One of the challenges when discussing my experiences with depression, transition and other aspects of my life with people who do not have similar experiences is that they don’t have the same points of references. Likewise when I hear about the experiences of those living on reserves in poverty and third world conditions I lack a point of reference to truly understand their experiences. I can, however, make the effort to listen to what they are saying.
When we take the time to listen and learn from the experiences of others, especially when they do not share reference points, we expand our own horizons. Actively listening to these experiences will likely be uncomfortable. Once these feelings start we can respond in a number of ways.
First, we can close our ears and try to hide from the feelings and shut down. We don’t listen to what the person is saying and we don’t try to understand or empathise. When we do this we reinforce our view of the person telling the story as ‘the other’ someone that is lessened because they are not part of our community or identity. Once we categorize someone as ‘other’ it is a lot easier to continue to ignore injustice being perpetrated against them.
Second, the response being made can be patronizing. Rather than respecting what the person is saying we respond in a condescending manner. What we are telling the person when we do this is that we either do not believe them or that their experience isn’t valid and doesn’t have value.
Third, we can stay silent and actively listen to what is being said. We can work to empathise with what is being said, even though it may be uncomfortable. This is probably the most difficult response. Empathising with the struggles and plight of other people is not easy and may trigger responses in ourselves that we don’t expect. It is when we listen and work to understand what other people have experienced, even though we haven’t shared that experience, that we expand our own horizons and can then take that knowledge to work with them to help them heal and to help make the world a better place.
One of the more interesting aspects of living in an urban area close to the downtown core is that there are a lot of people around from a range of social, economic and cultural backgrounds. Part of this diversity are those who have been marginalized by society. People who are living on the streets, people who may be prostitutes, addicted to various substances or drugs. In short people that are ignored by the rest of society. So how do we react to them when we see them? How do we react when they come through the doors of the church on a Sunday morning?
When it comes to the person on the street who is panhandling, possibly drunk or on drugs, most people walking by pretend that they do not exist. They are invisible. Others will react in more obvious ways such as crossing to the other side of the street, pointedly looking away. Sometimes even making derogatory comments about the person to those they are walking with or even directly to the person. Most people will avoid eye contact and when asked for change many won’t even acknowledge the request. The reaction when someone who appears to be ‘undesirable’ walks through the door of a church can be even worse.
With Pride events happening all over North America and overseas through the summer a question comes up in some quarters, “What is Pride?” Last night on Google Plus we had the first Plus Pride public hangout to discuss Pride, what it is, and why it’s important. To see comments posted by those watching visit What is Pride
Updated 2012-06-21 14:25 This list contains current actions in the push for trans equality in Canada. I do not claim this to be a comprehensive list of current action and welcome submissions of other activity that is going on in Canada.
If you know of current actions please add to the comments or contact me directly via Facebook or Google+
But it’s unclear if the bill will actually help trans people. On the contrary, it seems the ongoing debate is doing more harm than good.
This sounds a lot like Hillier:
However, this policy will have dire consequences for those it is intended to benefit.
The last thing a vulnerable child needs is more differentiation from others in the schoolyard. The result will be nothing less than painting a bull’s eye or target on their backs.
From my perspective Rob Salermo is coming across less like an ally, but more like those who are anti-trans. How would Salermo respond if the argument was that sexual orientation should not be added in to the Ontario Human Rights act because the Ontario Human Rights Commission already considers homosexual people to be protected under the existing human rights legislation. This is, of course, a hypothetical example. The Ontario Human Rights Code does include sexual orientation as an explicit group to be protected.
All we are asking is to be treated equally under the law, not treated equally if we file a complaint and the person hearing the case decides to go along with established case law.
Update: This information has also been moved to a post that will always be on the main page of this blog.
I haven’t blogged much over the past month and a half or possibly a bit longer. Life got in the way, plus being ill on and off throughout with a couple of different bugs that were making the rounds.
With all the media attention over the past few weeks around Transport Canada’s regulations that state someone who doesn’t look like the gender in their ID is not permitted to fly I thought I’d take a look at where things stand with regards to transsexual and transgender rights in Canada.
Federally we have seen the spotlight shine on Transport Canada’s regulation. There have been a number of articles and blog posts about it. One result of this regulation being put in the spotlight is that it highlights the problems that someone who transitions has in terms of having identification that reflects who they are. The importance of having a sex marker on one’s identification that matches what one looks like is much more important.
Today we remember the 14 women killed at École Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on December 6, 1989.
Violence against women continues today with many women seeking safety in shelters, and many more quietly living with physical, emotional and spiritual abuse.
Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student
With the discussions around the Salvation Army’s treatment of LGBT+ people, and in particular a shelter in Austin refusing a trans woman shelter resulting in her death, I did some digging on the Canadian Salvation Army site and found the following in their position statements:
The Salvation Army upholds the dignity of all persons. For this reason, and in obedience to the example of Jesus Christ, whose compassionate love is all-embracing, The Salvation Army does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in the delivery of its services.
I am wondering if you provide shelter for transsexual people appropriately? For example, if a transsexual woman seeks help from a women’s shelter would you turn her away because she was born with male anatomy?
It will be interesting to see how they respond and I will post an update if / when I get a response.