Trans rights passed in BC with dissent from… the LIBERALS?

Okay, okay, I’ve said before that I mock political incompetence and openly roast authoritarian assholes, and that the right-wing happens to attract the largest degrees of those. Today I make good on my promise and mock some bonafide British Columbian Liberal fucktardery, and not even of the hippie “mraaah chemicals bad” variety.

BC has (finally) amended its human rights code to include gender identity & expression. The proposed amendment passed with unanimous approval–all, except, for one:

Laurie Throness, the Liberal MLA for Chilliwack-Hope, said his religious beliefs prevented him from supporting legislation to specifically enshrine protection for transgender people in the human rights law. He said he believes in a fixed-gender, which is decided at birth, and described the LGBTQ community as a powerful lobby group intolerant of himself and others who disagree that the law would add necessary protections.

Why, yes Laurie, I am intolerant of you. Your religious convictions do not belong in Legislature, and unless you think the wannabe theocracy that is America is a model country, you should remember that we operate under separation of church and state. Further, your right to put your religious conviction into a fist ends where my face begins. What you refuse to acknowledge is that relying on case law and implicit protections results in delightful court rulings like this:

A transphobic court case decided that if the organization offering the service is a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to serve women, it is allowed to discriminate against trans women.

I have every right to be intolerant of you because you insist on perpetuating an actively harmful status quo. Your inaction is not you taking the high road. Your inaction continues to endorse an environment where trans women are routinely pushed to the fringe and criminalized–an environment you are empowered to fix, but choose not to.

I question what kind of moral conviction you must have to refuse to help when you are equipped to do so safely. Good thing you have a priest to pat you on the head every Sunday and assure you that the babble says you’re a good person. Maybe a mature person can develop a more sophisticated ethical code but it seems expecting sophistication from Throness is a bit like expecting coherency from dudebro atheists.


Albertan higher court delivers scathing rebuke of rape apologist

Content Notice: Sexual assault, detailed description of said assault, rape apology, victim blaming.

Provincial Court Judge Michael Savaryn was served the most unambiguous open-and-shut case of sexual assault I can imagine, and still managed to fuck it up: (emphasis added)

Incident captured on video

The interaction was captured on a video entered as an exhibit at trial and watched by the judge. It showed the girl smiling and giggling. The boy then pushed the girl into a locker, grabbed again at her buttocks, ran his hands over her body and tried to kiss her. She quickly moved away and told him to leave.

The two moved out of camera range. The boy ignored the girl’s demand and followed her, then pushed her into a closed doorway, Topolniski wrote. For a third time he grabbed her buttocks, then her breasts, and tried to kiss her as she tried to push him away and fend him off with a water bottle.

The boy said she should “just let him do it.”

She said no and told him it wasn’t right. The girl wasn’t laughing anymore. She got away from the boy and left the school. But he approached her one last time outside school to ask for a hug. She said no and walked away, but he came back, grabbed her and hugged her.

Upset, uncomfortable, disrespected

The girl said she was upset, uncomfortable and felt disrespected. But later that night she texted a male friend about what had happened and attached a smiley face with tears and tried to make light of the incident. She testified that she thought if she had told her friend how upset she was, he would likely have tried to hurt her attacker.

The trial judge decided the girl’s actions did not match her words.

Savaryn decided the victim appeared to be “complacent” because she didn’t seem to be upset about the boy’s advances or try to fend them off until the doorway incident, even though she said no twice at the locker and in the doorway.

The trial judge found the girl “tried so hard to laugh it all off that I do not believe she was successful in communicating her discomfort … even at the end, I am not convinced she clearly expressed her objections.”

Savaryn, a former Edmonton Catholic school trustee, found the boy “did not mean to touch the girl sexually without her consent” and described the girl’s actions as “at worst, ambivalent or tolerant.”

Rape apologists. In the Edmonton Catholic Schoolboard? Say it ain’t so.

Thankfully we also have an Albertan Court of Queen’s Bench Justice by the name of Juliana Topolniski, who expressed her acerbic rebuke of Savaryn’s ruling:

These findings do not accord with the law on consent. Even if the trial judge was correct
that consent was given to touching before the doorway incident (which I do not think can be
concluded without resort to prohibited reasoning), it is clear that any such consent was
withdrawn. Consent means “Yes”. The word “No” does not mean “Yes”. The word “No”
coupled with fending off an attacker with a water bottle does not mean “Yes”. There is nothing
ambiguous about it. Even if the situation was as the trial judge found “at best ambiguous”, that is
not “Yes”. Finally, the complainant’s state of mind after the incident is irrelevant to the question
of consent. Indeed, the trial judge’s consideration on the complainant’s post-incident conduct is
indicative of sexual stereotyping about how victims of sexual assault will behave. As an
example, the requirement that a complainant raise the hue and cry has long since passed into the
mists of time.

