Monthly Archives: December 2010

Sometimes I’m the Problem

When the #Mooreandme campaign first got started, it was accompanied by a request for donations to RAINN. RAINN is probably the most prominent anti-sexual assault organization in the United States, and I’ve always been a big supporter of theirs, and I intended to make a donation this year. All was well until someone commented that RAINN might not be the best organization to support because they partner with organizations that deny services to trans women. And I thought, great, there trans women go again, overreacting and ruining everyone’s activism by making it all about themselves.

And then I thought, what the fuck.

Trans women are not the problem. RAINN is the problem. The fact that people who claim to be feminists, who claim to be helping women, would actively deny services to trans women – that is the fucking problem. And I’m the problem, too. I’m the problem because I’m so comfortable in my little cis privilege bubble, that when someone points out transphobic tendencies in an organization that I support, I get mad at that person, and not at the organization and their cissupremacist bullshit. That right there is privilege at its finest: getting annoyed with a marginalized group when they have the gall to point out that maybe they should be treated like people.

Granted, those thoughts of mine lasted about thirty seconds, after which I realized just how ridiculous, and transphobic, I was being. And after those thirty seconds were up, I got angry, and I directed that anger at the people who continue to promote the idea that trans women are women. Because that’s stupid, and it’s wrong, and it hurts people. And by dismissing trans people’s arguments as trivial or overblown, I hurt people too.

I admire the work that RAINN has done, and I hope that the controversy generated by the #Mooreandme campaign will force them to take transphobia more seriously. If they do, they will definitely have my support. This year, though, I will be donating to the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre instead.

Consent Matters

MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNING for this entire post, including links.

A lot has happened in the last six months. The relationship I had been in for two and a half years ended. I lost my job. I stopped blogging. I spent three months in Paris, before running out of money and coming back to Toronto to crash on my sister’s couch and beg local businesses to hire me. I tried, and failed, to start blogging again. And then, to top it all off, two days ago a prominent third-wave feminist argued in a televised debate that I was not “really” raped.

I started this post several days ago, before the Wolf/Friedman debate took place. Like many feminists, I’ve been following the Assange case for a while, but I deliberately avoided discussing it. Better writers than me (and I should include a thank you to Sady Doyle, who is absolutely incredible writer and, from what I’ve seen, a pretty fucking amazing human being) have taken it on, and personally, I didn’t have the energy or the courage to engage with something so huge and so polarized. What I did want to write about, however, was Edmonton’s recent anti-rape campaign, which was briefly covered on a few blogs some weeks ago. The Don’t Be That Guy campaign is one of the first I’ve seen to fight sexual assault by placing the responsibility on men not to rape, rather than on women to avoid all contact with alcohol/taxi cabs/skirts/other human beings to protect themselves. Specifically, the campaign tells men that taking advantage of intoxicated women is rape. It may not seem like much, but it’s a pretty big step forward, and I am grateful that it exists.

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