The #FeministDeck is seeking more WOC participants

So the #FeministDeck kickstarter is fully funded, but it’s looking a bit…pale so to speak. The lovely KivaBay is seeking more WoC to highlight and note with having them in the deck.

There’s no secret to being included, nor should anyone think they aren’t feminist enough or not important enough to be a part of the deck. So if you are interested, or want to nominate someone please drop Kiva a note at: and include your information or the best way to contact the person you are nominating for inclusion in the deck.

Note: Kiva is aware that not everyone is on board with this project or interested or what have you. But she is also aware of the lack of WOC in the list of folks participating. So this is an attempt to recognize more WOC for their work.

Libations for Wiscon 39 – Some gaming themed drinks, #MassEffect, #DragonAge

So the Ladies Home Slaughter Your Enemies Auxilliary (LHSYEA) has been tossing around drink ideas for Wiscon, which is next week. Here’s some drink ideas that we might try to make happen.

#MassEffect Blood Vision, version 1.0

  • 2 parts whiskey (of your choice)
  • 1 part spicy pear liqueur (optional, I just added it cause I have it and like it)
  • 1 shot Grenadine ( for additional colour)
  • 1 12 oz can Blood Orange soda (your brand of choice)
  • -or- Ginger beer/mixer of choice.
  • 1 squirt lemon or lime

Tastes sweet but not overly so, it’s smooth so be careful, you could wind up with a couple in you then go oh, shit I’m drunk.

ME Blood vision, Version 1.5

  • 2 parts whiskey (of your choice)
  • 1 dash spicy pear liqueur (optional, I reduced it to a tiny bit because the ginger beer is spicy)
  • 1 shot Grenadine ( for additional colour)
  • 1 16 oz bottle of WBC Spicy Ginger Beer
  • -or- other mixer of choice.
  • 1 squirt lemon or lime

Version 1.5 has a kick to it, but it’s still really smooth so be careful, you could also wind up with a couple in you then go oh, shit I’m drunk.

There’s also the Joining but it’s a pain in the ass to make and expensive. But if anyone wants the recipe, here’s the complex one, which includes Absinthe. There’s also the one from the Drunken Moogle with is just half Hypnotiq and half dark rum. SaveGame has some DA themed ones, and Mass Effect as well.

Accountability post – Mostly a note to myself but feel free to nag me

A bunch of shit I need to do, should do and want to do in no particular order. Under a “read more” to spare you my own overscheduling and oh-shit I have to do a lot this month

Continue reading Accountability post – Mostly a note to myself but feel free to nag me

Adventures in Coffee Roasting on a Sunday

So I am out of pre-ground coffee ready for the Gevalia machine I’ve had for ages. All I have is this unroasted, green coffee, purchased at Ethiopian Diamond.

I really, really want coffee so I looked up how to roast them beans, and found Ye Olde Skillet Method. Let’s   see how this shakes out yeah?


So I got the skillet ready, heated it up, dropped the beans in and started! Yay right?

20150510_081609 20150510_081551

Well, not so yay! the handle snapped off the skillet mid-roast :(


But luck was with me! I had another skillet on hand. So I finished roasting, transferred the beans to a small pot to cool and get the chaff off:



Tip: Also lightly blow on the beans to get chaff off and do it over the trash can so you don’t have it all over the floor or yourself.  So after cooling for 15 minutes */- they went into the grinder, fine grind, 12 cups. The final product was lighter than I expected but it’s my first attempt at this.




So lessons learned: Roast longer until the beans are darker for a darker end product, let the coffee mature a day or two for more flavour and make sure the pan is in good shape! Overall the final cuppa is weaker than I like, but it’s not bad for a first attempt. (Note I put a lot of cream into an already light brew so it’s more cafe’ au lait than I usually take it)


Wiscon 39 POC Dinner – Update w/Menu and other info!

via ktempest’s tumblr post on the POC Dinner at Wiscon 39

POC Dinner at WisCon 39

This is just a note to let everyone know that there WILL be a POC Dinner at WisCon this year. It will be on Friday, May 22nd at 5:30pm going until 7pm. It’s in the Concourse Hotel, room 629. So mark that on your calendars!

Kids are welcome at this event.

At this time we’re still getting prices from caterers. We’re hoping to keep the cost down around $15 per adult this year. The menu will take multiple dietary needs into account, including those of you who are vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten intolerant.

However, if you want to bring your own food to the POC Dinner that is just fine. The point is for us to gather and hangout and meet people and have community time, not to make you eat certain food!

Folks on a limited food budget, we will have some comped meals this year just as we did last year.

The first full week of May we’ll put up the menu and pricing and start selling tickets. I’ll publish the link here on Tumblr and on Twitter (@tinytempest).

UPDATE! Here are the details:

$18 Dinner ticket (Adult)
$10 Dinner ticket (Kids 4 – 13)
Free ticket for people bringing their own food (BYOF)
Free ticket for those who cannot afford to pay
$10 or more Donation so folks can help out those who can’t afford to pay

To purchase a ticket and to see our menu (which includes options for vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free folks), go to the event page.

Please share widely!

Come to #SPNDePaul for a panel on Representation and Fandom!

I’m on a panel on race & fandom tomorrow at DePaul University during A Celebration of Supernatural.

Event page is at:  No cost to attend, but space is limited. The panel is 11am – 12pm, Rm 1137, 14 E Jackson, I’ve been asked to join this panel on race and fandom, along with Jennifer Cross, Michi Trota, Alyne Connie & a couple other folks. 

Please note that while is free, but they are expecting a large crowd, so room can’t be saved. Info at: You can also get information via the Facebook event page.

You can see the full day’s schedule via the event page.

#INeedDivGms and AlterConf Chicago

May15INDGTee Front May15INDGTee BackJPG

This Campaign is running for 3 weeks, ending on May 24th, 2015. Please signal boost if you cannot buy a shirt.

Hello! We at #INeedDiverseGames love what AlterConf is doing and we want to be a sponsor of their Chicago event on August 8th.

To fully sponsor a city event, we’ll need to raise at least $500. That means about 145 +/- in apparel. So that means we need a lot of help to make that happen.

This is a different design than we’ve previously offered in our last campaigns. This features our banner art graciously donated by Sylvie R. There’s also the AlterConf logo on the back.

So please consider buying a shirt to help us reach our goal of being a sponsor of AlterConf Chicago on August 8th. If you can’t buy a shirt, please, please signal boost this campaign.

If you need a larger size, please let us know so we can be sure it’s available to you. We currently have on offer:

  • Tee shirt
  • Hoodie
  • Tank Top* (we’ll contact tee spring to get a more unisex not just a women’s cut tank available).
  • Long Sleeved tee
  • Gildan Tee (in larger sizes) * coming soon!

Thank you in advance for any support you can give either by purchasing a shirt, or spreading the word.

#INeedDiverseGames @INeedDivGms

A handy guide to interacting with me @ Wiscon

I did this when I went the first time luckily I was able to find the damn post where I wrote a handy guide to interacting with a roving cypheroftyr, so here it is for Wiscon 39.

Overall I am pretty friendly but I do not like strangers touching me, especially my hair. If you try to pet my hair or touch my locs without express permission or invitation it will not end well for you. So just don’t, especially if you like having fingers.

If we are tumblr/LJ/DW friends but have not met IRL, feel free to say hello and if you ask first I’ll likely give you a hug/want a hug. I’m actually quiet and introverted in real life so if you see me fleeing for a quiet space or my room, it’s not  you I am just feeling overwhelmed and need some quiet time. I have a terrible memory so if we have met just once or twice at previous Wiscon’s I might not remember you immediately, please don’t be offended.

I like to take photos, but I will always ask permission before taking them and again before posting them on tumblr, LJ/DW, flickr etc. I don’t mind being in photos, but ask me first before posting them online.

My badge name will be cypheoftyr, and I’ll probably add my twitter handle (@cypheroftyr) once I’m there. I’m on seven panels O_o! so if you want to chat me up afterward, please ask. Sunday is a ridiculously long day for me, so by the end of it I might not be the most gracious person if asked to chat after panels.

I’m also on the ConCom, so I might be a little more frazzled than usual this year in addition to a heavy panel schedule. I don’t bite, really. A pic of me below, taken a couple months ago. It’s the basis for my #FeministDeck artwork by KivaBay.

locs from 020715     Me for Feminist Deck

Wiscon POC Safer Space Continual Teapotluck & POC Dinner for Wiscon 39!!

Attention all POC who are attending Wiscon 39!

One! There is a POC Safer Space at Wiscon every year, and we want to be sure you know about it, especially if this is your first time attending the convention.

Safer Space hours and location are as follows:

Rooms 612 & 613

Friday: 1 pm–2 am
Saturday & Sunday: 8:30 am–2 am

Monday: 8:30 am–1 pm

If you’re coming to WisCon and foresee yourself coming to hang out in the POC Safer Space, bring your favourite tea(s)! We’ll have a microwave oven for heating up food and a kettle for continual teapotluck.

