Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Canada's swine flu shame

The Canadian government's failure to protect indigenous communities is a sign of deep-rooted discrimination

For Canada's First Nations communities, being denied our basic and fundamental human rights is, sadly, not at all a surprise. So after last week's report that the Canadian government had postponed the delivery of much-needed alcohol-based hand sanitisers to reserve communities with massive outbreaks of the swine flu virus out of apparent "fear" of theft driven by alcoholism in the community, I stopped to think about it for a second. "Same old stupid government perpetuating the colonisation of our people," I thought. But there's more going on here that needs to be addressed.

Let's review the facts. In the two and a half weeks that the government deliberated over whether to send hand sanitiser to reserve communities, this is what happened:

• More swine flu cases developed

• Chiefs, community leaders, nurses and community health representatives scrambled to deal with the escalating outbreak without help from a non-responsive government

• Families, children, elders and community members in these areas had no choice but to wait and see if they were going to get any type of diagnosis or care as conditions worsened

• The wider Canadian population heard occasional reports of the virus developing more in First Nations communities but not enough to warrant a national outpouring of support.

Access to necessary healthcare services is an ongoing problem for many indigenous people around the world, and Canada is no exception. But universal healthcare and non-insured health benefits (which First Nations and Inuit individuals receive in Canada) don't mean anything if you live somewhere you still cannot get household plumbing, let alone a visit to the doctor.

The statistics are everywhere: this month, a report from a Senate subcommittee on population health highlighted the inadequacies and inequities of First Nation health systems and services that contribute to "third-world health conditions". This is what the report says:

Canada is generally perceived as one of the greatest countries in the world in which to live. It has a vast and diverse geography rich in natural resources, clean air and a vast territory. When it comes to health, however, we unfortunately have serious disparities. Some Canadians live their lives in excellent health with one of the highest life expectancies in the world; paradoxically others spend their life in poor health, with a life expectancy similar to some third world countries. The unfortunate Canadians who suffer poor health throughout their lifetime are frequently less productive, adding to the burden on the healthcare delivery system and social safety net. We cannot correct this inequity through the healthcare delivery system itself, regardless of the expenditure we devote to it.

This is not even to mention that First Nations nurses get paid about 20% less than nurses who work for Health Canada. But I want people to start talking about why and how the Canadian government oppresses First Nations communities.

Canada is still a colonial state. The country operates under colonial-type laws that undermine the self-determination of First Nations people – and means we have to see if it's okay with the government to get services to people who need them. There is promising legislature in British Columbia: a tripartite agreement between governments and First Nations healthcare services, and similar legislation under way in Saskatchewan and other provinces. But we nonetheless have to tiptoe around policymakers while our people perish mentally, physically and spiritually every day in both big cities and remote northern territories.

It doesn't matter that the government thought it had "legitimate" reasons for withholding alcohol-based hand sanitisers from communities desperately seeking help – the truth remains that even if chiefs were saying they didn't want them, it didn't have non-alcoholic sanitisers ready anyway. During this entire waiting period it let people suffer, panic and scream in frustration – alone. But I guess it's something they're used to doing.

-watching twilight for the first time
  • cannot stand sexual tension (three more years til that hero comes, mel)
  • internalized vampirephobia?

Monday, June 29, 2009

i'm waiting for a hero, baby.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

people i want to drink pints with #1: Leah Lakshmi

The daughter of a Sri Lankan father and a Irish-Ukrianian mother, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha was raised in Worcester, Mass, an eastern rust belt city known for dirty water and busted buildings. A scholarship baby from the age of 8, she moved to New York at 18 to get a BA from Eugene Lang College / New School for Social Research, but ended up learning a lot more from the student, squatter, spoken word, women of color and queer/trans of color movements. She left New York for Toronto in 1997 hoping to no longer be the only Sri Lankan in the room, and succeeded! She has performed her spoken word all over North America , in front of audiences at Yale and Oberlin and at immigrant rights rallies and benefits for queer youth resource centers. She is the author of Consensual Genocide (TSAR, 2006), is a frequent contributor to Bitch and Colorlines magazines and has had work anthologized in Colonize This!, With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn, Without a Net, Dangerous Famillies, Geeks, Misfits and Outlaws , and A Girl's Guide to Taking Over the World . She works to create a Sri Lanka free from war, multinational corporations and queer, women's and cultural oppression with Blood Memory: A Sri Lankan Storytelling Project. Leah has taught writing to queer, trans and Two Spirit youth at Supporting Our Youth Toronto's Pink Ink program for the past four years, work that won her a City Of Toronto Community Service Award in 2004. She produces queer of color spoken word shows through her company, brownstargirl productions, and is the co-creator of the Asian Arts Freedom School , an arts/activism school for API youth in Toronto . She loves her kids, the color fuschia, and being a revolutionary high femme Sri Lankan role model and survivor. For more info, hit her up at brownstargirl.com.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"white black afrika" print harem pants from appropriated apparel. this most certainly kills a flock of birds with one stone.

