Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

GenderFreedom 1st XMAS Dinner 1988

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

These photo’s date December 1988, a time when friendships where more important than money.

It’s a shame what has happened to Gender Mosaic ( Incorporated ), it had great promise when I started it.

Founder:

Gender Mosaic

Gender Freedom

Judyk

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Thoughts on Bullies (re-post)

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Although there is still a scientific debate on the nature and definition of bullying, most researchers understand this behavior as aggression characterized by:

  1. causing intentional harm,
  2. repetition, and
  3. an imbalance of power between the bully and the victim.

Bullies appear to derive satisfaction from inflicting injury and suffering on others, seem to have little empathy for their victims, and often defend their actions by saying that their victims provoked them in some way.

Bullies often come from homes in which physical punishment is used, where striking out physically is seen as a way to handle problems and where friendships and warmth are frequently lacking. Sociologists agree that children who have been bullied tend to become bullies themselves. Researchers also agree that all bullies share two key personality characteristics: Low self esteem and profound insecurity.

Boys and girls bully differently but its still about power and control.

Boys will beat you up and feel they have won because youre the one with the black eye and bleeding nose. But they have won nothing. The victory is shallow and exists only in their minds.

Girls, on the other hand, tend to choose rumors, criticism and ostracism as methods of bulling. In it’s own way, this kind of  ‘psychological warfare’ can be more damaging and harder to combat than the simple physical abuse traditionally preferred by boys.

Bystanders also play a role in bullying:

  • the enforcers join in and assist the bully
  • the re-enforcers encourage the bully by observing and laughing
  • the outsiders avoid the bullying by staying away and not getting involved for fear of losing social status or being bullied as well.

Perhaps the greatest tragedy of bullying is that it doesn’t end with childhood. Childhood bullies often become adult bullies. Their methods become more subtle but their basic behavior patterns remain the same.

We have recently been hearing a lot about adult bullying in newspaper and magazine articles about office bullying and, in particular, ‘the bully boss’. The bully boss’s leadership style is usually described as ‘my way or the highway’ and he or she almost always surrounds him/herself with multiple enforcers and re-enforcers.

The bully boss is also characterized by a top-down management style. She/he consults the employees under her/his authority only to inform them of decisions already made at the executive level; never to seek their guidance or opinions. If the employees choose to remain ‘outsiders’ and simply ‘go with the flow’, the bully boss is successful in maintaining his/her position of power and control. If, however, any employee dares to question the bully boss’s policies or actions, the employee can expect to face the boss’s retribution. Retribution may come in the form of reprimands, threats and (in extreme cases) material punishments such as demotions or suspensions.

The bully boss can also – and all too often does – appear in the leadership of service clubs, volunteer-based groups and other non-commercial organizations. Almost invariably, the bully boss, as President of the club, surrounds him/herself with enforcers and re-enforcers and alienates any non-outsiders – anyone who disagrees with with their top-down policies and poses a threat to their power and control.

I have recently been the victim of this kind of treatment, from the leaders of a group I founded over twenty six years ago (GenderMosaic). The president along with his clique of enforcers systematically drove many talented, dedicated and valuable members out of the organization when they questioned his leadership style, agenda and decisions.

My solution was to leave the old group and start a new one, based on bottom-up, member-driven policies and agendas.

As for the bullies, I feel sorry for them. If the leadership of a small group on the fringes of the GLBT community means so much to them, their lives must be very sad and empty, indeed.

~Judy Kearns

Bill C-279: When will there be protection for the Transgendered in Canada ?

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Bill C-279 will bring basic human rights to the Transgendered of Canada and perhaps the world.

While the same Bill has passed the House of Commons Twice, it is stalled by the Harper Government-controlled Senate. I wonder if there will ever be justice for transgendered people in this country under his ‘command’.

It has been dubbed the Bathroom Bill,a nickname which both cheapens the Bill and its intent and degrades it by making its content and import seem narrow and base. In comment on this current situation, I offer

the following article by Gender Freedom’s own Maggie James for your consideration.

