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Sex Negative Feminism
A community for those who consider themselves as sex negative or sex critical, which is anyone who believes that "sexual acts are ranked hierarchically, with procreative marital heterosexuality at the top of the hierarchy and masturbation, homosexuality and other sexualities that deviate from societal norms closer to the bottom".
Is the Gender Unicorn not inclusive to Intersex People because it promotes misconceptions about intersex people?
This is going to be a long post to provide explanations. Scroll to the bottom for the question.
The IHRA released a guide on how to be an ally to intersex people called Raising the bar. in it under the Don't column it lists the following. ESSENTIALISE BIOLOGY AND IDENTITY
Assume an intersex person has a neat and definable ‘true sex’; clinicians have adopted many different ideas about sex over many decades
Use tools like the Gender Unicorn or Genderbread Person – these promote misconceptions about intersex people
I'm a person who evangelizes the Gender Unicorn because of how useful it is deconstructing the word gender into its constituent parts.
Sex assigned at birth, and the often confused with gender:
Through it, it gave me a way to describe myself and explain gender identity and sexuality who may have only seen it in binaries. I thought I had read and educated myself on intersex issues, but I could not understand what the Gender Unicorn did to promote conceptions about Intersex People. So I sent IHRA an email and asked about it and if there existed an alternative I could use. This was the response I got. (I removed the preceding paragraphs as they were part of a stock slew of paragraphs they generally include with every initial emails and are quite long.))
Olivia, we’ve received a few messages today about this statement in the ‘Raising the bar’ resource. The answer to your question about why we oppose it may already be obvious to you based on your reading of the preceding paragraphs. If not, our opposition is grounded in its failures and misrepresentation of both cisgender and transgender intersex people because of actual processes of sex assignment. There are also numerous other concerns and omissions with the resources, reflecting that they were constructed to explain different issues and populations. We do not have a tool to replace it. We currently recommend using simple language to describe each population. We can provide further support through the training programs detailed on the Darlington Consortium page at https://darlington.org.au/yellow-tick-2020/
To me it wasn't clear what they meant by the actual process of sex assignment in the gender unicorn and how it misrepresents both cisgender and transgender intersex people So I asked about that (as well as asking if they only meant the gender unicorn isn't useful to describe the intersex population but is still useful to talk about gender identity irrespective of intersex characteristics) and I got this response.
Thanks for your reply. We recommend not using the Genderbread Person or Gender Unicorn because they misrepresent intersex people. They do this irrespective of how you use the tool because people can read it when you present it. When anyone is born, doctors assign sex based on observed sex characteristics. Do you understand this? In some cases, affecting some infants with intersex variations, a sex assignment is not clear, in which case doctors treat the birth as a medical emergency and perform tests to identify the intersex variation. Then they assign sex as F or M. Cisgender intersex people grow up to identify as a member of the sex assigned at birth (i.e. identify with their sex classification). This population is treated by both gender tools as if their original sex assignment was ‘intersex’, and not F or M. Their lived experiences and identities are misrepresented. They might have been subjected to forced medical interventions that affect their sexual function and sensation. Transgender intersex people grow up to identify with a different sex/gender category. They might have been subjected to forced medical interventions that affect their sexual function and sensation, and also reinforce a sex that they don’t identify with. These experiences are rendered incomprehensible by the gender tools because they assume an assignment of intersex, and not the actual assignment of F or M. There are additional problems of omission of the reality of intersex experiences.
With this explanation I realized the way I use the Gender Unicorn is different from how IHRA perceives it. To me I consider the option under sex assigned at birth, OtheIntersex to represent a third legal sex that can be assigned at birth that some countries may have and not to refer to ones intersex status. And to my mind a person who was assigned M or F regardless of whether they're intersex or endosex would choose male or female instead of assigned intersex at birth because that would not be what they were assigned. That said I understand that the way the Gender Unicorn is perceived differently IHRA and me seems to be based on the vagueness of the AGAB option and how the third option is labelled. I figured the fix would be simple. Make the label clearer are more closely related to how I've been using the Gender Unicorn so that it no longer has these issues. Their response was to tell me the following.
Thanks for your email. I’m sorry but I don’t agree with your conclusions. The fix is to stop using the resource rather than make elaborate justifications for aspects of it.
So here are my questions
How do you Feel about the Gender Unicorn? Is it inclusive to you?
Do you agree with the IHRA's stance on this that it promotes misconceptions about intersex people?
To be an ally to the intersex community should I not use the Gender Unicorn and do what they suggest?
Is there an alternative to the gender unicorn that would be more inclusive?
I do want to be a good ally on this but I'm worried the stance is throwing out the baby with the bathwater with no suggested alternative that does what the Gender Unicorn does for me and others. I don't fully understand what they meant by " using simple language to describe each population." when the Gender Unicorn wasn't used to describe populations of people. But to give language to describe people's gender identity without the use of labels. (like bi, gay, gender-nonconforming, etc) But if this is true, then I am willing to try hard to find something more inclusive. Edit: Should I not use the gender unicorn? Edit: Fixed grammar and spelling I hope I'm doing this right.
Originally, I was leaning against doing an obligatory post-OSCP Reddit post because I didn’t want to come across as another “look at me - I passed OSCP!!” cringeworthy OSCP Oscar speech, but I decided to go ahead and do one because my experience was perhaps a little unique and answers the much-asked question “can I do OSCP without experience?”. A quick background to add context… I’m 31 years old and my employment history is a mixture of sales, graphics, and media-related job roles. I felt discontented for a long time earning (barely) living wage in job roles I had little passion for. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I decided to quit my latest sales job in November last year (2019) to pursue a career in cybersecurity/infosec. I didn’t know what ‘TCP’ or ‘UDP’ was, and I’d never heard of ‘Kali’ or how to run a VM, but I was convinced that this would be the career path for me. Anyway, I went through Security+ and C|EH from November to March and, just as I was going to start applying for Security Analyst type job roles, our friendly neighbourhood Coronavirus came along and shut down the economy. Even though I had no intention of doing OSCP for another year or two, I thought it was a better option than twiddling my thumbs for a few months, so I decided to sign up for PWK labs and have a crack at it. Fast-forwarding to yesterday, after a few brutal months and an incredible experience, I finally got the OSCP “you have successfully completed” email. Apologies in advance for the essay but I just want to go through my journey for those of you that might be in a similar position to the one I was in - limited/zero IT experience and feeling intimidated by the dreaded OSCP mountain. My journey… In the weeks leading up to the wait to start my 60 days PWK material and labs, I went through The Cyber Mentor’s Practical Ethical Hacking Udemy course and then went on a Hack the Box rampage, so, by the time my lab time started, I felt like I was in a pretty decent position. Unfortunately, because I was a naïve idiot, I tackled the labs straight away and went through the PWK PDF casually on the side. This was a big mistake and something I would definitely change in hindsight because it cost me 5 easy points on the exam (I thought I could smash through the PDF exercises during the last week of labs but this didn’t prove to be enough time). In 60 days I ended up rooting around 40 machines - I didn’t bother going for the networks because it didn’t apply to the exam and, although valuable real-world experience, I didn’t want to get distracted and flood my brain with even more information when it wasn’t going to be relevant for my mission. One big thing that I did get right was note-taking. I can’t express enough how valuable it is to take detailed notes and build your own cheat sheet library. After every machine I rooted, I did a walkthrough on OneNote and added any new tools/commands to my cheat sheet library. This not only saves precious time in the exam, but it helps you build your own knowledge instead of relying on other people’s cheat sheets without really understanding what you’re doing. After my 60 days had finished, I spent 1 month on TJ Null’s OSCP Hack the Box list and IppSec’s video walkthroughs. I also can’t stress enough how valuable this learning methodology is. My only regret is that I rushed through it. I’d already booked my exam 30 days after lab time, so I ended up jumping through walkthroughs when I got stuck on boxes instead of exhausting all options. This was another naïve idiot mistake on my behalf and something I would do differently in hindsight. There’s a difference between “trying harder” and “trying harder, but in a smart way”. I was putting 10+ hours in every day but I wasn’t always being efficient with my time. I’d definitely recommend seeking hints and tips on boxes but only after you’ve exhausted all options first, something which I didn’t always do. Anyway, my first exam attempt came around towards the end of July. Was I ready? No, but I had delusional confidence in myself that has paid off for me more often than not, so I was hoping it would pay off for me again. My first exam was brutal. I sat in my chair for a total of 23 hours and 15 minutes, with only 3 short 5-minute breaks to get food to snack on. My VPN was shut down after 24 hours and I had a total of 65 points, which I’d been stuck on for the last 8 hours of my exam. I got the BO, root on one of the 20-point machines, root on the 10-point machine, and user on the other 20-point machine. I just couldn’t get root on that last machine. I was pretty devastated because I’d put my heart and soul into Sec+, C|EH, and OSCP for 7 straight months and I wanted it bad. But my delusional confidence wasn’t enough. After listening to depressing Taylor Swift songs for a few days (joke), I decided to book another exam in, 4 weeks after my first attempt. This time around, I decided to go through Tib3rius’s Linux and Windows Privilege Escalation courses (they were great) and go back over some of the HTB machines. I honestly felt at this point that there wasn’t much more study material that I could go through. 2nd exam came up and it was an almost minute-for-minute repeat of the first exam. BO done, 20 point rooted, 10 point rooted, but could only get user on the other 20 point. 65 points again. This time I ended up listening to Taylor Swift + Lana Del Rey. I was pretty adamant that I could do this and that I was very close, so I sent Off-Sec an email explaining my situation and they were kind enough to allow me another exam attempt without waiting 8 weeks - I booked another exam in 2 weeks after my second attempt. This time, my preparation was entirely mental. In both my prior exams, I was sat on my chair for over 23 hours because I was flapping around aimlessly like a headless chicken, desperately firing off exploits that I knew wouldn’t work on the other 20-point machine. So, I went into the 3rd exam determined to go at a slow and steady pace, and not let the 24-hour timeframe pressure me into a wild goose chase. Miraculously, it seemed to work. After 14 hours, I’d done the BO, rooted both 20-point machines, rooted the 10-point machine, and got user on the 25-point machine. 85-ish points in total. The point of this story is to get across to people that you need to try simpler, not harder. I perhaps failed my first exam because I’d not gone through Tib3rius’s Priv Esc courses, but I failed on my 2nd 100% due to mentality. There was no skill-level difference between my 2nd exam and 3rd exam. I’ll finish off with my recommended learning methodology and exam tips (for people with limited/zero IT experience): . The Cyber Mentor Practical Ethical Hacking Udemy course (usually on offer at $14.99-ish) . Tib3rius’s Linux and Windows Privilege Escalation course (usually on offer at $12.99 each) . Try Hack Me OSCP Learning Path (I would recommend doing this before HTB - it is $10 for 30 days) . PWK labs (I personally don’t feel more than 60 days are required - unless you work full-time) . TJ Null’s OSCP Hack the Box list ($10 for retired HTB machines - very worth it) . You should be ready for the exam Exam tips: . Become proficient with Nmap but use an enumeration tool like nmapAutomator for the exam . You will need to understand what bash and Python scripts are doing (you don’t need to be able to write them from scratch) . Don’t be tempted to use a fancy BO methodology for the exam, stick with PWK’s methodology - it works (some of the others don’t) . Play around with various reverse shell payloads - sometimes a bash one-liner won’t work so you need to go with Python. Sometimes Bash, Python, and netcat won’t work, so you need to understand what alternatives you can use in that scenario . Get into the habit of reading service manuals. In all 3 of my exams, I came up against machines that had services I’d never even heard of. Fortunately, I’d got into the habit reading service manuals, otherwise, I would have skipped over the services and got lost down a rabbit hole . Get into the habit of exploiting conventional services in unconventional ways. Just because an SUID binary isn’t on Gtfobins, it doesn’t mean that you can’t exploit the SUID binary in an unconventional way. Again, get into the habit of reading manuals to understand what services do . Become familiar with Burp Suite. Many exploits won’t work in the way you might expect them to, but they will work if you run them through Burp. Or, at the very least, you’ll be able to understand why they’re not working. This issue came up in my last exam and I would have been completely lost if it weren’t for Burp . Take breaks if you get frustrated - this is said over and over again by people on this subreddit and it’s an absolute must. The 20 point machine that I couldn’t root after 8 hours on my 2nd exam was on my 3rd exam (thanks Off-Sec - I know you tried to fu*k me with that), but I was able to root it within 1 hour on my 3rd exam, simply because my mindset was different at the time. . Trust your gut - by doing PWK and HTB machines, you should develop a gut feeling of when you are in a rabbit hole and when you’re on the right track. I ended up rooting over 100 machines before the exam (albeit with plenty of hints and tips) and it helped me develop a good gut feeling. I can’t explain why but there were times in my last exam where I knew I was in the right area even though I wasn’t able to enumerate the specific service version. This feeling simply came from experience. I’m sure many of you watch IppSec’s videos and wonder “how the hell does he know to do X or Y?”. I used to wonder this all the time but after going through dozens of machines, I finally got it. It comes down to experience. Try to do as many machines as you can before the exam to build that gut feeling, and trust it in the exam. . Embrace failure - this is perhaps the most important thing that I can say. OSCP is a difficult journey and many people fail multiple times before passing. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s okay to fail. It’s how you react to failure that counts. I’m not particularly smart but I embrace failure and I know deep down that I will keep trying until I pass. I was prepared to take the OSCP exam 1000 times if I had to, I was never going to let the exam beat me. I suggest you approach it with the same mentality and not let silly pride prevent you from having a go at it. One last thing! Join a solid Discord community. This journey has been amazing since day one and a big reason behind that is the amazing online community. I was very active in an HTB community and ended up talking to several people who were going through OSCP at the same time as me. This was honestly such a massive help to me because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing when I first started! Sorry for the massive rant - I just see so many people on here treating OSCP like an unsurmountable mountain. It’s not. You can do it!
