Free speech, huh?

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I have SO MUCH to say about the anti-SJW and anti-PC crowd’s antics. It would take blog post upon blog post. But I was feeling a bit creative tonight, and I think this little skit sums up a lot of what I have to say on the topic:

Person A, exercising right to free speech, exists publicly as queer, trans, Muslim, Indigenous, female, fat, Black, or another marginalized identity.

Person B, exercising right to free speech: That’s gross/indecent/immoral/against nature/ disturbing! You should hide/die/kill yourself/get raped/have your clothes ripped off!

Person A and their friends/allies, exercising their right to free speech: That’s really fucking oppressive. Why don’t you leave us the hell alone and mind your own business? We’re not hurting you and we have the right to exist!

Person B and their cronies: How DARE you tell me what to do?!?!? What happened to free speech in this country?!?!?! You SJWs are such fucking bullies, trying to control us with your political correctness!!!!!!

People with any sense of reason and decency: WTF?!?!?!

Summer Bodies & Revolutionary Acts

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It’s summer time and thus bathing suit weather here. So it’s that time of year when I see a lot of posts by people who are embarrassed or ashamed of their bodies. I also see posts by people making fun of other peoples’ bodies. Makes me sad. No one should have to deal with shame or have it get in the way of enjoying their life.

So hear this:  No bodies are ugly! Skinny, fat, young, old, tall, short, smooth, wrinkly, saggy, scarred, black, white, brown, able bodied, disabled, gender conforming or non-conforming, inked, pierced, or not….doesn’t matter…all are beautiful and valuable 🙂

If you feel bad about your body, I know it’s hard, but try to ignore all the media that tells you your body is ugly so they can sell you things 🙂 If it helps, see the act of putting a revealing bathing suit on that body as a revolutionary act. Take back the pool and the beach with other people who don’t fit the bogus mainstream norm of what is beautiful and your friends who love you the way you are.

If you like to make fun of other peoples’ bodies, try to think about where that attitude comes from, why you feel entitled to pass judgement on other people, and how you hurt people with your stares, your laughter, and your disgusting memes that make fun of people who don’t match your shallow definition of what looks “good”.

You don’t decide for us

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As a bisexual and a non-binary (I don’t like this word but it’s all I got right now) person, I’m really tired of being asked to be “patient” while the rest of the world learns to “accept” that I exist. If you are straight or gay, or binary identified, you do NOT get to decide when the world will be “ready” for folks like us. You do NOT get to decide the length of time that it takes for us to expect a full recognition of our humanity and the right to dignity, respect, and inclusion.

Oh, and by the way, this goes for all forms of oppression and power dynamics. Settlers don’t get to decide when Indigenous people have rights. White folks don’t get to decide when People of Colour have rights. Non-intersex people don’t get to decide when intersex people have rights. Able bodied folks don’t get to decide when People with Disabilities have rights. Men don’t get to decide when women have rights. Need I go on?

If your precious “opinion” is hurt because you feel like we are “shoving things down your throat” when we demand rights and human dignity, and you feel offended when we point out how your actions hurt us . . . in the words of Suicidal Tendencies, “…if I offended you, Oh I’m sorry
But, maybe you needed to be offended
But here’s my apology and one more thing…Fuck you!”

Savage

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I’ve been hearing a lot of youth at work use the term “savage” to refer to things that are bad-ass. It bugs the shit out of me considering the history behind this word. Fellow teachers, please help me educate our youth about how this word was used to put down Indigenous peoples and justify exploitation and genocide. The past is not “just in the past” – it has shaped the present. The attitude that Indigenous peoples need Euro-Canadians to “save” them is still embedded in our social institututions – ESPECIALLY in education. Let’s change this together!

Broken Cup

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I don’t know why drinking coffee from this broken cup makes me so happy. But it does.

When I was ready to pour my coffee this morning, I looked at the cups in dish rack that had dried from yesterday’s batch of dishes and it wasn’t there. Wanting to maintain hope for another few seconds, I averted my gaze from the small pile of dirty dishes next to the sink and opened the cupboard instead.

To my delight, my broken cup sat there, first in line, waiting to be taken and filled with steaming hot coffee. I really did smile, all alone in the kitchen. The kind of smile when I find the book I want/need on a library shelf. The kind of smile I get when I get out of bed and see that I diligently left my moccasins by the bed so I can slip my feet into them and avoid the cold floor. The kind of smile I get when I walk into a cafĂ© and see the friend I’m meeting already there in advance (like me). The kind of smile I get when I see someone/something I can depend on.

True there are other cups, other books, other footwear, other friends. But that ONE stands out from the rest.

16492175_10154083753482352_1424857580_oThe other 5 cups in the set would hold my coffee equally well. But this one – this one with two little stubs sticking out where there used to be two connecting ends of the cup handle – the one that most other people would have thrown out after they accidentally dropped it a few years before – it diligently sits there among its handled peers and calls out to me. “I will hold your coffee for you even though I’m broken. I may lack a handle, but I’m there for you. You simply need to hold me closer and feel the warmth of your coffee radiate through me and into your hand. Yes, that’s right, hold me close. I’m there for you.”