We’re in 612 – 613 once more, with a couple changes: one room won’t have beds anymore, and chairs instead.

If you know POC who will be going and have questions about the Safer Space, feel free to send them to Jaymee Goh, our Safer Space liaison.

She can be reached at her twitter @jhameia, via email at or via tumblr ask

Two!  There is an annual POC Dinner, held on Friday evening.

POC Dinner at WisCon 39

This is just a note to let everyone know that there WILL be a POC Dinner at WisCon this year. It will be on Friday, May 22nd at 5:30pm going until 7pm. It’s in the Concourse Hotel, room 629. So mark that on your calendars!

Kids are welcome at this event.

At this time we’re still getting prices from caterers. We’re hoping to keep the cost down around $15 per adult this year. The menu will take multiple dietary needs into account, including those of you who are vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten intolerant.

However, if you want to bring your own food to the POC Dinner that is just fine. The point is for us to gather and hangout and meet people and have community time, not to make you eat certain food!

Folks on a limited food budget, we will have some comped meals this year just as we did last year.

The first full week of May we’ll put up the menu and pricing and start selling tickets. I’ll publish the link here on Tumblr and on Twitter (@tinytempest).

So check back with Tempest on twitter or her tumblr for that link and more info. But there will be a POC Dinner this year!

WISCON 39 Schedule is now LIVE on

Hello all you lovely Wiscon folks out there! I am beyond happy to announce that the final schedule for Wiscon 39 is now live on the Wiscon website!

This link will get you the panels that are running, their locations, etc. If you need a list view;  here is a link if you need a grid view.

Handy info for moderators and panelists is beneath the Read More. You should also be receiving emails from if you are scheduled to moderate and/or participate on panels.

If you are scheduled for programming and do not recieve an email, please send a note to us at

ETA to clarify what email you should have received:

If you are moderating panels as well as being on a panel(s), then you will only get the moderator email.

If you are only participating on panels and not moderating anything, then you will get the panelist email.

You may also tweet at me (@cypheroftyr) for Programming questions, but sending it to the program email may get a faster response. The official Wiscon Twitter is @wiscon39

Thank you!

Tanya D. aka Cypheroftyr (programming demon, er deputy)
Wiscon 39

Continue reading WISCON 39 Schedule is now LIVE on

How do people get Patreon Support? I’m still struggling with it so if you have advice I’d love to hear it

So I posted this over at the #INeedDiverseGames tumblr and wanted to pitch this out to other avenues as well. Advice from folks who are successful on Patreon or other crowdfunding ways to do this work full time is wanted and welcomed.

So an inquiry for you fine folks who support us…

So,#INeedDiverseGames is doing well, and is getting to the point where its becoming almost a second full time gig for mod cypheroftyr. She wants this to be her full-time gig, to give all her energy and resources to #INeedDiverseGames and do so much with it. The problem is as always money. Living in Chicago isn’t cheap, moving isn’t an option because there aren’t  many places that are cheaper anyway.
So that leaves Patreon as an option to support this work full time, pay bills, go to conventions, conferences, speaking gigs, writing articles, etc.We have a Patreon, but we’re not pulling in much. So the question is how do folks with significant patronage do it? How do you get enough support to do this via Patreon, and survive?
Advice, tips, suggestions, are all welcome.
If you want to email instead;
Thank you in advance for any support, or advice you can give.

A very quick, run by post-C2E2 update

So both panels went well, both:   “Through Brightest Days & Blackest Nights – A Black Nerd Girl’s Journey” where I had the honor of sitting alongside Keidra Chaney, Mikki Kendall, Karlyn, and moderated by the wonderful Jennifer Cross. We had a full-house and, and also, Gail Simone attended & live tweeted! Mikki ran off the stage to hug her. It was so gratifying to see so many POC in that room.

Then I was asked to sit on #YesAllTrolls: When Trolling goes too Far, moderated by Mikki Kendall, along with TheWayoftheId, Jennifer Cross, Molly E, and PDilla. It wasn’t a packed house but that’s ok. There was a high percentage of white dudes that were getting up and leaving the panel room. I don’t know what they expected from the panel, but clearly we weren’t giving them what they wanted.

Sunday was a day to roam around the exhibitor hall and get stuff. I missed out on the talking Elcor plush, but I did get an N7 scarf. I got to see awesome people too. I got to hug Lauren Jankoswski! She is a sweet person and I’m glad I’m her friend. Met the awesome, awesome person behind the KeystrokeBlog who was livetweeting many of the panels I went to as well.

All was not 100% awesome in C2E2 land however. I did spot a “Basic Bitches Read Marvel” shirt in the artist alley which I have tweeted at C2E2 (as of yet no response). So yeah, that’s not really making me feel welcome at what should be a local, welcoming, happy place of geekery among my folks. More on that in it’s own post.

But day$job beckons and I must away from the blogosphere for a bit. A full write up of panels I went to  and was on as well as a requisite loot-haul photoset.

My Wiscon schedule, Maker help me

I’m on a lot of panels. O_o; so they are under a cut. Names of my fellow panelists redacted to maintain the gap between meat space, fan space and online handles. Come see me talk, a whole lot. Also, someone keep my flask full. :|

Continue reading My Wiscon schedule, Maker help me

My @C2E2 Schedule – aka I’m talking about things! In front of a lot of people!


Just a reminder, I’ll be on two panels at C2E2 on Friday, April 24th and Saturday, April 26th!

Originally posted on The random musings of a 1973 Original:

So these two panels will be my first C2E2 speaker appearances ever! Thanks to @ANerdCalledRage & @Karnythia for inviting me to be on panels with them. The Blerd panel will be live-streamed AFAIK, once I get a link I’ll post it!

Through Brightest Days & Blackest Nights – A Black Nerd Girl’s Journey

Fri. April 24| 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM | Room S405b

This is no longer Heinlein’s Nerdom. The white-skinned, flowing haired Damsel in Distress is more likely to be the dark-skinned, kinky haired Reluctant Hero. The chiseled, blue-eyed avatar is more likely to have brown eyes and rounded features.
As the Geekverse grows, so do representations of black women within it. Unfortunately, black women still face many barriers towards being accepted as “real nerds.” Our discussion will focus on the past, present and future of the black nerd girl and her place in the ‘Verse.

View original 165 more words

Heroine’s Journey #10 – LC Brown and I talk about Rat Queens!


Tanya DePass, creator of #INeedDiverseGames, once again joins LC Brown to discuss Rat Queens, the Image Comics title by Kurtis J. Wiebe, including:

  • What Rat Queens and D&D have in common
  • Women getting ugly: Why it matters
  • Is Rat Queens getting women back into comics?
  • The power of word of mouth: Which other comics are we picking up?

Plus: Resident Evil Revelations 2; why LC should never got a record contract; Parks and Recreation; Elizabeth Moon & Wiscon: because the third time’s a charm; demi-divinity, biraciality and bisexuality – being in-between; how to see Tanya at C2E2, and your emails!

Main topic starts at: 11:34
Emails start at: 27:55

Cohost info: Tanya DePass, I Need Diverse Games on Tumblr and Twitter,#INeedDiverseGames

Intro and Outro music: “Snow World Under the White Moon“, EeL

If you’d like to leave us a comment, question, or maybe just some good old-fashioned hatemail,send us an email at info (at) hjcast [dot] com.

Nerdgasm Noire #195 – #PantsOfThePatriarchy with @biancajand & me!

In case you missed it live, you can now listen to Bianca and I on The Nerdgasm Noire Network!

Episode #195 – Pants of the Patriarchy!

Listen on or download the MP3 below

#FeministDeck art of us by the lovely and talented KivaBay

[Download MP3]

Topics: On Nerdtastic News, Wonder Woman movie loses director, Michelle MacLaren and this doesn’t bode well for the project.  We have two Black Owned Businesses of the Week. The first is an Indiegogo campaign for Paralysis movie; a horror film with a Black Woman protagonist who’s experiencing very weird possibly supernatual events. The other is Kickstarter campaign for De La Soul’s new album.

This week we welcome guests, Tanya D. (@cypheroftyr) and Bianca Anderson(@biancajand).  They talk about their experience in the [A]List Daily interview. Bianca told a great story on how interview series came to be.   We discuss gender and racial identity in video games and gaming community, shirtless guys in comic books tv shows and decided a game about stealing the pants of patriarchy is greatly needed.

Other topics include a Black Steampunk Sherlock Holmes, 12 year old girl researching why mobile app games don’t have characters that look like her, and Tanya D.’s article on historical accuracy in fantasy worlds.

