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It’s almost over…

Very honestly, these last few months have passed FAR too quickly.  And along with the passage of this last month, we are almost at the end of the election campaign.  It’s been almost surreal this go ’round.  In the past I’ve always had several media requests throughout my campaigns.  I’ve had TV, print, radio, web – media of all sorts.  But this time, in my third election, not so much.  And part of me can’t help but wonder if it’s because I’ve chosen to focus my efforts on an equal rights and anti-bullying campaign.  Are these issues that the media simply doesn’t want to touch?

The one story I have been asked to contribute to, surprise surprise, is actually a photographic assignment.  And hopefully it will be live on the website for the Star Phoenix soon.   A few candidates, in key ridings, were asked to take their cameras out and photograph things within their riding that held meaning for them, and that would highlight those unique aspects of the riding.  It was a pretty easy assignment for me…  but even in there, I managed to share an anti-bullying message.  😉  I promise to share a link once it’s available.  Until then, my earlier question stands.

Is the issue of equality and bullying just too hot for the local – let’s face it, CONSERVATIVE – media to handle?  What are your thoughts?

Tobi-Dawne Smith for Saskatoon-Meewasin

Tobi-Dawne Smith and her daughter, Lily-Ann, experiencing the joy of finding a baby snake out in the green of Saskatchewan.

Tobi-Dawne Smith and her Daughter Lily-Ann

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Tobi-Dawne Smith is proud to be running in her home riding, a riding that boasts incredible diversity. As a member of a multi-racial family, she believes in the strength found in an open sharing of cultural and religious traditions. An open and honest dialogue is the best way to bridge gaps and bring understanding. The candor found in a quiet moment of respect is something all people should seek.

The search for authenticity isn’t something that ends when Smith, a professional photographer, puts down her lens. It’s a part of everything she does. Whether she’s busy in her most important role as mother to an incredible four year old, helping families create a legacy through photography, or cultivating initiatives to create safe spaces for at-risk youth.

Ms. Smith spent the last eight months working with Camp fYrefly, which celebrated it’s third year in Saskatchewan with it’s retreat this August. Camp fYrefly is a life changing program designed to help foster leadership skills and resiliency in gender variant and sexual minority youth, youth who are at the greatest risk of bullying and suicide. Now that Camp has been wrapped up, she has accepted a role on the Board for Breaking the Silence – an annual conference in support of the LGBTT2QIA community at the University of Saskatchewan.

Tobi-Dawne’s role as a mother has strengthened her resolve to be socially responsible and to help build a better future for her daughter, and all the children of Saskatchewan. She recognizes that our children depend on her to fight against inequality, and to help create with them a more genuine safe future for our province. TD also realizes the only political party within which she can truly achieve these goals is the Green Party of Saskatchewan.

The Green Party’s six guiding principles: ecological wisdom, social justice, participatory democracy, nonviolence, sustainability and respect for diversity.  Guiding principles we should all strive to uphold.

Pride Rainbow

If you are not sure what you can do to help send the message that you believe in equality, and want to help make safe spaces for gender variant and sexual minority youth, I have one thing to say to you:

PRIDE RAINBOW

Yep.  It’s that easy.  Wear a pride rainbow pin, put up a rainbow flag in your classroom, stick up a pride window decal at your place of business.  Be visible!  It may seem like a really small thing – but when people see that rainbow, they know they are in a space that is welcoming and safe.  Many won’t understand it’ significance, but those who need it will.

For all the gender-variant and sexual-minority youth…

For my campers, the Alumflies of Camp fYrefly 2011 (both Saskatoon and Edmonton), and for all the gender-variant and sexual-minority youth heading back to school.  Hold your heads high.  Be proud of the incredible, beautiful people you are.  Shine a light in dark places for all those who have none.  Know you are loved, you are treasured.  Build a community around yourself.  Find safe spaces.  Identify the supports in your school or on your campus, and if there aren’t any, then come find adults like us who will support you in the greater community.  Know that IT GETS BETTER!

Be brave!  Be strong!  Be safe!

 

For my fYreflies:

*jumping up, arms thrown wide over my head, tossing glitter far and wide*

TA DA!!!!

