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International Women’s Day march should celebrate all types of activism

Women helping women is one of the founding mandates of Women’s Post — and this comes in many shapes and forms in the world of activism.

International Women’s Day isn’t only a day to celebrate women, but is also a time to bring women, men, and children together to fight for equality and justice in a world that is often filled with rampant sexism, bigotry, and hatred. It is a time to stand up for what is right and feel empowered by the community of women that surrounds you. On a personal level, it is also a time to be proud to be a woman and shout it to the world.

The International Women’s Day March is taking place at 1 Kings College Circle in Toronto from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and connects several networks of like-minded individuals across the world to advocate for positive change for women. It is also an opportunity for women to support each other regardless of sexual orientation, race, or religion. The most integral and motivating element of fighting alongside women across the globe is that we are all affected by various types of hatred and must fight them together. We must support each other and show solidarity and unification against all types of hatred.

It also gives women involved in other types of activism an avenue to express their solidarity. Women in animal rights activism have organized to meet at the Women’s Day March to celebrate women fighting to make the lives of animals better. This protest movement comes in the wake of Toronto Pig Save Leader, Anita Krajnc’s trial, where she is being charged for giving pigs to water. The verdict is due to be released on May 4 and is greatly anticipated by protestors across the world. The pig trial has given even more reason for women to gather and unify to fight against perceived injustices towards animals. The solidarity of these women also demonstrates there is an intersectional connection between women’s rights and fighting against other types of hatred, and linking the two together inspires even more change at a societal level.

There are also many women who will be at the march to fight against islamophobia at the Women’s Day March. The alt-right movement has been heavily advocating islamophobic ideologies and the protestors at the march will also unify for our Muslim sisters to demonstrate that love is more powerful then hate. Needless to say, Kellie Leitch will not be invited. Advocating a LGBTQ friendly space is also essential to show the world that homophobia is not acceptable and this form of hatred will not be tolerated or accepted amongst women at the march either. Women’s rights issues are at the helm too with thousands of women walking off the job this week to protest pay inequality in the workplace.

Many groups that will be represented at International Women’s Day and this shows that the event is about advocating for women in many ways. It encompasses equality and justice against hatred and intolerance. Women deserve equal treatment across the board, and homophobia to anti-semitism to racism to speciesism must be destroyed. Only by unifying as a cohesive and unified whole can everyone together defeat the injustices that pervade the world we live in. Join the events on Saturday if you can and never forget to treat your fellow women with respect every day, because only though community and solidarity do we stand any chances of defeating the evils in this world.

Orlando shooting a devastating LGBTQ tragedy

The celebratory spirit of pride month has been severely affected by the Orlando Shooting, devastating the LGBTQ community and inciting fear for the upcoming pride parade on July 3.

Forty-nine people were shot and killed in Orlando at 2 a.m early Sunday morning at the Pulse, with 43 others still in the hospital with injuries. Pulse, a gay club in the city, was celebrating a Latin themed night when the shooter opened fire on partygoers. This tragedy is the worst mass shooting against the LGBTQ community in history.

The shooter, Omar Mateen, emphasized his allegiance to the Daesh extremist group and ISIS in a 911 call that took place in the club’s bathroom, where he held 30 hostages until the police shot him at approximately 5 a.m.  Mateen had previously been investigated by the FBI for a relation to a suicide bomber in Syria, but there wasn’t enough evidence to file charges.

On Sunday, another man, armed with three assault rifles and explosive chemicals, was arrested in Southern California. He was reportedly headed to the West Hollywood gay pride parade. Today, University of Toronto has also been placed on lock-down due to a young man carrying a gun being reported in the area. It is unclear if this is related to recent events in Orlando.

Targeted attacks on the LGBTQ community are so devastating — there is simply no amount of words to describe the level of sadness and anger that people are experiencing right now. There are no words for the level of pain this has caused a community that has already experienced marginalization for centuries. There are no words for the families and friends of these beloved and innocent individuals.

It is clear that the shooting is a blatant example of the need for more extreme gun laws in the United States. People are not safe and marginalized communities are being needlessly attacked. An attack on Muslim culture (as Donald Trump proceeded to do as quickly as possible) is not appropriate either. Inciting further hatred against a religious group that desires no affiliation with ISIS and its extremist tactics does not respectfully honour the victims of this tragedy.