– See more at:

Plus 10 Personals – Ep 003 #INeedDiverseGames

#INeedDiverseGames is all about promoting diversity in the gaming industry, mostly through dialogue / conversation / re-blogging / community organizing.

Today’s guest in Tanya, the person in charge of #INDG.

So, listen up. She’s a wise one.

Download the episode here, or listen on Plus 10 Personals

Or, wait. Do you like Soundcloud more? I do.

Go there. To that sweet link. And get it.

Follow Tanya around the wonderful Internet:


I think the internet needs more social media platforms that start with /t/.

A while back I had the chance to chat with David Russell Gutsche of the Plus 10 Damage podcast. We had a great time talking and I look forward to chatting with him again!

Catch me and @biancajand on @nerdgasmnoire Live tonight at 8:45 pm CST!

Tonight! 04-14-2015

On  we invite & to discuss gender/racial Identity in gaming community @ 8:45pm CT.

Listen at: 

Me for Feminist Deck  & biancajand for feminist deck

Art by the lovely and talented KivaBay! Please donate and support her work on the #feministdeck

Check out Nerdgasm Noire online at, on twitter at @nerdgasmnoire

Can’t listen in tonight? Check out the show on Stitcher later!

Check ebooks-tree for your fanworks! They might be there as PDF’s w/o your ok

So there’s a site that is bot-scraping Archive of Our Own ( for fics, uploading them as PDF’s and selling them (I could be wrong on that, someone feel free to correct me). They have a DMCA take down page which is BS, and has language to make it seem like you need legal assistance to get your works taken down.

Many folks over on tumblr have seen their works there, including yours truly. This post has great info on how to get your works taken down from the site, including sending a notice to their hosting company and their Info page instead of their BS DMCA page. 

AO3 is aware of the issue as well, as noted in this tweet reply to a user who pinged them.

So if you see your works, please contact them and request your fan works be removed from their page.

The lovely Kiva Bay did more #feministdeck art of me!

I’m so humbled that Kiva did more art of me for the #FeministDeck.  This time I’m a Paladin!

You can see more of Kiva’s work at twitter @Kivabay & on tumlbr atmostlypretty or her website

You can support her art over at Patreon, or find out more about Kiva on herAbout page.

#Datenight with The Dialogue Wheel – Part 2 where we continue the convo about Diversity in DAI!

So when I was on The Dialogue Wheel podcast, we had a lengthy convo that wound up being a part 2 episode! So here’s the second half of that great convo. Part 1 is here in case you missed it.

Date Night with the Dialogue Wheel #26: Diversity in Dragon Age Inquisition 

Welcome to Date Night with the Dialogue Wheel episode 26, “Diversity in DAI.”

Chachi, Tyler, Evan, and guest Tanya D (@cypheroftyr) discuss diversity in the Dragon Age series of games. This is the first of two installments.

Tanya D’s art is done by the wildly talented @KivaBay as part of her #FeministDeck series. The article mentioned in our podcast can be found here:…

Tonight’s cast includes Chachi (@ChachiBobinks), Tyler (@Remilbus1138), and Evan (@KllrMannequin).

The Dialogue Wheel theme song is “Please Mind the Dubstep” by Bit Basic. Channel art by Chachi. Original cast art comissioned by @Dinomyte203. All other Dragon Age-related information is property of @BioWare.

My @C2E2 Schedule – aka I’m talking about things! In front of a lot of people!

So these two panels will be my first C2E2 speaker appearances ever! Thanks to @ANerdCalledRage & @Karnythia for inviting me to be on panels with them. The Blerd panel will be live-streamed AFAIK, once I get a link I’ll post it!

Through Brightest Days & Blackest Nights – A Black Nerd Girl’s Journey

Fri. April 24| 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM | Room S405b

This is no longer Heinlein’s Nerdom. The white-skinned, flowing haired Damsel in Distress is more likely to be the dark-skinned, kinky haired Reluctant Hero. The chiseled, blue-eyed avatar is more likely to have brown eyes and rounded features.
As the Geekverse grows, so do representations of black women within it. Unfortunately, black women still face many barriers towards being accepted as “real nerds.” Our discussion will focus on the past, present and future of the black nerd girl and her place in the ‘Verse.
Track: Diversity
This Panel is sponsored in part by the Chicago Nerd Social Club.
FYI: I was added to this panel as a replacement for Mary Robinette Kowal, however the C2E2 site isn’t updated yet. So here’s the panel details.

#YesAllTrolls What Happens After the Trolling Goes Too Far?

Sat. April 25| 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM | Room S403

Harassment in geek spaces extends beyond cosplayers at cons, or online harassment that can be hidden with a block button. Sometimes it turns into offline danger ranging from doxxing to SWATting to credible death threats.
How do we break the cycle? What can be done to protect yourself and your community? Speaking up against these things can be dangerous, but what message does silence send? We’ll talk about internet security, being marginalized in geek spaces and more.
Panel may contain triggers!
Track: Cosplay, Diversity, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Women in Comics

Chicago Nerd Social Club – Pre-C2E2 Meet-n-Greet! (via @geekbarchicago blog)

Hey local nerdy friends! There will be a pre-C2E2 meet and greet at Geek Bar Beta in Chicago!! You should go, meet other nerdy types and if you don’t yet have a C2E2 pass, there’s a chance to win one! Details below

Chicago Nerd Social Club’s Pre-C2E2 Meet ‘n Greet

April 18 @ 3:00 pm5:00 pm

| Free


C2E2 is almost here, so Chicago Nerd Social Club is hosting its annual Pre-C2E2 Meet ‘n Greet! Whether you’ve been a part of the CNSC community for a while or are curious and want to find out what we’re about, all are welcome! Come mingle with your fellow nerds and maybe make new friends with which to explore C2E2.

Geek Bar Beta’s selection of games will be available, but feel free to bring any you’d like to share with other CNSCers! There will also be some fun activities, including the traditional round of “Name Your Nerd Sin in a Judgment-Free Zone,” and nerd trivia.

AND THERE ARE PRIZES! ** CNSC will hold a drawing for **4 weekend passes to C2E2.

This is a FREE event, but you MUST RSVP through Geek Bar’s event listing & be present at the time of the drawing to claim your ticket/pass.

So come out and join CNSC to meet others in Chicago’s awesome, nerdy community!

This event is sponsored by C2E2.

I gathered some early AM tweets on power, responsibility and pedestals on Storify

On power, falling from pedestals and responsibility for the weight of your words

I had some thoughts on what it means to have the ear of people, to know the weight of your words and realizing that it’s s short drop from great heights should you fall.

byAvatar for Tanya DePassTanya DePass3 minutes ago

Tech Upgrades for #INeedDiverseGames ~ GoFundMe update, signal boost request

So, under the #INeedDiverseGames  hashtag we’ve been doing some great things! However, keeping on with those great things requires some tech upgrades that don’t come cheap.

In order to do things like stream games, write reviews and get some future initiatives going, upgraded and new tech is needed.

As the creator of the hashtag, as someone who wants to keep the conversation & work about diversity in gaming going, I ask that you help out with some of these upgrades/new tech so that the work can continue and improve.

So far, we’ve received$650 of the $1100 goal.  I’d love to reach it soon so a laptop can be purchased that will meet our needs, and a good mic for podcasting.

If you can signal boost this, or if possible drop a few bucks, we’d really appreciate it.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us, signal boosted, donated. We couldn’t do a lot of this work without your support.

Continue reading Tech Upgrades for #INeedDiverseGames ~ GoFundMe update, signal boost request

I got a chance to chat up the lovely folks at @CastletoCastle! Disney Podcast :D

Episode 55: Emily, Mike and Tanya Need Diverse Disney (and Games)

I HAD SO MUCH FUN Chatting with Mike and Emily! I can’t wait to come back and visit, hang out and talk about Disney, diversity and everything in-between. Listen, subscribe, say hello to the hosts. They are lovely folks and you should follow them on twitter and catch up on the podcast.

Another full episode!,

This time around, Emily and Mike are honoured to be joined by the originator of the I Need Diverse Games hashtag initiative, Tanya! We do, of course, discuss videogames and diversity – there is some Disney in there, too – as well as the un-reality of some holiday destinations, the loveliness of Chicago, the strange fear some folks have of diversity, and why YOU should go ahead and do a podcast.

Yes, YOU.

Only if you want to, y’know.

If you enjoyed our discussion as much as we enjoyed having it – and Tanya WILL return to the nebulous Castle to Castle studio – you can let us know through a Like on Facebook, a Follow on Twitter and Tumblr, a (100% free!) subscription on iTunes, and/or an email, to – and, as always, enjoy!

Links ‘n’ Stuff:

#INeedDiverseGames on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook

Tanya on TwitterTwitch and Offworld (a fantastic article on the lie of ‘historical accuracy’ in fantasy)

Some of Tanya’s favourite folks:

Emily on TwitterTumblr  Mike on Twitter

Direct download: Episode_55_-_Emily_Mike_and_Tanya_Need_Diverse_Disney_and_Games.mp3
Category:general — posted at: 12:01 PM

I got to hangout with the fine folks over at the Dialogue Wheel Podcast!

