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Pink and blue, or black and white?

Aug. 20th, 2009 | 02:38 pm

I've been following the hoopla about Semenya, the South African runner who is being asked to submit to a "gender test" (WTF is a gender test anyway? do they show you Barbie or GI Joe dolls and ask which you prefer?) based on her superb performance at her chosen sport. So far, it feels like a clusterfuck of fail.

First, let's look at the misogyny here. The doubt about her sex came because she was performing well? Because, after all, excellence in physical performance is a masculine prerogative. Add to that someone who doesn't present as stereotypically feminine, and we've immediately got doubt about whether or not she's a "real" woman, whatever that means. After all, she's already breaking a societal rule about how women should look and act, and she's succeeding at something to boot. Suspicion time!

And, let's not forget the racism. There decades of issues around black women not being expected to succeed, not being seen as sufficiently feminine, and not being seem as trust-worthy. Can this stuff die already?

And what's the deal with the gender test - I'm assuming they mean sex test, but even this is a bit odd, isn't it? We'd like to think that sex is binary, absolute and neatly packaged in blue or pink wrapping. But the truth is, even in our supposedly perfectly differentiated male and female worlds, we have a ton of different combinations. Plenty of people are born with varying degrees of intersex conditions, and many of them are never aware of it since there's nothing outwardly obvious. And lots of people who fall within "normal" by any barrage of tests may have differing hormone levels that give them advantages or disadvantages in certain areas. But this test seems to imply that we need someone to be determined unambiguously, absolutely, and irrevocably male or female if they are allowed to perform in sports. Either that, or we need to out them as other than binary male/female because they're holding something back, deceiving us all.

It's disturbing to read the comments associated with her story, because there's a nasty undercurrent of blame and judgement even in the sympathic commentary. Let's look at this quote from one of her competitors:

I've heard a lot of speculation, but all I could do was just keep a level head and go about my business," Meadows said. "If none of it's true, I feel very sorry for her."

Why the "if none of this is true" qualifier? If Semenya is found to be a "real" woman, we can feel sorry for her experiencing this public humiliation. But if the tests reveal abnormalities, we can revoke our pity, because our doubts were justified all along.

And what are our doubts? I think it comes down to that old saw about someone with non-conventional gender presentation, expression or identity being seen as deliberate deceptive. After all, blaming an ambiguously gendered person for their very existence is nothing new. Look how many murders of trans women are explained by the killers as happening because the trans woman deceived the perpetrator about her "true" sex. She's suddenly no longer a victim but a predator. Interesting how many of them are women of colour too, because when you combine the gender + colour you get some exponential marginalization happening. Like right now, when we see Semenya is being subjected to a very ugly public scrutiny because she's good at what she does, and we're not okay with that because she challenges our beliefs about gender and race.

I'm so very, very tired of this. I wish the rest of the world was, too.








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(no subject)

Aug. 13th, 2009 | 12:50 pm

Rain is lovely! But if it continues until Saturday, I may rethink berrying. Hmm.

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Women - How to Avoid Terrible Things Happening To You

Jul. 3rd, 2009 | 10:20 am

Inspired by one of those awful "how to avoid getting raped" lists.

1. If you're walking to your car late at night in a dark alley, make sure you reconsider. Car accidents much more likely to kill you than anyone lurking in a dark alley. Walk home instead, statistically you are doing the smart thing to stay safe!

2. Serial rapists could be lurking anywhere. However, if you're seriously worried about being raped, stay away from the people most likely to rape you - your husband, boyfriend, and male friends and family members.

3. Avoid dangerous places. The most dangerous place for a woman, where she is most likely to be attacked, is in her own house, so stay out of that. And this isn't because of break-ins - it's because of the people who live with you, or who you invite in. So, stay at Starbucks or something.

4. If you're thinking about jogging alone in a park, and are concerned about safety, think about this - far, far more people die from heart disease that was preventable with exercise and sensible food choices than random attacks.

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oh!

Jun. 30th, 2009 | 03:30 pm

Sex reassignment surgery deserves full coverage across Canada.

So says Bill Siksay, who has tabled a private member’s bill, Bill C-389, in the House of Commons to add gender identity and expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Go Bill!

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Stand for the Van

Jun. 18th, 2009 | 10:02 am

Stand in protest for the loss of the MAP van June 23rd

We need your support Tuesday, June 23rd, between 9:30 pm and 10:30 pm when we will stand together for the MAP van.

Come out along the MAP van route and light a candle.

Rallying Points:
Hastings and Gore

Dunlevy and Cordova

Hastings and Jackson

Hastings and Hawks

Hasting  and Campbell

Franklin and Raymur

Franklin at Commercial Drive

Victoria and Triumph

Clark at East Georgia

Grandview Park on Commercial Drive

Commercial at 7th (meet on the bridge)

Kingsway and Nanaimo

Kingsway and Joyce
 
Please mark your calendars: Tuesday, June 23rd, 9:30 pm
 
Show the Premier and the Provincial Government that women on our streets are at terrible risk without the MAP van.

Give the new Solicitor General, Kash Heed, a battle to win for survival sex workers

·        MAP(Mobile Access Project) is an essential overnight service providing women sex workers with options for health and safety

·        MAP is operated through a partnership with WISH and PACE

·        We can never forget the 67 women who went missing from the same streets where the MAP van works every night.

·        What is the social cost of taking the MAP van off the road?

