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“Professionalism is a funny term, because it masquerades as neutral despite being loaded with immense oppression. As a concept, professionalism is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, classist, imperialist and so much more — and yet people act like professionalism is non-political. Bosses across the country constantly tell their employees to ‘act professionally’ without a second thought. Wear a garment that represents your non-Western culture to work? Your boss may tell you it’s unprofessional. Wear your hair in braids or dreadlocks instead of straightened? That’s probably unprofessional too. Wear shoes that are slightly scuffed because you can’t yet afford new ones? People may not think you’re being professional either.”
- Why I’m Genderqueer, Professional and Unafraid, by Jacob Tobia (via wertheyouth)
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"female/male bodied": 

I’m a man, this is my body. It doesn’t matter what I was assigned at birth, this is my body and I am a man, and therefore this body is a man’s body, and therefore a male body

this is erasure of intersex people

this is erasure of nonbinary people

you don’t actually give a shit about gender, you’re asking about genitals, and unless you’re a doctor it’s none of your fucking business

and if you ARE a doctor, you need to figure your shit out so you don’t alienate your trans patients and make them less likely to seek medical help due to dysphoria

the term you’re looking for is "assigned female/male at birth" or "afab/amab"

"born a man/woman" (also "used to be a woman/man"):

trans people weren’t born cis people and then turned trans; just because it takes us a while to figure out who we are doesn’t mean we were ever somebody else

society is cisnormative, and lies to people, and pretends that trans identities don’t exist and aren’t valid, telling trans people that they are cis over and over again since birth like a mantra, so trans people internalize that and believe it, until the evidence to the contrary piles up so high they can’t deny it anymore. That evidence has been piling up since birth; trans people were never cis people

this is erasure of intersex people

this is erasure of nonbinary people

using these terms incorrectly makes it impossible to use them correctly for nonbinary people who DO identify as having started out as one thing and changed to something else

the term you’re looking for is “raised as a man/woman”

"male/female parts/genitalia":

again, I’m a man, these are my parts, therefor they are male parts, everybody needs to get the fuck over it

Yes, I have breasts and that gives me dysphoria and I want them removed, THANKS FOR REMINDING ME, but they are male breasts

Yes I have a vagina. Again, this gives me dysphoria, you are an asshole for reminding me. Again, it is a male vagina since I am a man

this is erasure of intersex people

this is erasure of nonbinary people

Unless you are a doctor my genitals are none of your fucking business

If you ARE a doctor, you need to start using medical terminology right now, because you’re a medical professional so I think you can use the word “penis” and “vagina” without melting like the Wicked Witch of the West

Doctors using this kind of incorrect terminology are alienating their trans patients and making them less likely to seek medical help due to dysphoria. Trans people already have ENOUGH trouble with getting medical help, don’t fuck it up more

the term you’re looking for is "penis/vagina/uterus/genitals" or "testes/ovaries" or (and this one’s easy) "chest"

"female/male hormones":

cis men and cis women BOTH have estrogen and progesterone and testosterone. Intersex people have all of these hormones naturally as well

there are cis women who have high levels of testosterone and low levels of estrogen and progesterone, and there are cis men with high levels of estrogen and progesterone and low levels of testosterone

these hormones are not specific to one sex or another, and DEFINITELY not specific to one gender or another

this term is hurtful not only to trans people but also people with pcos, people who are undergoing or have gone through menopause, and other medical causes for variations in hormone levels

this is erasure of intersex people

this is erasure of nonbinary people

the terms you are looking for, shockingly enough, are "estrogen" "progesterone" and “testosterone”

(╯◎皿◎)╯︵ ┻━┻

All cis followers please read this.

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People have written a lot of touchy-feely pieces on this subject but I thought I’d get right to the heart of the matter

 this is so spot on and I gotta remember this!

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Some people can speak easily.

Some people always have difficulty speaking.

Some people never speak at all.

Some people can speak, but at a cost that’s not worth it.

Some people are better off communicating in other ways.

