Saturday, November 19, 2011

Feminist Flash Fiction Entry

Pro-choice groups are filled with all kinds
Together sharing hearts and minds
From queer younglings to weary  vets
Fighting for rights against all threats

We scream and kick and stomp and yell
Telling them to go right to hell
The chants are practiced; tried and true
Used from Toronto to Peru

You say no choice, we say pro choice
Cried from us in a single voice
But this wasn’t quite good enough
For a kid who seemed pretty tough

With Moms encouragement she asked
And with grins we agreed real fast
This chant was better and hard to skew
You say no choice, we say fuck you!

This is an entry for the Mookychick blogging competition, FEMINIST FLASH FICTION 2011. Enter now.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Canadian Press Stylebook on Sexism and Sexual Orientation

Okay, so, it took forever to make my internet work in this apartment. So frustrating, seriously. But, I’m settled in, I’m doing good, and I started my Journalism classes at Niagara college today! They seem promising, and I think I’m going to enjoy them.

Also, I got my text books. I had to flip through The Canadian Press Stylebook 16th Edition because: A. Knowing this is like 60% of my mark in one class.
B. It’s going to be important career-wise.
And C. I wanted to see what kind of stuff it talks about. My grandfather told me it was kind of boring but important, so I wanted to see what he meant. Lots of fiddley little rules I’m going to have to get to know very well. But I was looking through the Table of Contents and I see “sexism, sexual orientation, abortion” all together and I just HAD to see what it said. And you know what? It’s pretty good. I’m impressed and pleased with the journalistic standards in these regards. Seeing what the measure is for the way that these topics are addressed and discussed in the public forum is interesting to see from the other side.

Bits I liked best in these three topics (actually, just sexism/sexual orientation, abortion boils down to ‘use pro/against abortion rights unless groups in question use pro-life/pro-choice, be careful out there.’)

Sexism: “Referring to a woman gratuitously as attractive, leggy or sexy is as innapropriate as describing a man as hot, well-muscled or having great buns.” -I like this mainly because someone managed to get the phrase ‘having great buns’ into my textbook about stylistic writing guidelines.

“Never assume that a family of four consists of a man, a woman and their two children. Don’t write as if every married couple consists of a man and a woman.”

Sexual Orientation: “Gay and lesbian are the preferred terms to describe people attracted by the same sex; homosexual is considered offensive by some. Avoid except in clinical contexts and quotations. Lesbian woman is redundant. Don’t use gay as a noun. Althought many gay people use the expression queer, avoid except in quotations as some readers may construe it as offensive.” Okay, I’m going to have to raise my hand and point out bisexual/pansexual people vis a vis the first bit, but I really enjoy the ‘lesbian woman is redundant’ line. Also, I should ask if you can use the word queer in a column, where you speak as yourself, and you’re someone who self-identifies as queer. Hmm, does a column technically count as one huge giant quote?

“Use sexual orientation, not sexual preference; sexuality is not an option. Don’t refer to the gay lifestyle or suggest that the majority of gay men and lesbians routinely live unorthodox lives; most don’t.” I WILL HAVE YOU KNOW, TEXTBOOK, THAT EVERY NIGHT WHILE THE STRAIGHT PEOPLE SLEEP, WE BATTLE THE DREAD GOD DSSKA’FDSJHRE AND DEFEND THE UNIVERSE FROM IT’S INEVITABLE DESTRUCTION. Not unorthodox lives my butt. (The book said no swearing. ;-; Except in quotes. Wait! “My ass” says the girl who likes to think she’s funny.)

It also says to flag the story with a ‘caution’ note where a slur is used. Perhaps this is indicative of trigger warnings becoming more mainstream!

Bit I don’t really like:
“While there is still some dispute about the definitions of the terms, transgender is usually regarded as a general term under which more specific descriptions, such as cross dresser, transvestite, drag queen, shemale and transsexual, fall. Transsexual has a clinical definition as someone who identifies as a member or the sex opposite to that assigned at birth. Use the term the person in question uses (explain if necessary) and a pronoun consistent with how they live.” Okay, I dislike this being under ‘sexual orientation.’ I get why, because the term LGBT+ has lumped everyone in one big pile, but it’s really not the same thing. Gender identity=/=sexual orientation. Also, I wish they’d said not to use the word shemale unless the person in question uses it, because to my knowledge that is definitely not a good word. I’m probably going to at least point out that gender identity isn’t the same thing as sexual orientation in class, and that they should maybe rename the section ‘sexual and gender identities.

In total, about these sections, I was pretty impressed. It was progressive, fairly decent standards, and most of it worked for me.

If anyone has any issues with the bits I’ve quoted, let me know! Especially with the bit about gender identity. I’m cisgender, and I know I might have missed something offensive.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The End of the Womanthology Kickstarter

With 54 hours left in the Womanthology Kickstarter, the total amount raised is $88,150. This is an amazing success for this group, which started off hoping to raise just $25,000 by the end of the month. While the hope is that with one last big push, the goal of $100,000 can be reached, what has been raised is absolutely phenomenal.

Renae De Liz, the woman who is spearheading this project, has recently revealed more of what she plans to do with the extra money here.

If you have the money to spare, think about donating it to the cause, you'll be helping a lot of people realize their ambitions. :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

First Canada Sings Episode

Just watched the new show, Canada Sings. And during the second song I cried.

I’m not sure what her name was, but the plus-size girl from 1-800-GOT-JUNK, just…when she hurt herself during the practice…you could see the shame and fear on her face, and hear it in her words. “I don’t want to be the fat girl who hurt herself. I don’t want to be the weak link.” I could see all the self-hatred and embarrassment I’ve ever felt in my weakest of moments, and knew exactly how she felt. That moment when you just know that people are judging you, that maybe you’re not good at something, and everyone is going to attribute to your weight and nothing else. Except the worst I’ve ever felt that is during dancing classes (…well, lessons that they made us take in drama class), ‘trust exercises’ (hah. I didn’t trust my partner, and with good reason. The one time I fell, he didn’t even *try* to catch me-he took a step back. If I hadn’t been half-expecting that, I would have fallen on my ass.), and things like that. Performances I wasn’t ready for, things I wasn’t confident about my skill.

She went on NATIONAL TELEVISION. And she knew she was going to do that, in front of a huge audience and television cameras. And she had that sick sense of dread I and others like us know way too well. You could see it on her face, and if you know it, you felt it along with her.

But during the dance, she did wonderful. <3 There was this beautiful moment where she was backlit by the light and dancing, and it was tear-jerking. And then when they one, and she held the statue…Oh.
So happy I watched it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Womanthology Kickstarter

The Womanthology Kickstarter has just launched, around eight o'clock. And we've already raised about $8000.00. While that's still a ways off from the goal of $25000.00, it's incredibly promising, and a great start.

The rewards are fantastic, the cause good, and the product will be fantastic.

Now, I'm off to work on my script for it, because with an artist to work with (Vanessa Satone) and a promising fundraiser, I really have to make sure I do a great job. :3

EDIT: Within 37 hours of starting the Kickstarter, the goal has been met! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pride Toronto 2011

I got home yesterday from spending the weekend at my friends’, celebrating Pride with her. We marched in the Dyke march (and it was SO MUCH FUN) right behind this band, and we danced the whole time (well, my friend Kalie and me danced, Jen just walked) and just had fun. We got sprayed by the lesbians with waterguns that were watching! And then we looked at all the booths, and I saw a shirt I liked but had no money, and it was FORTY BUCKS, so I didn’t want it anymore. Kalie bought a dress, and then we saw a two-for-twenty dollars glasses stall. Kalie and Jen saw a pair each they liked, and got, and I was lingering over a pretty red pair. Kalie found another one she liked, and I offered to pay her back ten bucks if she bought the one she liked and the one I like. So now I have my new red sunglasses~ And we saw a butch clothing stall, and I really like their stuff (in fact, so much I’ll link you to their website: and one lady there gave me their card and mentioned that they had clothing in all sizes. (I went back Sunday, when I had money, and she remembered me. c: Got me a hat that says BUTCH CLOTHING CO, with butch in the biggest letters.)

