Are you a trans and/or genderqueer youth in Toronto? 13 - 27 years old?
You should check out Trans Youth Toronto every Wednesday from 5 pm - 9 pm at The 519 Church Street Community Centre! I ran this group for four and a half years, and it was absolutely amazing. It’s the world’s longest-running trans youth group, and was the biggest in Toronto while I ran it. Word on the street is that hardly anyone has gone since I left a little over a month ago and it’s in danger of being shut down.
Help keep this vitally important program for trans and genderqueer youth alive by attending, if you can!
Let’s save TYT!
Dr. Kenneth Zucker is the head of CAMH’s Children’s Gender Identity Clinic. He believes in reparative therapy — the idea that you can “fix” trans and gender non-conforming children by forcing them to act like the gender commonly associated with their assigned sex (ie, make ‘boys’ play with trucks, make ‘girls’ play with dolls, and punish those who refuse).
Through my work with trans communities over the past five years, I’ve come to meet many of Zucker’s patients. Overwhelmingly, they report strongly bad experiences. Many say that Zucker’s meddling set them back by years, and in some cases, decades. Some have reported lasting mental health consequences including depression, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, and anxiety disorders following treatment at his hands. Trans youth also report his causing problems and conflicts with their families, making it more difficult for their families to accept and celebrate their transitions.
I do not take it lightly to say that it is my belief that he is abusing children through the use of reparative therapy. Reparative therapy is widely criticized for its damaging use on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning people — there is no reason this ineffective and damaging technique should be used on trans and gender non-conforming youth under any circumstances.
Please signal boost and sign this petition. I don’t know if it will really have an effect on his standing at CAMH, but I do hope that it will at least make more parents aware that this man is not a safe medical services provider for trans and gender non-conforming youth in Canada.
Hey folks! I’m still fundraising to cover my tuition for this year’s Lambda Literary Writers’ Retreat and would love any help and support and signal boosting you could give me. I’m only the second trans woman to ever be accepted to the Lambda retreat, and it is going to be super important to my continued practice as an artist and writer. At the retreat, I’ll be working on a noir thriller about intergenerational conflict between trans women.
Help support trans women’s literature! Thanks!
Check out my very major interview with trans women writers Trish Salah and Casey Plett about trans women’s literature!
My friend and curator Alvis Parsley is launching an amazing project called the Chinatown Think-Tank and is raising funds for it. Donate to this awesome queer POC project!
Here’s what Alvis has to say:
Who am I?Hello, my name is Alvis Choi. I also go byAlvis Parsley:)
I am an artist, curator, project manager, researcher, and an aspiring clown.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, I came to Toronto two years ago. I started mingling with the Chinese-speaking community as I worked my underpaid bakery job in Chinatown and searched for my identity. In 2012, I started conceptualizing the connections between of all of the above into art/social projects!
What is Chinatown Community Think Tank?Chinatown Community Think Tank (CCTT) turns the storefront space of Whippersnapper Gallery into a social space for the Chinese-speaking community in the Chinatown of downtown Toronto. The project started with the simple question of “Can Whippersnapper’s programming be accessible for the Chinese-speaking community in Chinatown?”
I speak fluent Cantonese, Mandarin and English, which allows me to facilitate dialogues with Chinese-speakers, touching on themes of home, migration, race, family, language barrier, and survival, topics that relate to everyday life in the community. I want to invite community members to envision the role of art in Chinatown. I will host regular community gatherings including: karaoke night, sharing sessions by Chinese doctors, a self-organized Chinese guided tours to the free evenings at the Art Gallery of Ontario which is also located in Chinatown! EXCITING!
RADICAL FEMINISTS ARE WORTH NONE OF YOUR TIME
a litany of prayers to the self and the Trans Ancestors
In the names of the Mothers, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha Pay-It-No-Mind Johnson,
the Daughters, Venus Xtravaganza and Greer Lankton,
and the Holy Ghosts, Mark Aguhar and Candy Darling,
I pray for the strength to not let my attention be diverted,
from the artwork and lifework of those Beautiful Queens.
Let not the terrible machinations of those False Feminists,
C.B., Dirt, et al.,
occupy my mind, body, or soul,
which I dedicate unto the divine work of #girlslikeus.
For late at night, though I may walk through the Valley of the Shadows of their hate-filled blogs,
I shall fear no evil.
For I know that I am among the chosen.
