What’s inside

24 Aug

I have been thinking a lot lately about this beautiful post that a friend of mine wrote recently. I spent a few years focusing on what is on the outside — federal politics, community activism, advocacy journalism, social justice. But the last year has been such an inward-focused period of time for me. I have literally been focusing on such thrilling matters as cervical fluid, basal temperature, follicle count, sperm motility and egg quality. I also spent a lot of time in my home office, finishing my coursework and my final paper for my MA in Women’s Studies. So I went from years of public activism to a sudden focus on private study and fertility treatments. In doing so, my relationship with activism has taken on a new meaning and a new urgency.

Some lessons that I am learning:

1. Pain is pain. There’s no sense trying to prioritize one oppression over another. Feelings of loss, grief, pain and injustice are entirely subjective. And they are all valid.

2. Our bodies are mysterious. We can’t always tell them what to do. My struggle with infertility has given me a window into what trans people and people with chronic illnesses or disabilities must go through. It’s incredibly frustrating when your heart and your brain can’t will your body into submission.

3. My family is as big as the whole community. My wife and I have literally been overcome by the kindness and compassion that we have been offered by friends and family throughout this journey. We have a big cheering section behind us and many soft places to fall. This is the magic of chosen family. We are so very fortunate.

4. We struggle now, because so many struggled before us. Thanks to the dogged determination and hard work of queer activists over the last 30 years, we were able to get legally married. We share an extended benefits plan that helps alleviate the costs of fertility treatments. If I give birth to a baby, both of our names would go on the birth certificate. We can both legally adopt a child — and in fact the Children’s Aid Society in our city is leading the continent in its proactive recruitment of prospective queer parents.

5. There is so much left to fight for. IVF isn’t publicly covered in our province or in most of the country. Trans people have uneven and unequal access to health care and gender identity is not recognized in federal and provincial human rights laws. Queer kids face bullying and discrimination in publicly funded Catholic schools (in all schools actually, but the fact that public money goes to homophobic religious education is particularly appalling). Gay seniors face an uncertain future when they must enter long-term care facilities. There is much work to be done.

So I am going to attribute this latest period of obsessive monitoring  of bodily functions with giving me a renewed understanding of the fact that the personal sure is political. I am writing this blog so someone else will find it and realize that they are not alone. Let’s struggle together in solidarity. May our grief lay the groundwork for change.


2 Responses to “What’s inside”

  1. Hazel Ramona August 25, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Jack Layton would be proud. 😉

    I’m curious about this statement: “Thanks to the dogged determination and hard work of queer activists over the last three years” Only 3 years? Hasn’t it been for years and years and years and years and years?

  2. Queer Femme Mama August 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Meant to say 30 years! I will edit!

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