Behind Pandora’s Box: Why Anti-Science Can’t Stop Science

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Protest in Boston Massachusetts, March, 2017.

This article was Co-Written between Jing Ke and Samantha Logan for a class project.

Science is a march of progress that is tidally locked with nature.  Gradually, with every step, medical advancements and scientific knowledge teach us more about the world we live in.  Each advancement builds on prior knowledge and progress that creates other, potentially greater questions about nature.  For every scientific discovery and resulting advancement, the course of nature adapts, things change, and society must discuss whether that advancement is truly in our, or the world’s best interest.  No greater example of this cycle is more suitable to illustrate it then the Anti-Vaccination and Anti-Antibiotics movements.

This blog and the project attached will illustrate one very simple fact:  The medicinal miracle of vaccines and anti-biotics has been met with greater viral and bacterial threats in nature.  For humans to remain healthy and for devastating diseases to stay cured, every person must understand our dependency on vaccines and anti-biotics.   We must also understand the recursive role nature takes in this cycle. To elaborate on this we will start with a primer on vaccines and anti-biotics.  Then we will discuss the cycle of science and nature, and finally the recent trends against science that want to disrupt that cycle.

How Viruses and Vaccines work

In science, part of the cure against diseases and viral outbreaks are the bacteria and viruses themselves. One way of discovering a cure for or developing resistance to these foreign entities is to disassemble the virus or bacterium being targeted and create a harmless version that is still identifiable by your immune system and introduce it to our bodies via a vaccine.

These changed versions of the viruses or bacteria train your body so when the real deal enters you do not fall ill, because your immune system will already identify the unknown intruder in your body and eliminate it.

Scientists have also developed ways to target the pathogen itself and prevent the bacteria/virus DNA from being replicated, thus stopping the spread of the bacteria/virus itself. Other cures have been made where they directly target the cell wall of the bacterium and rip it apart, causing the bacterium to die out.  Both of these solutions are however more expensive and harder to implement than a vaccine.  Each of these solutions over time create resistant strains to the method used, and the only way to prevent this is to get them all before they have the chance to mutate and evolve into a resistant “super-bug”.

When bacteria constantly encounters lethal antibodies in your body, there is a more likely chance that one bacterium will develop resistance and it won’t be long before the entire strain becomes immune to the antibodies. Bacterium can pass on their immunity by interlocking their proteins and then transferring plasmids (bits of dna carrying proteins) between not only their own species of bacteria, but other strains as well.  If a developed anti-biotic that targets the bacteria is not present until the very last one dies, the chances a bacteria pass on it’s resistance skyrockets. This is why doctors tell you to take all of your anti-biotics until they are gone – not just until you feel better.

The Anti-Vaxxer and Anti-Anti-biotic Movements

The vaccine and anti-biotics processes have been known to science for a very long time.  The first smallpox vaccine was created in 1684 (via historyofvaccines.org – seriously check their site out!)  and the first anti-biotic, Penicillin, was created by Alexander Fleming in the 1940s.  Since then huge diseases have been largely cured or rendered ineffective to the population such as Denge fever, Yellow Fever, Measles, and more, but that does not mean those diseases are gone.  We co-habitate with them and they continue to grow and evolve with us.  The most primary example is that of the Zika Virus which evolved to create an outbreak fifty years after it had been known to humans according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The required vaccines doctors ask children to take are vital to the continued life of people all over the world over a very long time, but recently, due to a fake news article connecting the vaccines to autism (historyofvaccines.org), parents all over the world have been swearing off vaccines.  Anti-biotics have also been proven to mess with the pro-biotic bacteria that keep us healthy in our bodies and failure to use them properly has created a great fear of “super-bugs”.  These movements are advocating a life in an environment where we are not immune to the regular viruses and bacteria so we do not spawn greater threats.  The flaw in this argument has to do with the cycle of evolution, and our interference with it.

The Evolutionary March of Science and Nature

As stated in this blog before, these viruses and superbugs are not affecting our bodies due to our immunities in vaccines and thorough use of anti-biotics, but that does not mean they are gone.  It means they exist around us and simply do not harm us.  Any Darwinian Evolutionary scholar worth their salt will tell you that viruses and bacteria evolve very quickly and their hosts are not just humans.  The plague was carried on rodents and Zika is carried on Mosquitos.  These viruses and bacterium will continue to evolve whether we are there or not, and they remain dangerous to us.  The catch however, is when we STOP vaccinating, or we don’t take our anti-biotics seriously we accelerate their evolution instead of stunting it.

