A letter to Pam Wilkinson…

You don’t know me and, with any luck, you will never know me. I was the confused teenager going through high school in the 1980’s. No one raised a rainbow flag back then.  What we raised for was religion. We still were standing for the Lord’s Prayer. Too bad for the kids who weren’t Christian but it wasn’t an option to avoid. We could stand in the hall but we were still standing for the prayer no matter where we went. And there was a teacher in the hall to make sure of that. I bet you loved those days.

My classmates all grew up with Three’s Company and Jack’s over the top pretending of being gay. Being gay was a joke… when it wasn’t simply disgusting. Fellow classmates and even some of the teachers talked about driving into the gay section of Toronto just to throw rocks at people on the side walk. It was fun, they said. I hardly thought it was fun for the people getting pelted by stones but they didn’t matter. This was the 80’s.

I don’t have fond memories of school in the 80’s.

I started having suicidal ideation in high school, strong urges to jump over the railings in our local mall, strong enough that I walked by the wall at all times, just in case. I pushed those thoughts away, just like I pushed away any romantic thoughts about girls. I was already being teased, I wasn’t going to be a joke too. Those weren’t my thoughts, they were an aberration.

Sexual education was strictly cisgender and heterosexual. We learned how to make babies and the names of the genitals. Thanks to that education, I learned that what I was feeling was wrong. I didn’t know my own sexual orientation until I was in my mid 40’s. And I certainly never saw a rainbow flag until I was an adult with children of my own.

You were interviewed in an article claiming the rainbow flag is a wall. I disagree. The wall in my school years was built with ignorance, hatred, and ridicule and it kept me from learning who I was for decades. The rainbow flag is a bridge and a sign of community and hope. Countless faith groups support it, it’s not anti-Christian.

The sad part is you have taught your own daughter hatred. The part of the song you disagree with? The song that was played at flag raising?

If you preach hate at the service/those words aren’t anointed/and that holy water that you soak in, is poisoned.”

It’s not anti-Christianity, it’s anti-hatred. He’s saying that hate is not part of Christianity and God will not accept those words. How much hate is in your religion that both you and your daughter felt personally affronted by this.

You said that the rainbow flag builds “walls, not bridges. You can’t get groups to respect each other that way. You cannot broker peace if half the stakeholders have left the table in anger.”

I say that if someone sees a flag, which is widely known as a symbol of love, hope, and unity and see nothing but a wall, there wasn’t going to be a chance to broker peace in the first place. If you can’t handle the symbol of LGBTQIA unity, how can you handle the reality of talking to actual gay, lesbian, and trans people? What are you going to do when a drag queen wants a say, in all their glory? How about when a lesbian couple wants at least one book in the library with same sex partners so their child doesn’t feel invisible? Or a gay thirteen year old wants a Gay-Straight Alliance in his elementary school?

How can you broker peace with someone who wants you to be less than yourself, wants you to hide yourself to make them feel comfortable? You can’t. First it’s the rainbow flag but that won’t be last. You don’t want peace, you want ignorance. You want to not have to face any sign that the LGBTQ community even exists. And that’s not going to happen. So many of us struggled to simply be ourselves and we’re not going to let you push us back into being less than we are.

The rainbow flag is staying. We are staying. Get used to it.

rainbow_flag_insert_by_torbakhopper_via_Flickr

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The sky is falling?

I am not afraid of the trans woman making small talk with me in the elevator. I am afraid of the person yelling that the sky is falling while claiming it’s the trans women’s fault, using poor Chicken Little and his acorn as a prop in his tale. A misdirection.

Trans women are being used in a game of shells.

Look here, the politicians say, see the danger! As the other shells swirl and hide. Look! A trans woman is in the bathroom!

I look and see her minding her own business. The politicians continue to bleat danger and wave their hands.

What are they hiding?

In the States, poor children lose their breakfasts, seniors their lunches, and families their health care… while the President golfs every weekend and lets the country pay the cost so his wife can live in gilded splendour.

Meanwhile an orange bus putts along the country, ignoring biology and bleating “peaceful” hatred. It’s freeze peach, they say. Trans people are the liars, they say. But they aren’t, so who’s the one who’s lying?

And the shells continue to spin and the sky stays firmly in place. And trans women continue to die from carefully targeted hatred.

And Chicken Little shows off his acorn as proof and the ignorant listen.

Some vegan love…

I got banned from an atheist group a few years ago because I’m vegan. It wasn’t against the rules or at least their stated rules. The mocking started out slowly, a few jokes about vegans… a few comments about how sanctimonious we are. Then it grew to the point where it seemed like the group talked more about vegans than atheism. And one person asked an honest, simple question. Where do vegans get their protein? And I answered.

Within seconds I was facing a barrage of questions? Why didn’t I care about the poor little mice being killed by threshers? Why didn’t I care about the children being worked like slaves to make my phone? I asked that person, the moderator, what phone she used because if she have a fair trade phone, I’d love to know the brand. She had no idea. She didn’t care about the kids, she informed me. She just didn’t like me because I was vegan. And then I was blocked.

When asked, people will claim they don’t dislike vegans per se, they’re just against the militant ones… the sanctimonious ones. You know those vegans. Except that’s not true. Know who else is sanctimonious? Mothers. You go onto a parenting forum and, faster than a toddler can drop a pacifier, there’s going to be a battle (especially about a toddler dropping a pacifier). And, sure, there’s groups devoted to laughing at sanctimommies but it isn’t the widespread hatred veganism receives. Hatred. For trying to do as little harm as possible. All you need to do in order to be “sanctimonious” is to have people find out you don’t eat meat. I think that a lot of people need to look through their dictionary for the real definition.

SciBabe  complained today that vegetarians are petitioning In N Out burger (a U.S. burger chain) for a veggie burger to be added to their menu and, of course, vitriol followed. You’d think from the comments that the head of PeTA was holding a gun to the owner of In N Out’s head, demanding kale and nutritional yeast get added to every product on their menu. Nope, they simply asked for an additional item to be placed onto there, something that’s available at almost every burger chain in Canada. I looked at the hatred and decided it wasn’t worth my time. I vented on my page instead and got this…

“I’m talking about the vegans who go into a fast food place and bitch because there aren’t any healthy options like there are absolutely no other places to go but of course since they’re vegan everyone on the planet has to accommodate them.”

“Like, I know there are vegetarian and vegan restaurants here. I’m not of either persuasion. I don’t like tofu or many other veget./veg. dishes, so I don’t go to those restaurants. I wouldn’t go there and ask that they add a hamburger to their menu.”

Do people not realize that vegans and vegetarians have family and friends who eat meat? We aren’t hatched somewhere then come winging in, fully grown, cawing “Meat is Murder”. We have friends who want to eat out with us, family who want to go for a group dinner, and sometimes those friends and family want to eat somewhere more meat based. That’s how I ended up sitting at Red Lobster a few years ago. I ended up at Swiss Chalet the same way. It’s also how I learned that Swiss Chalet has a vegan burger and that their dipping sauce is vegan too. I used to drink that sauce as a kid, that was an amazing find.

Plus vegan isn’t a type of restaurant, it’s a philosophy of doing as little harm as possible. My current favourite restaurant is mostly vegan. They also have grass fed, pasture raised beef; it would be no problem getting a burger there. That being said, it’s vegan and has vegenaise on top but most people wouldn’t realize it wasn’t meat and mayo.

Know why I think people bash vegans? Because we’re a minority and one of the last groups that are socially acceptable to hate. And that’s simply not cool.

Vegan Mom of a proudly militant vegan offspring

p.s. I only barely tolerate tofu