Regularly scheduled programming

The blag will have no updates for a few days as I follow through my bestest xmas present ever: an eviction notice.

Packing is the worst. Then there will be some anxiety about money. Then, eventually, unpacking.

See y’all in a while.

-Shiv


 

Have some “we are currently experiencing some technical difficulties” waiting music:

2016 Canada Primer

I love stats, although certain applications of it are a bit rusty on my end because it’s been a few years since I left university. Nonetheless, my stats say I’ve been steadily gaining regulars from the United States over the past year and received some fair feedback concerning my coverage of Canadian politics–chiefly that it’s a bit hard for outsiders to follow, and secondly that Americans don’t seem incentivized to follow it. Canadians don’t seem to need much incentive to click on these types of articles–y’all already do it.

I figured that as 2016 comes to a close that I would do a small series covering the background of some clowns politicians & lobbyists that even Americans might be interested in watching with me. If nothing else, many of you seem to enjoy my thinly veiled contempt for the reality-denying chucklefucks hanging on to the right-wing of democratic society like a gangrenous limb. Unlike a dingleberry like PBog*, whose inanity is largely painful only to those who are tragically exposed to it, a lot more is at stake if these people win or retain power.

So there are four objectives for the primer that I hope serve my readers:

  1. Introduce the history & context of movements and the consequences their successes have had or are likely to have on Canadians;
  2. Argue for the global relevance thereof (i.e. why non-Canadians might care, other than empathy).
  3. Give information for Canadian voters to cast informed ballots.
  4. Paint targets for proactive, progressive resistance in Canada.

For the most part, influence from the USA in particular tends to bleed into Canada, rather than the other way around. But if nothing else, appreciate the solidarity of knowing the USA does not have a monopoly on political parties composed entirely of clown cars filled with reprogrammable Randroids masquerading as people. Yay?

There’s also a secondary goal, which is to identify those actors in politics who bear nothing but contempt for democracy. While we can debate until we faint over which specific stripe of Authoritarianism is manifesting in any particular movement, I’d like to equip my readers with a few red flags when Canada comes to visit you. Depending on who is visiting, you may want to pay real close attention to what they’re saying, the way Alberta collectively needed a barf bag when Ann frickin’ Coulter came to town on Trump business. I don’t particularly care which breed of dickhead we call them, only that you recognize the necessity of resisting. Ideally peacefully**.

Posts on the Primer to follow soon.

Remember: You can’t take care of the Resistance if you can’t take care of yourself.

-Shiv


 

*Thanks Bruce.

**Bearing in mind that there is a significant gap between what I consider ideal and what I consider realistic.

Mistakes were made: An apology

For a brief time, you may have noticed this cute little button below my “About the Author” widget.

About the same time that I was going to announce that I had been added to a progressive blogging aggregate feed, I realized I was sharing space with at least one TERF.

I don’t know who clicked on the little Progressive Bloggers button–I know I drew a few readers from the PB feed but I don’t have enough data to confidently say they stuck around. Regardless, when I sought out an invitation to be added to this feed, I should have vetted the existing participants more thoroughly.

Alas, my posts briefly appeared next to a self-styled “gender abolitionist,” and my sigh was drawn out enough to warrant a concerned glance from my roommate’s cat. Regardless of whether or not anyone from FTB noticed the material in question, I nonetheless feel responsible for associating, even unknowingly, with the nauseating tripe that is Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism. My trans readers know as well as I do that preparation is often needed for us to confront these materials and if even one of you was exposed to it, unprepared, that is on me.

I am sorry, and you certainly should expect better of me.


 

Now, to PB’s credit, their administrator responded very professionally to my nastygram requesting AtG’s removal from the network. I don’t want to reproduce those communications without permission (in part because I don’t want to actually identify the offending TERF blog for a number of reasons) but I’ll paraphrase part of their response. They gave a brief throwaway line about how the network “had disagreements” on it before and that it was okay to “criticize” each other.