Some people speak sometimes, and type other times.

Some people have words all the time; some don’t.

Some people can speak fluidly, but only on certain topics. (Just like how one can be fluent in some topics in a foreign language, but be unable to read the news).

Some people lose speech at certain levels of stress.

Some people rely on hand movements and stimming in order to find words.

Some people have a monotone and convey tone through motion.

Some people make a lot of mistakes with words, and rely heavily on tone to make themselves understood.

Some people rely heavily on scripts, and only sound normal when they stay on-script.

Some people use phrases from television.

Some people communicate by repeating themselves, and tend to be perceived as not communicating.

Some people say a lot of words they don’t understand, and are perceived as having meant them.

Some people substitute one word for another a lot, and don’t always realize it.

Some people can answer questions even when they’re having trouble initiating speech.

Some people who find speech easy sound odd.

Some people who find speech difficult sound normal.

You don’t really know how someone communicates until you’ve communicated with them substantially, and even then, you only know in the context you’ve communicated in. Appearances can be deceiving. 

And it’s important to be aware that all of these things exist.

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It’s nice to get some positive news sometimes.

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I’m trying hard to live by Cat Principles.
1- I am glorious above all things
2- Eat when hungry, sleep when sleepy, play when bored
3- Affection is given and received on my terms and only mine
4- Show displeasure clearly.
5- NO
6- Demand the things you want. If they aren’t given, demand them again, but louder this time.
7- If you are touched when you don’t want to be, say so. If they continue to touch you, make them bleed.

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You are not going in circles

You are making progress in a spiral. You do come back around to where you were at the start, since recovery and healing take time, but every time you come back around to that point you’re a little higher up because you’ve got more experience, more knowledge, and more strength.

You ARE making progress

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There are very few experiences that only autistic people have. I’ve seen a lot of people reblogging that post about sensory overload and relating to it but worrying they were somehow appropriating autism. No. Sensory overload is not something we own. If that post helps you, it helps you. Claim it. 

This goes for a lot of other things too, but I’ve seen it a lot about that post. Sensory overload happens to lots of people with lots of different disabilities, and some people without any disabilities at all! (FOR NOW.) 

Claim it!

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This post brought to you by that one post going around saying to tag sarcasm for autistic people:

No, tag sarcasm for people with a low threshold for Poe’s law.  Some of those people are autistic.  Plenty of autistic people can usually identify sarcasm and satire.  Plenty of allistic people can’t.  Everyone sometimes messes it up.  That’s the whole reason ‘Poe’s law’ is a concept: everybody’s coming into conversation from a different context, and no one can always tell what that person would think is a reasonable opinion to express.

Stop spreading condescending posts framing things as ‘do this for people with $specific_disability so you will be the Understanding Able Person’ when plenty of people without it would benefit and plenty of people with it would not.  I guarantee you that for any accommodation you can think of, there is someone who would never in their life identify as disabled who could benefit.  It’s also likely that that plenty of people who you might think would need that specific accommodation would find it completely useless.  People are different and disability is a complicated thing. 

If it is helpful for you specifically to have a thing tagged?  Say so.  You’re a person, too, and you don’t need to generalise for it to be more valid.

And there is this huuuuuuuuge tendency for people to reblog every ‘please tag #trigger’ post they see as a self-congratulatory backpat that’s coupled with neglecting certain other very straightforward accessibility concerns.  Namely, keep your tumblr layout neat and readable, your background static (no gifs) and uncluttered behind your text, your colour-scheme simple and not involving extremely saturated colours, your autoplay off or nonexistent (so, remove the ‘auto’ from your ‘autoplay’), your font size legible, your images described (link is to a blind dreamwidth user’s suggestions for helpful alt text), and if you don’t have time & energy to transcribe audio and video, at least label them.  If not?  You’re being about as generally helpful as that one kid who’d made a completely useless braille printer out of legos.  Tagging every single picture with a face in it ‘scopophobia’ isn’t going to start meaning your blog’s accessible.