Then we headed back to Kalie and Jen’s apartment, which was really nice imo. Nice thick walls so they could play their music loud, gorgeous view, open-feeling space. We had a late dinner, Jen went to bed and me and Kalie “watched a movie.” By which I mean, we talked about girls. Until about two. Oh, and they had the CUTEST CAT, named Odette, a little blond brat who kept biting me, and cuddling me and djsakljdfljkfds so CUTE. Worth the scratches and allergies to play with her.

Then we went to watch the Pride parade the next day, which was amazing. I was just…a little overwhelmed to be honest, and my feet hurt a bit, and I was honestly way more interested in people-watching the crowd then I was in the parade. I mean…the parade’s awesome, but I just…like looking at everyone there, and walking by, seeing their clothing, seeing them, and knowing that most of the people there were queer in some way, and everyone there was supportive. It amazing feeling, and I don’t really know how to support it. I felt it during the Dyke March too, but that was more…electric, it made me want to shout with everyone, kept me moving and smiling. This just made me…really, really happy in a tranquil way.

…Okay, and honesty makes me admit this, I also looked at bums. Well. I was sitting on a step, and lots of pretty ladies wore short shorts. (Lots and lots and lots of pretty ladies with very nice bums.)
We looked at the shops again, I got my hat, and I bought a shirt I’d seen two people wearing and had to have. The first time I saw it, I just told Kalie I needed it. The second time, I stopped the guy and asked where he bought it, and we went down to Out On The Street(they had so much AWESOME STUFF, and it’s all super LGBTQ+ positive), and bought a shirt that says “Proud to be Everything the Right Wing Hates.” <3

Also, there was one protester, there both days. We only stopped and watched him at the Dyke March. He got hit with a soda can and a water bottle, shouted at, almost assaulted by one very angry woman, whose wife kept trying to hold her back, (We spoke to the wife, lovely lady) and shot by three water guns from three different directions at once. I shouted a few criticisms of his logic, but I don’t think he listened.

OH OH AND THERE WERE DERBY GIRLS OMG Kalie kept pointing them out to me after I mentioned how awesome/hot derby girls are. AND Kalie and me are going to go learn how to shoot guns this winter from her cousin. Who’s in the military!

SO BASICALLY. Pretty awesome weekend.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sending My Concerns: Last Post re: GRS in prisons

Alright, I'm done. There's just...not really anything else I can do. I've come to the personal conclusion that Minister Toews' decision to cease funding of Gender Reassignment Surgery was probably illegal, but that's based largely on my own suspicions. Given that I've been trying to find out from his office how it could be legal, given the fact that a federal court said it was an essential medical service, since late November of last year, and given no response other then an unsubstantiated assurance that it was legal by his staff. Which, needless to say, was not very convincing.

I reported it to the Human Rights Commision, since the Human Rights Tribunal ruled similarily to the federal courts two years previous. But, it takes a complaint be who it personally affects, and is willing to commit to the legal battle. Given the fact that transgender inmates that wish to transition and are at that point in their transition are relatively rare, and that most won't want the legal battle, it's unknown when that battle will happen.

I'm angry. I hate the fact that our government can apparently do illegal things, or ignore court orders, and it takes people hurt by that action to even try and right it. I hate that as a concerned citizen who noticed, I couldn't even get a straight answer about how it could be legal, much less try and make a change. I hate that my e-mails and calls were basically ignored, and that transgender inmates are going to suffer (by dint of being housed with their gender-assigned-at-birth, rathern their identified gender, if nothing else) by being denied something that the federal courts declared an essential medical service.

And I hate the sick feeling in my stomach that reminds me that the woman from the HRC told me this has happened before, and that it's going to happen again. If I ignore a court order, something tells me that it doesn't take someone being hurt by my ignoring the court order for me to be punished.

Of course, I could be wrong. But I won't know that until someone from the Ministry of Public Safety or Minister Victor Toews' office contacts me and tells me how it was legal. And you know what? I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


So, a friend of mine on Tumblr posted, asking for people to talk about what inspired them. I thought I'd cross-post it here. Fair warning, number one and two are unbearably cheesy. >.<

1. My grandfather, Gordon Pape. He doesn’t fit the ‘not white/cis/hetero/older’ suggestion of the original prompt, but he’s always been a big inspiration to me, and one of the big reasons I’ve always wanted to be a published writer. He’s worked incredibly hard to get where he is today, working up from journalist to editor, to publishing books on financial advice, a monthly newsletter about mutual funds, and owning Gordon Pape Ent. I can’t tell you all the stories I’ve heard about him writing books before work in the early morning, meeting and interviewing influential Canadian politicians, and things like that. My favourite book of his remains ‘The 50,000 dollar Stove Handle’ which if you come across it, I definitely reccomend you give it a read. It’s not about finances, it’s a humourous recounting of renovating his house with my Nana, and it’s made me laugh since I first read it at eleven. Also, his and my aunt Deborah’s ‘Quizmas’ books, which are Christmas quizzes based off of the ones he really does every year at Christmas. He even gives prizes at the family ones!

2. My mother, Kim Pape-Green. She was born deaf, and has faced a lot of discrimination in her life, and still does today. She made a speech in Parliament when she was younger about accessibility, volunteers for the Canadian Hearing Society, and recently raised a lot of money by embarrassing her children endlessly. (Wearing a hideous red wig and walking around Toronto. …Actually, if you’re any of my friends there and reading this, that…wasn’t my mother. It was a…let’s go with evil clone.) We fight a lot, but I do respect her, and how hard she’s worked in life does inspire me. <3

3. Helen Keller. We went to that play based on her early life when I was young, for a field trip. It was nice, but overly cheesy for my taste, and while I thought it was impressive that she’d learnt to communicate, it didn’t really catch my interest. Until I learn she was an outspoken socialist and feminist later on. I love controversial women, and the fact that she went through so much just to communicate, and took that skill and used it how she believed. Biggest BAMF.

4. Terry Pratchett. I’m a huge fan of his books, I’ve read as many of them as I can get my hands on.  And how he’s persevering with his recent diagnosis of Alzheimers is really insiring. (He donated a million to a researching facility, but the speech he gave, while hilarious, fell on humourless ears. Thank the internet gods for youtube!)

That’s all I can think of. I don’t often feel ‘inspired’ by people, I look up to them, respect, them, but inspiration is…not the word I’d usually use, lmao.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sending My Concerns

A different issue for SMC this time!

In wake of the controversial news that MP Brad Trost told a pro-life group he was meeting with that Planned Parenthood Intereational is going to be refused the eighteen million dollars in funding it's requested from the Canadian government. The most recent application has been waiting for approval since last fall, and though the Conservatives are continuing to say that the abortion debate will not be raised during Harper's time as Prime Minister, one must wonder about the length of time this request has been sat on.

I've phoned my local MP, Lois Brown, and left a message abour how I feel on this issue, and asked to be called back later. I also called my Liberal MP candidate, Kyle Peterson, and asked what the Liberals felt about this situation. He strongly disagreed with this stance, and told me that the Liberals would approve funding immidiately if they get into power this election.

I'll update this with the response from Lois Brown later. And if you're from a different riding, I encourage you to make your own feelings on this known to your MP candidates. Or from the same riding, lol. Making your opinions known is the best way to help make sure your representative is aware of the interests of the people who vote for them.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day of Silence 2011

I did this today, and it went relatively well. I got a lot of stares, because I opted to put duct tape on my mouth. I wrote a short blurb on the back cover of my notebook, explaining why I wasn’t talking [that it was the day of silence, and what it was.] A guy on the bus asked to take a picture of me and my sign, and I didn’t see why not.

I went to the Just for Laughs road show, and it was pretty good.  The comedy was very heteronormative, but that’s to be expected. I preferred the host, actually, Tim Nutt, he had me laughing through my duct tape the most.

