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Online Forms: When Gender is Flexible, but Relationship Status Isn’t September 26, 2021

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I’m glad that online forms are more and more offering non-binary gender options. Every time someone filling out a web form sees additional options beyond “male” or “female,” a little bit of society’s ingrained transphobia and genderism (is that a word?) is dismantled. But unfortunately, these forms are not offering the same progressive option for relationship status.

Per below, one of my doctors’ intake questionnaires allows patients to opt out of identifying their gender. Yay! (I would have preferred them to offer a “non-binary” option instead of “prefer not to say,” but. . . baby steps). The same form, however, forces patients to choose a relationship status. Boo!

Does your status not necessarily fall into one of the seven couple-focused categories? Tough! Pick one! Do you prefer not to share your status? Tough! Pick one! You can try to advance without selecting one of the amatonormative options, but you’ll get the nasty red star telling you to correct your error and rethink your life choices. 

We here at Onely have fumed about how Facebook provides only a narrow range of relationship options (anything beyond the standard choices must be labelled “complicated”). The doctor’s form, however, has an additional problematic layer. . . (more…)

Single in the Military? Your Life Matters Less. June 12, 2021

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Although this story of singlism in the U.S. military is from the 1970s, the problem is just as pervasive today. I wrote previously about my relative whose tour was extended because she didn’t have a spouse and kids stateside. Now I’m writing about another relative, who told me a story about his time as a young U.S. Army officer newly deployed to Laos during the Vietnam War. 

Characters: 

Don–male U.S. army officer and and our Onely hero

Jim–male US army officer and a friend and fellow trainee of Don’s. 

Pat–AKA Pat The Stick. Male U.S. Army veteran who fought with the Filipino resistance force during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during WWII.  He earned his nickname by carrying a “swagger stick” and pounding it on his desk for emphasis during discussions with subordinate personnel. 

ACT I 

THE SETTING: 

Pat’s office at Udorn Base in Thailand.

THE STAKES: 

Jim and Don arrived at Pat’s office knowing only that Pat was the boss and he would assign them to one of several bases in Laos.  Prior to their arrival at Udorn, Jim and Don had heard that one of the bases, designated LS-98, was the least desirable to serve at, due to its remoteness and constant threat of communist North Vietnamese Army or Pathet Lao attacks. (more…)

My Office Gets Singlist About COVID-19 January 28, 2021

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So the other morning, I walked into the lobby of my office building and saw these helpful hints on the digital message board: 

Living Single in COVID: 

Structure your time

Treat yourself well

Maintain a schedule

I watched the board for a minute to see if it would give me advice on living coupled in COVID. I knew it wouldn’t, and it didn’t. The board flicked to a new screen that told me masks were required in the building, and that yoga class would be in the gym at 12:00. 

There’s been discussion in the singles advocacy community about whether it’s appropriate to single out (sorry) singles during COVID as needing special help. (more…)

Europe Lets People in to See Loved Ones–But Only If They Are Having Sex August 16, 2020

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Apparently this is a thing that exists: the “Love Is Not Tourism” campaign, whose pinned Tweet reads:

Binational couples and families have been separated for almost half a year due to Covid-19 travel bans. Help us reunite them!

Normally I’d write this Twitter account off as some regressive, small-minded Tweeter not worth my time, but unfortunately, Forbes is taking them seriously, and so are many European countries. According to the Forbes article, countries are developing various policies allowing people to reunite despite travel bans. The problem? Every policy favors romantic relationships over non-romantic relationships.  

Regarding the implementation of these waivers, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs tweeted that states should use  “as wide a definition of partnerships as possible”. This sounds very noble and inclusive, until you realize that the definition is not inteded to expand wider than romantic relationships, which essentially means people who are having committed sex, or people who have committed to having committed sex in the future. (more…)

Nuclear Families Defy Laws of Physics April 12, 2016

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Cute_grey_kittenI want to foster a cat(s), so I signed up for our county shelter’s foster class. Years ago I went through a phase of fostering Special Needs cats–with kidney, skin, urinary, psychological, and projectile snot issues. So I’m no feline foster virgin. But rules are rules, so I have to get my butt in a chair at the class.

