men who deliberately go into women’s bathrooms in order to scare or attack people.

          • demodocus

            i don’t think they bother to cross dress, either

          • Mishimoo

            Or if they do, it’s ludicrously awful and insulting. Ugh!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Re your last paragraph: precisely.
            Admittedly, this is anecdata, but in my time in retail, the only issue I ever encountered like this was someone born as a man, dressing like a woman, and thinking it was within the realm of acceptable behavior to proposition a 10-year-old boy in the men’s room. He *was* using the “correct” restroom. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t a pervert. And yep, there are definitely born-female perverts out there, too.
            Which, I admit, is one reason I rather like a family restroom/single-stall setup. I’m not concerned about this stuff now (if I see someone watching DD’s diaper change too closely, I can give them instructions as to what to do with themselves/call management), and I wouldn’t describe myself as paranoid about it, but it would give me a little peace of mind to be able to send a 10-year-old into a public restroom and stand outside without worrying about anyone, male or female, making him or her feel uncomfortable, or anything worse. DH tells me that such restrooms are SOP in Japan. It would be nice, from my perspective, if they were here, too, but due to the infrastructure reworking I doubt that’s too likely.

    • Eater of Worlds

      Homosexuality is found in tons of non-human animals. It’s as natural as heterosexuality. There’s a gay vulture couple who are attempting to hatch an egg that was abandoned by a female. http://www.insideedition.com/headlines/16122-gay-vulture-couple-attempts-to-start-a-family-by-adopting-and-incubating-an-abandoned-egg

      A gay penguin couple are fantastic parents. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-kent-27405652

      Now, obviously, these animals don’t practice homosexuality the same way that humans do because we have that fun thing called sentience. But researchers have witnessed at least 1500 animals performing homosexual behavior. It really is just as natural as heterosexuality.

      • AirPlant

        My neighbors Pomeranian puppy has a passionate love for my fuzzy slippers. I have decided to accept that love is love.

        • Roadstergal

          One of my two bitches is super-into tongue kisses. :

      • MaineJen

        We had a pair of gay cats once.

      • LH Smith

        Notice I said “a bit more natural”. That means that there are a large majority of animals and human beings that are heterosexual than homosexual or bisexual, the reason being that the species has to propagate somehow.. that’s nature. But I did not say that homosexuality was NOT natural.

      • Mishimoo

        I had a gay pair of sparrows for a while. They took turns visiting, so I didn’t realise they were a pair until they brought their baby girl to visit and showed her around the place. She eventually left and my boys stayed around, constantly together.

    • Sarah

      I think what you mean is that heterosexuality is natural for more people, rather than more natural per se?

      • LH Smith

        Yes.. sorry, awkward phrasing.

        • Squillo

          Perhaps the word you were looking for is “prevalent.” Heterosexuality is more prevalent, in the same way that having dark hair is more prevalent, but not more “natural,” than having, say, red hair.

          • LH Smith

            not necessarily… it is perfectly natural for more of any type of creature to be heterosexual because otherwise it would lead to the decline of the species because homosexual couplings in any species cannot reproduce. There is a natural element to the fact that most of any species that has a reproductive system involving 2 sexes are heterosexual. That’s not a slam on anyone or anything not heterosexual, it’s simple biology and the way most species (in particular mammals) are designed to function.

          • indigosky

            No, heterosexuality is NOT more natural. You can’t say something is more natural because it is more common. Yes, only heterosexuality brings procreation. But homosexuality serves many a purpose in the animal kingdom, from companionship to determining the dominant male or female in a group.

          • Squillo

            Is it? What proportion of a given species has to be capable of reproduction in order for a species to survive? And for how long? I honestly don’t know. But if it’s less than around 90% in H. sapiens, homosexuality at a 10% level has no effect on species survival. Does that affect how “natural” it is?

            And how do we define “natural” in this context?