·        Show the government that they can make the difference between life and death

·        95% of all "Bad Date" reports are made to the MAP van staff, providing the only and immediate warning for sex workers against violent predators
 
To find out more about WISH: www.wish-vancouver.net

To find out more about PACE: www.pace-society.ca

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events! part 1

Apr. 20th, 2009 | 08:51 am

This is my week off, but apparently I am unable to relax, so I shall post events instead.

Tomorrow, please come out for the Trans Partner/Family/Friends Support Group: Information Session

Date: Tuesday, April 21, 1009
Time: 7- 9 PM
Location: Generations Office, the Centre, at #610 - 1033 Davie Street.
Wheelchair-accessible space.

The Centre's "Trans Partner Support Group" exists to provide a safe, supportive environment for all self-identified trans partners, family & friends of transgender, transsexual, intersex, genderqueer, cross-dressing & any other gender-variant or questioning people.

We're starting back up and we'd like your input! The first meeting will be open to everyone: partners, family, friends, plus trans or questioning people, and anyone else who feels a connection with this diverse community. We are also looking for more facilitators, so if you might be interested and have a connection with the trans-spectrum community, we'd love to hear from you.

At our first meeting we will be discussing the feedback from our survey. If you haven't had a chance to fill it out, it's available at:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=E1xfpFoXqpj8Lp_2bzyjIgbg_3d_3d


This group will meet monthly at the same location on the third Tuesday of every month, so please mark your calendars!

For more information please contact the Centre at 604-684.5307

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Public Lecture:Sex, Gender and the Body: Should We Look at Genes, Hormones, Environment, or Society?

Apr. 16th, 2009 | 11:55 am

I'm behind on my gender theory stuff and don't know anything about this, but it looks interesting and it's free, so I'm passing it on to everyone. I will be there.

Public Lecture:Sex, Gender and the Body: Should We Look at Genes, Hormones, Environment, or Society?
With Judith Lorber, PhD

Professor Emerita of Sociology and Women’s Studies at the Graduate Center and Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

12:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Room 2200 – RBC Dominion Securities Meeting Room

Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre (Downtown)

515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Judith Lorber is author of numerous books and articles on gender theory and gendered health, including Breaking the Bowls: Degendering and Feminist Change and Gender and the Social Construction of Illness.  Dr. Lorber was the first Coordinator of the CUNY Graduate Center’s Women's Studies Certificate Program and Founding Editor of Gender & Society.

This event will be originating from Columbia University and telecast live at SFU Harbour Centre.

Everyone Welcome, but space is limited.  Please RSVP.

Feel free to bring your lunch.

For more information, contact Rodney Hunt at rhunt@sfu.ca/ or 778-782-7641

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procrastination cure

Apr. 10th, 2009 | 12:56 pm

K, have decided that for every procrastination effort I indulge in of more than 5 minutes, I will do jump-roping. I will start with 20 and go up by increments of 20 for each subsequent misdemeanour.

Am at 40 so far and felt a bit winded by that. Better get back to work before I have to hit 60.

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Trans Partner/Family/Friends Support Group: Information Session

Mar. 31st, 2009 | 10:36 pm

Date: Tuesday, April 21, 1009
Time: 7- 9 PM
Location: Generations Office, the Centre, at #610 - 1033 Davie Street.
Wheelchair accessible space.


The Trans Partner support group, put on by the Centre, exists to provide a safe, supportive environment for all self-identified trans partners, family & friends, including partners, family & friends of transgender, transsexual, intersex, genderqueer, cross-dressing & any other gender variant or questioning people.

After a hiatus, we're starting back up and we'd like your input! The first meeting will be open to everyone: partners, family, friends, plus trans or questioning people, and anyone else who feels a connection with this diverse community. We are also looking for more facilitators, so if you have an background or interest in facilitation, and a connection with this community, please come out and let us know!

We look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback about what you'd like to see in the group, and we'll also be discussing some of the questions raised in our recent user survey. If you haven't had a chance to fill out the survey yet, it's available at:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=E1xfpFoXqpj8Lp_2bzyjIgbg_3d_3d


After this first session, we will be offering this group monthly at the same location on the third Tuesday of every month, so please mark your calendars!

For more information please contact the Centre at 604-684.5307

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Mayhem!

Feb. 12th, 2009 | 10:32 am

ganked from the bride of pride team. see if you can spot the changes I made to the copy.


Mayhem!
The Weekend Event for Leatherwomen

May 8 – 10, 2009
Vancouver, Canada

Queer women’s BDSM, play, sexuality and fun. All. Weekend. Long.

We’re completely pleased to be bringing you a conference-style weekend, with play parties, educationincluding a buttsecks workshop, entertainment, and a line-up of brilliant presentersincluding a marmot. We would like to invite all past, present and future womenincluding marmots who enjoy woman-to-woman BDSM to our unique weekend of kink, play, and fun.

Whether you’re just beginning to explore kink, or consider yourself a seasoned veteran, Mayhem! is the place to play hard, play soft, learn, or just hang out and socialize with some very damn cool women.

History

Mayhem! will be the first women’s kink conference in Western Canada since 1993 — and the first one ever in East Vancouver, the area many local lesbians call home.

The Mayhem! weekend is organized by Canadian Mayhem/Bride of Pride. Our goal has always been to put on the exact kind of party that we all dream of attending, and of course that includes inviting everyone along.

www.canadianmayhem.com


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