I was in Hawaii over Christmas, mainly to meet some of my grandchildren who live on the other side of the world. We decided to meet halfway.
The oldest grandchild is 15 and, during a chat with her about how our generations view things differently, she exclaimed, “yes, but don’t you think we have made progress since you were young!” It brought tears to my eyes; tears of laughter. “No”, I said, “I think things are getting steadily worse. I don’t believe in progress.” She stared at me blankly.
It gave me a moment of déjà vu because I had said the same thing to someone when I was around 15. It took me another 15 years to come to my senses.
Here, then, is a prime example of progress:
An upcoming symposium aims to explore the fluidity of gender.
Award-winning author and storyteller Ivan Coyote will be at Mills Hardware Saturday night — joined by singer-songwriter Kate Reid — for a lively and entertaining exploration of gender identity and inclusion.
While the event is geared toward youth and their families, anyone is welcome.
“I think (this event) will be really uplifting for parents of trans kids, and people who are fighting any kind of battle in terms of being able to fit in their gender,” says Deirdre Pike, event MC and local LGBTQ advocate.
“People will come out and be entertained by storytelling and music, and won’t even realize they’re going home opened up, having expanded their understanding of gender exponentially.”
The event will also be filmed to be used as a future training tool for local agencies. The Anglican Diocese of Niagara is hosting the event, along with the Social Planning and Research Council and the Good Shepherd’s Core Collaborative Learning.
That two religious agencies are behind an LGBTQ event seems remarkable, but Pike says their leadership on these issues has been commendable.
“We talk a lot about the unsuspecting allies, or finding allies in unsuspected places. This is one of those cases,” she says, noting the diocese’s recent decision to allow same-sex marriage in the church.
This event is particularly important as the city prepares to roll out its transgender and gender nonconforming protocol, which the city pledged to implement as part of a human rights settlement last year after a transgender woman was denied access to an HSR washroom.
The protocol will focus on internal relations and customer service guidelines, including a commitment to ensure safe access to public bathrooms and change rooms.
If, after eating too much over Christmas, you are having trouble fitting into your gender or, if you want to be opened up without even knowing what has been done to you – just like the Manchurian Candidate, only, progressive or, if you are just one of the many mixed-up clergy in the Diocese of Niagara – then this is for you.
I love progress.