Gender Identity: Fake News?

Some members of the Ontario P.C. party think gender identity is an unscientific, Liberal ideology — in other words, fake news. They want the theory removed from the Ontario school curriculum.  To that end, the party has voted to debate the issue of Gender Identity at their next convention in 2019.

Seriously?

Are they going to debate the theory that the earth is round? That gravity exists?

Could someone please inform the Conservative Party members that we are more than what lies between our legs?

Can we focus on the person, not the sex?

Can we let people be who they are, the person inside their bodies?

A binary world is for code and computers, not people. Real life, despite what the social conservatives would have us believe, is a little more complex than that. And a lot more interesting.

Proof positive? Exhibit A: Ezra Miller’s Playboy shoot.

The defense rests.

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None So Blind

I love it here in Canada, wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Yes, the winter is crap unless you’re one of those coordinated types who like to slalom down mountains or fly over the ice, but hey — central heating 🙂

I like that we’ve had same-sex marriage for 13 years, medically assisted dying (euthanasia) since 2016, and have now legalized recreational marijuana.

I’m incredibly grateful that I live here — but then, I’m not one of the First Peoples.

We have consistently and systematically mistreated and abused the First Peoples of this country for most of our 151 year history.

Out of all the wrong we have done, to my mind, the worst has been stealing their children and forcing them into Residential Schools. We forced these children to abandon their culture and heritage, forbade them to speak their own language or practice their own religion, abused them physically and sexually. We did this for more than a hundred years.

But we know better now, right? We don’t still believe one race, or religion, or culture is magically right and all the others are wrong.

We do know better, but racism is alive and well in this country for many minorities and for First Peoples especially. Ask Katrina Anderson of St. Albert, Alberta, Canada. Her daughter, Candace came home from school and found a letter in their condo mailbox telling her family to go back to the reservation where they belong.

first peoples 2

None so deaf as those who will not hear.
None so blind as those who will not see.
Matthew Henry

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Standing Guard

There’s a line in our national anthem…

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee

To my mind, those words aren’t about protecting our borders — they’re about protecting each other.

We are Canada.

All of us.

Unfortunately, we here in Ontario have been caught asleep at our posts. The conservative provincial government has rolled back sex education to where it stood in 1998.

They scrapped the sex ed program the liberals put in place in 2015 because apparently,  our kids don’t have to learn about consent, same-sex relationships, gender identity, online bullying or sexting.

Did I mention masturbation? 

No? Neither does Doug Ford’s 1998 retro program.

British Columbia, marching to the beat of different drummer, stands on guard for all its students.

Unlike Ontario, B.C. is not trying to turn the clock backward.  In 2016, they instituted SOGI — sexual orientation and gender identity program — with the goal of helping LGBTQ students and ending bullying based on gender identity.

Is the B.C. government getting flak from some parents and religious groups arguing that SOGI is “sexualizing our kids” and “telling them they are gender fluid”? Yes.

There were dueling rallies on the lawn of the legislature this past September, groups for and against SOGI shouting over each other.

Is the government backing down? No.

The province is committed to ensuring that every school is a safe space for all children.

The license plate says it all — Beautiful British Columbia.

Gay Pride In Canada Concept Image - Gay Pride Rainbow Flag And T

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Words Wound

There was a childhood rhyme that used to be bandied about …

Sticks and stones may break my bones, But words will never harm me.

You don’t hear it much anymore, because we know better. Words can and do harm us. Ask any kid being bullied in the schoolyard or on the internet.

Hate speech is a crime for a reason.

Words are powerful. Has there been a revolution ever that didn’t start with words?

Words are tricky. Not only do their meanings change over time, but context and tone come in to play too. Who uses a particular word, and how they use it, makes a difference.

How then do we judge which words are dangerous? Off the top of my head …

Think — less than. 

Any word, or group of words, that label a particular subsection of humanity as less than — those are the words that should never be heard.

I apologize for the preachy tone of this post, but …

I heard a man speak Thursday night, a Holocaust survivor. He ended his presentation by saying:

It starts with words …

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Boys in the Band

Way back when I was in high school, the movie Boys in the Band sparked by an Off Broadway play, was one of my first introductions into what life in the LGBT community was like. Not that we used or even knew the term LGBT etc. etc. back then.

To the fifteen-year-old I was at the time, the movie seemed dark and depressing, the characters miserable.

Fast forward almost fifty years and we have Boys in the Band on Broadway. The characters are still deeply troubled men but — I’m not fifteen anymore.

I know no one is happy with themselves 24/7, that we all deal with voices from our past that make us cringe, and that this snapshot of gay life isn’t the only picture possible.

This isn’t 1970 and things have changed — which I think is the point of this revival.

Plus, and this is what made me pull out my credit card, have you seen the cast?

Jim Parsons would be enough to get me in a seat at the Booth Theatre on his own, but he’s not on his own. Sharing the stage we have, the new and improved Mr. Spock, Zachary Quinto, the original Elder Price from the Book of Mormon, Andrew Rannells, and my personal favourite since he played a not-so-recovered thief in White Collar, Matt Bomer. The only reason there isn’t a string of exclamation marks behind Matt’s name is because I’m restraining myself 🙂

Boys

If you’re anywhere near New York in the near future, plunk yourself down in the Booth Theatre. Each and every one of these actors gives a stellar performance and there are a lot more laughs than I remembered 🙂

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Sign of the Times

I came across this sculpture today and I had to smile …

I remember a time when people talked about peace as if it would really happen. When both sexes wore their hair to their shoulders, the girls stopped wearing bras, and the boys all pretended they could play guitar.

The world was going to be a better place. We would make it better.

Yeah …

Created for the Toronto Light Festival last winter by Studio Rosenblatt, Symbolic Peace is a “laser cut steel sculpture meant to signify the strength of diversity within our community”.

Toronto 4 (2)

Maybe it’s time to bring back the 60’s  🙂

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Pride

For Pride this year, we have our first ever LGBTQ2 themed Heritage Minute.

For all you non-Canadians, Heritage Minutes are sixty second films that document significant people and events in Canadian history.  Often, moments and viewpoints are explored in these mini-movies that our high school history books failed to mention.

Case in point: Gay activist, Jim Egan.

Never heard of him? Neither had I.

Today, James Egan would be called a gay activist. Back in 1951, when he first sat down at his typewriter and pounded out an article entitled, I Am a Homosexual he was just a young man who was pissed.

Jim battled rampant homophobia with letters and op-ed pieces in the press, eventually taking the Government of Canada to court demanding spousal benefits for his life partner.

In 1995, Jim and his partner Jack Nesbit cruised down Yonge Street, the same street they could have once been arrested on for simply holding hands, as honorary grand marshals in the Toronto Pride parade.

Happy Pride 🙂

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