Anyways, while waiting to be able to go inside, I showed my explanation/sign to curious/confused looking people. A supervisor/manager came over, probably thinking I was just there to get attention, but I showed her the sign and my ticket and she was fine. And…one of the people in the crowd called campus security. [The show was in a theatre on my campus. And I know it was her because they talked to me and her group, and she looked over at me kind of weirdly.] I just showed them my sign, and my ticket to the show. They spoke to the woman, then came back to me, said that I was totally allowed to do what I was doing, to tell them if anyone bothered me, and that anyone I bothered would contact them as well. I nodded in understanding.

And in intermission, while I was walking around, two women stopped me to ask to see my sign. I showed them, and one of them thanked me for doing what I was doing, and said her fifteen year old niece was being bullied, at a school with three recent bullying-caused suicides.

So…I don’t know, I feel like I succeeded in the aim of the Day of Silence, which is to raise awareness, I feel very touched by that woman who thanked me, and I’m glad I decided to still do this today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Canadian Leader's Debate Liveblog

[I did this on Tumblr, thought I should put it here as well.]

“The firestorm of Canadian politics.” I can’t breathe, what is air.

I’m actually really pissed off, watching these pre-debates images of the four leaders laughing and poking each other and they look…like such an old boys club. It’s really irritating. I want Elizabeth May to be there. :/

No, I don’t want Jack Layton babysitting my children. NTY.


‘Sup Mansbridge.

Four old white guys in suits! God, we’re so multicultural.
…I’d like to know the rules. What are the rules? Why can’t the viewers hear the rules?

Hey, first question is a dude from my hometown. What up Newmarket?

lol I just said what up, I’m such a dork.

Harper just said there’s no tax reductions in his current budget.

OH SNAP DUCEPPE. “I would like to congratulate Mr. Harper for answering a question from a citizen for the first time in this campaign.”

Duceppe wants the report to be released, Harper ‘doesn’t have it’. Also, seems to think the fake lake will last ‘for years.’

I love Duceppe’s expressions when Harper talks. It’s like he’s thinking “who the hell does this guy think he’s kidding?”

Lol, Harper, we can all see you’re avoiding his question.

Did he just say Windsor was in Quebec? 0.o I think I misheard him.

I like how there’s apparently no rule about making a short, cursory answer to the question and then going right into a different debate. Oh wow, Ignatieff started to talk about that right when I typed. …Not bad, Iggy.

“You waste public money.” -Ignatieff.

You should not rely on that report! BUT WE WON’T GIVE YOU THE RIGHT REPORT. MUAHAHA.

Is it just me, or is Harper talking to the camera, and the others talk to the person they’re responding too?

I do like how Layton and Ignatieff bring the debate back to the question every so often.

“I don’t agree with it.” Harper, you LIED and got contempt, just deal with it.

Why are you making budget considerations for jets you’ll be buying at the end of the decade?

They’re saying you have to make a choice between too expensive jets you lied about the cost of, and health care, not the women and men in the military and health care. You’re trying to make it sound like they hate the military.


Only one billion for everyone to go to university? …And we’re spending thirty billion on jets? Whaaaat?

You’re creating jobs? Wasn’t it just stated you’d lost 200k jobs?

Jack, this is srs bsns, stop grinning plz.

Second talker is Ontarian as well. …We’ve got a lot of provinces, CBC.

We need to re-invest in our multilaterism, not getting a seat in the Security Council is bloody embarrassing.

…Are they not allowed to swear? Layton just said heck instead of hell.

…Iggy did you just say they’d be ‘safe, defending Afghans’? Dude, wouldn’t they be in harms way then? 0.o

And he’s not saying to pretend it never happened, he’s saying to find another way to provide security.

“Can we trust him?” [Layton about Ignatieff]

Oh, you want us going back in Africa? Eurgh, they’re going to keep talking about aid and never mention hitting the .7% goal we’ve never hit, are they?

Ooh, that’s a nice bit of theatrics, pointing to both Harper and Ignatieff and saying they’ve been in power too long.

Ooh, we’re charing the WHO’s bit about Child and maternal health. Except, y’know, we won’t think about/talk about abortion. -rubs forehead-

Duceppe just dropped the Bush bomb.

Ignatieff likes the ‘one billion dollars in 72 hours’ bit, doesn’t he?

No, it’s not what the government of Canada does. We talk a good talk, but we’ve NEVER hit that sweet spot of .7%.

Is the Prime Minster supposed to speak in the royal we? 0.o

Duceppe makes a few good points, he’s not bad at picking out Harper’s issues.

Harper’s still the only one talking to the camera.

Ignatieff, you don’t quite look natural hand-talking, you don’t have to.

And I’m really starting to hate the tone Harper is speaking in right now. It’s really condescending and irritating me. Slow and nice and rrr.

I wish Elizabeth May was on the dais.

Oooh, third questioner is a newfie!

/Please/ do not elect a majority government, country mine.

Okay, Ignatieff, when you talk as if you’re addreswsing the questioner, look at the camera.Don’t stare at
Harper when you’re speaking to someone else.

‘So called contempt motion’ no, no, it’s not so-called, you have successfully become the only government that his has happened to, and it’s not so-called.

“You haven’t earned a majority.” Yesssss.

What’s that shiny thing on Harper’s lapel? It’s really distracting.

This patronizing voice is getting increasingly irritating, especially when you hear bits of actual caring in the voices of the others.


“This isn’t bickering, this is democracy.” -Ignatieff.

Layton brings it back to the question. And starts to say that they should be working together.

trolololol Duceppe reminding them about working together to write a letter. In face of Harper’s bawing about coalition talk. And Harper’s like ‘NO I DIDNT SAY I WANTED A COALITION’ and the other three went ‘uhh, you’re lying, you’re actually not telling the truth.’

Harper, we can all tell that you’re bullshitting us.

I’m actually laughing about how he keeps trying to lie about having met with them about the coalition.

Yes, Layton, that’s true, that is really irritating that it’s either Liberal or Conservative.

Layton, this is the second time you’ve called Iggy Harper’s best friend.

I think Layton feels left out.

…Harper’s attitude is severely irritating me.


I’m actually a bit surprised that I’m preferring Duceppe out of these four. I wonder if he and May would have had fun trolling Harper and Iggy.

Layton’s supporting proportional representation! YES. I waaaaant.

So wait, Ignatieff is wrong about you not respecting our political process because…you’ve stayed in power? Really? That’s…not a response.

Holy shit, 70% of the votes? He missed SEVENTY PERCENT?

…Oh hey, immigration question from a…non-immgrant.

Ooh, supporting ability to bring over families of workers. Not bad, NDP.

I like how Duceppe and Layton have just reached a point of ‘we’d like more immigrants, it would help Canada, and Harper’s a dick.’

Oooh, asking if Layton would give Qubec control over it’s immigration.

He points out they have a good deal of power over their immigration.

Duceppe is asking : Bill 101 y/n. Layton avoids question. Duceppe presses. Layton still not saying yes or no. And wants to preserve french language.

Ignatieff speaks gratuitous french!

Ignatieff says Harper cut settlement funding, Harper claims they tripled it.

Layton asks why they cut it, Harper repeats that they tripled it.

And that’s the second time Harper’s said “The Bloc is trying to break up the country.”

Layton is trying to get all parties to agree to speed up family immigration. Harper says he will keep doing what he’s already doing. The other two didn’t comment.

…Am I the only one who’s continually irritated that there’s four old white guys arguing about our country’s future? ;-; Why couldn’t May be here, at least she might’ve been a bit different.

Oh shit. They brought up criminals. Ffffff.

I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT JOHN REILLY WHILE IGNATIEFF TALKS. /Why didn’t you kick him out of your party, gd it/

Oooh, Duceppe says Harper’s soft on crime in his own office.

Ignatieff likes Quebec’s Young Offenders program.

If one of them brought up Reilly or the Slutwalk, it just might be an auto-vote.

