I recently ended up on a talk radio show based in my hometown of Calgary. "Is this Rae Spoon?" asked the interviewer. "Yes, it is," I replied. "And you are transgender, right?" "Yes, I am." "And we're supposed to use a different word for you?"...In over 10 years, through the hundreds of interviews I'd done with people firing questions at me about being transgender, I had always tried to avoid answering the ones that sounded like they were something off of Jerry Springer.
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.
Here in Canada, we tend to think of ourselves as claiming a sort of moral high ground when it comes to social justice issues. And then, every once in a while, an event occurs that proves just how awful and backwards we really are. Monday morning, 25-year-old British comedian Avery Edison tried to enter Canada through Toronto. She was denied entry and detained by Canadian immigration officials, a fact which she admitted was her own fault. It was decided that because of her male genitalia, she would have to go to Maplehurst Correctional Complex, an all-male facility. This, in spite of the fact that her passport lists her as female. And this is where I lose it.
It was a gruelling schedule. I came to deeply respect the life of the touring musician as I battled reoccurring ear infections and worriedly Googled the symptoms for scurvy after eating at McDonald's three times in one day, and enlisted our coats and bags to construct makeshift bunks on the overnight bus rides.
When newly-sentenced Wikileaks source Pvt. Bradley Manning revealed he would be pursuing gender reassignment while in prison, the announcement was met with a raft of reaction, some of it supportive, much of it venomous. Some 1,700 km northeast of the cell where Manning will serve 35 years for leaking U.S. military secrets, Canadian legislators have been at work since June 2011 to expand the Canadian Criminal Code to include gender identity and gender expression on the list of characteristics protected by hate crime law
I wanted to share the words of my dear friend Wes with you: "Marriage is a curious thing, especially a straight-looking marriage like ours. We are not straight, I am not straight. I am a man who was born a woman, and I began my transition to male about four years ago. I'm marrying a woman who was born a woman, in three weeks. It has taken longer than it should to appreciate that the love my partner and I share exists in two worlds. It has taken longer than it should to appreciate that we are more than one thing. More specifically, it has taken me 27 years to figure out just how many things I am."
Call me a slow learner, but I suddenly realized why there have to be gay pride parades at all. It does not matter if it is a big city, small city, Canada or the U.S. There are not enough straight people supporting homosexual rights. And I couldn't help but wonder when the day will come that there will be no need for a Pride Parade.
After a four-hour trek through downtown to find coloured fishnet stockings, a garter, and plastic water pistols in an outfit that reveals more skin than I do at the doctor's office, we are on our way to the Late Night Double Feature Picture Show. I begin to get very nervous when remember that I am not wearing pants.
Danielle Smith came out against Alberta Health Insurance funding genital reconstruction surgery. She said it was because she didn't want vital resources spent on elective medicine when there was important care to be paid for. But currently, a trans person expressing a need for hormone replacement therapy, has a very long -- and difficult -- road ahead of them.