While the response was professional, it is nonetheless a demonstration of how supremacist bigotry is normalized. TERFs don’t “disagree” with me. They’re a form of Cisgender Supremacists. When they’re not denying I exist, they’re making the argument, without hesitation, that my needs are less important than theirs and that the conditions which would culminate in my suicide are an acceptable loss for their comfort. This isn’t a “disagreement.” Disagreements are for arguments over which animal makes the best house pet. What happened here would be like telling the Jews they just needed to “hash it out” with the fucking Nazis.

We need to start recognizing that trans feminists endure abuse when we dialogue with TERFs, and we need to stop minimizing trans feminists when we say that this is an activity we can only do on our terms because of the emotional labour involved.

We do not “owe” our abusers understanding, nor am I obligated to start a pissing contest with an ideologue who would sooner see me dead.

PB has also received an apology from me for wasting their time, and that’s about the last I wish to hear concerning this momentary lapse in judgement.

-Shiv

Thoughts from Vancouver: Stigma’s role in discrimination

In a little more than an hour, I will be participating in a consultation with Canadian Blood Services. They drew my ire after a stunt earlier this year in which their media correspondent made a number of stigmatizing and regrettable remarks about gay men and trans women. Without going into specifics–I’m not sure what boundaries on reporting will be placed–the planning for this consultation likewise included a lot of stigmatizing language, and I was at times left agape by the phrasing of CBS’s correspondents.

Nonetheless, despite being openly critical of their policy on the grounds of the research they claim supports it (it doesn’t), CBS has brought me here to Vancouver to lay it out for them.

I’ve long lamented that the real crises affecting trans women, especially trans women of colour, are related to things like discrimination in employment, housing, healthcare and public accommodations. These prove to be veritable landmines for trans people and the difficulties these areas pose cannot be understated. These things do need to be fixed, but the other part of making more people willing to donate is tackling the stigma that made people hesitate to support the cause to begin with.

And no doubt, CBS’ announcement was brutally stigmatizing. They know they are party to this. I told them.

After I’ve collected my fee, I intend to donate it straight to Safe Accommodations for Queer Edmonton Youth (SAFQEY). I know I’ve been asking folks to fork over money for charities but if you’re at all familiar with my exasperation at the bullshit coverage of trans people that hits the mainstream when there are more pressing needs than motherfucking pronouns, you’ll understand why I value a queer-inclusive youth shelter.

Canadian Blood Services serves as an ideal example of responsibility: They are flawed, yes, but they are also willing to dialogue. And I don’t think they’d be spending money on this if they didn’t think it was worth something. That willingness to listen is in short supply these days, and perhaps I can help steer CBS in a more constructive direction moving forward regarding QUILTBAG donors.

See y’all later. I’ll be busy this weekend, too, volunteering at Taboo.

(Speaking of which: Let’s play a game called “real news or fake news.” Without using Google, is the headline “Topless women now allowed at Albertan sex shows” real or fake?)

-Shiv

Canadian Blood Services update

Remember when CBS made an arse of itself on national TV announcing changes to its QUILTBAG donor policies?

CBS and I have been corresponding back and forth for a while now. And, to my surprise, they have invited me to Vancouver to join them in a consultation & planning session concerning their next iteration of the policy on November 17th and 18th.

I’m not sure there will be much for me to report. Talk is cheap, and the real prize in this endeavour will be the implementation of a new policy.

However, it speaks highly of any organization that is knowingly inviting someone so critical of their policies and behaviour in the media to speak their piece directly to people who are equipped to change said policy. Throughout my back-and-forth communications with CBS, I am struck by how remarkably perceptive they are to actually listening. This is definitely not the common approach. Most organizations take a Father Knows Best approach and you’ll never get through to them, but CBS has been very willing to collaborate.

It gives me hope, though I will refrain from recanting on my criticisms until there’s an actual policy announcement in place. There are no promises until its in writing.