          • LH Smith

            I don’t know because there are already infertility rates that apply to populations particularly in humans, but sometimes also in other species which has the same effect as the situations in which reproduction cannot occur due to same sex involvement. There is also varying rates of those who don’t reproduce due to death before that’s possible.

            Basically put… why is it we have to rely solely on supporting ONLY what is deemed “natural” for it to be considered a “good” thing?

          • Squillo

            Exactly, we don’t. There’s no point to deeming one thing more “natural” than another because a) it has not bearing on what’s preferable and b) because “natural” in this context means little, other than found in nature.

          • LH Smith

            Relax! It was an observation that just because things are natural and lumped under that heading doesn’t mean that those are the only options and nor should we only be ok with or support things under that heading.

            I”m not sure what on earth all of you are so upset about concerning this. Do you not want mothers to be treated well regardless of how they feed? Do you not want people to be treated well regardless of their sexual orientation? I dunno… I sure do!

          • Squillo

            I’m perfectly relaxed. I hope I’m engaging in friendly debate over a single point in your argument. If you don’t want to defend that point, that’s fine by me, but your replies seemed like you wanted to engage it.

          • BeatriceC

            I dunno. We redheads are kind of crazy and have at times been subject to quite a bit of negative stereotyping.

          • Charybdis

            Amen, sister! Preach! ;P

          • Squillo

            You unnatural things, you!

          • BeatriceC

            My sons are real abominations. One’s a redhead and another is left handed. I’m sure if I thought about it I could come up with something abominable about the third.

    • Homosexuality is found in over 450 species.

      Homophobia is found in only one.

      The former seems more natural to me.

      • LH Smith

        yes… because sentience and judgment only exists in one.

        I think that the two aren’t really even comparable items. A phobia (which isn’t really a phobia) and a biological behavior is not even a comparison.

        Yes, homosexuality is found in nature, but heterosexuality is not only found in nature, but it’s the larger biological function because of species propagation. Otherwise, species will go extinct for lack of procreation. It’s not a judgment call, nor is it hatred at all.. it’s just the biological fact of how this works.

        • 1)So? If we’re going by natural then homophobia is less natural than homosexual behaviour.

          2)So if they’re not comparable, why bother with the natural argument in the first place? Why bother comparing them at all – which YOU STARTED by bringing up nature and you’re still doing by saying that A is more common – that is you are comparing the AMOUNTS of x and y – hetrosexuality and homosexuality.

          3)True. But if you’re arguing based on naturalness – you have to admit that homophobia (which, is not really a phobia as you say – they’re not scared, they’re just assholes) is even less natural than homophobia.

          4)Not the point. Heterosexuality may well be more common but that doesn’t make it any more natural. Ants are way more common than…. foxes…. for example. Does that make ants more natural than foxes? Or are they the same amount of naturalness even though one is more common?

          5)Well, it’s not likely that the whole species is going to be homosexual, is it? That isn’t natural, either. Not the point though. Homophobia: 1 species. Homosexual Behaviour: 450 species. If you’re going to argue that hetrosexuality is not only natural but more common and therefore ‘correct’ then you have to admit that homophobia is less natural and less common and therefore wrong if you wish to be internally consistent.

          6)Unless you object to couples where there is infertility…this is bullshit. Following your logic, you should also have no problem with same-gender couples where one of the partners is trans and so could theoretically have babies.

          7)It is also a biological fact that an unaided human cannot pass messages across the world and yet here we are arguing on a global communication network.

          8)Nope. Not necessarily. People can and do act against their desires. For example: Gay men in China have fake marriages with Lesiban women – mostly to produce a grandchild for their parents or for money or whatever.

          9)Humans don’t have to worry about going extinct any time soon.

          • LH Smith

            1) Yes, any kind of hatred or judgmental behavior is less natural simply because we are the only species capable of it. Every other species that has some homosexual expression does not possess the faculties or capability to even express homophobia.