But did you know that human rules can override the rules of physics? Yes! Especially when we’re talking about rules of singlism/matrimania/heteronormativity. Check out this paragraph from the orientation letter for the foster class. I don’t even really need to comment on it, because the WTF factor is perfectly apparent. Aw heck, I’m going to comment anyway, because my snark filter is broken:

Apparently, according to our county shelter, spouses and children of potential foster parents don’t take up any physical space in chairs! So they don’t need to RSVP for the class–they can just show up randomly and seating magically appears for them. If I wanted to bring a friend to the class, though, she would have to RSVP because she, as a mere friend, *does* take up physical space and require am actual, non-magical, reserved chair:

Please only RSVP for yourself. If you are bringing your children or spouses (which is allowed – but please be mindful that training room space is very limited, and the presentation is about an hour long), you do not need to include them in the number of people attending. If you have friends who are also interested in the program, they need to fill out the application and wait for an email inviting them to RSVP for themselves.

[Bold and italics are mine.]

–Christina

Photo credit: Wikicommons

 

Single? Then you don’t have money problems with your family or friends March 2, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Heteronormativity, Marital Status Discrimination.
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Billets_de_5000Warning: May contain unsound rhetoric such as rants and name-calling. (Welcome to the blogosphere!)

On the surface, it seems single people are now Cool. For example, the media has been regularly highlighting the importance of singles, especially women, in regards to the U.S. economy and politics. Feminist writer Rebecca Traister’s book All The Single Ladies has gotten many (deserved) favorable reviews from a range of outlets. However, we singles advocates need to not get too comfortable or complacent.  There is still singlist bullpoop out there, in huge steaming piles. For instance, someone is starting a new organization to help people manage money–but only in the context of the nuclear family. The founders declare themselves “a Christian organization” but obviously their “Christian values” only extend to people who have state-sanctioned sex.

How do I know this? I subscribe to a website that solicits help naming various new companies. They regularly announce contests to name new startups, or a revamped doctors’ offices, or what have you. According to an email I received, the above-described financial consultation organization’s goals are to

help families create a strong and healthy relationship with money in their marriages. We are focused on married people and families with young children. . .

and to

help families strengthen their emotional, spiritual, and practical relationship with money. . . think of relationship enrichment and financial advice combined. . .

Because apparently single people don’t have any loved ones they share financial issues with and so don’t need any guidance navigating those murky money waters. According to the founders of this organization, my single cousin doesn’t need help managing the low-interest loan she took from my parents for nursing school; according to this company, as a single person, I  didn’t need help recovering the 500 dollars from a ticket incurred on my car by a former friend of mine; according to this company, only spouses and children pass money between each other, and those are the only financial relationships that need “enriching” (probably no pun intended–I doubt the authors were smart enough).

So why would the founders limit their demographic so severely? Because they’re small-minded, ignorant, and ultimately on the road to self-destruction before they even get started. Given the many federal laws that privilege married people over singles financially, you’d think that maybe singles are more likely to need money guidance (for example, how to pass property or money to a non-spouse without paying a huge gift tax).

The organization says that for their new name, they are “open to both abstract and names that clearly describe who we are”. Ok then! A few suggestions, for names and slogans:

Financial Help from Heteronormaholes

We Tell You Who’s Important

Some Hearts Are More Equal Than Others

Matrimania In Your Wallet

Copious Readers, do you have other suggestions?

–Christina

PS. See also: http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/02/political-power-single-women-c-v-r.html by Traister

Photo credit: Wikicommons

 

 

 

Singlist Quote Of The Week February 27, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Look What Google Barfed Up, Marital Status Discrimination.
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Let them study, get married, then they can get their own phones.

–Ranjit Singh Thakor, president of the Mehsana district in Gujarat, India, speaking about single women.

Per this Reuters article by Rina Chandran), an increasing number of villages in Gujarat and Bihar Provinces forbid girls and single women from having cell phones, because the phones ostensibly “distract them from their studies” or cause them to elope. (No word on why men are not similarly affected by cell phones.)

Hmm, I recall a couple hundred years ago (I’m very old)  when another leader supposedly said of a marginalized demographic:

Let them eat cake!

Whatever happened to her?

–Christina

Singles: Married People’s Poop Pollutes Less Than Yours February 11, 2016

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Copious Readers: Just FYI, my long absence from Onely is not because I have lost interest in singles’ issues–on the contrary, I read about them every day in my Google feed–but because I have been sick. I had to focus more on the immediacies of daily life: food, medicine, mortgage, and, ahem, reruns of “Worst Cooks in America” on Netflix. But I was inspired to fight my way back to the keyboard through the pain for you, Copious Readers, to let you know that if you single, you had better get married, because if you’re married, your sh&t don’t stink. 

hqdefaultA tiny article in my parents’ local paper on Thursday, June 18 2015 announced: One Quarter of Septic Systems Found To Be Failing. (It doesn’t seem to be online; but here’s the article that predated it.)

Never one to shy away from an opportunity to read about poop, I explored this issue further, and I found the strangest instance of singlism (discrimination against single people) that I have yet encountered in all my years of writing this blog.

