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Bill C-16 is problematic for women.  Go read the entirety of Megan Murphy’s article on the Feminist Current, I’ve excerpted a key bit here though. :)

Bill C-16 passed at the Senate on Thursday. Under this new Canadian legislation, which follows similar laws in a number of Western countries, a person can determine their gender or sex via self-declaration at any time and for any reason. It’s considered a human rights violation to question it. No criteria, physical markers, or tests have been identified to determine trans status. As an inherently individualistic idea, gender identity isn’t tethered to any external reality and is therefore considered immune from qualification or broader critical analysis.

If an individual’s identity doesn’t impinge on anyone, it’s easy to accept it at face value. But when an individual transitions into a group of people who face different challenges, questions will naturally arise about whether opportunities reserved for those who are marginalized in their own right will be inevitably claimed by these new members, once again making it more difficult for the original members to get ahead. Already, we’ve seen a handful of examples of males who transitioned later in life showered with praise and handed awards reserved for women, who have spent their entire lives enduring patriarchy as females.

Remarkably, troubling philosophical questions remain unaddressed. If gender identities are determined on an individual basis with no parameters around what they mean, it follows that there can be as many genders as there are human beings. If each individual has a purely self-determined identity, then, by definition, these inherently unique identities can’t be shared with anyone else. No one person can experience another person’s thoughts or feelings to verify that they are thinking or feeling the same things. How can males, or anyone for that matter, know that they feel like a woman? Even if, for the sake of argument, we accept the tautology that a woman is a person who identifies as a woman, the logical conclusion is that “woman” can mean anything and therefore means nothing.

And yet women exist.

Despite a lack of clarification and broad consensus on this, women are vilified simply for asking questions. We’re expected to abandon all prior experiences and notions of ourselves, most especially those that relate to our female embodiment and the oppression that stems from it. Sex-based protections have been effectively dissolved. When it comes to female-only facilities, human rights law is clear: a male who claims the identity of “female” or “woman” can’t be turned away. If a woman has concerns or is in a vulnerable position, her options are to somehow get over it or leave. What this tells women and girls who are survivors of male violence is that females’ right to refuge and privacy away from males is negotiable and that they come last. This is an insidious form of grooming that tells women and girls that they are hysterical for recognizing the epidemic of discrimination and violence directed at them and that they must prioritize the feelings of others over their own sense of self-preservation.

Though frequently twisted, the argument here isn’t that trans people in particular pose a threat. The issue is that as long as gender identity rests on self-declaration, it is impossible — and illegal — for females to distinguish between males who simply wish to live as transgender women and other males. This is an unwarranted burden to place on women and girls, who shouldn’t be obligated to have or divulge a history of trauma in order to justify maintaining independent spaces (not that it makes a difference when they do anyway).

Laws based on personally subjective, indescribable feelings are bad news, not only Canadian women, but the rest of society as well.

 

Canadian bill C-16 passed.

“The bill updates the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression.” The legislation also makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or expression. It would also extend hate speech laws to include the two terms, and make it a hate crime to target someone for being transgender.

Critically, the bill also amends the sentencing principles section of the code so that a person’s gender identity or expression can be considered an aggravating circumstance by a judge during sentencing.”

As with much of queer politics, defining terms is pretty much up to who you happen to ask, or what day it is, or really how you feel about it at the time.  So, let’s grab some terms from some lazy searches on google.  These two categories are now included in the the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code.

Wikipedia – Gender identity – is one’s personal experience of one’s own gender.[1] Gender identity can correlate with assigned sex at birth, or can differ from it completely.

