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On Transgender Bathrooms, Dennis Hastert, and How to Protect the Children

Published April 29, 2016 by April Fox

I posted this on my Facebook page this morning, but I thought I’d share it here as well.

Dennis Hastert sexually abused multiple children while he worked as a boys’ wrestling coach. He watched them shower. He gained their trust and then fondled them. He didn’t dress up like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, as proponents of bills like HB2 like to imagine. His disguise was much more clever and far more terrifying: He was a monster dressed as an authority figure, a buddy, a role model. He was like the thousands of coaches, teachers, clergy members, family members, family friends, camp counselors and others to whom we entrust our children every single day.

If there are nearly 750,000 predatory sex offenders free to enter our public restrooms in any form of attire, that’s what we need to address.

We need to address the fact that there are statutes of limitations on sex crimes, despite widespread knowledge that it can take victims many years before they are able to talk about what happened. They suffer in silence and then are told “Sorry, it was too long ago. Deal with it.”

We need to address the leniency in sentencing and the ease with which those in positions of power can often buy their way out of trouble.
We need to address the stigma of sexual abuse.

We need to address the idea of better education, so children feel more confident saying no, and speaking out.

We need to address the ignorance that teaches our children to fear anyone who looks different, but to follow without question anyone in a position of authority.

We need to address the reality that gender identity is a complex thing, not defined solely by the contents of your trousers.

We need to address the safety of transgender people, androgynous-appearing people, gay and lesbian people, as others in the community seek to harm them simply for needing to use the bathroom.

We need to address the safety of our children, who are at exponentially greater risk for suicide and self-harm if their sexuality and identity are not understood and supported by family and community members.

We do not, I promise you, need to address the question of whether or not your genitals match those of the person in the next stall over. If that is your concern, over all the others I just listed, then you are undoubtedly part of the problem.

Starbucks Fires Shots in War On Christmas, or, How to be a Pissy Christian Coffee Snob

Published November 9, 2015 by April Fox

Friends, our nation is in crisis. We’re facing serious hard times, and we have to take action now if we ever hope to recover. I’m not talking about the epidemic of homelessness or the vast number of people dying due to inaccessible health care. I’m not talking about the deplorable state of veterans’ affairs, or even the appalling number of children who go to bed hungry every night — if those little fuckers wanted to eat, they could get jobs like the rest of us, right? Bootstraps and all that, noses to the grindstone. No, the crisis I’m talking about is much more urgent and far more terrifying than dead babies and frozen old people. I hope you’re sitting down for this:

Starbucks didn’t make Jesus cups.

Yep, you read that right. Starbucks didn’t make Jesus cups.

Told you it was bad. How are we going to remember that Jesus is the Reason For the Season while we’re sipping our overpriced burnt-bean mochafrappalattewhatthefuckever if we don’t have a Jesus cup?

The fuck do you expect us good God-fearing Christians to do? Look at the Angel Tree in the mall and think about giving to others? Nobody has time for that shit; Bath and Body Works has a sale and besides, those people will just take the presents and sell them for crack anyway. You think we have time to pause and reflect on our many blessings this time of year? No we do not, we’re too busy shopping for just the right dress to wear to Christmas Eve services (hey, when you only go to church twice a year, you better look good for God). This time of year is all about Christmas, and if Starbucks is going to insist on serving us coffee in plain old red and green Christmas cups (which are not even actual Christmas colors, except they totally are) then we’re going to be forced to go home, rip down our Christmas lights, burn down our Christmas trees, send poor plastic Baby Manger Jesus to the orphanage, the plastic camels to the zoo, and the plastic wise men to the homeless shelter up the street, and then set out a sign in the front yard that says “Sorry Grinch, Starbucks already stole Christmas” and then as Mike Binkley would say, the whole world will go to hell in a handbasket.

And we have to do all of that ripping and burning and orphanaging without coffee because Starbucks hates Christmas.

I hope you’re ready, friends. I hope you’re armed in this war against Christmas: armed with your misplaced anger and your sense of vulgar entitlement, armed with your lack of consideration for anyone who doesn’t march in line with your own particular dogma, armed with your contempt for anyone who believes differently than you. Because that’s like totally how Jesus would fight this shit.

