RuPaul is fracking at the end of the world, The Outline
While we languish inside, unpaid and uncertain, unprotected by an ideology of American exceptionalism and individualized meritocracy, RuPaul and his capitalist cohort are happily fracking at the end of the world.
Top is not to bottom the way man is to woman.
Gatekeeping is a stupid, ugly, degrading process that is nevertheless a reliably consistent characteristic of transgender life, made even worse by the obvious dissonance of having arbitrary hurdles all presented as scientifically immovable. But what can I do? Facts, famously, don’t care about my feelings.
“Queer” as in… what, exactly? The Outline
“Queer” is used to mean a kind of radical alternative, a necessary intervention, a path that leads not simply to progress, but perhaps even to revolution. But in order to make that vision a reality, a lot more must be done. And the problem, of course, is that the kinds of alternative spaces we rhetorically invoke with the language of “queer” don’t always do justice to our radical imaginations.
Canada is fake, The Outline
But when I say that Canada is fake, I don’t mean anything so universal or theoretical. Canada is not an accident or a work in progress or a thought experiment. I mean that Canada is a scam — a pyramid scheme, a ruse, a heist. Canada is a front. And it’s a front for a massive network of resource extraction companies, oil barons, and mining magnates.
There’s an instrumental logic in seeing some people as abject, in saying, “I may be a mess, but at least I’m not like her.” And so it becomes easy to internalize the idea that trans women or sex workers—especially trans women sex workers—are simply not quite as human as everyone else; that we don’t have inner lives, unique personalities or complex ideas about ourselves and our worlds. We are dehumanized, reduced to our mere body parts and the physical sensations those parts may offer.
Preserving transgender histories is Aaron Devor’s life’s work, University Affairs
University of Victoria’s chair of transgender studies and founder of the Transgender Archives is on a mission to collect and celebrate works by transgender people for transgender people.
Trans Visibility Won’t Save Us, BuzzFeed News
I think for a lot of people — including those whom Wynn may have imagined with the phrase “vanguard zoomer trans” — trans identity does mean something politically. On some level, it would be ridiculous to assume otherwise: To even be able to describe oneself as trans in a public way requires a kind of political consciousness. Our existence, the saying goes, is resistance. But is our existence really resistance on its own?
Mere Disruption Won’t Alter Birthright’s Agenda, Jewish Currents
Through guided tours, immersive activities, slumber parties, group bonding exercises, and a parade of sexy Israeli soldiers, Birthright encourages participants to see themselves as inherently connected to the land, able to travel it and consume it with freedom and impunity, at the unspoken expense of its indigenous inhabitants. In this way, Birthright is an expression of the Orientalist claim to power. Through participating, Jews internalize an idea of ourselves as the rightful authorities on Palestine, the holders of its true knowledge.
If, even among those with the best intentions, the view that is offered of trans womanhood is one centred around male partners and their sexual practices, perhaps it is not surprising that trans women so frequently find themselves trapped in situations where a partner is willing and able to break down their sense of selves. Perhaps this is less an accident than an expression of the material interests of the men who abuse us. Men don’t seem to mind harming women, and if the evidence offered by the cases of Yoba and Willoughby tell us anything, it’s that the wider world doesn’t mind much either. In fact, they’ll likely just be celebrated by our “allies” for liking us at all. Maybe the issue isn’t that men feel too much shame; perhaps, they don’t feel enough.
It is necessary to draw links between these destabilizing economies of extraction and the waves of forced migration, income inequality, and climate crisis that have shaped the 2019 election. The same global capitalist system that makes rich Canadians richer and poor Canadians poorer relies upon state-sanctioned violence abroad.
The loud silence of queer poverty, Briarpatch Magazine
Serving and supporting more marginalized members of the 2S-LGBTQ community requires a different approach than one resting on a shared queer identity. Instead, it demands a focus on shared experiences and connected causes – one that sees queer and trans people as part of a class, with common material conditions. It requires a queer anti-capitalism.
What merit is there to activism that only demands we buy more, not change the policies that kill us?