Duceppe wants to protect the right to abortion, and doesn’t trust Harper’s government not to try and make it illegal. Duceppe’s my favourite of these four now, lmao.

Rehabilitation is important, but we still stopped funding gender reassignment surgery LOLOLOL

‘When the reelected conservative goverment gets back” Fuck you Harper. That is so smug it fills me with rage.

…’Hashtag fail’? …Layton. Layton. Omg.

Layton brings up violence against women! And wants more women in Parliament! After making a crack about  crooks in the Senate. And goes into Native issues.

Ignatieff just said you can’t get rid of violence against women without gun control. …WHAT? Most violence against women is /not/ with guns. It’s, y’know, domestic violence, rape, etc.

Harper finally addresses gun control.

Yes, we do still need registration for all guns, hunting and otherwise

Last question! Wait, is it just me or has most of the questioners been white.? :/ Canada’s a lot more multicultural then this, I swear…

NDP is having fun with ‘health care? Yeah, that was us. Ttly us.’

I am hallucinating Jack Layton’s face turning into a trollface. “Your conversion on this issue is sure fast, Harper.”

Layton is very much angling for votes as we head towards the end.

I really want Harper to stop talking in this smug patronizing way. It’s actually just really, really grinding on my nerves.

Duceppe just wants people to gtfo of Quebec.

The Liberals raised taxes and cut funding! The Conservatives will lower taxes and raise funding!

Layton points out the Liberals have a history of making promises it doesn’t keep.

Duceppe thinks Ottawa has too much money, and that the money could be spent much better forCanadians who could use it.

Is everything the conservatives promise possible: Harper says yes. Layton says it’s about choices. Ignatieff says pegging corporate tax rates and buy cheaper jets. Duceppe says it’s about more choices, less advantages to old companies.

Harper says NDP will always raise taxes and never cut them.

Closing statements! [I will summarize]

Layton: Ignatieff’s party did lots of problems, Harper’s party caused lots of problems. You have a choice. And you can vote for me! I will cap credit card fees, more doctors, help pensions!

Duceppe: Other leaders don’t respect us as a nation. We must become a country. But as long as we’re in Canada, the Bloc is here for eyou. We cannot trust Harper.

Ignatieff: Choose a government that respects democracy. Harper doesn’t. We respect families, we want to restore Canada’s place in the world. The choice is between Conservatives and Liberals.

Harper: Thank you for the honour and trust of making me PM. We’ve done the best to keep Canada safe and taxes low. We have a recovery to complete. We’d like to finish.

And, done. French debate tomorrow, though I'm not blogging that one.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Slutwalk Toronto 2011

Just realized that I hadn't promoted this on my blog yet.

The Slut Walk this Sunday in Toronto is in response to a statement made on January 24th by a representative of the Toronto Police Force that "women should avoid dressing like sluts if they don't want to be raped." We will be walking from Queen's Park South to the Toronto Police Headquarters.

Because it doesn't matter what you wear, what you act like, what people say about you, if you say no, that should be all you ever have to do to prevent rape from happening. The burden of rape is not on a survivor that dressed in revealing clothing, it's on the rapist who attacked that survivor.

So, come one, come all, and stand with us for better training for police officers, for greater understanding of rape culture, for a day where we stand together and ignore slut-shaming, for making a very clear message with this walk.

RSVP on Facebook and I'll see you there.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Short Update About the 'Echoes of the Holocaust' Presentation

The only way you can apparently notify CNN about possible copyright violations is with a fax machine, so oh well. The publishing group that publishes the book, Pearson, did let me talk to someone who I told about the possible copyright violations and said they'd look into it.

So, however that spans out.

Also, I'm waiting for the Human Rights Committee to get back to me about the 'Sending My Concerns' issue, and Minister Toews himself still hasn't gotten back to me. My patience is getting very fried on this, and it's hard not to make the assumption that there is no legal justification. Again, we'll see how that spans out.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Character Focus: Rachel

I had fun doing the Amber Sweet character study, so I figured that I might as well do some more with some other character I quite like. Probably quite a few will be from my lists of favourite strong female characters, but a male character or two might get thrown in, or some justifications for weaker/shallower characters that I can't put in those lists without fanon, personal or fandom-wide. This time it's Rachel, from Animorphs. Since she is who she is, TW for violence and gore. Also, spoiler warnings, as I'm going to go over aspects of her character from beginning to end.This might be quite a bit longer then the Amber Sweet character focus, as she's not one of my favourite-ever characters, and Rachel certainly is.

Rachel (Berenson?)

David: You got something to say to me? You looking for a fight?
Rachel: Maybe.
David: You wouldn't morph. Not here. Not in front of all these people.
Rachel: I don't need a morph to handle you.
David: Maybe you forget this sometimes, but you are just a girl, Rachel.
Rachel: And you're just a worm. Wanna see who wins that fight?
David: Aw, you're upset over Bird-Boy. Did you like him or something? That's sweet. But you know, birds have short lifespans.
Rachel: So do worms.
David: What are you trying to do? Scare me?
Rachel: Nah. Wouldn't want to scare you. I just wanted to tell you something. You try to sell us out to Visser Three, we'll know. We have sources inside the Yeerk organisation.
David: Yeah, right.
Rachel: How do you think we knew where the Summit Meeting was? How do you think we knew one of the heads of state was a Controller? You try to sell us out, we'll know.
David: Doesn't matter. Nothing you'd be able to do about it anyway.
Rachel: You're probably right. Even if we were warned, we wouldn't last long. But some of us would last a while, you little bastard. Long enough to make sure your parents... Well, just use your imagination.
(David swings at Rachel with his fist. Rachel catches his hand and jams a fork to the side of David's head)
Rachel: You want a war between you and us, that's fine, we'll play that out. But if you try to sell us out to the Yeerks, your little family will never get put back together again.
Never! The Solution 

Tall, blonde, gorgeous, Rachel was a hobby gymnast who loved to shop and was best friends with a girl named Cassie until they, Jake (Rachel's cousin), Marco (Jake's best friend) and Tobias (chronic victim of...of life, really) took a shortcut and met an injured alien that gave them the power to morph into animals and told them that their world was being infested by slug-like aliens that controlled people's minds. The Animorphs, written by K.A. Applegate was a very popular book in the nineties, and was loved for being creative, and edgy-the effect of their long struggle against the Yeerks have very obvious and sobering effects on the teenagers, and violence is never shied away from. 

Rachel is enthusiastic from the get-go, not morally confused like Cassie, or skeptical like Marco, and once convinced of the reality of the situation starts to earn the nickname that Marco gives her, 'Xena, Warrior Princess.' Her catchphrase when planning attacks on the Yeerks is 'let's do it!' and she's drawn into the struggle from the start, determined to deal with their new reality. 

A hidden side of Rachel emerges quickly, her tendency towards violence and how she exults in that violence. It never wavers through the series-she fights with all her energy and soul, and though it's for a noble cause, as the series goes on, both herself and the other Animorphs wonder what she'll do after the struggle ends, how she'll live without the adrenaline rush and the conflict that becomes so central to her existence.

Rachel: Eight of them. Five of us. No way we could win. A sensible person would have seen the odds. But I charged straight at them. The Alien

Crayak even takes an interest in her, trying to recruit her after Jake rejects him. He gives her enormous power, the ability to crush those she wants to, and she almost kills Visser Three before realizing that her friends would consider her a monster for what she was about to do. That is the entire reason why she rejects Crayak's offer, turning her back on the possibility of immense power, and constant conflict. That relationship with her team, and her loyalty to them, is clearly one of very few things that keeps her on the side o the Ellimist.

Her relationship with her family suffers, especially towards the end of the series, when they know about the invasion and what Rachel does. (It's not helped by her mother being unable to accept the reality of her new situation, and trying to escape their safe haven all the time to tell the police.) Her relationship with Cassie suffers after Cassie makes the decision to give Tom the Blue Cube. Her and Marco have always had an antagonistic friendship, snarking at each other near-constantly. Jake and her have been at odds for a while, Rachel resenting what she assumes he thinks about her, guessing his judgement of her from half-slips, implications, or just the logic of how she knows she is behaving. Ax thinks that she's dangerous, and her relationship with Tobias is always tinged with tragedy. She's increasingly alone, the team fragmenting and her blood-lust increasing.