If you’re that concerned about the colors on your paper cup of cappuccino, shut the fuck up and buy your coffee somewhere else and let the rest of us heathens enjoy our coffee while we’re out doing the Christian deeds you assholes are too goddamn self-centered to do yourselves.

The offensive Not Jesus Cups

The offensive Not Jesus Cups

Asheville’s Helpmate Hosts a Vigil to Help End Domestic Violence

Published September 28, 2015 by April Fox

A portion of the royalties from my latest book, Spine, will be used to benefit Helpmate, a local non-profit organization that helps women and their children who are in, escaping, and recovering from domestic violence situations. 
There’s a popular myth that women stay because they love their abusers and think they’ll change. That is certainly true in some cases, but in many, the things that keep women there are far less romantic: fear, threats, financial limitations, a belief that there are no other options. Helpmate works to educate women and the general public about ways to escape dangerous situations, and provides direct links to resources that help ensure the physical and emotional safety of people affected by domestic violence. 
I’m asking my friends and family to please help spread awareness about Helpmate’s annual domestic violence vigil, this Thursday October 1, in downtown Asheville. Please feel free to copy and paste this message along with your post. 
Thank you, loves. 

Haylee Ledford Abducted from Asheville, NC: Update: FOUND

Published September 8, 2014 by April Fox

missing haylee

UPDATE: Haylee Ledford has been found and returned to her family in NC. Pierce faces federal charges in the case.

On September 6, 2014, 13-year-old Haylee Ledford was abducted from Leicester, NC, just outside Asheville. A felony warrant has been issued for 22-year-old Jacob Thomas Pierce of Golden, Colorado in connection with her disappearance. Police believe the child and her abductor may be traveling toward Colorado in a white Honda Accord with Colorado plates. A full description of Haylee, her abductor Jacob Thomas Pierce, and the car can be found below.

This child lives in my area, and her family and the community are very concerned for her safety. Please, take a look at the photos of Haylee Ledford and Jacob Pierce, and alert authorities if you’ve seen them. You can reach the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department at (828) 250-4503. Please share this information on your social networks as well, so we can get this little girl home to her family. I have a daughter Haylee’s age and the thought of her being out there with some guy in his twenties turns my stomach. Let’s bring Haylee home.

Haylee Ledford is believed to have been abducted from near Asheville, NC.

Haylee Ledford is believed to have been abducted from near Asheville, NC.

haylee ledford

You can follow the search for Haylee on the Facebook page dedicated to finding her.

Legal Medical Research Facility Raided by SWAT Team

Published March 4, 2014 by April Fox

I wrote this article last night for Liberal America.  Imagine that you acquired your drivers license and bought a car that you registered, titled, got tags for, had inspected per state regulations, paid the taxes on. And one day as you’re driving down the road, you’re surrounded by police cars with their sirens flashing, voices yelling at you to pull over immediately. Policemen point guns at your children and order them out of the car. You’re arrested for driving without a license, with no tags or registration. Your car is impounded and you’re facing jail time. That kind of injustice is what this case is about. Todd Stimson is facing prison time for running a business that he had been given permission, by the state, to run. It doesn’t matter what your opinion is about marijuana, medical or otherwise. What matters is that the state is attempting to imprison someone for doing something they said he could do.

The link to the full story for Liberal America is below, along with a link to a brief video of Todd Stimson talking about his family’s ordeal.

To the Cretin Who Wrote the Ugly Anonymous Letter About the Child With Autism

Published August 19, 2013 by April Fox

In case you missed it, some ugly person sent a hate-filled, ugly anonymous letter to the mother of a child with autism, suggesting that the child be euthanized, among other things. You can read my original post about it here.

I’ve calmed down just a bit since I wrote that original post, and now I’m going to give the wretched letter-writer the benefit of the doubt and assume, for the sake of argument, that she isn’t an inbred idiot with the brains of a jellyfish, but simply someone who has no clue about, well… anything, but autism and how to parent “normal” children, in particular.

