#137 - Free assembly: Queer Edmonton, Slutwalk and Casseroles

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(2:46 - 13:32) June is pride month and while Pride Celebrations have become a party in lots of places,  the event got its start in June of 1969, when queens and dykes at New York’s stonewall tavern had finally had enough of police harrassment and started to riot. Well, a new book celebrates another piece of queer activism, this time in Canada’s heartland. The Loud and Queer Cabaret is an annual event that has been featuring queer artists and writers in Edmonton Alberta for the last 20 years. The Alberta government has a history of taking overt stands against human rights, and the cabaret played an essential role in changing attitudes when it comes to queer issues in the province. At the same time, Loud and Queer workshopped writing , music and drama from many of Canada’s artists.  Darrin Hagen is  a ground-breaking drag artist and author of  a book about the drag scene in Alberta called: The Edmonton Queen. He is also a long-time producer for the Loud and Queer cabaret.  For the show’s 20th anniversary, he decided to take some of its most powerful moments and put them in a  book. It’s called Queering the Way: an anthology from the Loud and Queer Cabaret. Rabble.ca’s Kaitlin McNabb called Darrin Hagen to talk about the book. Here’s their conversation.

(15:08 - 20:49) Last year, when a Toronto police officer teaching a safety seminar at York University suggested that to remain safe, women “should avoid dressing like sluts,” his comments trivialized sexual assault and cast a harsh light on the way Toronto police treat sexual assault victims in one fell swoop. In response to his comment, women’s rights advocates across North America organized the slutwalk protest march. The name, the march, and the idea that reclaiming the word “slut” can have value for women’s rights have been cause for vigorous debates ever since.

This year was Toronto’s second slutwalk. One critique of the walk’s first year was that the bulk of the marchers and speakers were white women, and women of color, transpeople, and other groups were not included in planning and the march itself. This year Kim Crosby was determined to create a more inclusive environment at the walk. Crosby is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist, a queer survivor of sexual assault, and an activist on behalf of racialized peoples. She has written extensively on issues of race and gender, and she’s the cohost of Black Feminism Live on Radio Regent in Toronto. Here’s what she had to say at slutwalk 2012:

(22:02 - 29:58) If you are planning to go to the casseroles protest every Wednesday until further notice, you might want to invest in earplugs. But don’t put them in just yet. We’ve got something you want to hear.  Three months into nightly student protests over tuition hikes, Quebec’s bill against free assembly, Bill 78, has inspired even more people to take to the streets. Last week Montreal campus station CKUT’s Friday Morning After program invited in a very special guest. François-Olivier Chené was the guy who wrote the facebook invite that started Canadians rummaging through their kitchen cupboards in search of pans and pots to bang. Program hosts Josh Hind, Sara Shaltony, Adam Bemma, and Rana Alrabi sat down with him at CKUT for a chat about the casseroles. Here’s their conversation.

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