But first, some background: My parents live in a little log cabin on a lake within minutes of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Native Americans considered it sacred long before my great-grandparents built a cabin there. My great-grandparents settled there long before the area was named “the most beautiful place in America” by Good Morning America. After that, the park drew increasing numbers of the kind of tourists who had a lot of money, but not a lot of imagination–the kind of people who have to be told where to visit, instead of inspiring themselves with their own research. (Yeah, yeah, bitter much?)

With the resulting crowds and McMansions in the woods (our little cabin is now megavintage), there’s been a struggle to maintain the area’s aesthetic integrity. Nearby Glen Arbor Township became “the first township in [Leelanau] county to require septic and well inspections for properties changing ownership,” according to the article. Failing or poorly constructed septic tanks can contaminate groundwater in a watershed that feeds dozens of small lakes, as well as Lake Michigan.

But here’s the thing:

If you sell the property to your spouse, you do *not* need to get your septic tank inspected.

Your twenty-year-old tank could be leaching poop-laced water into the surrounding earth 24-7, but that’s ok, because if you’re married, your poop doesn’t contain bacteria and toxins that pollute the soil and water tables. Or so it would seem, according to this ruling by the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department. As soon as you say, “‘Til death do us part,” your colon automatically purges itself of all environmentally toxic and pathogenic micro-organisms and chemicals (which is why wedding clothiers are increasingly offering the Silk Diaper option as an add-on feature to your dress or tux).

Who knew?

–Christina

Photo credit: Jim Duncan, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1TZlwKHVo0

 

 

Onely On the Warpath September 7, 2015

Posted by Onely in As If!, Bad Onely Activities, Heteronormativity, Marital Status Discrimination, single and happy, Take action.
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"Join_the_Navy_Nurse_Corps"_-_NARA_-_514736

Enlisted sailors go out and get married and have children. Because it works to their advantage.

A well-meaning coworker said this to my close relative–let’s call her Megan Muster–after Megan was finished crying in the bathroom. (Or maybe she was kicking the toilet, I’m not sure.)

Megan is a navy nurse who has spent months deployed to an unpleasant place which we’ll call “Stinky Stress Land”. She recently sent my family an excited email saying she was coming home, and I was set to meet her at a naval base near my house on a certain weekend.

But all that changed when her superior officer, the “Senior Nurse Executive” (SNE)–let’s call her Donkeybreath–told Megan that Donkeybreath was extending Megan’s deployment. Donkeybreath explained that of the three Navy nurses who were eligible for extension, Megan was the only one who didn’t have kids. So she had to stay in Stinky Stress Land.

In her email to my family, Megan said the SNE (Donkeybreath to us) told her the decision “ultimately came down to the person who had the least responsibility at home [italics mine].” At that instant Megan knew what was coming. Donkeybreath said, “LCDR Smith has a son at home, and LTJG Jones has two children. LTJG Muster, I know you don’t have any children at home. I’m so sorry, but I have to extend your Orders”.

Copious readers, I’m sure you can spot Donkeybreath’s many errors in logic. I’ll break them down for any new readers of Onely.org (welcome, and I promise I’m not always this p*ssed off. No, actually I guess I am). Let’s use some of Megan’s own words:

It doesn’t matter to the military that I have a family that I care about every bit as much as the next person.

Onely adds these thoughts: What if Megan had an uncle or a close friend that she was normally caretaker of, as opposed to children? Or what if LTGJ Jones were a closet alcoholic who beat his kids? Wouldn’t the kids be better off if LTGJ Jones stayed deployed and the kids remained with their stable, kind, grandparents?

Doesn’t matter! Not in our nuclear-family-obsessed culture. I’m concerned that our U.S. military is draconian and unimaginative and inflexible. I know we’re not Stalin or Pol Pot for goodness’ sake, but having a limited view of what and who constitutes “responsibility” can only undermine the morale of our troops.

As Megan also said in her email,

It doesn’t matter to the military that I have traditions with close friends that I was planning on.

No, because friendship is deemed less important than blood ties–for no real good reason that I can see. (And those traditions she’s talking about? Some of them include. . . actual children! No, she doesn’t roast them with a splash of cooking wine. For seven years she and her close friend have given kids candy on Halloween–the good stuff, peanut butter cups, not taffy sticks. Yes, gasp! She’s childfree but doesn’t hate kids! Craziness!)

But Megan wasn’t finished with her note yet:

Why should I even sit there and justify to her why my life is every bit as valuable as someone’s who has children? And the poor LCDR Smith who had to sit there and listen to her say this B.S. to me. He was squirming in his chair from the discomfort!