I recently had a chance to join the folks over at the Dialogue Wheel podcast to talk about #diversity in #DragonAge. This is a short episode, Part 2 will be about an hour long.

Welcome to Date Night with the Dialogue Wheel episode 25, “Diversity in DAI.”

Chachi, Tyler, Evan, and guest Tanya D (@cypheroftyr) discuss diversity in the Dragon Age series of games. This is the first of two installments.

Tanya D’s art is done by the wildly talented @KivaBay as part of her #FeministDeck series. The article mentioned in our podcast can be found here:…

Tonight’s cast includes Chachi (@ChachiBobinks), Tyler (@Remilbus1138), and Evan (@KllrMannequin).

The Dialogue Wheel theme song is “Please Mind the Dubstep” by Bit Basic. Channel art by Chachi. Original cast art comissioned by @Dinomyte203. All other Dragon Age-related information is property of @BioWare.

A big thanks to Allan Schumacher for pointing me to the Dialogue Wheel. I had a great time hanging out with everyone and can’t wait to revisit with the cast. :D

I’ll post Part 2 when it’s up!

Wiscon 39 Programming sign ups CLOSE TOMORROW 3/29!

Reminder! Wiscon programming sign ups close tomorrow! Get that survey done so your feedback can be heard! It’s a big part of how programming is decided so you should do the survey!!!

WisCon 39 Programming

Traditionally, WisCon programming has been divided into separate tracks to provide some visual organization in the at-Con programming pocket guide. However, they serve other purposes. By grouping like concepts together, we hope to prompt you to think of fascinating and important directions to take programs. The tracks are listed below. Click “More»” to read each full description.

Please review your panel interest expressions on the panel sign up and attendance interest form!

For your convenience, we’ve also provided a full list of proposed panel items. You may wish to open this link in a separate tab or window for ease of reference.

Questions/Concerns/Feedback can be sent to

Thank you!


Tanya D.
WC 39 Programming Deputy

I’m going to be on a panel at C2E2 this year!! So excited!

Thanks to the fabulous @ANerdCalledRage asking me to join her, I’ll be on this panel at this year’s C2E2:

Through Brightest Days & Blackest Nights – A Black Nerd Girl’s Journey

Fri. April 24| 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM | Room S405b

This is no longer Heinlein’s Nerdom. The white-skinned, flowing haired Damsel in Distress is more likely to be the dark-skinned, kinky haired Reluctant Hero. The chiseled, blue-eyed avatar is more likely to have brown eyes and rounded features. As the Geekverse grows, so do representations of black women within it. Unfortunately, black women still face many barriers towards being accepted as “real nerds.” Our discussion will focus on the past, present and future of the black nerd girl and her place in the ‘Verse. This Panel is sponsored in part by the Chicago Nerd Social Club.

@ANerdCalledRage (Mod), @karnythia, @kdc, @karlyn_darlin & me! @cypheroftyr

Full Schedule is now live at C2E2’s website

A lovely Friday night spent with cool people


I’m really lucky in that I know such awesome people. Hungout last night atmaryrobinette ‘s along with GeekMelange, Karnythia & KTO. I got to meet @tobiasbuckell. Pictured showing off Mary Robinette’s selection of fine spirits. He’s a cool guy and glad I got hang out with such cool peeps. Also, there was pecan pie & good whiskey along with awesome peeps.

Lemme dust this thing off and say hello, again

So things have been super busy for me since I last posted here! Last October I started the #INeedDiverseGames hashtag over on twitter and it took off into the stratosphere. That was partially in thanks to Karnythia who has a great online footprint and presence.

Thankfully the conversations sparked by this hashtag continued on and now there’s a Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook page, Google+ and other spots.  There’s a lot more going on, including a Patreon, some other fund raising things going on, and hopefully many great things going on in the year to come.

You can find out more about #INeedDiverseGames on the FAQ page, and if you are feeling generous, support us on Patreon, PayPal donation, or via our Spreadshirt store.

The other exciting news is that I’ve got an article over at BoingBoing Offworld! On what else, Race, Thedas and Dragon Age. Check it out and as usual stay out of the comments.

So there will be more frequent posting and hopefully more talk about things that don’t fit my twitter/tumblr/Facebook.

If you want to follow me on social media, you can find me on Twitter, Google+ & Tumblr pretty easily. My Facebook is locked to Friends Only. If you want me to speak on a panel, or at a convention, there’s a handy link on the sidebar.

So… Coming Out Day

I’ve got mixed feelings about Coming Out Day. On the one hand, I understand it’s importance, the necessity for some to have this day. On the other, I almost feel like there’s a pressure to be out and proud or use the day as a springboard to come out if you’re not already.

What I don’t think a lot of people realize is that coming out, being out and staying out is a privilege. It’s brave, it’s costly but it’s a privilege. Being out is also dangerous for some of us. While it would be nice to come out of the closet, blowing the door off the hinges, having everything be awesome and nice… it’s often not the case.

Too many people, especially young people are told they are not worthy of human decency, love, affection because of their orientation. Too many are cast out from their homes, their lives torn apart for taking that step. For being true to themselves.

Too often our youth are driven to suicide, too often people don’t come out for fear of losing everything. Home, job, children, even their lives. It’s not easy to come out and have life just go on as it had been. Some people are forthright in their confusion, their disdain, anger, feelings of betrayal.

Others may slowly creep out of your life, unsure how to deal with you now that you’ve broken their nice little assumptions of you. Then there’s the hostility, the threats, the danger that the person you know isn’t who you thought they were. The way in which they avoid you, hurt you, make remarks that cut all the deeper because they know you have taken that leap to be open and honest with everyone in your life.

Coming out is a process that shifts with each time you do it. Each time you give that piece of yourself up to outer scrutiny. If you come out, it’ll be done many, many times for the rest of your life. There’s always new people, new situations, new reasons, ways to fling open that door again.

But there’s the flip side to all of this. For a lot of people, they just can’t come out. It will mean death, it will mean loss of all. There’s some people who don’t’ give a damn about being out. It’s their life, their business and no one needs to know.

I can respect that, and I can also respect those that have to come out. To be who you are in all ways to everyone around you. Neither way is wrong, or right or perfect, or deserving of ire.

Lastly, and this is something I want people to really remember. You don’t owe it to anyone to come out. You don’t owe the world, your family, your friends, anyone but you a reason to be out.

If you never tell a soul about your partner, never correct pronouns when someone asks about your husband or wife, it’s all good. 

We all have the right to live our lives as we see fit. It’s not a competition, no one gets a fucking prize for being out nor do we get black marks for keeping our lives to ourselves.

So if you are using today to come out, I salute you. I am proud of you and I honor your bravery in doing so.

If you are pondering your orientation, thinking about today and using it as a way to come to terms with who you are, again…my hat’s off to you and I wish you well on your journey to wherever you land.

If today is a day that makes you cringe and hate the world and it’s ideas, I understand and hope it passes quickly and quietly for you.

If someone takes the risk to come out to you today, be a good friend. Don’t talk over them, just listen, don’t offer condolences, say it’s a phase, turn them away or tell them to get right with DEITY. It doesn’t work that way.

Don’t take someone’s act of bravery and turn into a moment to earn brownie points, or show just how tolerant you are.

Shut up, listen and when they are done talking? Give them a hug and thank them for taking that risk. Thank them for their bravery and their trust in you.

Lastly some resources for you:

National Coming Out Day – Wikipedia Article

National Coming Out Day Facebook Page

On Respecting the Boundaries of your Bisexual Friends (from my ‘grown up blog’)

Human Rights Campaign Straight Ally “Coming Out Day Guide” 

HRC’s Coming Out Day resource page

We Got Your Back Project

About “Save the Pearls”

So… I’ve had some time to ruminate on this ‘book‘… “Save the Pearls”. I put book in air quotes because this doesn’t deserve to be called a book. It’s a self serving, poor me, white people are OMG oppressed in this far flung, post apocalyptic, fictitious world so this is totally ok, AMIRITE?! oppression fantasy brought to you.

Here’s the “About” blurb. I apologize in advance for any rage you may experience, but I didn’t write this. Bold commentary mine.

Would you betray your loved ones—and maybe your entire race—to avoid a horrible death?

In a post-apocalyptic world where resistance to an overheated environment defines class and beauty, Eden Newman’s white skin brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. The clock is ticking: if Eden doesn’t mate before her eighteenth birthday, she’ll be left outside to die. (Humanity is fucked then if people who don’t mate by 18 are left to die, shortest dystopian epic ever)

If only a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class would pick up her mate option, she’d be safe. But no matter how much Eden darkens her skin and hair, she’s still a Pearl, still ugly-cursed with a tragically low mate-rate of 15%.

