Blog Archives

Misadventures of a snowbound photographer

Tonight I have to direct you towards another url.  As I’ve already chronicled this particular misadventure on my photography website.  I do promise though, the many photographs of our frosty day are well worth the visit.  I know you’ll laugh as much as we did as we battled the environment to get these important shots.

http://tdphotography.me/2013/an-unexpected-snow-filled-adventure/

Hip deep, completely stuck, immobilized in the snow and ice.

Hip deep, completely stuck, immobilized by the snow and ice.

 

And a big thank you to Jamie for not only volunteering as my assistant today, but for capturing the entire thing with her iPhone.  LMAO

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 – Pink Prom

Blogging from A to Z on sexual and gender identity - Pink Prom

On March 30th, Saskatoon had it’s first prom…  well…  first as far as I’m aware, and as far as my parent’s and grandparent’s are aware – and that’s as far back as this city really goes.  So I feel I’m pretty safe saying that it’s a first for this prairie city.  Anyway…

It was an amazing night.  Some folk I talked to were concerned about a city-wide prom, with people from any school welcome to attend.  There was talk about things like school rivalries and the possibility of fighting.  All I could really do was smile.  These were obviously adults who just didn’t get it.  This  was an event I knew our youth would rally around.

Prom is an amazing right of passage, and one we’ve never had here.  We’ve all watched the movies, read the books, heard the stories.  Prom is supposed to be amazing, and it’s something everyone deserves to experience.  And at 34, I went to prom… and just like all the teens in the movies, my parent’s bought my dress.

Saskatoon’s first prom was made even better by being a part of Pink Revolution (an anti-bullying week which made it’s debut this year).  So huge thanks to the Avenue Community Center and all their amazing volunteers for making it happen.  Both Pink Revolution and the Pink Prom were ground breaking events and I sooo look forward to them happening again next year.

As the official photographer for the Pink Prom, I organized my first ever photobooth.  No, it’s not my typical photography (usually on location in the study of life and love) but it was sooo much fun.  I was happy to donate my time and skill for something so incredible.

me at the prom - a self portrait

Yep, that’s me at prom.  🙂  Wanna check out the rest of the action from my photobooth?  Head on over to http://td365.smugmug.com/  Prints and other cool items are available!

A2Z – Heroes

Blogging our way from A to Z on issues of sexual and gender identity - Heroes!

Heroes.  They are something we should all have, and they come in many shapes and sizes.  Some may be the usual suspects, heralds of a cause, but others can be found unexpected places.  In truth, I believe everyone has the potential to be a hero.  And I can’t think of any better way to demonstrate this fact that to share a few of my local Saskatchewan heroes who also happen to be members of the acronym community.

Mikayla Schultz is the founder of TransSask (support services).  She is a tireless advocate and campaigner for equality.  Through tremendous efforts, she recently put government to the test and had many successes with the signing of a declaration formalizing March 25-31 as Transgender Awareness Week in communities across Saskatchewan.

Don Cochrane is a former University of Saskatchewan professor, who continues to educate everyone he meets.  His groundbreaking work into subjects of importance to the Sexual Minority and Gender Variant community continue to force change, improving the lives of everyone in Canada.  You can see his hand all over this province, and especially at the annual Breaking the Silence conference here in Saskatoon.

Sarah Houghtaling is a local high school student.  She strives diligently to make lives better not only for those who attend school with her, but for minority students across our province.  A student activist who’s name I highly recommend taking note of.  She’s one of the many young people who WILL change our world for the better.  If you are ever able to attend one of her talks, DO!  You will be inspired.

Kay Williams is one of the most outspoken allies you will ever meet.  A determined advocate for her son, and a helping voice in a confusing world for parents new to the world of parenting LGBTT2QI children and youth.  Kay is a proud volunteer, and one of the founding members of PFLAG in Saskatoon.  She also was awarded the Peter Corren Award for Outstanding Achievement this year at Breaking the Silence – and yes, I teared up during her acceptance speech (which I recorded, and will share at some point).

Four individuals, all unique, all at different stages of their journey, all willing to do whatever it takes to see things become better for those around them.  All four are heroes, and all four I’m proud to call friend.

Who are the heroes in your life?

LGBTT2QIA Winter Camp?

Would you be interested in a Winter camp aimed at Sexual Minority and Gender Variant individuals in Saskatchewan?  I, and two of my colleagues, would be very keen to hear from you – especially if you answered yes.  We are currently in the process of putting together our proposal, and your input would be invaluable.

I have created a short (seven question) survey, which I will share below.  It will only take a couple of minutes to fill it out, many of the questions are multiple choice.  Please do take a moment to share your thoughts, as it will go a long way to helping us create what could be a life changing experience for those who attend.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TF7N2ZQ

Thank you SO VERY MUCH for your time and consideration.  It really is appreciated.

Where is Christopher Now? (a video of Ivan Coyote)

Ivan Coyote was invited to attend Breaking the Silence this year as our keynote speaker.  Her down to earth stories and sense of humor speak directly to each person in her audience, making you forget the distance between the stage and yourself.  As if sitting down for coffee with a friend who just needed to talk.

In the clip I’ve shared below, Ivan tells a story about Christopher, a much loved family member…  about how her cousin inspired her to go into schools.  About how we all shit, it’s the great leveler, and how a poop story can get students and others to identify and invest in Christopher.  How it can get people to care.

Take a few minutes and watch Ivan tell her story.  It won’t take long, but in those few minutes, you may change for the better…  thanks to a little boy named Christopher.

