Thursday, May 8, 2014
I am a person of strong opinions. That is vastly different from merely being opinionated. For example, I no longer hold strong opinions on ideas on which I am not well informed about. I now take time to assimilate information about an idea and let it sprout into knowledge, As this knowledge blooms, I will generally become more forceful in my beliefs surrounding that idea.
In my lifetime, I have ditched opinions more often than not. I used to believe in God. I used to believe in academia. I used to believe in marriage. I used to believe in democracy. I used to believe in peace. I used to believe in hope. I used to believe in certainty.
I look back on the naivety of my certitudes with a nostalgic fondness now. I clung to them with desperation. It is freeing to not feel the chains of blind faith while trudging through life. I have joy in the new lightness of my being.
Recently I had a discussion with a new neighbour about religion, god and faith. She was getting frustrated and flustered about my atheism. She asked: "Well, what DO you believe in then?"
"I believe in humans. It's all we've got." I replied calmly.
And by her look, I could tell, that she did not share this belief. This makes me sad since I realize that she is not alone in her misanthropy yet ironically must feel quite alone whilst walking amongst her fellow humans.
But, in my humanism, I too am not alone. I have met some astounding people over the last few years that also believe in humans and the power of human connection. This has brought more faith to my life than the three decades of religious indoctrination in my youth. Watching their activities through the magic of technology, inspires and humbles me daily. It literally gives sight to my faith and cushions me with the comfort of knowing others have belief in me and in each other.
Friday, March 21, 2014
I apologize for travelling along the third wave feminism road. It was the road called equality and it seemed to logically follow the road my mother and grandmothers fought for. I apologize for calling it equality and erasing liberation from the nomenclature of feminism.
I apologize for believing that in the 21st century women had a right to choose to sell her body. I apologize for thinking porn helped further sexual liberation. I apologize for thinking pro-choice = reproductive justice.
I apologize for thinking that women and men were wired differently and I somehow won the genetic lottery by earning the right to call myself a mathematician and an engineer despite being born female.
The road to my enlightenment was long and twisted and admittedly, privileged.
My privilege came from a mother determined to not award gender badges to her daughters. A mother who allowed me firetrucks and my sister cowboy regalia. A mother who encouraged a love of learning and a love of math. And a father who 'allowed' this freedom and even (gasp) changed our diapers in the late 1960s. A father who 'allowed' my mother to be the primary wage earner and he even cooked our family meals during the week and took us to lessons and medical appointments. There were no gender badges awarded in my family growing up. And when my sister came out as a lesbian in her early twenties in the early 90s, my parents embraced her despite their catholic upbringing and a church determined to erase her reality.And we did not seek to give her the gender badge of butch dyke or femme lesbian. She simply loved women and we accepted that without needing to label her beyond lesbian.
And now my privilege is being slammed because I also have the audacity of having a gender vadge. I am a female that calls herself a woman and I happen to also have a vagina. The fact that my parents tried so hard to eliminate the gender badge from my life - as did other freethinking parents who saw the harms of boxing in their children into prescriptive gendered roles while children - is now considered irrelevant and even dangerous to third wave feminists. Flaunting the fact that I have a vagina and others born with one need liberation is deemed cissexist. Saying that someone born with a vagina is more likely to be penetrated in a violent act whether for money or torture is called sex-phobic. Telling people that I want access to female only space is pronounced transphobic.
The only thing that seems to be relevant today is what gender badge you feel like you have and the quicker you identify your gender then the quicker your "problem" can be solved if you don't have the right body parts to match. The solution ultimately involves lots of drugs and genital mutilation surgery. But, if caught early enough, the gender badge will be awarded.
My vagina is not gendered, it is female. My brain is not gendered, it is human. My feminism is not gendered, it is about females. My privilege is not gendered it is about socio-economic class and education and race.
Ultimately I am sorry that it took me so long to wake up to our female born reality and what the true liberation of females entails. The road behind is only a couple of centuries old and I fear the road ahead is much steeper than it was before gender badges and gender vadges become priority #1 in First World Feminism.
The penance for my own third-wave feminism fiasco will be that for the remainder of my life I will cry every time I see another female shame another female for anything.
And I'm crying a lot these days.