And as before, these are all things that aren’t specific to people with disabilities!  Some people have slow internet connections, or limited bandwidth.  Tumblr mobile doesn’t always load images.  Audio and video posts often won’t play at all no matter what you do.  If you don’t have the energy or time to describe them extensively, label it in a few words that at least give enough context to let someone know if they want to check it later, or have someone else check it.

Use some discernment.

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I understand the desire for things to stay civil. But I want you to think about this: Why do you think it is that politeness and civility and calmness are held as the standard for any discourse? It’s because people in power set the rules.

When someone has done something to you and made you angry and you shouted at them, and then got scolded for shouting, was that just about trying to keep things “calm” and “civil”? 

Or is it a tool to take your power away from you? Is it a way to keep the conversation under the control of the person in the wrong?

When the oppressor gets to set the terms for the oppressed to react to their oppression, that is keeping the power in the hands of the oppressor. 

When something has happened to a person (a racist act, a misogynistic one, a homophobic one, an ableist one, etc.), do you think it’s fair that they get angry about that? Don’t you get angry when someone does something hurtful to you?

And it doesn’t matter if you choose to express your anger in a different way than the SJ blogger or minority you’re dealing with. What matters is that, even if you’re really not trying to dismiss their argument, even if all you want is for them to be civil with you, by asking for that, you’re telling them how they get to express their anger with a fucked up, oppressive system.

You’re doing the very thing that people in power have been doing all along: setting the terms of the discourse for YOUR comfort, instead of the oppressed’s comfort.

So yeah, it really sucks to deal with angry people who say “mean” things while getting their point across, and yeah, it hurts our feelings sometimes. But when you’re dealing with someone who has systematically had their power stripped from them within a system that you benefit from if you’re white and talking to a POC, or cisgendered and talking to someone who is trans*gendered, or a man talking to a woman, etc. etc. …is it that much of a sacrifice to accept whatever way they want to deal with their oppression? 

Because I don’t think it is, and not only that, if you don’t like the way they choose to do things, you can click away. You can google the same topics and find all the information. That’s your privilege as someone not directly affected by racism (or ableism or transphobia or homophobia, etc.). And also remember that privilege is intersectional, and just because you may not have straight privilege or male privilege or thin privilege doesn’t mean you don’t still benefit from white privilege or cis privilege or what have you.

It’s not about tit for tat when SJ bloggers get angry. Most people don’t even LIKE getting angry because expressions of anger often leave a person even more exhausted and emotionally drained. Anger and how we choose to express it can be very powerful, though, and in the face of oppression and abuse, people have a right to express it. 

I hope that helps.

[this version is rebloggable]

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Forever repeating this to myself.

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When you discuss the wage gap, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Only white women make $0.77 to a man’s dollar.

Black women make about $0.68 to a man’s dollar.

Latina women make about $0.58 to a man’s dollar.

Intersectionality matters.

Re-posting because it’s always new to somebody. Truth bombs are full of truth.

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if you accidentally misgender someone, or say the wrong name, just correct yourself in the same manner as if you called a cis person by the wrong name or pronouns, which is not unknown because we are all capable of verbal slips.

sometimes i accidentally call people my dog’s name, or i call them “mom”

the right way to do this is “[wrong name], excuse me, [correct name]” or “[wrong pronoun], I’m sorry [correct pronoun]”

if you accidentally mess up someone’s pronouns, do not call attention to it by falling over yourself to apologize.

conversely, do not just move on and hope they didn’t notice. they definitely noticed. not correcting yourself is offensive, and pretending that you didn’t mess up is a form of gaslighting.

if you feel like going the extra mile, apologize the next time you’re alone with them, without excuses. say “I’m sorry that I misgendered you” or “I’m sorry called you the wrong name.” 
do not say “it’s so hard, and i keep forgetting! I’m so bad!” trans people hear this over and over, and the message is that they should apologize for being what they are.
if someone close to you has changed their name and/or pronouns, and you’re having a difficult time with it, maybe you should practice at home. 

