I remember so distinctly staring around at the room of Toronto Star editors and the people around me, including my own fellow interns, and I remember the exact moment of realizing that everyone in that room, except me, was white. I often believe its all too easy when you exist as a member of the "other," like a minority community like ours, for someone to cling to the idea of being the "first one," the "only one" and achieve what they can in the world for themselves and then go home with the pride of that recognition and nothing else. What if instead of believing there are limited seats to the table, we all chose to add more chairs?
Why hasn't my Facebook feed filled with at least the same level of indignation about our government's disgraceful treatment of our Veterans as it was about the a tobogganing hill? We must learn to calibrate our anger so it's proportional to the injustice or slight. Let's fight for the things that make life fun for us like tobogganing while also fighting the things that make life miserable such as payday loan companies, multinational corporations, venture capitalists, a failed War on Terrorism and the self-serving hacks in the media and government who enable it all.
David Letterman recently hosted Parks and Recreation actor Aziz Ansari on his show who beautifully summed up what it means to be a feminist. I think even those Hollywood girls who won't call themselves a feminist will agree with this analogy: "You're a feminist if you go to a Jay Z and Beyoncé concert and you're not like, 'I feel like Beyoncé should get 23 per cent less money than Jay Z. Also I don't think Beyoncé should have the right to vote and why is Beyoncé singing and dancing -- shouldn't she make Jay a steak?"
It's everyone's right to have an opinion. But here is what bothers me: they've got the wrong definition. They are basing their judgment of me, my beliefs and on feminism as a whole, on inaccurate information. What I am calling for is a re-education of women, and men, across North America. If you take a look at feminism's goal (one more time: equality!) and still want to tote a sign that says, "I'm an anti-feminist," I suppose that is your prerogative.
As an evolved species, we can do better than repeating the same patterns of discrimination that feed into a looping and segregating cycle. Let's lay out all issues on the table, educate, and not stamp prejudice onto those who suffer greatly for various other reasons because they fit in with the white/ straight/ rich categories.
As I find myself on the eve of World Pride weekend, making plans to march in the parade with my partner, my son and step-daughter, and their dads, I cannot help but reflect on the fact that it has been almost a quarter of a century since I came out. Our children are in Grades one and three. They love all of their moms, and my parents are thrilled to be grandparents -- to not one but, now, two kids. I continue to be an advocate, although today it takes different forms. Today, my girlfriend and I dream about getting married in the backyard of our home. I will get married because now I want to. And now I can.
Last week I was speaking about rights and freedoms to a high school law class. I asked the students if they could think of any laws that had changed in their life time. They knew that the alcohol limits for driving had changed. But when it came to changes that had brought about legislation against racial, gender, and other discrimination, they had to be reminded or even simply informed.
The truck driver tells us to trust him (apparently, this was enough for us to believe that he wasn't a serial killer) and opens up the back of the truck. And of course, anytime the back of a truck opens, you're obliged to look in. Sure enough, costumes. An abundance of them, along with heels I made sure to take note of and purchase later on.
If my experiences have offended some of you, I'm sorry that you didn't like it, and I'm sorry that you don't understand. I'm sorry that when the next time a woman of colour speaks on a subject like this, you will do the same thing to her. I'm sorry that you won't give her experience any second thought. I'm sorry that you won't even consider delving deeper into history. I'm sorry for you.
For 25 years, Aboriginal women on reserves have been without the legal protections that are available to all other Canadians. When a relationship breaks down a husband can ban his spouse from the home, sell the house, and even keep all the money, without consent of the woman. The Government of Canada has introduced Bill S-2, Matrimonial Property Rights Legislation.
Want to start an argument? Ask friends and acquaintances for their thoughts on the gender gap in pay in Canada, and watch how many of them argue that it just doesn't exist. However, data from several sources have shown, over and over again, that there is a real gap between what men earn and what women earn for comparable work. I don't have a solution for all of this; I wish I did. I am still trying to figure these things out for my own family, and I know it's not easy. What we can do is start making changes in our own homes: throw out the old, outdated gender expectations, let go of the resentment about who brings in what.
If poverty and inequality is costing Canadians upwards of $72 billion annually then why is poverty and inequality not a main issue both to Canadians and the government? The reason is that reducing poverty and shrinking inequality will involve two taboos and a political risk to the current government.
We often hear that in Canada, "the rich are becoming richer while the poor are getting poorer." Fortunately, studies focusing on economic mobility in Canada tell a totally different and more accurate story. By looking at these data, it becomes clear that it is the poorest 20 per cent who enjoy the highest upward economic mobility.
In cottage country, and even on Toronto's beaches up to the mid 1950s, it was common to see signs that read "No Dogs or Jews Allowed." Though we, as a nation, have made great strides in the name of human rights for all, we cannot be complacent. There cannot be justice for Jews if there is not justice for everyone.
In a report called "Left Behind by the G20?", Oxfam looks how every country treats its poorest. Inequality in Canada rose as fast as India's and nearly as fast as South Africa's. Only four have managed to reduce income inequality since 1990 and they are all emerging powers: Brazil, Korea, Mexico, and Argentina.
For three years, my political party has veered in a direction I cannot follow. And if the GOP insists on framing the 2012 election as a ballot question on fiscal and monetary austerity, or if they nominate somebody manifestly incompetent to do the job of president, they're going to lose me -- and a lot more people.
She defends a country that she believes provides fair access to education but also concedes that many young women are still raised to become wives. Even her talented best friend will likely abandon her career aspirations to become a young wife and mother -- still the most coveted role for Saudi women.