            2) I’m saying that Heterosexuality is more natural via biology and more prevalent in many species than homosexuality, but even still… we should be respecting the choices and situations of people regarding whom they are attracted to as well as what they feed their babies. It is more “natural” via biology to be heterosexual because of the ability to reproduce and this is mere biology (not morality), and it is more “natural” via biology to feed a child by the breast… however neither lesbians/gays nor formula feeding mothers should be treated with disrespect or derision simply because they do not fall into that category as more typical. We out to respect one another in either scenario.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            9)Humans don’t have to worry about going extinct any time soon.

            Moreover, I am not concerned even if the species were to go extent. I honestly don’t care, because by that time that happens, I will be long dead, as will my kids, and even their kids. Should I really be concerned that I won’t have any great-great-great-great grandkids?

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating killing anyone to end the species. However, I see no merit in insisting that others procreate (or the need to do so myself) to perpetuate the species.

            Of all the reasons to have kids, “to save the species” is probably the dumbest.

          • 655321

            “Heterosexuality may well be more common but that doesn’t make it any
            more natural. Ants are way more common than…. foxes…. for example.
            Does that make ants more natural than foxes?” I thought your lack of intellectual honesty with vaccines was bad, this is egregious!

          • It’s called a rhetorical question, numbers.

        • indigosky

          That certainly sounds JUST like a breastfeeding argument – the reason the species has continued because of breastfeeding, and it’s not a judgement call or hatred, it’s biological fact so you thinking we’re shaming you means you don’t understand science.

          • LH Smith

            I think I must be bungling my argument, I’m sorry I have not been more clear.

            Despite heterosexuality and breastfeeding being more biologically typical situations… both homosexual couples of any sort and formula feeding mothers deserve just as much respect for their decisions and feelings regarding these less than biologically typical situations as anyone else.

            For the record, I’m a formula feeding mother.

        • Squillo

          It may not be a judgement call or hatred, but it seems to me that it’s meaningless in the context of biology. How many species reproduce asexually?

          • LH Smith

            Since we are discussing species that lactate as well as those who reproduce requiring two sex participation… then asexual doesn’t apply to either of those and is therefore a totally different biological issue. Even just lactation tends to rule out anything other than mammals.

          • Squillo

            I understand that your larger point was about lactation; I agree with it. I was taking issue with your view that homosexuality was less “natural” than heterosexuality because of its effect on reproduction rates and noting why I don’t find your defense persuasive.

          • LH Smith

            In terms of what I was referring to as “natural” it had to do with the ability to propagate the species. Is homosexuality naturally occurring in many species including our own? Yes… is it the most prevalent nature of most of us or most of the animal kingdom? No. The reason being that it would lead to extinction. Therefore, for the continuation of a species, heterosexuality for those species that require two sexes to mate in order to reproduce, is more “natural” in that regard… Stop trying to see this as me being homophobic, because it’s purely based on evolution and the concepts of how species, mammals like us in particular, reproduce. Beyond that any other attempt to read into what I’m saying is not at all what my meaning is.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head

            I think that the reason people are disagreeing with you is because of the use of the word natural. For many people, the word natural has positive connotations – just look at its use in advertising. The opposite of natural is unnatural – a word that has even stronger negative connotations. I think that you don’t mean to attach value when you say that something is more or less natural, but I think that the whole “natural good/unnatural bad” concept has become so ingrained into our culture that your words have a meaning that you don’t intend.

          • LH Smith

            This is because we, as a culture, have let people like the fruitcakes who buy into only “natural” and organic things take over the term. Natural means “of nature” or “occurring in nature”.

            The more natural method of feeding a baby is via breast for mammals, however, what is natural is not always what is best for mother, child, or both. Thank heavens we have the brains we do to figure out things other than the natural so that we can actually rise above the animal kingdom and our babies don’t die when what’s “natural” fails biologically. (as it did with me). So while we associate the word natural or unnatural with connotations, those connotations are shaped by people like lactivists. I figured this audience would grasp that.