    “Merriam Webster Gender expression:  The physical and behavioral manifestations of one’s gender identity People vary greatly in the extent to which they hold and convey gendered thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Gender expression refers to the way people convey their gender through mannerisms, behaviors, or expressions. — Robert C. Eklund and Gershon Tenenbaum (editors), Encyclopedia of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2014 For most people, … gender expression occurs so naturally it’s unnoticeable. Except when gender expression doesn’t match traditional notions of the gender assigned at birth. — Will Dean, The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California), 12 June 2015″

   Perhaps we should try one more source.   Another definition of gender identity this time from Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who introduced the legislation –

“Gender identity is a person’s internal or individual experience of their gender. It is a deeply felt experience of being a man, a woman, or being somewhere along the gender spectrum. Gender expression is how a person publicly presents their gender. It is an external or outward presentation through aspects such as dress, hair, makeup, body language, or voice.”

Luckily I also found a feminist response as well – Meghan Murphy responds

     “But these statements show a deep misunderstanding of what gender is and how it works. Gender is a product of patriarchy. Ideas around masculinity and femininity exist to naturalize men’s domination and women’s subordination. In the past, women were said to be too irrational, emotional, sensitive, and weak to engage in politics and public life. Men were (and often still are) said to be inherently violent, which meant things like marital rape and domestic abuse were accepted as unavoidable facts of life. “Boys will be boys,” is the old saying that continues to be applied to excuse the predatory, violent, or otherwise sexist behaviour of males.

    The feminist movement began back in the late 1800s in protest of these ideas, and continues today on that basis. The idea that gender is something internal, innate, or chosen — expressed through superficial and stereotypical means like hairstyles, clothing, or body language — is deeply regressive.

    Beyond misguided language there is the fact that we are very quickly pushing through legislation that conflicts with already established rights and protections for women and girls.

    Women’s spaces — including homeless shelters, transition houses, washrooms, and change rooms — exist to offer women protection from men. It isn’t men who fear that women might enter their locker rooms and flash, harass, assault, abuse, photograph, or kill them… This reality is often left unaddressed in conversations around gender identity. This reality is sex-based, not identity-based. Men cannot identify their way out of the oppressor class so easily, neither can women simply choose to identify their way out of vulnerability to male violence.”

So here we be – enshrining more patriarchal norms into our laws – big surprise right?  This legislation potentially represents a large step backwards for women.

“As unpopular as this fact has become, a man or boy who wishes to identify as a woman or girl, perhaps taking on stereotypically feminine body language, hairstyles, and clothing, is still male. He still has male sex organs, which means girls and women will continue to see him as a threat and feel uncomfortable with his presence in, say, change rooms. Is it now the responsibility of women and girls to leave their own spaces if they feel unsafe? Are teenage girls obligated to overcome material reality lest they be accused of bigotry? Is the onus on women to suddenly forget everything they know and have experienced with regard to sexual violence, sexual harassment, and the male gaze simply because one individual wishes to have access to the female change room? Because one boy claims he “feels like a girl on the inside?” And what does that mean, anyway?”

So which is more important male gender feelings or female safety?  I would like to advocate here for gender neutral washrooms/changing area as the beginning of a compromise in this area.  We still live in a patriarchy and sex segregated facilities are still necessary for the protection and safety of females in our society.  The choice whether to co-mingle with men in washrooms or change rooms should be up to all those involved.

   “We live in a time when women and girls are killed every day, across the globe, by men. Things like rape, domestic abuse, and the murder of Indigenous women and girls in Canada are still not considered hate crimes. Yet we have managed to push through legislation that may very well equate “misgendering” to hate speech.

    Women are protected under the human rights code on the basis that we are, as a group, discriminated against on account of our biology. Employers still choose not to hire women based on the assumption that they will become pregnant. Women are still fighting to have access to women-only spaces (including washrooms and locker rooms) in male-dominated workplaces like fire departments, in order to escape sexual harassment and assault.”

I have serious misgivings about this legislation.  The concerns raised by radical feminists such as Meghan Murphy, have mostly been brushed aside, unsurprisingly as her concerns focus on the female experience in society and how this legislation is going to impact females (thanks again patriarchy).

Critical analysis and more debate is necessary on contentious topics such as the now passed bill C-16 – I hope more discussions can be had and that so we can ensure the safety and security of females in our society.