Whoa. Donkeybreath not only committed a crime–illegal discrimination–but she did it in front of a witness! Copious Readers, does anyone out there have legal expertise in situations like this? Any suggestions of what Megan should or could do in this circumstance? There is a law in the U.S. federal code that states it’s illegal to discriminate based on marital status (everyone ignores this law), but I’m not aware of a law that specifically states you can’t privilege breeders over non-breeders.

I’ve never like the word “breeders” much, but I’m using it here because I am so angry. Maybe later I’ll go back and change it to “parents”. Meanwhile, “Breeders breeders breeders breeders breeders!!!!!”

And here’s the O.Henry twist: The extension was “only” for two weeks, said Megan, who continued:

So whatever. I’ll survive. But it’s the principle of the thing.

And moreover, if it’s “only” two weeks, who gives a poop about kids or no kids? The majority of children left home in the States with a spouse or grandparents or whomever are not going to be much affected if their deployed parent stays away another two weeks. After spending months away from the military parent, the children are either fine, or damaged. Two weeks won’t make a difference. So what Donkeybreath should have done to choose between the three nurses for a two-week extension is flip a fvcking coin.

Onely hasn’t posted in a while, because I’ve been sick and just able to attack the daily necessities as life throws them at me: hunger, thirst, work, and–if I and my coworkers are lucky–personal hygiene. But upon receiving Megan’s email I spasmed and roared like a zombie bursting out of the earth, and this post came screaming out of me.

Screamer posts often attract haters and heteronormaholes. Welcome! I look forward to verbally hosing your a$$es, unless you bore me, in which case I won’t bother.

Copious Progressive Readers, I hope some of you will have thoughts on how Megan can proceed after this disappointing interaction with this particular Military Mindset.

–Christina

Photo credit: Wikicommons

Say You’re Sorry by Slamming Single People March 14, 2015

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Dear Copious Readers, Onely continues its quest to provide you with news articles about discrimination against single people (singlism). We strive for timeliness, which is why we’re bringing you this article merely a month after it appeared in the China Post.

Taipei Mayor  Ko Wen-je  (柯文哲)  pissed off a bunch of people when he said that

Single women over thirty are A Threat To National Security.

Sexism! Stupidity! yelled everyone with half a brain. But no one that we are aware of yelled Singlism! Until now. Onely, with our full brain (Lisa and I together make one intact mind), yells Singlism Singlism Singlism! between giggles.

Copious Readers, what kind of laughter, if any, does Mayor Ko’s statement engender in you? I usually have one of several responses when I read about singlism. First, there’s the kind that “makes me go hmmm“: such as Best Cities For Single People! which implies single people should move to Chicago or Minneapolis just to find a partner–never mind that they already have a great job and friends and balaclava in, say, Fargo. Then there’s the kind of singlism that makes me mad, such as discrimination against single parents (see these Guardian articles here and here).  Then there’s the kind of singlism that makes me laugh. I’m not sure if it’s angry laughter like that of the bad guy in the last scene of a James Bond movie, or if it’s laughter like I get when watching, um, Will Ferrell movies, or if it’s the hysterical laughter of hopelessness. Probably the latter.

The story gets even crazier. Mayor Ko’s words created such a ruckus that he was forced to apologize. And this is how he apologized (I paraphrase here):

I didn’t mean single women over 30 are threats to national security. I meant that all unmarried individuals over 30 are threats to national security.

Oh well in that case, you are no longer sexist, so we forgive you.

Again, few people noted that Ko simply replaced his sexism with singlism.

The article describes his rationale nicely, but we’ll summarize here:  Ko said instability in a country creates problems with national security. (Ok, we’ll give him that point.)  Low marriage rates create instability. (Really? Taiwan doesn’t have enough instability from other sources, such as typhoons and earthquakes and economic disparities and Big China looming just over the straits?) The magic percentage of unmarried people a country–or at least Taiwan–can handle before it falls into complete disarray is. . . 30.  (Really? Not 27? Not 36?)  A low marriage rate leads to a lack of families. (Because apparently the only valid kind of family is one with a hetero couple at its head.) Without enough nuclear families, there will be a lack of social well-being (nonsequitor much?) and the government will have to step in to make things better (God forbid). Thus diverting resources from national security.

Full discloser: I used to live in Taiwan. I understand that Taiwanese politicians face a constant pressure from the threat of mainland China’s claims on the island, and this influences the politicians’ opinions about national security. However, in this instance I think Ko has cracked up.

And when I read about his singlist theory, I cracked up too, with laughter. So for that, I thank him.

–Christina

 

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