Blog Archives

Be careful, don’t get raped!

We live in a culture of rape, and it’s truly ridiculous.  We teach our daughters how to avoid being raped, when we should be teaching our sons not to rape people.  Men should be seriously offended that society views their natural state as rapist, after all…  Women and girls are the ones who need to change their behaviour least they provoke some dormant rapist to the surface of that fine gentleman who lives in their dorm.

I would have hit the “reblog” button if there had been one, but there wasn’t.  So here’s a diatribe to read.  Go.  Read.  Follow her links.  Comment.  Share.  And for f#%ks sake, lets change the freakin’ landscape.  Rapist is not the inherent truth of man.

 

http://www.laughmom.com/2013/03/i-am-so-fucking-sick-of-teaching-our-daughters-not-to-get-raped/

 

A2Z – Gender Creative

Blogging our way from A to Z on sexual and gender identity - Gender Creative

 

The very first time I’d heard the term “Gender Creative” I was in a board meeting for Breaking the Silence (which was held in March).  Fran Forsberg, an amazing woman and dedicated volunteer, had used it to describe two of her children, and it clicked with me instantly.  Gender Creative – could there be a more perfect or beautiful way to describe a child who is, well… creative when it comes to gender?  I absolutely love the term, and hope it catches on like wildfire.  Having such a beautiful way to describe children who don’t necessarily fit into their assigned gender.

Children are too young to know how their sexual identities and desires will eventually shape them, but they often know right from the get go if their assigned gender fits or not.  Some children easily play in one or both binary gender roles.  Others feel at home solidly in one camp or the other (and it may or may not match their assigned gender).  Describing these children as Gender Creative allows them the freedom to experiment and play with their identities – as we should allow all children.

We should actively encourage our children to try on different roles, to play different parts.  We do this with little boys by encouraging them to pretend to be firemen, policemen, doctors, and race car drivers.  With little girls we encourage them to dress up as princesses, home makers, nurses, and ballerinas.  When we should be encouraging all our children to try on these different roles – regardless of their assigned gender or assigned sex.  I know I am equally thrilled when Lily-Ann dresses up as a cowboy, or tells me how she wants to grow up to play for the Blue Jays as when she wears a tutu and wings to school, announcing that she has decided to be Tinkerbell.  We play cars and My Little Ponies.

The point is that children SHOULD be Gender Creative.  It shouldn’t be the odd kid out who plays with gender, and finds it fluid and easily adaptable.  All children should have the freedom to find themselves without society forcing binary roles onto them.  It actually makes me sick to my stomach when I hear a parent tell a child “No, you can’t have that, it’s a girl toy” or “I’m not buying that for you, girls don’t play with action figures.”  It’s when the I’m-gonna-fix-the-world me comes out, and I can’t help but do a little educating – and I’m not always as polite as I should be.  Oh, I try to be…  but there are times when the beastly me comes out, and it’s pretty much always when I see a little kid just being their genuine self, and having that self squashed by a parent who so clearly doesn’t get it.

So, until we get to the point where society is able to allow ALL children to just be children – without forcing gender binaries on them.  Until then?  I like the term Gender Creative.  What a beautiful way to express how all kids should be free to be.

Gender Creative and Proud to be a part of the Pink Revolution

the april a to z 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

Government sanctioned discrimination, way to go Canada!

So, it appears Canada is again on the chopping block thanks to Harper.  Our flags once waved proud, but now are just as often full of disgrace.  This newest measure allows discrimination based on gender, going so far as to allow airport security the right to allow or deny access to individuals based on their gender.

Under section 5.2(1)(c) of the Aeronautics Act:

“An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if:  the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents.”

Why is this an issue?  Because for many Trans individuals the sex on their passport may not coincide with their gender.  There are very strict rules in place for changing the sex on your international identification that only a very small segment of the populace qualifies for.  These rules make it impossible for non-operative Trans people to have the M or F on their documents changed to reflect their actual gender.  A better solution, if this wording is to remain in place would be to allow for an “Other” designation.  Gender is, after all, a social construct that has nothing to do with an individuals sex (which, lets be honest, also has more than two possibilities).  Alas, we are stuck in a society that appears to enjoy this incorrect, yet entrenched, gender binary.

This goes even farther though.  The instant we allow those with limited power the ability to select who qualifies as female and who as male – based on how they present, we are opening ourselves up for all sorts of abuses.  Gender is a social construct that changes with time.  It used to be that we dressed our long haired little boys in pink dresses, while the girls wore blue.