~ Webmistress Judy Kearns

Thoughts on the Washroom Use issue

The issue of washroom access in public places for TG people is a classic illustration of the social and cultural mechanisms that conspire to thwart, or at least delay, the eventual acceptance of the TG community by mainstream society.

The problem boils down to the fact that the needs and desires of transitioning TSs and cross dressers conflict harshly with the rights, privileges and expectations currently enjoyed by mainstream, conventionally-gendered people.

There is also the overriding reality that owners and managers of restaurants, hotels, workplaces and other private premises have the right to set their own rules within the limits set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Act.

This, of course, brings us to the crucial difference between rights and privileges, a distinction very few people actually understand. Rights apply to all, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, creed or colour. No one can take them away. Privileges, on the other hand, are bestowed by those in power and authority in a given jurisdiction or social context and can be taken away if abused. In most cases, privileges are not just given freely; they must be earned. For example: All legal residents of Ontario have a right to OHIP health care coverage. But residents must earn the privilege of carrying a drivers license, and the license can be taken away if they abuse the privilege.

At this point in history, transgendered people must rely on the good will of the owners and managers of private venues to extend them privileges such as use of the washroom of their choice.

The principle of privilege also applies to the government workplaces. Washroom access for TGs in the Federal environment is a matter of government management policy, not a right. The policy is administered differently in different government venues. Some departments and agencies allow TSs to use the washroom that corresponds to their chosen gender role while others restrict pre-op TSs to the so-called gender-neutral (sometimes referred to as family, or accessible washrooms available at their locations. The policy simply states that TSs must be accommodated.

And, as was vividly illustrated by the case last year in which a transitioning pre-op TS was denied use of the ladies showers and change rooms at a Hamilton (ON) gym, social standards will prevail. Regardless of how supportive business owners may feel about accommodating TG people, they cannot be expected to throw their businesses down the drain by doing something that will alienate their mainstream clients. Neither will any government ever step up and do anything that might alienate a large block of voters. Legalizing use of public washrooms by TG people would be political suicide. Mainstream society is simply not ready for such a move.

So Much more education and outreach must be done before the general public will be ready to embrace and facilitate the self-expression activities of TG people. Protests, expressions of outrage and harsh demands by members of the TG Community for *privileges* (which they mistakenly call *rights*) will not help bring TGs and the mainstream closer together. In fact, that kind of confrontational approach will only drive the two groups farther apart and delay the eventual acceptance of TGs by the mainstream.

Bottom line: TGs will only get the privileges they want by earning them; not by trying to demand them or extort them from those who have the power to extend those privileges. The TG community must work in a low-key, non-confrontational manner from within (or at least in cooperation with) the mainstream to gradually achieve the privileges, status and respect that we all want and deserve.

As with so many other things in life, PATIENCE IS THE KEY. And a firm right hand held out in friendship is infinitely more effective than a slap in the face when you want to influence someone in your favour.

Sorry about that. Got carried away. But It frustrates the daylights out of me to see so many TG people acting like impatient, hyperactive children about so-called Trans Rights, oversimplifying the issue and proposing actions and policies which do nothing to advance the cause of TG acceptance  actions and policies which, in fact, help to build and reinforce the walls of suspicion, mistrust and misunderstanding that separate the TG community and the mainstream.

[Repost, from a personal blog.]

Something Wonderful Happened!

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

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On July 12, 2013, ‘Something Wonderful Happened’.

There was a meeting of the first three Presidents of Gender Mosaic, the pioneers of the Transgender movement in Ottawa and Canada!

We met at Monkey Joe’s on Carling Ave.

At that time, we share a flavoured beer, had a white wine toast, enjoyed a meal and recounted the real beginnings of the transgender movement in Ottawa.

It was wonderful to be with my friends of 25 plus years, something the current members of Gender Mosaic (GM) will never get to enjoy.

You see, the current Gender Mosaic group does not encourage friendship. Its sole goal seems to be making money.

