Friday, October 14, 2022

About That ‘Cross Dressing Teacher’ In Ontario

I’ve been thinking about the shop teacher who was photographed wearing what is obviously a fetish oriented set of artificial breasts. 

What we don’t know is pretty much anything about the teacher beyond the very attention-grabbing act of wearing what they did to the workplace.  A vague assertion about the person has been made that they are “transgender”, but without that person coming forward with some part of their story, we are left with very little to confirm or deny this.  

Now, there are a number of things about this entire scenario that make me very uneasy. Not the least of which is the fact that most transgender people who consider transitioning tend to avoid using prosthetics that are so obviously radically extreme when they are beginning to present in public. 

There are many reasons for this, but for the vast majority of transgender people who choose to transition publicly, the goal is very much to blend into the fabric of society so they can do routine things like grocery shopping without being stared at. To put it kindly, that outfit was anything but about “blending in”. 

I have had a few experiences where people have started to present as if they are intending to transition but they are just “trying it on for size”. Most of those people do a few outings cross-dressed and decide that transition isn’t where they need to go.  But, such excursions are also usually carefully chosen to be (relatively) safe spaces, and it would be very unusual for it to include one’s workplace. 

In short, there are a number of things about this that simply don’t add up to a normal trajectory for someone in their 30s or 40s transitioning.  To be clear, it certainly is possible that it is the case, but it seems more than a little odd.  

However, there are other framings of this that are possible. Going back to the 2000s, when a few Republican states were introducing the first wave of so-called “Bathroom Bills”, the trope of the “sexual predator in the bathroom” was used heavily to justify the legislation. Anti-LGBTQ activists spent considerable time and energy trying to find, or create, a court case or two they could point to as justification for their legislative games. In general, these efforts weren’t successful for a variety of reasons - mostly the simple fact that the transgender women they accused simply weren’t doing what they claimed. 

Somewhere around 2012 or so, rumblings started to come out of the anti-LGBTQ movement that if they couldn’t find a predator case to hold up, they were going to “start dressing up as women and entering bathrooms, change rooms, etc”.  Obviously the intent would be to make as big a scene as possible to grab headlines and create outrage.  

There’s no question that the dust-up around this teacher has certainly done that, and they chose quite the combination of factors to get the outrage too - a school environment (“Won’t Somebody Think of the Children!!!”), a presentation that was clearly going to provoke a reaction, and apparently had taken enough steps that the employer knew (or believed) that the person was “transitioning” at work. The latter has effectively drawn a curtain across the particulars of who, and why.

The outrage has been picked up by the usual suspects - Rebel Media and LifeSite in particular, and hangers-on to the Freedumb Convoy movement, and they continue to whip it up. The point here is that the media with a vested interest in supporting the extreme right has picked up the story and is running with it. 

It is conceivable that this is a coordinated false flag incident. The organization around it is consistent with what I have come to expect out of the far right, and it skirts along the edges in terms of legality - it looks bad to the public, but it’s not actually serious enough to draw criminal charges. The presentation chosen is arguably somewhat cartoonish - as if this is someone’s idea of what “being trans looks like writ large” (ironically pushing into the space more often associated with drag).  

What I’m describing here could be completely incorrect, but we have plenty of evidence of people on the far right engaging in some pretty creepy behaviour to make political points. A few years ago, Bill Whatcott and a few of his followers joined the Toronto Pride parade using a fake group alias so they could pass out anti-gay flyers. Similarly, Peter LaBarbera is infamous for sneaking into gay leather fetish events “for research purposes” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) - usually writing breathless columns afterwards about all the immoral things he saw while he was “undercover”.  

At this point in time, we don’t really have anything conclusive here. There are basically 3 possibilities: 

  1. This teacher is actually attempting to transition, and one of their first outings basically resulted in them stepping on a land mine. 
  2. The teacher is one of the “trying it on for size” types that usually backs away after a while, and they also stepped on a landmine in the process. 
  3. The teacher decided they were going to create the spectacle that could be used to justify legislative restrictions on transgender people - importing legislation currently being pushed in a large number of US States. 
In the absence of concrete proof, this is all speculative, of course. In the public sphere, all we really have is a handful of pictures and a couple of news articles.  We should not be blind to the possibilities here. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

What Is The Goal of the Alberta Sovereignty Act?

Since Danielle Smith first started advocating for the so-called "Alberta Sovereignty Act", much digital ink has been spilled over how it's unconstitutional, if not downright illegal under Canada's laws today. 

In general I agree with this perspective, but I also do not think the intent is "to play within the rules" here. After the CPC lost the 2015 election, and Harper effectively "rage quit" elected politics, I suspected that we had not seen the last of his shadow in Canada's politics. 

To be sure, he has remained a controlling influence in the CPC, and I'm fairly certain that his machinations led ultimately to the hamstringing and downfall of both Andrew Scheer and Erin O'Toole. When Poilievre stepped back from running to replace Andrew Scheer, I wondered what was up.  There was no question in my mind that he had more than a good chance of defeating the rest of the field of candidates - I concluded at the time that Poilievre's sudden "step back" was coordinated by someone close to Harper who rightly figured that the odds of defeating Trudeau were slim, a matter of "keeping one's powder dry" so to speak. 

In 2015, I commented to a sibling that now that voters have made it clear that Harper wasn't going to "rule over them for life", that conservative backrooms were now trying to figure out how to "blow Canada up" politically.  

Since then, we have been bombarded by a series of initiatives. That has been everything from the formation of the UCP (Harper was heavily involved in organizing this) in Alberta, to increasing the coordination across conservative Premiers (it's been fascinating to watch them all start singing from the same song sheet during the COVID pandemic), to a series of political pseudo-separatist initiatives like the so-called "Buffalo Declaration" and the "Free Alberta Strategy". 

The intent is basically to drive division in Canada.  Play up old grievances from the Prairies - which are nursed and fed in Alberta to this day, claim that Ottawa is out to screw Alberta over, and so on. The underlying goal all stems back to Harper's anger over being defeated in 2015 - he was angry at that, and as one might expect, there's a certain amount of "If I can't have Canada, nobody can" thinking going on. 

This looks a lot like the classic domestic abuse strategem - isolate the victims, and convince them that only their abuser actually "understands" them.  

Letting Your Biases Get In Front Of You

Yesterday, I ran across this essay on X(itter), and it annoyed me because the author makes all kinds of errors of both fact and reason.  Si...