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Breaking the Silence – and 80’s Day

Well, we’re here!  The sixteenth annual Breaking the Silence conference at the University of Saskatchewan is tomorrow!  There is still time to register – though not much.  So if you haven’t done so, get’r done!  There really is no time left.  Get your registration done tonight!  All the details are here:  http://www.usask.ca/education/breaking-the-silence/index.php

And because you asked for it, I’ll be doing my session on understanding sex, gender, and orientation TWICE.  That means you’ve got an extra opportunity to get in on this discussion if you missed it last year.  And even if you did get in last year, because I conduct it as a discussion, it will never be the same as where we go is truly directed by YOU.

Okay…  now for a few fun pictures.  😉

It was 80’s day at Kid kid’s school today.  Normally I’m all for spirit days and getting dressed up.  But an 80’s day?  Two thirds of everything that the cool kids are wearing these days are totally 80’s inspired – which means every day is 80’s day.  Seriously, every item the girl wore was out of her usual wardrobe.

LOL

That said…  the 80’s were about excess…  so we loaded on the bangles, we loaded on the belts, we loaded on the hair spray…  and we added slouch socks – because that’s one style that didn’t make it back.  And because it’s Thursday, that meant that I had to get dressed up too, after all I couldn’t spend the afternoon at school and NOT take part in 80’s day.  LOL  So I found the perfect jacket (and stuffed socks under my bra straps to mimic shoulder pads), pulled on some black leggings, a gold lamé skirt, and again with the slouch socks.  Then we did our hair and make-up… everything in excess!  It was great.  😀

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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”.  😉

Breaking the Silence is Fast Approaching

Though our sky was dark and dreary for much of the day today, my heart was happy as I look forward.  We are coming into crunch time for planning this years Breaking the Silence conference.  This conference is something that is very near and dear to my heart and I am so blessed to be on the board.  And while our key theme this year is a sporting one (focusing on issues in the locker room and beyond) it will deal with the same truths we all care so much about, bullying and living as our authentic selves.  I’m looking forward to another highly successful conference this March.

The website still contains information from 2012, but it should be updated shortly with information on our keynote and registration for 2013:  http://www.usask.ca/education/breaking-the-silence/

Grey skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face...

Things are looking up! 🙂 The view from my front walk.

And join me tomorrow as we take a look at my “daily routine” in another exciting photo a day challenge post:

photo a day challenge for january

Remember Me???

Hey!  Remember me?

Yeah, it’s been a while.  I know.  Things have been a little crazy hectic here.  But we finally got everything moved out of the old house and into our new home (and the garage and shed).  No, we aren’t actually unpacked yet…  but I’m making slow progress.

We have our computer/crafting nook set up.  Which, let’s face it, is of prime importance in this family – and I’d suspect many more others than will admit to it.  The girl has already been busy at work both on the computer and sitting at her own little craft station, making all sorts of things.

The girl’s bedroom is MOSTLY set up.  For now her mattress is on the floor and she does have some boxes still that need unpacking.  She has usable space though, and her clothes are all accessible in her closet.  So I’m happy with where we’re at there (for now).

We moved in our little antique “three bears” kitchen table and chairs yesterday so finally got to use them.  If you remember way back when, I blogged about them when we first bought them.  🙂  They’re super cute, but I’ll be honest…  while their style fit in perfectly at our old place?  They don’t match quite as well here.  So I’m open for suggestions on how to paint/stain/refinish them to help them blend a little better in a European kitchen.

Our bedroom is partially put together.  Still a long way to go in here…  but we have a bed, a closet, and a tv (as well as a butt load of boxes).  I know it will come together yet, but yeah.  Our room isn’t exactly the priority.

The bathroom requires some work…  new tub, new vanity, new counter top, new light fixture(s), new floor.  Honestly?  I think the only things I’m okay with keeping are the toilet and the sink.  So we’ve definitely got our work cut out for us in there.

So yeah…  exhausted.  But I am slowly putting things together.

Damon had taken the last two weeks off to help pack up the old place, move, and get started on the unpacking.  Today was his first day back at work.  It feels kinda odd not having him around.  I’d gotten used to it.