I’ll be sharing more of Ivan and the Breaking the Silence conference in the next couple of days.  I have more videos, more pictures, and more stories.  All of which are so very worth sharing.  So I hope you’ll keep coming back to see more.  🙂

Breaking the silence, one more year has past.

20120317-193213.jpg

Breaking the Silence. Wow. It was truly an outstanding year, the fifteenth anniversary of this barrier shattering conference. To be honest, I am far too exhausted and overwhelmed to share much just now. However I promise to post videos, photos, and stories in the days to come. For now? I wish you all joy and acceptance through all your journeys. This grrrl needs some down time.

BtS – hurry and register

Just a quick reminder before I’m off to work on my presentation for Breaking the Silence.  The conference is THIS WEEKEND!  Ivan Coyote will be performing on Friday night at 7:00 at the Broadway Theatre.  Tickets will be available at the door for $21, or you can get them for $15 by registering online.  There will also be $6 tickets at the door for Tomboy at 7:00 on Saturday night at the Roxy Theatre.  To attend the conference on the Saturday (which includes admittance to Ivan Coyote) you do need to register online at http://www.usask.ca/education/breaking-the-silence/online-registration.htm   Regular conference enrollment is only $52.50 with a special price of $21 for post-secondary students and the under-employed.  High school students can register for free (but do still need to register online).

More information is available at http://www.usask.ca/education/breaking-the-silence/index.htm

Free to do it again and again

A warning before I begin:

This blog post may be triggering for some as it contains mentions of sexual abuse and physical attacks by a predator.  Please don’t read any further if these are topics which may cause mental anguish, flashbacks, or disassociative spells.

Today there was an article in the paper entitled “Repeat sex offender fits ‘dangerous’ designation“.  It is about a man named Cameron Downs, a 47 year old man with a lifetime of attacks under his belt.  But for me, it was about a teenage boy who abused me and went on to hurt many, many others.

Why share?  Sexual abuse, like mental illness has a stigma in our society – and it shouldn’t.  I don’t live my life as a victim.  I was harmed as a child, but that doesn’t take away from who I am, nor does it solely shape my identity.  Feeling that I should be ashamed, I’ve hidden away these facts, careful not to share them in case it might colour what people think of me.  But you know what?  That only adds to the power of the abuse.  I wasn’t to blame, and while I was a victim as a child, I am not any longer.  I refuse to allow societies shame to be my own.  If we don’t talk about these kinds of things, it allows them to happen again.  It feeds into the idea that they, the victims, should hide away and not be seen.  So I’m pulling back the curtain and letting in some light.

I run a Facebook group for people who grew up during the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s in our Saskatoon neighbourhood.  When my mom shared the news story that ran today, shock resonated through the group.  A few individuals posted about what a nice guy he was, and how they couldn’t believe he was capable of the atrocities the news story mentioned.

I couldn’t help but speak up, saying only that he was not a nice guy – ever.  One person even tried to correct me, saying that he was a nice guy when they knew him.  But no.  He really wasn’t.

I was five years old.  FIVE.  My daughter is four and a half, and it makes me shudder to my very core to think there are people who would look at her the way he looked at me.  He was 17.

Back then, like all children, I believed that people were innately good.  And that all people deserved second chances.  So when the police officer asked me what I wanted to have happen to Cameron I said that I just wanted him to get help.  We didn’t press charges, and Cameron went into counseling.

Now, knowing the string of incidents that followed, I can’t help but feel remorse.  I know I am not responsible for all those he hurt after me – including someone else I love very dearly (the “elderly woman” the article mentions in the last paragraph).  But I can’t help but wonder if I could have prevented some of what happened if I had pushed for a harsher punishment.

I am not mentioned in the article.  It claims his first sexual assault occurred against a teenager when he was 31.  But it didn’t.  It occurred against a five year old girl, when he was 17 and my Gramma stepped out to buy groceries…

30 years have passed, and when I think back to what happened there is so much I can picture with crystal clarity – and other things I’ve blocked out almost entirely.  It was at that age that I became a pro at disassociating.

I still believe that people have a basic goodness within them, but I also believe we have within us the potential for horrible atrocities.  We are none of us purely good and none of us purely evil.  I don’t know if I did the right thing by choosing not to press charges…  but it was the right thing for me, at the time.  I needed to be able to believe that people, even someone as obviously sick as Cameron, were deserving of second chances.  But it was by my hand that he was free.  Free to do it again, and again.  And for that?  For that I will always have regret.

The StarPhoenix Online:  http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/Repeat+offender+fits+dangerous+designation/6268079/story.html

Photography Portfolio – Relaunched

TD Photography - Serving Saskatoon and Area

Not too long ago I’d posted, asking for your help.  I was in the process of reorganizing my online photography portfolio (and adding -immensely- to it).  Well, I’d like to say that it’s all finished…  it’s not.  But it is as close as it’ll get just now.

A portfolio is never truly finished.  As long as I’m still shooting, there will always be more to add.  And I also have another 20 or 25 shoots to go through from last year which will likely add another 40-50 images.  But for now?  For now it’s done.  LOL  A week of heavy work has my brain numbed for the time being.

In the process of reworking my portfolio I also changed a number of other things at my website.  I did away with the “favourites” section – which was interesting to me, but not so useful for my clients.  Instead there is now a page featuring quotes from clients who were kind enough to share.

So…  I hope you’ll stop by, and check out the changes.  Hopefully you’ll find things to be more user-friendly.  And I hope it helps you get to know me, and my work, a little better.

http://photography.tobi-dawne.com/

…and, if you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to know what you think of the changes.

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