We will conclude this blog with a second critical fact.  Our first fact was that this cycle exists and at this point stopping the cycle is a terrible idea. Our second fact, is that stopping this cycle will do nothing to help humanity.  These medical advancements have saved countless lives over half of a century, and if we stop the cycle, these bacterium and viruses will continue as they did prior to vaccines.  People will die.

We implore you.  Continue the cycle of science and nature, keep us one step ahead, and do your responsibility as an adult.  Wipe down your house’s surfaces, vaccinate your children, ensure they take all of their anti-biotics, and take them to get regular checkups.

This blog is a part of a series! Check out the others here!

  1. What does Perpetual Motion, Sisyphus, and the Anti-Vaxxer Movement have in common?
  2. Behind Pandora’s Box: Why Anti-Science Can’t Stop Science
  3. Rome built in a day:  How we made a Sisyphus machine
  4. Nevertheless She Persisted: The Cycle of Science and Nature

 

Work Cited:  Continue reading “Behind Pandora’s Box: Why Anti-Science Can’t Stop Science”

The Manifesto Blogs – Part 2: who Where is the invisible community?

In our last blog post about the new mission of Trans* Youth Channel we spoke a lot about the need to assist the “invisible” community that we define as largely the closeted, stealth, questioning, and under-resourced, but in using this term many individuals we surveyed refused to accept it.  It was vague and they felt they weren’t “invisible”. They were Trans*, or black, or young adults who were “disadvantaged”.

Despite this however, in the equal right movements “invisible” is an important term. It can define entire populations, cultures, and sections of our world. It’s been equated to every identity in the LGBT+ community, (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, questioning and others), it has been widely studied in the prospects of feminism, has broad striking research in healthcare, it has been attributed to a swath of racial justice communities including black young adults, Native Americans, illegal immigrants, Hispanic communities, and even disabled individuals. It has been particularly used among age lines with youth and elders.

“Invisible” has become an emotive adjective equating to un-diagnosed oppressed minorities. It has become a knee-jerk call to action and an emotive appeal in marketing, advocacy, and more, but we at TYC feel, it’s become a place. We continue to use the term to describe our community because it has become an environment where if a precious few conditions are met they will make anyone invisible regardless of their identity.

The conditions can build up at any time, they can develop in any way, across any minority or identity, but almost invariably, what makes someone “invisible” is when they are placed in a circumstance where one loses control over their own identity due to a buildup of hurdles, resulting in perceived or real anxieties, fears, and mental displacement forcing them to hide who they are.

 

One is invisible when they are not in control of how they identify
Consider an LGBT+ youth under the age of 16. They cannot work, they cannot live independently, they have to go to school in most cases, and their parents have legal control over their healthcare, most finances, and the roof over their heads. Now consider their family being un-accepting of their identity; devout and harsh Catholics who go to mass every single Sunday with a priest who has a subscription to focus on the family.

If that teen were to come out how much control do you think they would have over their situation? Consider 17 year old internet user: RavenRiver’s story in an article from About: relationships on coming out experiences:

“When I came out my parents made me go talk to their church bishop. I was told I’m broken, that they were taking me to counseling to help fix me, and that if things got worse they would have to take more drastic actions. They told me it’s just a phase and that I could be “fixed.” They also forbid me from telling anyone. To this day they cannot accept that I’m gay. When I told my friends, everything seemed fine and dandy at first, then I found out a bunch of them were talking about me behind my back and they asked me to keep my sexuality to myself because it would be easier for them. It was horrible.”

They say the truth will set you free. Well when I told my family I was gay, I would up in the hospital.
Image from: http://www.queerty.com/16-of-the-best-and-worst-coming-out-stories-from-anonymous-sharing-app-whisper-20140820

Invisible community members in the LGBT+ community don’t normally express their identities “because they are not ready”, but because of some perceived or very real hurdle preventing them from coming out.  Because resources to overcome those hurdles are not in their control, such as finances, independent healthcare, or legal sovereignty from parents, their ability to express their identity is not in their control so challenging the status-quot is extremely dangerous.

This is called an “external locus of control” and it means you perceive or literally do not have control over your life. It is harder to get out from under an oppressive situation, and that means “covering” your identity at work, at home, with family, online, and in various other living circumstances. 

