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Dented Blue Mercedes: Indiana put the lie to “religious freedom.” But Canadian Evangelicals hope you didn’t notice.

Everyone’s familiar with the old adage, “be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.”

Which is why the Evangelical leaders who held a press conference on Parliament Hill calling for greater religious freedom laws and schmoozing with Conservative politicians last month might do well to remember Indiana.

“Unfortunately, Christians in this country find themselves under attack. This is a violation, and we are calling on the Canadian government to stop this type of violation across this country…” — Charles McVety

Because almost to the day that the collection of Canadian religious leaders held a (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Canada’s Trans* Rights Bill Now Endorses Bans in Washroom and Gendered Spaces

Canada’s trans* human rights bill C-279 was amended by a Senate committee, in a way that makes it legal to ban trans* people from washrooms and gendered spaces appropriate to their gender identity.

Sen. Donald Plett, Conservative member of the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, added a legal exemption for “any service, facility, accommodation or premises that is restricted to one sex only, such as a correctional facility, crisis counseling facility, shelter for victims of abuse, washroom facility, shower facility or clothing changing room.” The amendment passed with six of the committee members supporting it, four opposed, (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: “A little free speech for me, and a little shut-up-and-take-it-like-a-man for you.”

There’s a bit of controversy brewing in the UK press, as a result of a letter from academics and activists (including noted LGB activist Peter Tatchell, as well as some recognized trans-exclusionary reactionaries) published in The Observer (“We cannot allow censorship and silencing of individuals“). In it they call for universities to stand against what they felt was intimidation, specifically pertaining to discussions on trans* issues and sex work.

As a freelance writer and journalist, I could normally understand the concern of what they term no-platforming (alienating speakers like Germaine Greer and Julie Bindel because of past (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Leelah Alcorn’s Suicide, Parents’ Rights… and Kids’ Rights.

On Sunday, December 28th, 17-year-old trans* Ohio teenager committed suicide by stepping in front of a tractor-trailer on the interstate. She was killed instantly.

Her tragedy says something profound which has been almost completely missed in the discussion about LGBT-inclusive education and Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) currently wafting across Canada.

Before Leelah Alcorn’s death, she posted a suicide note online. Some of the links to it are no longer working, but the text is archived at Slate. In it, she relates a heartbreaking story of a kid who learned what “transgender” meant at the age of 14, (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Legislatively “Balancing” Human Rights

There is a simple, time-honoured rule about attempting to “balance” human rights classes in legislation so that it works out a particular way every time, and it goes like this:

You can’t.

That is a court’s role. When two human rights classes are put into conflict in a way that creates hardships for both, a court becomes the arbiter, weighing the context of a given situation in order to determine which party has experienced the most undue hardship.

Legislating such a way that one party’s rights always supersedes the other creates a hierarchy of rights, and defeats the whole (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Our destinies are bound together (even if our needs are diverse and sometimes at odds)

Monica Roberts at TransGriot is exploring the future of the trans* movement:

“One of the things I was pondering recently was triggered by me seeing a pic of a five year old trans girl. I began to ponder what her Trans World that we 2K10’s activists are fighting tooth and nail to shape, would be like 10 to 20 years from now…”

Blogger apparently won’t accept a comment this long, so I’ll post my thoughts here instead:

Any time we try to wax prescient about a social issue and its future, we have to be careful not to (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: On conscience-based medical exemptions

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is currently reviewing its Human Rights Code policy on conscience-based exemptions for medical professionals, and their effect on access to medical services.

This review was sparked by a number of news reports of doctors in Ontario and Alberta refusing to prescribe birth control because of their religious beliefs. In some of those cases, patients were refused in clinics where there was only one doctor on duty.

Concurrently, south of the border, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favour of a corporation’s right to deny medical insurance to its employees when doing (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Paths of Pain, and the Ownership of Language.

Marc Maron recently ran a follow-up interview with fellow comedian Todd Glass, who had come out as gay on Marc’s podcast, WTF. Marc’s podcast has often been strikingly introspective, and a moment came up that epitomized this. Glass started talking about language, the way that words can be weaponized, and the way he’s experienced this since coming out as gay:

(at 20:12) GLASS: But for me, I want to keep evolving. I don’t want to be the type of person who drops one word out of my act and then the other word and then goes ‘oh (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Google Trends on “Transgender”

Posted for discussion and interest value.