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Sylvia Plath: There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.

Rudyard Kipling: I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.

Emily Dickinson: [Your poems] are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.

Ernest Hemingway (on The Torrents of Spring): It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it.

Dr. Seuss: Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.

The Diary of Anne Frank: The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.

Richard Bach (on Jonathan Livingston Seagull): will never make it as a paperback. (Over 7.25 million copies sold)

H.G. Wells (on The War of the Worlds): An endless nightmare. I do not believe it would “take”…I think the verdict would be ‘Oh don’t read that horrid book’. And (on The Time Machine): It is not interesting enough for the general reader and not thorough enough for the scientific reader.

Edgar Allan Poe: Readers in this country have a decided and strong preference for works in which a single and connected story occupies the entire volume.

Herman Melville (on Moby Dick): We regret to say that our united opinion is entirely against the book as we do not think it would be at all suitable for the Juvenile Market in [England]. It is very long, rather old-fashioned…

Jack London: [Your book is] forbidding and depressing.

William Faulkner: If the book had a plot and structure, we might suggest shortening and revisions, but it is so diffuse that I don’t think this would be of any use. My chief objection is that you don’t have any story to tell. And two years later: Good God, I can’t publish this!

Stephen King (on Carrie): We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.

Joseph Heller (on Catch–22): I haven’t really the foggiest idea about what the man is trying to say… Apparently the author intends it to be funny – possibly even satire – but it is really not funny on any intellectual level … From your long publishing experience you will know that it is less disastrous to turn down a work of genius than to turn down talented mediocrities.

George Orwell (on Animal Farm): It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.

Oscar Wilde (on Lady Windermere’s Fan): My dear sir, I have read your manuscript. Oh, my dear sir.

Vladimir Nabokov (on Lolita): … overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian … the whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy. It often becomes a wild neurotic daydream … I recommend that it be buried under a stone for a thousand years.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was turned down so many times, Beatrix Potter initially self-published it.

Lust for Life by Irving Stone was rejected 16 times, but found a publisher and went on to sell about 25 million copies.

John Grisham’s first novel was rejected 25 times.

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) received 134 rejections.

Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) received 121 rejections.

Gertrude Stein spent 22 years submitting before getting a single poem accepted.

Judy Blume, beloved by children everywhere, received rejections for two straight years.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle received 26 rejections.

Frank Herbert’s Dune was rejected 20 times.

Carrie by Stephen King received 30 rejections.

The Diary of Anne Frank received 16 rejections.

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rolling was rejected 12 times.

Dr. Seuss received 27 rejection letters

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When a person of color says that they hate white people, they hate white people as an institution (aka white supremacy/hegemony)

When a woman says that they hate men, they hate men as an institution (aka male dominance/patriarchy)

When a queer person says that they hate straight people, they hate straight people as an institution (aka heteronormativity)

When a trans* person says that they hate cisgender people, they hate cisgender people as an institution (aka gender essentialism/rigid gender roles)


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Your favorite fanfic will always be better than your favorite show.

Because the fanfic author doesn’t have to clear anything with network, worry about poll numbers, ratings, that article the executive producer just read in an old copy of National Geographic, that hotshot in marketing who wouldn’t know a beat if it beat his ass. 

Because the fanfic author will never have an actor twist their ankle on the first take of the big fight scene, will never get their exterior rained out, be unable to get the permit for that location at the last minute, have the guest star start vomiting, have the recurring villain get pregnant, have the lead drop dead, or the key prop break.  

Because the fanfic author will never be told that’s too expensive, we don’t have the technology for that, all the llama handlers are booked, it’s against union rules to do that with a baby, you can only have eight extras, you can’t put pyro that close to a lead. 

Because the fanfic author doesn’t have to make it fit into forty-two minutes with a cold open before the slate, a twist at the second and third, resolution in the fourth, and a lead into next week. 

Because the fanfic author doesn’t have six other authors writing prequels and sequels to their fic at the same time, all with the same wild cards they do, all of which can throw each other off.

