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The Furry community is a funny thing. It's full of great people. It's also full of unmitigated asshats and absolute fuckwits. But, that's just how it bloody works, sometimes.

One thing I've noticed is that recently, among furries, it's trendy to be transgendered. On the one hand, this pisses me off. It incenses me that they latch onto the friendly, theme-park version of transgenderism and play it out on line, all the while neatly tangoing around the all-too-real nasty side effects. On the other hand, though, I can't help but think that positive publicity is positive publicity, even if I don't particularly like it. If a bunch of angsty trendoid weens living in their mothers' basements decide they want to ham it up and play at being transsexual for a while, and in so doing increase exposure and acceptance of the phenomenon, then all's well that ends well. On the gripping hand, with a lot of them, it's hard to tell if they're just emulating, just being poseurs, or if they really are as transgendered as they claim.

There is something analogous to gaydar among genderqueers, I think - if there weren't, we wouldn't practically trip over each other with such regularity. (Maybe that's just me, but I doubt it, with as awkward as I am!) That said, that doesn't work too well over IRC. I think I might have slightly better odds of separating the real from the fake than J. Random Cisgendered Fur, but even at that, I don't rate my odds too highly. So, all in all, I don't know what to make of this phenomenon. Why exactly would someone want to pretend to be transgendered? Wouldn't that be like pretending to be gay? Only, less understood? Someone throw me a bone here, because I don't bloody get it.

But, as I observed, the net effect is that among furries, at least in the venues I frequent, transsexuality doesn't shock nearly as much as it does in the mainstream. Furries are also really hard to genderfuck. And that, all in all, is a good thing. The problem is, furries are themselves so misunderstood, pigeonholed, stereotyped and even reviled that their reputation thoroughly banjaxes any hope of propagating this tolerance to society at large. Well, except maybe for those fringes that already tolerate and accept lifestyles that challenge social conventions, but transphobia is already fading fast there. Outside that, it's the same issue that people face trying to fight sexism or racism or homophobia or any of a million other social inequities.

But, I digress. Furries. Right. Oh, fart. The phone just rang and now I've forgotten where in the nineteen hells I was going with this train of thought. Plus, I'm dog tired. So, I'll go beetle off and catch a catnap.

2010: A Volcanic Ash Cloud Airspace Odyssey
Around the World, London to Florida

News hounds around the world have been reading about grounded flights throughout Northern Europe - caused by ash clouds from the volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. My friend EJ managed to travel by air this week from England to Florida, but what an itinerary! It helped that he is one of those platinum-with-diamonds level frequent flyers, because many of the flights were on stand-by bookings. In a normal situation, one can fly from London to an east coast U.S. destination in eight hours. But on this trip home, he traveled around the globe:

London, England->Lisbon, Portugal;->Munich, Germany->Seoul, South Korea;->Atlanta, Georgia, USA;->Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA (home!).

Here are some selected cell phone text messages - you'll see he approached the situation in a calm and humorous way.

Nance: Where are you wandering this week?
EJ: In London. Two flights stateside canceled, hoping this morning's will go.
Nance: You'll be lucky to get out from what I'm reading.

Nance: Did you get out of England?
EJ: Have flown to Korea and then will get home some time today, which is tomorrow for you. What a mess, I will have gone around the world on this trip home. But...
EJ: ...it was the only way out, and I did have a craving for Korean food, so perhaps this makes sense. And it's faster than ocean travel in 1692 - perspective is everything.

Nance: How did you get out of London, just read most flights were canceled, did you fly from Scotland or Ireland?
EJ: Flew from London, to Lisbon, to Munich, to Seoul. In Atlanta, GA now.
Nance: I'm guessing home will look pretty good.
EJ: Any place with a shower and a real bed would look good about now. Must run, I was on stand-by for an earlier flight, and they are calling me to board.

(No report on the nap or shower, but his final flight landed on time in Florida. But this story reminded me why I was happy to end my road warrior days.)

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