Mycroft Masada is a faith leader who moved to the Washington DC area from hir lifelong home of Boston MA in January 2014; a founding member of TransFaith’s National Council, steering committee member of TransEpiscopal, and former board member of Congregation Am Tikva. Mycroft is called to work for social justice at the intersections of faith, LGBTQI+ and fat communities, and is a writer and artist. Zie is partnered with Julia McCrossin, the mas(s)culine fatshion blogger, and they co-parent a dogter.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My partner Julia McCrossin's interview by One Plus Love

I'm finally getting around to sharing Almah LaVon's interview of my partner Julia McCrossin for Onepluslove -- about the intersectionality of queerness and fatness and more. *KVELLING*

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Julia McCrossin has been active in fat community off and on since the late 80’s. Her work has appeared in The Fat Studies Reader, among other publications. She identifies as queer and gender variant, and holds two advanced degrees from The George Washington University.
What are your thoughts regarding the intersection between LGBT and fat e-activism?
I don’t know that I see a lot of intersection. For example, look at all the people who used some Facebook image to mark the passing of marriage equality laws in US states, or when the Supreme Court recently ruled in ways favorable to marriage equality. I’ve never seen anything remotely like that have an effect online for body positive movements, let alone ones that are specifically, or visibly inclusive of, fat bodies. However, since I think the percentage of queer-identified individuals is significant in fat activism, I do see promising work done that recognizes the intersectionality of sexuality, gender, and body size.
Why is fat-positive online community-building in LGBT communities so important?
Since many queer people are also fat, it is essential that online LGBTQ communities create welcoming spaces for fat people. I would argue that many LGBTQ people are even more aware and contemplative about society’s insistence on the value of personal appearance and its connection to acceptance/relationships/sexual activity than others, and so people who don’t fit certain stereotypes about LGTBQ people that highlight slenderness and/or muscularity would be even more reluctant to enter LGBTQ spaces in real life, making online community a welcome bridge to making real world connections with other queers. I’ve been struck all along about how silent the whole “It Gets Better” campaign was about body size, when data suggests children with bodies that are larger or smaller than what Is deemed ‘acceptable’ face the same, if not more, amount of bullying that LGBTQ kids face. How are fat LGBTQ youth supposed to read “It Gets Better,” that it will get better when they grow up only if they become slim LGBTQ adults?
How can technology and media help create safe space for fat folks?
In a literal sense, technology and media create space for fat folks because it is a boundless medium. No need to worry if the chairs are wide and sturdy enough, if the aisles in the room are accommodating enough, or if the stalls in the public restrooms are roomy enough. Also, the boundless medium doesn’t care that you can’t find flattering fashion that reflects your style in your size, and it doesn’t care if you use a scooter or a cane.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Happy National Coming Out Day #NCOD

Well. My National Coming Out Day (#NCOD) posting prayers have been answered.

My partner Julia McCrossin: “This is my experience, the not being made fun of or criticized for my queerness, but dehumanized for my fatness. If only more people cared about my dignity and equality as a fat woman as they do for my queerness.”

Julia has written about her experience at her blog – see especially "The Rest Of The (Fat) Story".  
The below article definitely has some issues – for one thing, ableism / racism / transphobia et al should have been addressed earlier and better.

I’d also like to see a lot more conversation about how actually you often do need to decide whether to come out as fat (or formerly fat, or okay with becoming / wanting to become fat/ter; or fat-allied) – like here on the internet – and how much more so, how you often need to decide whether to come out as being on the fat-positive spectrum. And how unsafe those disclosures can be. (Tolerate your doctor’s fatphobia, or disagree and risk worse treatment / no treatment?) And how that relates to the true complexity of queer outness / disclosure issues, especially for trans people.

Nu, without further ado -- Louis Peitzman's "It Gets Better, Unless You're Fat" for Buzz Feed. 

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The MA height / weight anti-discrimination bill is moving!

Rep. Byron Rushing forwarded this to supporters today -- sorry no link, SHNS is subscription-only (?!):

(For those tuning in late, see my previous post about the bill.)