 

 

 

 

   The politics of gender identity hurt women.

And now sadly, I have to qualify what I mean when I write the word ‘woman’ because males, with subjective, indescribable feelings have decided that they are also women.  So, ‘women’ defined here and in reality refers to adult human females.

Obvious female erasure aside, let’s move on to the news item itself.  To summarize – two women have been forced to leave a Woman’s Shelter because a man who calls himself a woman resides there.

Up is not down, dry is not wet, and for goodness sake men are not women.  Understand that strong feelings cannot and do not change the biological facts and features of our species.

“Two women are raising concerns about the latest person to move into a Kelowna homeless shelter for women.

“He wants to become a woman, I mean that is his choice but when a man comes into a women’s shelter who still has a penis and genitals he has more rights than we do.” Tracey said.

Tracey is upset that she was made to share a room with a transgender individual, a man transitioning to become a woman.

“They told me, sorry if a person identifies themselves with female, then we have to go with that.” Tracey said.”

Listen to Tracy speaking the truth to power.  Men have more rights than women, even in a woman’s shelter, because what a male believes is more important than the safety of actual women.

If you wish to respect reality you can no more identify as a woman as you could identify as a member of different race, or as different physical age.  If you happen to have just a casual relationship with reality, it is most definitely your problem, and others should not have to respect your personal fantasy life.

Yet here we be, males being prioritized in a Woman’s Shelter.  Orwellian notions and alternative facts are the new truth – so say we all!

“Another client named Blaine was also staying at the shelter. She recently fled from an abusive relationship and says she’s uncomfortable with a transgender person staying at women’s only facility.

“Some women have had bad experiences with men so they are fleeing men and now we have a man living there,” Blaine said.”

The root problem male violence, never seems to get any air time.  We, as a society continue to dance around the very real problems of male socialization and male violence and prefer to, as always, give short shrift to women and the life defining problems they face while living in a patriarchal society.

“The shelter is run by the NOW Canada Society. While the organization declined an interview on the matter, it did issue the following statement to Global News.

“NOW Canada cannot speak to specific cases. It is against the law to discriminate against transgender individuals. NOW Canada and other shelters in Kelowna welcome people without regard to age, race, religion and gender identity.”

Are you feeling the equality?  Basking in the wonderful egalitarian outcomes where unsurprisingly, the questionably superfluous needs of males, are prioritized over the physical safety of women?

I’m not.  I’m seeing patriarchy and misogyny in action.  I’m seeing men’s rights activism in action, I’m seeing the damage done to women because we as a society have uncritically accepted the nebulous notion that ‘gender identity’ is somehow more real that physical, biological fact.

“On Thursday morning, both Blaine and Tracey were asked to leave the shelter for good after speaking to the media and breaking the confidentiality agreement designed to protect the safety of all the clients. But now they say their safety has been compromised after being tossed out on the street.

“Hopefully we will stay safe,” Blaine said.”

Yes.  Hopefully indeed, while the male, in a female only space remains safe and sound.  The important class of people is protected, sorry ladies, you are just not welcome in a Woman’s Shelter anymore.

[Source:Global News]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sunnyways    It would be nice if our political class would make the effort to look like they give a damn about breaking their promises to the electorate.  Assigning inexperienced junior ministers to such an important issue, combined with a milquetoast online survey  is setting up the entire process for failure.  And of course, surprise of surprises, the process did not work.

Similarly – here take this ironing board, 3 pennies and a stick of gum – now go make the speedboat of your dreams…   If you aren’t MacGuyver, and clearly the political hacks assigned to this half-dug latrine were not, unspectacular results happen.

“In the lead-up to the 2015 election, Trudeau pledged that a Liberal government would ensure a new electoral system was in place for the next federal vote.

The Liberals regularly repeated that promise through their first 15 months in office, but on Wednesday the government announced electoral reform was no longer a priority.”