Tobias: But how does the butterfly know when to beat its wings? 
Rachel: It doesn't. I guess it beats its wings the best it can, and hopes it will all work it. It's a butterfly. If just does what butterflies do. 
Marco: And what do we do, Xena, Warrior Princess? 
Rachel: (grinning) We kick Yeerk butt. The Stranger

Rachel has a very close, touching and odd relationship with Tobias, the Animorph that is stuck in the body of a hawk. It develops behind the scenes, almost, significant glances, more concern then most would expect from Rachel, awkward conversations, until it's laid bare by their team mates commenting on the developing relationship that they can all notice. At the point where he is a nothlit who they all assume will never be able to be human again, their emotional connection has a very strong flavouring of starcrossed lovers, something that neither of them seem to be quite fond of. As Rachel mentions once, Romeo and Juliet has nothing on them.

When Tobias gains the ability to morph into his human self, though, Rachel is torn, because she wants Tobias to trap himself in his human body, and be someone that she can be with permanently, that doesn't have to turn back into a hawk every two hours. And Tobias doesn't want to give up the fight. She goes so far as to not warn him that he's running out of time when they're at a school dance. He realizes it on his own, but it's a near miss. Rachel does learn to respect his choice, possibly because she understands the need to keep fighting very well.

Possibly, because Tobias is captured and tortured by a beautiful blond Controller that is the dark-Rachel. That book has a lovely moment between the two, where she barrels in, ready to kill the girl that's hurt Tobias so badly, and he asks her not to kill her, to be 'Rachel, not her.' And though she's very obviously sorely tempted to ignore Tobias' request, she scoops him up and leaves, sparing Taylor's life.

Rachel doesn't usually show mercy very often, needing to be prompted to it. She, like all Animorphs, started off being squeamish about killing human-controllers, but there is a point towards the end where they can't be as careful as they'd like, and she's bothered, yes, but not to the same extent Cassie is. The interesting relationship between the best friends is intriguing, Cassie being the merciful one, the giving one, the moral one, and Rachel being hard, ruthless, violent, and capable. It causes friction between them, many times, but they do learn from one another. Rachel helps raise the skunk kits that Tobias orphaned. Cassie kills when she needs to do so. But in the end, Cassie gives away the Blue Cube, which gives a certain Yeerk the ability to morph into a polar bear, and to kill Rachel. Killed by kindness.
Rachel: (narrating) Unlike Cassie, unlike Tobias perhaps, I'm ruthless at times. But even I have enough sense to know the words "we have to win" are the first four steps on the road to hell. The Underground

I'm not going to touch on David much, but the last book he's mentioned in, The Return, was my favourite Rachel book. And the final scene, Rachel staring at the white rat that is David the traitor, David the nothlit who begs for death and tells her that if she doesn't kill him, he'll come back to haunt the Animorphs's a beautiful, haunting moment of Rachel struggling with herself. She either kills a rat with a human soul and mind, kills someone begging for death, kills someone who's hurt her, tried to kill Tobias, that she trapped in the body of a rat, that is the most pathetic thing she's seen...or spare his life, allow him to attack again, to live in this hell of a life that she condemned him to, to suffer as a rat.

We never see what she chooses. We never get told.

Rachel: I caught a glimpse of myself in a broken shard of mirror.
And saw what anyone looking down the alleyway from the sidewalk would have seen.
A young girl sitting knees-up in the sun, staring at a white rat.
It would be hard to believe the entire fate of the planet depended on that girl.
A girl who wanted to do the right thing.
But who had no idea at all what that was...
The Return

Rachel has nightmares every night, like all the Animorphs, dreams of all the terrible things that have happened, will happen, and could happen. The glory of Rachelis her humanity, is seeing her being plagued by guilt and anger and hatred, and still fight. She never really gives up, and she never stops trying. She's got violent impulses, a dark side to herself that scares her as much as it helps her, and sometimes wants things that she can't handle. But she's someone good to have in your corner, loyal to her team, a brilliant fighter, and a woman who sacrificed everything to help save the world, and in her death found release from that inner darkness that plagued her eye-blinding brightness.

Rachel: Answer this, Ellimist: Did I . . . did I make a difference? My life, and my . . . my death . . . was I worth it? Did my life really matter? 
Ellimist: Yes. You were brave. You were good. You mattered. 
Rachel: Yeah. Okay, then. Okay, then. The Beginning

 This quote always makes me feel like crying.

Image Locations

3. chareed/com/Animorphs

Friday, March 11, 2011

"Echoes of the Holocaust" Presentation

So yes, I thought I'd do a write-up of how it went. Trigger Warning for discussion about genocide.

It was offensive. There is not even any debate. Images of the Holocaust, Rwandan genocide, and diverse other gross human rights violations were show freely without restraint or trigger warning. I tried to keep a record but after eleven I stopped, it was just disturbing. As I'm sure will surprise you, images of these kinds of things were on screen while the presentation continued orally, a classic aspect of emotional manipulation. This happened multiple times, and was obviously a measured tactic. I even brought that up at the end of the presentation, and Stephanie Gray didn't deny it.

Well, let me try and start from the beginning, because I know I'm going to leave stuff out. I sat on one of the benches nearby from about two hours before it was scheduled to start, reading a book. The pro-life group and the presenter trickled in, with a curious habit of leaving the room every so often, looking for...something. Possibly protestors, possibly attendees. The security guard did arrive, though. Neither arrived until much closer to the start time of six o'clock. I spoke with my friend Alex who was out of town but also offended by this presentation, and then was greeted by someone I knew who was going to the presentation, and asked if I was. I responded that I was there for the protest rather then the presentation.

That sparked two debate/discussions with members of the pro-life group, both relatively respectful, though clearly coming from very different sides. I informed them of the rumour that the 'Canadian Institute for Bio-Ethical Reform' passed the pictures of pro-choice protesters it's known for taking onto groups that are willing to use violence. They seemed a bit troubled, but brushed it off as a rumour.

Soon enough, the protestors started to arrive, mostly from the Jewish Student Association, with signs and their message that the use of the Holocaust was innapropriate and anti-semetic. A few pro-choicers were there as well, besides me, and we held signs and made it clear our point of view.

When the presentation started, several of us went inside, to see just what they were going to do and say, and how offensive it would be.

They claimed human life starts at conception, and pointed out that an egg and a sperm cell each have only twenty three chromosomes. (When I pointed out later that her words could be interpreted as not considered people with chromosomal abnormalities, like the picture of a child with Downs Syndrome she reluctantly agreed, clarified, rephrased her point not to include that, and moved on.) When the sperm and egg combine, they create a "whole" human. (I decided not to ask if that meant any human cell with 46 chromosomes was a whole human.)

She showed a few images from a book titled "Dos/Don'ts of Parenting." I'll update the blog after Monday on whether or not I could figure out if they had the rights to those pictures. Similarily, they played a very long clip from the CNN documentary 'Scream Bloody Murder' and I'll try and find out the same thing.

She told an anecdote about how a woman looked at an image of what they claimed was an eleven-week abortion. not getting into it, but I doubt it was what they claim. And apparently she told the woman that this eleven-week fetus was in the first trimester where most abortions happen. And that's true...except this fetus they showed is at the very cusp of that. It's misrepresentation of the facts. And when this woman showed distress over not having known that 'they looked like that' they didn't bother to clarify that this was a late first-term abortion. But then again, that might require intellectual honesty.

Several extremely offensive quotes were said, again without trigger warnings, to make a point about 'depersonalisation.' Something that could be done with 'Nazis called Jewish people parasites, and so do pro-choicers,' was done with the actual quotes from Hitler and high-ranking Nazis. It was unneccesary. It was disrespectful.