sunny gotta loves #1 - feminist wikipedia

tampax's new ad campaign. i don't get it.

after watching day 7, you realize that using tampax lets you feel slightly more like a man again.
Swedish parents keep 2-year-old's gender secret

Swedish parents keep 2-year-old's gender secret

Published: 23 Jun 09 16:24 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.se/20232/20090623/

A couple of Swedish parents have stirred up debate in the country by refusing to reveal whether their two-and-a-half-year-old child is a boy or a girl.

Pop’s parents [see footnote], both 24, made a decision when their baby was born to keep Pop’s sex a secret. Aside from a select few – those who have changed the child’s diaper – nobody knows Pop’s gender; if anyone enquires, Pop’s parents simply say they don’t disclose this information.

In an interview with newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in March, the parents were quoted saying their decision was rooted in the feminist philosophy that gender is a social construction.

“We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother said. “It's cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”

The child's parents said so long as they keep Pop’s gender a secret, he or she will be able to avoid preconceived notions of how people should be treated if male or female.

Pop's wardrobe includes everything from dresses to trousers and Pop's hairstyle changes on a regular basis. And Pop usually decides how Pop is going to dress on a given morning.

Although Pop knows that there are physical differences between a boy and a girl, Pop's parents never use personal pronouns when referring to the child – they just say Pop.

"I believe that the self-confidence and personality that Pop has shaped will remain for a lifetime," said Pop's mother.

But while Pop’s parents say they have received supportive feedback from many of their peers, not everyone agrees that their chosen course of action will have a positive outcome.

“Ignoring children's natures simply doesn’t work,” says Susan Pinker, a psychologist and newspaper columnist from Toronto, Canada, who wrote the book The Sexual Paradox, which focuses on sex differences in the workplace.

“Child-rearing should not be about providing an opportunity to prove an ideological point, but about responding to each child’s needs as an individual,” Pinker tells The Local.

“It’s unlikely that they’ll be able to keep this a secret for long. Children are curious about their own identity, and are likely to gravitate towards others of the same sex during free play time in early childhood.”

Pinker says there are many ways that males and females differ from birth; even if gender is kept ‘secret,’ prenatal hormones developed in the second trimester of pregnancy already alter the way the child behaves and feels.

She says once children can speak, males tell aggressive stories 87 per cent of the time, while females only 17 per cent. In a study, children aged two to four were given a task to work together for a reward, and boys used physical tactics 50 times more than girls, she says.

But Swedish gender equality consultant Kristina Henkel says Pop’s parents' experiment might have positive results.

“If the parents are doing this because they want to create a discussion with other adults about why gender is important, then I think they can make a point of it,” Henkel says in a telephone interview with The Local.

“You can talk about there being a non-stereotypical gender; if you are a girl you can do the same as a boy, and if you’re a boy you can do the same as a girl.”

Henkel also says a child's sex can deeply affect how they are treated growing up, and distract them from simply being a human being.

“If the child is dressed up as a girl or boy, it affects them because people see and treat them in a more gender-typical way,” Henkel explains.

“Girls are told they are cute in their dresses, and boys are told they are cool with their car toys. But if you give them no gender they will be seen more as a human or not a stereotype as a boy or girl.”

She says that without these gender stereotypes, children can build character as individuals, not hindered by preconceived notions of what they should be as males or females.

“I think that can make these kids stronger,” Henkel says.

