Alberta update: Muslims donate fat wad of cash to wildfire evacuees; Cons whine about hipsters

Canadian Muslims have presented a $250,000 donation to Fort McMurray, the city devastated by the country’s largest wildfire in recorded history:

“On the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Toronto-based International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF) announces a gift of $250,000 to the people of Fort McMurray,” Farheen Khan, IDRF Director, Fund Development and External Affairs, told

“What better way for Canadian Muslims to celebrate both Canada Day and Eid than to join hundreds of thousands of other Canadians in helping their fellow Canadians who have had their lives turned upside down in Fort McMurray,” said IDRF Board Chair, Zeib Jeeva.

Shortly after the fire began almost two months ago, the Syrian refugees that were resettled in Canada also banded together to contribute emergency relief supplies for evacuees.

Meanwhile, white Conservatives in Alberta have their priorities straight: Blaming bohemian youths for making communism look fashionable.

You know, one of the reasons from the very beginning I believe this project was necessary is because if you go to a university campus or walk down a fashionable part of a Canadian street these days, you’re likely to see young people unconsciously displaying symbols associated with this ideology of violence

I’m sure if you’re a PoC in America right now, you recognise that Capitalism is as every bit as violent. It’s a side effect of authoritarianism, not government per se.

-Shiv, Fashionable Communist

Good music to have stuck in your head: flOw

flOw is another delightful contribution to the indie game scene, although it’s almost more of an art piece than a game. Nonetheless, its soundtrack is perfect if you’re ever in the need to unwind and chill–which is to say it’s a perfect soundtrack to get high to:



Signal boosting: The science of misgendering

Over on Zinnia Jones’ trans issues website, Gender Analysis, an interesting perspective was brought to my attention considering the phenomenon of misgendering and gender perception:

It’s common nowadays to hear someone make the apparent concession that, for instance, a transgender woman should be allowed to use women’s restrooms – provided she “looks like a woman”. This standard has been advanced by opinionated cis people ranging fromJoey Salads to Peter Sprigg, a spokesman with the Family Research Council.

At first glance, this seems like an intuitive idea. It would supposedly minimize any disruptions, and many trans people do voluntarily choose which bathroom to use based on their current gender presentation. But this expectation could never function as a consistently applicable standard in practice, because it relies on false assumptions about how individuals perceive gender. In everyday life, interactions between the expression and interpretation of gender are so diverse that whether someone “looks like a woman” isn’t always entirely predictable.

This naïve model of gender perception treats gender as a property emitted from an individual, with all others as passive receivers who simply accept this expression at face value. Yet this is precisely backwards – expressions of gender are not objective and singular; they are subjective, interpretative, and multiple. The same trans person, on the same day, with exactly the same appearance, can still have their gender read entirely differently depending on who’s looking at them. Why does this happen?

At least in part, it’s because many of the variables involved here aren’t located within the one person being observed, but rather the multiple people observing them. Research on gender perception has provided extensive evidence that there is a wide array of factors which can influence how each person will see and interpret someone’s gender or the gendered features of their appearance.

When I’ve discussed the question of whether a trans person should disclose their gender history before entering an intimate relationship, many commenters have claimed that this probably isn’t an issue for me because, to them, I’m immediately visible as a trans woman regardless.

Yet when I later posted a video showing that using women’s restrooms is something I do without causing any disruption or alarm, I was repeatedly told by others that this proved nothing because I “look like a woman”. My own real experience as an actual trans woman was dismissed as irrelevant for the specific reason that I did not look like a cis person’s imagined stereotype of a trans woman.

Allow me to repeat this message for the public good:

My own real experience as an actual trans woman was dismissed as irrelevant for the specific reason that I did not look like a cis person’s imagined stereotype of a trans woman.

I may touch on this in greater detail later, but this, right here, is precisely why cis people can scream from the fucking mountaintops until they faint: I will not give a single fuck about their opinion on gender variance as long as they do not possess institutional authority over me.


Black Lives Matter protests Toronto Pride

Toronto Pride has developed a reputation for being overwhelmingly white and cis. The criticism could likely be levied against any Pride, with its shift towards cis gay men and corporations downplaying the original intent of Pride: a protest. It was never meant to be a movement towards white cisheterosexist assimilation.

Black Lives Matter reminds us of that:

Members of the Black Lives Matter Toronto group briefly halted the Pride parade today, holding up the marching for about 30 minutes.

The parade didn’t re-start until after Pride Toronto executive director Mathieu Chantelois signed a document agreeing to the group’s demands.

“It’s always the appropriate time to make sure folks know about the marginalization of black people, of black queer youth, black trans youth, of black trans people,” [Williams] said. “We are not taking any space away from any folks. When we talk about homophobia, transphobia, we go through that too … It should be a cohesive unit, not one against the other. Anti-blackness needs to be addressed and they can be addressed at the same time, in the same spaces,” she said.