Because the fanfic author isn’t writing a chapter in a three-season arc that may or may not be the end of the story that they don’t know the end of yet and can’t because there are too many other decisions they don’t get to make and they don’t know how long the show will last.

Because the fanfic author doesn’t have to worry that they can only use this character this many number of times this season or that they suddenly need to write around a big name guest star while still doing everything that installment needs to do.  

Because the fanfic author may be writing off someone else’s prompt, but they can turn it down if they don’t like the pitch, and they won’t be called 2/3 of the way through and told to change everything and still get it in on deadline.  

Because the fanfic author doesn’t lose their job if they don’t get it in on deadline.  Because the fanfic author doesn’t have to write it in two weeks, whether they’re on their game and churning out gold or have a headcold, the kids are being shitheads, the plumbing exploded, their mother in law is in town, and they know it’s shit.  

Because the fanfic author can cast whomever the hell they want, even if that person doesn’t exist, and give flawless line reads every time.  Because for the fanfic author, their couples will always have great chemistry.  

Because the fanfic author isn’t going to have the production designer, costume designer, director, lighting director, or actors make choices that completely change the meaning of what they wrote.  Or cut things out.  Or add things.  Or rewrite a line on the fly because it just felt better.

Because the fanfic author can decide fuck it, I’m writing for me and I’m going to write the best goddamned story my heart and brain can put forth and if people don’t like it they can shove it up their ass sideways, they don’t have to offset $50,000,000 of production costs in happy advertisers every season or go off the air.  

Because the fanfic author doesn’t have to worry about TVPG or prime time content or the FCC or network guidelines or protest groups or making the editor nervous.  

Because the fanfic author has the option of slapping on “AU” or “canon-divergent” and knowing that’s effectively carte blanche to change or ignore any pieces of canon they don’t care for…or to throw canon out the window entirely and set their story with only nominally the same characters as steampunk space pirates in an alternate version of 18th century Revolutionary France.  

Because the fanfic author has internal monologue, the ability to guide perception with prose choices, and complete control over POV.  Because they do not have a show bible, genre guidelines, A/B/C arc requirements, expectations that this episode will blend seamlessly with all those before and after, and a beat sheet.  

Because even if two chefs have exactly the same skill, you can’t turn one loose with complete freedom in an infinitely stocked kitchen and tell the other they have to make a three course meal with four servings per course gluten-free raw nut-free vegan Asian-African fusion in twenty minutes making sure to use kale and gummy bears and then try to compare the results as if they were equal.  

Because the fanfic author gets to be God, while the TV writer is a cog in an industrial machine creating a very specific product. 

Yes, oh FUCK yes, there are some staggeringly talented fanfiction authors out there.  Some fanfic absolutely deserves to be categorized as straight-up literature and there isn’t a damned thing except social stigma separating it from the novels on the Best Seller list and the short stories in the New Yorker. Some of them are published authors, English professors, even screenwriters, poets, and playwrights. Give them all the credit they are due and then some because they do it for you without getting paid or compensated except in your love.  I am not for one fucking instant suggesting you reduce your esteem for these awesome artists and wordsmiths.  

But professional TV writers have made it into one of the hardest, most competitive fields for people who make stories with words for a reason. They are doing a hellacious job with a thousand obstacles that fanfic writers and novelists never face, and if it wasn’t for them, you wouldn’t have fallen in love with the shows in the first place.  Are they perfect? No.  And neither are the fanfic writers. But they’re hella better than people who don’t understand what they even do give them credit for, and they don’t deserve to have their apples snidely held against fandom’s oranges and derided for their lack of a textured rind. 

So in the words of TV writers Sara Gamble and Julie Siege

#this post is brought to you by sick of watching the writers get shat on#blamed for anything and everything an individual viewer doesn’t like#and constantly compared to the viewer’s favorite fanfic#as if the two kinds of writing are even on the same planet#they’re not perfect#but they’re doing an incredibly hard job damned well#and not in control of most of the things you’re howling about anyway

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Do You Love Someone With Depression?

