Human Rights Cost Money

Back in 2016, a friend and former professor of mine was faced with housing related discrimination because of her disabilities. Threatened with eviction, she was forced to go into debt in order to avoid homelessness.

A complaint was filed with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal over their refusal to accommodate her medical disabilities.

Unfortunately, the cost of justice is high. She’s raising some money to cover just the legal fees to date. Her situation is already difficult because of the cost of saving her home, but to add to it, she is one of the many who saw a massive cut to their pay thanks to the actions of Doug Ford.

The sad reality is that while the courts seem like an option for confronting obvious acts of discrimination, for many of us with disabilities, the cost is too high. Many of us have stories of illegal acts with regards to employment, or housing, or even just existing, and yet for too many of us, our only option is to swallow it. Justice is for sale.

If she is unable to raise the funds to cover the costs incurred to date, the case will be dropped which means she will have no recourse for getting justice. What’s more, the particular people involved in the acts of discrimination have other disabled people under their purview, people who will be directly impacted by the results of this court case which would send a negative message over whether disabled people have a right to have shelter.

If you are able and willing, consider helping out. For those of us who want to help but can’t afford to, a big help is making sure the fundraiser gets seen through lots of sharing to various social media. This is a great person who honestly deserves all the help she can get.

Human Rights Cost Money
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Big News!

There are some big exciting changes coming my way.

As you might know, circumstances beyond my control forced me into a situation where my best option was at least temporarily, moving back in with my family. I’ve also been seeing a really great guy for coming on two years, who also happens to live clear across the country. And it’s a pretty big country.

Moving out there, or him moving out here, were made difficult by both of us being on disability. We can’t easily leave either province without losing financial support or worse, coverage for medication. What’s worse, is you can’t even leave the province for ore than 30 days without losing your coverage, so even when we can make a point to visit, we are restricted in the amount of time we can spend together.

Both of us have long dreamt of having a little piece of land where we could have our own little farm and do our various arts.

Well, recently I managed to take a big step towards that dream and towards the possibility of being together in one place for a bit longer.

I’ve just been accepted to the University of the Fraser Valley to study Agriculture Technology!

It’s a really interesting program that gives students a good introduction to farming. Students can choose either a horticulture or livestock certification track, and learn all about things like how to use farming equipment, how to recognize and treat different livestock diseases, pest management, and so on. There is a component where you do a practicum working on a farm itself.

They know about my disabilities and are willing to work with me to accommodate them.

The best part is that as long as I’m in school, I can be down in BC and still receive disability. I just have to come back during any time periods when I’m not enrolled in classes.

I’m really excited about all this. It means I get to spend a lot more time exploring this amazing area with my wonderful guy. We get to see what it’s like to be together when we also have our own stuff to do, which is an adventure all in itself.

It’s also a little scary.

I moved for university the first time, but while it wasn’t close to where my family lives, it was still within a day’s drive away. While out in BC, my family will actually be closer to London England than to me. It’s moving to a whole new province. A different time zone. Heck, a different coast.

Trying to figure out the logistics is a little frightening as well. I can’t move all my things, since I am coming back for some months, but I still need to bring a fair amount with me. At the very least my office things, my clothing, and some of my art supplies. Not to mention my birds!

I’m going to be trying hard to sell of as much of my art as I can to help fund the move, not to mention getting a fair bit of writing done.

I look forward to getting to write about my adventures on the West Coast and in my studies.

It is quite a bit different from how it was the first time. For one thing, while I still intend to do as well as possible, there is a lot less pressure about grades. If I don’t get the top GPA, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I complete the courses and learn as much as possible.

I am also enrolled as a disabled student, meaning this time I actually get to see about getting accessibility for my conditions on an official basis. It’s also the first time I am going to school with my ADHD medicated.

I’m also 32, as opposed to the young 18 I was when I first started.

This time, school is covered by OSAP, a student loan, which with this and disability, means a lot more paperwork being involved.

The school is also quiet a bit different. Unlike the University of Ottawa which has some longer history behind it, UFV has only been an official university since 2008. Not only that, but the actual number of students is much much smaller, which means so will the class sizes. Despite that, the campus is spread out across a few different cities, although the majority of my classes will be in the same one I will be living in.

I am so excited that starting in January, I get to be a Sasquach!

Big News!

But Can You Understand Where I’m Coming From?

If you’re the member of any sort of minority, chances are you’ve run across this. Some friend, family member, or vague acquaintance ends up in a situation where they are confronted with their own inherent biases in some way, and they feel the need to run to you as the Representative of Minority Co. to explain the situation.

For example, imagine you have a friend name Betty who is the owner of a small business who is hiring someone to work as a part of that business. She has narrowed her choice down to two ideal candidates, who are identical in terms of qualifications. Both have the right amount of experience, the same great attitude and personality that fits into the team dynamic, in terms of “reasons to hire” the two are completely interchangeable. Except that Candidate A is abled while Candidate B is disabled.

Now Betty is not a Capital A Ableist. She knows that disabled people are just as capable as abled people, she truly believes that the world should be accessible, and has all the empathy for disabled people having a difficult time being able to find gainful employment. Betty has signed countless petitions to make accessibility more prevalent, her own brother even has a disability. Betty is an ALLY!

But Betty’s business is small, and even with the added help, she is hopelessly overworked. Candidate B’s disability will require the company to undergo some work to make it completely accessible. Maybe, it would even cost her some money to get some needed program or service, or to make some changes to the physical location of the business. She was already putting pressure on her budget by hiring a new person, the added finances would be just too much. She would have to close up shop, and it’s not really fair to her or to any of her other employees, or to her family, to jeopardize her business for the sake of one person. If they had been better qualified and the best option than of course, it would be no question, but the two candidates are completely identical and really it’s a coin toss one way or the other. Wouldn’t it be just as unfair to Candidate A to only not hire them because they’re not disabled? She makes her choice and then next time at dinner with her brother’s she lays the whole story out and asks:

“Can you understand where I’m coming from?” Continue reading “But Can You Understand Where I’m Coming From?”

