Category Archives: politics

Where are these purple wearing fuckers the rest of the year?

Standard

When I was in year eleven, my maths teacher made some truly disturbing and Islamophobic comments. He taught the class how to prepare a molotov cocktail for when “Muslims invaded Australia.” Then he told us that he was prepared and willing to kill one or two dozen Muslims before they managed to kill them.

Obviously I complained to our co ordinator. My maths teacher started ignoring me and my questions in class.

Approximately two months later, he told the class that homosexuality is wrong. He also told us that, while he found the idea of two men kissing disgusting, he liked to watch women kiss.

I didn’t have the courage to complain to the the co ordinator. I was out to a select group of friends, but I didn’t want my sexuality to be a source gossip in the V.C.E room. So I just decided that rather than risk having him as a teacher, I would drop maths for year twelve.

My sexuality affected my school experience in a very tangible way. I don’t know a single queer identified person who escaped the education system unscathed. Increased awareness of the experiences of LGBT youth is vital. Which is why, in theory, events such as Wear Purple day are important.

Aisling at Dreamling wrote an awesome entry explaining why she thinks that wearing purple to raise awareness of the bullying and harrassment of LGBT youth is a good idea. I’m not opposed to wearing the colour purple – I’m wearing a purple t-shirt to work and belly dancing class.

However, I want to know where are these allies when something needs to be done? Why didn’t anyone in my maths class say, “That was inappropriate”? Why haven’t my straight Australian friends been sending letters to their MPs demanding equal marriage rights? Why weren’t my straight Australian friends at same sex marriage support rallies? Why weren’t my straight Canadian friends at Pride? Why do I still need to explain to my straight Canadian friends why saying “That’s so gay” is offensive? Why do I still need to explain to my straight Canadian friends that asking how I have sex is offensive?

To be an angry fucking queer, I want to know what these purple wearing fuckers are doing for the rest of the year.

If you are combining wearing the colour purple with every day acts of activism, then I am super stoked and I want to be your best friend. However, I’m worried that people are going to participate in wear purple day, forget all about the tragic circumstances which lead to it and ignore the every day acts of activism that are so important to making the world safe for young LGBT people.

Advertisements

Body image

Standard

Before I realised that I would not be able to get an appointment at the U.S consulate, I went to have a photo taken for the visa. When I got home, I compared the new visa photo to the visa photo taken two years ago. It was slightly traumatic.

The old photo was taken when I was at my lowest weight since I was twelve years old. Logically it’s not surprising that I was thin: I was vegan, being treated for depression, in the last semester of my B.A and working really hard, my mum had just been in a horrific car crash Wife (who was then Fiancee) had just returned to Canada and I was alone. My diet consisted of coke during the day and a plate of vegan poutine for dinner. If I was really hungry, I would eat a muffin for breakfast or a veggie burger or fries for lunch. Sometimes I would drink diet coke to try quash any rebellious hunger pangs.

Despite the horrific diet and depression, I was praised for my thinner frame by family members and strangers. When I went to the U.S consulate in Melbourne for my original visa appointment, the security guard who was checking passports looked at my two year old passport photo, compared it to me and exclaimed “Wow! You’ve lost a lot of weight! Good for you!” I was so pleased.

When I moved to Canada, I started eating meat and dairy. I also started to recover from depression and to work on issues related to low self esteem. However, I can only maintain a low weight through a vegan diet. So I’m happier. I’m also a lot heavier.

Some days I am able to cope with my fat body. Other days I cannot. On those days I berate myself for being fat and simultaneously feel like I failed as a lesbian and feminist.

See I know that my life is amazing despite the extra kilograms. I am married to an amazing person: Wife is kind, intelligent, beautiful and always there for me.  I have been to some stunning places: Victoria, Vancouver, Quebec, Montreal, Canmore, Banff, Kananaskis. I have been to chuckwagon races, pow wows, plays, queer film festivals, baptisms, galas, pubs and house parties. I have made awesome friends. And despite the bouts of homesickness and immigration stress, I have never been happier.

So why can’t I shake the feeling that life would be better if I was thinner?

