Canada, We have a Fucking Problem

Aboriginal Rally 20131004
Carol-Ann Moses takes part in a rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, October 4, 2013 by the Native Women’s Assoiciation of Canada honouring the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

In Canada, every 4 days a woman is killed by a family member, usually a male family member. Let that sink in for a moment – every 4 days a woman dies. We have a serious problem. Indigenous and LGTBQ women are over-represented.

Four young girls in Northern SK have committed suicide over the last number of weeks. Four young girls who could see nothing to live for – children who are so broken they can’t find anything to look forward to, children without plans for tomorrow or the rest of their lives.
How is this possible? Why is there a war on women? What have we done? Why do so such a significant number of men feel that they need to kill us? (I know there are good men out there, I know. If you are a good man, it’s time to stand up to the casual sexism, racism and misogyny you see everyday. That’s your job as a good man).
The government’s response to the CRISIS in North SK? Send in 6 additional counsellors until the end of the year. Great, 10 weeks of help from outsiders who don’t understand the culture or the youth.
None of this is good enough. I am completely fed up with the status quo. Things are not changing, they are entrenching. Toxic masculinity is on display every single day and I am tired of it. So, very tired of it. I have been working and fighting against violence against women since the first memorial for the women killed in Montreal – that was 1990. Where is the progress? Eating disorders are much more common as young woman (and increasingly men) try to match a fake, photoshopped image of who they are supposed to be.
We have an inquiry underway to find out what has happened to 1000 First Nations women. How do 1000 women disappear and no one notice or give a damn? What if it were 1000 men? What would the response be? Oh wait, there wouldn’t be one because it would never fucking happen. Why are women so fucking disposable? I am angry, so very, very angry.

Jodie Foster and coming out

So Jodie Foster has finally, sort of, come out publicly. Sure there had been rumours for years and most of us who form part of the LGTB community knew she was a lesbian. Even as celebrities continued to come out, Jodie Foster still remained in the closet.[1] Foster cites her personal privacy as part of the reason she has never come out publicly. As far as she was concerned she had already come out to those around her and she was living an authentic life. One must ask the question why she should be expected to come out.

Many reasons exist for LGTB to come out publicly. The most important reason is for our youth. Role models are critical for young people. The more we stand up and say yes I am LGTB the more our youth see that being LGTB is not only a viable option but one that can actually make them happy. The more of us who stand up, the more visibility we have the less likely LGTB youth are to hate themselves.

Celebrities have even greater visibility; their role in society is magnified. This is why it is so important for them to acknowledge their sexual orientation. Trans celebrities are in a unique position to help youth and parents to understand what may be happening in their family.

As long as LGTB youth are killing themselves in large numbers we all share the responsibility to be role models.


[1] I heard it described as a ‘glass closet’ – basically everyone could see who she was even if she wasn’t going to come out.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘I have been AWOL’ edition

  • I have neglected blog over the last couple of weeks. Sometimes life just gets in the way of blogging. It has been a difficult and trying time.
  • One of my oldest friends committed suicide 2 weeks ago. I had known her since 1995. We met at work and hit it off. Outwardly, she was one of the most positive, dynamic women I have ever known. She had a way of seeing the positive in everything. She was outgoing and gregarious. Her passion was helping other people. I was one of the last people she spoke to on the day she died. Her thoughts were torturing her; making her feel paranoid, scared and alone. Mental illness runs in her family. She hated everything to do with mental illness and she would never admit it was affecting her as well. She made a plan with me to see her doctor, take a leave from work and see a counselor. She never indicated that she was suicidal. And here is the thing about suicide; it is those who don’t talk about it who are the most at risk. Suicide is an intensely selfish act. It leaves a trail of destruction a mile wide and deep. So many people have been affected by her death, especially her close family members. Her death impacted me a great deal as we had been in close contact for the week leading up to her suicide. Emotionally[1], I feel responsible. I wish I had the courage to name what I saw going on and insist she seek medical help. I don’t know if it would have made a difference, probably not knowing my friend. I know what I will do differently going forward though – I will not be afraid to say what feel is going on for someone. Maybe some lesson or good can come from this, as that is all there is now.
  • Zoe – had a dental and lost 6 more teeth. She is doing really well since. She is now on Lasix for pulmonary edema. She has no heart issues, which is strange according to the vet. She also is clear of cancer and her blood work was great. She has also lost almost a pound!
  • Ruby[2] is also doing very well. She is also on Lasix for pulmonary edema with no cardiac issues. As former breeding dogs, we think both Zoe and Ruby lived in horrible conditions, which did damage to their lungs. She is so funny when she thinks a tasty treat is going to be involved. She hops around and looks at us so intensely. She cracks me up!
  • Piper has lost 2 pounds of the 4 pounds she needed to lose to improve her breathing after the surgery. We can see the difference already. She pants far less when it is hot out now.
  • We have finally decided to get our water pressure fixed. We have never had good water pressure here at The Swamp.[3] The theory right now is that the pipes bringing the water in are galvanized steel that has been corroding for a long time narrowing the amount of water that can come in. I have noticed about a 15% decrease in water pressure this year.


[1] I don’t deal well with emotions as anyone who knows me can attest.

[2] AKA Tuber

[3] Which is somewhat ironic…