Playing With Power

Last night, much like all of you, I watched in stunned silence as Donald Trump, a man with no political experience, who ran a campaign of hatred, bitterness and racial division, became the 45th President of the United States of America. 

As my 15 year old daughter cried, asking how the smartest woman could lose to an unqualified man & what hope was there for her to succeed, I reminded her that we have to keep trying because we can never succeed if we don’t try. But my seven year old sobbed because what if Mr. Trump builds the wall & her cousin Kristen and Aunt Erica are trapped on the other side? What if her Uncles can’t be married anymore and her Uncle Dan has to go behind the wall? Her older sister said that we needed to ask the rental agency about Aunt Erica’s dogs so they could come to Canada too. 

Even Erica’s Dog is confused.

I was floored. I couldn’t imagine being a woman in America right now. Or a person of colour. Or LGBTQ. How disillusioned you must feel. As a Canadian watching from the outside, I read so many statements from people who said they feel like they don’t matter to their own country. They feel betrayed by their neighbours, friends. Victims of sexual assault feel like they will never be believed, as their president-elect actually said that they weren’t attractive enough to be attacked and THIS WAS A VALID DEFENSE. The girl who was assaulted now is less likely to report. LGBT families sit in fear, wondering if their family is still a family in the eyes of the government. And little girls…they watched a woman who wanted to lead be crushed by a man that is grossly unqualified because she might have done something that isn’t really a crime that no one could prove she actually did and sexual assault only matters if you are conventionally hot. And Gold Star families only matter if they are white. This is the new world and it scares the fuck out of me. 


As someone who gives too many chances and believes everyone is good, this is such a bitter pill to swallow. The majority of citizens voted for an alleged fraudster who doesn’t pay taxes and ran with a partner who supports conversion therapy. This kind of world, where this man leads a world super power is terrifying. But after I cried for my neighbours and friends and their terrifying new normal, I realized that much like America used their voice, I can use mine. 

I’m just one person in 7 billion, but you only need one voice to help another use theirs. And another. I couldn’t use my voice as I’m not American. But I CAN use it to promote goodness, kindness and love for each other. And I will do that. 


I may not respect your decision America, but I respect that it was yours to make. For those who are disillusioned and hurting, know that you are loved. You are loved by your friends, your family and even me, some random Canadian you’ve never met. Know that you have value. Know that you can change the world. All you have to do is use your voice. The thing about standing up for others is that it isn’t easy and people don’t always listen. But don’t sit down. Don’t stop trying. Hate only wins when love stops trying. So keep on loving. Keep being good to each other. Show hatred that while they won the battle last night, they didn’t win the war. 

I know we all woke up to a scarier world, but we can counter it with respect. If someone you know voted for this government, do not attack them. When you stoop to their level, hate wins. Respect that they chose and treat them the way you would want to be treated. Remember that they are also disillusioned and when we lose faith in each other, that is how monsters sway rational thinking human beings into supporting things they would never dream of. Do not validate their bigotry. That’s what they want. I know it’s hard when your entire way of life is being threatened, but try. Love will always win in the end, as long as we practice to love each other, even those who hurt us. 

And finally, I hope that you all choose love. Do something good for someone else today. Be kind to someone. On Facebook, I’ve challenged my friends to compliment the person above them, even if they don’t know them. This is how we drive out hate; with love. 

Hey Brother

Much like everyone else, I was instantly mesmerized with the beautiful story of Ryland Whittington, who’s parents made the brave choice to accept their child for who he is, transgender. Ryland (now seven) often lashed out, saying he hated himself & someday when his family died, he would live as a boy the way he was supposed to. His parents Jeff & Hillary consulted doctors & therapists, who all came to the same conclusion; Ryland was exhibiting feelings of a transgendered male who wanted acceptance. So they did. Their video explaining to friends & family that Ryland would now use male pronouns & live as a male went viral & they received the Inspiration Award at the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast.

However, instead of celebrating this family & their demonstration of unconditional love in a time when so many children talk of coming out to find their parents do not accept them, many bloggers & commenters claimed that these parents were actually abusing their son (before I get hatred, I want to remind you that Ryland identifies as male, so I will refer to him as the Whittington’s son).

Wait, what?

Self proclaimed “Speaker of absolute truths,” Matt Walsh claims that Ryland is too young to understand something as huge as gender & he’s confused & his parents shouldn’t have allowed it. Fox News correspondent Keith Ablow said Ryland should have been prescribed anti-psychotic medication. Both of these men stated clearly that Ryland was too young to understand what being a boy was, despite the American Association of Pediatrics saying gender identity is determined at four (Ryland was five when he began his transition).

When I pointed this out in the comment section of Walsh’s blog, along with the fact that he is not a doctor and has never met Ryland. Many of his commenters replied that doctors don’t really know anything so they were unqualified, but Walsh speaks truth. One caught my eye & inspired this post, so thank you commenter, whom I’ll call “Bigoted Psycho (or BP for short).