And the points she made about consent, just dismissed the concept of consenting to a pregnancy, it made me want to scream. She took a well-constructed paragraph about how consenting to a pregnancy is vital and blew it off as 'it's implying the fetus is not an innocent little baby.'

She made the point about African-Americans having a large percentage of abortions, even showed that damn poster they used. And no, there wasn't a word said about what caused a situation where so many women in a first world country were having unwanted pregnancies. No, just 'black babies are dying, therefore abortion is racist.' Not said outright, of course, but implied. I'll say one thing, she's a decent speaker, and implies a lot. Kept pretending to almost-cry though, and it was really obvious.

And when she made the point about how tax dollars went to abortion, and that Canada doesn't allow US-style abortion protesting, I wanted to hug my country. And then she asked how we would feel if homosexuals were being rounded up and killed in medical facilities. I almost broke my pen.

And this point she made about the numbers, about how many abortions happen and how she's never heard of numbers like that...something tells me that back in the day, when death in childbirth/from pregnancy was common even in developed countries, those numbers rivaled it.

Then it was over, and three people stepped up to speak.

First was the guy I knew, the pro-lifer. Here's what he said, paraphrased. "I just want to make clear that we don't think women who have abortions are monsters. They're really a kind of victim. It's my fault, really, I'm the metaphorical Hitler, because I should have done more to make them not need to make that decision. These women are victims. And really, the women on the pro-choice side are angry because they've probably had abortions, or known someone who had an abortion, and what we say feels like a personal assault on them. But they're victims, and it's our fault for not helping more." And Stephanie Gray nodded and agreed and repeated aspects of this point.

Then an older Jewish gentleman stood up, and here was his point, paraphrased. "This is wrong. Using the Holocaust like this is wrong. Pro-choice, pro-life, I don't care, this is not how things should be done. You could have made this presentation about how abortion is like murder-I wouldn't care. But you used images of the Holocaust." And Stephanie Gray changed the subject, tried to get him to say what his personal beliefs were, looked dismissive of him when he spoke, and ended up cutting him off for the next person, who shook his hand and apologized for him having to deal with all this.

How do I know that? The next person was me! I made lots of points, I can't even remember everything I said to properly paraphrase it. Basically "We are not victims. Do not call us victims, do not feel sorry for not helping us-what we do is our choice, not yours, and it's our responsiblity. It's rude, offensive, and condesceding. And for the record, I've never had an abortion, and if anyone I personally known had one, they haven't seen fit to disclose it to me. I'm angry because this is offensive. You are appropriating images you have no right to use, no right to compare for your own political reasons. You are appropriating a horrible, very emotional event. Oh, and as a bisexual, the comparison to rounding up and killing homosexuals was offensive. Members of my community are actually being killed, it's not just a metaphor. And that sign that's on your website, the 'insanity of choice' that's ableist and also personally offensive." We argued a bit, I made points about not being able to define personhood by human dna, because what if there were sentient aliens, (she laughed, even though I made clear it was a thought experiment, which she had referenced earlier,) I pointed out that a fetus isn't innocent because it can't be guilty, I pointed out that every pregnancy carries a risk of death, I made points about self-defence, and I would have argued more, though she refused to actually answer questions, kept rephrasing them and making them about what she wanted to talk about.

Except she cut me off and said that she was sorry, but they had to finish up. I found out later that it was seven forty five (the meeting was scheduled until eight) and we could have kept the room until eleven. Interesting that she refused to go on fifteen minutes more.

It was This group has NO RIGHT to use images of the Holocaust for their own political gain. None at all. This presentation was offensive, appropriative, and was just absolutely wrong.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Abortion and the Holocaust

This is a bad comparison to make. Very, very bad.

First off, the Holocaust was a real event that really happened and really killed over six million Jewish people, Roma people, gay people, and various other groups that didn't fit Hitler's racist ideal. Real, born people, with names, souls, personalities, goals, hopes and dreams. Can we all please agree that their loss should be respected and not used for various political purposes and to demonize whatever we disagree with?

Second off, Godwin's law. But I'll keep arguing since I know someone who makes such a comparison won't respect that rule.

Third off, Nazi's were anti-choice. They used abortion to keep the numbers down of the groups they wanted to eradicate, and forced abortions onto those women. They did not allow abortion as an option for white women. Which means that the Nazi's stance on abortion was NOTHING LIKE the current political stance on abortion. Forcing a woman to get an abortion is a crime, and OB/Gyn's that perform abortions will refuse to perform one on a woman that says she doesn't want one. The choice is the most important aspect, because the choice was what the Nazis denied to the woman they forced to have abortions or denied access to abortions.

Fourth, showing pictures of Holocaust victims for any reason other then teaching about the Holocaust or remembering those who died and suffered during the Holocaust is WRONG. How dare anyone use these pictures for a shock picture, for a way to demonize their opponents?

Why am I talking about this? Because Brock Students for Life are hosting Stephanie Gray from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform to make a presentation comparing legal abortion to the Holocaust. And this outrages me.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Walk for Choice Toronto 2010

My Experience:

I woke up at eight thirty this morning to shower, get dressed, and head out. I walked to the Viva, took it to Finch, and rode the subway to get to the intersection of Spadina and Bloor. I got there at eleven thirty, and suddenly felt very alone-seeing no one else in orange, not sure where to stand, where to wait. A few minutes later, I saw wo people walking up the street, both with orange armbands on their coats, one holding a bag of signs. It took me a few minutes, but I got up the nerve to go and ask if they were there for the Walk-and luckily they were! And just like that, the uncertainty was gone, because I knew at least two other people were there.

Kira and Walker were generous enough to share the plethora of signs around and though the best was reserved for the maker-of-signs, Kira (GOVERNMENT, Y U NO TRUST WOMEN?) I was and am pretty thrilled with the sign they gave me:

I'm the one in the orange hat! "Keep your theology off my biology!" with the FSM.

We talked for a while, and then saw a girl with an orange flower in her head cross the street. She began to speak to another girl in an orange scarf, and so we followed, correctly assuming that they were also there for the speech. Chanty Morris was the girl with the orange flower (pictured above), and she's the one who organized the Toronto Walk. We waited and chatted as our group grew, swelling to maybe 40-60 people in full, by my estimation. Please note I am bad at math. What was odd though was that a small flock of pigeons kept flying between us and a Pizza Pizza across the road.

I still firmly believe that they were pro-life robot spy-pigeons that got confused by the orange of the Pizza Pizza and the orange we wore.

Chanty, by the way, went into a studio and recorded this awesome parody she wrote, as a sort of theme song for today, and I love it.

We spent maybe thirty minutes listening to speeches given by Chanty and several different pro-choice advocates, mainly working with the Ontario Abortion Coalition. (I've probably gotten their name wrong. Again, I'll fix it when I remember the right name/get reminded of the right name.) People kept honking their horns, giving us thumbs up, and that was kind of great. Several people stopped, listened, and joined into the walk, which was even greater.

The speeches were excellent, and then we were off on our walk, stopping at the end to see a fire-bombed clinic from back in the day, where we heard two more people speak, and then played Chanty's 'Forget You' Parody. We ended up at a lovely Unitarian Church, where the OAC's headquarters were, and milled about there for a while, talking and such. We spoke to one man who stopped to ask about what we were protesting, who completely agreed with us and predicted that Harper was on his way out. We met two women who were very disappointed that they couldn't have joined in. But they were rehearsing for the Vagina Monologues, so we had feminist high-fives, and that was good.

I want to do more of this kind of thing, I loved this experience, I loved standing up for a woman's right to choose, I loved being with so many people on the same page as me, and I hope that I get more of these kinds of opportunities.

Also, for anyone in Canada, MTV Canada was there filming, and Chanty said that we might be on MTV on Monday, so check out their news program and see if we made it!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Walk For Choice 2010

In cities all over, on Febuary 26th, people supporting the right for female-bodied people to choose are going to be gathering and walking to demonstrate. "We have a voice, we have a choice." Is the slogan, orange is the colour, and Chicago is the city that started it all.