 

 


 

Nothing on the horizon

Going through iCal today, figuring out what I need to do next, I’ll admit to getting teary when I realized there is nothing relating to Camp fYrefly on the horizon.  I’ve been so focused on camp the last six months, it’s an odd feeling seeing NOTHING on iCal in purple (purple is the colour I chose for all things Camp fYrefly related, I’m big on colour-coding it’s the only way to keep organized).

I truly feel that everything I’d done in my life, somehow lead up to my position as camp coordinator.

  • My work with youth, and winning the “youth for youth” award in high school.
  • Personal experiences and interactions throughout high school, university, and beyond.
  • All of my equal rights activism
  • My life in politics
  • The experiences I’ve had running a political party
  • The time I’ve spent in front of the camera at media events
  • My time behind the camera, appreciating the inherent beauty in all people
  • The negative and positive experiences of owning my own business(es)
  • The fact that I’m so crafty/artsy
  • My being so “sex positive” and open to talking about pretty much anything
  • All of the years I’ve spent studying and teaching operant conditioning
  • Even becoming a mom

All of it, it all led to the moments at camp.  Those vital, amazing, life changing, life AFFIRMING moments.  And now, looking at my calendar, knowing that it’s over…  well…  I’d admit to there being an immense sense of loss.  Sure, I still have lots of work before camp stuff will actually be done with.  Lots of little detail things, invoices, bills, receipts, paperwork, reports, etc.  And I still have all of my amazing, incredible, stupendous campers – none of whom I intend to lose track of, and all whom I hope will be up for the occasional get-together/reunion.  But there is still a part of me mourning, seeing nothing actually scheduled in.  Nothing purple on my calendar.  It’s a feeling I didn’t expect, but there it is, just the same.

I feel lonely.

I want to brag, but I’ve been asked to refrain.

I really want to brag about something my husband did.  Something that made me proud in an enormous way.  But he asked me not to.  He doesn’t think acting like a human being is brag worthy…  but trust me, it is.

So many times, people don’t treat one another well.  So many people are treated as sub-par.  So many so, that it’s become more normal for it to happen than for it not to.  It shouldn’t be something worth bragging on – to treat folks with dignity and respect.  To treat them as equals.  But in this day and age, it really is.  Especially when you defend said people against remarks or injustices.

I can’t provide details.  But I had to say something.  Today, I’m so proud of my man…  Because to treat people as equals really is a big deal in a world where it’s not expected.  🙂

OMG!

I honestly never thought I’d see legislation like this passed during my lifetime.  It was too much to hope for.  Let’s hope that California merely leads the way, and soon the rest of North America follows.  It would be a dream to have my daughter and her friends grow up learning about the amazing LGBT men and women who led the way to freedom, and those who who still continue the fight for equality.

 

http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2011/07/california-assembly-approves-landmark-bill-that-would-require-teaching-of-lgbt-history/

 

I honestly have tears rolling down my cheeks over this.

Regina Woman Refused Her Right to Vote!

A woman, who went to cast her ballot at an advanced poll, was turned away.  Not because she forgot her I.D. or couldn’t prove residency…  but because of a medical condition.  An enumerator who went to her residence simply decided that she wasn’t fit to vote, without even talking to her.  Then, when she went to the polling station, she was turned away on the grounds of being unregistered.

Can we say DISCRIMINATION?

Need some help?

dihskrim-uh-neyshuhn

This woman, like any other, regardless of age or disability, deserves to cast her vote as she sees fit.  It is her right as a Canadian citizen.  Wherever she places her X, it is her right to do so.

I honestly hope there are some serious consequences for the unnamed enumerator in this mess.  This is not a matter that should be handled internally.  I personally would like to see some outside involvement, and possible charges being laid.  Discrimination on any basis is not something to be taken lightly.

I am honestly too outraged to post much more than the basic facts here…  I’ll soon start making up words and just flinging my arms around violently.  This is SOOOO not okay.  Not even remotely.