Out of curiosity, I plunked the word “transgender” into Google Trends. It’s not my terminology of choice, but it’s what most people use and what the general public is most likely to search for. Here’s what I got:

The numbers aren’t an exact value of something, but a comparative value versus the highest peak on record, which is apparently right now. Or as Google Trends puts it:

Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart. If at most 10% of searches for the given region and (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Google Trends on “Transgender”

Posted for discussion and interest value.

Out of curiosity, I plunked the word “transgender” into Google Trends. It’s not my terminology of choice, but it’s what most people use and what the general public is most likely to search for. Here’s what I got:

The numbers aren’t an exact value of something, but a comparative value versus the highest peak on record, which is apparently right now. Or as Google Trends puts it:

Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart. If at most 10% of searches for the given region and (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Could Canada’s Anti-Sex Work Bill C-36 Also Stifle LGBT Speech?

Slightly over a week ago, Canada introduced legislation to replace the anti-prostitution laws that had been struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Conservative government has been trying to race Bill C-36 through both the House and the Senate simultaneously, at breakneck speed. But the text of the bill has raised questions about its constitutionality. Sex workers, mainstream media and even many Nordic model proponents and abolitionists agree that it places sex workers in even greater danger than the previous laws did.

But is there also a poison pill within the legislation that could be used to (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Could Canada’s Anti-Sex Work Bill C-36 Also Stifle LGBT Speech?

Slightly over a week ago, Canada introduced legislation to replace the anti-prostitution laws that had been struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Conservative government has been trying to race Bill C-36 through both the House and the Senate simultaneously, at breakneck speed. But the text of the bill has raised questions about its constitutionality. Sex workers, mainstream media and even many Nordic model proponents and abolitionists agree that it places sex workers in even greater danger than the previous laws did.

But is there also a poison pill within the legislation that could be used to (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Keeping safe at the corner of trans* and BDSM

Somewhere at the intersection of trans* and BDSM, this happened:

“Three people have been arrested for allegedly keeping a transgender woman as a slave in the Ajax area of Natchitoches Parish.

“… NPSO received a report Saturday night from a Robeline assistant town marshal that he had come in contact with a female who had a logging chain wrapped around her near the intersection of Interstate 49 and Louisiana 6 West near Natchitoches…”

Media and law enforcement are making some judgments, and I’m tempted to come to a few conclusions of my own, but either way, it’s clear that (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Keeping safe at the corner of trans* and BDSM

Somewhere at the intersection of trans* and BDSM, this happened:

“Three people have been arrested for allegedly keeping a transgender woman as a slave in the Ajax area of Natchitoches Parish.

“… NPSO received a report Saturday night from a Robeline assistant town marshal that he had come in contact with a female who had a logging chain wrapped around her near the intersection of Interstate 49 and Louisiana 6 West near Natchitoches…”

Media and law enforcement are making some judgments, and I’m tempted to come to a few conclusions of my own, but either way, it’s clear that (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: “Protective” Custody

The way that trans people are housed in detention and correctional settings has come to attention recently, after British comedian Avery Edison was detained by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) for having previously overstayed her visa — and then she was initially sent to a mens’ prison while the issue was sorted out. After an outcry. Ms. Edison was moved to a female facility, but a number of other experiences that trans people have had with CBSA and Correctional Services Canada (CSC) have also come to light.

On Friday, I’d posted an article discussing some of the issues (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: “Protective” Custody

The way that trans people are housed in detention and correctional settings has come to attention recently, after British comedian Avery Edison was detained by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) for having previously overstayed her visa — and then she was initially sent to a mens’ prison while the issue was sorted out. After an outcry. Ms. Edison was moved to a female facility, but a number of other experiences that trans people have had with CBSA and Correctional Services Canada (CSC) have also come to light.

On Friday, I’d posted an article discussing some of the issues (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: On the Detention of Trans People

“… in a way that is not inconsistent with one’s gender identity.”

Remember that phrase. It’s going to simplify something that might otherwise seem like a complicated issue.

So this British comedian walks into Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

Some of you have heard this one before…

The treatment of trans people (particularly trans women) in detention facilities, in the correctional system and in border security has come under re-examination recently, following the story of 25-year old Avery Edison. The British comedian had overstayed her student visa during a previous visit to Canada, and so upon her return, (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: On the Detention of Trans People

“… in a way that is not inconsistent with one’s gender identity.”