In response to the mounting anti-choice legislation cropping up in the United States, Raven Geary decided it was time to make a stand, and started to organize a local gathering to express their concern about their rights, and their commitment to standing up for them. The movement has spread fast, and through the hard work of all the organizers, we are on the brink of a successful event to stand for our right to choose.

Counter-protests have started to be organized in some places, a Texas group outright saying that we 'have no voice'. Only four cities so far have confirmed counter-protests.

Is your city holding a walk? Check here! If not, it's not too late to organize one yourself. I hope to be going to the Toronto Walk, personally.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bill C-386 "The Bathroom Bill"

TW for arguments against cis-sexist remarks, description of sexual assault and an antagonistic tone.

Why, why, why, is 'if we can't exclude trans folk from those who we can't discriminate against us...they might use our BATHROOMS' being treated as a legitimate argument? It's stupid. Let's ignore the cis-sexism inherent in the argument, and think about simple logic.

Nothing is actively stopping a predator from entering a bathroom. Nothing at all. If someone is going to enter a room and assault someone...they're going to do so. It doesn't matter if the predator is trans or not, or pretending to be trans. There is no ~magical gender shield~ that prevents people that are presenting as male from entering a bathroom meant for those who present as female, or vice versa.

I even saw a comment where someone brought up how this will stop children from differentiating between predators and non-predators. Here's a hint: predators....ASSAULT PEOPLE. They don't exude some sort of nasty aura you are unaware of, they look at you, they harrass you, they assault you. Campaign Life Coalition national president Jim Hughes has asked “How is the young girl to determine whether or not the man in the bathroom is a ‘peeping tom,’ a rapist or a pedophile?" Well, for one, a trans person who uses the women's washroom is a woman, unless they're trans* and just identify closer with the female part of the spectrum. For another, if they're watching you when you do your business, that's a peeping tom. And if they're touching you inappropriately, or worse...that's a rapist or pedophile. Where exactly Mr. Hughes thinks female predators of female children goes to use the washroom, I am entirely unsure.

People are just making this strange connection between people who have the sexual characteristics of a man being in a woman's washroom, with being a sexual predator. It takes more then that to be a predator. What it takes is, to be blunt, being a predator. The trans woman who's just walking in, going into a stall, washing and drying her hands, and leaving? How is that hurting anyone?

No, hurting your 'moral sense' doesn't count.

Because it is laid out into law that you can't discriminate against trans people, that just means you can't discriminate against them. It doesn't mean they can assault you. And honestly, if you think their legal rights would give them the ability to assault people, I can't imagine how you came to that conclusion.

Making this into a 'bathroom bill' is stupid, based on fear tactics, dishonest, stupid, and inaccurate. I've called all of the Ontario senators about my opinion on this and asked them to pass this bill into law, and I put the link to find senate numbers and e-mails on my last blog post if you would like to do the same.

Friday, February 11, 2011

What I've Been Up to Lately

 1. Deciding on switching to take Journalism at Niagara College next year.
 2. Asking my MP Lois Brown to vote yes for Bill C-389 (which she didn't, though the bill did pass the house.) And now, asking some of Ontario's senators to not block this bill, as some have speculated they might. If you want to do so as well, you can find a list of senators here.
3. I joined tumblr! And I'm really enjoying the site, figuring I can do my quicker/lighter blogging there, and keep the longer and more serious stuff here.
4. A friend asked me to help her brainstorm something to deal with the bullying problems in our hometown. I have a few ideas, and I'd honestly love to do something positive right now.
5. Trying to learn more about the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti, specifically the issues with rape in their regions, because I have a meeting with Lois Brown to ask about what Canada is doing to help with this issue.
6. Classwork.
7. Still trying to figure out the issue with GRS not being available to offenders. Finally gave up on expecting a response with explanations on how it is legal, asking a human rights group to look into it, I might be submitting a complaint with them. More on that when I have something concrete! Given up on ever, ever getting a concrete answer on the mysterious magically strange problem about how places I'd contacted Minister Toews from couldn't access his website until a bit after I started to ask them about it. I still can't help but wonder what it was. And how no one at his offices knew who his webmaster/it guy was. You'd think someone would have had a contact number in case of technological mishaps. Well, hopefully someone learned from this experience and took a note down to find out who runs their web site.
8. Thinking about going to an counter-protest  later this year to a pro-life rally.
9. Met Raven Geary online, witnessed the tumblcreation of Walk For Choice. If you can go to any of them, I urge you to do so!
10. Figured out that I really, really like politics, lol. I just wish that there was more of a chance to do good and see results.

lol, so in summary, this is why I've been posting a bit less. I'll try and post more. :3

Friday, February 4, 2011

Disproving Pro-Life Claims

 On my bus route home, there is a bill board  with a crowd of mostly-white woman, with the caption 'we regret our abortions.' It makes me sneer in anger everytime I pass it. It's just so condescending. The implication of 'well, our personal experience should clearly decide what you do with your body and your life' just sets my teeth on edge. Compound that with the fact that I'm willing to bet that very few of the people running the local pro-life group have had an abortion, it's basically just saying 'I think you'd probably feel bad and so you shouldn't have one.' And just the implication of Post-Abortion Sydrome irritates me even more. (Since it's, y'know, it's not real.) It's infantilization of women by implying that they don't know what's best for them personally, and so the choice should be made for them.

This, compounded with the amazing amount of American Pro-Life politics has me very angry, and frustrated, as there isn't much I can do, politically, seeing as I am a Canadian, and we luckily have no abortion limits, no arbitrary decisions about what rape is, nothing stopping a woman's individual choice. We still have pro-lifers, however, and I've been meaning to examine the local pro-life organization for a while. So, this seems like a good way to spend a bit of time. 

So, I'm going to go through several pages of this website and take whatever claims they make that can be proven wrong, or proven to be an unknown, and list them, with the proper proof. (Yes, it is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. It's not my fault they picked easily disproven things to back their political viewpoint up with, that was their own decision.)

A note: They don't differentiate between the two ways of measuring fetal age. I try to stick to counting from conception, since that's when they want to count pregnancy from, but I think they move between the ways of counting, though I can't be certain since they don't cite very much,

Let's start with...

When Does Life Begin?(A note: Zygotes are referred to with male pronouns. I don't know why. I suppose some might argue this is reflection of the inherent misogyny in the pro-life movement, but I'm not going to go into this at the moment.)

"Within one week of fertilization, the new human implants in the mother's uterus and is nourished there for the next nine months."
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, most blastocysts (the proper word for this stage) implant 8-10 (the total range is 6-12, but most implantations fell in the shorter range) days after fertilization. And 25% of pregnancies end in the first month and a half, of natural causes. The Reproductive Health Study Group had similar results for early pregnancy loss, and also found that women who lost pregnancies so early were more likely to conceive the next month.

"At three weeks, the baby's heart begins to beat. A microscope would reveal that this little baby has the characteristic 46 human chromosomes in every cell, demonstrating clearly that this is a human being."
I think that they're implying that people with chromosomal abnormalities aren't human beings. ...I wonder what their opinion is on aborting Down Syndrome fetii is then. I mean, I think they're human beings, yeah, but they don't have the 'characteristic 46 human chromosomes in every cell.' Wiki Page On Aneuploidy
Oh, and as an aside, it's important to remember that it's not a real heart quite yet. This 'heart' is still developing, the fetus would not be able to survive on this heart. And it's four weeks when the beating begins, according to the University of Kentucky. (And six when the chamber and valves are formed.)