If you have a partner or are close to someone who struggles with depression, you may not always know how to show them you love them. One day they may seem fine, and the next they are sad, distant and may push you away. It is important that you know that as a person who is close to them and trusted by them, you can help your friend or partner have shorter, less severe bouts of depression. Mental illness is as real as physical illness (it is physical actually, read more about that here) and your partner needs you as much as they would need to be cared for if they had the flu.

Your relationship may seem one-sided during these times, but by helping your partner through a very difficult and painful affliction, you are strengthening your relationship and their mental health in the long term.

1. Help them keep clutter at bay.

When a person begins spiraling into depression, they may feel like they are slowing down while the world around them speeds up. The mail may end up in stacks, dishes can pile up in the sink, laundry may go undone as the depressed person begins to feel more and more overwhelmed by their daily routine and unable to keep up. By giving your partner some extra help sorting mail, washing dishes or using paper plates and keeping chaos in check in general, you’ll be giving them (and yourself) the gift of a calm  environment. (I’m a fan of the minimalist movement because of this, you can read more about that here.)

2. Fix them a healthy meal.

Your partner may do one of two things when they are in a depressed state. They may eat very little, or they may overeat. In either case, they may find that driving through a fast food restaurant or ordering a pizza online is just easier than fixing a meal. Eating like this, or neglecting to eat will only degrade your partner’s health, causing them to go deeper into their depression. Help your loved one keep their body healthy, and their mind will follow. This is a great article that talks about the “Brain Diet” which can help the symptoms of depression, and this article talks about how our modern diet could contribute to the recent rise in depression. Here is a recipe for a trail mix that is quick to make and has mood-boosting properties.

3.Get them outside.

 The benefits of getting outside for a depressed person are huge. And it is possibly the last thing on earth your partner will want to do. Take them to be somewhere in nature. Pack a picnic and lie in the sun, take a leisurely hike or plant a garden. Being barefoot in the dirt, or “earthing” helps ground the body and reverse the effects of living in a world of emf’s, and digging in soil can actually act as an antidepressant, as a strain of bacterium in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of seratonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety. Sunshine increases Vitamin D production which can help alleviate depression. My friend Elizabeth wrote an excellent post about Vitamin D and its link to depression here.  For more information about other sources of Vitamin D, this is a great post as well as this.

4. Ask them to help you understand what they’re feeling.

If your partner is able to articulate what they are going through, it will help them and you better understand what you are dealing with, and may give insight into a plan of action for helping your partner. Also, feeling alone is common for a depressed person and anything that combats that feeling will help alleviate the severity and length of the depression.

5. Encourage them to focus on self-care.

Depressed people often stop taking care of themselves. Showering, getting haircuts, going to the doctor or dentist, it’s all just too hard, and they don’t deserve to be well taken care of anyway in their minds. This can snowball quickly into greater feelings of worthlessness since “Now I’m such a mess, no one could ever love me”. Help your loved one by being proactive. Tell them “I’m going to do the dishes, why don’t you go enjoy a bubble bath?” can give them the permission they won’t give themselves to do something normal, healthy and self-loving.

6. Hug them.

Studies show that a sincere hug that lasts longer than 20 seconds can release feel-good chemicals in the brain and elevate the mood of the giver and receiver. Depressed people often don’t want to be touched, but a sincere hug with no expectation of anything further can give your partner a lift.

7. Laugh with them.

Telling a silly joke, watching a comedy or seeing a stand up comedian will encourage your partner to laugh in spite of themselves. Laughing releases endorphins and studies show can actually counteract symptoms of depression and anxiety.

8. Reassure them that you can handle their feelings.

Your partner may be feeling worthless, angry and even guilty while they are depressed. They may be afraid that they will end up alone because no one will put up with their episodes forever. Reassure them that you are in the relationship for the long haul and they won’t scare you away because they have an illness.