In a news release, the group said Pride Toronto “has shown little honour to black queer/trans communities, and other marginalized communities. Over the years, Pride has threatened the existence of black spaces at Pride that have existed for years.”

The group released a list of demands, including a commitment to increase representation among Pride Toronto staff, and to prioritize the hiring of black transgender women and indigenous people.

One of the other demands also called for the exclusion of police floats, although not necessarily police members, from participating:

But Khan told CBC News her group is not looking to exclude officers who identify as LGBT from participating in Pride events, but it opposes floats accompanied by uniformed, armed officers — calling them a stark reminder of the history of brutality faced by the LGBT community and visible minorities.

“To be clear, we said, ‘No floats. No police floats,'” Khan said. “But we have no desire to police the police in terms of whether they should actually be there or not when they’re LGBTQ-identified.”

Khan said her group’s actions are in keeping with “histories of resistance” that have long been a part of the tradition of Pride.

“If we think about the dyke march that happened 20 years ago, gay men were saying, ‘Why should you have your own Pride?’ … Twenty years later it’s an integral part of what Pride is all over the world. We’re saying, should we wait 20 years before black lives are also considered an integral part?”

Canada has a “less bad” record of police brutality than America, sure. But it’s certainly worth reminding the overwhelmingly white Pride Parade that black folks, and black queer folks, still deal with a lot of antagonism and prejudice even if it’s not outright brutality, and that police brutality still happens even if less often.

[Read more…]

Canadian Blood Services p2: That’s Not the Question I Asked

As part of an ongoing series investigating the research CBS claims to have in support of their new policy, you can follow the progress of my communications with related parties here (list updates with every new related post):

  1. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
  2. That’s Not The Question I Asked
  3. You’re Like, Halfway There



Following the announcement from Canadian Blood Services that pre-operative trans women who’ve had sex with men would be considered “males who have sex with males, (MSMs)”–and therefore subject to the 12-month abstinence requirement for blood donation eligibility imposed on gay men–I sent a letter to their public inquiry box stating a concern with the methodology. I have reproduced my communications so far.

I establish that health statistics on trans folk is shoddy and incomplete because of medical establishments subsuming us into cisgender male and female populations; and also that CBS, in lumping pre-op trans women with MSMs, was not only perpetuating misinformation, but also doing something flatly unscientific.

Their public email clerk responded thusly: (emphasis added by me in all emails)

[Read more…]

Attack in Baghdad claimed by IS

IS claims yet another bombing attack, this time in Baghdad, where 165 people (so far) have been confirmed killed in the attack that occurred on a market square:

The number of people killed in Sunday’s suicide bomb attack in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has risen to 165, interior ministry officials say.

The government has declared three days of mourning after the huge blast, which injured 225 others.

A lorry packed with explosives was detonated in the Karrada district while families were shopping for the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

It is believed to be the deadliest single bomb attack in Iraq since 2007.

So-called Islamic State (IS) has said it carried out the suicide attack.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was greeted by angry crowds when he visited the mainly Shia Muslim area in the hours after the bombing.

IS, which follows its own extreme version of Sunni Islam, said in an online statement that the attack in Karrada was carried out by an Iraqi as part of “ongoing security operations”.

The US said on Sunday that the attack strengthened its resolve to support Iraqi forces in their fight against IS.

UN Iraq envoy Jan Kubis said IS militants who had “suffered defeats at the battlefront are seeking to avenge their losses by targeting vulnerable civilians”.


One step forward, two steps back: CBS adds trans women to MSM deferral

As part of an ongoing series investigating the research CBS claims to have in support of their new policy, you can follow the progress of my communications with related parties here (list updates with every new related post):

  1. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
  2. That’s Not The Question I Asked
  3. You’re Like, Halfway There

Canadian Blood Services has announced a new policy that will defer trans women from donating blood if they’re pre-op and sexually active with men:

But many activists are upset with the policy because it focuses on whether or not a trans person has undergone gender confirming surgery.

Goldman says the criteria will create a countrywide, streamlined mandate for all trans blood donors.

According to Canadian Blood Services, there has been an increase in potential trans donors and this prompted the organization to implement criteria for those individuals.

The policy specifically targets trans women and is similar to Canadian Blood Services’ updated guidelines for gay blood donors. On June 20, Health Canada announced that gay men would be allowed to donate blood if they had abstained from sex for at least one year.

Trans women who undergo gender confirming surgery will have to wait one year before they can donate blood. After the wait period, Canadian Blood services will also identify them by their reconfirmed gender. “If a trans woman has not had [gender confirming surgery], that person would be considered as a male having sex with a male,” Goldman said.

Canadian Blood Services says there are regulations specific to trans women because that demographic is at high risk for HIV.

According to the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, an estimated 27.7 per cent of trans women in Canada are living with HIV.