Toronto Pride month executive director Mathieu Chantelois announced Monday morning that the Pride Parade will be dedicated to the victims of the Orlando shooting. Extra security measures are also set to be implemented at the parade, as well as other pride events throughout the month. The fear that will accompany the remaining events of Pride and at the parade itself is disheartening. People are afraid, and this could affect participation in the important annual celebration of LGBTQ pride.

Though people are fearful, the Orlando shooting gives Toronto the opportunity to ban together as a strong and supportive community for the LGBTQ. It is essential to show homophobic extremists that we will not be broken by misguided hatred. Support the LGBTQ, attend Pride, and let’s show our love for the brothers and sisters that have fallen in Orlando.

8 disgustingly homophobic tweets about George Smitherman’s missing husband

Because someone’s missing spouse is apparently an opportunity to show off your ignorance.

While George Smitherman has broken down barriers as one of the first openly gay big-name politicians in Toronto and Ontario it is sad to see that so little has changed over the years, namely the media’s inability to cover the story of his husbands two day disappearance without improperly using the term “partner” instead of “husband” and trying to dig out some sort of drama or scandal from the parents of a missing man.

To title a story on any missing person as being about their so-called ‘on-again off-again relationship‘ — which, in the frame of the article, refers to their relationship before getting serious a decade ago — is so utterly tasteless , tabloid, and would most likely not be the case if this story were about a straight couple.

One basic rule to identify news from simple events is to spot the unusual. If a dog bites a man, it isn’t news. If a man bites a dog, however, it is. What is increasingly evident with the coverage surrounding Christopher Peloso’s disappearance is that the media coverage surrounding it from the start was due to the fact that George Smitherman was once the second in command of this province and almost held the top spot in Toronto, but that that continued coverage was due to the news media and the newsreading public having a sick hard on for the drama surrounding the personal lives of a gay family.

The fact that this is a gay couple and a gay family and a gay person missing is what makes the story a ‘man-bites-dog’ and that is totally unacceptable.

To the mainstream media: Trying not to be offensive and failing at it is still offensive.

On top of all that professional incompetence comes the deluge of hate filled tweets directed at a man and his family who, at the time these were posted, were most likely experiencing the most harrowing moment of their lives.

Read on to lose faith in humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

 

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“Canadian Blood Services is afraid of my blood because I am a gay man”

I am a healthy 31 year old man.

I’m in a stable, loving relationship and own a beautiful Golden Retriever named Baxter. On Tuesday nights, I play poker with the boys and on a hot summer afternoon there’s nothing I enjoy more than downing a few cold pints on a patio.

I’m close with my mum and dad, I last washed my dishes 4 days ago, and I’m a terrible dancer. I drink milk out of a glass instead of the carton if someone else is around and I would choose a bucket of fried chicken over a tossed salad any day of the week.

I laugh when someone falls.  I’m ambitious with my career and lazy with my workouts.  I like porn.  I own three pairs of jeans, a few dress shirts, and a half dozen t-shirts that comprise my wardrobe.  My next door neighbour cuts my hair short for me every two weeks because I can’t be bothered to take more than a couple of minutes each day to style it.  I’m still friends with several people I went to high school with.

By this point in my description of myself and my life, you’ve probably started to form a picture in your head of what I’m like and what my life looks like.

Unfortunately, Canadian Blood Services only cares about one detail of my life: I have sex with another man. My partner and I are both healthy, monogamous, and proactive with our sexual health, yet the only words on this entire page that matter to Canadian Blood Services are “I have sex with another man.”  Today, Canadian Blood Services announced that the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood has been lifted, however, they are only interested in donations from gay men who have been celibate for 5 years or more.

All I see here is Canadian Blood Services perpetuating a homophobic and discriminatory idea that HIV/AIDS is something that only affects gay men. If clinics are able to test for the presence of HIV in blood and have results in less than five minutes, then why can’t this test be modified for donated blood from ALL donors?  It pains me to feel like a second class citizen with poisonous blood in a country I am so proud to live in, but it hurts me more to know that I am unable to help those in need with something I have to give.

So, Canadian Blood Services: either enhance your blood screening methods and change your policies, or change your slogan.

“Canadian Blood Services: it’s in you to give. Unless you’re a sexually active gay man because we think there’s a good chance you have AIDS.”