“Prohibited reasoning.” Damn, Justice Tolpolniski. That’s a fancy way to say “incompetent dipshit.”


This article was written on July 26 and put on the schedule, shortly before same story was signal boosted on Pharyngula’s “Discuss through a feminist lens” post by Excluded Layman.


“It’s no big deal,” says bar owner barring trans people from peeing

Content Notice: Transphobia and harassment.

You can practically hear the mental acrobatics being performed by the management of Corona Tavern, one “Lorraine,” interviewed in a fantastic piece of journalism on Community TV about two incidents: one alleging the bar and its security staff harassed a trans woman patron, and another alleging the bar posted a transphobic sign regarding washroom use. The interview is only 5 minutes long, and I feel it is critical to witness first hand what it’s like trying to navigate through the tangled mess that is transphobia. If you consider yourself a trans ally, please check it out, either at the link above or again in the video below. Please try to truly comprehend what it’s like dealing with people who antagonize you without an ounce of rational thinking.

Corona Tavern is a bar in Medicine Hat, Alberta, that posted this lovely sign, which keen observers will know is a rather flagrant violation of Bill 7:


This sign was shared on social media shortly after the account of a trans woman who states in her interaction with Corona Tavern that management said “[the owner] would’ve thrown me out of the bar for using that bathroom.”

Yes, you read that right–not for harassing patrons, not for assaulting patrons–for peeing. In the toilet, mind. Peeing where you’re supposed to pee is against Da Rules now.

Corona Tavern has two parts to this:

  1. The harassment they enacted on the trans woman patron who did sweet fuck all but mind her own business;
  2. The transphobic sign stating patrons “must use the bathroom of their birth gender,” despite the fact that this is now a criminal thing to require under Bill 7.

Regarding point #2, let’s review this interview from Community TV, a conversation between a journalist and the management of Corona Tavern:

[Read more…]

Alberta Health: “Indigenous populations exhibit startlingly low life expectancy”

Alberta Health has released its annual report on life statistics in the province. It also collects demographic data on its participants because sometimes (usually) trends appear in specific populations, identifying these can help with creating policy to redress certain health problems. An outcome as general as “life expectancy” has a lot of contributing factors to it, and investigating those trends can lead to identifying health care gaps.

In a refreshingly honest report, Alberta Health has identified one of its gaps–Indigenous communities: (emphasis added; spacing added to make it more readable)

There is a large difference in life expectancy for Alberta’s First Nations population in comparison to Alberta’s total provincial population. Life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 70.36 years for First Nations people – about 12 years shorter than 81.87 years for the total provincial population.

In comparison to Alberta’s total population, the First Nations population experiences an infant mortality rate that is more than one and a half times higher, a suicide rate that is five to seven times higher, a higher rate of diabetes, and significantly higher rates of arthritis, asthma, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

This is consistent with national results which indicate the health of Indigenous peoples is much worse than for Canadians as a whole. To improve the health status of a population, a broad range of factors need to be considered including health services, personal health practices and coping skills, and social factors such as housing and education.

Bearing in mind that the Liberal government has also admitted the RCMP has a racism problem, it would appear that our left-wing governments are starting to take steps to honouring their “government accountability” platform planks, something the Albertan NDP and the Canadian Liberals both campaigned on. Whereas the Conservatives were very much “nothing to see here folks,” we’ve now had two levels of government admit there are racialized gaps in at least two government systems. In this case, federal police and provincial healthcare.

Perhaps most impressively, the Albertan NDP stated in this report that the primary way to improve health outcomes isn’t just to expand healthcare, but also to expand social programs and infrastructure that urban or white rural populations enjoy. This costs money, which is probably why our Conservatives never wanted to admit we had a problem.

This report was brought to my attention by a business blog for Drawing Board Design, who stated in their post:

[Read more…]

At least 80 peaceful Shiite protesters killed in Kabul bombing

During a peaceful protest in Kabul demanding the expansion of Aghanistan’s power grid to rural communities, Sunni fighters claimed by the Islamic State detonated suicide vests, murdering at least 80 Shiite protesters and injuring at least 230 more:

At least 80 people were killed and more than 230 wounded Saturday when attackers detonated explosives amid a huge crowd of peaceful protesters in the Afghan capital, most of them from the country’s Shiite ethnic Hazara minority, Afghan officials said.