My friends, this is who we are. We are broken cups. Some of us lack handles. Some of us have chips on our rims. We are broken, but not destroyed. Damaged, but not defective. These cuts and nicks and wrinkles don’t remove our effectiveness. They give us ways to be closer, to hold each other closer, and to be there for each other better.

Closer.

Warmer.

Stronger.

I love my broken cup. I am a broken cup. I love my friends who are broken cups.

Book Non-Review: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

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Thomas King, in his 2003 Massey Lectures*, repeatedly said: “The truth about stories is, that’s all we are.” This was the first coherent thought I had after finishing Rohinton Mistry‘s A Fine Balance. The few minutes that preceded this coherent thought was spent with my hands on either side of my face, trying to catch my breath. This wasn’t the first time I had spent a few minutes in mini-shock during my involvement with this novel. Indeed, several times throughout my reading experience, I pretty much dropped the book with a gasp, an explosion of intense emotions in the pit of my stomach, and a reflexive hands to face gesture. And each time, shaking my head and bracing myself, I returned to the book.

(Even though this is a non-review . . . . spoiler alert!) Continue reading

2016

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I know 2016 has been rough on a lot of people, and not just because of all the celebrity deaths. I guess I’m really lucky. I had a great year. Sure, there’s a lot of shit going on in the world and I really feel like the near future will bring stuff worthy of 70s futuristic apocalypse films. But on a personal level, I’ve experienced a lot of great things.

I got a big chunk of my PhD dissertation written, I got to go on one of my dream trips, and I got to create and implement a brand new course in Indigenous Studies at work. On a social level, I’ve continued to strengthen some important friendships – in particular, my relationship to my partner has continued to reach mew heights. On a self growth level, I feel like I’ve made headway in figuring out and pursuing my path.

The near future will need all of our strength and all of our strenghts. So I feel that we all will have a role to play in the figth that is coming our way. I hope to be able to contribute to the dismantling of white supremacy and patriarchy by using my strengths and by encouraging and supporting people around me to do so as well. I also hope to contribute by bringing people together so that we can have each other’s back. 

Plastic! Human connection and personal growth through theatre

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Struggling to blog something today, as indicated here. So I thought I would do something fun that I noticed I did a lot of in the past and pick a random song to trigger memories and stream of consciousness writing. OK, this one wasn’t completely random…it was in my Facebook “on this day” thing. A few years ago, a friend from high school posted it to my wall after I had asked about “that song we did a dance to back in high school.” I had tried to find it online on my own, in vain. But thanks to J., here it was.

Continue reading

ARGH! On personal blogging challenges

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I absolutely have to write today. I do this every year during my winter break – I go on a blogging spree. And I really want to maintain the habit year round. I even created an Evernote notebook with blogging ideas. But sometimes I get caught up in wanting my posts to be flawless. Even though I don’t see this as academic writing, I know how the internet works and I know that the slightest flaw, the smallest omission, can raise a shit storm. So sometimes writing up a post seems like a monumental task.

I decided this morning that I was finally going to get to a post I’ve been wanting to write for a while. It involved debunking the arguments of an anti-PC crusader that is using their professional credibility to put down non-binary trans folk. So I started research into their writings and videos so that I could comment on what the person actually wrote and said, rather than what journalists say they wrote or said. 20 minutes into one video interview, I wanted to hurl. I will have to do this in small steps for my own sanity. There is only so much vitriol I can take in one day.

But I HAVE to do this. I have genuine arguments to counter theirs and the capacity to articulate them. My silence on this would contribute to the spread of misinformation and oppressive paternalism. It will be done.

 

Mental Illness and Addiction Stigma

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I mostly just want to share this article about the stigma attached to addictions and mental illness in light of some of the 2016 celebrity deaths. I wholeheartedly agree that we need to avoid this stigma. As I’ve written before, I don’t see – or at least I try not to see – addicts, including myself and my parents, as bad or faulty people. And as much as I agree that no one needs to put up with abusive or otherwise harmful behaviours that sometimes arise from addiction, I don’t see the need for the derogatory tone that often accompanies mentions of drug or alcohol use. It may be true that these behaviours kill, but let’s look at the social structure that leads so many to turn to these behaviours to start with. We are a sick society that imposes all kinds of pressures on individuals, most of these pressures being nearly impossible to keep up with. The pressures on wealthy celebrities are different than those on the poor. But the fact that the wealthy are not immune to these pressures is significant.

On a related note, it can be frustrating to a lot of people that so much more attention is paid to celebrity deaths (and addictions and everything else) than to “ordinary” people. But if that attention can help us have conversations about the issues, then that is a good thing. What I really despise, though, is when people embed any kind of stigma in their dislike of a public figure. When Rob Ford was a big deal, for example, there was a lot of sizist commentary and commentary that was based on addiction stigma. You can dislike Rob Ford, and I’ll be right there with you. But when you fat shame and addictions shame, you are not just shaming him – you’re contributing the the stigma of some of these “ordinary” people you are out to protect. And that is not cool.