One Step Back

Photo: Ten Gossip

In an election otherwise full of great triumphs, the gay rights movement suffered a stunning defeat. California voters approved Proposition 8, putting a ban on same-sex marriages that overrides a recent court decision legalizing them, and throwing into doubt the unions of about 18,000 same-sex couples who wed during the last 4 1/2 months. The measure’s most fervent proponents believed that nothing less than the future of traditional families was at stake, while opponents believed that they were fighting for the fundamental right of gay people to be treated equally under the law.

I just don’t get it. In my opinion, Prop 8 isn’t about “restoring” or “protecting” marriage. If that were the case, there wouldn’t be such things as divorces or second, third and fourth marriages. Hate-mongers and the righteously confused continue to think that the “gay agenda” is to indoctrinate and recruit. There is only one subject on their minds when they mull over this misguided fear, and it certainly is not marriage. It’s not the idea of love, family or companionship either. It’s sex. Why do (most) people want to get married? To spend the rest of their life with someone they love. What makes 2 men or 2 women wanting this different from a man and a woman who do? In my eyes, what the passing of Prop 8 does preach is the tolerance of discrimination. Love cannot be legislated and discrimination should not be written into the Constitution of the State of California.

How can a country take such a huge leap forward in equality and yet step back from it at the same time? Thoughts?

Raul posted an entry on this topic as well. Please read it here.

UPDATE: Read Melissa Etheridge’s thoughts here on The Daily Beast.

A blind man on the corner said it’s simple, like flipping a coin, don’t matter which side it lands on if it’s someone else’s dime

Photo courtesy of The Blackbird on Flickr

The headline seemed to scream at me this morning from my list of feeds: Child poverty rates unchanged in nearly 2 decades: report. Here we are in Canada in 2007 and he rate of child poverty is the same as it was in 1989. It has been eighteen years, and despite a 50 per cent increase in the size of the economy, the child poverty rate remains unchanged at 16.8 per cent when income was measured before income taxes; that means that one in six children in Canada lives in poverty. Not only does that absolutely break my heart, but it also makes me feel sick to my stomach.
I wasn’t surprised when I clicked over to Matt’s blog, knowing that he feels the same way that I do about this cause, to find that he had already posted about the article. Go here to read this thoughts and the discussion that has followed.
I have continued to be astounded, especially recently, not only by how many people are absolutely ignorant with regards to this issue but also by the number of people who turn a blind eye to it all together. In June, the UN released a report referring to Vancouver as a “scarred paradise.”
The report describes Vancouver as a “breathtakingly gorgeous” city with a sizzling economy.”But there is trouble in paradise. And nowhere is it more evident than in the Downtown Eastside — a two-kilometre-square stretch of decaying rooming houses, seedy strip bars and shady pawnshops,” states the UN agency.”Worst of all, it is home to a hepatitis C (HCV) rate of just below 70 per cent and an HIV prevalence rate of an estimated 30 per cent — the same as Botswana’s.”
A city with staggering wealth and soul-crushing poverty is far from unusual in the world’s largest cities, the report notes.”What makes the Downtown Eastside so different is that it is located in one of the most prosperous cities in one of the world’s most prosperous countries.”The UN Population Fund says next year, for the first time in history, half the world’s population — 3.3 billion people — will live in urban areas. The number will swell to almost five billion by 2030.The report calls for pre-emptive action to deal with lack of housing, employment, good governance, and environmental stewardship.

To say that this is a sad facet of modern Canadian life doesn’t even begin to capture the harsh reality. This is a national travesty and it needs to be addressed.

They say it’s your birthday, we’re gonna have a good time, I’m glad it’s your birthday

On Saturday morning, we woke up at the crack of dawn and hopped on a Greyhound bus bound for Whistler. In honour of Kristina’s Birthday, we planned the perfect ladies weekend away…no detail was spared- with jello shooters and a magnum of champagne in tow, we invaded Whistler for one awesome night of celebration.
Shopping in the village with flurries falling on our heads and Starbucks in hand by day, pre-drinks in our fine hotel room and then dining at 21 Steps and doing some solid gold dancing at Garfinkel’s by night.