One is invisible when control of one’s situation is impeded by hurdles
By and large, the environments ability to control how you identify and when you “cover” your identity is composed of what we define as Hurdles; perceived or real elements of one’s life that impede the open expression of their identity. Hurdles are not always physical and are often subtle, but because of these hurdles one can be left powerless. RavenRiver’s family had full control over her religious beliefs and freedoms as well as her mental health. They had that control because she was under the age of 18 and bound to her parent’s household. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in most cases (we’re not condoning the removal of parental rights as a whole), but because she challenged the status-quot and came out, she wound up mentally and emotionally battered. Likewise her environment – her friends and family – controlled a social perception of her acceptance and held sway over her feelings.

If you are a youth hurdles can be fairly obvious such as your financial, healthcare, legal, and school concerns, but hurdles can also impact you at any time in life.  A prior volunteer of mine with Trans* Youth Channel for instance was a huge advocate for LGBT+ rights with her own YouTube channel, and she was our operations manager.   After she had made the decision to go into college, because of where she lived, she had to return to the closet and stop expressing her identity outwardly and publicly. She went to college in Waco, Texas where it was (rightly) perceived as dangerous for her to be out as a transgender woman.

It should also be recognized that hurdles are not always applicable at all times. They can be present in some areas of life, but not in others. I personally spent much of my time in the first year of my transition from male to female, in a “part-time” transition stage where I was female in most of my life, save for times when I went to work. I worked at a high end luxury hotel in Cheyenne, Wyoming run by a Mormon family and it was legal to fire me for being transgender. I was constantly worried about informing my manager or coming out while working there because I had utmost understanding that I would be fired.  At the same time however they were not too fond of the eyeliner that wouldn’t come off, or the long hair, or that sometimes I would come to work with nail polish on since I didn’t have time to remove it. It was suffocating for me, but the job maintained financial hurdles and job security over me. It had to do with whether I would find another job, or how people at work would treat me if I did or did not come out.   These were not pressures I found outside of work and I was more than out around the town.

reality of coming out
Image from: https://rpseawright.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/reality.png

Anxiety, fear, and mental distress results from hurdles.

This same pain of being out – the discrimination, prejudice, and constant berating of your identity – can cause just as much pain and damage as not being visible. Hurdles cause very real fears of being stripped of basic life necessities before the age of 18, or losing control of your life without the resources you need all of which take precedence after coming out. Often, until you have a plan to overcome every hurdle it is better for others not to know. For your own safety, it’s better that some not know. For my volunteer it was better that she not come out in college. For Leelah, not coming out could have maintained friends, technological access to an online “invisible” community, and ultimately keeping her life.

Perhaps the best depiction of the feelings, anxieties, depression, and worries that come from hurdles built out of the external locus of control, are shown in the video “Spectrum” by Boy In A Band. The pain of your family keeping you in the closet, not being able to love the person you love or are, but only having one thought at your disposal, “hang on, it will get better, wait until your independent.”

These three elements that create the prevalence of “invisible” communities in all minority groups are well understood in psychological, sociological, and anthropological communities, but the non-profit industry has not been able to permeate the barrier that the “closet door” has developed. Because the invisible community is by definition incalculable, LGBT+ nonprofits have no idea how many closeted, stealth, questioning, or under-resourced individuals there are, and cannot afford to spend precious resources for the invisible community. Despite this one thing is very clear:

A large swath of LGBT+ individuals who are committing suicide, forced into conversion therapy, or are the victims of hate crime, are coming from the “invisible” communities and without reaching out to assist the community in breaking down barriers, helping them over hurdles, providing support to handle anxieties, and fostering an internal locus of control, the horrendous rates of suicide, hate crimes, and bad coming out stories will not decrease.

The invisible community is held back by issues outside of their control and it is hurting everyone. They are being held back in many areas of their life and many of them will remain there for a very long time unless something is done. These people are largely those who remain closeted, those who have to return to the closet as stealth individuals, those who are still questioning their identities, but have no resources to understand themselves, and above all, those in dangerous and remote environments where an LGBT+ facility is too far away.

Trans* Youth Channels Mission is to support this, and in next week’s blog, We’ll start talking about how.

The Manifesto Blogs – Part 1: Trans Youth Channel’s new mission

Trans* Youth Channel’s new mission:

As the CEO of Trans* Youth Channel (TYC) this is a vital part of my life and the values I uphold.  We’ve Started a six part article series leading up to our #IAmInvisible campaign and it starts with an introduction to the new organization.  This is part 1 written by myself.


