I work with people who have HIV as a part of my job. If you have HIV please remember:

HIV can be controlled by medications for a super long time (think 30 years+). It is more like getting a diabetes diagnosis than a death sentence.

No matter how your infection happened you deserve to live and have a happy life.

By federal law in the United States there is tons of resources to help you get medication for FREE.

You can find partners who will accept you and love you.

You can have children who are born HIV-. If a child is born in a first world county with medical care the likelyhood of transmission is rediculously low.

On medication your likelyhood of infecting others decreases significantly depending on your viral load.

PEP and PrEP are exciting things to look into to be able to have unprotected sex and prevent transmission.

HIV does not have to be central to your identity.

People who take their medication like prescribed can actually have as few as 2 doctor appointments a year for their condition !

Don’t let stigma, fear and lack of education get you down! You are a wonderful person and can achieve wonderful things. Don’t give up.

And if you don’t know your status please get tested. Please!

Start using support levels instead of functioning labels!

For the uninformed, functioning labels are terms like high functioning autism, low functioning autism, mild autism, severe autism. Other words like moderate or level 1, level 2, etc may be used too.

Functioning labels are extremely offensive because they’re placed on autistic people based on observation from the outside. This is problematic for three reasons.

  • Functioning labels determine how autistic people are treated. People associate “low functioning/severe” with incompetence or infancy and they end up treating the autistic person like a pet or a baby. High functioning/mild gets stereotyped as people who are just a little quirky and their difficulties get ignored as laziness or intentional stubbornness.
  • Functioning labels imply brokenness and treat people as if their intrinsic value is determined by what they contribute to society rather than the fact that they are a living being with oxygen in their lungs and blood in their veins like everybody else.
  • Functioning labels create a dichotomy as if there are differing “levels” of autism or that people exist on different areas of the spectrum. NO, NO, NO, that’s not how it is.

Think of spectroscopy and how the elements create their own signature color lines. Now put peoples’ names in place of the elements: Hydrogen/Harold, Helium/Henry, Lithium/Luke, Oxygen/Olga, Carbon/Carol, Nitrogen/Nadine.

Autism is like that. We’re all on the same spectrum and all that is unique is how we display our symptoms, our sensory issues, our splinter abilities and so forth.

In light of that, I want to change the language. Let’s start pushing for support levels instead of functioning labels.

High support: Anyone who isn’t able to live independently and needs help with some or all of their basic daily living skills such as eating, bathing, basic grooming, putting on makeup, getting dressed and completing tasks. Can be abbreviated online or in writing as HSP for High Support Person or HSAP for High Support Autistic Person.

Usage in speech: Clarissa is a high support autistic person and needs assistance with getting dressed and taking a shower.
Abbreviated usage online: I’m a HSAP and I’m really into physics, so the poor sucker who signs me on is gonna hear a lot about it when they hand me my iPad! 

Medium support: Anyone may or may not live independently and doesn’t need help with basic living skills, but needs help with other things like cooking, completing some tasks, transportation if unable to drive and assistance for things like grocery shopping. Can be abbreviated online or in writing as MSP for Medium Support Person or MSAP for Medium Support Autistic Person.

Usage in speech: Kevin is a medium support autistic person and needs some assistance to prepare meals and shop for the wood he uses for his carpentry projects. His boyfriend, Max, usually helps him with those.
Usage online: I’m a MSAP and I’m looking for info about saws. Any fellow auties know what’s best for cutting oak? 

Low support: Anyone who more often than not lives independently and may only need assistance with minor things like balancing a checkbook, getting started on some tasks like organizing a garage sale or arranging to move from one house to another. Can be abbreviated online or in writing as LSP for Low Support Person or LSAP for Low Support Autistic Person.

Usage in speech: Jesse is a low support autistic person and she only needs help keeping her checkbook balanced.
Usage online: I’m a LSAP and I’m thinking about moving to Seattle. What’s the weather and traffic like there? 

Reasons support levels are better:

  • They don’t make assumptions about intelligence
  • They don’t encourage infantilization or pity
  • They sound more respectful and dignified

Ditch functioning labels and start using support levels. These terms can apply to practically every kind of disability, not just autism.

For the record, I’m a MSAP.

Please reblog this whether you’re disabled or not. Make this viral.

let’s discuss something that i haven’t seen much around tumblr lately.

i suppose those who don’t live nearby the ocean don’t recognize the issue of ocean pollution and the lives it has an effect on (including ours). underneath our oceans, which covers the majority of our planet, is a huge problem. so, of course, i am here to educate you with some facts you may not have known.