Spokesmen for the Islamic State quickly claimed responsibility for the attack at a traffic circle jammed with demonstrators, according to Afghan media. The group’s media office said two Islamic State fighters detonated suicide belts among the crowd, in two separate bombings.

The death toll was the highest for any terrorist attack in the capital after more than a decade of fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan and NATO forces. If indeed carried out by the Islamic State, known as Daesh in Afghanistan, it would be the first major urban attack in the country by the radical Sunni terrorist group and could signal its first deliberate effort to target Afghanistan’s Shiite minority, which it views as infidels.

Please signal boost. Pay your respects to the victims in your preferred methods. These were lives like any other exercising their tenuous democratic rights.


School district apparently forgets how the Nazis operated by ordering trans students to ID selves with green bracelets

I’ve officially popped my casket. (emphasis mine)

The Wisconsin lawsuit notes other problems with how the school treated Whitaker. He was repeatedly called by his birth name and referred to with female pronouns by school staff, wasn’t allowed to run for prom king (until the school received a petition and media scrutiny), and wasn’t allowed to lodge with boys during school trips. The district also requires staff to make Whitaker and other transgender students wear green bracelets identifying them as transgender to staff — which caused Whitaker to worry about stigmatization and harassment, according to his lawyers. The school eventually instructed security guards to ensure Whitaker didn’t use the boys restroom.

I have no words.

Sue this district into fucking oblivion, please.


Jason Kenney receives endorsement from another garbage fire

Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney receives another endorsement from a gold star asshat conservative pundit, Sheila Gunn Reid. But this endorsement is a bit… erm, shall we say roundabout?

If you don’t support Jason Kenney’s bid to lead Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives, some of Kenney’s allies might launch gender-based attacks on you.

Just ask former Alberta PC MLA David Quest who expressed concerns about Kenney’s leadership bid on Ezra Levant’s right-wing Rebel Media website last week.

Shortly after, fellow Rebel personality Sheila Gunn Reid took to her YouTube soapbox to tar-and-feather Quest, denouncing him as a Liberal and even taunting the former MLA for losing to a “gender-queer Colombian immigrant” during the last election.

…Sure. Roundabout. 

Basically, David Quest criticized Kenney’s bid for the “Progressive” Conservative leadership, citing Kenney’s history of being the political equivalent of cucumbers pickled in gasoline. So one of Kenney’s biggest fans, suspected garbage fire Sheila Gunn Reid, decided the best way to discredit Quest was by pointing out he lost his election to a, quote, “genderqueer Colombian immigrant.”

[Read more…]

#SayHerName: Another trans woman murdered

A black trans woman by the name of Deeniquia Dodds was shot on the 4th of July in Washington D.C. She passed away on Thursday after 10 days in the hospital.

The devastating trend continues: Today, NBC News reported that Black trans woman Deeniquia Dodds was shot in Washington D.C. on the fourth of July. Deeniquia, known as “Dee Dee” to her friends, was taken to the hospital where she was kept alive on life support for ten days before passing away yesterday. According to Dee Dee’s Facebook page, she attended Woodson High School in the greater D.C. area and graduated in 2012. She was 22 years old.

Autostraddle’s trans editor, Mey Valdivia Rude, stated better than I ever could why we need to double down on our protests, our activism for trans folk and especially trans women of colour:

Things are supposed to be getting better. Cis people are noticing us and writing about us and making TV shows and movies about us. But really it just seems like things are getting better for our “allies.” Trans people, mostly trans women of color, and again, mostly Black trans women who sleep with men, are being murdered at a higher rate than any measured year before. It’s hard to look at all the articles being written about how this is our time and our moment in history and not explode in anger when so many of our Black and Brown sisters and elders aren’t being allowed to see this “historic moment” happen by the same cis society that is supposedly giving us this moment right now. Trans people, trans women of color, Black trans women need to be protected, prioritized and not fucking murdered.

I strongly recommend additional reading here, from this trans WoC.

Remember her name.


Jason Kenney: Alberta’s forced-birther Premier

Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney, Canadian Trump-wannabe extraordinaire and prospective leader of the Albertan “Progressive” Conservatives, has a few ideas on abortion:

But now, now: Kenney claims his position on abortion has been “consistent since I first ran for Parliament in 1997,” and boldly alleges that “in my 20 years in Parliament I haven’t given a speech about this, let alone proposed a motion or a bill.”