9. Challenge their destructive thoughts.

A depressed person’s mind can be a never-ending loop of painful, destructive thoughts. “I’m unlovable, I’m a failure, I’m ugly, I’m stupid”. Challenge these untruths with the truth. “You’re not unlovable, I love you. You aren’t a failure, here are all the things you’ve accomplished.”

10.Remind them why you love them.

Look at pictures of happy times you’ve had together. Tell them your favorite things about them. Reminisce about your relationship and all the positive things that have happened, and remind your partner that you love them and they will get through this.

(via The Darling Bakers)

More people need to know this.

This is so incredibly important. I’ve seen people with depression ostracized so many times, and I cannot stress how much it means to each and every person I’ve tried to reach out to after whatever “falling-outs” they’ve had due to depression. Remember to always be compassionate and kind to all friends like this, because you never know what they’re going through.

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I've set it on fire because it's not true.

Don’t let misinterpretations of the proposed updates to Tumblr’s Terms of Use keep you from tumblr-ing.  (And please check the end of this post re psychfacts’ truthfulness.)

We were away all weekend at a Harry Potter thing at Universal, and came back to an Ask box and email in-box filled with questions about the updates to tumblr’s Terms of Use (and staff post about it), and in a project that reminds us of the times we explained changes to the LiveJournal Terms of Use (sometimes not terrible, sometimes head-deskingly awful, which is why so many aren’t there much anymore), as well as those of Yahool, MySpace and yes, AOL when Usenet became accessible via their proprietary system. 

In other words, we’ve been trying to reduce panic (or, alternatively, foster it) for longer than some of you have been alive. 

Rather than tackle each Ask and email separately, we’ll go through some of the more significant rumors, and invite any follow-up Asks at any time - but we also note that none of this is legal advice, and the copyright laws of your country will vary at least slightly from those in the US. 

Will tumblr now own all the copyright in everything I post or add to a reblogged post? 

No. Tumblr has (always? If not always then at least for the last three years) held a license to host, share, distribute and do certain other things with any content you post. Tumblr could not exist if it didn’t hold those licenses. Tumblr exists so people can reblog and share content!

You - yes you - own the copyright to any original work you post on tumblr (photos, poems, songs) also many if not all of the original elements in your fanworks. You own those rights pretty much as soon as  you create those works. You hold all the copyright - and Tumblr needs you to license some of those rights to them so they can show your content to the world.  They make copies by backing up the site on backup servers; they distribute copies by allowing others to see what you’ve posted, and then others make copies by reblogging what you’ve posted. 

If you don’t want people to reblog what you’ve posted, don’t post it on tumblr. If you do want people to reblog what you’ve posted, they need a license to do so. To put it simply, the Tumblr ToU contains those licenses. It contains them now and it will continue to do so. 

Why did the Community Guidelines change from “authorized” to “allowed” re posting things copyrighted by other people? 

We hope it’s because Tumblr loves fanworks and realizes their importance on the site and to its users. 

If something is authorized, then you’ve been given explicit or implicit permission to do it. If something is allowed, then that might be the case - or the law might allow you to do it. In other words, I’m not authorized by JK Rowling or any of her designees to write Harry Potter fanfic; they haven’t given me explicit permission. I am, however, allowed by US copyright law to write Harry Potter fanfic for a number of reasons (transformative works, fair use, laches). Tumblr is now saying that if I am allowed to post something, even if I am not authorized to post it, their Community Guidelines say it’s fine. 



This isn’t true, and it isn’t true because they aren’t saying they own your copyright (and as we explain below, little-to-no uncopyrighted work is posted to tumblr). They are not saying they own any of the content you post. They, in fact, explicitly say they do not own any of the content you post. 

At line 140 in Section 6 of the ToU, it says this: 

Subscribers retain ownership and/or other applicable rights in Subscriber Content. 

That means that subscribers retain whatever rights they have when they put something on Tumblr. 

Subscriber Content is defined in the Agreement as Subscriber-submitted/transferred/provided “video, audio, photographs, images, illustrations, animations, logos, tools, written posts, replies, comments, information, data, text, software, scripts, executable files, graphics, Themes and interactive features.”