Today was also the first day I used my new key fob for our alarm system.  I’ve never had an alarm system, so it does take some getting used to.  Gotta get in the habit of pushing those buttons when I’m supposed to.  LOL

Today the girl had her school photo retakes too.  And yes, I’m sure this one will turn out MUCH better.  She was just too darn busy playing with her friends in line to want to bother with the picture last time.  Where today it was just her in the room, so it went much easier.

Further, today marks the International Day of Remembrance.  A couple years ago I had organized a candlelight vigil down at the memorial bandshell beside the North Saskatchewan River.  This year I’ll mark it quietly at home with my family.  And I do ask that those of you who aren’t doing something en mass do the same.  Just take a moment to remember all those amazing people who lost their lives simply for having the courage to live authentically.  It is simply not right that so very many *trans women and men are murdered EVERY YEAR for being themselves.  It is so beyond a time for change.  Some Women have penises, and some Men have a vagina – get over it.  People should not have to die because they don’t fit into some other persons idea of what “man” or “woman” means.  My *trans sisters and brothers are incredible, strong, brave, compassionate individuals and they should not have to fear for their safety every time they leave their homes.  So yes, if you do nothing else, take a few minutes out of your day to remember the many, many men and women who have been brutally murdered for the crime of being who they genuinely are.

Wear Purple, Be Fierce!

 

Wear Purple, Be Fierce - Spirit Day in memory of those who have lost their lives because of homophobic bullying.  Wear purple, send a message of hope.

A Trans* Doll’s Journey!

I had to share a recent project by an artist whose work I really enjoy.  It’s not their usual medium, however they were inspired by a find at the family cottage and so set to work.  She is refinishing a dollhouse originally built by her Grandfather and played with by her mother, and is sharing the progress on her Deviant Art account.  Why do I feel the need to share this?  Well, the most recent addition to her tiny home is a Transgender doll that began it’s existence as female, but has transitioned to male…  right down to the binder (worn a little low, but still poignant).

I’d like to introduce you to this bibliophile of a doll, who is yet unnamed, but seems quite happy in his new life:

Trans* doll by Ullakko

You can check out more of Ulla Thynell’s work at DA, where her username is ullakko.  Here is a direct link to her journal, where she first introduced us to our unnamed friend and shared a little about his transition:  http://my.deviantart.com/messages/#/d595iqi  And while he was not created with the intent of any kind of deeper meaning, I believe there is some truth to be found in how his physical self had to be ground down to find his final and true form.

Happy PRIDE Week Saskatoon!

Welcome to the 20th anniversary of Pride week in Saskatoon!  Yep.  20 years of Pride.  It’s a pretty amazing thing.

I’ve only been attending for five or six years now…  maybe seven.  But even in that short a time, the leaps and bounds taken have been amazing.  I remember it only being a handful of people out, but we are now seeing thousands of people every year – and the number is growing exponentially every year.  It really is an amazing thing!

So, here’s a brief run down on a few of my favourite Pride events:

Picnic in the Park (formerly known as Family Day) – Sunday June 10th, 11:00 till 4:00 @ Kinsmen Park.  Burgers and hotdogs available for $2, pop for $1.  There are always lots of fun games for the kids, as well as face painting.  And this year there will also be a softball game for the “grownups”.  Bring a blanket, or just hang out on the grass.  🙂

Welcome to the Gaybourhood – Wednesday June 13th, 12:00 till 3:00 on 21st Street West between Ave C and D.  Free Burgers and hotdogs.  Free live music and performance art.  This one is always a lot of fun – and I’ve been there every year since it’s first.  Is this three or four now?  LOL  I can’t remember.

Mosaic Art & Fashion Show – Wednesday June 13th, 7:00 until midnight @ the Albert Community Center, 610 Clarence Ave S.  Tickets are $15 at the door.  This will actually be the first year I’ve attended this show.  I’ve always wanted to, but the timing just never worked out for me before.  And even better?  I’ll actually be debuting several pieces from my Power of SHe project at the show.  So you’ll definitely want to come out for this one.  Lots of great art will be available for purchase (including mine).

Pride Parade and Community Fair – Saturday June 16th, 12:00 till 7:00 @ Victoria Park.  The parade starts at 1:00 and the entertainment on the free stage will be starting up at about 2:15.  Beer gardens, lots of vendors (both food and awesome wares), some fabulous community and non-profit groups will be there with info…  It’s always an amazing time.  So come on out!  As this years Pride theme says, “OUT is IN!”

