This year, the 519, which used to be the lesbian and gay community centre here and is still a City of Toronto agency, hired a young academic with the most transgender name ever, Jack Hixson-Vulpe, to write a report nobody asked for. “Creating Authentic Spaces: A Gender-Identity and Gender-Expression Toolkit to Support the Implementation of Institutional and Social Change” ostensibly exists to document transgendered persons’ legal rights on the job. A worthwhile goal, but the sort of thing a simple Web page could and does handle.
The report is a tagged PDF that one may download directly (PDF). (I also have a local copy [PDF] should the original disappear.)
The report spends a great deal of time lying to its readers about the supposed legal right of male-to-female transgenders to use female washrooms, bathrooms, changing rooms, and locker rooms (and female-to-males to use equivalent male facilities). There is no such right. I should know, because I extensively searched the human-rights jurisprudence and found precisely no rulings in Ontario establishing such a right. (Text file of citations.) There are claims and opinions that the Ontario Human Rights Code confers such a right, but it has never been tested, hence does not exist.
The report includes many graphically busy posters or “info sheets” one may print out. They’re also found separately at the 519’s Web site (example) and on its outpost in the online home of transgender “activism” and harassment, Tumblère.
Naturally I had questions. Two weeks ago I sent along a detailed E‑mail to Ms Hixson-Vulpe and two of the 519 staff listed in connection with the report. I began with:
I have questions for attribution about the 519’s report that carries the unintentionally ironic title “Creating Authentic Spaces.” I will wait a reasonable time before publishing, and will accurately report any and all relevant comments you give me, but you need to understand that what I also intend to publish is my opinion that this report amounts to transgender propaganda. Worse, I will report that it misleads readers about the true state of jurisprudence about transgender use of washrooms, bathrooms, changing rooms, and locker rooms.
I certainly encourage you to file any and all complaints you can think of against an established journalist who intends to publish his opinions about a publicly-financed public document published by a public agency. In fact, I would dearly love to find myself in a context where transgender and transgender-apologist respondents are forced to answer questions under oath. Your move.
Oh, and don’t top-post.
No response. (I included the citations on transgender washroom etc. use.)
So here are the questions I asked, mildly edited and marked up. (I removed some of my suggested copy-edits, for example, but nothing substantive.) [continue with “‘Creating Authentic Spaces’ (sic)” →]
The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.11.21 12:32. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen.
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American white nationalist Richard Spencer (SPLC profile) gave an address (YouTube) at the white-nationalist conference put on by his own white-nationalist organization. And he did so on Hallowe’en.
There Spencer gave us the most white supremacist sentence of the 21st century: “We’ve swallowed the red pill whole. We abandoned our illusions of democracy, race, class, Jews, religion, America, und so weiter.” Gratuitously deploying the German for “and so on” was the vanilla icing on the angel-food cake.
(Previously, Spencer made a half-assed linguistics joke in suggesting white nationalists audibly differentiate “white” and “White.” They could pronounce the latter with the old-timey initial phoneme that sounds like hw and is written [ʍ] in IPA. Then maybe they could also say “hwJews” and “hwBlacks,” Spencer proposed, which made as much sense in speech as it does here. In any event, capitalizing racial or ethnic group names does not automatically connote fascism; Ebony, for example, has written “White” and “Black” that way for decades.)
Keeping track of those pesky white supremacists
I had previously decried young downtown-progressive hacks too lazy to investigate hate groups, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, accusing them of being unable even to read those groups’ blogs without becoming so politically nauseated and triggered they had to find a campus safe space to hyperventilate in. No Stieg Larssons they, these young kids will get up your nose the minute you misgender a tranny on Twitter, or write the preceding clause, but can’t be bothered keeping tabs on actual racists.
I tried asking an academic for some help on which hacks really are doing that legwork and writing that coverage, but that didn’t work. This is not necessarily the sort of thing one can Google, which in itself is the too-often-used “research” method preferred by downtown progressives, who think journalism is Gmail and Twitter. As with Larsson, who knew Swedish racists personally, this is the sort of thing that requires personal connections.
Still, Anti-Racist Canada is a punchy and enjoyable blog, if badly-copy-edited and literally unreadable, that really does cover racists and anti-Semites. They could spend less time posting screenshots of Facebook (the wrong archival method, among other things) and more time actually talking to these people, but it’s something. (Again, I doubt they’d have the stomach to even talk to them on the phone.) And there are countless Blogger templates one can actually read.
Meanwhile, the Wolves of Vinland, previously mentioned here, if in a largely unrelated context, is amusingly parodied by Fools of Vinland, which models the Wolves as furries with cutoff sleeves and runic tattoos.
I do think this would be a rich vein of ongoing investigative journalism, again with a tone of half-bemused mockery, for the content farm a highly credible Jew from Halifax runs, namely BuzzFeed Canada and Craig Silverman. But he doesn’t answer my mail.
Bonus question: Is it a contradiction to oppose white nationalists and anti-Semites but also oppose militant Islam and defend the legitimately constituted gay and lesbian community? Let’s crowdsource the answer – surely Twitter can decide that for us forever.