Remember that phrase. It’s going to simplify something that might otherwise seem like a complicated issue.

So this British comedian walks into Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

Some of you have heard this one before…

The treatment of trans people (particularly trans women) in detention facilities, in the correctional system and in border security has come under re-examination recently, following the story of 25-year old Avery Edison. The British comedian had overstayed her student visa during a previous visit to Canada, and so upon her return, (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: The Difficulties in Remembering Rosa

In the early morning hours of November 24th, the body of a possibly trans person was found in Edmonton, Alberta.

I say “possibly trans” because it’s unclear how this person identified, and to my knowledge, no one in the trans community has met them or would be able to shed light on who they were. And unfortunately, for this reason, I need to open with the following preamble:

The victim has been identified by the Edmonton Police Service as Jon Syah Ribut. However, she also used the names Rose, Rosa and Dido. In the Edmonton Journal, Paula Simons noted (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: The Difficulties in Remembering Rosa

In the early morning hours of November 24th, the body of a possibly trans person was found in Edmonton, Alberta.

I say “possibly trans” because it’s unclear how this person identified, and to my knowledge, no one in the trans community has met them or would be able to shed light on who they were. And unfortunately, for this reason, I need to open with the following preamble:

The victim has been identified by the Edmonton Police Service as Jon Syah Ribut. However, she also used the names Rose, Rosa and Dido. In the Edmonton Journal, Paula Simons noted (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Janice Raymond, and Healing Old Wounds

This post is a personal reflection on Janice Raymond’s visit to Vancouver during a memorial for the victims of the massacre of women at L’École Polytechnique, which took place in Montreal 24 years ago. For an overview of the controversy, why Janice Raymond’s presence (as well as some other aspects of that day’s program) drew anger from trans and sex work communities, and the different facets to that situation, please refer to my article at Rabble. What follows is my personal reflection, recorded separately.

This blog post was originally going to be something very different, a personal recollection (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Janice Raymond, and Healing Old Wounds

This post is a personal reflection on Janice Raymond’s visit to Vancouver during a memorial for the victims of the massacre of women at L’École Polytechnique, which took place in Montreal 24 years ago. For an overview of the controversy, why Janice Raymond’s presence (as well as some other aspects of that day’s program) drew anger from trans and sex work communities, and the different facets to that situation, please refer to my article at Rabble. What follows is my personal reflection, recorded separately.

This blog post was originally going to be something very different, a personal recollection (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Guest Post: El Feministo’s Open Letter re: Janice Raymond at Vancouver’s Ecole Polytechnique Massacre Memorial

On November 30th, a “Montreal Massacre Memorial 2013” event is being held in Vancouver to remember the victims of the massacre at l’Ecole Polytechnique, and to seek ways to end violence against women. It’d be the kind of thing I’d be happy to promote, if it weren’t poisoned with this: sponsor Vancouver Rape Relief (VRR) has invited Janice Raymond to provide a lecture entitled “Prostitution: Not a Job, not a Choice” — hijacking the very real and urgent problem of violence against women, to try to win support for the abolition of sex work. Raymond (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Guest Post: El Feministo’s Open Letter re: Janice Raymond at Vancouver’s Ecole Polytechnique Massacre Memorial

On November 30th, a “Montreal Massacre Memorial 2013” event is being held in Vancouver to remember the victims of the massacre at l’Ecole Polytechnique, and to seek ways to end violence against women. It’d be the kind of thing I’d be happy to promote, if it weren’t poisoned with this: sponsor Vancouver Rape Relief (VRR) has invited Janice Raymond to provide a lecture entitled “Prostitution: Not a Job, not a Choice” — hijacking the very real and urgent problem of violence against women, to try to win support for the abolition of sex work. Raymond (Read more…)

Dented Blue Mercedes: Trans kids, washrooms and the new harassment

On October 13th, a story appeared at the Christian Broadcasting Network about girls being harassed by a trans youth in the washroom of a Colorado-area school. Soon afterward, the story was picked up by the Daily Mail, the Examiner, FOX News, and several webmedia outlets. One even embellished it with a claim that the girls were threatened with hate crime charges). After a few years of using the spectre of a fabled bathroom predator to scare people about the prospect of human rights law inclusion for trans people, it almost seemed like the far right was (Read more…)