"At six weeks, the baby has brain waves that can be measured with an electroencephalogram."
This is something oft-cited by pro-lifers. So often since, y'know, 1964. Not only that, it's been misused, as Dr. Hamlin was not talking about abortion, he was trying to change the medical way of ascertaining death. He spoke very shortly about fetal brain activity, and it wasn't his own research. It was a citation from another study. From 1951. And that study, done by Okamoto and Kirikae was on three-month old fetii, not forty-day old fetii, as Hamlin claimed. Hamlin also cites a book that didn't even use an eeg on a fetus, and they were late-term fetii at that.
Another source they cite this fact from is a little bit more recent, 1982. Goldenring claims brain activity is present at eight weeks gestation, has no original research, and cites other sources. Those sources are again, even older, from around 1970, and the one that cites some original research cites research that essentially proves that when you electrically stimulate the brainstem of the fetus, you get some electrical activity....that's quite similar to the response one would get electrically stimulating the leg of the fetus.
This website goes into more detail.

"This 8 week old unborn baby swims freely in the amniotic sac with a natural swimmer's stroke."
...Okay, they don't cite any of their claims, and google didn't give me anything except math and wriggling chicken fetii. So I'm calling this being a 'no, that doesn't even make sense.'
"At this age the baby is approximately the length of your thumb. He responds to painful stimuli, such as a needle prick, will grasp an object and make a fist."
...Yeah, my only conclusion from this is that pro-lifers have the teeniest thumbs. The larger embryo/fetus  is eight weeks. And I don't know about anything else, but my thumb is longer then three centimetres. And you can clearly see that it can't grasp, the fingers have barely seperated. There's another week to go before they can make a fist/grasp.

"Each organ is present. The heart beats sturdily, the stomach provides digestive juices, the liver makes blood cells and the kidneys begin to function."
Each organ is starting to be formed, they're still being developed. This web-site doesn't seem to understand that a fetus is in a process, and that bits of it doesn't pop into existence fully-formed.

"At 12 Weeks, the baby is very active! He can kick his legs, curl his toes, squint, turn his head, open his mouth and swallow."
...All of which are neccesary movements the fetus does not do voluntarily. The fetus does move, but not of it's own volition. It's reflex, instinct, and connecting the nervous system to the right body parts. It's simply part of development. Prechtl, Heinz. "Prenatal and Early Postnatal Development of Human Motor Behavior" in Handbook of brain and behaviour in human development, Kalverboer and Gramsbergen eds., pp. 415-418 (2001 Kluwer Academic Publishers)

"By 16 weeks, the baby is 5 1/2 inches long and weighs nearly a pound. Fine details of development are present such as fingernails and eyelashes"
 ...20 weeks is when the nails and eyelashes show up. There's a lot more development a fetus needs to be viable, despite the term 'fine details' implying that the fetus might as well be delivered at sixteen weeks.

And just as an aside, they have the infamous 'teardrop baby' on this page, complete with the claim it's a six-week fetus. It's an eight to ten week fetus, actually, and it's infamous for being associated with pro-life cites that rely on faulty information and emotional appeals to make their case. It's also from an ectopic pregnancy where, rather then simply abort the fetus, they removed the woman's entire oviduct. (There's no other way to have kept the sac intact.)
Page done!

Next time: Abortion: The Facts

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Favourite Strong Female Characters

Favourite Strong Female Characters

Rachel (Berenson?)
From K.A. Applegate's series 'Animorphs,' a story of six youths fighting against an invasian of aliens called Yeerks that burrow through the ear canal and control their hosts' brains. They can transform into different animals, and defend Earth. Rachel is easily my favourite character from the series, and I'm going to expand on her another time. She's the Blood Knight of the group, and looks like a mall rat. Tall, blonde, gorgeous, she's developed into a very dark character, always ready for battle, and, in one epic moment, in bear morph (tw for gruesome violence) has her arm cut off and then PICKS IT UP AND USES IT LIKE A CLUB. /flails in fangirl joy

Penelope Garcia
The tech goddess of Criminal Minds, she's the fan-favourite who helps out the FBI BAU(Behavioural Analysis Unit) with computer hacking, research, and database searching. She's adorable, colourful, and maintains a level of humanity and compassion that is clearly hard to hold on to givthe amount of gore and human darkness that the BAU as a whole is exposed to on a regular basis.

Holly Short
From the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer, Holly Short is the first female member of LEPrecon. She's short-tempered, stubborn, fast on her feet, and a completely capable officer. And, of course, the one who has to deal with the Mud Boy Artemis the most often, poor girl. Holly is a great character, with just the right mix of empathy, rebellion and discipline to be a great foil for the main character.

Nico Minoru
The leader of Marvel's Runaways, Nico is gothic, capable, and usually quite maternal. Despite her habit of turning to impromptu romance in times of trouble, she knows how to protect her friends, and has learned through experience when they should or should not listen to adults. I adore her style, and how even when she has doubts, she does her best for the team.

Picture Credits (Top to bottom, left to right.)
2.  Chuck Wickham3. Criminal Minds
4. Crininal Minds
5. Eoin Colfer & Publishing companies

7. Marvel Comics
8. Marvel Comics

Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy Roe V Wade Day!

Today, the twenty second of January, is the thirty-eighth anniversary of the monumental decision Roe V Wade, which helped make abortion legal in the United States. Yay choice! Yay individual rights!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Late/Early Anniversary Wishing!

Happy Belated Anniversary to Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa, along with Anne and Elaine Vautour, the first two gay couples married in Canada! Their tenth anniversary was yesterday, January Fourteenth. I hope that they had a wonderful anniversary!

And, to my parents, Tim Green, and Kim Pape-Green, a happy early nineteenth anniversary! Have fun this weekend!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Update: An Odd Coincidence

[tw for parenthetical abuse.]

Well, I'm now able to access, though it took a couple of hours on the phone. His offices said it wasn't their network, and that it must be in mine. (And also let me know it takes at least two months, usually, to get a response from Public Safety. I'm trying to call Public Safety and inquire as to if I could get a quicker answer, but they haven't responded. and I've tried calling several times over the course of a day. Nonetheless, I shall persevere!)

Now, I was already somewhat certain that it wasn't a problem with my network, after all, I haven't been having any other problems with my internet, and my parents' internet, in another city, with another internet provider(Rogers), also couldn't access his website. The only similarity between the two internet connections is, well, me, and the fact that I've e-mailed Minister Toews office from both locales with each internet connection.

But, in the interests of finding out just what the strange issue was, I called Bell technical support, to see if it was in my network, or in Bells'. We pinged the website (and by 'we' I mean Mark, the guy who helped me. I just corrected his grammar when we ended up sending an e-mail later on. Yay english major! Yay teamwork! Yay for Mark helping me figure out the issue!) and found that on the 9th hop (Ping=Like, sending the data through the route it takes to get to the website, and a hop is the data being taken in and sent on from one place to another /look at Kendra talking all techy. For more accurate definitions, you might wanna use google.) that it was getting stopped. This was three hops outside of Bells' network, and more then out of my own internet connection. Basically, once it pinged to in Winnipeg, Manitoba (since Minister Toews constituency is in Manitoba, I believe it's a safe assumption that it's his network that the ping has died in.) it took in the information, but did not send it out again, causing my inability to access Minister Toews website.

After doing something with my DNS (I'm not attempting to describe what exactly, because I'm not positive I understood it exactly right. xD I think it changed part of my internet address, but I could be wrong.) I was able to access But the ping now went around the problem, the problem wasn't solved, and it could very well crop up again. My parents house still cannot access the website.

Another Bell employee (I'm not sure of his name, but he was also very helpful,) who went over the ping that Mark reccomended I scopy/paste and send in, described more about the issue, said it was weird, that it definitely wasn't on my end or on Bell's end, and that because of that, he didn't know what the problem is. And, strangely, he did confirm that it was a possibility that a website could block a specific user from accessing that website using this kind of method, though there's no way to know if that's the case. After being told very firmly by members of Minister's Toews office that it must be on my side, as there was no way whatsoever that they could or would block me from the website. Not that I accused them of it, and I had to ask the second Bell employee if it was possible they could, since it didn't make sense to me that doing so would be, to quote one of the people I talked to today, on the thirteenth of January, "impossible."

So, tomorrow, I shall hopefully find the time to begin my rounds of phone calls and questions again, and maybe get a little bit closer to uncovering how this happened.