Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sex Workers =/= Organized Crime

A den of organized crime?

Sorry for the dearth of new posts, I've been a little preoccupied. I do want to take the time to draw people's attention to this article in the Toronto Star.

The Justice Minister announced new regulations which give the government powers to wiretap, deny bail and "move in on people," as the article says, without safe-guards such as warrants. These regulations were enacted without debate in Parliament, naturally. They're targeted at fighting organized crime. But one of the crimes that they apply to is "the keeping of a common bawdy house," the definition of which is broad enough to capture individual, independent sex workers who choose to work indoors rather than on the street. Working from home, or from a condominium that you split the cost of with a couple of other sex workers, gives you a lot more control over your work and your clientèle. The fear is that these regulations will drive sex workers onto the streets.

I recommend reading the entire article. It includes commentary on the problem with how Canada deals with prostitution (prostitution is not illegal, but communicating for the purposes of prostitution, and living off the avails of prostitution are), the failure of law enforcement officials to take violence against sex workers seriously, and the Conservative government's tendency to make policy based on moral conviction rather than facts.

Contact your MP and the Minister of Justice, and let them know that you care about the safety of sex workers.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Despicable No Longer Surprises Me

So, there's this.

Which, sadly, does not surprise me. It fits in the same pattern of the Conservatives acting based on their ideology, rather than based on what's in the best interests of Canadians. In this case, specifically, Canadian veterans.

Can we please have an election now?

Go Where?: Sex, Gender, and Toilets

an average looking washroom sign where the men's and women's washrooms are indicated with stick figures

Women's and men's washrooms: we encounter them nearly every time we venture into public space. To many people the separation of the two, and the signs used to distinguish them, may seem innocuous and necessary. Trans people know that this is not the case, and that public battles have been waged over who is allowed to use which washroom. The segregation of public washrooms is one of the most basic ways that the male-female binary is upheld and reinforced.

As such, washroom signs are very telling of the way societies construct gender. They identify the male as the universal and the female as the variation. They express expectations of gender performance. And they conflate gender with sex.

I present here for your perusal, a typology and analysis of various washroom signs.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Worst Anti-Abortion Ad I Ever Saw

The other day I was reading a story in The Toronto Star about anti-abortion organizations lying to women in their attempt to convince them not to go through with an abortion. I already knew the anti-choice side did this, but I was glad to see The Star reporting on it, and trying to correct the misinformation.

Anyways, among the other reactions it elicited from me, the article reminded me of a billboard I saw at Young-Dundas Square around January this year. An ad so effecting that I believe it is still worth blogging about over six months later...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Call Centre Employees Don't Bother To Be Cruel To Just Anyone

Seen on PostSecret:

A post card which reads, All you customer service reps - tell the truth: do you keep us on hold just to see how much we'll take?

Truthfully: No.

When you call for help, we're basically just reading out of the user's manual, which can be difficult to navigate. When we have to ask the manager for help, they aren't always easy to find. Customer service call centres constantly grade their representatives, and one of the factors is how long the calls take to complete, so it's not in our self-interest to put you on hold that long. Honestly, we don't care about you enough to spend the time torturing you like that.

Interviewers at survey research call centres, however, will schedule a call-back during dinner time if you're rude enough to us. One guy I worked with would write down the phone numbers of the people who were especially mean (which he was not allowed to do) and would drunk-dial them at 3am.

Friday, August 6, 2010

This Is Why The Conservatives Are Against Statistics...

...Because they contradict the neo-con worldview. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Reality has a liberal bias.

If you were to look at the facts - that the crime rate in Canada has been declining for the past 20 years, and that in a poll with a margin of error of 2.5% only 1% of Canadians think crime is the issue that the government should focus on the most - would you embark on a multi-billion dollar, prison-building, tough-on-crime spree?

Well, the Harper government doesn't care about facts. It does not care about what the country needs, or what the Canadian people want. What Harper and his cronies care about is shifting Canada's Overton window to the right. They're concerned with ideology, not reality.