Slap Reparative Therapy Where it Counts

Mark at Slap Upside the Head reports that Canada’s official opposition, the NDP, have made it a part of their platform to work to revoke the charitable status of any organization that collects money to fund harmful ex-gay / reparative therapies:

“… They take advantage of LGB people, often in vulnerable family situations or at grips with depression and self-hatred, and browbeat them—saying that LGB people never live happy lives, that we are unhealthy and unwhole, and that we never experience love and that the only hope lies in their therapies…”

He first wrote about Exodus Global Alliance’s status as a charitable organization in Canada in September of last year.  To that end (and mentioned previously, but go there if you missed it), there is a Slap Upside the Head Action Page outlining how you can support this effort. Continue reading

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Trying to Offend: How the Far Right is Seeking Validation Through “Persecution”

One thing that the far right has used to garner sympathy is the perception of censorship. To see how much it can be used to advantage, one only has to remember Charles McVety’s victimization by the CRTC (actually, it was the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council which reprimanded him, and the Crossroads Christian Network CTS that pulled his show, but this perception shows just how effectively he has spun it).

It sets the right wing up to be seen as the go-to champions of free speech.  That is, as long as you don’t notice them trying to revoke the licenses of adult networks or bemoan that it’s possible to publish an affirming kids’ book about having two dads.  Such is the practice of the times, to bear false witness, obscure truth or weave spin to raise money and flex political muscle.  (I want to remind readers not to confuse the actions of extreme Christian Nationalists, who need to be held accountable for their misrepresentations, with all Christians) Continue reading

Why the Umbrella Failed

(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)

While writing “The Death of the ‘Transgender’ Umbrella,” it became necessary to clarify something in my own mind.  The language is changing, yes, but the aspect of the word “transgender” that had especially changed was also the thing that seemed to make it most valuable: its use as an umbrella concept.

While it’s true that the specific words we use are ultimately irrelevant to how human rights protections are encoded in law, the way we’re framing our issues currently does in fact set us up for serious conflict between binary-identified and non-binary trans people when addressing issues of legal documentation and accommodation, and also spawns confusion and misunderstanding when the general public is faced with multiple narratives and tries to figure out how to parse them into a single entity.  We need to recognize — and sooner rather than later — how couching transsexual and gender diverse issues under a single umbrella creates an expectation of a single narrative with a single solution to all associated challenges. Continue reading

A Shooting in Halifax, and Why People Are Not Disposable

In Halifax, well-known drag performer Elle Noir was shot in the arm by two men posing as police officers.  She told CBC that she believes they specifically targeted her because she is transsexual:

“They were yelling, ‘Tranny faggot, open the door, let us in, let us in,’ which leads me to believe they knew who I was. I’m in a second-floor apartment. You know, you have to have a security key to get into the building.”

Police have told the Chronicle-Herald that they think the apartment was specifically targeted, but of course have also already ruled out the likelihood of the incident being a hate crime.  But the usual assumption of drugs also doesn’t ring true for the victim:

An armed home invasion leads people to think the victims are into drugs and other criminal behaviour. But Noir insists she and her roommate are not into drugs.

“The only drugs that are in my apartment is estrogen and . . . a testosterone blocker. So unless they want to turn into women, I don’t really think they were after what I have in my apartment,” Noir said. “And my roommate is like anti-drug, completely. Like he wouldn’t even associate with people that have it.”

I don’t know all the details as yet, and will (like many readers, I’m sure) be following what has happened.  We do know that she is recovering and is expected to be fine, although she will be off work for awhile.  The CBC link has an interview. Continue reading

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