Blog Archives

Breaking the Silence – 2013

This year marks the 16th annual Breaking the Silence conference at the University of Saskatchewan, and I am (again) proud to be a member of the board working very hard to bring it to you.  This year we are focusing on the idea of finding justice and equality on and off the playing field.

As we all know, the locker room has long been a place of dread for our youth, and that doesn’t always end with high school graduation.  Join us on March 22nd and 23rd and we attempt to throw open the doors, and let a little light, and some fresh air into those dark spaces.  Our topic this year?  Clearing it Out! Removing Homophobia from the Locker Room and Beyond.

You can learn a little more at our facebook event page or at our website!  Hope to see you there.

https://www.facebook.com/events/453413428064685/?

http://www.usask.ca/education/breaking-the-silence/

Breaking the Silence

Breaking the Silence

 

…and yes, for those of you who specifically wrote on your evaluations that you’d have liked to have heard a little more from me during last years conference, this year I’ll be offering two sessions.  I do have to admit, I loved the one comment that was written in that simply stated that next year they’d like to see “More Tobi”.  😉

Bluejays’ Escobar to Participate in Outreach Program

I have to give a shout out to the management team behind the Bluejays.  Today the news came out that Yunel Escobar will be receiving a three game suspension for wearing eye black with a homophobic slur scrawled into it.  The pay he would have generated during these games will be donated to You Can Play and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.  Escobar will also be undergoing sensitivity training, after which he will participate in an outreach initiative aimed at teaching others about sensitivity and tolerance towards the acronym community.

Escobar - slur in eye black

Image Source – Getty Images

You can read the official MLB article here:  http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120918&content_id=38609650&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

This was released Monday prior to today’s committee meeting:  http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120917&content_id=38585782&vkey=news_tor&c_id=tor

I’ve written about the steps being taken by Major League Baseball, and specifically certain MLB teams in the past…  and this just further demonstrates their commitment to equality.  It’s a good thing when people, so brightly spotlighted in the public arena are willing to take an obvious stand against discrimination and bullying.  All too often people report only on the negatives.  This may have become a story based on the ignorant actions of one man (who has since apologized and will be actively working to make things better) it has become a story of a team and an organization willing to do what is right, and that’s something worth noting.

A2Z – Jerseys & Jokes

Blogging our way from A to Z on sexual and gender identity - Jerseys & Jokes

 

Around here, sports are important…  especially hockey.  It’s a big part of Saskatchewan, and nowhere is that famous Prairie Machismo more apparent than in the locker room.  Or so I’ve been told.

Gay jokes run rampant, along with comments about the prissy nature of certain plays or players.  It’s a tough place to feel welcome as a member of the LGBTT2QIA community.  Any time your personhood is called into question, even if it’s done in jest (sometimes, especially so) it breaks you down.  After a while, it can all become too much.

In an effort to curtail this type of anti-gay banter and sentiment, Patrick Burke (in honor of his late brother, Brandon Burke) began a campaign we now know as “You Can Play”.  At it’s very heart all it states is that if you can play, you can play.  Nothing else matters.  It’s something we all needed to hear, and continue to have reinforced.

I encourage you to take a minute to read this article Burke wrote about his brother, the decision to come out, and how it affected all their lives.  It is well worth the read, every encouraging paragraph:  Never Forgotten, Patrick Burke Remembers his Pioneering Brother.

For more on You Can Play, check out these links:

So next time you’re about to make a joke about how gay someone or something is, stop and think.  Just because others do it, doesn’t make it okay.  In fact, it’s NOT okay – and people are finally starting to get it.  The locker room should be a place of camaraderie, of solidarity… not of exclusion and loathing.

 

 

the april alphabet blog challenge

“Aggravated Homosexuality” may be punishable by death in Uganda.

amnesty international rainbow

 

I’m still out sick, officially, but this couldn’t wait:

The Ugandan Parliament is currently looking at a bill that would allow the death penalty for something called “aggravated homosexuality”.  Sexual Minority and Gender Variant people in Uganda already face a dangerous rode, as Uganda is one of the few nations where homosexuality is illegal.  Please take a minute to write to the Prime Minister, urging him to NOT pass this bill during their upcoming session.