What happens when the thirteen year old girl, with short cropped hair, wearing low rise baggy pants and a jersey is denied access to a plane to fly home to her parents after spending part of the Summer with her grandparents?  This policy gives airports the right to determine who is female enough, or male enough to board their planes.  The potential abuses this brings forward are downright scary.  Don’t think for a second that because you are not a genderqueer, or trans individual, or because you don’t have a gender creative child that it won’t affect you.  This is something that has the potential to harm us all.  Will we all have to don a dress and kerchief in order to be female enough to avoid speculation?  It’s a scary idea.  Men, don’t even think about wearing that salmon coloured shirt, you too may be pulled for questioning regarding your gender presentation.  Is this really a slope we even want to start on?

There is a petition here:  http://www.petitiononlinecanada.com/petition/tell-harper-to-allow-trans-people-to-fly-on-airplanes/758  Add your name, and let Harper and his yes men know that you are saying NO to this government sanctioned discrimination.  And for more information and ideas on what you can do to combat this, check out what Chris Milloy has to say here:  http://chrismilloy.ca/2012/01/transgender-people-are-completely-banned-from-boarding-airplanes-in-canada/

female enough to fly?In 1930 Amy Johnson finished a record-winning solo flight from England to Australia.  Would she be “female enough” to be allowed on a plane in Canada in 2012?  I wonder.

Raised to be censored.

I logged in today specifically to write more about Women and the fight to challenge societies notions of what and who we are to be.  So it was seemingly appropriate to discover the following when I clicked on WordPress in my toolbar:

wordpress has been censored

Of course, WordPress isn’t protesting on behalf of gender issues, it’s doing so to help prevent the potential screening and censoring of content on the web.  Another important issue that could affect us all.  But in all honesty, these repeating black boxes got me thinking.  Children are essentially raised to be censored.

As a society we don’t raise our children to be radical free thinkers out to change the rules and defy convention.  We raise our children to fit in, to maintain the status quo, to work within the system, to be censored – by us, by society, by themselves.  It’s a sad state of affairs.

Colour within the lines.

Present yourselves as society deems appropriate.

Working on the Power of SHe project has been challenging if for no other reason than I am forcing myself and my models to defy convention.  There are many shots that I have set up in my mind, but finding women brave enough and strong enough to participate with me is hard.  I don’t want airbrushed, magazine ready bodies.  I want real women, PERFECT in their natural, untended, and even derelict form.  Mother’s aprons, scars, celluloid, stretch marks – part of lives well lived.  Time for them to be celebrated not censored.  Love yourself in your decrepitude.  It’s time to teach our daughters a new standard of beauty, one free of censored black boxes and filled with the rosy pink hues of love.

Get involved!  I need you!  Please.

You can drop me a line any time to volunteer for this project – photographer at tobi-dawne dot com

Let’s break free of the black boxes society insists on using to mask and muffle us.  Embrace all it is to be a Woman, and celebrate in your own flesh!

wordpress, censored black boxes

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.  🙂

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!

 

I try to forget that it’s Remembrance Day.

On November 11th, every year after 1993, I do my best to forget that it’s Remembrance Day.  It may not seem appreciative, it may be politically incorrect, but it’s what I do to try to cope.  My sister was killed on Remembrance Day in 1993.  She was twelve, I was sixteen.  And in that instant the meaning of the day changed for me.

It was seventeen years ago now.   After that many years, it’s easy to get through the day to day.  After that many years her not being a part of my life is normal.

But on Remembrance Day it’s a whole different story.

One day a year those feelings become fresh, become new, and I experience the loss all over again.  One day a year I remember the annoying kid who drove me up the wall, yet who, at the same time, I loved totally and completely.  One day a year I remember my sister who never got to grow up.

I am so appreciative of all those men, women, and canines who have given so completely of themselves to ensure our freedom and safety. I am so grateful of the sacrifices made in the past, the sacrifices currently being made, and the sacrifices that will be made in the future.  So many amazing individuals giving of themselves in a way most of us can barely comprehend.  For the greater good – an idea, a concept that for so many has very little real and concrete meaning – but for our veterans and soldiers means everything.  Thank you!  To all of you!

Canadians have done amazing things worldwide, I am proud of our peacekeeping efforts.  We are a nation that believes in equality and in inalienable human rights, and our troops have given of themselves to ensure those rights for all people.  So please do not think that my attempts to forget, and ignore the date have anything to do with what Remembrance Day is supposed to be about.  It’s just that, for me and for my family, it is about remembering something entirely different.

It’s about my sister, Regan.

It’s about having someone you love ripped away from you.  It’s about all the things she had yet to do, and had yet to become, all the things she had hoped for.  It’s about the small moments we remember and that we now cling to… because they are all that’s left.

She was only twelve, and now she’s gone.

I will be glad when it’s November 12th, and we’ll have made it through another Remembrance Day.  Because, for a family to move on from something like this, you need to forget.  To cope, to survive, sometimes you just need to forget.

 

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