There was some talk of GM at our meeting, but the consensus was that the current GM is in a shambles and headed on downward on a slippery slope.

Joanne Law (1993-1998) was the third and fifth President of the group.

Joanne has been active with her new group Ottawa’s Freedom Center, headquartered at 265 Montreal Road Suite 4 (613-422-2294) ottawafreedomcenter.org. There is nothing else I can add on Joanne Law. Should you doubt me Try Googling her!

Teddy (1990-1992) was the second President of the group. Teddy served the group with honesty and an internally driven goal to keep the principles of friendship and help in the forefront, while moving forward with the cause.

Judy Kearns (1988-1990) – that’s me – was the first President – simply because someone had to do it. A couple of years ago, GenderMosaic’s Executive split with me because I was critical of the way they were running the group, and cancelled my lifetime membership in the group. Recently, they tried to out me using a YouTube video that included my name and photos.

Unless you want to risk receiving this kind of treatment, I recommend that you stay away from today’s Gender Mosaic!

But never fear! GenderFreedom.ca is here for you! GF is deeply involved with the R.O.H. and its trans-related programs. GF’s Transition Mentoring Program, spearheaded by our own Maggie James, continues to be a resounding success, helping dozens of trans and gender-questioning people every year make the right contacts in the Ottawa Region trans support community.

I trust that this meeting of the founders of gender freedom in Canada will become a yearly event. I know we’ll have a lot to talk about!

~ Judy Kearns

 

The First 20 Years of Gender Mosaic

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

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Introduction

Hi Im Judy Kearns. I’ll be your guide for this trip through GM’s history.

In order for this to be meaningful, I’ll need to set the scene…

Time: 1988

Place: Ottawa , Ontario , Canada

Issue: No Cross-dressing support group in Ottawa

Need: Desperate

Solution: Non-apparent

In 1988, there was no Internet and only a few BBSs scattered around the world that would even deal with the issue of cross dressers.

In desperation, I joined a group from the U.S. called Tri-Ess and, for a short time, GM was a chapter of Tri-Ess.

With the Tri-Ess documentation, I received a directory of members with a picture and a short blurb on each. There was one member who appeared to be nothing more than an attractive, nicely-dressed woman. I sent her/him a letter and, a week later, I received a reply and a phone number in Florida.

When I called it, I met two of the nicest people in the world, Jenny/John and his wife Yvonne. We chatted almost nightly for about a month. My, that hurt my phone bill! They invited be to come down for a meeting any time I wanted. That night, I sat thinking of the offer and the chance to make my life better. I took the plunge and booked a flight for the following Saturday.

Shortly after that, the realization of what I was about to do hit me.

I called and told then I was coming down but I had no idea how to get my ‘things’ down there, through customs and so on. I was told not give it a second thought, as Jenny and I where the same size, she would lend me anything I needed.

Scared to death, I made the trip. I met an absolutely wonderful group of folks! They treated me as the guest of honor. I toured Kennedy Space Center and went shopping, all as Judy…

Well, it had to end sometime and I came home to Canada. I had been back home about three days when I realized the Florida people had a group *and* Disney, at the same time. Not fair!

A short time later, I called the Ottawa Distress Line and offered my services for CDs who called in just a friendly voice to talk to and a shoulder to cry on. They rejected me. I couldn’t blame them. I was someone they did not know with no formal training in social work or degrees to back up my claims.

Next, I contacted Pink Triangle Services. This time, I simply asked, �Where would you refer a heterosexual male cross dresser? They where stunned for a bit. Then, I said, “You can refer them to me.”

I met with a number of people from Pink Triangle Services a few days later, armed with pictures of the Florida group and me at the space centre, and was accepted as a contact point.

And, with that, the Ottawa group was off and running.

Now, we’ll move on to a look at GM’s Presidents and what they have done to build Gender Mosaic.


Judy Kearns

1988 – 1990

Judy 1988

Judy, 1988

Well! After offering the Introduction, there doesn’t seem to be much left for me to say.

Staring the group would seem to be the biggie. But, for me, it was just something that had to be done.