So, dear idiot, let me tell you how you SHOULD have dealt with this.

First, buy a dictionary. I’m quite sure this autistic child is not really out hunting whales in your neighborhood. The word you wanted was “wailing,” I think, which is what you’re doing in your letter, only with more passive-aggression and vulgar displays of punctuation than any self-respecting autistic person would ever dream of utilizing. And that’s just the first example that comes to mind when I remember reading your ridiculous letter. 

Now, about how you dealt with your neighbor. I’m going to tell you a little story; I’ll keep it as simple as possible, so you’ll understand. I have neighbors where I live, too. Some of my neighbors live in a house very close to mine.  Sometimes they’re outside kind of late at night, and my kids can hear them through their open windows when they’re trying to sleep. I suppose I could write the neighbors a psychotic anonymous letter and slip it under their door, but I thought I’d try a different, rather unorthodox tactic to deal with the situation: I talked to them. I ran into them outside one day, chatted for a minute, and then said something like, “Hey, so my kids’ rooms are on the side of the house next to yours, and sometimes when you’re all outside late, it keeps them up.” And wonder of wonders, this was the response I got: “I’m sorry! I didn’t realize. If we’re ever too loud, just let us know. Sorry about that.” And then we talked some more about being broke and whether or not it’s going to get cold early this year, and that was the end of it. 

You might try that next time, if the noise is truly bothersome. 

Regarding your “normal” children being scared of the noise:

One-I think you’re full of shit.

Two-If you’re not full of shit, and your kids really are scared, you’re a worse mother than I originally thought, because rather than trying to explain and assuage your children’s fears, you decided instead to suggest that another kid be put to fucking sleep. 

So let’s get this straight: a kid yelling outside is terrifying, but your kids are totally cool with a mother who believes in killing children who are different.

I hope you started their therapy fund early. They’re going to need it.

See, here’s what I do when my kids are afraid of something. I find out what’s causing the fear, and then I explain it to the kids so they’re not scared anymore. If they hear a strange bird outside that scares them, I don’t go all batshit ballistic and start shooting up the trees, I go, “Hey, that’s a bird. Maybe it’s this kind of bird, or that kind of bird. It sounds pretty weird, huh? It’s outside and it’s just a bird. It can’t hurt you.” Crazy, I know, but it works.

I worked at a camp for kids with autism last summer. We were right there with all the “normal” kids. (By the way, there is no such thing as a normal kid. They do not exist. Get over your illusions, okay?) Once in a while, one of the kids in the other group would ask why one of the kids in my group was making a funny noise, or behaving a certain way. I explained things to them openly and honestly: This is the noise he makes when he’s happy, or excited, or upset. You might smile or laugh or clap your hands or scowl; he’s expressing himself this way. It’s just a little different way of being. This is what you should be saying to your children. This is where you should be, rather than typing furiously away on your keyboard, raging at someone who is simply trying to let her child enjoy the outdoors, which he absolutely, without question, deserves to be allowed to do.

I’m just curious, what exactly is wrong with you that makes you think there’s something wrong with teaching your kids things like compassion and understanding? Why do you think it’s more appropriate to advocate killing a child than teaching your own about the differences among us? What in your demented and fucked up psyche would make you want to attack rather than reach out to another mother who you know is facing challenges that may be greater than your own? Seriously, I’m sorry, but I just can’t understand where you were coming from with this letter. What is wrong with you?

If you ever grow the balls to address what you’ve done, look me up. I’d love to talk. 

Autistic Child’s Family Targeted by Vicious Anonymous Letter

Published August 19, 2013 by April Fox

By now, you may have heard about or read the disgusting letter sent to the parents of an autistic child in Newcastle, Ontario.

My first thought, despite generally being a pacifist and too small to do much damage to anyone, was that I’d like five minutes alone with a piece of rebar and the pathetic piece of shit that wrote the letter. My next thought was that I really want to hug the hell out of those parents, because God, what a horrible thing to have to read. I felt physically ill reading it. I can’t imagine reading those things directed at my own child. I can’t imagine the kind of cruel and damaged mind that would make someone say those things, either.