What kind of political work we can expect non-binary identity to do when it is so easily reduced to mere aesthetics? If non-binary experiences are only portrayed in the mainstream imagination by Eurocentric aesthetics, 1970s silhouettes and straight men in puffy sleeves, perhaps this is an indication that we have more work to do; simply demanding gender neutrality will not produce a future where non-binary people are recognized and respected for who we are and what we need to thrive.
In the conservative imagination, Marxism means everything and nothing. Time and again, we have seen politicians skew to the centre for fear of being attacked on the basis of offering a truly progressive and democratic political vision.
What Gender Is My Brain? The Dangerous Phrenology of “Brain Sex”, Wear Your Voice
History raises cause for concern about the stakes associated with relying upon brain imaging to dictate the source of transgender identity.
Are You The One gives queer and trans people a shot at happily ever after (whatever that means), Xtra
What we recognize as romance or love has always been in heterosexual, boy-meets-girl terms. Even in the midst of millennial modernity’s loosened social roles, there is still something of a typical route: you meet, you fall for one another, there is a courtship, you get married, you move in together and you have some children. But then comes Are You The One?, in all its messy glory. Even as the show invites queer and trans people into the myth of the perfect match, it demonstrates the concept’s inherent incompatibility with our way of life.
The James Charles drama provides a window into a larger cultural conversation (happening both as text and subtext) around the relationships that exist between gay and straight men, and how those relationships morph in the public eye. What does it mean when gay men desire straight partners, and what do straight men gain from pursuing queer or closeted people? And more importantly, how are these relationships impacted by imbalances of power?
Spironolactone, a Standard Drug in Hormone Treatment for Trans Women, Has Controversial Side Effects, Slate Outward
Because there is no incentive, financial or social, for cisgender practitioners to understand transgender health care as complex, evolving, and individualized, it is easy for them to continue prescribing a drug that only does half the job that trans women need it to do. Until our capitalist medical system changes, trans women will continue to get substandard care.
There’s political utility to a “born this way” narrative. But the idea of a biological source of transness raises more questions than it answers.
The sad fact is that conservatives and Canadian nationalists have a financial and political incentive to demonize trans people.
Populist politics encourage us to believe that people are not in revolt against an unjust system, but against social corruption, infection, and invasion. The subtext of this message has everything to do with blame.
Connecting the dots between celebrity gossip and capitalist crisis, the podcast by Joan Summers and Matthew Lawson investigates the stories behind the stories.
For many who work as astrologers, and put a lot of care and time into their practice, it’s hard to watch the successes of those who might not take it so seriously — especially if those success stories come from already privileged backgrounds.
Because men are typically the ones in positions of decision-making authority, these narrow male perspectives are seen as the norm and remain unchallenged.
For people whose gender identity doesn’t match the one assigned to them on their birth certificate, dealing with air travel can present a host of obstacles.
Each Death is a Preventable Tragedy, This Magazine
When they are targets of violence, trans women are often dismissed as victims of their of circumstances — especially if they are sex workers or people of colour. Not having a fixed address, being potentially exposed to drugs, and subverting assigned expectations of gender and sexuality contribute to a public perception of carelessness and deviance that tells people and institutions, like the police, how much they have to care about those they see as putting themselves at risk. This is a story about loss and injustice.
Medical professionals tend to approach transition as a recipe with a set list of ingredients, a scientific exercise with reliable results, or a 12-step program that requires close adherence to come out the other side. How do you embody a category of experience that many people don’t even believe exists? How do you make sense of your body and how it’s changing when all available narratives feel too gendered to apply?
Taking Your Transition Into Your Own Hands, Briarpatch Magazine
Trans people regularly encounter unsustainably long waiting lists for trips to far-flung offices. Whether or not you’re able to access hormones is often up to the discretion of individual practitioners, who can simply decide they’re not comfortable writing a prescription. Many jurisdictions don’t offer health coverage for transition-related care, and costs can be prohibitive.
When the going gets tough, people often have to get creative — including lying to your doctor, self-medicating, and ordering hormones online. This is a story about DIY transitions.
This story is the cover story and the winner of the 2018 Andrea Walker Prize for writing on women’s & trans people’s health.
The way cisgender people write about detransition reflects assumptions about transgender experiences as binary and linear. In these stories, trans people aren’t recognized as human beings living real lives; they’re simply characters playing their part in a cautionary tale.