Just maybe one Coal sees the real Eden and will save her-she has begun secretly dating her handsome co-worker Jamal. But when Eden unwittingly compromises her father’s secret biological experiment, she is thrown into the eye of a storm-and the remaining patch of rainforest, a strange and dangerous land.

Eden must fight to save her father, who may be humanity’s last hope, while standing up to a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction to him. To survive, Eden must change-but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty-and of true love.

Acclaimed writer VICTORIA FOYT <—- acclaimed by WHO? blends equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this captivating dystopian novel set in a terrifying future, which is all too easy to imagine. <—- only if you are a white person who is terrified of becoming a minority and what it could mean if *gasp* there are more of them than us.

The first installment in the Save the Pearls series of fantasy romance novels, Revealing Eden recently won the 2012 Eric Hoffer Award in the Young Adult Category, the Best YA Fantasy Award from Books & Authors, and was runner up in the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival!

NO, JUST FUCKING NO. Save yourself the trouble and embarrassment of attempting to make a “statement” when all you’ve done is show how very, very little you know of how the world works. This attempt at showing some alternate reality, where white people are oppressed, devalued and dying out because they have a low mate rate because they can’t survive a super heated environment due to their lack of melatonin is perverse.

It’s a sad attempt at showcasing their own little world view (emphasis on little, since their writing and attempts and stemming the tide of their own fail on FB shows how narrow minded the author is) and trying to make some kind of … argument for something…

The author has posted a response on the Facebook page, here and many people have responded. It looks like the author is deleting comments that disagree with her post, her book and this whole concept. Here’s what I had to say:

Intent means nothing. Look at the vocabulary used in the book. Coals for dark skinned people, supposedly those that are “Coals”a re more worthy and valuable. Do you understand that coal does not have value except as fuel, something to be used and tossed away? Yet the poor, oppressed white people in this book are still called “Pearls”. Pearls, a semi-precious item in today’s world, something of intrinsic value, that is coveted, and treasured by others. 

The snippets I’ve seen are poorly written, the cover is offensive and you jumping up and down saying I’m not a racist is full of fail. Try harder, do some research into what words mean as well as caste systems, and try again once you have some research, some facts and can do better than this…whatever this is.

In choosing to KEEP TALKING instead of listening to the numerous POC (and non-POC) voices telling her how racist, fucked up, vilifying and fetishizing this thing is, the author is trying the usual tactic of repeating ad nauseum, but I’m not a racist! I’m not a racist! And this goes back to Jay Smooth’s point of how to tell the difference in someone doing/saying something racist, but that doesn’t mean they are a racist.

I’d liked to have given the writer of this fictitious world the benefit of the doubt, but when her responses basically boil down to OMG YOU ALL I AM NOT RACIST, STOP PICKING ON ME. I AM CRYING ALL MY WHITE WOMAN TEARS, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHAT I’M DOING HERE!!!

I can’t do that because of her oh so special comment here:

Conceivably, if the book had not reached the African-American community of readers, if such a category still exists, perhaps there might be some backlash. The first young African American reader who responded to me loved the book. But then, she’s the kind of free spirit who would eschew limiting herself to a single category.”

That gave any inclination I had to be civil in this post went right the fuck out my living room window.

“IF SUCH A CATEGORY STILL EXISTS?” You know what Victoria Hoyt, FUCK YOU. I’ve been reading since before you were thought of you privileged dumb ass. Who the fuck do you think you are to make such a statement? Clearly reading, writing, and comprehension are skills you lack based on the this thing you are attempting to pass off as a serious look at “reverse-racism”, what-if scenarios.

Here’s something for you to read, print, and tack it next to your monitor because you need a lesson in how not to continue to fuck up regarding race issues:

I didn’t mean to and other such nonsense from allies:

Also, the Invisible Knapsack from Peggy McIntosh is required reading for you (and anyone else dumb enough to think your book is anything but an epic case for race fail).

I’d say just fucking Google it but it’s clear that using research tools and methods and actually trying to sound like an intelligent human being is beyond you, so have a freebie.

Ahem, back to what I was saying… oh yes how this attempt at post apocalytpic dystopia (read white oppression, mandingo fantasy gone wild) is a piece of tripe.

In going back to the site (shudder) to get more reference material I found this “video-log” of the main protaganist. SHE IS IN BLACKFACE, FUCKING BLACKFACE YOU HEAR ME. (video is here, watch at your own risk, I am not responsible for any damage caused after viewing it)

Just… really? Mate rate? Is that what people have been reduced to you in your fantasy world? Mate or die? If that’s the best you can come up with as a plot device, I would skip this tripe anyway but the whole thing about “Coals” and “Pearls” just cements the fact you are naive, privileged and have no clue about real world race issues.

Let me tell you something… words have meaning, they have value. Tossing about words like Coals, savage, beastly in reference to the antagonist who discovers her father’s experiments and tosses her out in the rain forest does not endear me, you want-to-be wordsmith. It shows that you still buy into the savage, hyper-sexualized, black man trope. It shows me that you couldn’t be bothered to try and find some way to describe the superior, darker people in this book without finding a way to still reduce them to nothing by your choice of words.

The fact that whites are described as “Pearls”, something precious, to be coveted and desired, “saved” shows your oppression fantasy quite clearly for the world to see, and it’s ugly. You should cover it up. I also want to know in what world (oops, yours apparently) that the girl used in the YouTube video would be considered ugly? She looks like someone dabbed her in brown shoe polish and she needs a bath but she is not ugly. I suppose there are people who tell her, you’re not bad looking for a Pearl in your book? (my guess is not really).

Someone with some sense, and a red pen should have stopped you when you pitched this idea to begin with. Someone with sense and editorial knowledge should have sat you down and explained how racism actually works in the real world, how the caste system works in the real world before letting you attempt whatever the hell you have let loose on the world.

Congratulations, you have created something I hold in greater derision that 50 Shades of Grey. You have also shown that you need some very harsh life lessons in order to see that racism is more than you conceive of in your attempt to show people the wrongs of racism. You failed Hoyt, seriously, epic-ally failed in Eden.

Also, other people have taken this concept and done it WELL. [Noughts and CrossesBlonde Roots] You should read their books, take notes and once you come out from the cave of Tropes, caricatures and fallacy that your characters reside in, perhaps learn to listen and try again, or not. I’m sure none of us would mind if you stopped attempting to teach people about concepts you don’t even understand yourself.

On “Oh You Sexy Geek Girls & Self Objectification”

Ok, so I’ve read this article, really sat down and parsed it out, shared it on my Tumblr after a FB friend posted a link to it and I can’t get behind it.  This person doesn’t seem to be a member of the cosplaying community, is painting every woman who does cosplay with the same brush of wanting to garner straight male gaze with their attire, and couches it in academic sounding terms for the appearance of legitimacy.

It doesn’t consider those who do cosplay for the love of costuming, the challenge of getting a difficult concept right, showing off the fruits of your labor to those who can appreciate the work and craftsmanship that goes into cosplay.

It also assumes that all female “sexy” cosplayers are straight and angling for hetero male approval/attentions. Or that all these women are doing it to show off their bodies in some attempt to titillate or again garner straight male gaze/approval. 

As a gamer, and a geek I found it offensive on behalf of people who do cosplay. A friend of mine who is really into it took serious offense at the article because it assumes that she (as someone who has cosplayed Isabela from DA II and Trish from the Devil May Cry series) is putting on that costume strictly to garner male attention and approval. No she does it because she loves the costuming, the challenge of putting it together and because she wants to do it for her own pleasure, not to get some dude’s (unwanted) gaze

It also made me think of another friends post (on Tumblr) who dressed up for her self, because she was having a day of I wanna wear this for me. A coworker then turned it into C must have a date/is interested in someone in her class/has a crush. Because clearly you can’t just dress nicely for YOURSELF, instead you must be doing it to get some man’s attention. 

Yeah that article just doesn’t sit right with me.I will definitely reference it at my WisCon panel next weekend.

Review: Throne of the Crescent Moon

Throne of the Crescent Moon
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent showing for Saladin Ahmed’s fantasy. I got sucked into the characters and invested in them. Raseed bas Raseed especially won me over. Zamia, our Badawi tribeswoman, augh all the feels for her character. I think that The Good Doctor needs to settle down, relax and leave the adventuring to men like his Dervish assistant. I can’t wait for book 2 and hopefully more Ghul hunting with this cast of characters.

View all my reviews

On respecting the boundaries of your bisexual friends – inspired by Neo’s post

The Microaggression by a bi-woman who had a former school mate assume she MUST have a crush on every woman she knows

“Girl:: Oh hey, so you’re bisexual?

Me:: Yeah.

Girl:: Do you have a crush on me then?