To spice things up a little, we also planned a secret mission for the birthday girl. Since she was turning 26, we thought it would be fun to give her just that many tasks to complete before the end of the night, a Scavenger Hunt, if you will…whether she honestly completed every task or not, nobody is sure. One thing is for certain though, there are lots of blurry, tequila soaked memories of good times had by all and some damn funny photos to prove what a blast the entire night was.

Here’s a glimpse at some of the trouble that we got her into:

Task #1: Giving her number to the bartender.

Task #2: Getting a guy to take his shirt off.

Task #3: Getting a guy to give her a piggy back ride.

This was just the beginning, and I’m sure that you believe me. Girls gone wild, what?

***
Recently, I have sounded like a broken record with regards to talking about how much I currently despise the club scene. I’m big on finding other things to do, which can sometimes be difficult because I’m not exactly out of the age group of people who still like to go clubbing. I’m just not one for pretentious places with arrogant guys wearing big chains, trying to grind up on me and who clearly just want to get a piece. Neither, am I a girl who is impressed by guys buying me drinks all night, hoping for something in return. I can get my own vodka soda, thank you very much. I’m also not there to find the man of my dreams, I’m pretty sure that he hates these clubs as much as I do. It’s not about being snobby because it’s not even that the pretentiousness is directed at me. I just don’t want any part of an atmosphere that’s all about egos. There is also not a part of me that longs to be one of those bleached, bar star, orange skinned girls with Louis handbags who prey on horny boys flashing dollar bills. Honest to God. A few weeks ago, I found myself at a club in the city. I paid $15 dollars to get in the door, plus another $3 to check my coat. I’d dropped $25 before I even took a sip of my first drink. Trying to plot my escape, I ended up calling a friend of mine who is a self professed shut in, “Nights like tonight make me understand why. I could really go for a cup of tea instead of this right now…” I told him. I’m definitely a dinner and drinks, beers at the pub, or quiet night at home with a bottle of wine kind of girl. (I never said that I don’t like to drink!) The club scene is just not for me anymore.

That being said, there’s something about the Whistler club scene that’s different. It’s so much more casual and laid back up there. What I do love about going out is busting mad moves on the dance floor with my friends, and what we call “dumb dancing” …you know, pulling out those old school moves like the running man. That’s what I’m talking about! Saturday night in Whistler was so much fun that I didn’t even want to drunk dial anybody to rescue me. Make no mistake, a nice Pinot Noir with friends is much more “me” most nights; but sometimes, you just have to step it up a notch for your best friends. I’m definitely glad that I did this weekend because I had a ball! Happy Birthday, Kristina!

The Juice: Take Two

It wasn’t more than a few weeks ago that my best friend Edward was visiting from Paris. We sat around after dinner, reminiscing and drinking wine. We started talking about how much we loved to debate about current events and politics when we were in high school. In particular, he reminded me how obsessed I became back in 1994-95 with the O.J. Simpson trial. As I always tend to do when I become interested in something, I found every available resource that was relevant. I was 14 years old at the time and became completely enthralled with all the details of this case. I developed my own theories and arguments. I listened to every single word spoken in that courtroom and analyzed it. I became very familiar with all of main players: victims Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, plus Marcia Clark, Johnny Cochran, Chris Darden, Judge Ito, Kato Kaelin and Mark Furman, among others- and also with Mr. Simpson himself.

I read the book that O.J. wrote from jail, plus books written by Nicole Brown’s sister, by her best friend Faye Resnick, and countless others written about the case by lawyers and various experts. My television was pretty much permanently tuned into CNN that summer. When the trial went into the fall, I even had to call in sick for class the morning that the verdict was announced so that I would be able to watch it.

Being able to watch the court proceedings allowed a real glimpse into the case and I found it very interesting. Seeing the trial unfold with the whole media frenzy surrounding it was kind of like ‘reality television’ before its time.

