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Jun. 25th, 2011

Let me preface this: I'm straight. I'm not vanilla, and I'm probably not entirely heteronormative, but for all intents and purposes, there has never been a question of the legality around my being able to marry whom I wish.

And yet, I cannot express how incredibly happy I am for all of those in New York state right now, who were just last night granted the legal freedom to marry their same-sex partners. It didn't hit me as much when it happened here in Canada, and maybe that's because I took for granted Canada's (generally) liberal nature. Having grown up when Morgentaler managed to get abortion decriminalized, it really didn't seem like marrying someone should be a bigger deal.

But in the US, it seems like every step forward with LGBT rights is a huge battle, a highly touchy political situation because of how starkly the lines are drawn between republican and democrat--it rarely seems like there's a middle ground, and maybe that's because it's essentially a two-party system. To see republicans standing up and voting in favour of gay marriage is incredible. I doubt it's the turning of a tide that will affect other states as well, and no doubt there'll be court battles trying to have the decision overturned, but it's on the books now. Every step forward means something. Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire and now New York. Every step forward is a piece of ammunition other states can use.

I feel so ridiculously full of love and happiness for all the strangers who had their love legally legitimized last night by this decision. I really wish I could be there. It isn't my fight, and this decision doesn't change my legal rights in any way. Even if I was gay, I'm Canadian, so it _really_ doesn't affect me. That I feel so profoundly moved by this is strange.

But it does move me, and it does affect me. All this shit around Ford refusing to participate in Pride even in a token way here in Toronto really upsets me. Especially the apathy I was seeing this week around it: "Did you really think he was going to show?" Yes. "Would you want him there, knowing he was grimacing under a fake smile?" Yes. "Come on, we can't force him to attend. That's just as bad as his homophobia." No it isn't. When he took on the public mantle, he swore to act in the interests of the citizens of this city, not just SOME of them. Maybe that's what he thinks, that he can act only in the interests of some, but that's not how politics should be. You do what's best for everybody, not just your buddies. And if you can't even pretend do that, then you're in it for the wrong reasons, and you're a shitty politician who has no business running a city. There has been a long run of mayors participating in Pride in this city, even if it's just reading the proclamation to open the festival. Even Mel Lastman, that idiot who was convinced that natives would boil him in a pot if he went to Africa, he participated in spite of his initial misgivings and afterward felt much more positive for having done so, and I think it improved his image in the gay community. Moreover, Pride is a huge financial draw in this city. Even if Ford's moral qualms put him on the opposite side from his gay constituents, considering that he was voted in on a platform of acting for the people, he needs to recognize that this city needs money. I wouldn't be surprised if our finances are still affected by some degree to the fallout of SARS. We're talking about cutting services, because the budget shortfall is so bad--so much for making up the difference by "stopping the gravy train"! We're hosting World Pride in a few years. If our mayor can't support his own fucking people, what does that tell the world about being proud in Toronto? It certainly doesn't speak well, that's for sure. If Toronto wants to be a world-class city, then it needs a mayor who can lead in a progressive, world-class way, and shunning a large part of the taxpaying voter base is not leadership we can be proud of on a world stage, and frankly, I'm angry and embarrassed that this narrow-minded, short-sighted, racist, homophobic, self-involved turd got voted to the highest office in the city I love.

Some have pointed out that Canadian politics isn't something to be proud of these days and so who cares. But I refuse to be apathetic about it. Apathy solves nothing. It only serves to let assholes get away with treating people like shit. Apathy is a luxury only the privileged can afford. Even if this doesn't affect me on the surface of things, it does affect me. At the risk of getting into slippery-slope arguments, if one group of us takes a hit without any response, then who's next? Women, children, First Nations, the poor, the elderly?

The rights of some are the rights of all. In spite of how big we think this city, this country, this planet is, it's small, and we're all in it together. A victory for some of us is a victory for all of us, and I believe that those of us who have privilege owe it to fight for those who don't. They fought and suffered, were arrested, beaten, injured, imprisoned and died for these things. We can't take for granted their efforts. We can't sit back and say 'it's not my fight, it's not my problem, we don't need to fight anymore'. The moment we take our rights for granted is the moment we are at risk of beginning to lose them, especially with right-wingers in power. Now more than ever we need to honour the work of those who've gone before us, to stand up and defend what they won with their sweat, blood and tears.

So today, even though I'm a straight white woman who's allowed to marry who she wants, who can move with relative freedom in this country, who can vote, own property, pay taxes, buy birth control and have an abortion if she wishes, I'm celebrating for those who won the right to marry the person they love. I don't care if this makes me naive or an optimist--even if it does, I'll own that proudly. I never want to become a person who doesn't care. And I will fight side by side with strangers to defend their right to live and be happy.

Together, we're stronger. Happy Pride.

(Feel free to link to this if you like. I've made it public.)

the lifeline project

There are two interesting projects happening on lj right now: the star odyssey, and geo-stashing.

The Star Odyssey was started by wakingeyes who painted six small canvases with a star on each, compiled a list of participants and sent out the stars to people on the list. Each person who received a star was to take photos of the star in their environment, and then send the star on to the next person on the list, and post the photos to the star odyssey community.

Geo-stashing is a take on geo-caching game, in which a person builds a cache and hides it somewhere in a public place, posting the geographical coordinates of the cache on a geo-caching website. Local geo-cachers who visit the site get the coordinates and hunt out the cache. My understanding is that each visitor can take one item, and leave a new item behind, and log this in the book that’s supposed to be part of the cache. Geo-cachers are also supposed to report to the cache’s owner on the safety and status of the cache, if it’s been moved, damaged, or is in danger of being damaged.