The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.11.19 11:21. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen.
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Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear:
I founded and fund a program… called Patient Pets, which allows patients to care for small animals. Many of these men wil be locked up for life without visitors, and a mouse or bird might be all they have….
I recall the way the patients reacted to the death of a particular guinea pig…. When they noticed the old animal was sick, they wanted to find a way to keep her from dying, though most knew that wasn’t possible….
One patient, Oliver, made it his job to be sure the ailing animal had everything she needed. Oliver asked to keep her in his room “so she won’t be alone at night, just in case she decides to die then.” […]
There was not a dry eye in the ward as the patients said their goodbyes and silently left the office.
While my gallows humour makes me think that actual psycho killers might eat a bird, mouse, or guinea pig, and while we read over and over again that adult males who are cruel to people were cruel to animals as boys, it is straightforward to believe that homicidal maniacs would extend compassion to small creatures. Because we can and they are us.
George Saunders, “My Writing Education: A Timeline”:
On a visit to Syracuse, I hear Toby saying goodbye to one of his sons. “Goodbye, dear,” he says.
I never forget this powerful man calling his son “dear.”
All kinds of windows fly open in my mind. It is powerful to call your son “dear,” it is powerful to feel that the world is dear, it is powerful to always strive to see everything as dear. Toby is a powerful man: In his physicality, in his experiences, in his charisma. But all that power has culminated in gentleness. It is as if that is the point of power: To allow one to access the higher registers of gentleness.
Saunders’ is a rags-to-esteem tale, and if you have read him, you know he richly deserves all he has been given. Saunders is the only author about whom one can read he was awarded the MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships in the same year and think “About time.”
I wrote him fan mail. He made my day by writing back that I had made his night. (Never think you cannot help someone, even someone who doesn’t seem to need help.) We went back and forth on what I would call his journey toward kindness. His path is almost at odds with mine and seems completely wrong and off-topic, but that means nothing because the destination is the same.
I like men and manly things, up to and positively excluding hunting and fishing. I decided this year I just fucking hate carnivores and am tired of keeping my mouth shut about that. I have always loathed hunters, and I tell them that unbidden and with satisfaction. Some of my best Facebook friends are bobsledders, who, at an average of 6′3″/220, are a good working minimum size. Half of them are Mormons, fundamentalist Christians, soldiers, Republicans, and/or hunters.
You shouldn’t act surprised (I do not) when the biggest, strongest, most physically capable men you meet are right-wing assholes. They are fulfilling their evolutionary role. But they aren’t the future. [continue with “My values are all I have” →]
The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.11.11 15:42. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen.
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When we last read Keph Senett (no relation), she was riding roughshod over lesbian and gay economics atop the only horse in her stable, lesbian soccer. What’s she up to now? Adamantly defending the unethical practice of journalists taking money from sources. And a major freelance writers’ group implicitly backs her up.
Look first at the piece Senett wrote for (the) Story Board – the freelancer blog that causes more bafflement even than J‑Source and even for its owners, as we’ll see. Both sites don’t know what their actual job is, but certainly one of Story Board’s jobs is not to defend payola and taking money from sources.
I’ve never seen a balder and less guileful description of what that latter actually looks like than what Senett wrote about herself:
The way it works is simple. I partner with a tourism bureau or destination-management organization and they fly me somewhere and show me some things. In return, I produce and place well-written travel articles in various media.
Shorter Keph Senett: My “partner” pays me to write glowing stories. (She keeps using the words “partner” and “partnership.” It’s actually just payola.) [continue with “Keph Senett’s “problem” with money” →]
The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.11.05 11:05. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen.
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Another day, another book on Gore Vidal. Jay Parini’s Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal describes Vidal’s near-ignorance of AIDS well up to 2001. It quotes a “tribute” he wrote to and about his nephew Hugh Steers (emphasis added):
I am not an art critic and can pass no judgment on my half-nephew Hugh Steers’ work other than to say it very much moved me thematically, in the same way those 17th-century memento mori can set off, even today, great resonances.
But I am a professional judge of character: I think my admiration for the way Hugh conducted his life and death is well-grounded. Now that he has done with both, we should try to recall that the victims of this plague have often had splendid lives. And, certainly, they did a lot else other than die. This should never be forgotten in Hugh’s case, or in that of anyone else.
I saw that, put the book down, and slept for three hours.
The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.10.26 12:27. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen.
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Kile Ozier ran the opening and closing ceremonies for Gay Games IV in 1994. I met him momentarily in the Games’ tiny office. I recall he was wearing a telephone headset. Back dans la journée, he was perfectly nice to me.
Twenty years late(r), the Federation of Gay Games, to the extent it or its event even exists, gave Ozier an award.
“I am in tears,” Ozier wrote me when I told him of his election. “I thought they had forgotten me.”
Brent Simmons: “I know that Twitter is a weapon that is often – usually, perhaps – wildly disproportionate”
Michael Wolff: “Twitter waits for the unschooled to misspeak, then it mugs them”
The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2015.10.25 10:50. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen.
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