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In case you have reservations about labelling Don Cherry a sexist blowhard

28 Apr

For those of you with any doubt, here’s why Don Cherry’s comments last night were inexcusably sexist.

1. For equality in the work place men and women need to have equal access. Female (and gender/sexual minority!) sports journalists can’t have barriers like their gender barring them from a room if they have a job to do. If you think someone’s gender or sexuality is going to get in the way of them doing their job, then well, that’s sexist.

2. Lots of guys jumped up to scream discrimination about how male reporters are not allowed into women’s locker rooms. This is, of course, a complete fabrication, as male reporters are indeed allowed in women’s locker rooms, in the same manner most reporters are allowed into locker rooms: after a certain amount of time to let the athletes actually get cleaned up. Of course, this is a really unbalanced comparison to make, because women’s sports receive no where near the coverage (and reporters no where near the salaries) of men’s sports.

3. The players might be uncomfortable. I haven’t seen a statement from a player that he is uncomfortable for reasons that we should be sensitive to, but lets say that there are some. Fortunately for this player, who has presumably spent his life in locker rooms, that the modern facilities of the NHL have rooms for showering and then the common area where you see those interviews. Anyone uncomfortable with the “opposite” gender near them at a vulnerable time like showering don’t have to worry about the lady reporters coming back to see them. Anyone uncomfortable with being interviewed by someone of the opposite gender the way Keith Duncan sounded-off is just being sexist (ie the criticism is about the reporter’s sex/gender).

4. After being confronted with these facts everyone suddenly thinks that just no reporters should be allowed in locker rooms. If we weren’t talking about the entertainment business, I might be inclined to agree. However, Bettman and every other person running a sports league is striving to create immersive, reality TV-style entertainment, and $ audiences $ are $ eating $ it $ up. The NHL actually has a show called 24/7 for cripes sake – are we really going to pretend that a woman accidentally seeing Kadri’s peen while he’s towelling off is the end of morality and enough to keep women from job parity? Give me a break.

At least my hero Ron McLean echoed this sentiment last night, this is surely one for the scrapbook:



The Best Gay Travel Information We’ve Seen

8 Mar

There is a lot of garbage out there for GSM travellers, and most of it is wrapped up in fancy and sometimes subtle marketing (we’re looking at you Xtra) to get your pink dollars. This guide isn’t that different. It has been put together by Spartacus World, which bills itself as “The Home to International Gay Travelers.”

However, this index provides some clarity to the advertising mumbo-jumbo. By scoring countries across 14 human rights markers, from anti-discrimination laws to murder, the ranked format makes surveying travel options simple.

The countries are colour coded with dark green being the most liberal and gay-friendly countries down to red for the most dangerous countries for homosexuals to visit and live in.

The guide is straight forward and easy to read. See the full version here.

Listing of countries for gay travel.

Click for complete listing.

Update: CFI Covers Up Transphobic Pride Parade Plans

21 Jun

In an apparent attempt to obtain an ally cookie from the trans* community of Toronto, Centre for Inquiry planned to dress their members in drag and march in the Pride Parade.

This year we’re going to have a bit of fun- and show our support for the trans community BY DRESSING IN DRAG. Transphobia is an insidious and often overlooked problem which effects thousands of Canadians.

CFI apparently had no idea that their effort was actually the transphobia they were trying to avoid in action. The complicated history between drag communities and trans communities is not one which has a place for an uninvited atheist community.

Several members of the trans community, as well as allies, started a small e-mail campaign to bring the organization’s attention to their blatant transphobia. In response, CFI quietly removed the offending statements with no acknowledgement to the complaints.

The now removed transphobia from CFI

This is not good enough. CFI is perpetuating the invisibility of the trans* community by refusing to comment on the legitimate concerns of trans* people. Instead of using this as an learning opportunity for their diverse following, CFI is silencing trans* voices in hopes of covering up their transphobia.