Can a genuine conversation about the issues facing transgender Canadians take place without adequate representation?
Transgender people don’t all experience dysphoria in the same way, but most speak to a sense of anxiety associated with being misrecognized and over-scrutinized based on their gender presentation. For many people, cannabis is a useful tool. But it can just as easily go the other way.
Drag isn’t about faking it; it’s about serving it.
What does it mean for artists to share undeniably queer experiences, but not actually come out?
There’s no real excuse to actively limit oneself, but comfort zones are so-called for a reason.
We shouldn’t need to warp our feminism to accommodate our lifestyles.
Celebrity culture, from reality TV to modern art, is deeply connected to American politics.
What does queerness look like, and how do we know it when we see it? What’s the difference between the quiet fact of heterosexuality and the open secret of the closet?
Pull Quotes Podcast — Note to Media: Hire More Trans People, Ryerson Review of Journalism
I joined Al Donato on the RRJ’s Pull Quotes podcast to talk about common problems in popular discourse around trans people, how Canadian media can improve its coverage of trans issues, and the conditions facing trans people working in journalism.
For Jewish Canadians who do not see themselves and their narratives represented, the media is just one more unsafe space where a constrained definition of Jewishness is the only acceptable norm.
For many white, straight, or cisgender people, it’s easy to forget what the uniformed police officers who dance on parade floats do on the other 364 days of the year. For the rest of us, it’s impossible.
Co-written with Vincent Mousseau.
If the editorial guidelines argue that some things and some voices just should not be published, it’s no wonder that publishing them can make life difficult for the sole writer who is tasked with doing so.
Pro-Palestinian Groups Are The Real Victims Of Campus Censorship, Huffington Post
There is plenty of sympathy among pundits and politicians for folks like Shepherd and Peterson — but none for Palestinian students who object to the occupation of their homeland.
The past, as they say, didn’t go anywhere. Energized by Trump, Breitbart, and the Rebel, far right groups are once again out on the streets. It is not a very comfortable time to be Jewish in Toronto. Progressive voices are more vital than ever.
I co-hosted Episode #143 of the CANADALAND Short Cuts podcast, and talked with Jesse Brown about free speech scares, bad paper policies, and what’s worth debating on provincially-subsidized television.
Several agencies on the frontlines helping Toronto street-involved residents called an emergency press conference April 18 to address the city’s ongoing homelessness crisis.
There are an abundance of ideas about trans and queer people, but far fewer of our own stories: our narratives are often decided for us, whether we asked for them or not.
Don’t let the popularity of Justin Trudeau’s telegenic liberal mug distract you — nationalism is on the rise in Canada, and conservative politicians seem to be jumping onboard.
Police in Toronto asked city councillors to cut $260,000 from Pride Toronto’s funding in retaliation against the LGBTQ nonprofit after Pride membership voted to implement the demands of Black Lives Matter-Toronto in January.
Groups like Queers Against Israeli Apartheid and Black Lives Matter-TO demand that we recognize Indigenous rights and racial justice and protect those who are directly threatened by the presence of uniformed police.
For weeks, Campbell has been trying to rally support on City Council to deny Pride their grant in retaliation for the decision to disinvite uniformed police contingent and floats from marching in the parade.
Human rights advocates criticize the Ontario government’s proposal as inadequate and untrustworthy. At the same time, some view basic income as a powerful tool within a larger toolkit for fighting poverty.
Far-right groups invited the Jewish Defence League to join them in marching in the 2017 Toronto Pride parade, carrying Islamophobic signs and “severed heads”.
Who Gets Scammed? Joanne, Nan, and Images of Trans Fetishism, Guts Magazine
When it comes to images of transgender women, whether we want to be or not, we are all voyeurs.
When Transitioning Changes How We Have Sex, The Establishment
We’re often made to associate sexual potency and pleasure with “finishing” in the traditional sense. Hearing my friends tell it differently was another reminder that the way we tend to think about our bodies during sex is heavily shaped by sexual media that predominantly caters to straight, cis men.
A Response To ‘Why Faux-Queens Deserve A Place In Drag Culture’, The Establishment
Women have always been doing drag. Trans women, cis women, queer and gender non-conforming folks of all identities — all have been deeply embedded in drag communities since the development of the North American drag landscape.