Queer bashing is on the rise in Toronto. Unfortunately, I've seen the evidence first hand.
This fall, the rainbow flags my partner and I display on our home and car were systematically torn down, ripped up or stolen. Initially, I felt irritated and annoyed, brushing off the incident as the likely handiwork of some queerphobic kids. After the second incident I began to feel watched and targeted. The message of queerphobia and hate was loud and clear.
After the third incident -- I'm angry.
People of colour have been missing from the conversation about attacks on the LGBTQ community. A conversation on CBC's The National was a case in point. It promoted the view that to be LGBTQ meant to be white.
Canadian news media have provided heart-wrenching accounts of the string of suicides and homophobia-fuelled violence that has occurred recently in the United States. The coverage has made clear the deep-seated hatred and violence that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people (LGBTQ) are subjected to on a daily basis, just for being who they are.
In the wake of the recent wave of queer teen suicides due to homophobic bullying, it would be a mistake for Ontario voters to trivialize the Oct. 25 province-wide municipal election of our school trustees. School trustees are also elected in four other provinces across Canada over the next few weeks. If education is a great equalizer in our society, many schools are still not doing enough to provide equal access of education for our LGBTQ students.
Too often, we tend to merely pay attention to LGBTQ students when one of them commits suicide. Last month, we witnessed a string of queer-related teen suicides across the U.S., with one of the victims being an eighth-grader who killed himself in Texas because he was "bullied to death" for being gay, according to his family.
One marvels at how far we've progressed and yet how little has changed. In the 1970s in Canada there was still a profound stigma attached to homosexuality. Sound familiar?
We certainly like to think of ourselves as progressive in Canada, but one merely needs to glance at the headlines to see we are a long way off. Who hasn't read a story of a teenager committing suicide because they are bullied about their sexual orientation?
Do you want to get in the water? Or sweat in a sauna? Soak in the hot tub? Find it daunting to wear a bathing suit in public? Thinking of going to the pool but don't want to use a gendered change room? Need the staff to know how to use the mechanical lift, and have the stairs into the pool close to the change rooms? Don't want to have to wear a bathing suit top?
Trans folk, queers, people of colour, fatties, scars, fur, mobility aids, inked, pierced... This is a pool party celebrating all bodies. Let's ally and get wet!
Children are welcome.
We can hang at the pool. Use whatever non-gendered change rooms and bathrooms you want, which will be marked for accessible features.
Litany is a quarterly reading series showcasing emerging and established queer writers in Vancouver, BC, Unceded Coast Salish Territories. And our first reading is coming up on Thursday, JANUARY 24TH!
We'll be listening to the wonderful words of:
SUGAR LE FAE
and featuring AMAL RANA!
More info on our lovely readers coming soon on the internet at http://litanyqueerreadingseries.tumblr.com/
Giveaways, general queeriment, and lots of chances to meet and greet new and old friends will also occur!
==>Trans Film Night: TRANS DAY OF REMEMBRANCE
==>Free Film! Free Snacks! Free Talk!
The Trans Film Screening Series hosts a free screening of: PAY IT NO MIND: MARSHA P. JOHNSON and REMEMBER ME IN RED.
Everyone welcome. Allies welcome.