essay tipsssss from a perfect 24 scorer. Also if you have questions I will answer them. GOOD LUCK OCTOBER!!!!!
Hey lovelies, so I made a perfect score on the SAT essay, but I am an embarrassment at everything else, so this is just to say that an essay score doesn’t define you and is overall not as important as it could be. Also this is my own experience, I AM IN NO WAY A WRITING TEACHER, SO PLEASE DON’T COME AT ME IN THE COMMENTS. My best advice: Write conspiracy theories for every essay If I had to describe the tone of my writing it would be an academic high on crack. so buckle up y’all. Also my internationals, I feel ya bc I am not native either- woohoo join the train Now let’s get down to the actual essay. My best advice is memorize an essay format because if you are like me and you cry in every section ( I am not even joking) the essay can be a trainwreck of panic, and no one needs that toxic energy in their last section. So here’s my format: This is my introduction: While the narrative of the 21st century human experience has resulted in [problem], the underlying causes are most often unexamined. In the article, “”, the author carefully deals with the underlying reasons for [problem] and overtly advocates for , and hopes in the end to [ purpose]. While doing so he employs several literary elements, including…. Note about purpose: this is given in the prompt, so all you have to do is reformat it. Now for the devices and body paragraphs GO IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER!!!!!! Pick out three devices:
make sure again that it is in order
explain the effect on the audience
connect it to the purpose>>>> super important
Now here is the format for these devices:
evokes emotions or images
characterizes the subject in a particular way
associate positive or negative connotations with something
indicate a problem
point us towards a bigger issue
make something harder to argue because numbers are perceived as facts, not opinions
to effectively ground the authors argument
to surprise readers
to put a quantity in relation to another and effectively contrast
Appeal to Authority
raise credibility by showing that the author is not the only one who believes in this idea
increase trust by showing that the argument is indeed well researched
gain the same acceptance or authority that the authority figure derives from the reader
establish a precedent that pushes people to act in the way that author wants them to behave
Acknowledges the other side/making concessions
address counterarguments, doubts, or fears that the reader may have
establish common ground
pave the way for new arguments to be made
allow the reader to understand more complex concepts by connecting them to ones that are much simpler
associate new ideas with prior one
which leads the reader into eventual agreement as if he agreed with a prior idea, it is likely he will agree with the new one
significant distinction is highlighted
one option seems better than another
create a binary mentality
enables this argument to proceed from a clean slate
dismisses any preconceived ideas or biases that may run counter to his or her argument
form an emotional bond with the reader through establishing a common ground with the reader
gets the reader to imagine a certain scenario
prods the reader into answering a certain way
lays out common ground or assumptions that the author can build upon
describe certain outcomes that may benefit his argument
Appeal to identity
one that takes advantage of the common values and beliefs of a group
human behaviors that seek belonging
gravitate towards an idea that creates a sense of belonging
using we portrays the reader as being on the same side as the reader
stand in unison
and appeals to sense of belonging
Note about this format: Devices- I WILL TALK ABT IT MORE LATER BUT IT IS GOOD IF THEY MESH IN TOGETHER YOUR ESSAY WILL SEEM ALMOST MORE PUT TOGETHER ALSO YOU DON’T ALWAYS WANT TO STICK THE FORMAT FOR THE DEVICES- USE THEM TO GROW AN ARGUMENT AND REALLY BUILD A FOUNDATION THE FORMAT IS NOT A BE- ALL OR END ALL-YOU CAN CHANGE IT UP Also strong topic sentences: Author engages the reader’s interest very early in the article. His use of [element] builds a steady foundation from which he launches his discourse Without the author’s use of persuasive elements , the article would lose…. How to build strong commentary + get yourself the last points -This is how I build my sentences- they need to be strong and make sense obviously explain The implication is that… The suggestion is that… … serves to… The inclusion of… helps… … elicits … … grounds her argument in reality so that even skeptical readers won't be able to dismiss it … marks the extent of the problem. By appealing to our sense of…, the author… The author exploits the fact that… to… Given that…, … … proves to the reader that… By showing that there is…, the author… … contributes greatly to the argument's persuasive power by…
Always write more than 4 pages (preferably 5)
for some reason College Board values length
Analysis point: So basically the analysis points are legit Satan’s lap dog because they are hard to get Here are some tips to guarantee you some amazing success
1st tip:Use SPACE
last two are especially important to include in your analysis
If anyone wants some more explanation of space- I can make another post.
Example of the thing mentioned above: This is especially resonant as the author writes this in a climate filled with threats of global warming; the author targets the general American public when he writes this as the administration in power is responsible for opting out of Paris Climate Treaty, and the devastating consequences of such an act along with the rise of natural disasters can only make his argument more persuasive 2nd tip: point out flaws in the author’s argument- this is a hidden trick that always works I am not talking trash and set on fire the author and the College Board, but you should mention some things regarding a weaker arg and how it could have been stronger so that means LIGHT ACADEMIC TRASHING Here is an example : Ok on one of the essays that I took. The guy used a statistic to prove that trees did help reduce temperature. However he used a study from his organization that projected increasing temperature Here is what I said about it: The author through his use of statistics aims to establish a logical choice in the reader's mind. By using numbers from the World Health Organization, he tries to usurp the authority that this organization derives and prove that his choice is not only supported by facts but by experts as well. The use of numbers is particularly significant as well since numbers are often regarded as facts, and thus for someone to argue back, a reader would have to either indict or bring up new evidence. While this use of statistics is effective in this context, the author's use of statistics fails due to a misplaced correlation. In this case, a man's passion reveals his weakness, as he uses a study from his own organization to prove his point, which leads us to a possible reevaluation of the purpose not as something to promote the general well being of urban areas, but as a case of self interest and promotion for his organization. Moreover, the basis of his argument rests upon the fact that temperatures decrease based upon the increase of trees. However throughout the argument, the author fails to establish the correlation of this foundation, and by such weakens his argument. He does, in fact, bring up his study, but his study is only in regards to an estimation of the benefice of planting trees and is based on a misplaced correlation where he assumes correlation. 3rd tip: use transitions and nice words
I can attach a list of good rhetorical words, someone just mention it in the comments.
but I can't help you on the rest because my vocab was built from intense reading
suggestion of New York Times- loads of essays are pulled from that place.
4th tip: Do you have a weaker paragraph?
don’t worry we all do
put that shit in the middle- 2nd paragraph
5th tip: Always read after each paragraph- like reread- prevents mistakes, and if you need to add more you can! 6th tip: paragraph order -Topic sentence -Quote- embed it properly -Explain effect of the quote on the audience -Add your spices>>> SPACE or ACADEMIC TRASHING -Finish with a nice little purpose that explains how it strengthens the argument 7th tip: Try to find a second device
find another device in it and mesh in how the two devices work together to create a very strong argument
strenghtens and goes into detail of that specific device
How to practice: Most people don’t have the time or energy to write an essay everyday
Hey all, After recently working through my nginx reverse proxy configuration, I noticed mine, while working as expected, could be structured much cleaner than it currently is. So I'm curious about two things
How others have structured their nginx.conf, sites-enabled/default, conf.d/jellyfin.conf. and any other config files they may have. It seems the best practice is to define each area within its own config file. For example, http headers configured in conf.d/http_headers.conf and included in nginx.conf
What specific settings do others use for both security and performance for jellyfin - obviously the jellyfin docs have nginx settings listed, but curious what others do beyond these.
For context, I run a local static website along with proxying to jellyfin and I'm sure I could be doing things better than I currently am. Here's my nginx.conf for example:
The first official release of the ZOIA Librarian app is now available!