"From: State House News Service [mailto:news@statehousenews.com
Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 3:59 PM
To: news@statehousenews.com
Subject: COMMITTEE BACKS BILL ADDING HEIGHT, WEIGHT TO ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW

http://www.statehousenews.com/public/logo.gif

COMMITTEE BACKS BILL ADDING HEIGHT, WEIGHT TO ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW

By Colleen Quinn
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, OCT. 8, 2013….Ten bills related to workers’ rights and benefits, including one that prevents discrimination based on height and weight, moved forward in the Legislature after a legislative committee voted to recommend passage of the proposals Tuesday.

Lawmakers on the Labor and Workforce Development Committee voted 7-1 in favor of recommending legislation (H 1758) filed by Rep. Byron Rushing that would add height and weight to the list of unlawful discriminatory practices prohibited by employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, landlords or real estate agents. The bill would add height and weight to the protected class descriptions, which include race, color and religious creed.

Rep. Wayne Matewsky (D-Everett) expressed concern about how the legislation would affect people who are no longer able to perform their duties because they had gained weight.

Rep. Keiko Orrall, a Republican from Lakeville, voted against advancing the bill.

Weight discrimination at work is more pervasive than race, gender or sexual orientation discrimination and increasingly considered acceptable, according to advocates who testified before the committee in June.

Dr. Scott Butsch, who works at the digestive health care center at Massachusetts General Hospital, testified in June that he has treated “countless” patients who experience weight discrimination at work. Often, they are unaware they are being discriminated against until after they lose weight and are given promotions or new opportunities at work. "I believe weight discrimination stems from the common belief that obesity is a character flaw," Butsch said during the hearing in June. Weight bias in the United States, he said, has become "socially acceptable."

Another bill that moved forward gives employment leave to victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault. The bill, filed by Rep. Thomas Stanley (D-Waltham) and Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), would give workers up to 15 days leave in any 12-month period, with or without pay, if the employee or their family member is a victim of abusive behavior. Companies with 50 or more employees would be subject to the requirement, aimed at giving victims the opportunity to seek court-ordered protection, medical attention, counseling, legal assistance or housing. The bill stipulates the employee is not eligible for leave if they are the perpetrator of the abusive behavior.

The committee voted 7-1 in favor of advancing the bill, with Orrall voting against.

Committee members also voted 7-1 in favor of legislation around parental leave (H 1774/S 865), filed by Rep. Martin Walsh (D-Dorchester) and Sen. Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville). Orrall voted no.

The bill (H 1774/S 865) would revise existing laws around maternity leave by removing the limitation that the benefit is only available to female employees. Under the bill, leave would also apply to part-time employees. It limits the probationary period for employees to be eligible to a maximum of six months.

The Labor Committee also voted in favor of legislation relative to defense against abusive waivers (H 1728/S 848), filed by Rep. Kenneth Gordon (D-Bedford) and Sen. Katherine Clark (D-Melrose); and a bill clarifying the meal break law for private enforcement (S 859).

The abusive waivers bill would add a section to state law regulating labor and industries in Massachusetts, which includes enforceable rights and procedures for employment discrimination and sexual harassment. The bill would void contractual provisions waiving any substantive or procedural right to claims of discrimination, retaliation, harassment or violation of public policy.

The meal break bill states employers cannot require an employee to work for more than six consecutive hours without allowing at least 30 minutes for a meal. Currently, the attorney general must investigate violations of the meal break law. The proposed legislation would allow employees to file lawsuits.

The committee voted unanimously in favor of legislation (S 867) filed by Sen. Brian Joyce, that would make it illegal for an employer to deny employment, reemployment, retention or promotion to a U.S. military veteran, including members of the National Guard, on the basis of their military association.

A bill filed by Rep. Joseph Wagner (D-Chicopee) providing incentives for productive workers’ compensation audits was also given a favorable recommendation by the committee, with seven members voting for it.

Current state workers compensation law requires all self-insured employers to be audited annually. There is no requirement that employers with commercial workers compensation insurance conduct audits. The proposed legislation would require all employers to be audited at least biennially, and those employers in the construction industry to be audited annually.

END
10/8/2013

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