See?  The gift of unspecularity is graced on the Canadian electorate.

“In the House, Trudeau said reform might produce “an augmentation of extremist voices in the House,” a potential result that is sometimes associated with proportional representation.

The Liberal cabinet is said to have been overwhelmingly opposed to proportional representation, which aims to allot seats in the legislature in proportion to the national popular vote. Ministers, the source says, believed Canada was better served with broader “big tent” parties.

The source added the ministers were concerned that proportional representation could open the door to smaller regional or fringe parties in the House of Commons, including the alt-right, a loosely defined political movement that includes white nationalists and white supremacists.

The spectre of such a party holding the balance of power in Parliament is said to have been raised.”

This excuse is the offspring of what happens when two lame ducks come together in unctuous union.   The alt-right holding the balance of power in Canada?  It would have been more convincing if you has said that if we had PR the ghost of Brian Mulroney (yes, he’s still alive, but ethereal BM is much more scary) would appear in Canadian’s bedroom closets and read his memoirs to them.  Now that is some chilling shit right there.  *shiver*.

Give us a frack’n break Liberals.  :/

“Beyond the government’s lament that no “consensus” on the issue of electoral reform had been achieved, the prime minister’s comments in the House suggested a concern about the risk of moving forward.

“It would be irresponsible for us to do something that harms Canada’s stability,” Trudeau said Wednesday.

“The fact of the matter is that I am not going to do something that is wrong for Canadians just to tick off a box on an electoral platform,” he later added. “That is not the kind of prime minister I will be.”

During question period on Friday, NDP democratic reform critic Nathan Cullen responded to Liberal concerns about fringe or alt-right parties. 

“In their desperate attempt to justify their betrayal on electoral reform, Liberals are reaching for any excuse, however ridiculous or absurd,” Cullen said.”

I see you have no problem in harming the political future of the Liberal Party in Canada.  JT, you just shat the bed of credibilty with your base, the swing voters, and the ABC crowd.  Those poor bright clear eyed liberal youth just experienced why you shouldn’t trust your political leaders.

Maybe now all you young pups can just back the fuck down a bit and take this bitter pill to heart and start to understand the older generation and their cynicism when it comes to politics.

Nah, probably not, Mr.Sunny-Ways won’t stop the reefer train so he’ll still get your vote.  I hear the Ganja dulls the senses – makes you less likely to hear the tortured screams of our Democracy that just got drug out behind the woodshed for a good beating.

“Donald Trump got elected on first-past-the-post with no problem. A fair voting system is the actual antidote to such campaigns like his…. Proportional representation elects more women, more diverse parliaments and forces parties to work together and bring a country like Canada together.”

Cullen alleged that the Liberals abandoned electoral reform “not because it was a threat to Canadian unity, but because it was a threat to the Liberal party.”

Always good to keep one’s political priorities straight.  :/

 

[Source: CBC]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A book-banning campaign by Gays Against Gentrification (GAG) is demanding the Vancouver Woman’s Library (VWL) remove and ban over twenty feminist books from their collection. These works — written by renowned women authors who have a long history of engaging in critical analysis against the oppression of women as class — focus on female exploitation, male supremacy, violence against women, reproductive freedom, lesbian identity and women’s health. As a matter of principle and in defense of freedom of speech and thought, no library should ever ban any books under any circumstance – especially ones written by and for women at the VWL. As authoritarianism takes deeper root throughout the world, it is more important than ever that any attempt to silence women in their struggle for liberation is resisted by all, at every moment. We urge VWL to keep these books on their shelves.

Source: Petition: Protect Feminist Books at Vancouver Women’s Library

rcmp This is the same RCMP that just got its ass sued for $100 million dollars because of its misogynistic treatment of women.  A quick snip from that story –

“We hurt you. For that, I am truly sorry.”

Those were the words from RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson to every woman who was ever harassed, belittled, demeaned or assaulted in the RCMP, as he announced a stunning $100 million compensation package at a news conference in Ottawa Thursday.