Version 1.0 is now out for Windows 10, Mac OS X, and Linux (Ubuntu)! It can be downloaded here https://github.com/meanmedianmoge/zoia_lib - see the "How to Install" section. EDIT: Mac 1.0 release has been updated (see the link above to download the zip), and it should open successfully upon double-clicking the .app file! Apologies for any inconvenience. If you have a GitHub account, feel free to create an issue regarding any performance issues you encounter. If you don't have a GitHub account, send feedback and bugs to me at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]). Overview and tutorial video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLOUrWtG1Pk User Manual: https://github.com/meanmedianmoge/zoia_lib/blob/mastedocumentation/User%20Manuals/ZOIA%20Librarian%20-%20User%20Manual%20-%20Version%201.0.pdf Changelog is below. Special thanks to our beta testers, contributors, and supporters for the interest in this application! Patch NotesVersion 1.0 (September 25, 2020) New Features - Finalized ZOIA binary parsing implementation. Again, massive thanks to djigneo/apparent1 for the initial C# code. As of this release, all features of the patch are fully exposed and can be decoded into a JSON object for further use. - Patch visualizer has been updated with more information to help you understand patches at a quick-glance. - Added the ability to search and sort for patches by author name. This applies to Local and Bank tabs only. PS tab author search and sort will not be supported at this time due to the API structure. - Updated patch importing so that patches with near-identical names are merged upon import (instead of strictly identical names). - Updated the behavior of the SD and Bank tables so that multiples can be selected and moved in different ways: Hold Shift and click the start and end patches to move and/or Hold Ctrl/Cmd and click on each patch you'd like to move. - Patches can now be moved into a bank in the following ways: Dragging single or multiple selections (similar options as above) at once and/or Clicking the Add to Bank button for single selections at a time. - Added a Clear Bank button to wipe the bank tables clean. - Added a new Help toolbar which allows users to access documentation and useful ZOIA resources. These will display in the PS tab browser panel. You can also search for different commands/shortcuts. - Added a Reset UI menu option in the event that users mangle the UI panels or tables. - Updated the light theme colors to give it a more muted look. - Alternating row colors is now a saved preference. It will save whatever is the current setting upon closing the application. - Added a step-by-step guide for how to compile the application from source for developers, contributors or users who were unable to open the beta builds. - Added our first Linux build! We aim to support the latest stable version of Ubuntu going forward. If you are a Linux user who prefers other distributions, please contact me. Fixes - Fixed an issue that occurred while importing a version history (Mac). - Removed the threads used with menu action multi-import functions (Mac temporary fix). - Fixed an issue where the dates of imported patches were back-dated to the history of the SD card. - Fixed an issue with SD card imported files having mangled filenames (Windows). This also caused patches to not export properly. - Fixed an issue where changing the font/font size didn't apply to themes or buttons. Known Issues - Certain patch binaries cannot be fully decoded due to being saved on deprecated ZOIA firmware. - Saved UI preferences are not being applied correctly for the Local Storage tab - specifically the vertical splitter (Mac). Future Plans - Expansion view of routing for patch visualizer. Right now, the connections are displayed on a module-block level, but not from a general patch level. The expander would provide an in-depth visualization of audio and CV routing, likely to be displayed in a new tab. - Extend the binary decoder methods into an API for other applications/programs to utilize. - Simplify and automate code structure for releases (currently, a minimal-working version of the code needs to be created for the app-building process). - Allow for custom themes/colors in the UI. - Actually fix threading issues associated with menu action multi-imports. As always, we welcome any feedback you may have. Thanks for being awesome :) - Mike M.
Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform Instruction Manual for Windows Powershell
Introduction to the manual This manual is made to guide you step by step in setting up an OpenShift cloud environment on your own device. It will tell you what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, what you will be doing and why you will be doing it, all in one convenient manual that is made for Windows users. Although if you'd want to try it on Linux or MacOS we did add the commands necesary to get the CodeReady Containers to run on your operating system. Be warned however there are some system requirements that are necessary to run the CodeReady Containers that we will be using. These requirements are specified within chapter Minimum system requirements. This manual is written for everyone with an interest in the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and has at least a basic understanding of the command line within PowerShell on Windows. Even though it is possible to use most of the manual for Linux or MacOS we will focus on how to do this within Windows. If you follow this manual you will be able to do the following items by yourself: ● Installing the CodeReady Containers ● Updating OpenShift ● Configuring a CodeReady Container ● Configuring the DNS ● Accessing the OpenShift cluster ● Deploying the Mediawiki application What is the OpenShift Container platform? Red Hat OpenShift is a cloud development Platform as a Service (PaaS). It enables developers to develop and deploy their applications on a cloud infrastructure. It is based on the Kubernetes platform and is widely used by developers and IT operations worldwide. The OpenShift Container platform makes use of CodeReady Containers. CodeReady Containers are pre-configured containers that can be used for developing and testing purposes. There are also CodeReady Workspaces, these workspaces are used to provide any member of the development or IT team with a consistent, secure, and zero-configuration development environment. The OpenShift Container Platform is widely used because it helps the programmers and developers make their application faster because of CodeReady Containers and CodeReady Workspaces and it also allows them to test their application in the same environment. One of the advantages provided by OpenShift is the efficient container orchestration. This allows for faster container provisioning, deploying and management. It does this by streamlining and automating the automation process. What knowledge is required or recommended to proceed with the installation? To be able to follow this manual some knowledge is mandatory, because most of the commands are done within the Command Line interface it is necessary to know how it works and how you can browse through files/folders. If you either don’t have this basic knowledge or have trouble with the basic Command Line Interface commands from PowerShell, then a cheat sheet might offer some help. We recommend the following cheat sheet for windows: ● Https://www.sans.org/security-resources/sec560/windows\_command\_line\_sheet\_v1.pdf Another option is to read through the operating system’s documentation or introduction guides. Though the documentation can be overwhelming by the sheer amount of commands. ● Microsoft:https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-serveadministration/windows-commands/windows-commands ● MacOS Https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/mac-terminal-commands-cheat-sheet/ ● Linux https://ubuntu.com/tutorials/command-line-for-beginners#2-a-brief-history-lessonhttps://www.guru99.com/linux-commands-cheat-sheet.html http://cc.iiti.ac.in/docs/linuxcommands.pdf Aside from the required knowledge there are also some things that can be helpful to know just to make the use of OpenShift a bit simpler. This consists of some general knowledge on PaaS like Dockers and Kubernetes.
The minimum system requirements for the Red Hat OpenShift CodeReady Containers has the following minimum hardware: Hardware requirements Code Ready Containers requires the following system resources: ● 4 virtual CPU’s ● 9 GB of free random-access memory ● 35 GB of storage space ● Physical CPU with Hyper-V (intel) or SVM mode (AMD) this has to be enabled in the bios Software requirements The minimum system requirements for the Red Hat OpenShift CodeReady Containers has the following minimum operating system requirements: Microsoft Windows On Microsoft Windows, the Red Hat OpenShift CodeReady Containers requires the Windows 10 Pro Fall Creators Update (version 1709) or newer. CodeReady Containers does not work on earlier versions or other editions of Microsoft Windows. Microsoft Windows 10 Home Edition is not supported. macOS On macOS, the Red Hat OpenShift CodeReady Containers requires macOS 10.12 Sierra or newer. Linux On Linux, the Red Hat OpenShift CodeReady Containers is only supported on Red Hat Enterprise Linux/CentOS 7.5 or newer and on the latest two stable Fedora releases. When using Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the machine running CodeReady Containers must be registered with the Red Hat Customer Portal. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or newer and Debian 10 or newer are not officially supported and may require manual set up of the host machine.
Required additional software packages for Linux
The CodeReady Containers on Linux require the libvirt and Network Manager packages to run. Consult the following table to find the command used to install these packages for your Linux distribution: Table 1.1 Package installation commands by distribution
To install CodeReady Containers a few steps must be undertaken. Because an OpenShift account is necessary to use the application this will be the first step. An account can be made on “https://www.openshift.com/”, where you need to press login and after that select the option “Create one now” After making an account the next step is to download the latest release of CodeReady Containers and the pulled secret on “https://cloud.redhat.com/openshift/install/crc/installer-provisioned”. Make sure to download the version corresponding to your platform and/or operating system. After downloading the right version, the contents have to be extracted from the archive to a location in your $PATH. The pulled secret should be saved because it is needed later. The command line interface has to be opened before we can continue with the installation. For windows we will use PowerShell. All the commands we use during the installation procedure of this guide are going to be done in this command line interface unless stated otherwise. To be able to run the commands within the command line interface, use the command line interface to go to the location in your $PATH where you extracted the CodeReady zip. If you have installed an outdated version and you wish to update, then you can delete the existing CodeReady Containers virtual machine with the $crc deletecommand. After deleting the container, you must replace the old crc binary with a newly downloaded binary of the latest release.
When you have done the previous steps please confirm that the correct and up to date crc binary is in use by checking it with the $crc version command, this should provide you with the version that is currently installed.
To set up the host operating system for the CodeReady Containers virtual machine you have to run the $crc setup command. After running crc setup, crc start will create a minimal OpenShift 4 cluster in the folder where the executable is located.
Setting up CodeReady Containers
Now we need to set up the new CodeReady Containers release with the $crc setup command. This command will perform the operations necessary to run the CodeReady Containers and create the ~/.crc directory if it did not previously exist. In the process you have to supply your pulled secret, once this process is completed you have to reboot your system. When the system has restarted you can start the new CodeReady Containers virtual machine with the $crc start command. The $crc start command starts the CodeReady virtual machine and OpenShift cluster. You cannot change the configuration of an existing CodeReady Containers virtual machine. So if you have a CodeReady Containers virtual machine and you want to make configuration changes you need to delete the virtual machine with the $crc deletecommand and create a new virtual machine and start that one with the configuration changes. Take note that deleting the virtual machine will also delete the data stored in the CodeReady Containers. So, to prevent data loss we recommend you save the data you wish to keep. Also keep in mind that it is not necessary to change the default configuration to start OpenShift.
Before starting the machine, you need to keep in mind that it is not possible to make any changes to the virtual machine. For this tutorial however it is not necessary to change the configuration, if you don’t want to make any changes please continue by starting the machine with the crc start command.
\ it is possible that you will get a Nameserver error later on, if this is the case please start it with* crc start -n 220.127.116.11
It is not is not necessary to change the default configuration and continue with this tutorial, this chapter is here for those that wish to do so and know what they are doing. However, for MacOS and Linux it is necessary to change the dns settings.
Configuring the CodeReady Containers
To start the configuration of the CodeReady Containers use the command crc config. This command allows you to configure the crc binary and the CodeReady virtual machine. The command has some requirements before it’s able to configure. This requirement is a subcommand, the available subcommands for this binary and virtual machine are: ● get, this command allows you to see the values of a configurable property ● set/unset, this command can be used for 2 things. To display the names of, or to set and/or unset values of several options and parameters. These parameters being: ○ Shell options ○ Shell attributes ○ Positional parameters ● view, this command starts the configuration in read-only mode. These commands need to operate on named configurable properties. To list all the available properties, you can run the command $crc config --help. Throughout this manual we will use the $crc config command a few times to change some properties needed for the configuration. There is also the possibility to use the crc config command to configure the behavior of the checks that’s done by the $crc start end $crc setup commands. By default, the startup checks will stop with the process if their conditions are not met. To bypass this potential issue, you can set the value of a property that starts with skip-check or warn-check to true to skip the check or warning instead of ending up with an error.
C:\Users\[username]\$PATH>crc config get C:\Users\[username]\$PATH>crc config set C:\Users\[username]\$PATH>crc config unset C:\Users\[username]\$PATH>crc config view C:\Users\[username]\$PATH>crc config --help
Configuring the Virtual Machine
You can use the CPUs and memory properties to configure the default number of vCPU’s and amount of memory available for the virtual machine. To increase the number of vCPU’s available to the virtual machine use the $crc config set CPUs . Keep in mind that the default number for the CPU’s is 4 and the number of vCPU’s you wish to assign must be equal or greater than the default value. To increase the memory available to the virtual machine, use the $crc config set memory . Keep in mind that the default number for the memory is 9216 Mebibytes and the amount of memory you wish to assign must be equal or greater than the default value.
C:\Users\[username]\$PATH>crc config set CPUs C:\Users\[username]\$PATH>crc config set memory >
Configuring the DNS
Window / General DNS setup
There are two domain names used by the OpenShift cluster that are managed by the CodeReady Containers, these are: ● crc.testing, this is the domain for the core OpenShift services. ● apps-crc.testing, this is the domain used for accessing OpenShift applications that are deployed on the cluster. Configuring the DNS settings in Windows is done by executing the crc setup. This command automatically adjusts the DNS configuration on the system. When executing crc start additional checks to verify the configuration will be executed.
macOS DNS setup
MacOS expects the following DNS configuration for the CodeReady Containers ● The CodeReady Containers creates a file that instructs the macOS to forward all DNS requests for the testing domain to the CodeReady Containers virtual machine. This file is created at /etc/resolvetesting. ● The oc binary requires the following CodeReady Containers entry to function properly, api.crc.testing adds an entry to /etc/hosts pointing at the VM IPaddress.