I left the group for some time. This I will always regret, but I’m back and will never make that error again.

If I had to go out and find another group full of kind-hearted, wonderful people like us, right now, I would be very hard pressed to do so.

I have seen newbies come and go mostly come and stay and I have asked my self why we are so special as a group…

I believe that the earnest efforts and good hearts of the Presidents who came after me paved the way and all played a part in building this wonderful organization.

Now, allow me to introduce Teddy/Alison, a really good friend and the second President of GM.


Teddy/Alison

1990-1992

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Teddy/Alison

I ascended to the presidency of GM in September 1990, there being no elections in the olden times. However, since I was editor of the newsletter, had been Judys right hand woman and had an available home in which to hold events, the line of succession seemed clear.

There was a growing activism in the group at the time, the product of a dynamic membership that was coming into its own and eager to address the world. This activism was the impetus behind the groups name change to Gender Mosaic. We also published pamphlets and a survival guide, installed a phone line in my house, and advertised for new members.

Our social events kicked into high gear with Joanne Laws Cantley barbecues, outings to Montreal, boat trips from Kingston, joint meetings with the old Monarch Social Club, our first pub fundraiser, and of course my legendary Golden Damsel shuffleboard tournaments.

We held two monthly events, one a business meeting the other a social, which often turned into a big house party. We had fun and I remember being very busy.

Joanne, who had always been a great help to me, was ready to take over by the spring of 1992.

Now, like the unsinkable Molly Brown, I pass the torch to Joanne Law, the third and fifth President of GM.


Joanne Law

1993-1998

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Joanne Law

It all started a long time ago. I was looking for a resource which dealt with my cross dressing. This was the late 1980s, before Gender Mosaic. I called the Pink Triangle Services Hot line and asked for a name or contact point in their card file as computers were expensive and very rare. After several tries phoning the hot line, I got a person who gave me Judys name. I made contact with Judy and that was the start of something wonderful.

My first meeting was interesting as I met, for the first time, people like me. Our meeting was at Judys place (the address was 38B), where we drank beer and watched the original Star Trek. She had a big satellite dish in her back yard. This was the first time I was not alone in my life. Yes, I was married and had children but this was different.

I got involved with Gender Mosaic at the very second meeting in 1988, becoming President in 1993 for three-year terms three times and one term where I stepped down. To put it another way, I was president for 13 of the first 20 years.

During my ‘reign’, I became the walking, talking TG action figure. I opened several closets in the greater communities, including national unions, local unions, womens shelters, lecturing to universities and colleges and becoming a community volunteer. Gender Mosaic marched in the Pride parade in 1994 and has been there since. I represented Gender Mosaic and helped the cross-dressing community become visible to the police via the Hate Crime Unit of the Ottawa Police Service. I was one of those who sat at the news conference, along with representatives of the GLB communities, at the historic launch of the Liaison Committee and I have been sitting at that table since then, representing Gender Mosaic.

Gender Mosaic was becoming visible and people started to know who we were and what we did. People started to ask questions and invited us to their events, where we answered them. I led Gender Mosaic into the greater unknown, becoming the voice and the face of the transgender community. For five years, I hosted a weekly radio program, Joannes Closet , and I wrote a monthly magazine column, ‘Skirting Around With Joanne’. I also sat in many board rooms, making changes.

I have mentored many of you into this new world of wonder.

On another point, I was fired from my job, during my last year as president. I lost everything and lived on welfare and soup kitchens for the next ten years. My story is on my website: The Life and Times of Joanne P. Law.

Gender Mosaic has given me life and, at the same time, gave me energy to deal with my gender identity.


Ronda

1996-1997

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Margo Ross

1999-2001

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 Side Bar:

 Margo Ross secured Two Prestige’s Awards for the group during her time in office.

 The International Transgender Online Magazine has bestowed on Gender Mosaic the following

 Two Consecutive Awards:

 

Voted the Favorite TG Group Organization for 1999.

Voted the Best TG Organization for 2000.

