Gender Blur, The Baffler
Rather, the frustration that many nonbinary people now feel at the concept of they/them pronouns and even nonbinary identity more generally, myself among them, is to be expected when the terms and demands that coalesced around this identity did so in a context of market-driven self-aggrandizement. We were sold, and in many cases, reluctantly participated in the selling, of a way of thinking about our subjectivities that was inevitably a dead end. It was promulgated for profit. If the emphasis on pronouns alone is alienating, then we should recognize this alienation as rooted in a larger contradiction between the interest of our collective communities and the interests of capital.
Grindr’s new CEO supports ‘some’ of Trump’s policies. Why are we surprised? Xtra
Moments like this force us to confront an uncomfortable truth: tech executives, much like politicians, are good at throwing around big ideas about values, community and principles, but ultimately, any corporation’s only real obligation is to make money for its shareholders. In the case of Grindr, collecting your subscription dollars and ad clicks and exploiting user data is actually the primary reason it exists; your orgasms are entirely secondary.
The New Zionism, Gawker
Politicians have always used pandering and pantomime to sell racist policies. But in a world where it is no longer cool to be openly racist, colonialism must adapt to defend itself. Backed by American capitalists and Israeli government funds, Zionist propagandists are trying to win the war of public opinion by abusing the aesthetics of social justice.
The Pride Flag Has a Representation Problem, The Atlantic
Flags are political symbols, borrowed from the vocabulary of nationalism, with similar overtones of citizenship, belonging, borders… But having a Pride flag to represent us contributes to the controversial idea that there is an us to represent.
The Rise of the He/They: An Investigation, Xtra
It’s worth interrogating how much we gain or lose by saying simply that a “male” identity or “male” bodies are the problem, rather than the structures of male power. When there are truly no good men, then it’s perhaps no wonder that folks with feminist politics who have been coercively assigned to the category of “male” may seek refuge elsewhere.
The Village: Season 2, CBC
Transgender women — and trans sex workers in particular — know what it means to be marginalized, overpoliced, and underprotected. Season 2 of The Village investigates the stories of two women, Alloura Wells and Cassandra Do, whose deaths remain unexplained, and whose cases expose the systems that failed them.
Alex V Green is a story editor, consultant, and background source on this five-episode investigative podcast.
The Case for Facial Feminization Surgery, BuzzFeed
Calls for gender-affirming care like FFS are not mere recursions to individual choice. Instead, they represent a demand for an entirely new and better way of life, including a healthcare system premised on bodily autonomy and opposed to austerity… In this way, the fight for FFS and transgender healthcare more broadly is neither marginal nor incidental; it is absolutely central to any truly universal vision of freedom and resistance against capitalism.
Trans liberation can’t happen until we abolish prisons, Xtra
For queer and trans people, policing and imprisonment come with deadly consequences. Instead of reforms, it’s time to consider ending incarceration altogether
“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.
The Emptiness and Inertia of “Having Conversations,” Jezebel
For those of us who do not have the luxury of being non-representative, participating in these conversations allows institutions to redirect dissent into advantageous, disposable, ineffectual, or legally toothless channels. At best, it’s a mechanism of “manufactured endorsement,” a sleight-of-hand using the appearance of community consultations to claim consent; at worst, it is a form of surveillance.
Go ahead, transition, Xtra
Everything, absolutely everything, is a phase. Instead of running from this fact, I want you to try embracing it. Your body is a work in progress, and it is yours every step of the way. Go ahead, transition.
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.
Getting to the bottom of topping stereotypes, Xtra
Top is not to bottom the way man is to woman.
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.
What it means for trans folks when AI ‘verifies’ our genders, Xtra
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.
No, trans sex dolls are not empowering, Xtra
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
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.
I’m tired of celebrating cis men who date trans women, The Outline
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.
10 things every voter should care about this election: Foreign Policy, This Magazine
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.
Jonathan Van Ness’ sponsored coming-out is not activism, Xtra
What merit is there to activism that only demands we buy more, not change the policies that kill us?
What’s non-binary about a fragrance campaign? Xtra
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.
Why Are We Still On A Witch-Hunt For “Marxists”? Canadaland
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 enduring, uneasy attraction between gay and straight men, Xtra
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.
Does the concept of a ‘trans brain’ help or hurt our communities? Xtra
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.
Why do Canadian conservatives love to pick on trans people? Xtra
The sad fact is that conservatives and Canadian nationalists have a financial and political incentive to demonize trans people.
Jordan Peterson has no idea what he’s talking about, A.Side
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.
Eating for Free is the perfect pop culture podcast for the post-truth age, A.Side
Connecting the dots between celebrity gossip and capitalist crisis, the podcast by Joan Summers and Matthew Lawson investigates the stories behind the stories.
Is astrology becoming whitewashed? A.Side
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.
It’s about time we ask why men aren’t funny, A.Side
Because men are typically the ones in positions of decision-making authority, these narrow male perspectives are seen as the norm and remain unchallenged.
Know Before You Go: Tips for Transgender and Nonbinary Travelers, AFAR
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.
What It’s Like to Medically Transition As a Nonbinary Person, them.
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.
Why reporters need to be more responsible in their coverage of trans communities, This Magazine
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.
Canadian Media Makes A Mess Of Covering The Transgender Community, Canadaland
Can a genuine conversation about the issues facing transgender Canadians take place without adequate representation?
Does Transitioning Change the Way You Smoke Weed? Merry Jane
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.
RuPaul’s Comments About Women in Drag Show a Misunderstanding of Gender, Teen Vogue
Drag isn’t about faking it; it’s about serving it.
Can you sing your way out of the closet? A.Side
What does it mean for artists to share undeniably queer experiences, but not actually come out?
Can watching British gardening shows turn you into an adult? A.Side
There’s no real excuse to actively limit oneself, but comfort zones are so-called for a reason.
Is the culture around makeup an expression of feminism? A.Side
We shouldn’t need to warp our feminism to accommodate our lifestyles.
American politics have always been trashy TV. So, why can’t Omarosa win? A.Side
Celebrity culture, from reality TV to modern art, is deeply connected to American politics.
Shawn Mendes isn’t gay, and we need to get over it, A.Side
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.
How Jewish Media Excludes Jewish Voices — and how one podcast is trying to change that, Canadaland
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.
Why banning uniformed police at Pride will actually make the event more inclusive, CBC News
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.
Canadian Jewish News Loses Last Regular Left-leaning Columnist Over Word “Occupation”, Canadaland
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.
Toronto’s Jewish Left is Alive and Well and Resisting Extremism, Torontoist
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.
SHORT CUTS – Goddamnit, Fine, Let’s Talk About Jordan Peterson, Canadaland
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.
Toronto Needs Immediate Solutions to Ongoing Homelessness Crisis, Torontoist
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.
Sam Smith is being gendered without his consent, A.Side
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.
Justin Trudeau’s camera-ready liberalism is obscuring the rise of Canadian nationalism, Mic
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.
Pride Toronto is banning police floats— and now police want the city to defund the group, Mic
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.
Toronto City Council’s Repeated Threats to Defund Pride are Homophobic and Racist, Torontoist
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.
Toronto Council Gearing Up For Another Battle Over Pride Funding, Torontoist
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.
Basic Income Is No Silver Bullet, But It May Still Save Us, Torontoist
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.
Anti-Muslim Hate Groups Plan to March in the Toronto Pride Parade, Torontoist
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.