All out LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, other) individuals at some point in their lives were closeted.  This threshold is often depicted as a courageous rite of passage, but for most it’s more the end to an arduous journey where hurdles are many, large, and out of their control.  Many people fail to come out and although LGBT+ organizations are a boon for the ‘out’ community and in general, they do little for the invisible community of closeted, stealth, questioning, or under-resourced individuals.  Our failure to do so has led to readily apparent atrocities depicting a major gap in the LGBT+ movement’s support methods that Trans* Youth Channel has dedicated itself to alleviate.

It’s a common story on online closet-friendly Trans* forums for someone not to “come out” because they feel it’s impossible due to familial, financial, religious, social, legal, healthcare, and/or personal hurdles bogging them down (we’ll talk about this in part 2).   In fact, TYC recently got the okay to share Alex’s post (closeted) from the secret group, the Facebook Transgender Alliance with you;

“Sometimes I feel like starting a transition I may never financially be able to finish, may be harder than staying as [I am] and dealing with it.  My dysphoria and hatred for my body is worse more than ever.  I wish I could just get this shit done and be happy.” 

Coming out as gay can still lead to homelessness and the loss of your entire support network (Walmsely).  As a result depression, anxiety, and mental illness have skyrocketed and loss of life has become horribly present.  A study of 350 LGB youth in Canada, found that 4 in 10 youth had considered suicide, and 1 in 3 had attempted. Among the latter, 65% of male and 45% of female youth considered their attempt related to sexuality (D’Augelli). The National Transgender Survey reports a staggering 41% of Transgender respondents attempted suicide which increased when broken down by hurdle: job loss due to bias – 55%, those harassed or bullied – 51%, and in low income houses, or victims of assault – 64% (Grant).  Many of these cases from invisible people have gone viral such as Leelah Alcorne who committed suicide due to her family’s active prevention of her transition and she joined one of hundreds of youth who took their lives in the same way.

These terrible atrocities are not going ignored however.  Organizations in the out community have widely reported these statistics as a strong need for activism in all areas of life and changed a lot of the public policies surrounding these issues with great success, but we – Trans* Youth Channel –  feel these efforts are helping only in the long term, and far too late for those already struggling.  It’s akin to the coast guard merely setting up a lighthouse to catch people drowning near shore, but not sending out a life-boat to find those drowning in the dark waters.  Bodies wash up and the general we consider it an atrocity, but we can do more to help those struggling on their own in the dark open sea, and so, I am proud to announce that Trans* Youth Channel has done just that.

In 2014 we officially changed our mission to specifically support the invisible community and be that lifeboat via 3 programs integral to our mission:  our weekly digest, our support group program, and content creation.

The weekly digest first accomplishes a vital task for the community in that it establishes a safe, secure, anonymous, and low-anxiety communication pathway via email, and then allows us to provide invisible community members with the resources, community, and support they need.  They simply sign up, and they receive resources directly to their inbox so they don’t have to agonize and risk themselves on the internet.

After attaining stable contact with members of the invisible community with the weekly digest, the support group program is designed to host several safe, secure, and low-anxiety peer-to-peer support groups that closely mimic ‘out’ LGBT+ community’s physical support groups.  Our chief goals in this program are to have:

  • A comprehensive training made from partner organization’s resources complete with a certification process for all support group facilitators.
  • A vetted partner resource database for any situation a group might support, and that is used by others outside TYC.
  • Implement further training of additional volunteers & encourage physical support groups in under resourced areas to change the resource map all over the nation.

In addition to these programs directly catered to the invisible community we are seeking to change the conversation about the LGBT+ community using blog and v-logging content in much the same way we did when we were still just a YouTube channel.

The invisible community is a truly incapable demographic in our LGBT+ movement and with all of the people we are unable to reach,  Trans* Youth Channel will be the first organization to become a lifeboat, and provide resources far sooner, then the LGBT+ community has been able to do before.

Next week’s blog:  Who is the invisible community exactly?

Watch the video version of this article:

*Trans* youth channel’s astrick is an LGBT+ symbol for inclusiveness by recognizing an umbrella of identities.  

Full Sources:

Continue reading “The Manifesto Blogs – Part 1: Trans Youth Channel’s new mission”

5 Features Windows 10 has made Unsafe For the LGBT+ Invisible Community

In a momentous several times per lifetime chance people are getting a free upgrade to the brand new Windows 10 platform just released on the 29th of July.  As soon as it launched this weekend however widespread criticism on privacy rights has been a major concern with the platform.

Trans* Youth Channel however, an organization that seeks to bridge the gap between out LGBT+ organizations and the largely invisible online community, sees these privacy issues as a much larger problem than most seem to think it is.

