Free Speech: It’s All In How You Spin It

At Rabble.ca, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations reports that elementary education reform theorist Bill Ayers is once again being barred from entering Canada.  Lawyers for Ayers, who is scheduled to be a keynote speaker at the Worldview Conference on Media and Higher Education on Thursday in Toronto, say that they have been stonewalled by Canadian government officials in trying to find a way for him to be able to attend.  From the report:

“I am disturbed by the apparent inconsistency in the enforcement of Canada’s border,” said [OCUFA President Mark] Langer. “In the past, we have admitted Martha Stewart, a convicted felon. Just a few weeks ago, we also let in Geert Wilders, a far-right Dutch politician currently being prosecuted for violations of his country’s hate speech laws. Based on this record, one wonders if Ayers is being kept out of Canada for purely political reasons, something that is unacceptable in a free and democratic society.”

People are losing no time at all comparing this to the visit of outspokenly anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders to Canada.  Jonathan Kay at The National Post reported being taken a bit aback by just how emphatically extreme Wilders’ views were: Continue reading

Guest Post: Reparative Therapy for Trans Youth: Kenneth Zucker is Different from George Rekers How?

[It’s a continuing source of shame and outrage that Toronto’s Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) continues to employ a therapist who champions “reparative” (also known as aversion) therapies for trans youth as its Psychologist-in-Chief, and Head of the Gender Identity Service in the Child, Youth, and Family Program.  Dr. Kenneth Zucker justifies his therapies by stating that he doesn’t try to change ones sexual orientation, but rather their gender identity.  Because it’s apparently okay if they’re thought to be trans instead of gay.

Marti Abernathey at Transadvocate compares Anderson Cooper’s AC360 report on Kirk Murphy to reports of treatments undertaken by Dr. Zucker:]

Watching this recent CNN story on reparative therapy and the damage it did  to George Reker’s poster child (Kirk Andrew Murphy),  I was struck by the similarity of this story and a child that NPR covered about childhood gender identity issues. “Bradley” was treated by Kenneth Zucker for gender identity disorder. Does this: Continue reading

A Solution Without a Problem, or More Reframing the Political Discourse?

The federal Conservatives will be holding a party convention between now and Sunday to discuss direction for the majority government.  While things talked about at conventions aren’t necessarily going to become policy, it does give a good indication of what the aims and priorities are likely to be.  One of those, of course, is to discuss prostitution, following the ruling in Ontario that had overturned 3 laws used to criminalize sex workers.  The Harper Conservatives still fail to understand the difference between willing sex work and human trafficking, and seem to want to do everything except take a harm-reduction approach.

Another curious position to be discussed is the proposed strengthening of Canada’s laws prohibiting high treason (that is, actively engaging in an act of war against the country or its armed forces).  As James Morton notes, the laws as they stand are pretty clear and pretty strong already: Continue reading

The Death of the “Transgender” Umbrella

(Part of a three-part series:
Part 1: The Death of the Transgender Umbrella
Part 2: Why The Umbrella Failed
Part 3: Decolonizing Trans as Allies)

If you’ve traveled anywhere among trans or LGBT blogs in the past year or three, you’ve inevitably come across an ongoing battle over labels, and particularly “transgender” as an umbrella term.  It seems to be a conflict without end, without middle ground and without compromise.  And yet for discourse on human rights and enfranchisement for transsexual and transgender people to move forward at all, at some point that discussion needs to have some sort of resolution, and some thorough dissection of the argument will need to take place.  Could an alliance-based approach be a solution?  Or more accurately, could enough people on both sides of the argument be willing (that is, to not see their position as immovable) to seek an alliance-based approach for it to make a positive difference in the discourse?

I don’t know.  But something that has become clear to me over the past while is that the language is changing.  And I don’t have to like it, but I have to understand what that means.

I only speak for myself.  In the end, it’s all I really can do anyway.  I don’t speak for any trans-related community, don’t speak for The Bilerico Project or any of its other contributors, don’t speak for any other place I’ve posted or published writing, don’t speak for Alberta trans people — just me.

I say that because the international trans community is in a state of flux.  As the community defines itself, we’re discovering just how diverse “trans” really is, and just how inadequate any one single definition is when it tries to cover everyone.  A result of this is that in 2011, while the mainstream world is just starting to twig on to trans anything, trans and LGBT forums are finding nearly every conversation on trans issues, trans rights, gender studies and identity disintegrating into a debate about “transgender,” its use as an umbrella term, and whether there should even be an umbrella at all.  It’s reached the point that it’s stalemated any and every other discussion.  And ultimately, I realize that nothing some writer and blogger from Southern Alberta says is going to change that, but I can make my own declaration on the matter.  And in that, I speak for myself.

Because our language for trans issues is changing. Continue reading

Is This The Face of Christian Governance?

When he’s not working as a Legislative Assistant for Conservative Member of Parliament Maurice Vellacott, Timothy Bloedow is the driving force behind Canada’s Christian Nationalist weblog No Apologies and Christian Governance, where he advocates for ideologically-run government:

There is no such thing as neutrality. Superficial thinking has confused peace, tolerance, pluralism, multiculturalism and similar ideas with neutrality. But there is no such thing as neutrality.

… The mission of ChristianGovernance is to teach and train Christians to understand the Biblical worldview as well as competing worldviews, and to help Christians translate this understanding into a faithful lifestyle and a compelling witness in this world.

In Should Harold Camping be executed as a false prophet? Bloedow (or Rod Taylor, or David Krayden, or Larry Bray, or Tom Bartlett, or the Freedom 55 Financial / London Life salesman, but usually if there’s no attribution, then it’s posted by Bloedow or his son) writes: Continue reading