Linux DNS setup
CodeReady containers expect a slightly different DNS configuration. CodeReady Container expects the NetworkManager to manage networking. On Linux the NetworkManager uses dnsmasq through a configuration file, namely /etc/NetworkManageconf.d/crc-nm-dnsmasq.conf. To set it up properly the dnsmasq instance has to forward the requests for crc.testing and apps-crc.testing domains to “192.168.130.11”. In the /etc/NetworkManageconf.d/crc-nm-dnsmasq.conf this will look like the following: ● Server=/crc. Testing/192.168.130.11 ● Server=/apps-crc. Testing/192.168.130.11
Accessing the Openshift Cluster
Accessing the Openshift web console
To gain access to the OpenShift cluster running in the CodeReady virtual machine you need to make sure that the virtual machine is running before continuing with this chapter. The OpenShift clusters can be accessed through the OpenShift web console or the client binary(oc). First you need to execute the $crc console command, this command will open your web browser and direct a tab to the web console. After that, you need to select the htpasswd_provider option in the OpenShift web console and log in as a developer user with the output provided by the crc start command. It is also possible to view the password for kubeadmin and developer users by running the $crc console --credentials command. While you can access the cluster through the kubeadmin and developer users, it should be noted that the kubeadmin user should only be used for administrative tasks such as user management and the developer user for creating projects or OpenShift applications and the deployment of these applications.
To gain access to the OpenShift cluster with the use of the oc command you need to complete several steps. Step 1. Execute the $crc oc-env command to print the command needed to add the cached oc binary to your PATH:
Step 2. Execute the printed command. The output will look something like the following:
PS C:\Users\OpenShift> crc oc-env $Env:PATH = "CC:\Users\OpenShift\.crc\bin\oc;$Env:PATH" # Run this command to configure your shell: # & crc oc-env | Invoke-Expression
This means we have to execute* the command that the output gives us, in this case that is:
\this has to be executed every time you start; a solution is to move the oc binary to the same path as the crc binary* To test if this step went correctly execute the following command, if it returns without errors oc is set up properly
Step 3 Now you need to login as a developer user, this can be done using the following command: $oc login -u developerhttps://api.crc.testing:6443 Keep in mind that the $crc start will provide you with the password that is needed to login with the developer user.
Step 4 The oc can now be used to interact with your OpenShift cluster. If you for instance want to verify if the OpenShift cluster Operators are available, you can execute the command
$oc get co
Keep in mind that by default the CodeReady Containers disables the functions provided by the commands $machine-config and $monitoringOperators.
C:\Users\[username]\$PATH>oc get co
Now that you are able to access the cluster, we will take you on a tour through some of the possibilities within OpenShift Container Platform. We will start by creating a project. Within this project we will import an image, and with this image we are going to build an application. After building the application we will explain how upscaling and downscaling can be used within the created application. As the next step we will show the user how to make changes in the network route. We also show how monitoring can be used within the platform, however within the current version of CodeReady Containers this has been disabled. Lastly, we will show the user how to use user management within the platform.
In OpenShift there is a feature called autoscaling. There are two types of application scaling, namely vertical scaling, and horizontal scaling. Vertical scaling is adding only more CPU and hard disk and is no longer supported by OpenShift. Horizontal scaling is increasing the number of machines. One of the ways to scale an application is by increasing the number of pods. This can be done by going to a pod within the view as seen in the previous step. By either pressing the up or down arrow more pods of the same application can be added. This is similar to horizontal scaling and can result in better performance when there are a lot of active users at the same time. https://preview.redd.it/s6i1vbcrltv51.png?width=602&format=png&auto=webp&s=e62cbeeed116ba8c55704d61a990fc0d8f3cfaa1 In the picture above we see the number of nodes and pods and how many resources those nodes and pods are using. This is something to keep in mind if you want to scale up your application, the more you scale it up, the more resources it will take up. https://preview.redd.it/quh037wmitv51.png?width=194&format=png&auto=webp&s=5e326647b223f3918c259b1602afa1b5fbbeea94
It is however important to know how to manually reclaim the persistent volumes, since if you delete PV the associated data will not be automatically deleted with it and therefore you cannot reassign the storage to another PV yet. To manually reclaim the PV, you need to follow the following steps: Step 1: Delete the PV, this can be done by executing the following command
Step 2: Now you need to clean up the data on the associated storage asset Step 3: Now you can delete the associated storage asset or if you with to reuse the same storage asset you can now create a PV with the storage asset definition. It is also possible to directly change the reclaim policy within OpenShift, to do this you would need to follow the following steps: Step 1: Get a list of the PVs in your cluster
$oc get pv
This will give you a list of all the PV’s in your cluster and will display their following attributes: Name, Capacity, Accesmodes, Reclaimpolicy, Statusclaim, Storageclass, Reason and Age. Step 2: Now choose the PV you wish to change and execute one of the following command’s, depending on your preferred policy:
According to the documentation of OpenShift is a user, an entity that interacts with the OpenShift Container Platform API. These can be a developer for developing applications or an administrator for managing the cluster. Users can be assigned to groups, which set the permissions applied to all the group’s members. For example, you can give API access to a group, which gives all members of the group API access. There are multiple ways to create a user depending on the configured identity provider. The DenyAll identity provider is the default within OpenShift Container Platform. This default denies access for all the usernames and passwords. First, we’re going to create a new user, the way this is done depends on the identity provider, this depends on the mapping method used as part of the identity provider configuration. for more information on what mapping methods are and how they function: https://docs.openshift.com/enterprise/3.1/install_config/configuring_authentication.html With the default mapping method, the steps will be as following
$oc create user
Next up, we’ll create an OpenShift Container Platform Identity. Use the name of the identity provider and the name that uniquely represents this identity in the scope of the identity provider:
$oc create identity :
The is the name of the identity provider in the master configuration. For example, the following commands create an Identity with identity provider ldap_provider and the identity provider username mediawiki_s.
$oc create identity ldap_provider:mediawiki_s
Create a useidentity mapping for the created user and identity:
$oc create useridentitymapping :
For example, the following command maps the identity to the user:
There is a --clusterrole option that can be used to give the user a specific role, like a cluster user with admin privileges. The cluster admin has access to all files and is able to manage the access level of other users. Below is an example of the admin clusterrole command:
If you followed all the steps within this manual you now should have a functioning Mediawiki Application running on your own CodeReady Containers. During the installation of this application on CodeReady Containers you have learned how to do the following things: ● Installing the CodeReady Containers ● Updating OpenShift ● Configuring a CodeReady Container ● Configuring the DNS ● Accessing the OpenShift cluster ● Deploying an application ● Creating new users With these skills you’ll be able to set up your own Container Platform environment and host applications of your choosing.
Nameserver There is the possibility that your CodeReady container can't connect to the internet due to a Nameserver error. When this is encountered a working fix for us was to stop the machine and then start the CRC machine with the following command:
C:\Users\[username]\$PATH>crc start -n 18.104.22.168
Hyper-V admin Should you run into a problem with Hyper-V it might be because your user is not an admin and therefore can’t access the Hyper-V admin user group.
Click Start > Control Panel > Administration Tools > Computer Management. The Computer Management window opens.
Click System Tools > Local Users and Groups > Groups. The list of groups opens.
Double-click the Hyper-V Administrators group. The Hyper-V Administrators Properties window opens.
Click Add. The Select Users or Groups window opens.
In the Enter the object names to select field, enter the user account name to whom you want to assign permissions, and then click OK.
Click Apply, and then click OK.
Terms and definitions
These terms and definitions will be expanded upon, below you can see an example of how this is going to look like together with a few terms that will require definitions. ● Kubernetes is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Openshift is based on Kubernetes. ● Clusters are a collection of multiple nodes which communicate with each other to perform a set of operations. ● Containers are the basic units of OpenShift applications. These container technologies are lightweight mechanisms for isolating running processes so that they are limited to interacting with only their designated resources. ● CodeReady Container is a minimal, preconfigured cluster that is used for development and testing purposes. ● CodeReady Workspaces uses Kubernetes and containers to provide any member of the development or IT team with a consistent, secure, and zero-configuration development environment.
[SA] My experience with getting a name and gender change in Adelaide
If you haven't seen my first post about getting a diagnosis and HRT, you can find it here. Hey, I'm Emma (legally now!!!), a 29 year old trans woman, and as of today I've completed almost everything involved in the name and gender change process. Given it's a ton of work (and a fair expense), I thought I'd write up the steps I followed to make it easier for anyone else trying to do the same thing.
Get a notebook or a text doc on your computer, or something like that. Write down every company you interact with, everyone who emails you, every place you have an account with, basically anything that has your deadname on it. Now, go through these and see how many you can just change without providing proof. A lot of companies just let you edit it (or will do so if you email them and ask). For the ones that don't, start noting down what ID they require. A lot will just be happy with a scan of your birth certificate, but some will want photo ID, a utility bill, or a certified copy of one of those. Certified copies are a bit of a pain, basically you need to make a photocopy (or scan and print) the document, then take the copy and original to someone "authorised" who will look over the two, then stamp and sign it to say they're identical. Companies vary on who they'll allow to certify a document, but basically everyone accepts a Justice of the Peace (JP), and most councils run a free JP service, which is what I used. Note that JPs can certify email bills, but in a slightly different way - they basically just get you to swear that it's a legitimate copy and sign some stuff, but as far as I can tell it works just fine.
Get a letter from a medical professional or psych
In South Australia you *do not* need to have had surgery to qualify for a gender change. I got mine on the back of ~4 months HRT, and I believe psychiatric help will also do. I asked my endocrinologist for a letter and she was happy to provide one.
The Birth Certificate
Okay, here's the big one! You'll need to fill out a Change of Sex or Gender Identity form (PDF, Website) and a Change of Name form (PDF, Website). Read the hell out of the websites and PDFs, they're long and confusing but you need to know this stuff! Print out the forms and fill them out. On the gender change form, you can choose from Male, Female, Non-binary, or Indeterminate/intersex/unspecifed. The cost if you do both at once is $321 (at time of writing). I got a bit worried by the combined discount because the forms both have individual payment sections, but what you do is just put the $321 on one form and write "see [first form's name] for full amount" on the other and they figure it out. This fee includes them sending you two (!!) nice new birth certificates. Both are just normal looking certificates, but one only has your new name and gender on it, and the other has a change list on the back, which includes your old ones (this is very useful for changing your name elsewhere). Another tip for the forms is that there's basically only one spot on the name form that asks for your new name, every other field wants your deadname. On the gender change form, it doesn't ask for your new name at all, they just figure it out because you're sending the forms in at the same time. If you have any questions about the form you can call the office of Consumer and Business Services on 131 882. The person I spoke to was really friendly and helpful, and got the answers I needed after a bit of searching. You're going to need a bunch of ID for these forms, and you'll also need a witness for the change of name, so it's time to head to a JP (again, use the free council service) and get that done. I was told by CBS that each form needed its own ID (so two copies of each document), so make sure you've got enough copies. I also recommend making a backup copy of your old birth certificate, because you're putting the original in an envelope and posting it off, and that's kinda dicey imo. I also really recommend using some combination of registered post/tracking/insurance, depending on your level of worry. Post the forms off along with your old birth certificate and ID, and wait anxiously. The CBS website estimates about a month's wait, but mine got done in about 10 days! You don't get any warning that it's done, just a letter from the SA Gov in the mail with the new birth certs in it. Take a moment to celebrate this, because for me opening that letter was the best feeling in the world. You earned it, well done!
