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Queer agender trans male. Black vegan atheist, photographer, blogger. Pronouns: they/them/their.,
Pax Ahimsa Gethen | queer • black • trans • vegan • atheist | blogger • photographer | social justice • gender & animal liberation

As I’ve seen some other writers doing this — here is an archive of the stories I’ve published on Medium, which I will attempt to keep updated (newest on top). This list contains only stories I originated, with the exception of a few substantive replies to others. Prior to September 2017, many of my posts were imported from my blog, the funcrunch files. Most of my stories focus on social justice, particularly transgender issues.

Edit, October 2020: I am adding an arbitrary amount of text to this story, to try to address an issue with Medium’s new layout.

I’m not…

Side-by-side official portraits of Donald Trump and Joe Biden, desaturated and with the word NO in red text superimposed. Both original images are official works of the U.S. federal government and in the public domain.

This week I cast my ballot, as I have in every U.S. general election and nearly every mid-term since I first became eligible to vote in 1988. But for the first time, I did not vote for a presidential candidate. This was not a decision I took lightly.

I’d long since abandoned the Democratic Party, and more recently left the Green Party as well to become an independent voter. …

Just read in the Medium blog:

Every unique home deserves a unique address. So every new profile comes with its own Medium URL. We’ll prompt you the next time you publish a story.

I was impatient to reserve my usual “funcrunch” handle and couldn’t find a setting to do so. Hence this brief not-story.

OK, to assuage my guilt here and answer an infrequently-asked question: Funcrunch is a play on Fenchurch, from the excellent Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by the late great Douglas Adams.

This is not the story I planned to write today.

I intended to write about the distress I experienced yesterday, when I was misgendered as female for the first time in years. This was likely due to wearing a mask that covered my beard and a patterned headwrap that covered my balding scalp. But however innocent the mistake, being addressed as “ma’am” still stung, especially as it happened on the sixth anniversary of my legal name and gender change.

Self-portrait of the author, standing outside in the sun wearing a blue and white patterned headwrap, red and black eyeglasses with tinted lenses, purple cloth mask, purple hoodie, and blue T-shirt.

Today, that distress increased tenfold when I read a graphic death threat on the Wikipedia talk page of Valentina Sampaio, who…

If you love animals, why are you still eating them?

The author poses holding Ricky, a rooster, at PreetiRang Sanctuary. Pax is wearing a purple hoodie, tinted eyeglasses, and a faded black AIDS Walk San Francisco 2000 baseball cap. Photo by Ziggy, November 2016.

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought renewed attention to the harm animal agriculture inflicts not only on our fellow animals, but humans as well. From the origins of COVID-19 in a wet market, to the spread of infection in slaughterhouses, people have had plenty of good reasons to stop consuming the products of this deadly industry.

The decreased availability of animal flesh (“meat”) in grocery stores, along with stay-at-home orders that have greatly reduced communal food sharing, have added to the reasons why now is the perfect time for people to go vegan. Why vegan, rather than vegetarian or just cutting…

Ending white supremacy will require radical action.

Black and white line drawings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, two of many victims of anti-black racism and police violence in the United States. From the Justice For Our Lives portrait series by Oree Originol.

On February 27 of this crazy, horrible year, I wrote the following on Facebook:

I’m calling it now: If we are headed toward a global pandemic that brings about the fall of human civilization, the culprit will be not the coronavirus itself, but fear and bigotry stemming from ignorance and lies.

My words were in response to an article about anti-Asian sentiment that had emptied San Francisco’s Chinatown of visitors, well before any stay-at-home orders or social distancing measures were put into place. Racism targeted at Chinese people has continued throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, but the nation’s focus has now…

Gender and sex cannot be reduced to reproductive organs

Photo: Grace Cary/Getty Images

Here we go again. Amid a global pandemic and worldwide protests in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, a straight White cisgender billionaire can still grab headlines with trans-antagonistic tweets, taking issue with the fact that people other than women menstruate.

I am one of those people. I was assigned female at birth, but I am agender. In 2014, I transitioned to male for legal and medical purposes and began testosterone therapy. After enduring decades of unwelcome menstruation from unwanted reproductive organs, I was glad to put an end to their function.

Unfortunately, I recently began menstruating again. As has happened…

Staying sane in San Francisco

On March 16, 2020, the San Francisco Department of Public Health issued their first stay-at-home order of the Coronavirus pandemic. That same day, I began telecommuting, an arrangement our San Francisco office staff had worked out the previous week. I did not realize at the time that I’d still be working from home two months later, but I have been managing reasonably well under the circumstances.

Selfie on day one of telecommuting, March 16. I’m wearing a black-and-white patterned head wrap, gray V-neck T-shirt, partly-rimless eyeglasses, and headset.

In many ways, my temperament was ideally suited for home isolation. I had become increasingly introverted and anxious being in public since beginning my gender transition in 2013, often not leaving home for days…

Locks are for honest people, not assholes.

Since the Coronavirus pandemic has made Zoom the default meeting space for millions, reports have surged of assholes storming people’s living rooms with all manner of disgusting attacks. These home invasions have included profanity, racist slurs, Nazi propaganda, and non-consensual nudity, even in classrooms for children.

The usual responses I see to these incidents of “Zoombombing” are one or both of the following:

  • Zoom engineers need to improve their security settings.
  • Zoom users need to use the security settings properly.

Neither of these responses is incorrect, per se, especially the first. Zoom’s CEO has acknowledged that their product’s existing security…

Entrance to St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, San Francisco. Photo by Pax Ahimsa Gethen, December 2011.

They say there are no atheists in foxholes. For those raised in a society where most people believe a deity created the Earth and maintains a special relationship with humans, this could be true. In times of crisis, even the most ardent disbeliever might, understandably, cast reason aside and cry out for help from beyond.

I was brought up in such a society: the USA. My upbringing was largely secular, however; my family celebrated Christmas and some Jewish holidays, but did not attend religious services. …

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