In other words, you submit/transfer/provide, you still own what you already owned (ie the text on a pic of Doge, your poetry and songs and fanfic and the photo of the hot Butterbeer you had for breakfast yesterday).

How true is this? 

Copyright (in the US, where tumblr and Yahoo are located) attaches to a work - a photo, note, story, poem, song, video - as soon as that work is “fixed” - such as when it’s written on paper, printed out or saved to a hard drive, the cloud or a USB stick - or when it’s posted on a website. And it vests in the creator, unless that creator assigns the copyright away. A license is not the same as an assignment - it means you’re giving someone else some rights, but not all of them. 

WHY does tumblr keep a license to my stuff after I delete my blog and go away?!?

Because someone else may have reblogged it in the meantime. That’s how tumblr works, and why it’s different from sites like MySpace, or how LiveJournal used to be. If someone reblogs your content while your account is live, they have a copy of it - sometimes with their comments on the post or in tags - and to use tumblr the way it was created to be used, the way it has been used for years, they need to be able to hold on to a license to keep using content you submitted to tumblr. 
If you don’t want tumblr users to reblog your stuff or even host it after you leave or delete it, host it offsite and link to it or embed it. Then you keep more control over the content itself. 

But what about commercialization! I don’t want anyone commercializing my stuff!

Given how tumblr exists, you can’t stop other tumblr users from reblogging your stuff on tumblr, or linking to it from other sites. 

There are commercial sites with accounts on tumblr. Tumblr and Yahoo are for-profit companies. Tumblr and Yahoo have been profiting off of user-posted/submitted content since said content was first submitted. 

That’s how the sites work, and why they exist. 

But even if you are ok with Tumblr and Yahoo making money off of your content, what about other sites - those “third parties”? They could be anyone! You might not like them!

True. But as long as they are on tumblr, they can reblog your posts, images, videos, stories, etc - and they can put ads on them, or link back to their site which has ads, or put a link that gets them more followers, etc. 

If you’re not comfortable with the theoretical possibility of that happening with your content, don’t use Tumblr. That’s your decision. 

But it’s been an aspect of Tumblr’s platform for years, so please don’t freak out that it’s some sort of new and weird and evil sudden action. 

What is Poor Man’s Copyright and should I do it with all my stuff right now so tumblr something-something?

Back in days of yore before computers and the internet allowed us to have a machine document the creation date/time of a work, people would mail their original or a copy to themselves in a sealed- sometimes Notary-Public-certified - envelope because it would supposedly confirm the date on which something was created. As the US Copyright Office says on their website, there is “no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.” Registration is a cool thing to do with stuff you’ve created, and we’ll do a post on it later this week, but whether you have it or not won’t impact anything re tumblr’s current or proposed Terms of Use. 

Kudos and thanks to basilintime for a fantastic summary of the changes with much less tl;dr than our post. 

As of now the panic-generating images posted by psychfacts’ tumblr have almost 60,000 Notes - a bunch of them explain the ToU and contradict the panic, but please reblog this so our (admittedly tl;dr) analysis can be out there. 

ETA re Psychfacts: We don’t know if they’re trying a social experiment on tumblr users, or if they just think it’s funny to post lies and see how many reblogs they get. 

We do know this: Many if not all of the “scientific” terms mentioned in the images on psychfacts’ posts are fake. "Hexodermic radiation"? "Kemblen cycle"? "Sutoamephrine"? NONE of it exists.

It is possible that Psychfacts is experimenting on tumblr users to see how many reblogs they can get for made-up content that’s scary, in contrast to how many reblogs they can get for made-up content that’s soothing or cheerful. If that’s their intention, then they’ve managed over 60,000 reblogs for the scary versus an average close to twenty for things that are not.

It’s possible they’re making stuff up for some other reason. We have no idea. But they are not honest in their posts, and they are deceptive in their post re the tumblr ToU.

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“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever being able to do it.”
- J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


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