That’s a creative interpretation of his record:

 According to Campaign Life Coalition, Jason Kenney has a perfect voting record on “life and family issues,” voting on a number of occasions in favour of legislation criticized as attempts to undermine the reproductive rights of Canadian women.

 In 2012, Jason Kenney voted in favour of Motion 312, a failed bid to redefine Canada’s legal definition of a human being, viewed by many as a backdoor to reopening the abortion debate – that motion that was even rejected by Stephen Harper.

Kenney voted in favour of Motion 83, a failed bid to examine “the medical necessity of abortion.” In the House of Commons, Kenney delivered a speech arguing many abortions are “medically unnecessary” procedures and that with “scarce and shrinking dollars” for healthcare, tax dollars would be better spent on MRI machines.

 Kenney delivered another speech in the House of Commons claiming “the right to life” is “inalienable” because constitutional rights are “granted to us by our Creator.”

And let’s not even get into how Kenney thought a women’s group spreading awareness of abortion rights at his old university campus was in some way comparable to allowing the Ku Klux Klan, pedophiles or the Church of Satan peddle their ideas too.

This is the same guy who received a prize from Michael Gove and started the niqab manufactroversy in the last federal election. The same guy complaining about hipster communists as the true threat to Alberta?

I’d like to think that even the members of Alberta’s “Progressive” Conservatives aren’t so fucking thick as to elect Kenney.

At least we know he has the endorsement of forced-birther Alissa Golob, the woman who distributed photoshopped gore on anti-abortion pamphlets distributed when Trudeau announced his platform on abortion.

Class acts, all around.

-Shiv, still a Fashionable Communist

BLM to Marshal the Vancouver Dyke March

Black Lives Matter has been asked to marshal the upcoming Dyke March in Vancouver. This announcement has been made following the decision of BLM to not participate in this year’s Pride at Vancouver: (all emphasis original)

A Pride flag does not shield us from racism, discrimination and violence. In fact, as researchers and activists are well aware, being queer makes PoCs more vulnerable to interpersonal, institutional and structural violence. Because there are relatively few queer Indigenous and PoC folks (particularly those who identify or are read as Black) represented in Vancouver, it is imperative that Pride makes space to actively include these groups. There is a difference between “diversity” and “inclusion”. Tokenistic representation is different from intentional, self-motivated participation in an organization and an organization’s events. We encourage the Vancouver Pride Society to take action in pursuing the latter.

At our vigil on Sunday we successfully negotiated a basic police presence from the Vancouver Police Department. We acknowledge that in certain contexts police presence to perform a job of civil service may deter acts of homophobia and violence, especially at designated queer events such as Pride. However, we cannot divorce the policing institution from its historical and continued violence against Indigenous and PoC communities, racial profiling, or inaction around our missing Indigenous women. We stand with BLM-Toronto and many other BLM chapters in their discontent with police being involved in the parade itself.

BLM-Vancouver had not directly heard from the Vancouver Pride Society before the statement was released publicly online despite the Society’s stated intentions of inclusion and a desire to reach out to us.

We will not be taking part in the Pride parade, by participation or protest, and have instead chosen to focus our energy elsewhere. The Dyke March responded positively to the recent events in Toronto and, with compassion and dignity, have invited BLM-Vancouver to lead as Grand Marshall this year as part of their contribution to Pride. We have responded to that positive message of solidarity and humanity and are pleased to be involved with several other QTBIPoC-centred events as well. We do this not only because we feel that Pride no longer represents community action, resistance and revolution but also as an act of solidarity with BLM chapters across North America to whom Pride parades have been made inaccessible. We wholeheartedly support the actions of other BLM chapters such as BLM Toronto and BLM San Francisco and although we may not face the same immediate threats of police brutality, we refuse to participate in the whitewashing, armament and exclusivity of any Pride Parade unless concrete and explicit commitments to the contrary are made.

In case you’re wondering, the Vancouver Dyke March is also trans-inclusive, and recently committed in its trans-affirmation policy to including trans folk among their leadership positions. Remember my bit about BLM being better at intersectionality and trans affirmation than the mainstream cis gay movement? Thank you Vancouver Dyke March & Black Lives Matter for demonstrating my point.

I’m a little too broke to go this year… but damn, I can’t wait to go next year.