Breaking the Silence

March 7, 2011

Should they wish to fork out for this, those in and around Saskatoon can attend the 14th annual Breaking the Silence On Issues in Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity conference. If you register by March 11, it’s $40 for the whole thing and $50 after that date (there’s a cheap deal for students, retirees and the under-waged). It’s being held at the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business and they did nothing in the way of making their website about this pretty. But no matter.

Marci McDonald will be speaking in ESB’s Room 18 on Friday, March 18th. She wrote The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada and will be talking about where “in Heaven’s Name” Canada’s politics are going. If this is all you want to take in, $10 is all they’ll charge you. I haven’t read her book but it looks pretty interesting.

Other weekend events listed on the program:

A plug for Camp Fyrefly: “Canada’s largest, volunteer-based, summer leadership retreat for sexual minority and gender variant (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited, intersexed, queer, questioning) and allied youth.” — as stated on their site.

Plus workshops —

* Andre Grace: “Helping Sexual Minority and Gender Variant Youth Grow into Resilience”
* Jai Richards, “Giving Voice to the Trans Community: A Saskatchewan Perspective” • Sheelah McLean, “Sexy You!(th): ‘Buying in’ to Raunch Culture”
* Zakaery Gudmundson, OneSong Transgender Support Services, “Human Rights and the Transgender Individual”
* Jen Green, “The Experiences of Lesbian Teachers in Saskatchewan Schools”
* Kit Loewen “Habits of the Heart: Teacher Advocacy for Social Justice”
* Deanne McKenney, “It Does Get Better!”
* Carla Blakley, “Que(e)r(y)ing the Image of God”
* Peggy Schmeiser, “Conversations with Marci McDonald”

It’s really sounding like it’s worth the money. Consider checking it out.


Are there Reasonable Women?

March 5, 2011

Apparently so. Saskatoon Freethinkers has a mini group meeting tonight for women who think they qualify. They let me join so I guess I qualify, too. There’s been some debate about whether or not it’s necessary to create a group within the group just for women, but they haven’t let that stop them from trying it. The organizer got the idea from a recent Blag Hag post regarding women and their “minority” status in atheist groups, plus the idea that women might be put off by a room dominated by men and male speakers who may or may not be curious about the reasons why women might not want to put up with that.

Our Freethinker group has several women on the Executive and our leader is a woman, so as a group we might be less likely to have trouble with this but men do outnumber the women at meetings and pub nights so maybe it will be worthwhile for a while to run a group geared toward women, assuming enough women want something that exclusive and will want to continue meeting that way. I see the appeal, but I signed up more because it’ll give me an opportunity to hang out with the gals for a change. The guys are entertaining, but it’s time to switch it up a little, I think.

Something ironic to mention that happened with me and some of the guys in our group recently. At my banned book club, the new group idea got talked about a bit and one of the guys asked me if I’d ever felt like my input wasn’t going to be taken seriously, not listened to, was I ever getting interrupted by guys who thought whatever they wanted to say was going to be more important than letting me finish. While trying to explain why that did or didn’t bother me, I kept getting interrupted by several of the guys.

Is that annoying? Yeah. Is it worth freaking out over? It really depends on what I’m trying to say, and how important I feel it is. Personality- wise, I’ve never been one who wants to be the center of attention so it doesn’t get under my skin like it might for those who think deserve the spotlight at all times. I have been around guys who prefer the sound of their own voices, but I’ve been interrupted by women just as often, I’m sure. No doubt there are those who’d say I’ve done my share of interrupting, too.

I’ll report on what got discussed next time. International Women’s Day is on March 8th and that was mentioned on the Meet-up site as one of the reasons we’re meeting this weekend. I wonder if anyone will bring up the sad fact that women felt it was necessary to organize a day to remind the world that women have value beyond their wombs. I think it’s sad anyway, so maybe I’ll have to bring it up…

Weighing in on a sexism issue

February 18, 2011

There’s been a discussion/airing of grievances going on regarding a recent panel discussion at an atheist conference and the treatment of women there and elsewhere. Things got testy after some suggestions were made about women and men, and how each acts and reacts to certain behaviours. You can read the original post at Blag Hag that started this most recent round of debates on the issue, or this one from the same site trying to clarify the original article, or this one at Butterflies and Wheels that comments on video taken from that conference or even P.Z. Myers’ recent “shut up and listen to the women” post and the comments it inspired.

One of the gals in my Freethinker group has decided to start a Reasonable Women group and her decision has been met with mixed reviews. Some think it’s sexist to start a women-only meet but I’ve decided to give it a try because I’m often the only girl who turns up at pub nights and while the guys have interesting conversations, it’d be nice to talk to women, too, who might have other interests or approaches to topics that guys might not consider.

Now onto what I really wanted to write about. I’m wondering how much of the trouble between the sexes is caused by language and how each gender has been socialized to interpret it.

For example, I’m a big fan of FARK. I’m in there on a daily basis reading whatever gets posted as news, often finding myself amused by the word play used for the headline submissions. Sometimes I’m more disgusted than amused, though. Read the rest of this entry »