The Daily GRRR! - Mar. 9, 2015 - Your “Ugh, Monday Morning” Edition

Welcome back to SoundFM! You are now listening to The Daily GRRR! on the air every weekday morning from 9-10 a.m. here at 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and on the web. This is Kathryn and I’ll be your host on this Monday morning show for March 9th, 2015.

As always, we are broadcasting from the heart of the Haldimand Tract, the occupied Grand River Territory of the Six Nations, which we continue to recognize as Haudenosaunee land.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

We will begin today with headlines:
The Daily GRRR!
HEADLINES for Mar. 9, 2015
1. Students and admin at Cape Breton University offer united call for free tuition
2. Labour stats show women faring no better in ON workforce after 15 years
3. Gender-based analysis of “hidden” homelessness needed to care for women
4. Chipewyan mom fights N.W.T. gov to use traditional name on birth certificate
5. Trans prison guard gets more respect from San Quentin inmates than coworkers
6. Florida state bill that would criminalize trans bathroom users survives first vote
7. KW hosts 15th annual Rainbow Reels Queer & Trans Film Fest, March 12-15!

1. Students and admin at Cape Breton University offer united call for free tuition

As reported by the Halifax Chronicle Herald, the Cape Breton University student union, faculty association and administration are presenting a united front in a call for the federal government to really address the entangled problems of student debt, tuition fees and university funding, and they’re proposing that the government do so by making post-secondary education entirely free. Student debt is out of control, leading an increasing number of students to seek financial help, said student union president Brandon Ellis: “As a students’ union,” he explained, “we’ve seen more students come in this year looking for emergency bursary funds than in recent years. I’m not sure if that problem is with student loans or what have you, but I have noticed a disturbing trend that student debt seems to be rising.” And while tuition is one of the larger costs of a university education, Ellis also acknowledged that students living on their own face significant and, at times, prohibitive additional expenses in the form of basic living costs, which of course vary by city and institution. Free tuition for all “would certainly eliminate some of the burden” for students, he said, while making university affordable for all.

In the words of Cape Breton University president David Wheeler in a blog post released last week, “It seems to me that the most elegant solution — adopted by the majority of G20 nations — would be the removal of student tuition altogether, funded by a system of progressive taxation at the federal level and backed by needs-based living expense grants at the provincial level.” Wheeler also warned that without new university funding, tuition hikes could put rates at $9,000 to $10,000 a year by 2025, saying, “It’s only going one direction, unless we take action.” The school’s student union, faculty association, and university president Wheeler all co-signed a letter this past Thursday asking federal political parties to start a national dialogue on funding for higher education. “It is a federal election year, and we do believe that this topic merits attention by our federal leaders,” Wheeler said. “The provinces, of course, are in a bit of a jam because, in theory, they are responsible for supporting all of the costs of the system, with the feds picking up research moneys and so on. But the reality is that most provinces are struggling to keep their universities afloat, including ours, so this really does require federal intervention.” In his blog post, Wheeler also noted that jurisdictions that have tried to hike tuition — such as Quebec and the United Kingdom, both of which attempted to increase fees in 2012 — faced sustained public demonstrations and failed to solve the dual problems of student debt and insufficient public funding of universities. So why not give free education a try? It just might work.

2. Labour stats show women faring no better in ON workforce after 15 years

As reported by, in terms of Ontario's employment rate, women have made no gains since the year 2000. Women began the century with an employment rate of 57.4 percent and we started 2015 with an employment rate of 57.2 percent, or slightly less than a decade and a half earlier. In between those years, women have been on a roller coaster ride when it comes to jobs, with statistics showing how the employment rate for women in Ontario peaked in the fall of 2007 and again in the spring of 2008 before falling sharply during the 2008-09 recession. Today, the employment numbers for women sit even lower than at their recessionary rates, though it’s interesting to note how the patterns vary greatly by age. While young women aged 15-24 saw their employment rate hold fairly steady between 2000 and 2007, the employment rate for this group began to drop even before the recession hit, and their employment rate continued to fall until the end of 2012 when it hit a low of 50.5 percent. While the past year has seen a steep increase in young women's employment rate, this has been attributed more to the fact that this demographic’s numbers have been decreasing due to aging, rather than as a result of initiatives to more adequately employ the young women of Ontario. Meanwhile, women in their prime working years have been on a roller coaster ride since Y2K, with employment rates rising and falling almost annually. Women aged 55 and over, on the other hand, have experienced a very different pattern than their younger counterparts: their employment rate has been on a slow and steady rise, from just under 20 percent in December 2000 to just over 31 percent in 2015. This trend is in part a result of the population aging, of course, but it’s also evidence of the economic necessity for women to remain at work longer in their lives. In short, when it comes to general employment over the past 15 years, women are right back to where we started in 2000.

