Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Private Parts, Public Matters

Genitalia in all its glory has been all the rage in the news as of late. Get your mind out of the gutter folks because these are medical concerns we’re talking about here and not sexy times.

First things first, the Ontario government has announced that they will now be paying for sex reassigned surgery (SRS) or “sex change operations” as the laypeople call ‘em. The procedures used to be covered but good o’l Mike Harris got rid of that a decade or so ago. But now, they’re back! And they’re covered.

According to reports, there are only a dozen or so SRS performed every year in this province. These surgeries are also at the end of a long list of procedures, examinations and testing that is performed on a person before they are allowed to proceed with SRS.

I think it’s no surprise that I support this 100%. And if I didn’t support it, then I certainly would have after reading the long list of hate filled comments on both the CBC, Globe and Mail and Citizen websites. One look at these comment pages indicates why access to SRS is so incredibly important. Transphobia is alive and well folks, and so why would anyone choose such a route unless it was what they truly needed?

People have been lamenting the already strained Health Care system and how this is only adding to the strain, and “why not reinstate my optometrist coverage or reduce wait times?!” they cry (usually anonymously under pseudonyms like “CanuckWithAnOpinion”, but I digress).

A loved one of mine is on a long waiting list for much needed cancer surgery and hey, yours truly wears glasses. So I know what it’s like to live in a shabby system. I can’t even imagine how parents of autistic children or low-income families survive in this system. It’s broken and it needs fixing.

But SRS isn’t going to affect those people. Not just any Dr. can perform SRS and there are few specialists in Canada who can. Therefore, your cancer doctor isn’t going to be taken away from your chemo treatments to perform SRS. Furthermore, according to the government itself, there are only a dozen or so procedures a year, as I mentioned earlier, for a total cost of 200,000$ a year. 200 000 a year. Total. Not for each person but in total.

Now think of those who are unable to access SRS and who desperately need it. They are stuck in low-income positions, are depressed and most often, commit suicide. Not to mention the high rates of violence committed against them. Measure those costs to the welfare state and then get back to me.

And for the love of Pete, can news reports refrain from shouting out “SEX CHANGE OPERATIONS NOW PAID FOR”. Its archaic terminology and sensationalist as hell, which only furthers the transphobia.

Part Two: In-Vitro Fertilization, should it be paid for, too?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sentenced to Silent Streets!

Now here’s a discussion that’s got my head spinning. But first, as George would say, here’s the set-up.

A quiet British Columbia neighbourhood was rocketed last week when a helicopter dropped from the sky and burst into flames. The crash not only killed the people inside but a pedestrian as well. Obviously this was a totally random occurrence and seems to me like something straight out of a Tom Cruise movie; which is not to diminish the event itself because it’s obviously very tragic.

As new information was released about the suspicious crash and the events surrounding it, discussion has been taken into a completely different and I’d say unfortunate direction.

It seems that the pedestrian in this case, Isaiah Otieno, was a young student who was mailing a letter when the helicopter struck. Talk about shit luck, right?

Well it seems that this tragedy was the straw that broke the camel’s back for some people and so they are pushing to have it become illegal to wear headphones while crossing the street. A Bill proposing just that was pushed in New York but thankfully, was defeated. But it seems (according to various news sources, as reliable as those are) that there’s increasing discussion about creating guidelines around the use of headphones in public spaces.

I think it’s a crock of shit.

I agree with it, on principle. I do. And not because of this event in BC, only because from my knowledge of helicopters, Isaiah would of felt the shockwaves in his body, never mind the noise. So I highly doubt that it’s headphones which caused him to be crushed.

As a sometimes driver, I get that people jaywalk or whatnot and you’re honking at ‘em and they don’t listen because they're too busy getting their groove on. I get that. But in that case, you’d be charged with jaywalking; which while not as glamorous as “fine by headphones” is more logical.

I’m just really, really opposed to this new mentality we’ve got going on where we need to coddle the hell out of people. You baby the hell out of people and then they become sheep who can’t do dick on their own without someone holding their hand. Not cool. Not to mention the policing of this stuff. Do we really need to be wasting police resources on giving fines to people who *gasp* listen to music while walking?!