Me:: Oh hey, so you’re straight?

Girl:: Yeah.

Me:: Do you have a crush on every guy you meet?

Girl at my old school upon finding out I was bisexual. Made me feel like there was no hope left for humanity.”

Along with neo_prodigy@ Livejournal’s recent post on respecting gay men’s boundaries here combined with the idiocy of Dan Savage (pick anything he’s said about bisexual’s over the last year) has me full of thinky thoughts about the fallacy that bisexual = I want to fuck everything with two legs.

Let’s be clear on that, just because I’m bi does not mean I want to necessarily fuck everything. I have limits and boundaries as I’m sure you do too. To wit; here are those boundaries & limits so no one can say I never told you so.

1. If you are not bi or lesbian; there’s a 100% probably I don’t want you. If you’re straight, you’re straight and thus off limits (That’s my opinion, YMMV)

2. Even if you are bi or lesbian; don’t assume I want to fuck you. I’m not easy and odds are you are likely not my type.

3. What is my type you may ask? Well the one thing that is an absolute requirement you have to be intelligent… you have to be able to carry an intelligent conversation with me or you are not allowed to ride this ride. All the other stuff is negotiable.

4. Don’t ask me stupid questions about being bi; aka so do you have one of each? Partners are not pokemon, I don’t collect them

5. Don’t tell me it’s just a phase and that I’m really lesbian and will figure it out one day. I’m 38, I’m damn sure this isn’t a phase.

6. Don’t assume I know everything about all bisexuals out there. Just like with other things about me, bisexuals are not a hive-mind and I can’t tell you definitive answers regarding every be-all, end-all things bisexual.

7. Don’t reduce my identity to equal sexual activity. I’m more than who I share my bed with as are you.

ETA: 8. Also: I am not magically straight when I am involved with a man. I am not magically a lesbian when I am involved with a woman. My sexual preferences/attractions don’t change based on who I’m in a relationship with, just like you don’t stop finding tall people attractive just because you’re dating a short person. (via zia_narratora

Lastly, treat me as a person, as your friend and I’ll do the same for you. Respect me and I’ll respect you. If you can’t do that —–> the door is that way, don’t let it hit you on the way out.

Savage Reality (Repost from Neo Prodigy on Livejournal)

“Bisexual activists like to complain that they’re the most oppressed because (1) it’s a contest, and (2) it’s a good excuse. If they can argue—and unfortunately, they can—that lots of gay people are mean to them (some gay people don’t want to date them, some gay people doubt they exist) and straight people are mean to them (some straight people don’t want to date them, some straight people doubt they exist), then bisexual people aren’t to blame for the bisexual closet. Everyone else is.

“I’m sorry, bisexual activists, but you’re doing it all wrong. Instead of berating me for my alleged bi-phobia—and if I’m the enemy, you’re in real trouble—berate your closeted compatriots. If they all came out tomorrow, you could put an end to bi-phobia, take over the LGBT movement, and kick my ass out of it.”

Dan Savage,

In regards to your comments on bisexuals, I only have this to say: THANK YOU!

Yes, thank you for personifiying everything that is fucked up about the LGBTQ community with your nonstop racism, transphobia, biphobia and pure unadulterated bitchassness and making it easier for me to have a reference to point to. Thank you for being the guy who villifies rape survivors and still manages to get a pass for it. That way I can stop pretending like I would piss on you if you were burning in hell, kinda like how you can stop pretending that you care about black people.

More than Phelps, more than the Westboro Baptist Church, assholes like you are the reason why it doesn’t get better for queer people. Because as you have continuously proven, you’re more of a threat to us than they are. At least they don’t prop themselves up to be allies.

And biphobia will only end when everyone comes out of the closet? REALLY SAVAGE?!!!! REALLY?!!!!!! Because being a visible minority ALWAYS goes over so well in this society. I’ve been out and proud as a visible Negro. We see how well that’s worked for me and mine for the past 400+ years in this country alone. We’ve also seen how well that’s worked for those who are visibly out. Ask Emille Griffith, Lawrence King, Duanna Johnson and Matthew Shepard and all the other heroes and heroines what being visible gets you.

But you are right about one thing Savage, you do represent the LGBTQ community. In fact, you personify everything that is the LGBTQ community. Because one would be a fool to think you are the only one with this fucked up mindset. In fact, this is why I always state that while I’ll advocate for queer rights, I’ve got no use for the LGBTQ community. Because otherwise, the LGBTQ community would’ve marched and protested against you the way they attacked black folks during the Prop 8 fallout, even though white people were the reason for Prop 8 passing. But no, all we’ll get is excuses and hemming and hawwing and defenses about how speshul Savage’s ass is.

And to all of you white folks (and a few token sellouts) who still give him the time of day, FUCK YOU TOO. I mean what the hell else does this guy have to do to prove what a piece of shit he is? But of course he’s enabled because he knows he can get away with it. Trust, this is some white privilege through and through. Because let POC, specifically a black man, spew a portion of the bile Savage has spewed and they would’ve been lynched by white folks queer and straight alike.

And this is the asshole, we’re supposed to entrust with at-risk suicidal youth? REALLY? REALLY?

Yeah ask me again why it doesn’t get better.

Dear Dan Savage, just stop talking about Bisexuals, it’s clear you know NOTHING about us.

I already didn’t like Dan Savage… but goddamn now I’m just bursting with anger. How the fuck, just how the everliving fuck does he even fix his mouth to spout the shit about bisexuals that he continues to let out into the ether?

Via AngryBlackTumblr: Bisexuals You Need to Come Out to Your Friends and Spouses—Now

Dear Dan Savage,

You know his claim as to why Bi’s NEED to come out? So we can basically stop whining about being invisible and do something and claim our spot in the community. You know what, fuck and you Savage.

No one should be forced to be out, in case you haven’t noticed not everyone can safely be out no matter their orientation. A lot of people can’t be out because they will lose their homes, their jobs, their kids, be threatened with bodily harm, and the list goes on. I should not have to declare myself at the LGBTQIA community border for your comfort. I don’t have to declare my orientation so you can pigeon hole me, continually treat me as a red-headed step child in the family because I supposedly can run back to hetero privilege whenever I get too scared.

You don’t speak for me Savage. You don’t get to draw lines in the sand and declare that my bisexuality is valid only because of my age. You don’t get to deny those teen boys (notice girls aren’t even on his radar as valid) their orientation because you claimed being bi as a teen. You are not them, they are not you and you are not the fucking mouthpiece of the entire LGBTQIA movement.

You preach that it gets better for some, but you are employing the same divisive tactics that anti-gay leaning folks use on the community. Just stop talking about things you don’t know, you don’t understand and for fucks sake stop posturing yourself as the be-all-end-all pundit of queer issues. Stick to what you know, which isn’t much.

No love,

ETA: Just a few links I found while Googling Dan Savage + Bisexuality. Almost all links point to some bi-phobic shit he’s said in the past and never apologized for. Come at me again with how he’s not bi-phobic and I’m going to laugh at you.

Queer Women of Color Still Face Racism During Pride, Among Other Things (Repost from Spectra Speaks)

In response to mainstream prides everywhere, including both the racism and sexism that pervades the larger gay community, Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston) hosts OPTIONZ — in its fifth year — tonight, a highly anticipated annual pride party specifically created to provide a space for lesbian, gay,bisexual, transgender and queer women of color and their friends, supporters, and allies during pride. But as excited as I am about QWOC+ Boston’s work in ensuring that we — women of color — are celebrated and visible during pride, that this is not the main subject of my post. If you follow QWOC+ Boston, you may have noticed on Facebook or any of our other social media channels, that our OPTIONZ party needed to be relocated to a new venue.

The reason for the venue change is that, last-minute, the previous venue, Caprice Lounge, presented me with some new terms: “No Hip Hop music, because of issues we’ve had in the past.”

Now, QWOC+ Boston has had a long-standing relationship with Caprice; we’ve been hosting events at their venue for the past three years. The reason, they gave, for the new policy was due to some recent violence that ensued after a Hip Hop show they hosted. Besides the fact that we’ve never had a single fight break out at a QWOC+ Boston event, it seemed ludicrous that the management had decided to villainize an entire genre of music based on a one-off incident. Something else that really pissed me off is that after informing us that we could not play Hip Hop at our party, we were offered a slew of other genres we could play as substitute including… (wait for it)… Rock music. So while we’re on stereotypes, it’s okay to play angry white man music, but not angry black man music? Wow.

Racist stereotypes aside, I was also only told that we could not play Hip Hop music on Tuesday (just two days before our event), which also seemed shady and manipulative. There had been no mention of this during our earlier communications. So, despite the fact that they’d been pushing for a large venue deposit to be made and incessantly trying to get me to sign a contract that would guarantee them two thousand dollars from the bar (of which I’d be liable if it was not met), I’m just floored that they had the audacity to limit whatever kind of music we played at our party.