Anna Nordenström, a paediatric endocrinologist at Karolinska Institutet, says it’s hard to know what effects the parents' decision will have on Pop.

“It will affect the child, but it’s hard to say if it will hurt the child,” says Nordenström, who studies hormonal influences on gender development.

“I don’t know what they are trying to achieve. It’s going to make the child different, make them very special.”

She says if Pop is still ‘genderless’ by the time he or she starts school, Pop will certainly receive a lot of attention from classmates.

“We don’t know exactly what determines sexual identity, but it’s not only sexual upbringing,” says Nordenström. “Gender-typical behaviour, sexual preferences and sexual identity usually go together. There are hormonal and other influences that we don’t know that will determine the gender of the child.”

Both Nordenström and Pinker refer to a controversial case from 1967 when a circumcision left one of two twin brothers without a penis. Dr. John Money, who asserted that gender was learned rather than innate, convinced the parents to raise 'David' as 'Brenda' and the child had cosmetic genitalia reconstruction surgery.

She was raised as a female, with girls’ clothes, games and codes of behaviour. The parents never told Brenda the secret until she was a teenager and rebelled against femininity. She then started receiving testosterone injections and underwent another genetic reconstruction process to become David again. David Reimer denounced the experiment as a crushing failure before committing suicide at the age of 38.

“I don’t think that trying to keep a child’s sex a secret will fool anyone, nor do I think it’s wise or ethical,” says Pinker. “As with any family secret, when we try to keep an elemental truth from children, it usually blows up in the parent’s face, via psychosomatic illness or rebellious behaviour.”

But with a second child on the way, Pop's parents have no plans to change what they see as a winning formula. As for Pop, they say they will only reveal the child's sex when Pop thinks it's time.

Footnote: Pop is not the child's real name but is the name used in Svenska Dagbladet's interview with the child's parents from March 6th.


thanks for sharing shants!

unfortunately, society imposes and creates representation way before any one or anything has a chance to do it themselves. from what i sense, rather than seeing pop as neither she nor he, it seems pop as both she and he. in hopes of keeping gendered oppression from pop, they nonetheless garner transphobic remarks- marginalizing the child still despite trying to create a gender neutral space to avoid doing so. in a discussion about gender a social construct, gotta love how the doctor just can't depart from the medicalization and evolutionary reasoning. also, damnit all for there being no market for gender non-conforming clothes. and damn gender binarized shopping choices! and i'm not sure if it's the article that makes the parents sound like their working in the female-male dyad, or the writer. it's too bad we're not on the same wavelength in thinking about post-modern gender identity, otherwise this wouldn't be called bad child practice.
Any Fun - Coconut Records - Music Video

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

i love it when people get out of their awkward teenage friends. especially if they end up being best friends forever with lagerfeld and hang out at castles with miniature ponies. wtf emma watson.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

there's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Then all of the moments of the past began to line up behind that moment and all of the moments to come assembled in front of it in a long row, giving me reason to believe that this was a moment I had rescued from millions that rush out of sight into a darkness behind the eyes.

Even after I have forgotten what year it is, my middle name, and the meaning of money, I will still carry in my pocket the small coin of that moment, minted in the kingdom that we pace through everyday.
- Billy Collins

Thursday, June 18, 2009

just a small town girl

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

from browngirlworld: queergirlofcolor organizing, sistahood, heartbreak by leah lackshmi piepzna-samarasinha in colonize this.

"'It's the places where we hurt each other when we're close, girl, that our most important work lies in. It's where the big changes happen. Where the world blows open or it doesn't.'

"What it comes down to is that there is no fixed safe or sane place for any of us, as much as we desperately need it. The same shit we said to the white girls about how "safe space" didn't mean "never comfortable" space applies to us, too. We have to stay in the icky places, master the art of moving one step past what we know, listen to each other instead of shouting and do that tricky two-step of both trusting we know when we're being fucked over and knowing the difference between the truly evil and abusive and someone who screws up but is not evil. This is the difference between purity and practicality."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

so yesterday i went to get a milkshake... but i ended up giving someone a hand job.