Web privacy is integral to the success of closeted and stealth LGBT+ individuals as well as those who don’t have resources locally because without resources, community, and proper research, they’re in the dark; something that as Leelah Alcorn exemplified, can be fatal.  Suicide rates are astronomically high in the community because of familial and social hurdles barring invisible members to these resources and the stigma that comes with being a member of the LGBT+ community. A safe, anonymous and secure internet is such a small window to resources that could save thousands of lives, but Windows 10 could potentially snuff out the only access many people may have to these online LGBT+ resources…right from installation.

Here are 5 examples of how Windows 10 is detrimental to the safety, security, and ultimate well-being of the LGBT+ communities’ closeted, stealth, questioning, and under-resourced population:

1.  At start up
Before windows 10 has even finished installing on your computer a closeted LGBT+ person is at risk.  Take a moment to actually read the 2 “express settings” screen versions for windows 10.

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Why is this a problem?
I hope you already see the general lack of okay-ness here and if not view this general article on how this is not okay, but for the LGBT+ community specifically we’ll use a running example.

Let’s call the person in our example John for sake of not being completely hypocritical and ‘outing’ a real life closeted LGBT+ individual.  John is a closeted Trans* masculine individual seeking hormones, but he’s 14 and lives in a very religious Philippine household only 2 generations in the U.S.  In John’s case this means his family has rather rigid traditional values and is highly religious; something that is worrying for his circumstances.  It also just so happens that his mother is single, taking care of him and 2 other siblings with a job only paying about $10 dollars an hour in Philadelphia.

Because she can’t afford personal devices for three kids the only computer in his house sits in the living room.  It was just running windows 7 for 5 years and this free upgrade was well received by his mother because after all it’s free and it’s new.

Now consider what would happen if John were to google in the brief tiny bit of privacy he has, “how to come out to my parents” on that family computer.  Per his mother’s very fast “use express settings” choice, this windows setup screen would allow his search to get sent off to windows for processing, and to be taken advantage of, then sent back upon his family computer for all of the features windows offers to cater all future search results, products, and services to his recent declaration of wanting to come out… Problem no?

2.  Setting up the Microsoft account.
Now let’s say that John’s mother read the form and decided that this infringed too much on her privacy.  She then said no, and proceeded through advanced setup to find a lot of disturbingly vague questions about location settings, using calendar, contacts, and literally every keyboard input to “make the system better” that would have been on had she said yes.  Even if she navigated through this entire vague legal hubbub and came out with some privacy control, the next thing she would run into causing problems for her blossoming yet closeted Trans* kid is on the very next page of setup!  The option to create a windows account for her kids and then limit, view, and manage what internet access John might have.

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Why is this a problem? 
The problem is, even if having an account is “optional” according to our friendly geek guide on installing windows ten, “We’d recommend using a Microsoft account because otherwise you won’t be able to use half of the new features…”  If John’s mother signs up for this Microsoft account,  simply rinse and repeat the problems described in part 1.

But wait!  Having a Microsoft account doesn’t mean the end of john’s world right?! I mean, once you set up an account john’s mother would create accounts for all of her children to independently use.  Wrong.

John’s mother is a master on the account allowing her to set privacy rights for all of the sub accounts she makes for her children.  That means that in addition to straight up restricting him from finding resources on the system, she can also view his histories, and even completely remove his access to the actual computer console…pretty much indefinitely. One false move and he’s as alienated as Leelah Alcorn was.

3.  Using Cortana
Once setup has finished forcing you to allow Microsoft into your house like a vampire in the dead of medieval night, and your parents have created a full-proof filter for you not to get the resources you need, the next part of Setup is what all of this has all been for:  Cortana.
image of cortana on the desktop
Cortana is basically the windows equivalent of Siri or Iris on your mobile device and unfortunately with Microsoft’s Famous privacy exploitation tricks, it spells bad news for LGBT+ people who are closeted or otherwise.   They even wrapped Cortana’s privacy issues into a nice handy little FAQ for us too.

First off, in order for Cortana to work after you leave setup, if you turned off any of the settings in the advanced setup instead of choosing express (problem 1), Cortana will ask you to turn them back on again and she requires a windows account.  Seeming as Cortana is one of the biggest features in windows 10 and we are so very used to the wonderful features and assistance of Siri, and Iris (who have their own privacy and security risks) most people will indeed opt to do so.