I'm going to tell you right now: do not bother trying to look up the process for this. It's the classic bureaucracy experience. Instead, just email [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) with the subject line Change of Name (DeadSurname DeadFirstname) and a scan of the front and back of your new birth certificate that shows the changes. No other stuff, no forms (this is important), just that. They send you an autoreply that says it'll take months, but that's for new applications and stuff like that. I got a response in 9 days - a lady calling from a blocked caller ID (thanks Services Australia) to confirm a couple of details, and the change went through that afternoon. Obviously it takes a while to send out the new card, but in the meantime if your Medicare is linked to MyGov, you can download the Medicare app (confusingly called Express Plus Medicare on iOS) and it has a card display feature that people should accept. There's no charge for this process. Note that you may need to get prescriptions/blood test forms/etc re-issued in your new name, I'm not sure about this but I'm emailing my endo tonight.
I don't have a driver's license, so I can't comment on that, but here's the Proof of Age Card process, which I imagine is fairly similar? First, you'll need to fill out an application form (PDF, Website), then head into Services SA (don't do the online application, I'm guessing you'll want a new photo), and let them know you've changed your name and want to update your proof of age card. They'll give you a form to fill out that updates your details with the government department, and ask to see your birth certificate (bring the original with the change list). Fill out the form and take that, your birth cert, your old proof of age card, and your application form from earlier to the counter when you get called, they'll process it, take your photo, and a week or two later you should have your new card! The cost is $25. Here's me celebrating about it!
Second easiest of the lot! You just go to their website via MyGov, choose the option from the menus, enter in your details exactly as they appear on your birth cert (pay attention to the little diagram, it explains where to find everything), it does some verification magic, and you're done! No wait, no documents, no forms!
The best one. Just log in to their website, hit My Settings, then Edit Details. Done!
I highly recommend getting some easy utilities done first - a lot of other places require a utility bill in your new name, and you'll be waiting for your next billing date for them. Once you have them and your list of what needs certified copies, head back to the JP and get them all done in a big batch. You'll probably need a lot of copies of your birth cert (front and back to show the change) as well. Head to the post office and buy some prepaid envelopes too. Company website searches can suck, I recommend googling [company name] change name. You'll usually find a PDF form with all the requirements or a web page that spells it out. Worst case, give them a ring and they can help you out. Also, if you have a will, don't forget to update that too! AGL: You need to call them. They may also need to re-create your online account to make it show the new name in there. NAB: Need to go in person to a branch with your birth cert (showing the change) AND photo ID in your new name. This is a recent policy change. ING: You need to fill out a form, provide certified copy of your birth cert (front and back) and post it all to them. Took about a week for them to call me to verbally confirm the change. They posted the cards out the same day, and provided SMS updates as well. Super: Each fund should have the details on their website, the two I dealt with required a posted form and certified ID. Amex: You call them, upload a scan of your birth cert (front and back) through the website while on the phone, and they sort it out. Optus: Posted form, birth certificate showing change (front and back). They don't say it needs to be certified but I did it anyway to be safe. The address listed on the form and the website are different. I tried the form's address and it worked fine, took 9 days. Council: I called them to ask, just needed to email them scans of my birth certificate (front and back), might vary from place to place House title, etc: Have not tried. Expensive and needs a conveyancer.
Big ol' post. How I went about researching top surgery (and to some degree, my identity), therapy, experience with parents, early life and signs, etc. I found personal accounts to be helpful when I was starting to look into things, so here's my contribution.
My therapist keeps telling me that it's good for people to know what's possible, both bad and good. I've been lucky in a lot of areas and I didn't want to post about it because I don't want people to feel bad. But she keeps telling me that hope is an important tool for people so, if this is upsetting, blame her lol. First some context and personal info about me. I'm nonbinary, but I lean and present masculine. I'm not on hormones. After wanting it for roughly 15 years, I got top surgery this year at the ripe old age of 29 (kidding about being old--sort of. I think this sub tends to skew pretty young, so I feel old compared to a lot of you lol). I am so sorry about the length of this. I tried to break it down into chunks so if you want to skip headers you can. Quick TL;DR Timeline:
Childhood/Early Teens: Gender??? who cares, I'm me
Teens: I absolutely do not want these boobs but I don't have a choice. Gender still weird.
Early 20s: Learned about other gender identities and gender affirming surgeries
23: Started seriously considering top surgery for real.
27: Called to schedule a consultation with NYU Langone.
28: Had my consultation
29: Had my surgery
Until ~puberty~ and the dreaded body changes, gender was largely not something I thought about. I knew people tended to fit someone into either male or female, and I knew people viewed me as female and treated me as such, but it's not something I felt strongly about for myself at all. Puberty wound up sending me into a bit of an existential crisis. I hated my breasts. I hated how they made my shirts fit weird, I hated how people treated me differently if they were sort of on display, I constantly felt like I was smuggling a pair of grapefruits around. My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 50, and had a mastectomy. I was like, holy shit? I WISH I WOULD GET BREAST CANCER SO THEY'D HAVE TO CUT OFF MY BOOBS! Yes, in retrospect, holy fuck that is an awful way to go about it. At the time I didn't know you could just like... get surgery. My only experiences with surgery were emergency situations, so I thought something had to be immediately, grievously, life-threateningly wrong in order to get surgery. So I carried that ungodly wish around for a good several years. Yikes. At the time I also hadn't heard of the term "nonbinary" and it was also really eating at me. "Woman" absolutely felt wrong, but "Man" didn't quite feel right either. I used to joke about feeling like a shapeless amoeba and being happy like that. But there was no way that was valid... right?? Obviously I was wrong, I found out about different gender identities and was much happier in that regard. It may sound weird or look the same on the outside, but a lot of my masculine traits and tendencies are less about actually being masculine but really more about being less feminine. I know it looks the same from the outside but internally, it was an important distinction for me. Still hated having boobs, tho.
This is one of the areas I really lucked out on, and the biggest thing I didn't want people to feel bad about. When it comes to my identity (and unrelated to this but my sexuality as well) my parents have been, well, remarkably chill. My dad has always been tuned into my social media, so he already knew everything and ultimately was the one who was like "what are you waiting for? Schedule an appointment already!" I had to bring him to a therapy appointment once to talk about surgery strategy, and he basically said "parents who can't support their kids unconditionally shouldn't be parents" without missing a beat so that was nice. Otherwise he basically just lets me take the lead. Let him know what I need from him, and he'll do it. My mom I was definitely more worried about, though it turned out to be pretty unfounded. My mom and I haven't had the greatest history. It basically boils down to a clash in personalities. I was a pretty shy kid, she was always pushy about it, and neither of us handled my Moody Teenager-ness well. Things have improved a lot since I became an adult and since I started antidepressant/antianxiety meds. I also had to bring her to a therapy appointment to talk about surgery recovery strategy, where it turns out she always knew about my identity in some way, she was just waiting for me to tell her myself. And then she was all hands on deck. She checked in with me after every pre-op and post-op appointment, she asked if there was anything she needed to do or buy, she dug up a bunch of her current husband's old button-ups for me to wear post-op, she stayed with me at the hospital and took me home, etc. There was never any weirdness or questioning from either of them. I knew my dad would be chill, I was always worried about my mom though, but it was all a pleasant surprise.
Researching Top Surgery (and Therapy)
Thanks to the internet and places like Tumblr, I was introduced to the concept of gender affirming surgeries. I was initially skeptical that I qualified (the good ol' "am I trans enough??" question) but the more I read personal accounts and stories from people, the more I realized that I did indeed fit the bill. But I was working at CVS at the time, had no health insurance, was (and still am) paying off student loans... it just wasn't going to happen at that time. So for 5 years I did nothing. Just plucked away at life. Then I got a new job with actual health insurance. Interest renewed. It would still be a couple of years before I even called to make a consultation but, I started looking into everything again. So I came up with a list of questions and goals that needed to be answered and researched:
What surgeon and where?
Did my health insurance even cover it?
If so, what information and documents would I need?
How much of it does insurance cover?
How much time off would I need for recovery?
I would like to emphasize, I knew NOTHING about insurance going into this. But honestly, it's not that difficult. Go through it slowly, google any terms you don't know or understand, and don't be afraid to call or email your insurance to ask even the stupidest of questions. It's their job to answer your questions. First, I found my insurance's policy for "Gender Affirming Services (Transgender Services)" which is its official title within my insurance. I read it several times, and in my case I was glad that the language avoided sticking strictly to the binary, because I was worried I wouldn't qualify. They used phrases like "gender identity other than that assigned at birth." I actually just looked at it now and it's been updated even further to be even more inclusive, which is nice. It has a list of services and surgeries that are covered, along with any requirements. I saved the pdf, as well as printed it and stuck it in a big 3-ring binder that would become my go-to resource. Next I started looking at surgeons that accepted my insurance, and whose results and reviews seemed good enough for me. Transbucket was still working at the time, so I went through the images and wrote a list of surgeons down. I live in NY, which has a few good but long-waitlisted surgeons, so to keep things a little less complicated I decided to narrow the list down to NY surgeons. I read some sketchy things about Mt. Sinai's surgeons at the time, so I decided to nix them from the list. Ultimately I decided to go with Dr. Bluebond-Langner with NYU Langone. Knowing there was going to be a long wait to deal with the rest of my prep, I called to schedule a consult pretty much immediately after I made my choice. The consult wound up being a year later, so that gave me time and a concrete deadline to work toward. Call date: January 2018 Consult date: January 2019 NYU Langone sent me a pretty comprehensive packet of info, including some requirements for getting surgery. Mainly it was a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and letter from a therapist, which would also cover my insurance requirements. So my next step was finding a suitable therapist. I had already read about the long wait times between consults and surgery, so I didn't immediately jump into therapy. There was a long stretch of just doing nothing. Initially I started out by using the "find a provider" tool on my insurance website to try and find a therapist, but it wasn't really getting me anywhere. BCBS's various websites suck ass. After having some initial talks with a few therapists, I found out it's kind of annoying for them to work with insurance in NY, so they work out of network but provide the receipts and codes for you to submit a claim on your own. So instead I started by searching "WPATH therapist [location]" and scoped out the results. They weren't necessarily registered with WPATH, but they were at least familiar with it and that was the important factor, for me. I reached out to them explaining who I was, what my identity was, and that I was seeking a diagnosis and letter so that I could get top surgery. I told them that I was absolutely okay if they were uncomfortable with this and did not want to continue. Everyone responded kindly and was down for it, but I was put off by the short responses from some of them or the informal abbreviations. In any other normal everyday situation I absolutely would not care, but I had taken the time to write this formal email where I basically bared my deepest secrets to them, and getting back a "k" was like... nah man. This ain't it. Except one woman who responded with the kind of thoughtfulness and care I was expecting, and seemed like a perfect fit. I love her to death and I'm still having sessions with her on a regular basis. Therapy start: May 2019 It was my first time being in therapy at all. Some of it was about my identity, some of it was just general life stuff, but she's great at guiding things along and she's not afraid to ask me if that's what I really think or if I'm just saying what I think she wants me to say, stuff like that. Also I've slipped out a few curses in front of her (I curse a LOT in casual conversation) so it's pretty funny when your therapist isn't afraid to say "fuck" in front of you now. In November 2019 we worked on and finalized my letter. She had me read it a dozen times before I signed off on it, and we made sure all the pertinent info and requirements were in, including the diagnosis code for gender dysphoria. She faxed it over to the hospital and also gave me a copy. Ultimately the letter was good for one year but she made it clear that she would absolutely change the date and resubmit it if my surgery date wound up falling past that point. A big source of my info on surgery, recovery, and good stuff to have around has come from blog posts and from this sub. You have been invaluable. It was good to see the gamut of recoveries from "ridiculously smooth" to "absolute hell" and help me plan for the worst case (which thankfully wasn't necessary).
