We Are Queers, And We Are Dying For Social Justice
Queer Rights, like the rights of so many other marginalized or racialized communities, are hard won, but too easily taken from us. We must keep fighting!
Join Queers for Social Justice at the intersection of Church and Wellesley for a demonstration against homophobia and transphobia.
We demonstrate against the criminalization of people with HIV/AIDS. We demonstrate against the deporation of LGBTQ refugees with the impending passage of Bill C-31.
We demonstrate to oppose violence against trans people, especially vulnerable trans women of color and sex workers who are most often targeted, We demonstrate in support of Bill C-279, to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity and gender expression.
We demonstrate against government cuts to HIV/AIDS services, LGBTQ health and social programs.
We demonstrate in support of queer youth who have been bullied in schools.
Wear funeral attire or black if you can for the die-in.
Location: Church & Wellesley intersection Time: Thursday July 28th @ 6:00 PM
Thoughts for our New Traditions Residency: Family, Art and Working as a Collective
Maylee and I come from very different familial backgrounds. We are also long time pals who have recently discovered how rich this difference can be for our creative process. We are also very different as artists. Maylee conceptually engages in the action of creating. Whereas, I like to think of ideas that embody our creation. Maylee is an artist/musican and I am an academic/artist. Our language and imperative to creatively use time and space may operate on a different frequency, but our coherency as friends who understand our bond to be familial in nature has given birth to a rich awareness for radical self-making and imagination. We are exploring our family rituals, memories, and process in tandem in order to enable space to grow our feminist politics regarding our self-identification as both women and artists committed to community and art.
Our familial memories are related to different affective energies. Our family herstories juxtapose against positive and negative experiences. Self-making is a creative sense-making process informed by our memories and experiences with relationships that have impacted our developing selves. For me food is associated with memories I have with my family. My father is a big movie buff, so eating popcorn and watching movies remains one of the only positive memories I have with him.
While my mother was notorious for hating the task of cooking, our positive moments in time together involved going out for dinner. Often after Wednesday church ( my mom is a dedicated Christian, while I am a recovering queer and dedicated agnostic ) we would often go to Swiss Chalet after our Wednesday evenings with the big JC. On these nights I would only ever look forward to drinking the swiss chalet sauce, while I’m sure my mom would mostly look forward to deep prayer sessions.
As a 27 year old woman, my ritual with chosen family and food has shifted. I am sure my chosen family know about my deep and unreasonable love for all things popcorn to be slightly idiosyncratic. Popcorn is a snack that I eat as ritual of self-care when I am needing to ground, take time and indulge in space just for me. The process of making it, the smell and the relaxed “down time” that comes with eating it is something both reassuring and comforting.
Another example of sites of affective family ritual includes holidays, specifically Christmas is rife with oppressive imperatives to be happy with family.
So for example, you’re a queer who has a lovely family, who appreciates you, does not oppress you for your gender expression and respects and honours your sexuality. Awesome! Unfortunately, Not everyone is as fortunate. Families are triggering, holidays are triggering, and trying to take care of ourselves during these times can be especially challenging. Many queers and non queers alike do not have what i am referring to as ‘positive family privilege’ during the holidays. Coming out as queer or trans may have had incredibly devestating affects on your ability to experience and belong to a family. As a result the notion of ‘family’ ‘ritual’ and big dinners are sites of morning, loss and sadness.
These sites of morning do not mean I am not happy you have positive familial holiday rituals but instead it means I have a chance to learn from my reaction to your priviledge. But also – I would hope that you have a chance to learn that your privdledge with family is one that is not unconsciously observed. But instead is understood as a site of power that many others do not possess.
June 30th is Queer Pride for Toronto. A great deal of my chosen family will be taking part in this holiday that has increasingly become a site of commodification and assimilation.
Instead of taking part in TD Toronto Pride, why don’t you come and consider the notion of familial tradition’s that inform, engage, enrage or oppress our creative energies?
The traditions we are thinking about include dinners, craft-making, and holidays. We want to engage in various craft making workshops/circles ( sewing a patch or more informally creating a bonfire on the beach and sharing stories ) these workshops or circles of activity will bring us together in order to share in the energy/feelings/activities we remember about our family traditions.
This participatory workshop is about remembering, time, family ( chosen or not ) feelings, and rituals that have guided our ability to creatively express ourself through artistic practice.
Please bring a small object/or sentiment along with a story and feeling that is related to your familial story. - a more formal invite will be sent out very soon -
“Sometimes it’s good to grow a tough hide, but when I hear people say that they won’t get a dog because they had one when they were a kid and it died, or that they don’t want to fall in love because it hurts too much, I’m like, ‘fuck you.’ It pisses me off to think that we’re conditioned to push away bad feelings and to think that anything that’s uncomfortable is something to be avoided. When things are really bad nowadays, I recognize the value in it because it’s me filling my quota— it’s going to make my joy more intense later.”—Fiona Apple (via pitchfork)
I’m going to be living on Toronto Island for an artist residency sponsored by Whippersnapper Gallery. Here’s a little about what myself and Maylee are planning for The New Traditions Residency:
How are rituals and emotions channeled through the traditional space of intimate experiences with family and home? In what ways do parental and familial practices affectively embed small ritualistic scripts of knowing and being? Normative family traditions such as Sunday dinner, holidays, music and craft making become a body of knowledge repeated and manifested over time. This body is a fluid and signifying system impacted by the shared energy of connection and disconnection. As such, we want to explore our intimate memories with ‘family events’ as sites of inspiration that have the power to challenge and transform traditional ‘family values.’
Often times being apart of a family involves taking part in various ‘familial based’ traditions (such as crafting, holidays and meals) alongside these events come various affects that are sites of warmth, connectivity, alienation and abuse. The dichotomy of emotions and rituals associated with our individual family experience and the various traditions are imprints that enable us to understand our subjectivity as women and artists. For the “New Traditions” residency, we want to collectively work to investigate our memories in an attempt to transform our energies that remember and cultivate ancestral rituals for better or for worse. We will combine our traditional-familial knowledge regarding performance, crafting, and affective her-stories in order to highlight the way identity and creative energies are impacted by familial rituals. We are operating with the belief that everyday family rituals (including the institutionalized construct of family itself) are embedded within sites of power and privilege that influence and informs self-making and artistry. How have our mothers/fathers/sisters and extended family informed and inspired our ways of being a woman and an artist?
Using our memories of familial rituals we will confront the notion of family and self-making through a series of dinners and crafting workshops. These dinners and workshops will act as not only a performance that exercises emotional endurance, but also a radical new community tool that seeks to understand the family traditions we love and hate. Within these workshops we will craft and embody our ancestral knowledge in order to exorcise our past and re-frame our future.
We plan to use found familial objects associated with or made by our family members, such as blankets, sweaters, and scarves. We will then use these materials to construct a giant Frankenstein-like female body. We will be using a sewing machine and we will need access to a kitchen and dinning area. We plan to film stories shared during dinner and sewing circles in order to contribute to our final interdisciplinary performance piece involving music and puppetry.
Pulling from the practice of feminist craft making and performance art we are looking to create a representation of a female body as it relates to our affective and embodied her-stories related to family rituals. This work will be a healing tool that purifies toxic traditions in order to mystically realign our relationship to the memory of family and subjectivity. Our hope is to fashion radically new connections with community in order to transform not only our affective experience, but also to confront institutional and commercialized notions that promise a particular and privileged happiness awarded to traditional family values.