So what is the problem?
Harkening back to the first example, john searches in Cortana’s bar “how to come out to my parents”, Cortana will then remember this search and attempt to “personalize searches” in the future and offering that data to the Microsoft account to display when his mother looks at it.  Additionally there is no way to “go stealth” in Cortana’s bar like with private browsers, so wiping the history from her is quite difficult and out of the way (you have to go to Bing to do this and it’s a convoluted process).

In combination with the Microsoft account recording his every actions John has officially been outed because his mother was all too curious as to what he was doing talking all night with his friends at school, or because a sibling logged on to his account, or he forgot to log out, or he forgot to use a private browser, or because he used Cortana at all in the first place.

4.  Windows Edge

If this is getting a little repetitive I totally understand because it is.  Every little windows 10 “feature” compounds on itself to make life absurdly difficult for John, but go with me on this.

Internet browsers, no matter what browser you use (possible exception in Firefox), make it difficult to keep your privacy safe, but with Microsoft’s replacement to internet explorer (in name only it seems) it gets worse.

To begin, by default, your privacy settings on Microsoft’s new Edge browser are as open as possible.  If john were to use the default browser it would save all of his form entries, retain all of his browser histories, cookies, and other data, page prediction would be on (using prior page visits to determine where you’ll go in the future), and sending ‘do not track requests” would be off meaning sites outside of Microsoft could track his movements and advertise their own relevant materials rather in-depth. If Cortana was already enabled in the system it is now fully integrated into edge as well giving that same repetitive compounding of problems for him.

Why is this a problem?
Do we need to go through this again?  The problem is basically that the browser is allowing every service ever to say, “Oh your coming out? Looks like you’re gay!!! Here have pride advertisements from all over the country for the next week!”

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5.  Multi-Device Interfaces – OneDrive, Xbox,

your phone, and tablets
Even if using the OS on your computer isn’t bad enough, consider those moments when you are using a second device.  For closeted LGBT+ teens, phones are really the most secure things they have at their fingertips and now with the compounding effects of privacy violations that can easily be done by your siblings, parents, or Microsoft and other corporations, by the proliferation of the Microsoft account, and Microsoft’s OneDrive program, Windows 10 makes that phone just at risk of hurting you as your computer does.

The whole point of a Microsoft account is to make it easy for you to access everything you need over a variety of devices to have it at any time.  This isn’t old hat because Dropbox, Google, Facebook, and many other organizations are trying to make the multi-device realm work as seamlessly as possible. After all that means you’re buying more devices and tying in more services.

The problem:
They simply aren’t as secure.  Xbox’s OneDrive and Microsoft account can be accessed by your siblings with a few touches of a button to sign in to a specific account.  Windows 10 and the Microsoft account have now migrated all they know over to that system so if john, were to begin researching how to come out to his parents again, it would be game over on a game console.    At least google has the decency to keep it PC for the most part.   (Sorry for the puns, but I hoped to lighten the oppressive mood.)


Conclusion…
Throughout this article there was a lot of pressure on windows 10 and it’s the new device on the field so it needs to be said that the service is dangerous for those who are just questioning their identities, are stealth, or closeted due to a wide variety of circumstances.  Most people will say in defense though, “well google does that too” and “well that’s the way the world is right now”.  Well, to them I say this is a terrible defense.

Yes google is doing it too, and net neutrality is an important factor in the safety of the LGBT+ community as a result.  If we want a secure, anonymous, and un-pressured LGBT+ community who can come in to their own without fear, we need social media platforms, OS software, private accounts, and communities built to reduce their anxieties and hurdles; not increase their restrictions.

I saw a recent web comic from everyday feminism talking about how the traditional idea of a person taking 1 of 2 roads to decide who they were going to be was false and our life changes decisions are more like an ocean of currents.  Our decisions are effected by the services, platforms, conversation, society, and traditions around us.  We can’t close off an invisible LGBT+ member’s secure, private, and anonymous exploration simply because we want our computers to remind us everything, or because our parents are worried about the internet they quite frankly can’t control in the first place, or because Microsoft wants us to.

Want to do something about it? 
5 things you can do to maintain your privacy right now:

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  1.  Opt for a more secure OS system like Linux Mint
  2. Use Firefox, a non-profit run browser with net
    neutrality, privacy and security in mind
  3. Learn how to set up windows 10 in a more
    secure fashion.
  4. Learn how to browse the
    web safely with this-info graphic  –>
  5. Sign up for our 100% anonymous weekly digest so
    you don’t have to risk outing yourself to find resources

***This post has been cross-posted from the Trans* Youth Channel blog and is Samantha’s original work.

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