The World's Longest Home Stretch AKA Approaching Surgery
Consult in January 2020 finally arrived. I was in the waiting room longer than I was actually in any part of the consult lmao. Dr. Bluebond-Langner is nice and great, let me be clear. But for her it was just another Tuesday, so she was basically just blasting right along and asking me questions while taking measurements of my chest. I had some questions and she was happy to answer but I was also just kind of nervous and caught up in the expediency of the whole process, so it was all done in like, 3 minutes. Then the photographer team took photos of me shirtless in several positions and angles. Super, duper weird and awkward but they were extremely nice and professional, and pretty made it as un-weird as possible. The good news is that they have a stellar patient portal where you can ask questions pretty much whenever you want, and they also sent me another email and another physical packet of information which largely covered anything I forgot to ask in my stupor. About 3 days later I got my surgery date. Surgery date: August 2020 Obviously COVID has been a hell of a thing. Appointments were pushed back, masks were worn, hand sanitizer was applied judiciously, temperatures were taken at doorways. I waited with bated breath to see if my appointment would be rescheduled. Thankfully I lucked out big time and hospitals started doing non-emergency surgeries again before my date came up, so they called and told me I was still on for August. I had to have an appointment with my Primary Care Physician (PCP) and explain that I was having surgery and I was going to need a bunch of tests done, and the results sent to the hospital. My doctor's office is a teaching office, so I basically had to come out to my PCP and the student shadowing her, but it was all chill. My doctor told me that she has several trans patients now and they're seeing an increase in people who are more comfortable to come out, which is nice. So she was 100% down to do whatever tests the hospital needed. In practice, getting the results in and to the hospital on time was a bit of a pain in the ass. I think technically several of my results were late but it didn't screw me over. The tests had to be done within a certain window before surgery (not too early, basically) but the processing took forever on a couple of them, and I had to ask and triple check with the doctor's office a few times because the hospital was still missing a couple of them. It was a bit of unnecessary stress leading up to surgery lol. PTO scheduled, bag packed, took a train into the city for surgery.
First off, everyone at the hospital was super nice the entire time I was there. You're not allowed to eat or drink after midnight the night before. That night I woke up every hour from a nightmare that I had accidentally eaten something. I showed up in sweats and a hoodie, got my patient wrist band (with my preferred name!) and then waited for what felt like an eternity while my mom and I chatted. Someone came and got me, I had to brush my teeth and use mouthwash (something about cutting down on possible infection), had me pee in a cup one last time, and gave me a gown. My mom was allowed to join me in the "staging area" where other people were stationed and waiting for their surgeries to start. It was just a lot of taking vitals, starting the IV, people introducing themselves to you and what their role was going to be in your surgery, Dr. Bluebond-Langner marking up my chest and asking me how I was feeling. It was the most chill hospital experience I have ever had. Granted all of my other experiences were like, emergency room visits where things were much more hectic. This was all planned out, everyone was relaxed, everything was fine. After that, one big nap. The last thing I remember was getting up on the table and apologizing for being in the way while someone said "don't be sorry, you're the star of the show, we're all here for you" and then I was out like a light. Next time I woke up I was in the recovery wing, where they stash you before they bring you to your permanent room. Initially, I was pretty dizzy and out of it, but I was definitely waking up. They were getting ready to move me, so I had to stand up, but I somehow managed to pull one of the drain bulbs out (NOT the tube that was in my body, thank god) so I looked like I was in a horror movie with a big puddle of blood on my side lol. They had me swap gowns. While this was going on and I was standing up, it was the only time I felt bad. I felt sick and I told someone I think I needed to sit down. As soon as I sat down in the wheelchair I immediately felt better, and they were ready to wheel me to my room.
Post-Op in the Hospital
Dr. Bluebond-Langner keeps people overnight, so I stayed the night in the hospital. This is another area where I feel a little bad, but my recovery has been pretty stellar and apparently I'm part Wolverine from X-Men because doctors and nurses keep telling me that I'm healing really well. Almost immediately, I was fairly mobile. The anesthesia hasn't really hung around. I was walking city blocks upon city blocks to my post-op appointments, and I'd say maybe about 1 month post-op I really started getting my range of motion back in my arms. I'm a little over 2 months now post op and can fully raise my arms over my head, etc. My pain management was also basically nonexistent. I used some extra strength tylenol for a few days until I forgot to take it, realized I didn't really seem to need it, and just stopped from thereon out. STILL NO LIFTING THOUGH! Everyone is adamant about that. After my initial hiccup with the anesthesia, it wore off pretty fast. I was up and able to walk laps around the hospital without issue. The nurse taking care of me had to keep telling me to slow down. I was wide awake, chatting and eating full meals (side note: the hospital food there was REALLY GOOD). I was able to get in an out of bed on my own, I started stripping my own drains (scared the crap out of the nurse who just saw someone moving behind my door and didn't realize I was able to do it on my own). A few times throughout my stay, either Dr. Bluebond-Langner herself or someone on her team would come by and undo my compression vest to check things out and make sure there were no issues. If I had one complaint, it's the IV fluids. I had to pee CONSTANTLY. My mom stayed with me until the end of visiting hours, chatting and doing her own work, occasionally helping me reach things, flagging down a nurse when I had to pee for the hundreth time, etc. Otherwise, I was discharged the next morning. The Uber ride and subsequent train ride home were pretty smooth. I was worried that every little bump would kill me, but the tightness of the compression vest kept everything pretty secure.
Recovery at Home
I was pretty self-sufficient. We had already moved a bunch of water glasses onto the counter for easy access, and I had a bunch of reasonably healthy easy-cook food ready to go. I had an adjustable incline pillow for sleeping on my back and keeping me somewhat elevated, coupled with a neck pillow and a total blackout sleep mask. My dog kept me company. Sleeping is honestly probably the worst part. I am very much a side and stomach sleeper. And although my recovery was pretty smooth, surgery is still surgery and I found it difficult to get a good, restful sleep through the general uncomfortableness. Showering and bathing was probably the second worst part. Taking a shallow bath was definitely easier but I basically couldn't get really clean because I was constantly worried about accidentally pulling the drains, or getting something wet. Part of my dismissal included a packet with a calendar for measuring and recording my drains. I tried to do that at about 9am and 9pm every day to keep an even 12 hour spread. I'm not a particularly squeamish person, but even I initially was a bit grossed out by the contents of the drains. I got used to it after a couple of days, though. My drains were, mercifully, not painful or irritated at the drain sites. The only issue I had was a VERY small hematoma on my right side, down where the drain actually starts in your body. Emptying my drains on that side started to produce a slightly painful pinching feeling in that spot, and putting pressure on it would hurt a bit. I contacted the surgeon's office about it, and they gave me the option to come in, or just ride it out and let it reabsorb itself. I chose to leave it alone, and it started feeling better after a few days. I had several post-op appointments, 1 each week after surgery for 3 weeks. First week was just a checkup, nothing super notable to be honest. Basically just a "holy crap you're only one week out? I would not have guessed, you're walking around just fine." At 2 weeks, we took the drains out. Thank god, because I went back to work the next day and really needed a proper shower. I still had to keep the compression vest on, but I was at least allowed to take it off and wash it. That thing was rank. And I was allowed to wear deodorant. At 3 weeks, I was officially allowed to take the vest off. They showed me how to do scar massaging, they did a quick draining of some fluid in both of my sides (in Dr. Bluebond-Langner's own words, she was being "nitpicky" about it because it was a minor amount, but figured she might as well just do it while I was there), made me promise I'd keep moisturizing my nipple scabs, and said they'll see me in a month. The scabs fell off eventually by the way. I think one fell off at like 3 weeks, the other at 4. Yes, it looks terrifying. No, they didn't die. Yes, it's normal. It is weird to see the very pink, fresh skin underneath but that's normal. Now I just oil up my scars with bio-oil every day and massage as part of my morning routine. I already made a previous post about my scars being hypertrophic and how I'm fine with that, and it might be hard to believe when you see hypertrophic scars, but they look and feel much better now than they did, and they're only going to keep getting better. I was using the silicone strips, but my scars kinda go up near my arm pits and when I get sweaty at work, it makes them come loose. I was taping those parts but the tape irritates my skin, so I just stopped trying to make that work for now.
So that's where I'm at now. I feel much, much better. I stand taller instead of hunching over to try and hide my chest. I'm probably a lot older than a lot of folks in here who probably can't even imagine waiting until nearly 30 to get to some of these points. I guess if there's a takeaway it's 1) sometimes surgery goes pretty smoothly and 2) your life doesn't end if you don't transition before 18. I THINK it's pretty comprehensive in here but, if there's a particular question you have about something feel free to ask.
Composition Challenge #25: September 14, 2020 – Sonata Form, Part 1: Exposition
Greetings, /musictheory! Welcome to our composition challenge. This is a space to put theory into practice by writing your own original music. An archive of all composition challenges, past and present, can be found in the wiki. This challenge thread will be stickied from September 14 through October 5.
The emphasis here is on skill acquisition. In order to build a knowledge base that will enable you to engage with the larger corpus of music theory and analysis, observe the following:
Satisfy all items on the challenge prompt. There is always room to write in excess of the prompt, but you should solve the compositional problems given in the challenge.
Post submissions as replies to this thread.
There is no deadline to submit and we encourage you to explore these prompts whenever you feel like it. However, know that challenge threads will be un-stickied and will receive less attention after the first Monday of the next month.
Compose a two-part sonata form exposition for piano. (The next challenge will involve crafting a development section and recapitulation, so don't worry about the rest of the form just yet.)
Use the formal scheme P TR MC S C. (See theory section for details.)
If P is in the major mode, S should be in the dominant key.
If P is in the minor mode, S should be in the relative major key or the minor dominant key.
Use periods and/or sentences as the basis of your P and S themes.
Use a linear intervallic pattern (LIP) somewhere in your exposition.
This challenge uses terminology and concepts from James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy's landmark treatise, Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata. You will construct a Type-3 sonata, as this is what most sources mean when they say "sonata form." This is your Exposition/Development/Recapitulation model, where a tonal and rhetorical problem is set up in the exposition and eventually worked out by the time the recapitulation rolls around. This is what a two-part exposition looks like. You will be composing one of these. Observe the tonal plan and arrangement of items. And here is a zoomed out vie of a Type-3 Sonata Form. (Both diagrams are from page 17 of Hepokoski & Darcy's book.)
The first theme and the beginning of sonata space; sets the feel for the movement.
Facilitates the modulation from the home key to the new key in the exposition. Recomposed in the recapitulation so that it doesn't modulate. Builds energy.
A cadence followed by a rest that separates TR from S.
Structurally and sometimes rhetorically opposes P.
Essential Expositional Closure
The cadential goal of an exposition. The first cadence after S in the expo.
Essential Structural Closure
The cadential goal of a recapitulation and of the whole movement. The first cadence after S in the recap.
Postcadential material that follows S and concludes a rotation of sonata space. May be as little as a small codetta, may include a genuine closing theme, may have several modules.
Thematic areas may contain more than one "theme," but for this exercise try to focus on producing one really good P theme and one really good S theme. Videos:
Linear intervallic patterns are voice-leading patterns that prolong a harmony and possibly bridge the space between two structural chords. Sequences are built upon LIPs, but not all LIPs are sequences.
