Freak Nation FAQ

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All these questions (and answers) assume you’re one of this site’s intended target audience — freaks. If you’re not a freak yourself, you may not really care about these questions or their answers — in which case, maybe one of our other FAQs would help you more. If you are a freak, and you have some question that’s not addressed here, please feel free to send it to the webmaster; it may well be a question that ought to be in here.

General Freak Questions

What do you mean by “freak”?

We mean pretty much anyone who participates in the ongoing meeting and melding of the various freak tribes. There are some people who participate in only one tribe, and who are otherwise mundane. But most of us can (and usually do) describe ourselves as “bi/poly/Pagan/kinky”, or “gothic gamer-geek”, or by similar multiple labels that point to multiple tribes.

Where do you get off, defining what “freak” means?

Well, we ponied up a few bucks for a domain registration, and we built this web site... hey, there’s nothing stopping anyone else from putting up a site that disagrees with us. And we’re not about to go out slapping “certified freak” and “not sufficiently freaky” stickers on people. We’re just trying to bring the community together. We’re not about to force anyone to join us.

Finding Other Freaks

Where can I find other freaks in my area?

We probably can’t help you with this. You undoubtedly know your hometown better than we do, and if you haven’t been able to find any other freaks around there, it may just be that there aren’t any.

We assume you’ve already tried hanging around the local gaming store, comic shop, goth/punk/alternative club, occult bookstore, or whatever. Or you might live in some benighted place where there aren’t even any such establishments.

In general, the closer you get to a city or other major population center, the more freaks you’ll be able to find.

Should I move to a city to get more freakitude?

If you’re asking that question with any degree of seriousness, the answer is probably yes — but it’s a qualified yes, not an absolute. It depends a little on what city you’re thinking of, and also on what kind of person you are and what you want/need in your living situation.

Metropolitan areas are, in general, much more accepting of personal difference than rural places and small towns. In addition, the east and west coasts of the US are much more tolerant and liberal than the heartland or the South. So Portland, OR is a lot better for freaks than Mobile or Montgomery, AL, even though they’re about the same size.

But you already knew that. (At least if you’re in the US. And if you’re not, we really can’t help.)

But you may not need to move all the way into a city, or to a particularly large one. If you like nature, or you hate noise and crowds, you may prefer a suburban solution. While suburbs can often be bastions of conformity, they have the advantages of being close to both cities (where you can find other freaks) and to places with nature, quiet, and space.

School Troubles

My school has banned trenchcoats. Is that legal?

It’s a little unclear, actually. But the short story is, they can probably get away with it, one way or another.

Technically speaking, public schools are not supposed to restrict students’ freedom of expression, except when the expression being engaged in is disruptive to the learning environment.

However, good luck convincing a judge that your trenchcoat is a form of personal expression. The American legal system is just not ready to hear that; they won’t buy a First Amendment argument for a trenchcoat.

Furthermore, the school will probably make a case that trenchcoats can easily conceal weaponry — and they do have a point there. A big, enveloping garment can hide a multitude of interesting items. But it can also be imperative for warmth, if you live in a northern area. If the school is only trying to ban black coats, and allowing coats of any other color, then they’re on legal ground that’s very shaky; if you can get your parents to support you, you may well be able to get that ruling overturned.

If you live in a cold climate, and the school’s banned all trenchcoats (regardless of color), then there are probably a lot of other shivering students who are annoyed by this. You may be able to get a lot of parents together, pointing out that there’s a serious health issue at stake.

In any event, consulting your state’s branch of the ACLU is your best bet. Even if they can’t provide actual legal lawyers, they should at least be able to advise you on what to do.

My school has banned spikes (on wristbands, jackets, etc.) Is that legal?
Yup. They can be used as weapons. Sure, maybe you’d never actually do so. That's not the point. Nobody’s allowed to bring in knives, brass knuckles, or similar things, right? Unfortunately, this means they can legitimately get away with banning the spikes.
My school has banned spiky hair and unnaturally bright hair dye. Is that legal?
Probably not. As with trenchcoats and other (non-dangerous) items of clothing, schools aren’t supposed to restrict students’ freedom of expression, unless it’s somehow disruptive to the learning environment. It’s pretty hard for hair to be that much of a disruption. Once again, you should talk to your chapter of the ACLU for more specific advice.
My school has banned pentacles. Is that legal?

Absolutely not. At least, not if this is a public school. Wearing a pentacle (or any other religious symbol) is a 100-percent-protected exercise of the religious freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment, and government may not infringe on this right without a “compelling interest” (such as protecting lives). It doesn’t matter if your school claims that the pentacle is “a Satanic emblem”; Satanism is a valid religion too. It really doesn’t matter if they claim it’s “gang regalia”; that's both false and irrelevant.

Contact your state ACLU chapter. And the local newspaper, if you like. You’ve got a strong case, and your school is completely in the wrong.

If your school is not a public school, then you may still have a case, if the school gets any of its money from the government (federal, state, or local). If any of the school’s funding comes from tax money, that money cannot be used (legally) to suppress harmless religious displays.

If you’re stuck in a privately-run, privately-funded school of some sort, then you’re kinda out of luck. Sorry.

About the Site and Its Creators

Who runs this site?
We’re a couple of freaks in San Francisco, transplanted from London and Massachusetts by way of the Washington, DC area. Between us, we have been or currently are involved in: polyamory, BDSM, RPGs, LARPing, M:tG, comics collecting, boffing, fandom (incuding organizing cons), Neopaganism, Hermetic magick, Ren Faire attendance, bisexual activism, Unix system administration, Web design, software development, and running the web site. You can find out more about us in the site notes area.
Can I get space here for my cool, freaky project?
Probably. We’re strongly into supporting projects of interest to the freak community, so if you’ve got something that you think other freaks would like, email the webmaster and tell him about it. It doesn’t need to be something that interests all seven freak tribes; things with that broad an appeal are pretty few and far between. As long as it interests at least one tribe, that’s enough.
How do I submit content?
See our submission guidelines; they have all the information you need.
Your “Sky Watch” box is busted! The aspects don’t match up!

It does look that way, doesn’t it? If, for example, Venus is in square with the Moon, and the Moon is in square with Jupiter, then it would seem to follow that Venus and Jupiter are either in opposition or conjunction, right? But the box is actually fine, and here’s why:

Astrologers don’t require that an aspect be 100% accurate to count. An aspect simply has to fall within a given margin of error (called an “orb”) to be counted as valid. The standard orb for a square aspect, for example, is 8° (4 on either side); the same applies for opposition. So anything from 86° to 94° counts as being in square. (Orbs for other aspects vary, ranging down to 2° for quintile and other minor ones.)

So if Venus is actually 92° away from the Moon, and the Moon is 93° away from Jupiter, they can each be in square — but the angle between Venus and Jupiter adds up to 185°, outside the allowable orb for opposition.

(Also, our Sky Watch box uses much smaller orbs than most astrologers, just to cut down on the amount of clutter in the box. Our orbs range from ¾° for quincunx up to 2½° for opposition and conjunction.)

Got some questions this FAQ hasn’t answered? If it isn’t answered in any of our other FAQs, either, then send it to the webmaster. At the very least, you’ll get your answer; if lots of people are asking the same question, you’ll see it added to this list soon.