BP mentioned that doctors don’t know anything. She was diagnosed as bipolar, then with General Anxiety Disorder. But she knew her body & that these weren’t working & found other, natural methods to curb her anxiety & now she’s happy.

Wait, so what BP was saying is by understanding the feelings in her body, she was able to effectively convey them to a medical professional who was able to diagnose her & help her feel okay? So, when Ryland Whittington told his family he felt his body was wrong & he didn’t feel right & needed help, he was able to convey that & feel okay?

No, BP says. Ryland is a child. She was a teenager. It’s TOTALLY different. Oh, okay.

I don’t know the Whittington’s. I am not a doctor. I am not even very smart most days. But I am a parent. I love my girls more than life & I want them to be happy. I want them to know that I’ll love them if they’re LGBT, or straight, if they go to college & become doctors or if they work @ Burger King for life. I also want them to know if they feel something isn’t right, that I’ll be there for them. Whether their stomach is upset or they feel like they’re in the wrong body & they hate themselves. I want them to know that I will understand & accept them. I am their mother & it’s my job to give them the safe haven from cruel people like Matt Walsh, or BP, or the bully down the road & that they can tell me ANYTHING & I’ll help them any way I can. The Whittington’s obviously felt the same way & I have nothing but respect for them.

It’s okay not to understand what it means to be transgendered. I don’t 100% understand. But I’m learning so if I meet a trans person I can get to know them on a human level & not ask a million intrusive questions (I’m a journalist; we ask a lot of questions). But it’s not okay to tell them how they feel about what’s going on in their body is wrong. It’s not okay to tell them it’s a phase. It’s not okay to call them “it” or say they’re confused & this magic pill will fix it. It’s not okay to say that to any LGBT kid. If you don’t understand, then take the time to learn. Try to see things from their POV. I bet we’d be burying fewer LGBT kids who took their own lives if we did. And if you can’t understand, STFU. There’s lots of things I don’t agree with in the world but I’ve learned that, despite Matt Walsh’s claims, there is no absolute truth other than we are all born & we all die. Everything else is a big gray area. So, instead of judging the gray that you don’t like, focus on your own gray.

Dear Olympic Committee, Sponsors & Networks: Why I won’t Watch Your Games

(I understand this deviates a bit from my normal formula of self depreciating wit, I promise to bring it back tomorrow.)

Dear IOC, Major Television Networks & Corporate Sponsors,

Let me introduce myself. I am a 30 something single mom who lives in works in Canada. I’m not a celebrity, of anyone important by any stretch of the imagination. I have never won an Oscar or an Emmy & my only medal is a silver medal when my eighth grade class represented Thun, Switzerland in the bid for a pretend Winter Olympic Games.

I am, however, a huge supporter of the Olympic Games. Every four years, a school project was dedicated to an Olympic sport. I waited with baited breath & stayed up all night to see if you would let Ross Rebagliatti keep his gold medal. I stayed up all night to watch the Beijing Olympics live. I forced my then boyfriend to sit through events we had never heard of (Keirin? What?) & even saluted when the US teams won medals (even though I’m a proud Canadian). I have six pairs of those red mitts, stuffed mascots & books everywhere. I cry when Canadian athletes stand on the podium & stand for my anthem with pride. I love the Olympic Spirit…

…but I will not watch one moment of the Sochi games.

There are things in life that I love more than the Olympic spirit & those are my daughters, my family & human rights. I cannot in good faith celebrate a host nation that punishes people for loving whom they choose or people who support them.

I’ve read about the state-sanctioned corrective rape, the sickeningly high suicide rates & Vladmir Putin’s claims he’s defending “traditional family.” Fifty years ago, my family was not traditional. A single mother, that wasn’t a widow, working full time while building a career was unheard of! Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon would have been stoned in the street for their interracial marriage & children. Traditions change, families are redefined every day. Same sex families are every bit the new normal. I can’t imagine how anyone could look at photos of Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka with their children & not see a beautiful & loving family. Traditional is so subjective. BDSM isn’t traditional, is that banned? No Fifty Shades of Gray? Or is that okay because it’s heterosexual relations? But I digress.

As much as I love the Olympic spirit, I love people more. I love my LGBT family members & friends who would be forced to live a horrible life if they were in Russia. I love my daughters, whom I need to teach right from wrong & the Russian law is WRONG. I cannot support the spirit of the games when your host nation breaks human spirit every day. So , you can keep your games; I’ll watch reruns of Glee. I won’t be enjoying any sponsors during the games either. Sorry.

I know I’m a nobody. I’m not Lady Gaga or Stephen Fry or George Takei. I’m just one woman & I won’t affect your ratings or your games. But I’ve always taught my girls that one person has a voice & I am using mine to tell you that what you are doing is wrong. I’m also using it to implore all athletes to use their time to perform well & if they support LGBT families, use this chance to support them. Use the spirit of the games to support the human spirit, the greatest thing we as people have.

Sincerely, MHC