The primary theme and transition of Mozart's C major piano sonata, K.545, contains a sequence/LIP. Analysis. Note that P is a sentence ending on a half-cadence (with the continuation prolonged by its merger with TR). These things don't have to be long; the total path from P to the MC only takes 12 measures in this sonata.
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 19, Op.49, No.1, I. / Score – P is a modulating period (with a sentential antecedent!), where the consequent also acts as the TR. There is no MC here (rather, it is filled in — called "caesura fill"). The S theme is a parallel period beginning at m.16; the consequent begins at m.21 and goes to m.25, but then consequent repeats (what Janet Schmalfeldt calls the "one more time" technique), so the resolution happens at the downbeat of m.29. The C zone is just 4 measures with a pickup, from mm.30-33 (derived from the beginning of S). Also, if you're following the video, the score is Heinrich Schenker's edition, which inexplicably has the measure numbers at the end of the measure, making it look like the measure numbers are one bar off from where they should be.
Marianne von Martinez – Piano Sonata No. 3 in E Major / Score — Kind of a cool thing going on here. Here is the exposition analyzed. First off, notice that there are two themes in the S group: one is a sentence (S1), the other is a period (S2). S2 elides with the beginning of the Closing Zone, and C itself is basically the material of P and TR transposed into the dominant key. It's a little unusual but not unheard of. This movement is actually a Type-2 Sonata Form (the so-called "binary" sonata form), but since we're only looking at the exposition, that doesn't matter so much for us right now. However, the fact that the C zone is so P/TR-based plays into the rotational nature of the Type-2.
Joseph Haydn – Keyboard Sonata in E minor, Hob.XVI:34/ Score – Here's one in the minor mode. Here is the exposition analyzed. The P theme is a parallel period with a modulation. I'm not really sure what the TR is supposed to be doing here, since it's basically just hanging out in the new key the entire time. It's interesting to note that in the recapitulation, P and TR are chopped up and put back together as the presentation and continuation of a sentence respectively. (And I'm sure there are other interpretations.) I have the theme type for S identified as a "phrase group," which John David White in The Analysis of Music defines as such: "A group of three or more phrases linked together without the two-part feeling of a period can be termed a phrase-group. Phrase-group is also the appropriate label for a pair of consecutive phrases in which the first is a repetition of the second or in which, for whatever reason, the antecedent-consequent relationship is absent (46)." In this case, we are dealing with the last option.
You can find links to a variety of notation programs in the wiki.
College apps suck, good luck to anyone currently applying!
Hey all! I know this time of year is really tough for anyone applying to college. Stick in there! Demographics
Residence: Midwestern US
Income Bracket: Low
Type of School: Public
Hooks (Recruited Athlete, URM, First-Gen, Geographic, Legacy, etc.): First-Gen, Geographic (from a low-population state with few Ivy applicants), idk if being trans is a hook
Intended Major(s): Classics Academics
GPA (UW/W): 3.9/4.2
Rank (or percentile): 6/250
# of Honors/AP/IB/Dual Enrollment/etc.: 12 APs and 2 Dual Enrollment art/design classes at a local community college
Senior Year Course Load: AP Stats, AP Econ, AP Environmental Science, AP Literature, Latin 4, Orchestra
SAT I: 1590 (790RW, 800M)
ACT: 35 (35E, 35M, 36R, 33S)
SAT II: Math 2 (800), Literature (720)
AP/IB: Human Geography (5), European History (4), Chemistry (3), United States History (4), US Gov/Politics (4), Physics 1 (4), English Lang and Comp (5), Calc AB (5), Statistics (4), Microeconomics (4), Environmental Science (5), English Lit and Comp (5)
Other (ex. IELTS, TOEFL, etc.): N/A
Local chapter of Junior Classical League (4 years), President
Orchestra (4 years), Concertmaster
Debate (4 years), Team Captain, won state in my senior year
Teaching Assistant at Chinese camp (4 years)
Science Olympiad (4 years), Team Captain
Pit Orchestra (3 years)
Congressional Debate (2 years)
Quiz Bowl (4 years)
Environmental Club (3 years)
Private Violin Tutor (1 year)
Questbridge National College Match Scholarship Finalist
National Merit Scholar
National Speech and Debate Association Superior Distinction
Letters of Recommendation I had really good relationships with both of my recommenders. One was my Latin teacher who I had been taking classes from all 4 years, and was the mentor to JCL, an activity that I was really involved in. The other was my APUSH teacher who coached Quiz Bowl, which I was involved in for all four years of high school. I also chatted with both teachers pretty regularly about non-class stuff. In the end, both of their recommendations were... just fine. Not bad by any means, but nothing about them stands out, they were just generic. (I was able to see them bc I had to request pdf versions from the teachers for a scholarship later.) Interviews My Yale interview was amazing, it was a phone interview with an AO that wasn't in charge of my area. It was meant to be ~30 minutes but we talked for over an hour, and it was a really fun conversation! Since I applied REA, it was my first college interview experience and I was so relieved that it felt like a natural conversation. We talked about history and classics (my intended major at the time) and random small historical things that I was passionate about. My other interviews... not so great. I had interviews for Harvard and Princeton, and they were both just with unenthused alumni that lived in my area. The interviewers just asked me questions about test scores and extracurriculars that would've already been covered by my application. Harvard interviewer did let me know that the interview is one of the least-considered parts of your application. Essays My personal statement was a mediocre child-of-immigrants essay. There is truly so little to say about it. I think my supplementals and short answers were much better written, and I really liked my optional essay for Harvard, which was about mythology and gender, how I related old myths to problems in my personal life. Decisions (indicate ED/EA/REA/SCEA/RD) Acceptances:
Yale (REA) -- attending
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (RD but it was rolling so I knew around the same time as EA)
Waitlists/Rejections: N/A *I applied to only top schools in RD bc I had already gotten into Yale REA and got good fin aid from them, so I didn't end up applying to any more targets or safeties. Additional Information: Feel free to comment or pm me with any questions! I remember how stressful and soul-sucking this process is and would love to be of help! Edit: I'm already a year into college (not a prefrosh) so feel free to ask me questions about Yale student life too! I'm pretty involved in activist and queer circles :)
NOTE: I'm pasting this guide from where I originally found it, over on Studentloandefaulters. It was originally pasted there from someone who found it after the original was deleted.
Student Loan Default: The Guide (reuploaded)
📷 The original guide that was recently deleted here:https://www.reddit.com/studentloandefaulters/comments/cg1fd7/student_loan_default_a_guide/ I take no credit for this post, just happened to have it saved in a document and thought I'd be doing an injustice by not sharing this information once I saw the original post was missing! All credit goes to the original author, and without further ado... Student Loan Default: A Guide I’ve been wanting to write this for a long time, and seeing that person be in $500,000 of debt and no one really helping him on studentloans, I felt it was time to summarize everything I’ve learned. While there is great information on this sub, it is not centralized. It requires some digging. I hope now to bring all of it to the surface. Definitions: Strategic Default: When a borrower realizes that he or she can spend less money by not paying a loan. The borrower waits out the statute of limitations and then either settles or waits the debt out. Shills: People who are paid to prevent the spread of student loan default information Statute of Limitations: The number of years your state requires before a debt can no longer be collected. Cosigner: The poor person who is just as legally required to pay your loans as you are Foreign Earned Income Tax Exclusion: A tax rule that states any US citizen can earn up to about $100,000 a year in another country and report their US taxes as 0. Fraudulent Transfer: When a party tries to move assets to someone else in order to avoid a lien on their property. Lien: Essentially when the government slaps a bill onto your property forcing you to pay off a debt before you can sell the property. Income Based Repayment (IBR): Federal loans can be paid with 15% of your discretionary income (money earned after taxes) instead of a higher, unpayable amount Aggregate Student Loan Limit: The total amount a student can take out before the federal government or a private lender stops authorizing new loans Wage Garnishment: When a court forces your employer to take out a certain percentage of your paycheck to pay back a debt Bank Levy: When the government or a court takes all of the money directly out of your bank account to pay a debt Private Loans: Loans that originate from anyone but the federal government. These loans have a statute of limitations and less power but higher interest rates. Federal Loans: These loans have no statute of limitations, the government can collect anything you earn to get these back, and they come with IBR which is manageable Sallie Mae: The worst private lender on the market. They only offer deferment for four short years. Forbearance: A period where you do not have to pay your student loans, but interest accrues. Deferment: A period where you do not have to pay your student loans, but interest does not accrue. Credit Score: A number that tells people how responsible of a borrower you are. Student Loan Tax Bomb: After you have paid for 10 - 25 years on your federal loans, you are forgiven the rest. That is considered income by the IRS. You then add this “income” to your regular income for the year and pay the tax. It can be over $10,000. Insolvency: When you are unable to pay your debts. This works well for defusing the student loan tax bomb. Public Service Loan Forgiveness: If you work for 10 years at a government job, you can get your entire federal student loan balance forgiven. In 2019, the feds are making it near impossible to collect. This could change. A note on cosigners before we begin: Look, your cosigner is probably going to be very mad at you. Prepare for your relationship to be strained. You need to try and get them on the same page as you, and I do offer a tactic here to at least shift all of the financial burden off of your cosigner below. If you decide to do any of these tactics without getting your cosigner off the hook, there could be more risk involved if you or your cosigners have a lot of assets. Strategy Student loan default is a strategy. And to have a good strategy, one must plan as much as possible. You have to know all of your options. While strategy is your overall game plan, tactics are the individual options you have to get your strategy accomplished. Below are the tactics that you can employ to beat the student loan companies. Tactics Paying Your Loans: [low risk] In the rare chance you have anywhere between $1,000 to $20,000 in federal student loans and you have completed your bachelor’s degree, you should probably just pay the damn loans. All you have to do is set up an auto debit and forget about it. It will be about 15% of your income. You really want to try and avoid consolidating if you can, because it will count against some of your IBR payments. You would also lose your grace period if you did this. At the end of 10 to 25 years, you will be forgiven all of the loan amount you did not pay. That forgiven amount is considered income by the IRS, so you will be put into a higher tax bracket. I would get an accountant when this comes. In your case, your tax bomb will be low enough where you could probably just pay it. If you want to really shake things up though, you are welcome to try either the Asset Creation Tactic or the Madlad Method below. Here is more information on Income Based Repayment: https://www.studentdebtrelief.us/repayment-plans/income-based-repayment-plan/ Default Private IBR Federal (Staying Put): [low risk] The standard strategy here on studentloandefaulters. As mentioned above, for the federal loans, it’s best to just IBR and automatically debit your bank account each month and forget about it. For the private loans, this is where the game begins. Your overall plan here is to default, wait out the statute of limitations in your home state, and either settle the debt for less than 30% or just hope they leave you alone and you don’t pay at all. From this moment on, whatever you would have paid for your private monthly bill, sock that money away. Once you go past 120 days of no payments, you are in default. This is where the phone calls come in. They will start to harass you. They will call your work, your cell phone, your cosigner, etc relentlessly. Most likely, they’ll start doing this before you get to default. As they call you, you can either just give them the cold shoulder or start immediately acting like you do not own the debt. Never admit that you own the debt. Tell them you think they are crazy and have the wrong person. Inform your cosigner to do the same. Once your loans are sold to a collection agency, wait until they call you and ask for verification of the debt. If they do not provide it, you won. Chances are, they will be able to verify it, so just make sure you never admit to the debt on the phone or make a payment. If you make a payment, you’ll reset the statute of limitations. Do not give them five dollars, two dollars, a penny. If they do sue you, show up for court. Get a lawyer if you can afford it. You have to show up to court, or they win automatically. Even if you don’t have a lawyer in court, you need to make them verify the debt. You could still lose here. If you do lose in court, go to my tactic of “The Cat and Mouse Game.” They are playing a numbers game, and if you are harder to sue than John Smith down the street, they may prey on him or her instead of you. Now, there are four states in the United States that do not have wage garnishment: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. You