This Week In Feminist News: April 3-9

As the new executive director of Pride Toronto, Olivia Nuamah has the advantage of her lived experience as a person of colour in the LGBTQ community, unlike previous leaders.

As the new executive director of Pride Toronto, Olivia Nuamah has the advantage of her lived experience as a person of colour in the LGBTQ community, unlike previous leaders.

  • Pride Toronto Update: City councillors are threatening Pride’s funding due to the recent decision to not have uniformed police officers participate in the parade. Luckily the new executive director of Pride Toronto, Olivia Nuamah, is not intimidated. She plans to move forward and include people who have previously felt alienated by Pride. Even Chief Saunders is on board saying, “It is not our parade, it is the Pride Parade and we are guests. So at any point in time they can invite us. Moving forward, I really do think the focus should be on the relationship building.” So who is upset about this decision? Well if the councillors calling to withdraw the funding give any indication, it is white, straight, cis-men. No surprise.

    Protest spotlight of the week: Queer and trans immigrant activists, Trans Queer Pueblo, halted a Pride parade on the weekend with a large banner saying No Justice, No Pride. They were protesting Bank of America’s sponsorship and the inclusion of the police in the parade because of their links to immigration detention centres. They would like Pride to use it’s influence to support immigrants’ rights during this difficult time. No justice, no pride!
  • The fight for equal pay has been long and fraught. This turmoil has often been caused by the warriors of truth who feel compelled to enter every conversation by shouting that the wage gap doesn’t exist. It does. You will note that I have declined to provide any proof supporting my claim (this is on purpose). This article makes a strong case for the inclusion of the Fight for the $15 in the fight for wage equality. Women dominated industries are often lower paid sectors and tend to be paid minimum wage. Minimum wage is a feminist issue. Poverty is a feminist issue. Fight for $15!
Saudi woman driving in protest.

Saudi woman driving in protest.

  • British PM Theresa May went to meet with Riyadh, the Saudi crown prince, and made the choice to not wear a headscarf. She proclaimed that this was a purposeful choice to empower the women of Saudi Arabia who must keep their hair covered by law. Though this empowering self-proclamation was likely made with the best intentions, it shows the privilege of foreign white women who visit Saudi Arabia. While it is true that women in Saudi Arabia must wear a headscarf by law, it is not true that a single article of clothing is inherently oppressive. Also, oppressive laws that have a more significant impact are ones that dictate how and where women can go. More importantly, Saudi women are empowering themselves. This past week they protested against male guardianship and for the right to drive by walking silently in the streets without male companions. Saudi women don’t need our white saviour complex – they need to have their voices amplified and supported.
  • Mining Watch has investigated Canadian mining industries political contributions and has found that British Columbia’s provincial government might be too close for comfort. They are calling for a provincial review into the ties between the mining industry and the government. The concern is that the mining industry remains severely under-regulated and the political contributions may have or currently are contributing to it. Read the full article for a more in depth analysis as well as, a review by the CBC. This is not the first time the Canadian mining industry has come under fire; they have also been linked to human rights abuses overseas including the death of Berta Cáceres. Berta Cáceres was recently inducted into our League of Extraordinary Women and if you want to hear more, check out our episode on Ecofeminism.

Marta Orellana was experimented on when she was nine. Photograph: Rory Carroll/Guardian

Marta Orellana was experimented on when she was nine. Photograph: Rory Carroll/Guardian

  • Johns Hopkins University is facing a $1 billion lawsuit from over 800 plaintiffs because of the university’s role in deliberately infecting hundreds of Guatemalans with STIs for a medical experiment. These experiments happened in 1945 and 1956 and were revealed by Professor Susan Reverby in 2010. The program did not publish the findings nor did they inform the participants of the consequences of the experiment. They targeting and infected children in orphanages, people who were incarcerated, and people with mental health issues. Johns Hopkins and the Rockefeller Foundation gave meaningless statements where they admitted no guilt in the program and said that they would defend themselves in court. Well, let’s hope the survivors of this horrific crime will get justice and every single penny.

  • CW: Ableism, sexual assault, abuse

    In other grim news, students who attended W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in Brantford are suing Ontario for horrific abuses that took place on their watch. This article from the Toronto Star outlines the appalling behaviour from staff who committed acts of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. One day before court, the province made a $8-million settlement with the students who are relieved that it did not have to go to court. The suit covered students who attended the school from 1951-2012. Yes, you read that correctly, this was happening five years ago in a Canadian school for children with visual impairments. The goal of the suit was justice for the survivors of this abuse and to right the wrongs of the past.

  • CW: sexual assault

    Dr. Larry Nassar has been charged with sexually assaulting hundreds of young girls and women. He was the doctor for the USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University and has treated women for the past 20 years. While this case has been extensively covered within the gymnastics community, barely a whisper has been heard amongst the mainstream sports media. This article attempts to answer why.

Retired Canadian veteran Rob Webber said it was 'horribly disrespectful' to evict the homeless campers from the park. (CHEK News)

Retired Canadian veteran Rob Webber said it was 'horribly disrespectful' to evict the homeless campers from the park. (CHEK News)

  • City officials, in Duncan, B.C., are ringing in the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge by evicting homeless people from a park. It’s no secret that the rent in B.C. is out of control and leaving many people stranded. But who cares about that, there is a party happening! Bombs are dropping! Bullets are flying! Canadian flags are raising! If there is one thing you can say about the Harper administration, their legacy of glorifying the military (while simultaneously leaving veterans stranded) lives on.