How did it become May already?
Refusing Patriarchy. The theme for this month went through several iterations, originally I was thinking about Mother’s Day and the various ways that we mother that go far beyond a binary that is so comforting to some and so alienating for others. Then I thought about the way that norms become so pervasive that we become defined by them, on one side are men and on the other women, 2SLGBTQIAA, and non binary people. So I thought about Navigating Patriarchy. But no, that wasn’t right. I landed on Resisting Patriarchy, because that’s closer to what we do, we push back against it.
And then my brain latched onto Refusing Patriarchy. And that’s where it stayed because more than navigating or resisting, a politics of refusal simply refuses to engage. A politics of refusal turns it’s back on patriarchy and just goes on building something new, something different, something closer to what we had before. A politics of refusal does not seek inclusion because if what are we seeking inclusion into? The people on this panel have all refused: refused to let Patriarchy define the boundaries or decide when we have transgressed them. Refused to be defined and in that way have defined refusal.
For racially marginalized people patriarchy is not always the final boss that needs to be dismantled, our men don’t benefit from it the same way that cis white men do, they don’t even benefit from it the same way that cis white women do. And Homonormativity means that queer white men often benefit from patriarchy as well.
Robyn Bourgeois (Laughing Otter Caring Woman, she/her) is a mixed-race Cree woman born and raised in Syilx and Splats’in territories of British Columbia, and connected through marriage and her three children to the Six Nations of the Grand River. She is an associate professor in the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies at Brock, where her scholarly work focuses on indigenous feminisms, violence against indigenous women and girls, and indigenous women’s political activism and leadership. In addition to being an academic, Robyn is also as activist, author, and artist.
Angela J. Gray (she/her) is an emerging writer and visual artist who has shared her writing and poetry on Vancouver Co-op Radio’s Storytelling Show. Angela has trained as a photographer and enjoys using photography and acrylic painting as means to enhance her writing endeavours. Her training as a community addictions counsellor is a valuable resource to her creative work.
Nick (they/them) is a white Jewish settler living on Coahuiltecan, Karankawa, and Sana land in Houston, TX. They are a queer transgender abortion storyteller, and they focus on improving abortion care and support for queer and trans people and providing practical support for people seeking abortions in the Houston area. They are married and have two cats, and they spend a lot of their free time knitting and cross stitching.
Seán Carson Kinsella is migizi dodem (Bald Eagle Clan) and also identifies as twospirit/queer/crip/aayahkwêw and is descended from signatories of Treaties 4, 6 and 8 (êkâ ê-akimiht nêhiyaw/otipemisiwak/Nakawé/Irish). They were born in Toronto, on Treaty 13 lands and grew up in Williams Treaty territory. A member of the Titiesg Wîcinímintôwak Bluejays Dancing Together Collective, Seán has been featured as a reader at both last year’s and this year’s Naked Heart festival. Their zine pîkiskiwewin sâkihtowin featuring poems of Indiqueer futurism, survival and getting hot and bothered was released last year. They are currently the Director, the Eighth Fire at Centennial College and have previously taught Indigenous Studies there as well.
Taté Walker is a Lakota citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. They are a Two Spirit feminist, Indigenous rights activist, and a published and award-winning storyteller for outlets like “The Nation,” “Everyday Feminism,” “Native Peoples” magazine, and “Indian Country Today,” and “ANMLY.” They are also featured in several anthologies: FIERCE: Essays by and about Dauntless Women, South Dakota in Poems, and W.W. Norton’s Everyone’s an Author. Their first full-length book, Thunder Thighs & Trickster Vibes: Storied Advice from your Fat, Two Spirit Auntie, is set to publish in 2021. Taté uses their 15+ years of experience working for daily newspapers, social justice organizations, and tribal education systems to organize students and professionals around issues of critical cultural competency, anti-racism/anti-bias, and inclusive community building.