My next thought was that this idiot could use some writing lessons from my autistic kid, not that I’d let him within a hundred yards of such a caustic person.

I have a friend who is raising two beautiful, bright little boys with autism (and one equally beautiful and bright boy without, just to keep things interesting). She posted about this on Facebook earlier, and made an excellent point: “I don’t think raising a child with disabilities is horrific by any means, but raising a child who would pick on one would be.”

YES. Exactly that. Our kids have autism. They have a challenge that makes different parts of their lives more difficult. Socializing, communicating, being heard, simply finding comfort in their environment: these are challenges our kids face every day. Our kids also have a million different gifts, both in spite of and because of their autism. They are quirky, they are insightful, they are charming and wise in ways that the writer of this letter could never in a thousand years hope to be.

Children with autism are human, above all else. The person who wrote this filthy letter is worth no more than the sack of garbage I just took out to the curb. Old orange peels, coffee grounds, wadded up tissues full of snot and other things you don’t want to touch: none are as vile as the kind of person who could say these things about a child.

This blog is not anonymous, unlike the cowardly letter this cretin wrote. I have no problem at all putting my name and face to this statement: those parents, and that child, are worth a million of you, hiding behind your excessive exclamation points and gaudy pink paper. I hate knowing that you’ve reproduced, because it sickens me to think that you will be raising other humans to be just as ignorant, cruel and disgusting as you are. We are not ashamed of our children, but if you had one ounce of self-respect, you’d be incredibly ashamed of yourself right now. You’re pathetic.

*Edit: I just posted a follow-up to this, addressing some of the problems this letter-writer has, and offering some solutions. You can read it here.


Asheville Band Re-Releases Original Night of the Living Dead with New Soundtrack

Published August 4, 2012 by April Fox

Silver Machine’s Night of the Living Dead

Zombie freaks, listen up. Psychedelic rock fans, stay tuned. NotLD purists, don’t bail on me yet.

I’m freaking excited. I’m not one of those people who, caught up in the current monster craze, is all of a sudden OMGZOMBIES! (or would that be ZOMG?) but I have always loved George Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead. A few years ago, I found a copy of it on DVD in a bin at the dollar store. It was on a disc with the classic King of the Zombies, and I was thrilled. I mean, the music is kind of lame, and the picture quality kind of sucks, but it was 1968, so we can’t expect much there. The movie itself is brilliantly made-just the right balance of camp and suspense, and enough humor to make it easy to watch over and over.

But. There is that thing about the music, and the picture quality. And here is where three guys from my hometown come to the rescue.

Silver Machine, a Space Rock band (think early Floyd) from Asheville, NC, are set to re-release Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead on October 1. This is not a remake of the movie. They haven’t added color, changed the cast, or fucked with the dialogue. Everything is exactly the same, except for two points:

One: They’ve taken out the old soundtrack, which was basically Stock Creepy Music like you get on a CD for your kid’s Halloween party. In its place, they’ve added an all new, original score, written, recorded and produced exclusively for the movie. Heavy on the theremin and resonating with deep, eerie bass tones, the new soundtrack has a totally surreal creep factor that adds to the suspense of the film.

Two: I don’t know how they did it, but they’ve improved the picture quality of the film to the highest quality ever released. The video below explains more about that. It’s still black and white, still very much 1968, but sharper, clearer, easier to see the expression of horror on Barbra’s face as the zombies creep closer and closer…

Want to know more? This video includes a trailer for the film, information about how they did what they did, and ways you can help bring this project to the public. Further details are available on their indiegogo page. This is seriously going to kick ass, people. I’ve been watching this take shape and it’s fucking amazing. I can’t wait.

Pastor Charles Worley is a Psychopathic Idiot

Published May 23, 2012 by April Fox

Charles Worley is an asshole. The pastor of Providence Road Baptist Church in the tiny town of Maiden, NC–an hour and a half from where I’m sitting right now, lucky me–has been all over Youtube the past few days, spouting his ridiculous theory of how to get rid of the gays, lez-beans, quairs and homaseckshulls [sic]. In case you missed it, here’s a video of that portion of the sermon.