This woman, regardless of how well she understands the political game (and truly, how well do any of us understand it?), deserves to vote.  The fact that some government worker went to her home and simply decided she was unfit – without even talking to her – is reprehensible.  Very honestly, if someone is capable of telling you their name, their age, and can identify themselves as a Canadian citizen (in one way or another), then they have the right to put their X wherever they see fit.  Even if this information must be relayed through a third party (as would be the case for my younger sister, Marie) they have the right to vote.

Appalling!

To read the story by CBC, click below:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2011/04/28/sk-voting-senior-110428.html

Bill C-389… the “bathroom bill”?

Today has been super busy.  Spent the morning with my wee girlie.  The early afternoon answering emails and phone calls.  A photo shoot in the late afternoon.  Supper with my husband and girlie, followed by another shoot.  Read a few chapters to the girl, put her to bed… and am now here – with you.  Because today was so busy, there are lots of things I could blog about…  but more important than anything I did, is something YOU can do.

With the looming general election, there’s a chance that Bill C-389 may end up being scrapped.  If it’s not passed soon, it’s done…  and all the work that has been done already will be for nothing.  Everything will have to start from scratch.

To it’s discredit, Bill C-389 has become known as the “bathroom bill”.  But it really has very little to do with public washroom facilities (gendered washrooms vs ungendered ones) and everything to do with human rights.  Some folks, particularly the “Christian Right” have been using fear-mongering tactics… claiming it would mean the end of “family values”.  And honestly?  What a load of bunk.

This bill is about human rights on a VERY basic level.  Equality for all people.  It simply asks for the words “gender identity, gender expression” to be added to both the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.  This would give protection to transgendered people, who currently face an appalling  amount of discrimination, recrimination, and fear every day…  for nothing more than BEING.

You can read the text of the bill itself at:  http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Parl=40&Ses=3&Mode=1&Pub=Bill&Doc=C-389_1&File=27#1

In an effort to promote fear, prejudice, and incite hatred some are attempting to thwart this bill saying that it would mean that we would need to start teaching trans 101 in pre-school.  Quite honestly, these folks are completely out of touch with reality…  but, seriously, this is the “worst case scenario” they came up with.  The worst possible thing to come out of this legislation would be to teach equality to children?  Wow.  How is it we haven’t passed this bill already???

We teach equality regardless of sex, equality regardless of race, equality regardless of religion, equality regardless of wealth, equality regardless of creed…  why are we not teaching our young children equality regardless of gender?

Bill C-389 is about safety, security, and the right to personhood.  Transgendered individuals deserve the same protection under the law that every other person is already guaranteed.  It is disgusting that we haven’t already ensured legislation like this is in place.

So, what can you do?

Write Letters!

There is a draft letter available at:  http://egale.ca/index.asp?lang=&menu=1&item=1451 So if you aren’t confident drafting your own, please feel free to copy and paste the one available there.  That is, after all, the whole reason it is there.

If you are in Saskatchewan here are the email addresses for your Senators:

andrer@sen.parl.gc.ca

dyckli@sen.parl.gc.ca

merchp@sen.parl.gc.ca

russem@sen.parl.gc.ca

tkachd@sen.parl.gc.ca

wallin@sen.parl.gc.ca

Share this Blog Post!

Share this link on facebook, twitter, or any of the dozens of social networking sites out there.  Make people aware of this important bill.  Do NOT let it die.

Talk to the Local Media!

Got a favourite news team or news show?  Find their website.  Chances are they will have contact information listed.  Email them, phone them!  Make them aware of what is going on.  Get them talking!

Tell Your Friends!

Seriously, talk to your friends and family.  I bet most of the people you know don’t even know about this bill.  Did you?

It is an atrocity that in this day and age there are still people in Canada without basic human rights.  Without the right to be free from discrimination, without the right to be free from fear.  Bathroom legislation?  What a slap in the face.  This isn’t about public washrooms.  This is about being HUMAN.

Speak up!  Get heard!  Make change!

 

We wore purple today, did you?

Today, people around the globe, were encouraged to wear purple in solidarity against homophobia, against bullying, and in memory of the several young people who have committed suicide in the last month because of homophobic bullies.  In it’s simplest terms?  Today we wore purple for equality.

Did you wear purple?  why or why not?

We love purple people!

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