3. Gender-based analysis of “hidden” homelessness needed to care for women

As reported by, although progress has been made regarding women's rights and equality, the basic right to a safe and affordable home will be out of reach for too many women across the globe and here in Canada. In particular, women's experiences of homelessness are underestimated. In 2014, The Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council estimated that, of the 2,750 people experiencing homelessness in Winnipeg, 30 percent are women. Women, though, are more likely to experience hidden homelessness—living temporarily with others with no guarantee of continued shelter. Hidden homelessness has been estimated as three and a half times the amount actually counted. Women's hidden homelessness has many faces: shelter overcrowding, couchsurfing to avoid shelter stays altogether, staying in violent relationships to try to maintain stable housing, living in unsuitable or violent situations to maintain custody of one's children, or paying high rents that make other necessities, like food, unaffordable. The racialized nature of hidden homelessness is also difficult to pin down, although it’s well known and widely acknowledged by everyone but the federal government that First Nation, Métis and Inuit women and girls are most at risk. Homelessness is a prime example of why a gender-based analysis is needed for comprehensive and effective policy-making. Because women and men experience different pathways into homelessness, logic follows that more equitable and, likely, gender-specific solutions to ending homelessness are also needed, particularly if root causes are ever going to be addressed.

4. Chipewyan mom fights N.W.T. gov to use traditional name on birth certificate

As reported by CBC News, a mother's battle for her daughter's name has become a fight for representation of her traditional language, as a result of intolerant colonial attitudes within the provincial government. Shene Catholique Valpy gave birth to a daughter on February 15, 2014, but she has gone without a birth certificate ever since because one of the characters in her name is what’s known as a glottal stop, an important one in the Chipewyan language that signifies both pronunciation and meaning. Shene chose her daughter's name because of its meaning in her traditional language, which is, "When the sun just peeks through." But if the glottal stop was replaced with a different character, her daughter’s name would both sound and mean something completely different.

This frustrating culture clash began when Shene attempted to register her baby in February of last year and subsequently received a phone call from the Northwest Territories government's vital statistics department, telling her it couldn't support the use of the traditional character. In an email, a government representative explained that it’s because the glottal stop isn't part of the Roman alphabet, leaving Shene with the tough decision of either changing her child's name or digging in for what could be a long, drawn-out fight for the traditional spelling: "I figured I could either drop the glottal, or I could put a hyphen or leave it there," she says. "I wasn't really sure, so I decided to keep it and as a family, we're going to try and fight it." She went more than a year without legally registering her baby as her complaint was processed, paying her daughter’s medical expenses out of pocket because of her inability to file for a territorial health card without a birth certificate. Earlier this week, the need for identification — for travel, medical, and tax purposes — became too much, and she got a birth certificate for her daughter with a hyphen replacing the glottal stop. However, she asserts this is a temporary situation and that she will continue to fight for her daughter's traditional name: "I want to be able to fight this to be able to have my daughter's name written the right way, the way it's supposed to be," she says. "I don't want to sacrifice my language just because of this.” And especially given that the Northwest Territories currently supports 11 official languages, including Chipewyan, she can’t be expected to.

5. Trans prison guard gets more respect from San Quentin inmates than coworkers

As reported by The Huffington Post, U.S. Navy vet Mandi Camille Hauwert has worked as a corrections officer at San Quentin State Prison in California since 2007, but she started to transition on the job more than two years ago. Originally, “I was planning on actually leaving San Quentin to transition,” she said, explaining that “I didn’t think it would be possible to do it inside the prison.” But, she continued, “I ended wearing makeup to work every once in a while, very light makeup, just to see if I could get away with it... I was just going to start transitioning and see if anyone said anything.” Eventually someone did, and Hauwert said she was pulled into an office where she was asked to explain her new look: “I basically told them I was transgender, and they said ‘you can’t cross dress,’ and I told them I’m not a cross dresser, but I had to sit there and explain to them what it actually meant to be transgender.”