So passionate, so eloquent, so what the fuck does this nutjob put in his coffee in the morning? Seriously, for a guy who no doubt believes that evolution is some conspiracy theory made up by Satan to entice sinners to have sex with aliens, he’s doing an awful lot of shit-flinging, just like his simian relatives like to do.

Mister Worley’s idea, in case you’re like me and see a video link and think, damn, I’m too lazy to click on that, is to put all the lez-beans, quairs and homaseckshulls into electrified pens, drop food into the pens, and wait for them all to die out, which will inevitably happen since “they cain’t ray-produce!”

Three points we need to make here, Mister Worley:

  1. 2,000,000 married couples in America deal with infertility every year. That’s straight folks, Mister Worley. Many of them married in a church, no doubt. And they, like your blasted homaseckshulls, cain’t ray-produce. Are you going to toss them in the pen with the quairs and lez-beans?
  2. If homaseckshulls can’t bear children, then where do all the gay people come from? Somebody had to make the babies that grew up to be gay.
  3. You’re talking about KILLING PEOPLE. Midway through the rant you yell that you’re not gonna vote for a baby killer, and then you turn around and say that you want to kill a bunch of people. At what age does a person’s life stop being valuable to you, Mister Worley? If you know a baby is going to be gay, is it okay to kill it then? Or do you let it grow into adulthood and then murder it? Do you exile and murder a human being at the first sign of a crush on the opposite sex, or when a self-proclaimed homosexual reaches sexual maturity, or when god forbid they start asking for the same rights as their heterosexual peers? I really want to know, Mister Worley, what EXACTLY your criteria are for determining at what point a human being deserves to die for something that is beyond their control, and even if it WAS a choice, is none of your business.

One thing that’s really important to note here is that Mister Worley is not representative of all Christians, or all Baptists, for that matter. My old friend, Pastor Kevin Boone-a Baptist minister himself-expressed his concerns about this psychotic rant: “Two groups of people equally concern me/scare me: those who think like [Charles Worley] and those who think that greater Christendom think like [Worley].” I’ve heard from several people, Baptists, people who voted for Amendment One even, who are as appalled by Worley’s behavior as I am. The fact that he’s in the minority is kind of irrelevant, though. Mister Worley is advocating killing human beings for no reason other than that they exist. He’s advocating this in the name of his religion, and people are listening to him. We look at Charles Manson and Jim Jones and see monsters; is Worley any less so because he calls for murder under the cover of an established and socially acceptable religion?

I want to go to Providence Road Baptist Church and start a dialogue with this guy, but I don’t think he’d listen. I have a feeling he’d take one look at me, smell dissidence on me the way dogs can smell fear, and sic the congregation on me with torches and clubs. I am not a lez-bean, a quair or a homaseckshull, but I believe in their right to exist, and that’s clearly something Mister Worley has a problem with, to the point of advocating mass murder. I don’t know what kind of psychiatric issues this guy has, but he clearly needs to either start taking his meds, get on some new ones, or up the dosage, because what he’s saying is straight-up batshit crazy.

Amendment One

Published May 9, 2012 by April Fox

i feel as if
amendment one
is being read by the light of a bulb
shining through the skins
of my family, friends-
my children.

how can you cry your careful,
scripted tears over the loss of a life
not yet started
and tell the child before you
that his life means less than yours?

pro-life, and yet you spit
your prejudice and bile into the faces of your neighbors
fight to take away
their right to life

how easy is it for you to waste your righteous hours
combing through the verses in your book
tossing bits and pieces into piles by the side
over here are things that we’ll ignore
over here is where we make the condemnation pile

you gossip in the grocery aisles
while you shop for pork and tampons
maybe lobster for the anniversary of when you stopped
fucking behind the back
of the god that you adore

dip your razor in the baptismal pool
round the edges of your beard
shave your scalp clean
watch your faith fall to the floor

wine-drunk in the mornings
cannibalizing christ and if his body was inside you
you would see where you are wrong.

slave-owner, whore
if i were bible-bound like you
i could whip you while you cleaned my floors
then sell you for your meat
so your body could be violated
like your conscience must have been.

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