But Can You Understand Where I’m Coming From?

BC Adventures

I haven’t been online much in the last month and a half.

Part of that was the fact that I was working hard on a variety of outdoor projects for my family. Not only managing most of the garden, which included having to come up with some way to curtail two tomato plants that started growing out of control, ending up taller than me. The part that took the majority of my time though was a water feature I agreed to design and build for them.

It was the kind of work that ended up taking all of my energy. I would spend my day performing manual labour, and by the time the sun set I would be so exhausted that the only energy I would have left is to feed myself and collapse on a patio chair to read a few chapters before falling asleep hours earlier than usual. Continue reading “BC Adventures”

BC Adventures

Gluten Free Pierogi Dough

A while back, a good friend of mine came to visit. This friend is Polish and we’ve frequently gushed together over food and recipes. Around the time of the visit, they were coming to terms with the fact that they had developed some type of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which caused a significant increase in pain symptoms when they were “glutened”.

One of the foods we bonded over were iconic Polish Pierogi, delicious little dumplings stuffed with all sorts of yummy possibilities, though the famous classic is cheddar cheese and potatoes. The lack of these little pillows of deliciousness was quite a blow and so a part of the visit was devoted to finding a half decent replacement.

The final product that yielded the highest level of satisfaction was this one here.
Continue reading “Gluten Free Pierogi Dough”

Gluten Free Pierogi Dough

Understanding Legalization versus Decriminalization using Marijuana

When discussions of issues of sex work, drugs, and so on come up, it’s not uncommon for people to confuse the idea of legalization with decriminalisation.

It sounds like they should be the same thing. After all, if something is legal, then by definition it’s not criminal? But the difference in practice turns out to have major repercussions. Continue reading “Understanding Legalization versus Decriminalization using Marijuana”

Understanding Legalization versus Decriminalization using Marijuana

Genocide Doesn’t Look Like you Think

Sometimes I forget that most people only have a very basic idea of what happened during the Holocaust.

I don’t entirely remember what came first, me coming across a book that took place during the holocaust, or finding out that family members of mine had been imprisoned in Auschwitz. At some point, however, the combination of both of these events sparked a sort obsession in me. I began reading everything I could find on the subject including quite a few different diaries, personal accounts, and well researched fiction, in addition to histories, articles, and non-fiction books.

So often, we have a tendency to see genocide as very specific things – gas chambers, firing squads, mass graves. We think of specific acts of murder. But so often, genocide doesn’t look like obvious acts of murder.

Continue reading “Genocide Doesn’t Look Like you Think”

Genocide Doesn’t Look Like you Think

Understanding the Vulva: Part 2 – What the heck is an ectopic pregnancy?

Let’s Talk Ovulation.

For ovulation to occur, which is when the follicle releases the ready ovum or egg into the fallopian tubes, a series of conditions need to be met – including hormonal level, overall health of the individual person, and so on. If the conditions aren’t met, then ovulation will not happen.

This is why things like stress, nutrition, weight level, can all interfere and impact your menstruation, because they can change the conditions inside your body in such a way as to prevent ovulation or delay it.

At the start of each menstrual period, a group of follicles will become potential candidates for ovulation, since they are in the right stage of growth. After the first several days, one will emerge as the dominant follicle and the other candidates will die off. The dominant follicle will continue to develop until the time comes for it to release the egg into the fallopian tube. The release of the egg is what is called Ovulation, and is necessary for reproduction to occur.  After the egg is released, there is a period of up to 72 hours during which it needs to be fertilized by sperm, or it begins to break down.

While there are averages regarding how many days from the first day of your period to when you ovulate, the exact number of days it takes is both individual, meaning it is different for everyone, and can change as a result of various internal and external factors such as stress levels, hormone levels, overall health, medications, and so on. This is why just judging based on a calendar whether or not you’ve ovulated can be imprecise and inconsistent. It can be better to track other changes such as basal body temperature, as well as changes to your cervical fluid in order to get a clearer picture regarding at what point you are in your cycle.

So, what exactly happens when you get pregnant?

Continue reading “Understanding the Vulva: Part 2 – What the heck is an ectopic pregnancy?”

Understanding the Vulva: Part 2 – What the heck is an ectopic pregnancy?

Understanding the Vulva: Part 1 – Anatomy

The news over several months has been abuzz with the absolutely horrible disgusting and harmful bills being passed and proposed with regards to reproductive rights including access to abortions. The bills which will harm all uterus havers as well as women, has sparked discussions surrounding reproduction which have revealed a distressing lack of knowledge on the subject.

This should be less surprising than it is, given that the organs and parts that make up a uterine reproductive system are not even fully understood by many in the medical field, so it’s not unrealistic that those who grow up as part of the restrictive culture surrounding the whole area of reproduction would be pretty ignorant on the subject, but it is telling that even the basic anatomy and biology of what happens is so poorly understood. Additionally, with the tradition of separating children according to gender during sex ed classes, means that men in particular seem to ignorant of what goes on in Uterus haver’s bodies.

As someone who has studied this area from both a medical and sexology perspective, as well as a personal one, I thought it might be helpful to clear up some misconceptions. Since this post ended up being a lot longer than I expected at first, it’s divided into two parts.

Let’s start with just a basic anatomy.

What IS a Vulva?

Continue reading “Understanding the Vulva: Part 1 – Anatomy”

Understanding the Vulva: Part 1 – Anatomy