 

 

Webmistress


Jan Hobbs

2002-2003

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Jan Hobbs

Jan was the first genetic-female President of Gender Mosaic.

A highlight of her first term was her successful effort to get then-Ottawa City Councillor Alex Munter out to a potluck social in September of 2002. That connection resulted in the City of Ottawa’s Equity and Diversity Policy being updated to include gender identity.

GM celebrated its 15th Anniversary during Jan’s second term, with a gala at the Arts Centre on Daly Avenue.

Jan stepped down in September, 2003, to be more politically active and become involved with political lobbying activities that fell outside the mandate of a President of Gender Mosaic.


Zelda Marshall

2003

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Zelda Marshall

Jan’s partner, Zelda Marshall, completed Jan’s second term (September 2003 – February 2004), during which time she reinstated the GM Discussion Groups. The topic of the first one, on Tuesday, 30 September, 2003, was ‘Are We Having Fun Yet?’. The goal was to brainstorm with those present on how to make GM more fun.

I hosted these Discussion Groups in my home because I thought the added intimacy of having them in a home would offer more security to those who wanted to contribute. We also provided some light refreshments (coffee, tea and at least one kind of snack) and relied on donations to keep that up. I never asked for contributions from participants because I wanted to keep these monthly Discussion Group a completely FREE event for everyone, knowing that some of our members were more financially challenged, even sometimes not being able to afford the monthly potluck socials. I wanted to make sure that every member had access to at least one GM activity per month.

Also, part of my personal mandate was to make face-to-face connections with the general business community. So, after our 2003 Christmas Party, at which we raffled off two beautiful X-rated gift baskets, I hand-delivered every thank you letters to the businesses who contributed goodies for the baskets. I made sure to tell the representative of each business how much we appreciated their donations and this usually resulted in offers to contribute again the next year.

Notable among the political achievements of my brief term was a meeting between a group of GM members and then-MP Svend Robinson on Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, at the West Block on Parliament Hill. Bill C-250 had passed shortly before, recognizing crimes based on sexual orientation of the victim to be hate crimes. The original bill had asked for hate crime recognition based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, however the ‘gender identity/expression’ component was dropped in debate in order to make the bill ‘more passable’. So, Bill C-250 passed, and trans people got left behind, again. This meeting was the start of the process to get ‘tranny bashing’ elevated to the status of a hate crime, just as Bill C-250 did for ‘fag bashing’ and ‘dyke bashing’. The meeting was organized and spearheaded by Jan Hobbs and another former GM President, Margo Ross.

Also noteworthy — though it was not a GM initiative — the Northwest Territories passed Bill 1, which protected freedom of Gender Identity, during this period (October, 2003).


Lauren Mulvihill

2004

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Lauren

Lauren became President of Gender Mosaic when no-one else would take the position. She remembered how much the group had done for her and wanted to give something back to it and its members. She began a resurgence of the group that is now seeing record attendance. Lauren was at every information fair (Pride, university, Take Back the Night, etc.) or event that was going on during and after her Presidency. She would be the one to set up the table and attend it for the entire event. Only her health prevented her from marching.

She led the group in a very quiet manner. She would never lose her cool. But was always in control. She would use her smile to disarm any controversy�whether within the Executive or from a member of the public who just didn’t understand the TG Community. She was able to show a very intelligent and friendly person to anyone who met her.

Lauren cared deeply about the members of this group.


Amanda Ryan

2005 – 2007

Amanda Ryan

After serving on Lauren Mulvihill’s Executive as Secretary, I was asked to run for President. I didn’t think I was prepared for the task but, at the time, there were very few people interested in the Executive. This was at a time when as few as six people came to the Pot Luck Suppers.