            Yes it’s biologically more natural for any species requiring 2 sexes to mate for reproduction to have a higher rate of that occurring than of the same sex mating simply because that’s biology, and it’s also evolution. I’ve explained that I was using those terms in connection with this idea over and over and over.

            In my opinion, we all need to get over the lactivist and weirdo woo definition of “natural” and realize what the word REALLY means. I’m completely happy with my situation that my children did not feed naturally as infants. I’m glad I’m not a dog… if I had been with my biological malfunctions… my children would be dead. YAY for humans who can think! I wish more of them would.

          • Squillo

            Can you point out where I’ve said, or implied, you were being homophobic? I don’t know how you view homosexuality other than that you feel it’s less “natural” than heterosexuality. As I’ve said, my disagreement is about the meaning of “natural” in this context.

            Would homosexual prevalence lead to extinction of a given species? In some, perhaps. In humans, I don’t know. Maybe you do. What proportion of humans have to reproduce in order to continue the species?

            Regardless, I see that as a separate issue from what is “natural.” Heterosexual reproduction is necessary for the propagation of many species, yes. But sexual reproduction of any kind isn’t necessary for many others, and I’m sure you’d agree it’s natural. Why does natural mean one thing in one species and another in a different species?

            I enjoy friendly debate, but if you feel attacked rather than challenged by my posts, I’ll leave it there.

          • Who?

            Do animals know they have heterosexual sex to have babies, or do they do it just because the urge takes them?

            I’d suggest the animals are literally doing what comes naturally, whether the sex they are having is heterosexual or homosexual-the fact that sometimes there is a young one, and sometimes not, months after the fact, means nothing to them in terms of their sexual activity.

          • LibrarianSarah

            By the same logic, you not being able to make enough milk is less “natural” than lactating sufficiently. In “nature” not being able to make enough milk would mean that all of the children you have will starve to death. And if everyone were unable to make milk the species would go extinct.

          • LH Smith

            That’s right! I agree… My situation is much less “natural” by that definition. I have said I am a formula feeding mom for this reason… therefore, I don’t see “less natural” as a bad thing at all especially when it saves lives. If I was an animal – my children would have died. However, I probably wouldn’t have been nearly as sad about it since emotions are less inherent in animals than in human beings. However – due to other weird mutations my body has, I did have 6 children die. I do know what that feels like. I’m grateful for the intellectual and “less natural” advances like formula.

            If everyone had my particular issues (thankfully they don’t) our species would definitely go extinct without the interventions we have. You hit the nail on the head Librarian Sarah.

          • The Computer Ate My Nym

            Actually, in humans, reproduction is probably at this point the secondary use of sex. The primary use is relationship building so that the offspring can be cared for well enough for them to survive to adulthood. For that, the best evolutionary bet is probably bisexuality: it provides the best flexibility and allows bonding with the widest range of people and thus the best probability of survival of the offspring. So by that measure, it’s likely that exclusive sexual interest in one gender is “unnatural”.

            Actually, in the modern world where sperm banks exist, lesbianism is probably the best bet, evolutionarily. Children of lesbians are less likely to be abused–probably because lesbian sex doesn’t result in unintended pregnancies– and therefore more likely to be successful. Sorry, guys, but you’re actually kind of evolutionarily irrelevant at this point.

        • Nick Sanders

          Otherwise, species will go extinct for lack of procreation. It’s not a judgment call, nor is it hatred at all.. it’s just the biological fact of how this works.

          You have two unspoken premises on which this rests, and both of them are false. The first is the idea that because something forwards reproduction, it is inherently good, whereas if it doesn’t, even if it doesn’t interfere, it’s inherently bad. The second is that homosexuality does not forward reproduction; although, this only matters if the first premise is true, and as I have said they are both false.

      • 655321

        “Homosexuality is found in over 450 species” Please provide some legitimate citation for this, and in case you didn’t know, Wikipedia doesn’t qualify.