Friday, June 12, 2009

will be a stubborn day. how can you refuse a smokey voice and worn out nike high tops.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

he says "flouncy hipster" with such want, too.

from nymag.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

on building girl solidarity:

why is it important? because with growing versions of technology (digital and non) are multiplying versions of violence coming from top down and peer to peer. let's remember the bayanihan, unroot the weeds of these issues, and decolonize and transform the tools that are used to oppress us into tools to give back power.

hindi ko makakalimutan (i will not forget):
  • to deconstruct power dynamics that happen amongst young women as a result of colonization and patriarchy
  • to address the biases, visible and invisible --- where/how often does whiteness come into play, even in relationships with and lateral violence in racialized communities
  • to question heteronormativity --- speak to patriarchal femininity that perpetuates the want to appeal to the "white man's sexuality"
  • to dismantle gender "binaries"
  • to find a constructive resolution amidst the aggression and anger by addressing the root of the issue through community action and engagement --- do not dismiss anger as "teen angst," "bitchiness" or due to being an "angry black woman" or a "lonely lesbian"
  • to encourage intergenerational solidarity

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

first ever cowichan pride!

i just figured out my reason to be:
  1. be a book publisher
  2. create fonts

Hermès Now Breeding Crocs to Make More Handbags

Despite the economy, Hermès CEO Patrick Thomas says the label is experiencing "massive over-demand" for handbags. To keep up, they've starting breeding their own crocodiles on farms in Australia. Thomas said it's difficult for the label to make 3,000 crocodile bags a year. It can take three to four crocodiles to make one handbag. Customers sometimes wait several years for bags made from exotic skins, which can cost upwards of $48,410 apiece. Thomas adds, "The world is not full of crocodiles, except the stock exchange!" He forgot André Leon Talley's closet
from nymag.
Victoria! 6PM June 10th @ Centennial Square: rally to honour Dr. George Tiller in support of reproductive freedom.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

me and kristen stewart are going to get married (in some old fashion way).
r.i.p. arthur erickson

Friday, June 5, 2009

KRXQ Sacramento Radio Hosts Encourage Violence Against Transgender Children

"Williams and States took turns referring to gender dysphoric children as "idiots" and "freaks," who were just out "for attention" and had "a mental disorder that just needs to somehow be gotten out of them," either by verbal abuse on the part of the parents, or even shock therapy.

"'Allowing transgenders to exist, pretty soon it becomes normal to fall in love with the animals,' they said.


"'I'm going to go, 'You know what? You're a little idiot! You little dumbass!'" States sneered, adding later, "I look forward to when [the transgender children] go out into society and society beats them down. And they wind up in therapy.'"

I'm so horrified. Click here for the full length article.

krxq 98.5 fm sacramento: Request / Contesting: 1-888-390-9850, jfox@entercom.com

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rock Camp for Girls Montreal

 mtl people and beyond check this, then distribute widely. organized for fab young women by fab young women.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Shame PETA. 

Feminist Fuck You: PETA
Crossposted at Choice Words .

PETA is treating the assassination of Dr. Tiller as an opportunity to spread their message to the pro-life and pro-choice communities. According to Kansas.com the animal rights organization is planning to erect two billboards in Wichita, one that says “Pro-Life? Go Vegetarian,” and one that says “Pro-Choice? Choose Vegetarian.” Both show images of baby chicks.

I wish I could say this is the most disgusting campaign PETA has ever run, but sadly that’s impossible at this point. PETA is not a social justice organization. Their primary media tactic is to appeal to the worst bigotry in U.S. culture in an attempt to stir up controversy and shock people into vegetarianism. Their tactics in working for animal rights is an affront to the cause of justice.

I have been blind with rage since first reading about this campaign. I hope every billboard company in Wichita refuses these ads. And I hope someone at PETA grows a conscience.

from feministing

Monday, June 1, 2009

Camas, the anarchist bookstore, is holding free Spanish lessons for the next six weeks in part with their free school. Check it out. This week will be week two.

two characters i don't particularly like. eminem really needs to just have sex with a man already and deal with the fact that his homophobia means homosexuality. but is anyone else disturbed by the violence proceeding?

we gays can smell your fear, mr eminem.

also: what the hell is up with his new cd cover? this needs some serious discourse surrounding it. there is no right way of taking this.

In Solidarity

The Miss G___ Project