A 46 yo women's liberationist.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Sunday, March 9, 2014
The Government of Canada is seeking the public's input on the criminal law's response to adult prostitution (i.e. the sale and purchase of sexual services from persons 18 years of age or older). This online consultation is open from February 17 to March 17, 2014.
My responses are below. Please go to this link and provide your own.
- 1. Do you think that purchasing sexual services from an adult should be a criminal offence? Should there be any exceptions? Please explain.
- Comment: Purchasing sexual 'services'????? By framing this question in this way there is an implication that providing access to a bodies orifices is something that is required - like a tune up on an automobile. So yes, I think that purchasing sexual services from an adult should be a criminal offence. Sex is not a 'service'. It is a consensual act conducted *between* adults. Our society should be working actively to reduce demand by penalizing the people who regard sex with others as a service to be purchased rather than an act to be enjoyed between consenting adults.
- 2. Do you think that selling sexual services by an adult should be a criminal offence? Should there be any exceptions? Please explain.
- Comment: No, I don't think that selling sexual services by an adult should be a criminal offence.
- 3. If you support allowing the sale or purchase of sexual services, what limitations should there be, if any, on where or how this can be conducted? Please explain.
- Comment: There should be no limitations on the providers. By criminalization of the purchasers the providers can work with authorities to eliminate the purchasers they wish to remove from their clientele.
- 4. Do you think that it should be a criminal offence for a person to benefit economically from the prostitution of an adult? Should there be any exceptions? Please explain.
- Comment: All pimps and brothel owners should be criminalized. Body guards should not be criminalized.
- 5. Are there any other comments you wish to offer to inform the Government's response to the Bedford decision?
- Comment: I find it dismaying that this issue has been framed around the notion of sex=work. Any enlightened adult knows that good sex should be an act that allows mutual enjoyment. If it is reduced to 'work' then it is a sad reflection of how distant our Canadian society is from recognizing this.
- 6. Are you are writing on behalf of an organization? If so, please identify the organization and your title or role:
Monday, February 10, 2014
An open letter to the University of Oregon regarding the censorship of a Women's liberation activist
To whom it may concern,
I am appalled to hear that your institution is considering not only banning Ms. Kieth to talk at your school but also that your senate is considering writing a letter of condemnation regarding her views.
The liberation of the majority female humans on this planet is far from over and has even regressed due to increased globalization and staggering human trafficking. To subvert this silenced reality for millions of females by allowing the voices of the extremely privileged few that have the resources and media at their beck and call merely cements the silent torture of every female raped in a country that allows so-called 'child brides' or allows a father to sell an owned daughter to the burgeoning sex slave industry.
If academia now pursues the milieu of those that fail to recognize the reality for millions of biological females on this planet then the state of education of our first world youth is in much dire shape than my twenty years of teaching tertiary level students has led me to believe.
Lierre Kieth has committed a constructed 'crime' consisting of questioning the validity of gender usurping biological sexual reality. Gender is a theoretical construct. Biological sex is a scientific fact.
If your institution allows a theoretical construct to erase a scientific fact, I might as well tear up my (hard earned) two science based degrees in the name of the liberation of women since your banning or condemning Ms. Kieth would in effect erase all meaning of scientific and theoretical discourse in academia.
Orla Hegarty B.Math, M.A.Sc.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Thursday, September 12, 2013
When I tell you that I have never felt so alone in my life as I did in the Temple at Burning Man I do so with liquid squishing out of my tear ducts.
I live alone. I've raised a kid on my own. I've owned 3 houses on my own. I showed up to Burning Man, a middle aged woman, on my own and camped, on my own, in the desert. And last year I drove across Canada on my own camping.
So this feeling of being alone, the terrible poignancy of it, struck me sideways. The resonance of it, over two weeks later, had me waking up in tears this morning.
It is a feeling I no longer can run from. It found me in the Temple in the desert and it is not going away. That's what I recognized this morning as I woke and recoiled from the desolation of being faced with that alone feeling first deeply etched into my soul in the Nevada desert.
For alongside that memory of stark barren aloneness is a treasure chest of memories on the Playa that assure me that I am not alone, I am lovable, I am worthy and my life has meaning - my mere existence is a gift in this universe.
My pilgrimage to Burning Man has shed new meaning on old identities: yours, mine and ours. And despite the discomfort, I am willing to continue the exploration. The journey is fascinating!