  • 640,000 tons of fishing gear is lost in our oceans every single year, which combined, weighs more than the Titanic. [x]
  • many of the plastics used in fishing gear are very durable. some are expected to last in our oceans for 600 years. [x]
  • 136,000 sea mammals become entangled and trapped in nets and lines every year, and that’s not including fish. being trapped in the nets for a long period of time can cause the sea mammals to drown, or unable to find food. they can also become entangled in these nets, and accidentally choke, cut, or injure themselves. [x]
  • plastic is the most common element found in the ocean and is often confused as food by marine animals. so many animals are dying due to choking, intestinal blockage, and starvation. it’s also very harmful to our environment as it does not break down easily. [x]
  • plastic debris can absorb toxic chemicals from ocean pollution, therefore poisoning whatever eats it. In fact, plastic pollution is one of the most serious threats to the ocean. plastic does not degrade; instead, it breaks down into progressively smaller pieces, but never disappears. they then attract more debris.  it poses a significant health threat to the various sea creatures, and to the entire marine ecosystem. overall, plastic is the number one source of pollution in the ocean. [x]
  • small animals at the bottom of food chain absorb the chemicals as part of their food. these small animals are then eaten by larger animals that again increases the concentration of chemicals. animals at the top of hierarchy of food chain have contamination levels millions times higher than the water in which they live. [x]
  • oil and chemicals from local industries can leak and seep through the soil and eventually enter ocean currents.
  • there are more than 400 known dead zones worldwide, where there are low oxygen concentrations due to no life in that area. this is usually because of pollution.
  • at Puget Sound in Washington, a dead gray whale was washed up on the shore. it had been in good health, but inside of it’s body was about 20 plastic bags, surgical gloves, plastic pieces, a pair of sweat pants, a golf ball, and other things we discard into our oceans. this has happened on several occasions. [x]

how it affects us:

honestly, after reading the facts above, and you still need a reason to care, then continue reading.

  • people get contaminated easily by eating contaminated seafood that can cause serious health problems, from cancer to damage to immune system.
  • pollution also has huge costs for taxpayers and local governments that must clean this trash off of beaches and streets to protect public health. the national resources defense council analyzed a survey of 95 California communities and found their total reported annual costs for preventing litter from becoming pollution is $428 million per year. [x]
  • um???? unclean water, obviously??

how to help:

these poor creatures can’t fend for themselves, so we have to try and be their voice. together we can clean our oceans and help the sea mammals and fish who are affected by pollution.

Why almost no one’s covering the war in Yemen

by By Jared Malsin, CJR

More than 1,200 people have died since Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a military operation in Yemen in March, but the country has become so hard to access that news organizations are finding it almost impossible to cover the conflict. At the same time, a lack of electricity and poorly developed internet infrastructure are hampering the citizen journalism and online activism that have offered a window into other recent conflicts.

Yemen’s political turmoil has gone underreported for years, but journalists say the current conflagration has made reporting on the country more difficult than at any other time in memory. There are vanishingly few foreign journalists in Yemen as a result of the violence on the ground, access restrictions, and wavering commitment on the part of international news organizations.

Read more.

Image:  An air strike hits a military site controlled by the Houthi group in Yemen’s capital Sanaa May 12, 2015. Khaled Abdullah
























Larry Wilmore on Fresh Air:

“It was the Cosby issue that made me realize how much I really cared about women’s issues and how much I realize it’s important for me to be an advocate for issues that aren’t necessarily my own, to be an ally for issues. I think it’s one thing to be for your own issue and owning your own issue … but I think it’s also important to be an ally for an issue. … I think me being an ally for women’s issues is probably the most important thing that I feel I’m doing on the show.”

Talking Gender with Tiny Humans

During last week’s lgbtq+ policy meeting, a sentiment came up that I’ve heard many times before:

“How would I explain this transgender stuff to my child? He’s only seven, there’s no way he’d understand!”

‘Concerned parents’ often suggest that transgender identity and gender non-conformity are impossible topics to discuss with a young child.

Here’s the thing: kids are smart, and talking with them about gender is super easy. If you’re not sure where to start, this post is a primer. 

Keep reading


“We need to click with compassion… Just imagine walking a mile in someone else’s headline.”

Monica Lewinsky’s courageous TED 2015 talk on being patient zero of public humiliation online, why shaming isn’t only an act of violence between individuals but a massively exploitive business model for the media industry, and what we can do, together, to stop it. 

As Chris Anderson remarked when he introduced Lewinsky onstage, “Please don’t underestimate for one minute the courage it takes to give this talk.” 

Complement with some thoughts from yours truly on hope in the age of cynicism