I decided to bring a positive atmosphere to the group. I had each meeting begin with a “Feel Good Story”. These were positive stories that each member would tell about something good that happened to them in their TG world. I expected to hear stories about how a salesperson had treated them well or how they went for a walk without trouble. I did, indeed, get that kind of story. But I also got very incredible stories about significant family support, families reconciling and members transitioning successfully at their workplaces. The depth of the positive stories was amazing. And there were lots of them. It was very gratifying to hear these stories and to see the other members listen to them and realize that some of the things they were afraid to try were actually possible. Many members took courage from these stories and took those steps themselves. That had to be the most rewarding part of being President for me�seeing the new girls find their way successfully in the TG World.

Public Education has been something I have worked on in other areas of my life. Education about the TG Community is as necessary as anything else I have ever worked on. If not more. I tried to raise the profile of the TG Community in the public’s eyes. I managed to make contact with just the right people at the Ottawa Sun, who wrote some exceptional articles about us. Rogers Cable did an excellent one hour edition of “Talk Ottawa” about the TG Community, which I was privileged to be part of. Attitudes have changed. We have had easier access to the Media. Taking advantage of that has been a priority for me.

During the time I was President, the group went from financial despair to a very solid financial position. This has allowed us to sponsor events, attend Information fairs, and consider other forms of education that will show us off to the public as the people we all know we are, solid members of the Ottawa landscape. It has been amazing to see the membership grow and attendance at the Pot Lucks, Zelda’s Discussion Group and the Saturday Dinners take off in the last few years.

I think the biggest change I have seen during and around my time as President is the attitude of the public. No longer does the word “transgender” conjure up the sexual stereotypes that were common in the past. Now, when the word “transgender” comes up in conversation, we are hearing, “Oh, I have heard of that. What is it?” This is a quantum leap that this Community has taken in the past several years. It is an amazingly positive change. The public is starting to understand us and accept us as part of society. My hope is that this will continue until ‘transgender’ is no different than blond, brunette, freckled, blue eyed or any other genetic marker in humanity today.


Elizabeth Tyler

2008

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Elizabeth Tyler

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In closing…

Well… There you have it. Twenty years of history told by those who where there.

There are 2660 words on the page but they speak much more than that!

They talk of the struggle, in times when transgtenderism was considered a mental illness.

We all continue to reap the benefits of their dedicated efforts.

 

Side Bar:

Gender Mosaic has de-evolved in to a commercial group, (Gender Mosiac Incorporated) the intent now is money and profit, a far cry from the original intent, if you’re looking for help, support, or just a shoulder to cry on forget it.

What the G.M group has fail to notice is that now Sophia & Amanda have incorporated the group with them in control it will be costly and all most impossible to remove them from control, no matter what the bylaws say.

And with the bylaws carfully ignored they have free rain to do what they want and the group wishes have no weight at all, I hope the G.M members know that.

The 1st 20 years are a prime example of corporation, dedication and growth.

The next 20 are un-known but the last 5 years have been one bungled effort after an other with bickering and in-fighting taking the lime light.

Starting with Kelly Ann’s Mismanagement of the group and the abuse he has placed on some of the members, to the Current Failure of the Executive to do the proper thing and correct the issues left by the old Executive.

The focus is now a very pigeon like attitude “ Me Me Me” the sprit of cooperation is gone, and has been replaced by “ It’s my ball and if you don’t’ like it too bad ” because I’m going to make money off of you.

As I approach my golden years I will watch from the side lines as this once proud and vibrant group is consumed into obscurity as a select few get rich.

They remind me of car sales men/women, Shyster/Flimflam Artist , a Pig in a Poke.

In there May 31 2012 Executive minutes they state

 6. Mission Statement / Zero ToleranceGM aims to set the example, that could be adopted by other GLBT organizations, for the inclusion in our Mission Statement that GM does not tolerate judgement, division and discrimination within our own group and within the wider GLBT community.

There actions to date would demonstrate they Endorse  Discrimination, Division and  Judgement within there own group and should a member not snap in-to line when the Executive order it, they will have there membership remove without due process and full disregard for there own bylaws.

They disregard there own bylaws, and act so bullish that I’m so sad to have been such a great part of it’s beginnings, if I could go back and change things I would not have started it at all, and all the members should all be ashamed, so sad !

Webmistress

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