I love to read and write about gender and sexuality – give me a map and I will find within its grids a conversation about gender and sexuality. When I was seven years old I saw my parents watching Freddy Mercury and his overbite in a white leotard on TV and I exclaimed ‘That man is sexy!’ I was entranced by other men in leotards, particularly Prince, so provocative, tiny and manly in lace and high heels. I watched Madonna ‘touched for the very first time’ writhing on her back in a gondola, desecrating the virgin myth and Tina Turner and Pat Benatar as private dancers – getting paid for the gender performance that other women had to give over and over again for free.
In elementary school there was a fire drill, and some of the children refused to leave the classroom. They were punished. The boys said that they ignored the alarm because ‘Chizzy ignored the alarm.’ Chizzy was the only girl who ignored the alarm. It was true, I ignored the alarm because it was cold outside and clearly, there was no fire. A lot of people complain about authority, but not me. I have said ‘I have no problem with authority because I’m an authority myself. I’ve been an authority since I was this high – the other children always followed me.’
I always loved words, and to this day I carry a scrabble board in my head, and I arrange it throughout the day adding up my points. Maths was a nightmare: why count numbers when you could count letters and words? I was rarely corrected in english classes because I was always miles ahead with respect to creativity, grammar, comprehension and framing my stories. So, I remember the first correction. My 2nd grade teacher asked me not to start each sentence with ‘my sisters and I’. Quite shocking! I had four sisters, and my life didn’t begin, didn’t ignite or take off without my sisters. This teacher, Mrs. Armitage or Mrs. Hendricks, at Aylmer Elementary in Quebec, taught me my first lesson in individualism. Shocking! Starting a sentence with ‘I’ alone. My own disruptions of narratives of sex and gender are thanks to this early intervention, collective as well as individual strikes.
Looking for SIN/GIN I am preoccupied with the relationships between power, gender and sexuality. I wonder about the collective as well as individual muscles that must flex in order that we, as individuals and as groups, can assert our right to sexual pleasure, sexual autonomy, sexual reproductive health, lifestyles beyond the nuclear model of mom, dad, one son and daughter, and so on and so forth.
I look for gender, sexuality and power everywhere, but especially in SART emergency rooms, truth commissions, colleges, barbershops, and in marriages. This website is a space to archive past conversations about sex/gender, as well as a space to share my recent encounters with sin/gin.
Love is a Battlefield
Like A Virgin