And don’t get me started on the problems associated with straight people dressing in drag at Pride to begin with.

UPDATE: Almost immediately after this post hit Twitter and Facebook, Jaimy Warner responded on the CFI @Pride event page – excerpt:

I admit that I could have worded the content better-it was not my intention to suggest drag and trans are the same … I can see how the juxtaposition of ‘drag’ and ‘trans’ could have easily been interpreted as offensive, and I have since removed that particular content from this event, the website and our newsletter.

A typical not-pology, placing the blame on queer people for being offended instead of owning up to the fact that the staff at CSI is still learning about the oppressions that trans* people face.

My advice to CFI members: Skip the drag and celebrate Pride like the rest of us do – being proud of who we are.

UPDATE 2: Warner has posted another apology, cancelled the drag event, and promised to look into the situation further.

Follow Monday

18 Jun

Happy Monday, Bros!

I was out of town this weekend, camping in the wilderness away from high rises, cramped street corners, and the TTC. All I had with me to stay in touch with civilization was my smartphone and Twitter app. Well apparently I’m not following any of the right accounts because I came home to a slew of news stories about special events, tragic accidents, and political mishaps. So this morning I did some research and compiled a list of five accounts you should be following if you want to keep up on all things Toronto and I thought I would share it with you. Now we can all stay informed and connected!

1) BlogTO

You all know BlogTO. From restaurant reviews to movie listings, they’re covering everything Toronto. Follow them for a weekly calendar of events, archived photos of some of the city’s most beloved intersections, TTC updates, and much much more.

Yonge & Bloor, 1920s via @BlogTO

2) Pride Toronto

Pride Week is quickly approaching – how are you staying informed on what’s happening when? Follow @PrideToronto, the official Pride Toronto twitter account, for any information or notices you might need for Pride Week. And don’t just unfollow them after the week’s over. These guys stay active all year round, keeping you posted on the most current happenings and issues in the LGBT community.

3) Torontoist

Torontoist is about Toronto and everything in it. It’s both a blog and a trusting news source. They love keeping Torontonians up-to-date on current events as soon as they happen. They live-tweeted the municipal budget and transport debates in their entirety. Their tweets include “in the news” & “to do today”, making sure every Torontonian is fully informed and never bored.

4) Queer Ontario

This one’s not unique to Toronto but since the LGBT community here is so huge, a large portion of Queer Ontario’s tweets are Toronto-related. Plus, they’re currently making a tour of the province stopping in at major city’s pride weeks, and it’s always fun to see how the rest of the province shows its pride! Follow this account to stay up-to-date on any federal, provincial, and municipal politics that are happening surrounding the LGBT community and the fight for our rights. They recently stayed very close to the passing of Toby’s Law as well as Ontario’s Accepting Schools Act.

5) Official TTC Tweets

We’ve all been there before. You’re running late for a meeting, pushing your way onto a subway train when the darned thing stops after 5 minutes. So you wait. And wait. And wait. Finally, an announcement is made that the train is delayed due to some sort of accident that is only vaguely described. Avoid this extremely frustrating situation next time by following @TTCnotices and giving it a quick check before you leave the house. They have up-to-date notices on delays, route diversions, and scheduled track maintenance. Trust me, a lot of frustrations with the TTC have been easily avoided due to my following of this account.

Why is the Queen Street streetcar always delayed?

What accounts do you follow to stay informed about Toronto? Share them in the comments sections below.

Toby’s Law Passes!

14 Jun

It was a historic day for Ontario.

Around noon on Wednesday, June 13, 2012, Queen’s Park unanimously voted in favor of amendments to the Ontario Human Rights code that would protect the rights of transgendered people in the province.