As for me, I’ll be emphasizing two things on November 17th:

  1. They need to recognize, at minimum, trans people as our own distinct epidemiological category. Since the crux of the policy is around rates of HIV, those rates need to be accurately established. At minimum a distinction between cis men, cis women, trans men, trans women, and non-binary people ought to be considered when CBS commissions its next round of research for Health Canada.
  2. They need to train their staff to respond to trans donors appropriately. I am aware that health risks between donors change based off of certain characteristics, but not all of those characteristics are incontrovertibly married to sex assigned at birth. That means the staff treatment of donors as well as the questionnaires could be more accurate in what information they’re trying to acquire.

After November 17th I’ll likely take another crack at how their policies stack up to their citations.

-Shiv

 

Dear Niki

I never got the chance to meet you and say it, but you were and still are one of the most steadfast examples I follow.

When I began questioning abortion, your cogent and precise views began my journey to being unapologetic, entirely confident, in pro-choice views. You stared into the eyes of the violent, the indoctrinated, and worked for women trying to escape from under the oppressive thumb of the many misogynistic entities working in tandem. Even with all your difficulties, what you gave as 100% of your effort far exceeded that of most folks, and for that I am ever pushing myself to follow in your example.

You were among the brightest voices in Black Lives Matter. Back in 2014, when I was still just starting to wrap my head around the extent of institutionalized racism in the United States, you were among the many vanguard writers, advocates, and activists who taught me first to listen as a white person. If not for you, I might count myself among the ignorant and the hateful. There are no thanks deep enough for that. I try to live out your legacy with the local BLM chapter by pulling aside and coaxing disruptive white people into understanding, and I hope this honours your memory.

We had a fair bit in common when it came to complex relationships with our body. I shake with rage knowing now the way the disability system in the United States is patchwork, antagonistic to disabled folks, as if the able-bodied could possibly read a graph and decide whose pain is real and whose is not. And I wish we had more time to talk about that, to talk about reform, to paint a metaphorical target and set our sights for something.

Alas, circumstances being what they are, we are robbed of that time.

I could write for tens of thousands of words describing gratitude for each and every thing you taught me, made me rethink or consider, made me laugh. And in some ways I intend to do just that, to continue in the capacities in which you have helped to empower me.

We never met, and now we never will. But I will always see your fingerprint in the foundation of my ethics, and your work will never be forgotten as long as I live.

Thanks,

Siobhan.

FtB is recruiting!

It’s the best job in the world and PZ is totally not holding a gun to my head as I say that. (It’s actually an elastic band–but it’s one of those thin ones. They fucking hurt)

We’re looking for more bloggers! You can see PZ’s old announcement here, which is still accurate.

We are particularly looking to boost our representation of people of colour, women, gender or neuro- diverse folks and anyone who occupies any or all of those intersections and who burn with the fires of urinary tract infections social justice.

Send your application with the following information to ftbapplications@googlegroups.com

Name

Contact email

Do you want your email public?

Twitter account, if any

Link for donations, if any

Links to your current blog, any biographical material, or best examples of your writing in comments or forums or other media

Why do you want to write for us?

And again, the details are all here.

-Shiv

Impromptu self care: Fuck it edition

I need to unplug for a few days. In the past hour, I found on my news feed:

  • Another trans woman murdered; misgendered by police.
  • A tireless critic of police brutality and her five year-old child shot by police; said police wiping the data on her phone which probably caught the whole event on camera.
  • A youtuber coming out as trans with dozens of media outlets turning her into a punching bag.
  • A trans woman who robbed a bank and turned herself in, because no homeless shelter would take her and she was less likely to be beaten in prison than on the streets.
  • A trans woman who shared a story of how she was held pending charges in a men’s prison. She overheard the officers referring to her as a freak and that they expected the other prisoners to assault her as they denied her requests for solitary confinement.

I’m out. Unplugging for a few days. Fuck this shit.

-Shiv