It’s an acknowledgement of the culture that has existed since its inception,” said Catherine Galliford.”

So, one of the most iconic and venerable institutions in  Canada – one that is supposed to uphold the LAWS OF THE LAND and stand on the side of justice – also happens to be rife with patriarchal misogyny (the cosmic background radiation of our society).  And they just admitted it.  This settlement will get its own post, of course, but it helps set the stage for the other story which is the focus of this post.

Let’s mull over this headline and article from the Calgary Sun.

Male Mounties Launched Suicide Pool for Bullied Female co-worker, Lawsuit Claims

“One of the first female members of the RCMP Musical Ride was bullied, hazed and sexually abused by her male colleagues to the point they launched a suicide pool and took bets on when she would kill herself, according to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

It was like a dream come true for Caroline O’Farrell when, at 25 years old, she was accepted to the famed Mountie Musical Ride.

But the dream quickly became a nightmare.

The alleged abuse from 1986 to 1987 included being repeatedly doused with cold water and then dragged face down by the arms and legs through stall shavings which included horse urine and manure. Others would then kick the wood chips, dirt, urine and feces onto O’Farrell’s head and body.

One of the hazings allegedly occurred just before her bachelorette party.

In one humiliating episode, her male colleagues locked her in a tack room and held a mock trial – including costumes, a judge, prosecutor and defence lawyer – and demanded she give them her underwear.

In another incident in 1987, a fellow RCMP officer stuck his finger out of the fly of his pants and stuck it near her ear as she slept while another member filmed it, the lawsuit alleged.”

Shit like this is what patriarchy is for women.  It is systemic attack on their worth as human beings and it happens in nearly every facet of society.  Patriarchy is ubiquitous and sadly remains fundamental to our society.   Did you know what the best part is? Dudes that deny the existence of patriarchy – it’s 2016 for heaven’s sake – we certainly don’t need feminism calling out the grave injustices against women and fighting to change them. (/s …FML)

Let’s look to AuntieWanda for feminist analysis of this situation.

“Oh but women just aren’t suited for law enforcement, that’s why there aren’t that many women in the fiel-” SHUT THE FUCK UP AND READ WHAT WOMEN GO THROUGH IN MALE DOMINATED CAREERS.

Even those who are charged with protecting others will savagely use their power against women in horrific ways. And this was a member of their team. Imagine what sort of abuses these assholes subjected ordinary folks to.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police started a suicide pool because of their abuses and torture of their fellow officer. It is not like they did not know the damaging effects of what they were doing, they made a fucking game out of it.

Beyond that, their conduct only lost O’Farrell her position. She was removed “for her safety”. 

They [the higher ups] were aware of the problem, but instead of actually punishing those responsible, they punished the victim. They remove women from these positions for their own safety, but allow the perpetrators of violence and humiliation to keep their positions. 

What does that say other than “Women don’t belong here”? What does that say other than “You will be hurt and abused by us and the only one punished for it will be you, by losing your job”?

And people wonder why there are still male-dominated fields, people blame women for not being interested, for not being strong enough, for not being able to handle positions of power. People blame women for their own abuses at the hands of the men in these fields, for them losing their jobs, for them leaving of their own volition when the situations are so much more complicated and horrific than any of that implies.

No one who knew of what was happening deserves to still be an officer. Even if they didn’t participate, if they did not fight against what was happening with every ounce of their power, if they didn’t stand up for their fellow officer and denounce the abuses she was facing, if they never spoke up or if they helped cover up it doesn’t matter, they do not deserve their position of power if that is how they will use it.

This is the most frustrating thing. “Well why don’t women just go into those fields then?” This is why. Because men will threaten, harass, and even physically assault us for having the audacity of wanting particular careers. 

   Why aren’t more women in construction, the military, law enforcement etc.? This is fucking why. Men make us fear for our lives.”