So, guess what I said? HELLLL NO!

Okay. Not exactly in those words. I needed to be realistic. Despite the outrage expressed by community members after I’d relayed the incident — including the collective push for us to say goodbye to Caprice, I wasn’t sure it would be possible to find another venue, not during one of the busiest seasons of the year — weddings, graduations, prides etc — with just TWO days to go before the event.

So, rather than be seduced by the opportunity to give Caprice a self-righteous middle finger — and run the risk of having to cancel our pride party altogether —  I told the event coordinator at Caprice to send me the contract with all terms laid out; I would look it over and get back to her. In the meantime, I reached out to other venues comparable in size, and after just one day of mass emails and phone calls, I got lucky.

Market Lounge was big enough to accommodate us. Moreover, they weren’t going to charge us an arm and a leg to use the space (since they had no competing events during our event time). In fact, they seemed excited about getting the business of over 150 pride-ful peeps on a Thursday night. We had struck gold! Or so everyone thought…so  the applause began.

Great decision. Excellent. Yay for saying no to racism! But what I didn’t tell people, was that the new venue had a similar (albeit less overtly racist) dress code policy; a variation of the all too familiar Boston ‘dress code’ which goes something similar to “No hats, no sneakers, no do-rags, no athletic wear… women in dresses/skirts, men in collars etc” was prominently displayed on the wall by the entrance to their establishment. Here’s the picture on the right.

Making a decision based on who was less racist seemed impractical, so we went with this new venue because they were responsive, accommodating of our group last minute, the management agreed to not enforce their dress code policy during our event, and most importantly, they weren’t going to charge us an arm and a leg to bring them business (vs. Caprice that was essentially trying to make us pay them to go against our ideals).

Here’s the thing folks… I’ve been an event organizer for over five years, and I know first hand that most — if not all — downtown club venues have similar racist policies intended to keep “those people” out of their clubs. It doesn’t take a genius to note that these policies are overtly racist. In fact, as you read through the banned items of clothing, you’re almost expecting to come across, “No Black People,” towards the end of the list.

Venue policies are a stark reminder of Boston’s deeply rooted history with racial segregation, but racism isn’t the only issue queer women of color have to deal with.

If I turned my nose up at every venue that had a racist policy, homophobic and/or sexist staff etc, QWOC+ Boston would never have succeeded in pushing the physical boundaries of our community and creating new safe spaces for LGBTQ people of color in the manner in which we have. I daresay our willingness to push through the discomfort of so many tough, frustrating, awkward interactions has created more “ally venues” today for LGBT people of color — and the larger gay community as well as evidenced by a number of organizations / producers hosting events at venues after we’d done so successfully — than if we immediately walked away whenever we faced policies we didn’t agree with.

But this is not to say that we should ignore blatant signs of discrimination. There are venues that I’ll never send a dime of business (and LGBT organizations that I simply refuse to work with) until they’re willing to meet us halfway on the issue of white privilege/racism, male privilege/sexism etc. However, if we are to charter new territory, we must be patient, and more importantly, we must learn to speak the language of the gate keepers. In this case, that means knowing how to use money to send a message.

You should know that once I told Caprice that I was moving the party to a new venue, they came back with an O.K. to play whatever we wanted. This made for a great opportunity to explain that we would NOT be working with them this time around. And whereas, the loss of business may not result in the dissolution of their policy, the owner will remember that he lost a big event — a pride event, big dollars consumed at the bar, ouch — because he dared to broach the subject to the queer women of color who had been repeatedly giving him business for the past three years. (Incidentally, we first worked with Caprice during the second year of OPTIONZ, because we were in a similar situation; the venue we’d been in talks with slapped us with a racist dress code last minute, and wouldn’t budge on enforcing it. Caprice opened their doors to us then, and we’ve been working with them since. Isn’t it ironic, that the venue that has been the most flexible and easy to work with as far as hosting QWOC+ events, is the one being villainized for being racist today?)

I keep going back to the strong push I felt from our community to say F-U to Caprice and stand against racism, and can’t help but wonder if another ism or form of discrimination would have been met with the same level of engagement (and anger). What if I told you that via my work as an event organizer, I’d run into minority-owned/run venues with similar racist music / dress code policies? Can we remind ourselves that in women’s spaces /feminist circles, there is still so much language riddled with homophobia and transphobia? Shoot, I still pray for the day when sexism will be met with as much anger and outrage as racism from Boston’s LGBT community, when the political war being waged against women (via Planned Parenthood funding cuts, the GOP redefining rape etc.) will be treated as seriously by QPOC as they do AIDS/HIV prevention.

It’s easy to call out isms when the perpetrator is perceived to be a straight white man — the icon of patriarchy, which most of us can relate to wanting to take down. But the reality of being a queer woman of color is that you’re burdened with calling out offenses and violations against multiple facets of your identity, and forced to reckon with the harsh truth that your allies in one arena can be your oppressors in another.

Activism, for so many of queer women of color, is a constant negotiation of which ism to address. We don’t have the luxury of snubbing everyone that offends us, or we would have no where to go. We can’t — and shouldn’t have to — fight everyone. As a direct consequence, for queer women of color, standing up for what is ‘right’ in the face of racism, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia — all issues that significantly impact our community — can sometimes mean drastically limiting access to resources that we need as a community. So, whereas we should never compromise our ethics (as in this case — for the sake of a good party), QWOC+ Boston’s work isn’t just about one event, not just about today. I don’t think that I speak out of turn when I say that we all work our asses off so that tomorrow can be better, for everyone.

So, as we march, rally, dance, and speak out during pride, let us not forget those of us who are marginalized within the gay community, those of us who don’t have the luxury of approaching “Equality. No More. No Less,”, per the 2011 Boston Pride theme, as an isolated single issue. Most of the time, I hear louder, more aggressive forms of activism (against one kind of ism) encouraged and celebrated. But today, I feel humble as I reflect on the patience and perseverance that must have been maintained by my mentors and predecessors against so many injustices, that have enabled me to come this far. I celebrate you. I salute you. And I wish you all a happy pride.

Next up: we host Dennis Upkins for a spell on his Hollowstone book tour

I’m very happy to host the most excellent Dennis Upkins, author of the soon to be released Hollowstone. He breezed through the windy city during a stop on his book tour. Hollowstone is due out on 17 June 2011.

Q: Now, it’s great to see more POC authors and queer authors getting their work out and into the hands of readers who often feel left out of the literary mix. Hollowstone looks to address a lot of those needs. However, as a fan who is often left out of the mainstream media I wanted to know what else you might have planned to fill the gaps in for folks who aren’t seeing themselves reflected in the media they purchase?

A: I was talking to a good friend of mine about this, another professional writer, and we both discussed how we’re always looking for areas of opportunity to improve as far as being progressive and inclusive goes. While Hollowstone runs the gamut in tackling many facets of bigotry and institutional oppression, with Empyrea (the recently finished novel I’m currently editing), I come at representation of marginalized people from a completely different angle. Empyrea features a queer POC as the main protagonist, features multiple women of color in prominent roles.

It shows a loving interracial family in a matter of fact manner. Empyrea essentially illustrates what a world devoid of racism, misogyny, homophobia (as least as we know it) could look like. And while Empyrea is breaking a lot of ground, I’ve already got sequels planned and I’m looking for ways to step my game up. In the sequels, I know I will have a heroine who is a trans woman, lesbian characters and a disabled character. Each of them have important storylines, fleshed out roles, and treated with respect. The next novel I’ve got planned after Empyrea is a superhero story which features a teenage black girl and a gay man as the co-protagonists. Both characters have stories that are worth sharing. I’m constantly striving for ways to improve representation in my works because I believe everyone has a story worth telling.

Q: I know you’ve mentioned it on your blog, but I’m curious about who would be cast in a Hollowstone movie? Do you think the movie would suffer from white washing such as the reported casting options for a remake of Akira? Would you rather Hollowstone remain a book if your only option was to have a movie cast in the majorities image rather than how they are depicted in the book?

A: In regards to dreamcasting, I think this post sums it up: Do I think the movie would suffer from white washing? That would always be a risk, a huge one in fact. It would really depend on the players involved, how much money would be riding on it and chance. For that matter, a publisher could’ve tried to whitewash the story, and we’ve seen this crap happen far too often. Luckily I was blessed to find a home with a good publisher (Parker Publishing) that was welcoming of Hollowstone as is. I give props to Neil Gaiman and Ursula K. Le Guin who have both been outspoken in standing tall against allowing their characters to be whitewashed and I would like to think if presented with the choice, I would make the same decision. Because Hollowstone tackles too many important issues to allow such crap to happen.

Q: If you could make the literary world over in an image that would included fair and equal representation for everyone, how would you do that with your authorial powers?