I stand on the shoulders of Ancestors spanning all of time, in every culture,
where we have been and are healers, artists, spirit-workers, and lovers.
And from these Ancestors I will have strength.
And from that strength I will remember
that it does not befit a Queen to Pay It Any Mind,
and I will remember that we are all Great Queens on this Earth.
My doctor, who is a trans woman, and I had a conversation today about the guy who raped me earlier this year. At first she was like “did you charge him?” When I explained that he’s a trans man of colour, she immediately got why I hadn’t. Not because I couldn’t bare to put a trans person, especially a trans person of colour, in jail (which I can’t), but also because it would cause me to be completely ostracized by the queer/trans community in Toronto. I’d be “just another crazy trans woman.” It was an uncomfortable realization for both of us to sit there, as trans women, knowing that we have literally no recourse when violence is enacted on us within the community (though if the same violence conveniently came from a white cis straight man, we would be celebrated as heroes for standing up to such an easy target, at least within the queer/trans community).
She and I both, as professionals in the community, are well aware of the fine line we have to walk in order to be taken seriously in the queer/trans community. We not only have to look a certain way (both in terms of passing and in terms of conforming to queer normative acceptable standards of appearance), we also have to make sure not to rock the boat too much. We have to appear as sane and calm as possible, no matter the circumstances. If we show too much emotion at any time (read: any inconvenient emotion), we get hit with a double-whammy of misogyny and transphobia, quickly written off as hysterical “crazy trans women.” Accuse the wrong person of something, anyone too close to queer-home, and that’s the end of our credibility and the revoking of our entrance passes to Queerlandia.
It’s exhausting having to walk such a fine line. I’ve found that there are so many “danger zones” to watch out for. Trans women have to not only be queer-literate (knowing queer social justice language), we have to be exceptionally good at using it. Any minor slip of language or politics and we’re labeled “crazy trans women” by cis people while trans men nod knowingly in agreement — rarely standing up for us, and just as often perpetuating the ‘crazy trans woman’ stereotype themselves.
I became aware of this initially through cryptic warnings from an older queer trans woman friend of mine, years before I became involved in the queer community, but I didn’t realize the extent of it at first. That is, until I was invited to participate in it. When I first became involved heavily, I befriended two trans men whom I looked up to a great deal, and one of the first conversations we had in private was a gossip session in which they “warned” me about various trans women and got me to agree that they were “crazy.” I’ve found similar conversations throughout the community, often used in a way that it makes me wonder if what’s really happening is that they’re subconsciously testing my loyalty to the queer zeitgeist. Am I good tranny or a bad tranny? Am I willing to be part of their clique, giving them the ability to deflect any and all criticism of transmisogyny, or am I a “problem?”
Before I realized that this was a system, that trans women were being systematically tested and written off, I engaged in it myself. You get a self-esteem boost, knowing that the cool kids don’t count you among those trans women. Those trans women who stepped on the wrong toes, who take up “too much space,” who don’t have the right guilt-producing identity complex to be worthy of space (disabled young trans sex workers of colour who vogue are considered highly prized friend-accessories, to be seen but not really heard beyond the occasional “gurl” for comedic effect, but only if they have the right haircut and the right clothes and are working towards a bachelors of gender studies or similarly useless degree).
Who are these “crazy trans women?” Often they are incredibly sincere activists who haven’t had the privilege of being taught all of the ins and outs of anti-oppression social justice practice that is a prerequisite to membership in this queer community. Often they are labeled “too emotional” and “too angry,” “loose cannons” who are out of control when speaking about our experiences of sex work that don’t fit into the easily digestible “I do queer feminist porn on weekends to pay for my fluevogs while I’m in grad school” vision of sex work that the queer community has deemed acceptable. Often they are trans women who are said to take up “too much space,” while everyone whispers about how “you know, I know it’s wrong to say, but she just seems like she has male privilege, you know? Like you can just feel it. Not that I’m saying she’s a man, but, you know, you never know.”
At the end of the day, this whole complex of issues is simply misogyny, ableism, and transphobia dressed up as “community accountability.” It holds trans women to impossible standards, opening us up to vulnerability to all forms of in-community violence (physical, sexual, social), and creating a fear within the minds of so many queer trans women that our second-class position within the queer community could be ripped from our hands at any time for any minor infraction.
I’m tired of trying not to be a crazy trans woman in the voyeuristic eyes of queer community.
Morgan M Page/Odofemi, 2013.