Whoever has that much time on their hands should be put to work doing something useful like... knitting.
Everyone loves a good pair of mittens.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

G.I Harper

First, he armed border guards. Now, he's arming National Park wardens and we’re dumping 30 billion into the armed forces.

Good Lord have mercy.

Now I’m not a pacifist hippie at all costs, don’t get me wrong. I understand that you can’t exactly walk into Rwanda with a beer and an extended hand and get things accomplished. I understand that armed conflict is often necessary. But looking at the park wardens for instance, it’s easy to make a case for park wardens needing riffles to shoot wild and insane animals that are on the loose and potentially killing campers. Bears and raccoons and whatever else are wild animals and since we’re on their turf, they’re bound to not exactly like it. Is it fair that we shoot ‘em? Not really when you consider that we’re hanging out in their environment. But the argument of needing to give wardens guns for their vehicles in this case is a solid argument. However, they are arming park wardens with handguns.

They apparently need handguns for “law enforcement”. Are you kidding me? I’m not saying that being a park warden is a walk in the park (ha..ha..) but do we really need to be bustin’ caps into campers? It’s been proven that when you arm yourself, you raise the risk of someone shooting you in the first place and you reduce the chance of being able to talk someone down. They see you with a gun, see you as a threat and then chaos ensues.

And the military spending? I’m not anti-military per se. I understand that if we’re going to have a military, we need to have these people properly equipped and not to mention, paid properly. But I think that this government is making a huge statement here, by decrying our shitty economy, cutting social spending and then promising 30 billion over 20 yrs on military spending. And arming everyone and their neighbour.

Harper and his gangsta friends are very obviously suffering from some masculinity complex where they feel the need to militarize the living snot out of this country and I’m not having it.

For the love of Pete, someone call a gdamn election.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mama's gotta get paid, son!

So I’m back! I’m back early and in time for some Mother’s Day news.

A study released yesterday found that if Canadian stay-at-home moms were waged, they would earn $126,593 a year. They came to this conclusion by surveying “18,000 mothers about their roles and responsibilities and cross-referenced these activities with job descriptions and salary scales.”

The CBC report on this study demonstrates that the purpose of the survey is to show that stay-at-home moms (and dads) really are working. What they do is work, even if it isn’t paid, and the hope of this annual survey is that their hard work will not go unnoticed.

So I read this news report and think HUZZAH! We spend money and resources researching some pretty stupid shit, so it’s about time we take a look at something important. Unpaid labour keeps the world turning and rarely gets acknowledged.

And if you’re in any way doubting the existence of gender inequality or the importance of these kinds of surveys, just read through the comments posted to this story on CBC. As of 9:30 this morning, there were 99 comments, which included zingers like this:

“My wife turns on the PC, clicks on the mouse, and reads her email messages. She is now receives credit as a computer operator. I actually have to jack up the family car, change the oil, change the oil filter, clean up afterwards in order to receive credit as a lubricant maintenance operator. If you do not want to do your chores or do not have the time, then hire someone to perform those tasks. Otherwise, quit complaining and just get on with your adult responsibilities.”

Paging this man’s wife: Seek a divorce. Pronto.

Or this lovely comment:

“Great if i understand correct all those welfare stay at hope moms should be making the big bucs. I feel like such a retard ....why did i bother going to university and getting a BA...the real money is staying at home making babies! I m not saying that staying at home is an easy job just that studies like this dont make any sense what so ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Never minding this commenter’s impeccable grammar or the fact that their screen name is “kidneystone”, someone needs to contact this weiner's university. This person has a degree?!

And finally, commenter "TimBee" takes the cake with this winner:

“What hourly rate are they using for the sex they are letting their husbands have?”

And they wonder why I’m a feminist….

Monday, May 5, 2008

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

I have an important family situation going on right now that requires me to be out of town and away from the good o'l interweb for a bit.

But stay tuned for some delicious feminist news in two weeks. May 19th; Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.