When news broke recently that O.J. Simpson had been arrested again and may face life in prison for the ten charges against him in connection with an armed robbery and kidnapping incident in Las Vegas, of course Eddie e-mailed me right away, “So, you think he’s innocent again?”

I had to clarify. I have never said that O.J. is innocent. As a 14 year old, I said that I could prove that he is not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. My point was that the American Legal System says that an individual is “innocent until proven guilty.” In my opinion, nobody was able to prove that he is guilty.

What do I think now? Well, I think that he’s certainly got some anger issues and obviously, he has a violent past. There’s no arguing that. Maybe he did get away with murder. He really lost me when he wrote and published If I Did It last year, a book explaining how and why he would have committed these murders, had he been the actual murderer.

The week that the new allegations were announced, I tuned into an interview with Kato Kaelin on CNN. All the characters are re-emerging, most likely trying to get new book deals and schedule interviews with the National Enquirer. The whole thing is just so sensationalized (as much now as it originally was back when it all started with the Bronco chase). I saw an interview with Marcia Clark on Entertainment Tonight over the weekend as well; she had freshly bleached locks and looked to have just walked out of the botox clinic. All of this really does take away from the point, which is that two lives were maliciously ended and the person responsible was never convicted.

This whole new case is definitely fishy…a set up? I think it’s a possibility. All of the victims are serious criminals. It’s certainly a sketchy story. Whatever the truth is, the chances of O.J. actually getting sentenced to life in prison are I’m sure, about as likely as getting away with murder…oh, wait…

Perhaps I have missed my true calling as a criminal lawyer. Maybe it’s not too late…but I’ll only work for high profile celebrity clients. And I will only wear Prada suits when I’m in the courtroom.

There’s a pretty face on the cover of the magazine and all I can see is my dirty hands turning the page

Today as I was busting my ass on the elliptical machine at the gym, trying to avoid the guilt I felt for sneaking a cookie after dinner last night…I started thinking. I was looking around at all the other girls working out in that gym; staring into the mirrors, their reflections looking back at them. Were the same feelings of inadequacy going through each of those girls heads? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why don’t we ever feel like we’re good enough?

In the moral order of our media driven society, the definition of what constitutes beauty, or even an acceptable body, seems to become more inaccessible all the time. We live in a universe where you could bounce a quarter off the well toned abs of any celebrity, and magazines are filled with airbrushed photographs of emaciated models with breast implants. We are constantly bombarded with images of Nicole Richie and The Olsen’s among other twenty somethings who look like they need feeding tubes. How is any normal girl supposed to feel attractive or desirable when these ladies set the bar?

The pursuit of beauty has become an obsession for so many. It is an obsession that gnaws at the insecurities of most women; even those who are, by any objective opinion, drop dead gorgeous. Nobody wants to acknowledge that in our sophisticated decade, something as superficial as beauty can propel one person forward and hold another back. Society needs a revolution in its values. Beauty needs to be defined with much broader parameters. We need to avoid being trapped into the suffocating vanity that cuts off oxygen to the brains of so many girls (myself included!)

Beauty is nothing we can ever hold onto, yet we’ve panted after it through the ages, eager to drink it in and swallow it down in huge, hungry gulps- like the very breath of air itself. I’ve realized that if I have to sacrifice having fun and doing things that I enjoy in life to look a certain way, the choice is clear. Living fully and being happy is what life is for. Perfection is an illusion.
And in my experience, many of those who appear perfect to the outside world are merely camouflaging a plethora of imperfections on the inside.

I’ve come to the conclusion that you’ve got to have a healthy relationship with your body if you want to be happy with it. This has been an ongoing struggle for me. I wish I could say that I love and accept myself as I am, but the truth is, I have spent much of my life worrying about how I look and feeling insecure about my body.

We all come in different shapes and sizes, and the grass is always greener on the other side-two cliches that, like most cliches, happen to to be true. We are all different, and we all wish we had something other than what we have. What we women need to do, instead of worrying about what we don’t have, is just love what we do have. Get to know your body. Love it, respect it, treat it right.

Because really…doesn’t the world have more important issues to focus on?