Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cis-Privilege in Safe Space Go-Arounds

Whenever attending community workshops, discussions and at times even small classes I experience an exercise that I always associated with creating a safe space. While introducing ourselves we would each express our desired pronouns thus creating a space in which uncomfortable and unsafe moments of incorrect pronouns would be avoided and accountability would be understood. By this I mean, we would each know right off the bat how every person there desired and expected to be addressed, in particular trans identities would be respected and defended. Until recently, I thought this introduction was key to building a safe space but I’ve begun to become more aware of cis-gender privilege seeping into these seemingly safe spaces. Cis-privilege is the privileging of those whose identify with the gender identity they were assigned at birth.

The situation often goes like this; introduction circle reaches a cis-gendered woman, “Hi. I’m Caitlin, you can use the pronoun ‘she’, or ‘he’, ‘they’... haha, I really don’t care.” While this may appear to be seemingly expressing comfort in fluidity of gender, in reality I think this de-values the gender identities of those who use this introduction activity as a time to confidently express a gender identity that is often denied. To me, this response indicates a misunderstanding in why safe space should include this introduction. This simple activity is not used for cis-individuals to acknowledge their understanding of gender fluidity and a cis person saying they don’t care what pro-noun is used for them is not supporting trans folks who do care. While I don’t deny the fluidity of gender, many trans individuals constantly struggle to find respect and acknowledgment for their gender identity. It is a privilege to suggest comfort in all pronouns, cis-gendered individuals are most often granted with this privilege because their gender identity will rarely be called into question.

While many cis folks participate in this introduction without realizing the implication and privilege associated with their words, I suggest to cis individuals who find themselves in this position, quietly and honestly express their desired pronoun and use the comfort they experience with their privilege for better use. For explain, Cis-folks can be allies by using gender neutral washrooms whenever available to encourage the need for these neutral washrooms in accessible spaces. All folks, cis and trans can use the pronoun ‘they’ until one indicates which pronoun they wish to be referred to with instead making an assumption based on ascetics. Finally, cis-individuals can take advantage of their privileges by defending trans rights and supporting all marginalized gender identities in our communities by educating ourselves and others.

Monday, February 28, 2011

An Ode to My Armpit Hair

We’ve been together for a couple of years now and so often I find myself hiding you in shame. I haven’t been fair to you, you deserve much more than dark moist corner I’ve left you in. This is a celebration of your existence.

10 reason why I won’t shave the hair under my arms

1) You’re environmentally friendly

2) According to my deodorant, you smell cool & fresh

3) You challenge traditional concepts of femininity

4) You make my folks cringe

5) You encourage competition between my friends

6) You give me a head start for Movember

7) You’re sexy

8) You keep me warm during the cold winter nights

9) You scare away undesirable suitors

10) You make me feel good

Despite the fact that you result in stares from both strangers and friends, you will happily stay under my arms.

Photo Cred: Jonathon Robinson

Thursday, August 12, 2010

First times

I mowed the lawn for the first time this evening. After living on this earth for almost twenty one years its quite wild and unheard of that I have yet to put mower to grass. The front and backyard of my folks house are not that large so the task was only mildly challenging. It took a few minutes to figure out the inner workings of the lawn mower and properly turn it on. After following my dad's directions and multiple tries i finally heard the rev of the motor and the snap back of the rope, success. I carefully strided across the lawn trying to create a pattern that would impress every on looker while including my elderly neighbours lawn.

The tree in the middle of the lawn and the hills bending each and every way inhibited my smooth straight lines. But I pushed through and towed the mower to the backyard. There I won the war and went up the lawn, down the lawn, up and down and created a grid of freshly mowed grass.

I took a deep breath and took in that smell of new grass everyone craves, it was sweeter then normal, it was my mowed lawn.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Monday, December 21, 2009

2010 goals continued

Make sushi

Let go of things in the past (forgive AND FORGET)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Better lat(er) then never!

It's been over a year and a half since I posted on this blog, but I remember writing my thoughts, my feelings, my experiences down on here while in Ghana was a rejuvenating experience. So I'm going to do just that. This space is for me, I don't expect anyone else to relate to it, let alone read it, but feel free to partake in either if you wish.

I don't normally make goals for the new year, but this year I've decided to do things a little differently. 2010 will be here in 28 days so I better get a list started.

2010 will be the year to:

blog often
plant atleast one tree
volunteer with a charitable group outside of my school community
put a razor to my hair
go on an overnight hiking trip
fall for someone
mow a lawn
cross country ski
make something new out of something old
get over 90% on a paper

There is so many more possible goals, I will have to contemplate and add more within the next 28 days.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

So far away you are in my memory
I wish it wasn't true
I wish I could remember every sight, smell and sound
Your a dream
I know its true
I never met you
Ghana, I never knew you
Please remind me
Pass by me in the cold wind of Canada
Whisper to me all your secrets that I once knew
I'm begging to feel your hand clutched in my own
I promise if you show yourself to me again I will never forget
Until then, I'll read the pages of my journal, I'll feel the softness of the cloth I bought
I'll cherish the photos I've taken
Until then I'll cling to every memory of you