Well said Wanda.  Any questions?

patriarchyissues

 

 

 

Canadianflag  Listening the radio, I heard this interview and appreciated the revisiting of colourful part of Canadian political history.  Thankfully the Current on CBC radio one now fully transcribes their episodes, so I can share the highlights of the interview here.

“AMT: Remind us, what did the Liberal sponsorship scandal involve?

DANIEL LEBLANC: Well, it was kind of—officially, it was national unity program to increase the visibility of Canadian symbols, Canadian signs in Quebec. And let’s remember, this is after the 1995 referendum which was a squeaker, the “no” side won by about 50,000 votes. And Jean Chrétien, the prime minister of the day wanted to make Canada relevant to Quebecers. It was a very simple idea to put up flags and you know there was hot air balloons in the form, in the shape of maple leaf for example, and a bunch of cultural events and sporting events were sponsored by this program in exchange for putting up Canada banners at their event sites. But ultimately, it became embroiled in scandal. There was the advertising firms that were the intermediaries between the government and the events, some of them kickbacked money to the Liberal Party. There were some fraud and some of the events as well were quite close to the Liberal Party of the day. So it became known as a slush fund scandal and you know it kind of became bigger and bigger as time wore on. And you know it led ultimately to the Gomery inquiry in 2004, 2005, which created massive problems for the Liberal Party, especially in Quebec where they lost most of their seats after, during the 2004 election. So it’s kind of a scandal that was about you know more than a decade ago, but it did have a huge impact on Canadian politics of the day.

[…]

CHANTAL HÉBERT: Canadians or Quebecers, I think, would take from that sentence the word past rather than the wrestling of chains because so much happened to the Liberal Party over the post-sponsorship decade that Justin Trudeau’s party—in Quebec in particular—certainly bears little resemblance to the party that Jean Chrétien or even Paul Martin led in so many ways. You know when I think about—in hindsight, because now that all these years have gone by—the sponsorship scandal probably was over time a good thing for the Liberal Party. It forced it to renew itself at the time when it desperately needed to do so. Think of it like a brush fire, a really bad one and what grows after the fire is extinguished. That’s literally what just happened to the Liberal party in Quebec and possibly Justin Trudeau’s victory in Quebec—he did win the majority of the seats—would not have happened if the Liberal Party had just gone on and on, on the path that it was set when Jean Chrétien retired.

AMT: Well, tell me a little bit more about that, Chantal. What happened to the Liberal Party insiders in Quebec who then were caught up in this scandal? How did they—what happened after the brush fire?

CHANTAL HÉBERT: Okay. So let’s first go back to that time when Jean Chrétien leaves and Paul Martin comes. The sponsorship has not yet hit the party in the way that it will hit. And at that point, on this week before the sponsorship report from the auditor general comes out, the polls show the Liberals in Quebec at 55 per cent under Paul Martin and the Liberals have been riding very high on Quebec at the tail end of the [unintelligible] era, on the basis of Chrétien’s last decisions and particularly the decision not to sign up for the war in Iraq. But the internal workings of the party were already broken. This is a party that been ongoing a civil war between two factions: Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. And if you want to go back even further, between John Turner and Jean Chrétien as of 1984. By the time Paul Martin becomes prime minister, he sets up the Gomery commission thinking that there is distance between him and the sponsorship stuff because there is really two parties, two warring factions within the party and because it’s two main characters. Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin are from Quebec. Quebec is a battleground where people are gunning for the other faction and the sponsorship affair takes place in the middle of that and that kind of forces everybody off the ice. Within a couple of years, there is no Liberal left that is elected in ridings where the vast majority of voters are Francophones in Quebec. They are pushed back to the west end of Montreal. After the Orange wave, there is not even a seat left in the [unintelligible] region, which is a highly Federalist region. So by the time Justin Trudeau becomes leader, there is no Liberal party.”

Listen to, or read the full transcript at the link below.

[Source: CBC Radio:The Current]

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