To My American Readers

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(photo credit Jessica Bennett)

I’m not an American citizen.  I can’t vote in the upcoming election, but today I’ve been triggered and upset due to the state of American politics.

American friends, I urge you to vote and to consider your vote carefully.

I, and other survivors of sexual violence, have struggled today.  Women (and others impacted by gender based violence) have felt a little more uncomfortable and that their world is a little less safe.  And decent men and masculine folks, you are harmed by these comments as well.

I’m talking about rape culture.

It’s 2016, and one of the people running to be the leader of the most powerful country in the world, is promoting racism, xenophobia, patriarchy, and rape culture.  A disturbing proportion of what this man says is actually considered hate speech by many people around the world.

A politician should be a leader and set the tone for the people they lead.

Glorifying sexual assault is disgusting and it gives people the clear message that consent is optional.  If you are rich and powerful you have the right to take sex. If someone says no, then just try harder.  Or better yet, don’t ask at all…just grab their ****.   It sickens me.

I’ve had a difficult day today.  As a woman, I do not exist to be a sexual object for others.  As a woman, I do not want to be treated as if my word is less valid because of my gender.  If I say no, I mean no.  Consent culture is important to me.  As a woman first and as a survivor of sexual violence.

I don’t want to live in a world where the leader of the country to the south of us grabs women without their consent and then brags about it after.  I don’t want my children (or any children!) seeing this as normal behaviour.  It’s not just locker room banter, it’s assault, harassment, hate speech and misogyny.   A world where this is normal reduces women to sexual objects and men to sex crazed, power hungry rapists.  It benefits no one.

I don’t want to live in a world where racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia are being spouted by world leaders.   It scares me, and I benefit from white privilege.  It scares me that anyone would even consider voting for this man. It scares me to think of the divisive direction this world will take with him at the helm.

It benefits no one.

We are better than this.

 

 

No words.

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I don’t have words to express my thoughts and feelings today.  50 queer folks shot, and as many as 50 more injured, in a mass shooting in Orlando.

It saddens me, as a queer person and as a human being, to think that I live in a world that is  filled with deadly homophobia and transphobia.  And let’s not forget racism and Islamophobia.  Please remember that the majority of folks killed and injured were queer People of Colour and the shooter is likely to be vilified as a Muslim terrorist, rather than a homophobic misogynist.

It’s terrifying to think about the magnitude of this crime, the number of lives impacted.  Marginalized folks, trying to relax, share love and have a great night in what they thought was a “safe space.”

I don’t really know what to say.  I’ve been disturbed and upset by the oppressive, ignorant and transphobic laws that are being passed and debated in some USA states.   The fact that governments think these types of bathroom laws are protecting people would be laughable, if it weren’t so damn offensive.  When governments stir up hate…it’s a dangerous situation.   Transgender folks just want to pee in peace.   Just like those queer folks in Orlando just wanted to dance with friends and loved ones and enjoy a Saturday night out.

At the end of the day, transphobia and homophobia don’t make a lot of sense.  Neither does racism.  I won’t start with that “all people are the same” nonsense.  No, people aren’t all the same.  People have different lived experiences. People have different paths and different options.  But that’s okay, it’s great, it’s a wonderful thing.  Diversity  should be celebrated.  It shouldn’t be erased with a colour blind attitude, and it shouldn’t be erased through violence.  Diversity should not be feared.

You can’t make a rainbow with only one colour.   You can’t bake a cake with only one ingredient.  You can’t solve every problem using one approach.

Diversity is what gives humanity it’s strength and resilience. All people’s voices must be heard, and that often means that dominant groups need to speak more quietly and listen carefully.

Oh, and ban guns.