A: I guess pretty much what I’m doing now. Writing stories that celebrate marginalized people. Supporting works with my money that celebrate equal and fair representation of everyone and promoting and working with other marginalized creators to see their work make it to the public.

Q: We already talked a bit about being marginalized and invisible in mainstream media. As a queer man and POC, did frustration with that marginalization and invisibility have anything to do with Hollowstone’s creation?

A: Not really. At least not consciously or directly. I didn’t intentionally set out to write a story that was in reaction to being marginalized or invisible in mainstream media. But as the story developed, took on a life of its own, and continued to evolve, it did exactly that. But it had more to do with the fact that much of Hollowstone is based on personal experiences and things I’ve witnessed first hand. The marginalized issues was something I struggled with. It felt like walking a tight rope. Do you tip your toe in the pool of social justice issues and risk making your characters cliches who only exist to whine about racism or homophobia or do you go all out, balls to the walls, and show it all unapologetically and let the story share its truth. And why does it always have to be about racism/homophobia with gay and black characters. I wrestled with these choices and then finally I just had to tell myself, frak it. Truth is truth, no matter how inconvenient it is, and as Noah states in the opening of the novel, there are some stories that just must be told.

Q: If you could fix one thing in fandom (Take your pick; comics, movies, books, all of the above) which one would you fix or is it too broken to fix?

A: I would say all of the above, if for no other reason than they all intersect. I’m not sure if fandom is too broken to fix but I definitely think something drastic is going to have to happen, a massive overhaul to fix things. At minimum, marginalized peeps are going to have to double their efforts in creating their own spaces, their own media, supporting one another and boycotting those that denigrate them. At most, the industry is going to have to fall and be rebuilt before things can improve. Or something else unexpected can occur. I think it’s a matter of staying vigilant about these issues and continue to press forward even if fandom is hellbent on backsliding in regards to progress.

Q: If any of your characters from Hollowstone could write a post for the We Got Your Back Project, who would submit their story and what would they say?

A: WOW! This has to be one of the most powerful questions I’ve received. You know the We Got Your Back Project is near and dear to my heart, and some of the characters would definitely have a lot to say.

Noah– He would definitely discuss his experiences with knowing Ryan, Neely, and another gay character who is revealed in the story. He would discuss his experiences in trying to be a straight ally and would urge other allies to be proactive in supporting their queer brothers and sisters based on the folks who impacted his life.

Neely– She would discuss her experiences being a bisexual teen, growing up in a conservative environment, and how it isn’t easy to be out and proud, in spite of what society would have you believe. She would also point out that if it wasn’t for her older brother—who loved, protected, and accepted her as God intended her to be—she probably wouldn’t be here today. She would probably say why support and love is vital, especially in light of all the hatred and bigotry LGBTQs endure on a day to day.

Ryan– Ryan’s story would be the most powerful. Because he goes through a lot in the story. And his story is a sobering reminder why it doesn’t always get better and that in fact, it rarely does. And if his story doesn’t move people to take an active role in fighting bigotry and hatred, nothing will.

Q: Do you think that Hollowstone and books like it will finally get POC authors out of the “African American Author” purgatory books by black authors are often dropped into regardless of the books subject matter?

A: Your guess is as good as mine. If authors like Octavia Butler and L.A. Banks haven’t clued society in that our work is universal just like white authors, I don’t know if society will ever learn. As POC authors, all we can do is do what we can and just hope and pray for the best.

Q: Lastly, will we get to see more of the Hollowstone cast in future novels? Will we get to follow them as they develop or will they remain in the world built in Hollowstone?

A: You know, the thought of doing a sequel, even a trilogy, crossed my mind more than once. It was an idea I toyed around with and even debated with myself. Then I realized that the characters in Hollowstone get so much closure, not to mention the fact that the novel ends in a very unique way, that to do a sequel would probably be a disservice to the characters and the story. If you can ever exit on a high note, that’s the way to do it. That being said…in the superhero story I’m outlining, one of the central characters will make an appearance and something about their fate that was all but promised in Hollowstone, gets confirmed in the superhero novel. So stay tuned.

Denny, thank you so much for stopping by during your book tour and we’ll be sure to give Hollowstone a review once its out! If all of that didn’t convince you to buy Hollowstone, here’s 12 reasons to order it! You can order Hollowstone directly from the publisher or from

WGYB Project is still alive, and we’re still taking your stories

We Got Your Back Project is still alive and still seeking submissions!

I had a chance to talk the project up at Gay Is the New Black? Event hosted by JF tonight. Hopefully this will generate some interest and new submissions.

Can I ask a favor? Can anyone who comes across this post please signal boost this project for me & whereisjoy? We don’t want to see it die but to thrive it needs stories, your stories so that our POC-LGBTQIA youth know that they are not alone and just because someone says its gets better, that it may not apply to them.

Sumbission Info

Submission guidelines are below. If you come across something you think would be good for posting, please email us at or tweet at us WGYBProject on Twitter.

Thanks for your interest in contributing to the “We Got Your Back” Project! We are accepting videos and written statements that share how the lives of LGBTQIA people get better when we have each others back. Give some hope to LGBTQIA youth by telling them how your own life improved. To submit, send an email to We request that posts meet the following guidelines:

Videos: Please keep videos to no more than 8 minutes maximum. If you have a video on YouTube or Vimeo, please submit a link to the video and a brief description.

Length: 2,500 word maximum. (Please note, longer posts may be broken up into several posts on the project)

Language: Feel free to use adult language, however please warn for swearing or other adult and/or potentially triggering language in your post at the beginning. If you do share potentially triggering material, we ask that you use the “more” tag to put it behind a cut.

Permission to repost/share your content: Please indicate to us whether or not you consent to the sharing of your material outside of this project when you submit your post and/or video.

ThinkGalacticon Early Registration and WisCon Book Swap!

Hey folks!

We’re less than two months from Think Galacticon 2011! Did you hear that our Notable Guest N.K. Jemisin is up for a Hugo *and* a Nebula this year? Amazing!

We are taking programming suggestions through May 31st! Write them up now and post them as comments on any of our social media sites or on our online submission form.

Early bird registration also ends May 31st. Only $45 for adults or $40 for 18+ students. These prices will go up to $50 June 1st! Don’t delay and register now!

Are you going to WisCon? We are! Find us in Room 634 on Saturday night. We change our activities every few years and this year we are changing it to a Book Swap! Bring your favorite books of any genre (but especially genre) and swap books with us and other WisCon members. Enjoy our tasty vegan treats, register for the con (you get one last chance at early bird pricing!), and give us some programming suggestions.

We’re sharing the room with Scribe Agency/Andrea Hairston (who has a new book out!!!). They will be serving homemade beers and do battle with us at midnight! What kind of battle? Find out at Room 634, Saturday night at midnight!

Event Planning
ThinkGalacticon3 ConCom

Black is… black ain’t…

Black is beautiful, just so we are motherfucking CLEAR. Black ain’t “less desirable than other races”,

“inherently less attractive than other races”


So… we are in the throes of yet ANOTHER online storm about black folks. Black women’s looks, black women’s bodies, black fathers and the old ass trope of omfg black folks are on the internet too!?! How about that has been dragged out and beaten again for what its worth. (A hint – Not much). I tried to be eloquent and wordsmithy, but you know what? Fuck it, I’m sick of being polite about people telling me how I should feel about how I look.

So many people have waxed eloquently on this topic that I’ll give you links and such… but for what my 0.02 is worth; I’m so fucking sick of being told that I’m not beautiful or attractive or worthy of love and affection because I’m “strong” or career focused or “the strength of the family.”. I’m really fucking sick of the idea that everyone gets a say in how I feel about myself as a black woman. I’m tired of everyone getting to hold up the brown paper bag to check my blackness, and worthiness of having a say in racial debates because I’m fair skinned and obviously “not really black.”

I’m tired of pseudo scientists speculating on the attractiveness of myself and the bounty of black women everywhere. Who the fuck decided that this guys opinion was worth anything to begin with? I don’t even know what an evolutionary psychologist is, do you? Someone explain what that means and then you’d better have a really, really good reason as to why some “evolutionary psychologist” gets a say on black bodies and beauty. I’ll be here, so when you get a clue, come holler at me. Until then, all these faux pop psychologists and arm chair thinkers can shut the fuck up about our bodies, our beauty and everything else in-between.

I leave you with some great articles and a repost of a lovely image snagged from the Angry Black Tumblr.

You Keep Saying Black Women are Ugly Worthless Whores and We Refuse to Believe you by Karnythia

Racialicious: Repeat Offender: Satoshi Kanazawa’s Other Greatest Misses

Angry Black Tumblr: The Article is now gone, but more thoughts

Angry Black Woman: Initial post on this article; noting original title was “Why are Black Women Ugly?”

ABW: Screencap of the article in question, after the title was changed.