The Week — Nov. 17

Trans day not to be forgotten, occupy mass exodus, vote, the go for a date with Ted

Pygmy goats — like Zeke (above) of the Pope family farm — could be welcome in downtown Victoria soon, thanks to a motion recently passed by city council.

Trans day not to be forgotten

While Nov. 11 saw a mass of Victorians honouring our lost veterans, Nov. 20 is a remembrance day that gets much less recognition: the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).

The international day is set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. It began in San Francisco in 1999 in remembrance of Rita Hester — a transgendered person whose murder has yet to be solved. TDOR has been hosted for five years in Victoria, with vigils formerly held at Centennial Square, Fernwood Community Square and in Quadra Village. A vigil has not yet been formally organized for 2011, though one is rumoured to be hosted at Centennial Square at 7 p.m. on Nov. 20, followed by a gathering at The Ledge (1140 Government).

“It is something that a lot of people don’t even know about, but once you become aware that there are trans people all around us and become aware of how it complicates their lives,  we need to recognize that in Canada it’s a lot easier than in a lot of other countries — but it’s still not easy,” says Sharon Doty, Victoria chapter chair of PFLAG Canada. “We take this time to recognize that some people have gone through great trauma, and this helps us put it all into perspective.”

On Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m., UVic’s Cinecenta will host a free film screening of Diagnosing Difference, an American documentary about 13 people of different gender identities, ages and races, dealing with the health care system. A short panel discussion with community members will follow.

“The trans spectrum has opened up a lot in the last five years — we see more people coming to terms with their changes, and more parents of trans kids who are learning how to adapt,” says Doty. “We’re a support group for people who are just getting their heads around gender issues, but what we want is to create a better world for everyone who comes after us.”

To learn more about TDOR events, visit the Facebook pages of Victoria’s TransAction, and TRANSmission. PFLAG meetings are held every third Sunday 2 to 4 p.m. at St. John the Divine (1611 Quadra). Call Doty for more info: 250-385-9462.

Occupy mass exodus?

As Occupy movements around the globe celebrated their one-month anniversary on Nov. 15, the same are slowly facing a loss of support and stern evictions. It may be only a matter of time now before the City of Victoria’s forecasted injunction boots out the People’s Assembly of Victoria so that Centennial Square can instead be littered with gleeful holiday decor and ice rink paraphernalia. But the question remains: when?

City councillor Philippe Lucas met with occupation organizers this past week, and gave a speech to the group on the power of deciding when and how to leave a space. “Of course, there is a message in staying, and I remain committed to the group’s freedom to protest, but there is great power and strength to be gained in choosing how and when to leave a space,” says Lucas. “You can gather huge public support by voluntarily moving when asked, and showing that the effort will remain peaceful.”

Lucas says that, with his activist background, he is concerned about the movement in Centennial Square becoming confrontational if forced to leave, and spoke to the group about maintaining the safety of the people involved, above all else.

“My goal is to ensure that we see no violent action on any side, and to urge the assembly to consider the surprise and delight they will create when people can breathe a sigh of relief that we won’t see that,” says Lucas. “This isn’t about stopping the movement, it’s about remobilizing it and finding its new strategy.”

Goats galore in the core

Goats may be the new dogs in 2012, and Philippe Lucas is in the news again this week for pushing through a motion at council that could see miniature goats popping up in the downtown core, if the official bylaw is approved by the city for next year.

“This is another measure of improving our local sustainablity, and it would put us in league with progressive cities like Seattle and Portland,” says Lucas. “Victoria is already geared for this, and goats would also add to the liveliness of our neighbourhoods.”

That doesn’t seem like such a baaaaaad idea.

Vote; go for a date with Ted

Don’t you dare forget: Saturday, Nov. 19, is voting day (see this week’s feature). Vote, then reward your municipal efforts by attending Victoria’s own TEDxVictoria conference, with the theme of “cultivating evolution.” Fourteen high-profile Victorian speakers will cover topics, including the evolution of story, crowdfunding, biological hackerspaces, rogue wave theory, improv storytelling and more. Tickets $50, but hey, you’re worth it. More at tedxvictoria.com. M

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