could move there, and if you have barely any assets, you are considered judgement proof. This means you’re not worth the time to be sued, because you have nothing to take and cannot be garnished. Moving is hard, though, so that’s a personal decision. Also, from what I understand, if you do move to these states, you can switch your statute of limitations over to their states which may be less time until you cannot be sued anymore. If you do lose and just want to stop here, you could get your bank levied and you could be slapped with up to a 25% wage garnishment until paid in full Clarification: a lot of people do not ever get garnished, and bank levies are rare (they are non-existent on federal loans). Do not let this freak you out!. I repeat this is super rare and not likely to happen. Anyways, you have options at this point. If it does happen, try another tactic like leave the country or cat and mouse below. Default Private Default Federal: [medium risk] Some of the wilder people have attempted to default on both federal and private loans in order to do a cash settlement. The same strategy above in Default Private IBR Federal applies, but realize that the US government could just step in and do an administrative garnish on you eventually. If you were living some sort of cash existence, you could potentially avoid them and then write them a money order and settle for 30% or something. This way, you avoid the tax bomb and would probably pay a lot less interest overall. If you do this and it works, I would love to hear about it. Cat and Mouse: [medium risk] So, you want to avoid getting sued or you lost a judgement? You don’t have to sit back and take it. u/nowaysalliemae has successfully avoided being sued by essentially going on the run. You see, to be sued successfully, they need to know where you work. If you get sued, move to another state, and switch jobs, they have to do the entire process over again! This means find you, verify the debt, sue you, etc. You can essentially do this until your statute of limitations runs out. And then, you dispute the debt on your credit score. They take it off at that point, and you just saved a lot of money. I decided to put this as medium risk, because moving around a lot would require some luck. Especially since you would need to work wherever you go, there are a lot of moving parts here. I think it is totally doable, and if you are an adventurous personality type, it could be a lot of fun. This only works for the private student loan side, because the US government has a lot more power. You would still IBR your federal loans on this tactic. For more information, go through nowaysalliemae's post history. Leave the Country: [medium risk] What if you want to avoid all of this altogether? Do you want a reset button on your life? You can just leave the country and start over. Seriously. Your credit score does not follow you across countries. The federal government cannot garnish your paycheck if you work internationally. You are not a criminal doing this. Furthermore, there is something called the Foreign Earned Income Tax Exclusion. Since you will still IBR your federal loans on this plan, as long as you make less than $100,000 in another country, your US income is zero. This means you just got a free education while you make money in another country. Once you pay zero for 25 years, you will have to defuse your student tax bomb. Tactic Below. Private companies do not stand a chance here. There are countries in the commonwealth such as Australia and Canada that are more willing to take you in if you meet certain requirements. You could teach English at a bunch of places. You could apply for residency at these places or be a perpetual tourist. A perpetual tourist is someone who essentially moves to a new country, goes to a neighboring country for a weekend, and then goes back to that new country they are trying to start a new life in*. This in no means you have to go back to the U.S. Ever. For example, you want to live in Panama forever, every 90 days, you take a weekend trip to Nicaragua. You come back to Panama after the weekend is over and get another 90 day pass. Rinse and repeat. This gives you another 90 days in your country of choice. If you make money on the internet, this strategy would work pretty well. You can just be a perpetual tourist or marry someone in another country and start a new life. This will not be a good fit for everyone, but there’s something exciting about this. If you are young, single, and restless, this could be the adventure of a lifetime. Here's more info on being a perpetual traveler and the FEIE: https://www.escapeartist.com/blog/perpetual-traveler-us-tax-code/ Suspend Payment Without More Debt: [low risk] So recently, it has been brought to my attention that there is a community college, Luna Community College (in Las Vegas, NM), that has tuition so low you could go half time all year for about 684 dollars. They have a small amount of associate's degrees. If you just want to stop paying without taking any more loans, this would be the way to do it. You could do this for many years. Luna Community College's tuition matrix: https://luna.edu/tuition_matrix Convert Private Loans to Federal: [low risk] From this point on, these are my special tactics I’ve been thinking about. They might work really well for some people. So, you have a bunch of federal loans and a good amount of private loans. You don’t want to fight debt collectors or move around. Try this. This plan only works if you have a bachelor’s degree though. Anyways, there is a special loan offered by the US Federal Government called the Graduate Plus Loan. This loan is incredible, because there is no aggregate student loan limit. In other words, you can borrow as much money as you want here. Even a million dollars no questions asked. All you need is no delinquency or default on your credit report. If you do have these things, you can get a cosigner in on the plan. They won’t ever be responsible anyways because you will defuse the tax bomb at the end. This works to your advantage, because you could go back to school at the graduate level, get a diploma mill master’s degree online, use your room and board payment to start paying off your private loans ASAP. Just make sure you are doing whatever your school considers half time enrollment in order to avoid student loan payments while doing this. Once you’ve gone to school long enough and converted all of your private loans to grad plus loans, you could just go on an IBR plan. This will at least make your life manageable. You would have to defuse your student tax bomb once this is over. Tactic below. Convert Federal Loans to Private: [medium risk] So, what if you wanted to go the opposite way? Maybe you want to convert all of your federal loans to private ones, default, and then leave the country? Hey, maybe there are reasons you want to hurry up the settlement process. You could essentially do the same strategy as above, but instead just borrow from Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, etc until all of your federal loans are paid off. Then, either cat and mouse or leave the country. I don’t think a lot of people would find a use for this, but hey who knows? Asset Creation Method: [high risk] What if you wanted to not just pay off your loans but get ahead in life? Maybe you feel like using your student loan debt to your advantage. Thanks to the work done by u/BinaryAlgorithm, you could really come out on top here. Remember those Grad Plus loans we were talking about? Well, there’s nothing stopping you from continually borrowing all year on these loans, investing the room and board, and acting as if you do not have the debt in the first place. While I had originally said that rental property does not count as income, I cannot find any documentation proving this. You can still invest this money however you want, and you just defuse the tax bomb at the end (if anyone can find that documentation, please let me know). I did find that rental properties offer a lot of ways to reduce your adjusted gross income (management fees, advertising, etc), and these could reduce your income closer to zero. We’re not done here. Moreover, you could get a job that qualifies for Public Student Loan Forgiveness, enjoy your investments, and then pay for the 10 years. Be sure to convert all loans to federal before starting this tactic. I only put this as high risk, because the whole plan falls apart if Grad Plus loans get capped. Will they? Probably not, because those are the loans doctors and lawyers take out to go to their professional schools. It would take an act of congress to change the way the law stands now, but still, you should know that. This plan spans decades, so a lot can change. Also, having this many installment loans may lower your credit score over a multitude of years, but based on what everyone has found out here, it's not by much. For more information, go to this subreddit's search bar and type in "aggregate" and go look at BinaryAlgorithm's two posts on the subject. Defusing the Student Tax Bomb: [low risk] So lucky for you, I talked to an actual lawyer and an actual IRS agent about this. This is completely legal and doable. Okay, so you were a good person and paid your IBR for 25-30 years. What now? Well, you’re about to be hit hard with a tax bomb. All of that money that is now forgiven counts as income on your taxes. This could mean a bill in the tens of thousands if you combined this with any of the other methods here—or just borrowed a lot to begin with. Luckily for us, there is something called insolvency. This means you are unable to pay your debts, and there is a really simple formula for whether or not you are insolvent. As long as you have more liabilities than assets at the time of student loan forgiveness, you are considered insolvent. In other words, right before you are about to be forgiven, like year 24 out of 25, you would take out a loan on something. All you would need to do is buy a house, buy a car, or buy something with a huge price tag. As long as your liabilities are way higher than your assets (like aim for 100K or something more), you are considered insolvent and you don’t have to pay any of the tax bomb. Boom. The IRS agent said this is fine. The lawyer said this is fine. I cannot believe this is fine. Where could you get the money to borrow for a house? Check Asset Creation method above. You could always sell the asset after the tax bomb is dealt with. For more information on defusing the student loan tax bomb: https://lawyerist.com/defusing-student-loan-interest-tax-bomb/ Getting Your Cosigner Off the Hook: So 90% of us have cosigners based on some statistic I read. These people are going to pissed at you, because they get harassed. If you have a lot of time to plan your strategy out, you can simply convert all of your private loans to federal ones. They are no longer responsible. The plan is above. Check out “Convert Private Loans to Federal.” Furthermore, if you are attempting to go the default route with private loans, you could potentially get your cosigner off the hook by refinancing your student loans without the cosigner. After you refinance, you could just default then. You would need good credit and meet certain requirements for this. Also, if you plan on defaulting, you might want to get your cosigner to transfer their assets to their spouse or someone trustworthy. Even though liens are rare, this could give you some peace of mind. As long as about 3-5 years go by, this is no longer considered a fraudulent transfer. Your state will have certain rules about this. If you are from Florida, apparently houses are untouchable there. You will need a lawyer to plan the asset transfer. At the same time, you may not be able to get your cosigner off the hook. Make peace with that. Student loans are brutal, so all you can really do is educate yourself and your cosigner and hope you come out on top. Madlad Method: [high risk] Now, here comes my personal plan. This is what I’m doing, because I want to live a life on my terms and not really work for anyone my entire life. I’m also not a normal person, so this will probably appear crazy to some or most of you. So at this point, if you understand all of the methods before you, you are a powerful player in the student loan circus. You can do anything from fight the man to maliciously comply and bankrupt the system while becoming upper-middle class. I don’t really care for any of that. I want to go to a tropical paradise and make music for 20 years, so here is my interpretation of everything. I have some federal loans and private loans. I net about 25K a year through the Grad Plus loans, and I work about 4 hours a week in the online classroom. I take that federal loan money, and I sock away a few hundred every month to save up for my private loan settlement in about five years. Since I save 300 every month, I’ll have about 18K in 5 years when I go into default. I will settle ASAP. At the same time, I will continue to go to diploma mill universities, get master's degree after master’s degree, and move to a Latin American country where the cost of living is even lower. This way, my 25K a year puts me in the upper class of that country. I can live where I want and really do whatever I damn well please for as long as the Grad Plus loans are around. As an added bonus, I will already be starting a new life in another country where I can make connections and maybe even get married. I studied linguistics, so I know how to teach English. I can do that if I want a source of income anywhere. So there is my plan, and honestly, one day we might get someone in office who just wipes out all of this debt anyways. If that’s the case, I can just play the waiting game until all of this is over. Here are the rules on adverse credit history and Grad Plus loans: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/plus-adverse-credit.pdf Final Thoughts: Defaulting on student loans is not immoral or a sin. It is a business decision. Everyone else gets bailouts, why should student borrowers be any different? You’re going to have to ignore the people who tell you why they think you should be a good little slave and pay your loans. Those people are not your friends. Those people are not on your side. Some of the best advice I ever received in life was you have to do what’s best for you. Also, if you have anything you would like to add to this or would like to challenge, please let me know. I want this to be as accurate as possible. I will be looking at this perpetually to make sure there are no errors. Take care. Good luck. You can do this.
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