Action must be taken immediately, with a deadline of April 2nd.  So please, please take a moment to write a brief email or to send (with guaranteed delivery prior to the second) a letter to the Hon. Amama Mbabzi.

Facing judicial punishment for simply BEING is a human rights travesty, but the idea that an individual could be put to death for love?  There are no words that are adequate.

 

Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi

Office of the Prime Minister

P.O. Box 341, Kampala, Uganda

E-mail: opm@imul.com

For more information on this bill, and other human rights issues, please visit Amnesty International at http://www.amnesty.org/ and http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR59/001/2012/en/fa2f38d6-dc7e-44cc-b295-5016f57154c5/afr590012012en.html

Another youth lost to suicide…

How many of our youth need to die before enough people take notice and make change happen?  This weekend another young person took their own life after experiencing all the homophobic bullying they could handle.  Tonight we had our wrap-up meeting for Camp fYrefly 2011…  and all I can think is that if this young man had the kind of community we’ve built here, perhaps things never would have gone that far.

Tomorrow, please wear purple.  It’s a small thing we can do.  October 20th is wear purple day.  Wear purple in a show of solidarity against homophobia.  Wear purple for equality.  Wear purple to let our youth know that there are options.  We can make things better RIGHT NOW.  We don’t have to wait.

Don’t wait.

Someone in this young mans life may have been waiting for the right time to talk to him….  for the right time to tell him that he wasn’t alone.

Don’t wait.

Make it better.

———-

read more about Jamie Hubley at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2011/10/19/ottawa-suicide-gay-teen-folo.html

Jack-o-lanterns, and racism, and chihuahuas… oh my!

So yesterday I didn’t post my photo.  Sorry everyone.  I wasn’t feeling great in the evening, and by the time we got home from doing a bit of grocery shopping (that we had to stop early because of how I felt) I just crashed right out.  I did take a picture though, so am posting it now.  🙂  Believe it or not our little pumpkin head is still in one piece on our front step.  LOL  I guess he doesn’t have to join his “friends” in the compost just yet.  😉

Jack-o-lantern in the snow

Jack froze his buns off (and everything else off for that matter).

 

Now onto something more serious…

I’m always surprised at the comments that people feel completely entitled to make as long as it’s prefaced with “I’m not racist, but…” or “I’m not homophobic, but…” or “I’m not _____, but…”.    To some  degree I’ve come to expect things like this from earlier generations, it still bothers me BUT I’ve come to accept it.  I don’t agree with it, but I realize there is likely little I will do to change their views.  However, to hear this from someone who is younger than I am just shocks me.  Perhaps it shouldn’t, but it does.

Why do I bring this up?  It’s been bugging me for a few days.  I was having a polite conversation with an acquaintance who prefaced a statement with one of the aforementioned qualifiers…  then proceeded to blurt out several racist stereotypes (which I won’t repeat).  I probably had a completely dumbfounded look on my face as I stood there in shock for what felt like an eternity, because he nudged me and asked “ya know?”

Well…  actually?  I don’t know.

I really thought this type of thing was something people my age (and especially those younger than me) had moved beyond.  The idea that someone who would have grown up in the same culture I had would still be holding onto ideas like this just totally threw me for a loop.  You can complain about a specific person, a specific incident, without complaining about an entire race of people who are as diverse and eclectic as night and day.

I actually debated about whether to blog this or not.  The fact that I’m still bothered by it a few days later is what decided it for me.  It really hurt my heart.  I hope these things aren’t something my daughter ever has to hear.  The only  “I’m not ____, but…”  she should ever be faced with is this:

I’m not vegan, but I can’t argue with vegan baked goods… DELISH!

 

My rant over, here’s a picture for today.  Marnie (the cream and white Chihuahua puppy) tattling that the other Chihuahuas (blue tri-colour Roo and black tri-colour Ned) won’t share the pillow.

The Chihuahua pack.

"I'm not a tri, but I deserve some pillow"

 

Roadblocks…

Blocked!

 

In Saskatoon?  Feel a need to be involved in something really important that could change lives for the better?  Join us on Saturday evening for one hour in the park.  Hold a candle, share a story, listen… and let kids know that IT GETS BETTER!

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=175046555844109

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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