I was disappointed but not surprised that a diversity debate at the Auckland Writers Festival yesterday turned out to be an ethnicity debate, with a little parlance about binary gender thrown in for good measure.
Image | Auckland Writers Festival
When I asked at the end why in 2016 a diversity debate's scope would be so narrow (apart from author Victor Rodger mentioning a fa'afafine character in one of his novels), after a resounding applause from the audience, I was met with varying levels of defensiveness, including:
Yesterday I presented at the 7th Multidisciplinary Sexual Dysfunction Conference, somewhat misnamed due to history — as organiser Nic Beets explained, it's become a lot less medicalised over the years. Now it attracts GPs, physiotherapists, counsellors, psychotherapists, sex therapists, sexual health promoters among others. This post summarises my sessions and includes points I neglected to cover.
By chance (or perhaps design on the part of the organisers) I spoke after listening to a presentation by Dr Russell Shuttleworth, Senior Lecturer at Deakin University, followed by a Q&A with Dr George Taleporos, Researcher, also at Deakin University, with whom I've been acquainted for nearly two decades. Their topic was Facilitated Sex for Adults with Disabilities. I pointed out the irony that George and I had been having this conversation for those 15-20 years and, from their presentation, it seems not much has changed.
In Christopher Reive's recent Taranaki Daily News article, Stephen Hills to represent New Zealand at the Paralympic Games, he writes:
"Hills, who suffers right-side paralysis and seizures..."
Last Thursday I attended the Health Promotion Agency's video preview session for its refresh of The National Depression Initiative (depression.org.nz). The National Depression Initiative (NDI) "aims to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety on the lives of New Zealanders by aiding early recognition, appropriate treatment, and recovery."
I was there as one of 15 New Zealanders who have shared their stories of living with depression and anxiety. For me, it was living with aggressive and abusive neighbours over two years (2011 and 2012) that created acute anxiety and prompted me to offer to share my story. But, in the course of doing so, I've come to realise that I've experienced both depression and anxiety many times over my lifetime.
1 May is the eleventh annual Blogging Against Disablism Day. "This is the day where all around the world, disabled and non-disabled people blog about their experiences, observations and thoughts about disability discrimination (known as disablism or ableism). In this way, we hope to raise awareness of inequality, promote equality and celebrate the progress we've made," says the official site.
I've blogged a couple of times. This year I'm doing a mash-up of those two posts because they still represent my views.
Updated 7.45pm 26 April 2016: I have corrected the "assimilated" part of diagram. I also found out the original diagram is not Susie Sirman's (source unknown).
The following tweet turned up in my feed this morning from Susie Sirman, from Alberta, Canada, a self-confessed "high school science and art teacher, learning coach, edtech enthusiast, busy mom and a terrible choice to follow on Twitter." So I followed her. But anyway, her tweet:
I like the model (further tweets between us revealed it isn't hers) and I agree with it to an extent. Simply putting different people in the same room isn't useful, but I think it is, unfortunately, what inclusion is about currently. It isn't, however, diversity.
Celebrities Roseanne Barr and Whoopi Goldberg are, among others, about to start up businesses making the most of marijuana legalisation in the US. According to iReadCulture.com, Barr will open "Roseanne's Joint" in Santa Ana, California with partner Aaron Herzberg and Goldberg "has partnered with Maya Elisabeth to form Whoopi & Maya, a line of cannabis products that provide menstrual relief."
Both women experience conditions for which they have found medicinal cannabis useful. Goldberg has chronic dysmenhorrhea — painful menstrual cramps — from which nine of 10 women also suffer. Barr has been vocal about the healing properties of cannabis for glaucoma and macular degeneration.
It has been a week since the car accident and I've been surprised how much it has affected me. Someone said on Facebook to look after myself, and I didn't really pay much attention.
But I have had to give myself a bit of TLC. I've found myself playing the accident over in my head, so I've had to remind myself not to retraumatise myself (the brain doesn't realise the difference between an actual event and a memory).
Yesterday I was involved in a three- or four-car accident on the north-western motorway. I was on the way to a shoot for a new It's Not OK anti-domestic violence commercial. I didn't make it to the shoot.
As I've been thinking about uncertainty a lot the past few weeks, it felt a bit divine to have such a stark experience of uncertainty meet me me head-on (luckily, not literally). But, in fact, the accident could have been really serious, especially for the young guy who caused it — he walked away unscathed despite his car being totalled after careering across three lanes of traffic twice and ending up plowed into the median barrier facing the wrong way. No one else was injured, including Sam and me.
At Be. Leadership last weekend, Joe Macdonald from Affinity Services' Rainbow Community Liaison and Training Team spoke about a trend they have seen in younger people identifying as genderfluid and/or pansexual, rather than male/female/transgender and/or gay/bi/straight. I asked Joe what dials they thought were being turned to encourage/enable this change.
Joe's answer was that there seemed to be a change in the meaning of ambiguity. Whereas previously "ambiguous" may have been seen as a synonym for "confused", now, perhaps, young people are choosing ambiguity as a clear identity — in other words, people are clear that their gender and sexual identity, as well as their preference and orientation, are, indeed, unclear and undefined.