Out with the old bigotry and in with the new bigotry

Standard

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she does not support legalising gay marriage in Australia.

Labor policy on gay marriage will remain the same under her prime ministership, Ms Gillard told Austereo show today.

“We believe the marriage act is appropriate in its current form, that is recognising that marriage is between a man and a woman, but we have as a government taken steps to equalise treatment for gay couples,” Ms Gillard said.

Asked if that was also her personal view, Ms Gillard said it was.

The Age

Last year I lost my passport which was a really stressful experience in itself. However, when I was filling out the application form, one of the questions was “Are you married?” I was flummoxed. I am married in Canada (where I was applying for a new passport). I am not married in Australia (the country issuing the passport).

So I phoned the consulate in Vancouver. No one answered the phone. I left a message and no one called me back. I phoned the high commission in Ottawa. No one answered the phone. At that point I was stressed, crying and unable to leave a message. When I phoned Wife in tears, she was kind enough to call the consulate in Toronto. She was informed that I should check the married box but write a note on the application stating that I was aware that I was not worried in Canada.

I was devastated and furious. I was devastated that my marriage was reduced to disclaimer. I was furious that my marriage was reduced to a disclaimer.

When I went to Vancouver to lodge the paperwork, I did not write a disclaimer on the paperwork. I would like to say that I wanted to stick it to the man. However, I simply forgot because I was so stressed trying to pay for the trip and passport, trying to find a guarantor and finding the consulate.

No one noticed. No one asked if I was married in Canada or Australia. No one asked to see my marriage certificate. No one asked if I was married to someone of the opposite sex.

The long winded point that I’m trying to make is that the country did not collapse because, for the briefest of moments, the Australian government recognised that I was married. For the briefest of moments, I was recognised in my entirety.

Arts and about: Fairytales

Standard

Wife and I won festival passes to FairyTales Queer Film Festival from Calgary Culture!

Last night we attended the screening of Boy I Am. In the words of IMDB:

Boy I Am is a feature-length documentary that begins to break down that barrier and promote dialogue about trans issues through a look at the experiences of three young transitioning FTMs in New York City–Nicco, Norie and Keegan–as they go through major junctures in their transitions, as well as through the voices of lesbians, activists and theorists who raise and address the questions that many people have but few openly discuss.

The screening was followed by a panel discussion. The discussion was lead by Lynn McDonald, James and an academic that I won’t name.

Lynn McDonald from the Diversity Resource Unit of the Calgary Police spoke about the policy that they were working on to support officers who decided to transition. She also spoke about the policies that are being created for police officers who arrest transgendered people.

It was really interesting to learn that the Calgary Police has the most extensive policies about the LGBT community in Canada. It’s miraculous when you consider that the political climate in Alberta is hostile to the LGBT community (the province threatened to withhold same sex marriage and last year eliminated funding for bottom surgery for transgendered men)

James from Misc Youth Network spoke about his experiences of being transgendered openly and honestly. I was definitely left with much food for thought (which I won’t share because it’s still half formed lumps of clay in my mind at this point) and the desire to learn more about the history of the transgendered movement and how to be a better ally.

However, I was not impressed with the academic (I believe that she was straight) who was invited to the panel. She rarely contributed to the very interesting conversation. Her sole memorable contribution was that (to paraphrase) we should not worry about labels such as queer, gay, lesbian or transgender because we are all just people.

I believe that point of view is naive (at its best) and disempowering (at its worst).

When I first came out, I naively believed that nothing in my life would change.

However, my family and friends attitudes towards and interactions with me did change. I realised that I might not directly experience homophobia (through the inability to find housing, a job or. However, I experienced it through the legal system (the inability to marry Wife in Australia, the inability to have my marriage recognised in Australia). Plus I have experienced its insidious cousin heteronormativity more times than I would like.

Society does not view me as “just a person.” So people who say that labels are not important (that we are all “just people”) are effectively denying my experience.

Overall the panel was informative, humorous and honest. I definitely feel that I learned a lot! FairyTales is an amazing festival and I’m so glad that they facilitated this screening and panel and I’m really glad that Lynn and James spoke.