Anyway, these two things inspired me to come up with the Lifeline Project.

Here's how I'm thinking it would work.

We'd compile a list of local knitters who are interested in participating, and one person (probably me) would start by casting on and knitting a bit of a pattern. Once I get between 1"-3" done, I'd take pictures (to be posted after sending) and send it on to the next person on the list, who would then knit 1"-3" of their favourite pattern, take photos of it and then send it off to the next person on the list. And so forth. Once we get to the end of the list, the item gets sent back to the first person, to be sold on eBay for charity. The proceeds will be given to the Women's College Hospital Research Institute.

So far so good, but there's some technical details that need to be thought about...

A Q&A behind the cut.Collapse )

If you want to participate, or have any suggestions, or concerns that I didn't cover above, feel free to contact me at iolarah at gmail dot com. I'm not sure when this will be starting up, but I'd like to get it started sooner rather than later, within the next month. If you'd like to get involved and stay informed as to what's going on with the project, please feel free to join the projectlifeline community. I try to update once a week or so.

(I would have had lifelineproject, but I'm a twit--I thought you had to convert an existing personal journal into a community journal, rather than just creating one from nothing. I don't know why I thought that, if it ever worked that way and the rules have changed, or if I just made that up, but anyway, projectlifeline was the next best thing, since lifeline_project would have been one letter too long :(


A while ago, tailchaser posted this information, and since this weekend was so bitterly cold, I was reminded of it. So I'm reposting this info in the hopes that the knitters out there have some extra yarn and a little time on your hands. And if you know of any knitters, pass on the info. It doesn't have to be fancy, just warm.

(And if you're not a knitter, but want to help out in some way, there's a drop-box for gently used winter wear in the lobby of St. Mike's hospital. Blankets, coats, hats, scarves, mittens, gloves--I'm sure they'd welcome all of it.)


StreetKnit Wants Your Knitted Goods To Help Homeless
With the first fallen snow officially powdering u(T.O.)pia, we should be doubly reminded of the state of homelessness in our communities.

Every year people in Toronto freeze to death because they have nowhere to come in from the cold. In winter 2004/2005 there were 15 extreme cold weather warnings in Toronto. While we at Streetknit cannot (yet . . . we’re working on it) knit shelter for people, we are rousing the knitting communities of Toronto, hobbyists, s’n'bs, society yarn-darlings, needle-clackers of all ages and walks of life to provide the next best thing.

We’re asking knitters to put needles together and spend some time knitting some warmth into an extra scarf, maybe some toques with affectionate or somber colours, mitts, blankets, socks, even a sweater and see it reach those without home. These can be dropped off at local yarn-knit shops Knit-O-Matic (1378 Bathurst St.), The Naked Sheep (2144 A Queen St. E.) and The Knit Cafe (1050 Queen W.).

Let this year be the year Toronto started knitting herself up a terrible storm, wrapping up our communities fair and beleaguered in one big loving scarf with matching mitt-lets and a toque.

Depending on how many fresh woolly goods thier winter drives see, Streetknit will be distributing to homeless outreach programs all over the city including Windfall Clothing and Ve’ahavta so far, as well as need expressed by future friends Scott Mission, St. Francis Table and Out of the Cold. If you are a homelessness service-provider interested in this project, please contact streetknit@gmail.com .

In the knitting community and want to help? Please post this request to your own blog, list-serve, events group, and forward this request to all your woolly-minded friends. How about organizing your own knitting party for streetknit’s winter drive? Need help publicising it or representation on our site? Any Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us at:

Thank you in advance for your kind wooliness and effort.

getting involved.

A few days ago, someone posted in the knitting community about a charity called the Mother Bear Project. I'd never heard of it before, so I looked it up. In taking a look through their site, I decided I wanted to get involved.

From their site: "The Mother Bear Project is a grass-roots, non-profit group dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children, primarily those affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of hand-knit bears." How it works is that a person orders a bear pattern from them (has to be their pattern), and when they get the pattern, they knit or crochet the bear and then bring the finished bear to one of the drop-offs, along with three dollars to ship the bear to the child who'll be receiving it.

Catch was that all the drop-offs seemed to be in Minnesota, so I emailed the organizer to ask if Canadian donations could be mailed down. She said absolutely, and so here I am.

This seems like a really great charity. The bear pattern looks simple and isn't a huge time committment, and can be done out of scrap yarn. It doesn't have to be perfect or beautiful. The reason I'm posting this to my LJ rather than to my knitting blog is because I want to see if I can really get a big donation together, and send it down in a single go at the beginning of June. Partly because it might save on shipping, but mostly because having a goal like that motivates more people than doing it alone. And why June? Gives everybody lots of time to organize and participate, if they wish to. No need to make this a stressful thing, after all.

So if you knit or crochet, or know of anybody who knits or crochets who'd be willing to donate a few hours of their time (and three dollars for shipping) to make a little kid a stuffed bear, tell them about this and give them my email if they're interested. I mean, look at this kid. The bear is such a small thing in the grand scheme, but it's obviously made her very happy, and that's awesome. Supplies like unwanted Polyfil or scrap yarn would also be welcome, too. I'll probably be ordering a copy of the pattern this weekend, and once I receive it, I'll pdf and email it to those interested.


the revolution will not be carpeted
bluestar: iolarah

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