After four failed attempts in the last six years to make similar amendments, NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo was finally successful with the help of PC MPP Christine Elliott and Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi. Anyone who follows our provincial politics (or any politics at all, for that matter) knows that it’s a rare occurrence that all three parties work amicably together and even more rare that an amendment of such a magnitude is passed unanimously. Clearly, this was an important issue to all MPPs, as it should be, and our response is: it’s about motherfucking time.

Cheri DiNovo and a dog. Like a bawse.

The transgender community has been struggling with inequality, having a hard time finding jobs, rental housing, and sometimes even health services. That’s right – health services. You know there’s something wrong when someone in our country is having a hard time finding health services.

Prior to the vote, the Ontario Human Rights code guarded against prejudice for “race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability.” We are proud to say that it now includes “gender identity” and “gender expression”.

Ontario is the first Canadian province to recognize gender identity in its human rights legislation. Today I can honestly say that I’m proud to be an Ontarian. Well done, government, well done.

Celebrate Creativity at Luminato

6 Jun

The weather’s warming and a giant stage and concert area are being erected outside of my office building. When I take a coffee break about once every half hour (who can concentrate longer than that?), I look out the window and see that the stage is more and more complete.

“What are they doing this for?” I nonchalantly ask the Vice President who happens to be walking through the lunch room. He raises his eyebrow at me.

“Don’t you have work to be doing?”

I roll my eyes and drag my feet back to my desk. First thing I do is open Google. Second thing I do is try and figure out what today’s Doodle is about (it’s about drive-ins, in case you’re wondering). Third thing I do is a search for events happening in Toronto.

My excellent detective skills lead me to the answer I was looking for:

“Luminato is Toronto’s fifth season when the festival stages the best of our city and invites the world to celebrate and transform it with us.”

– Jorn Weisbrodt,
Artistic Director, Luminato

That’s right, bros. Luminato is back this Summer and there’s a ton of stuff to check out. From visual arts to food to magic, Luminato covers all of the creative outlets that can be found in our wonderful city. Ponder over an art installation, take in a stage show, or dance to live music outside of Roy Thomson Hall. It’s all happening June 8th – 17th.

And It Doesn’t All Cost Money
There’s a wide variety of free events that you can take in:

Toronto Carretilla Initiative  
June 9 – 16
Artist Rainer Prohaska takes on Toronto’s food scene by assembling mobile kitchens into sculptures all around the city. The public is invited to collectively prepare and partake in a meal. Just make sure you wash your hands first.

The Cheat
June 11-14
Magician Richard Turner, declared a living legend in his home state of Texas, will leave you in shock and awe with his sly and sensitive fingers. He gives the words “card trick” a whole new meaning. And don’t ask him how he does it. Remember: a magician always reveals his tricks. Wait-

Michael Franti & the Spearhead
Thursday, June 14
Michael Franti is a California-based musician who has made Toronto his permanent home. Him and his band The Spearhead have earned an international following with their mix of reggae-dance tunes and catchy lyrics. Their new album The Sound of Sunshine has topped radio charts around the world. This is the one show you want to go to next week. I, personally, will not be missing it.

The Bigger Your Wallet…
There are also a ton of paid events you can still buy tickets for:

Einstein on the Beach
June 8 – 10
Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’ landmark collaboration has gone unproduced for nearly 20 years. Don’t miss its North American debut at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. And on June 10th, stick around after the show for a panel discussion with select researchers from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics about the opera’s themes as they relate to scientific genius.

TSO Goes Late Night: Shostakovich Symphony 11
June 9, Roy Thomson Hall
Who says the after-hours time slot is reserved strictly for rockers? Join the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for a late-night performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Eleventh Symphony. Inspired by the Russian Revolution, Shostakovich’s Eleventh Symphony is referred to as a “film score without a film”. And after the show, stick around and mingle with members of the TSO for the post-performance party.

Those are just a few of the events happening over the week-long festival. Check out the Luminato website for more detailed information on the who/what/where/when/how.

Have you ever experienced Luminato before? What are you planning to see this year? Let us know in the comments section below.