In the Globe, on parenting, gender and kids before puberty. I interviewed a lovely Hamilton family with a darling MTF girl named Rose.
Are you sick of sexual assault? Me too. That’s why I propose A Curfew for Men.
(Wrote this to blow off a little steam. Pitched it to the Walrus for fun. Then it went kinda viral.)
In the Globe: what are the links between gender and adolescent depression? Girls may be going through puberty earlier, and that poses risks to their mental health.
I am now, and always have been, a nail-biter. I am also pretty deficient at anything that requires combining patience with fine motor coordination. As such, I got into the habit of getting my nails done. And I am cheap frugal, so I got in the habit of getting them done at cheapie nail shops.
It’s pretty obvious upon entering most places that offer $15 manicures that it’s far from a great job. Even if the owners are fair, and nice, sloughing off other people’s dead foot skin for minimum wage has got to suck. It’s also pretty obvious that most of the people working in these nail shops are young, immigrant women for whom English is a second language.
A year or two ago, the mother of a friend of mine developed pneumonia. She’s Vietnamese, and she worked in a nail shop for decades. Her doctor thought she was a chain-smoker, because of the condition of her lungs.
There was only so long that I could ignore that getting my nails done in these places very likely made me a first-world jerk. So, I finally grew some ovaries and wrote this story for the Globe on all the really terrible health risks faced by nail salon workers.
I’m trying to learn to do my own nails. I pretty much suck at it.
Happy Pride! The latest issue of the Ethnic Aisle is all about sex, gender, bodies and big ol butts. As always, I am so proud of what we’ve put together: this issue has our first audio posts (from Mc Jazz and DJ Cozmic), some art, some fiction, some amazing stuff.
From Saturday’s Globe, parenting tips from families with two moms.
This was interesting to research – when my editor told me he wanted a story about young adults with gay parents, my response was “what about them?” He thought that bullying, etc., would be hurting their development, I thought they’d be normal and boring. I talked to a bunch of families across Canada, including those parented by two dads. I tried very, very hard to find families from outside of urban centres (and some people of colour) but had no luck, which is revealing in itself.
We went with this angle for the final piece because the research about above-average emotional development in lesbians’ kids was so interesting (Deborah Foster from Athabasca U and the National Lesbian Longitudinal Family Study, if you feel like reading more). Now I’m getting feedback, positive and negative, from as far away as Australia. Hot topic is the way that we rhyme.
At Open File: a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner with Salaam, Toronto’s Queer Muslim community.
I’ve got 50 first cousins. Yeah, you read that right. As part of the Ethnic Aisle’s Pride edition, here’s a Q&A with Clyde, the only one that’s openly gay.
Was there an actual day that you came out to your parents?
There was. I believe it was 1994, I was 21. I came home from classes on my birthday, which is October 11, which is also National Coming Out Day in the U.S. Oprah Winfrey was having a special where she talked to parents who were dealing with the issues raised by their GLBT kids. I watched the program with my mom. Afterward, I turned to her and said “And you know I’m gay, right?” She sort of sighed and said “are you sure it’s not a phase?” I said no, and she said ok. I kind of left her there with that.
Two days later, I was hanging around with my sister, Suzanne, and late brother, Andy, and mom came up to me. She gave me a hug and said “I don’t care, I love you anyway. I’m glad you came out of the cupboard.” This became a huge lost-in-translation joke.
Gender, childish insults, and Canadian columnists. In the Toronto Standard.
The book is a DIY-guide to civic activism, lending inspiration to those colouring both inside and outside the lines. There’s a handy, accessible guide to navigating the red tape of City Hall; a piece on how citizens could participate in allocating the city budget; and many, many heart-warming stories of regular people who helped clean up neighbourhood parks, start farmers’ markets, install public art, build skate ramps, and generally make Toronto the kind of place I want to live.
My piece is about looking beyond the sometimes saddening homogeneity of elected bodies, to see the real diversity that’s on the ground, everyday. And, just to toot my own blog here, someone just told me that none other than Matt Galloway said, live and on air, that my essay was his favourite. I’m going to put that one in my back pocket and pull it out when I need a pick-me-up. But really, I found the whole book really optimistic and an excellent kickstart: the day after I got my hands on a hard copy, I signed up to volunteer in the after-school snack program at my local community centre. It’s hard for a hungry kid to grow up to be mayor, after all.