There are lots more events as well – these are just my personal “must attends”.  You can get all the details at http://www.saskatoonpride.ca/.  And remember:  You don’t have to identify as a member of the acronym community to attend.  Allies are HUGELY important, and everyone is welcome!

 

OUT is IN - Saskatoon's 2012 Pride Week

 

A2Z – Native & First Nations Individuals in the LGBTT2QIA Community

Blogging our way from A to Z on sexual and gender identity - Native and First Nations Individuals in the LGBTT2AIA Community

 

The 2 in LGBTT2QIA comes from my Native and First Nations brothers and sisters.  It stands for Two-Spirited.  There has been quite a bit of confusion lately on what two-spirited actually means, and I hope I can help clear the water vs further muddying it.

I know quite a few Native and First Nations individuals who identify somewhere on the sexual minority, gender variant spectrum, but that does not make them all two-spirited.  However, all two-spirited individuals, are by nature of the word itself, Native and First Nations.  Not all birds are Eagles, but all Eagles are birds.  Clear so far?

Even within some of our local First Nations communities, the idea of an individual being of two spirits has become muddied.  It has been used by so many as a blanket term for all First Nations individuals who identify as being part of the acronym community that it is losing some of it’s power and intent.

When asked to share his personal thoughts on the term, Ryan Jimmy (a wonderful individual I am blessed to know) said this:

I understand how the term is a way for indigenous queers to reclaim their sexual spaces rather then have other non indigenous folks create identities for them. What I struggle with is that there still seems to be a lot of romanticism around the term meaning that people tend to believe the term is a simple male\female spirit and that we poses some super neat powers. I feel the term is very complex and I personally just haven’t found my place with …it.

Amongst all those I know who identify as both First Nations (or Indigenous) and a member of the acronym community, I only know one individual who identifies as two-spirited.  And that’s an important thing to note.  As Ryan mentioned, there is this romanticized view of two-spirited individuals which has found it’s way into modern culture.  And while the idea of one person with two spirits (each of a different gender inhabiting the same body) does have aspects which lend itself easily to those types of ideals and fantasies, those notions ignore the hard struggles that have faced our Native and First Nations community members. While there may have been a time when two-spirited people were revered in some First Nations cultures, that vanished along with so many facets of their culture with the unfortunate Christianization of their world.

Clearly, this is far too large a topic to really get into in any real way in a blog post.  But, if nothing else, I hope this brief look at what “two-spirited” means encourages you to dig a little deeper yourself.  It’s an absolutely amazing area for study, and filled with a wealth of enlightenment.  In a search to understand ourselves, it is one area that should not be overlooked.

One last, rather unique tid-bit I’ll share:  Have you ever looked at your hands, at the length of your fingers in particular?  Well, there have been numerous studies over the last couple hundred years that reflect a hormone correlation which suggests Women have a longer index finger, and Men have a longer ring finger.  The one individual I know who identifies as two-spirited?  Has a longer index finger on one hand, and a longer ring finger on the other.  Just one of their many intriguing qualities.  😉

 

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Not all of us are lucky enough to be born into a body that matches our gender.  We all bare our battle scars.  Growing up is tough.  Growing up transgendered is even more so.  And sometimes – thanks to the ignorance and brutality of others – it is actually impossible.

Today is the 13th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.  Today, I ask you to do ONE THING.  Regardless of your beliefs, regardless of your feelings, regardless of who you are or who you know or who you want to be.  Take a few minutes and read through the list of people at this web page:  http://www.transgenderdor.org/?page_id=1663

The people listed there are all individuals who have suffered and died at the hands of others for being born different and having the strength to live honestly.  23 people who have suffered horrendously because they had the courage to be who they were.  23 people who lost their lives because of bigotry and hate.  23 people, this year alone, their lives stolen, savagely, all for the crime of living a genuine life.

I’m not asking you to change.  I’m not asking you to weep.  I’m not asking you to speak out.  I’m just asking you to read their names, read how they died, and remember that they were people once.

http://www.transgenderdor.org/?page_id=1663

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?

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