When asked how the inmates have reacted to her transition, Hauwert said while she was afraid at first, things have turned out to be just fine: “I’ve been getting mostly just respect from the other inmates. They don’t refer to me as sir, and they refer to me as a female. I’m typically only misgendered by my fellow coworkers.” Hauwert said she thinks her peers are less tolerant than the inmates because “inmates on some level understand a little bit more what it’s like to be me, in that you’re kind of an outcast.” Both inmates and transgender people, she added, have to deal with others making “a lot of assumptions” about them that are not necessarily true.

6. Florida state bill that would criminalize trans bathroom users survives first vote

As reported by The Huffington Post and The Tallahassee Democrat, a proposed bill in Florida that passed its first vote in the Republican-majority House Civil Justice Subcommittee last week would make it illegal for a person to enter a single-sex facility if the person was not born a biological member of that sex. The measure would apply to bathrooms, dressing rooms, fitting rooms, locker rooms and showers, or wherever there is a "reasonable expectation of privacy", and would henceforth force trans folks to publicly out themselves and risk becoming targets of the very same violence that the bill allegedly seeks to protect against. While the Republican politician who proposed the bill pitched it as a safety and privacy law that would protect people from molestation, rape and voyeurism, the bill would only serve to discriminate against transgender people and, in the words of one trans man who is fighting the bill, "would create the exact problem they're trying to solve”. Andrew Seeber said if he walked into a women's restroom, he would make women feel uncomfortable because he looks and dresses as the man he knows himself to be. His fiancée Haley Cutler said the bill would force her husband-to-be to out himself as transgender if approached, which could put him at risk as well. The law was apparently crafted in response to a municipal ordinance intended to protect those with self-identified genders, permitting residents to choose a facility based on their innate, deeply-felt psychological identification as a man, woman or other gender. And while this is an admirable and much-needed legislative move, the unfortunate backlash to such necessary anti-discrimination laws is all too often another governmental display of bigotry like this most recent backward move in Florida. So let’s hope it gets voted down in the next round.

7. KW hosts 15th annual Rainbow Reels Queer & Trans Film Fest, March 12-15!

WPIRG is proud to present Rainbow Reels 15th anniversary! This year the festival will showcase and centre queer and trans stories through films, a poetry slam, zine fair, visual art show, and performing arts cabaret!


Day 1: Thursday March 12, University of Waterloo (200 University Ave W, Waterloo)
Co-presented with GLOW
5PM Film Room TBA: Boy Meets Girl (US, 95min)
7-9PM Discussion at The Glow Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity
10PM Film at Glow Centre: Drunktown’s Finest (US, 95min)

Day 2: Friday March 13, Wilfrid Laurier University (75 University Ave W, Waterloo)
Co-presented with LSPIRG, Rainbow Centre, KW Poetry Slam
8PM Hot Damn! It’s a Queer Slam! Veritas Cafe
10:30PM Bricker Academic Building Room 102, FILM: Blackbird (US, 99min)

Day 3: Saturday March 14, Princess Twin Cinema (46 King St N, Waterloo)
10AM Film: A Self-Made Man (US, 56min)
11:30AM Film: Purple Skies (India, 66min)
1-2:30PM Film: Lilting (UK, 91min)
5:30PM Film: My Prairie Home (Canada, 77min)
7:15PM Film: Out in the Night (US, 75 min)

Day 3: Saturday March 14, The Legion (19 Regina St N Waterloo)
12-5pm 3rd Floor, Out to Sea: Zine Fair Art Showcase
2:30-4:30PM 2nd Floor, Panel Discussion
8PM 2nd Floor, Muse Cabaret and Dance Party

Day 4: Sunday March 15, Apollo Cinema (141 Ontario St N, Waterloo)
Queer Family Day!
10AM: Free brunch in the lobby
10:30AM Free childcare opens (register here:
11AM Film: Appropriate Behavior (US, 86min)
1PM Film: To be Takei (US, 90min)
4PM Film: The Way He Looks (Brazil, 96min)
6PM: Childcare closes

Reserve your tickets in advance at:

All films:
Waged: $5 (or Pay What You Can)
Unwaged/Students: Free

Hot Damn, It’s a Queer Slam!: $5 (or Pay What You Can)
Zine Fair and Art Showcase: Free Admission
Cabaret: $5 (or Pay What You Can)

Festival Passes: $20

More info at

Questions/media: Contact festival coordinator Janice Lee at

Midway Music: Hell by Tegan and Sara

Feature: “Reimagining Feminism On International Women’s Day” by Harsha Walia for

Closing Song: The Boys Wanna Be Her by Peaches



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