“There is a very high HIV prevalence rate in trans women,” Goldman said. “So we are obliged to treat (them) as a high risk group.”

There seems to be a taken assumption made by Dr. Goldman that post-operative trans women are less likely to contract HIV than pre-operative. Now as a demographic the stats hint that we do experience higher rates of HIV, but the exact extent to which this is a problem is difficult to pin down with existing data for reasons I’ll get to in a minute. And I suspect the elevated rates of HIV in our community have far more to do with socioeconomic discrimination than our genitals. So what does the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development even say?

Let’s find out: (emphasis mine, plus I’ve added paragraph breaks to make it more readable)

[Read more…]

3 ways to celebrate Canada Day properly

Canadians take their national birthday very seriously, and being clocked as a foreigner can be dangerous. If you happen to be an expat living in Canada, follow these simple steps to ensure you celebrate your Canada Day properly in order to avoid the mild-mannered scorn of Canucks.

  1. Order poutine:  Ensure your poutine has been made with cheese curds. If it’s made with shredded cheese, send it back. Ensure your poutine’s gravy is hot enough to melt the cheese curds, if it’s not, send it back. Ensure your poutine is made with proper thick chip fries and not slim snaky fast food tries, if it isn’t, send it back. Make it clear you’re disappointed with the establishment, but remember to say “please” and “thank you.” Bonus points if you can get the waiter to make a “sorry mom” face. Acceptable variants from standard poutine include vegetarian gravy or a combination with a cultural dish (i.e. butter chicken poutine)–we are multicultural after all.
  2. Wear plaid: You don’t want to be mistaken for an American.
  3. Drink beer: Literally anything but American beer.

Common punishments for violating these screeds include: 1) Disappointed head-shaking; 2) Well-intended lectures; 3) Strongly worded letters; and 4) Issuing apologies to other Canadians on your behalf in order to shame you.

Additional regional customs might modify expectations for Canada Day:

  • Speak French. Anglophones are not well received in certain parts of the country.
  • Speak English. Francophones are not well received in certain parts of the country.
  • Mock America.
  • Praise the Queen.
  • Scorn the Queen.
  • Mistake Aussies for Brits and vice versa.
  • Mistake Parisians for Quebecois and vice versa.

All in all, issue apologies often and preemptively, and you’ll likely be accepted as a Canuck.


Source: Scandinavia and the World

Nazi training camp in all but name

In a feat that is truly so ignorant, so completely fucking oblivious that I have literally run out of words, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park hosts a camp to become “a soldier in Custer’s 7th Cavalry.” Don’t recognise the reference? Here you go:

On November 27th, 1868, Custer led an early morning attack on a peaceful band of Cheyenne living with Chief Black Kettle near the Washita River. Custer, who had previously been convicted of desertion and mistreatment of soldiers, had recently been reinstated by Gen Sheridan to lead a campaign against the Cheyenne. Sheridan was frustrated by the inability of previous officers’ efforts to engage successfully against tribes and felt Custer would help lead successful campaigns.

Prior to the attack, Custer refused to confirm the band of Cheyenne over looking that this band under Chief Black Kettle were a peaceful band and flew a white flag of truce in the middle of the camp. Just four years earlier, Black Kettle had survived another surprise attack at the Sand Creek massacre.

Custer’s surprise attack happened at dawn. He ordered his men to destroy “everything of value to the Indians,” and in a few hours over 100 Cheyenne’s had been killed including Black Kettle, his wife, and over 800 horses. Custer also took over 50 women and children into captivity.

While originally labelled as a “Battle” the slaughter at Washita River was later called a “massacre of innocent Indians” by the Indian Bureau.

Custer would later lead a gold finding expedition into the Black Hills in direct violation of the 1868 Ft. Laramie treaty. Later, Custer who once declared “There are not enough Indians in the world to defeat the 7th Calvary” would meet his fate at the Battle of the Greasy Grass (the Battle of the Little Big Horn) by an alliance of Lakota, Dakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors. The battle would go down as the worst military defeat in US military history.

In 1890, a blood thirsty and revenge driven 7th Calvary rounded up a peaceful band of Lakota, primarily Ghost Dancers, under Chief Big Foot and slaughtered over 300 women, men, and children known as the Wounded Knee massacre.

I’m sure at least some of the parents enrolling their kids in this camp have no idea what Custer or the 7th Cavalry means, but that just makes matters worse.

You’re sending your kids to celebrate a mass murderer. That doesn’t suddenly become okay because the victims were indigenous, for fuck sake.

Caine’s piece is longer and more thorough. I just see this and go, “I can’t even.” Why are white people so fucking dumb? (Yeah yeah, I know. Privilege. But why?)


Happy Canuckistan Day

It’s Canada’s birthday, I guess.

Proud to be… humble…?

Canadian nationalism is weird.



I also posted this video before, but it’s too Canadian not to repeat: