Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday June 27, 2010 - busy weekend

well, we finally got some nice sunny summery weather on saturday. i slept in til noon but spent the entire afternoon outdoors, visiting and swimming in 2 ponds.. i also ran 6k and walked about 8k.

sunday was not a very energetic day. after a few errands, i spent most of the day catching up on e-mails and contacting several people in attempt to organize an LGBT conference, which will take place in St. John's on July 24.

getting involved with pride has given me something exciting and challenging to do, which is something that has been lacking for a while, now that my running 'career' is on hold.

my mood has generally been up and down. some more meds adjustments have started, and i can only hope they will help.


Friday, June 25, 2010

June 24, 2010 - PRIDE (and education) in St. John's

Although exhausted, i spent 2 hours this evening attending a St. John's PRIDE planning meeting, and then spent 4 hours doing some planning work for what we hope will be an amazing LGBTQ conference event, that will feature a variety of interesting speakers and topics..

although the official St. John's PRIDE schedule will be finalized and published in a few days, it's 99% that i will be invited to speak at City Hall for both their flag-raising event, and their opening reception events. It's also 99% that i will be asked to speak at the finale event (which includes a medley of a pride parade, a BBQ, and Drag performance from the infamous Doris Anita Douch).

although my relationship with St. John's PRIDE committee executives was rocky in 2009, and although better this year, is still rocky, i am optimistic that 2010 St. John's PRIDE will be the best one yet in terms of not only celebrating, but in providing education and awarness to mainstream society regarding LGB, and yes, T issues.

i am generally supportive of much of what this amazing group of people have planned, and i am pleased to have been a part-time member of the steering committee, who was given a chance to play a role at the decision-making table, at least in most cases, when i bothered to show up to their meetings.

Although there are a few things that i don't like, i will plan to suck it up and be a team player, as i think it's critically important for our city's LGBT community at this time, that we all stand together showing solidarity. and likewise, important for the St. John's T community to come together and celebrate ourselves, as well as blend in with the rest of the LGBs. (yes, there's even a chance that we will see transsexuals, transgenders, transvestites, and drag performers, all together sharing our unique stories and sharing a laugh and a drink!)

Meanwhile, i can't help but feel no PRIDE for our Newfoundland Human Rights Commission. Not only did our Minister of Attorney General and Justice refuse to repackage this entity as a crown corporation, they took advise that apparently came from them, that transgender people should not be granted recognized-protection under the new Human Rights Act. Having met with Carey Majid, their executive director, on numerous occasions, and having had gained great respect for her as a person and as a professional, i take personal offense and hurt over this. Carey, you have betrayed me and you have betrayed the entire transgender community, if this really was indeed your idea.

rather than express exclusion, you should have taken the lead from the Ontario Human Rights folks. CBC radio noon interviewed an Ontario Provincial Politician today regarding what they have done, and what their reactions were to these backward steps Newfoundland has taken. Cheri Dinovo's interview is here as is a link to my interview from a few days ago.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday June 23, 2010 - A dream advocacy meeting

Well, tonight, i was fortunate enough to be watching the 6 o'clock news, and took notice of a Public Forum this evening on Mental Health. Our Minister of Health had just announced funding for a variety of issues, and the forum was intended to gauge the public's opinions on how some of these programs should proceed.

Well, our Minister got up to the mike and gave us a lovely speech about how Newfoundland wants to be seen as leaders in terms of progressing with mental health - specifically, the fact that we are apparently getting away from old out of date policies and practices and that we are taking steps to eliminate discrimination and stigma faced by mentally ill people.

Well, interestingly enough, Justice Minister Felix Collins was in the front row of the audience, so when question period began, i gave a 2 minute heated speech that lead to a huge ovation from the room full of 200 people, mostly mental health professional and advocates..

this isn't word for word, but here's essentially what i said:

"I am Jennifer McCreath, a former government senior policy analyst. I like lots of what i have heard tonight and strongly agree with the concept of communication and outreach, but I really don't want to be here tonight! However, since Gender Identity Disorder is still being classified in the DSM as a mental illness, i went to my psychiatrist, who has spent 2 years 'assessing and diagnosing me' with this 'illness'

Doc wrote me a lovely letter suggesting recommended treatments, so i filed an application with our province's public health care insurance plan, but i was told that an out of date legislation prevented me from getting funding unless i jump through several addition, unnecessary, and extremely challenging hoops.

well, rather than start jumping, i called my laywer; who advised me to file a Human Rights complaint, which i did! and that resolved absolutely nothing!

(opening today's paper) then here i read that the new Human Rights Act still does not include protection for transgender or transsexual people.

you wanna talk about stigma? well Republic of Doyle (which had been mentioned earlier in the night) portrayed only 1 trans character in their popular tv series, and this transperson was a prostitite! this is ridiculous. I am not a prostitute and neither are most transpeople. this is unacceptable.

you wanna talk about discrimination? i lost my job as a senior analyst shortly after being 'diagnosed with this condition' and have since had 30 job interviews at the analyst or senior analyst level and not one job offer! this is unacceptable.

bottom line, i need care and i have not been getting it for 3 year. Stats indicate that 40% of transsexuals are at risk of suicide if not treated (or in your case, as you said earlier, will be reported as having 'died suddenly'), and i certainly don't want that to happen.

Minister Kennedy, i've got three questions for you:

1 - can i ask you to do the right thing and override your jurassic policies and sign off on this doctors note so i can get funding for the care that i need?

2 - can you please twist the arm of your colleague, Minister of Justice, Felix Collins, who i see is still sitting there in the front row, and ask him to amend the Human Rights Act to align with our theme tonight and take steps to ensure that trans people won't have to face any more discrimination?

and 3 - could both of you please talk to the premier and tell him to give me back my job as a senior analyst? because i am a darn good one!"

...that speech only took 2 minutes, but it was probably the most important 2 minutes of advocacy work i have ever done. the room erupted into a huge ovation. Then Minister Kennedy responded and tried to deflect the issue, play dumb, and cover up his crap. Then he actually asked Minister Collins to leave the audience to join the podium, where he regurgitated the exact same stuff he told to the media yesterday - stating that as trans issues are 'evolving,' he did not feel comfortable creating a definition to put into an Act. he also reiterated that the Human Rights Commission recommended against this. (so guess what Carey Majid? you're next in line for the Jennifer McCreath hot seat! hope you are ready!).

i followed up by suggesting that all the experts were in the room here tonight and if he needs an explanation, then all he has to do is ask!

neither responded to my question about getting back my job.

the night continued as citizen after citizen raised concern about mental health issues that had some sort of personal connection.. most were beefs, while a few offered compliments..

after the meeting had ended, refreshments were served. and i spent over an hour mingling with anyone who wanted to meet and chat. after things had died down, i made sure to follow up with both Ministers, and we actually had a really good chat. I made it clear that there is nothing personal and that i really would have preferred to be at home tonight playing with my cats, (instead of bashing politicians) but when my health care and human rights needs are not being met, i felt compelled to take action. I think they both genuinely understood and respected me for what i did tonight. will anything change? will anything get done? it's hard to say.. but at least these two folks can't say that they aren't aware of me or the issues, any more.

the only disappointment of the night was that no media felt this forum worthy of coverage, so the only way to read about my infamous tirade, is right here, at !

for more information on this matter, check my latest youtube vlog! and please also listen to my archived interview which i did yesterday for CBC.

..funny, a wise man once told me that if i criticized the government, my chances of getting a good job wouldn't be very good.. well, when you are 0 for 30 in analyst job interviews, you really do have nothing to lose! ultimately, i think everyone realized the importance and sense of desperation . i certainly hope this forum tonight will lead to positive change in a very timely manner, regarding these issues..


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 22, 2010 - CBC Interviews me regarding Newfoundland Human Rights Act

A big thanks to CBC radio noon here in St. John's for allowing me the opportunity to speak publicly about my concerns regarding the exclusion of 'gender identity' and 'gender expression' from the new Newfoundland Human Rights Act. An mp3 file of the interview can be found at one of the two following links:

They edited a 15 minute conversation down to about 7 minutes, but i think they did a great job presenting the issue. I definitely think the story does justice to the issue, and furthermore, i think it makes me come across as articulate, knowledgeable and reasonable.


Monday, June 21, 2010

June 21 2020 - Video Blog Updated

well, i seem to have informally started a montly series of random ramblings from me on youtube.

here's link's to my most recent posts:

June 21, 2010 - reaction to the new Human Rights Act of Newfoundland

June 21, 2010 - general life update

May 22, 2010 - report on Halifax Marathon prep, meeting LGBT kids, and dealing with family issues

May 16, 2010 - Mississauga Marathon post game report

June 21, 2010 - CBC radio interview to come!

Jennifer McCreath will interview for St John's CBC Radio Noon News show that will air Tuesday June 22, 2010 at noon local time. Jennifer will discuss concerns about the Government of Newfoundland's failure to provide direct protection for members of the transgender and transsexual community. Jennifer will also discuss specific examples of why protection is desperately needed. Examples will include access to health care funding, employment, and housing.

the interview will likely be archived on CBC's website, so if you are out of town, don't worry!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

June 20, 2010 - difficult week(end)

well, an adjustment to my meds on thursday afternoon lead me to suffer some major side affects (dizziness and drowsiness). this actually cost me what was my 4th sick day in 21 years, as i wasn't fit to attend work on Friday. oh, the challenges of dealing with depression and insomnia! i have since dropped down to half the dose and things seem to be better. i will be following up with the doc again this upcoming week.

i felt good on Saturday, and managed to do three awesome sets of running.. 12, 12, and 10k respectively, over the course of the day. the second set was probably my best middle-distance run of the year, as i covered the 12k in 61.30, which is well ahead of BQ pace.

today has been rather lazy. we didn't get the summery weather that we were supposed to. it has been a warm 22 degrees, but very cloudy and windy. i went outside nonetheless, for a lovely walk to 3 ponds, where i saw ducks, baby duckies, squirrels, and even swans!

i've also been busy trying to rally the troops within the transgender community of Newfoundland, to raise concern towards our Government's decision to exclude us from their new Human Rights Act.

Well, it is Discovery Day in Newfoundland tomorrow, so i will look forward to a holiday, where i will hopefully get in another decent middle-distanced run.


Friday, June 18, 2010

June 17, 2010 - Newfoundland Government denies direct Human Rights inclusion to transsexuals

Despite calls from me and many others, the Newfoundland Government's Department of Justice has refused to add 'gender identity' and 'gender expression' to the newly-formed Human Rights Act (which is an amendment to the old 1996 Human Rights Code), which has been posted here and is scheduled to be formally proclaimed within the next month:

New Human Rights Act of Newfoundland

On the contrary, however, they have added protection to ex-cons and other groups that they perceive to be more worthy of protection. Granting human rights protection to transpeople has become a frequent occurrence among many jurisdictions in the USA, Europe, and many other places in the world. Sadly, Canadian jurisdictions continue to lag behind, and Newfoundland seems quite happy to carry on this sad Canadian tradition.

It's no secret that transpeople in Canada are among the most discriminated against demographic. My life has been no different, as since coming out publicly as trans, i have lost a job; failed to land another job at the same level despite over 30 job interviews; failed to gain access to health care funding for care that my doctors say that i need; struggled immensely to find a new rental apartment (last year it took 30 landlord until i finally found someone willing to rent to me). In addition, i have faced exclusion from various sporting bodies, had family and friends turn their back on me, and have faced constant verbal abuse from many resident's of Newfoundland.

Although adding protection to the Act for transpeople won't necessarily guarantee that such discriminatory acts will cease (as it can be very easy to cover up discrimination, yet be very hard to prove), at the very least, this would have been a serious step in the right direction in terms of swinging the pendulum in the right direction. Formal recognition by Government of our recognition as human beings who have rights would have sent a strong message to society that it is no longer appropriate to discriminate against transpeople. Sadly, this government failed to take advantage of this opportunity.

Now, on the contrary, the HRC has insisted that transgender matters can be technically complained about under the generic definition of sex, however, this is clearly not the same issue.

To prove my point, I actually filed a human rights complaint against our province's Medical Insurance Program (MCP) about 6 months ago, citing discrimination on the basis of sex, with regards to MCP's refusal to grant funding for a variety of care items that my doctors say that i need. MCP insists that since i am transsexual, I must jump thru several additional hoops, and that I must not get the care in Canada. Well, 6 months later, the HRC has resolve absolutely nothing.

Even worse, in Newfoundland Canada, transpeople are forced to undergo cruel and unusual scientific research experiments at Toronto's infamous Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, in order to be even considered for funding (which in approx 90% of cases, results in rejection and a label of being 'mentally ill').

What makes this sadly ironic, is that it was my very own colleagues within the Newfoundland Department of Justice who lead the Human Rights Code review process. I met directly with them and many others to explain the importance of this issue, and I am saddened that they have turned a blind eye to the trans community.

As everyone knows, the only job offer I have managed to score since legally changing my name to Jennifer in March 2008, is that of a temporary physical labour nature, interestingly enough, with the Department of Justice, where I spend most of my work time gathering, organizing, retrieving, and returning, government paperwork from boxes, shelving units, and other offices.

As great as it is to have any job, I didn't spend 5 years going to university to get a degree so that I could find myself earning barely enough to pay my rent but using my muscles. I have a brain, I have talent, I have 7 years of work experience at the analyst level, including 2 at the senior analyst level. It is a shame that nobody in this province seems willing to overlook the trans issue.

Oh well, I am going to keep my head up and continue to do whatever i can to prove that i am still just as capable as i ever was of high quality work. I will continue to be a model citizen, who does not drink, smoke or do drugs; who does not have a criminal record.. someone who is a model citizen in terms of health and fitness - as I will continue to run marathons... and someone who will continue to donate much of my free time for worthy causes including working with LGBT youth, giving seminars at local high schools and universities, giving time to local charities, including the Terry Fox cancer foundation and the Candace Sutherland run for hope. I will continue to pursue advocacy work in Pride settings, and through the media. I will continue to be the most open and out transsexual athlete in the entire world... and I will continue to sit on boards and committees, such as Canada Blood Services LGBTQ working group.. and I will overcome these discriminatory obstacles to prove that I can be a valuable member to any analyst team and become a model citizen that everyone looks up to and wants their kids to be like!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 16, 2010 - challenging cats!

well, it was booster shot day for Danny the cat. it was also supposed to be booster shot day for Dasher the cat, but he totally refused to get into the cat carrying cage! Not even putting some treats in the cage was enough to entice Dash! Oh well, i'm going to have to come up with a plan B. Dasher is very sneaky and won't fall for the old tricks.. lol

meanwhile, a rather depressing week so far as i have not felt it suitable to do any running, given the stress my left foot has been under since being reassigned to a more physical role in the office.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

June 13, 2010 - decent long run

well, i've managed to squeeze in a couple of weekend long runs in a row, salvaging something positive out of the past 2 weeks which featured no weekday running, due to foot pain from my new physical labour job duties. 39k last sunday & a total of 43.2k this weekend, spanned
over 48 hours. these runs have actually been really good. maybe there is still hope!

the weather today was cold and foggy, which was great for running. i decided to give it an extra kick and see how it went. i managed to run a strong 12.1k in 68 minutes. then i had a break to refuel, then i was back out there running hard again. i hit the 21.1k mark at 2.03.23, which represents my best half marathon split since last september, when i ran an even 2 hours on the first half of the Newfoundland provincial marathon. i finished up at 27.2k in 2.41.23. i ran the entire 15.1k second set without a gatorade break, so i was slightly dehydrated, but managed to run strong. i decided to pack it in, rather than do a third set.

well, i may not run again until friday, but at least there is a long weekend ahead, so i am hoping to run 4 days in a row, including what i hope will be an even stronger 30k run in there on the sunday or monday.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

June 12, 2010 - rough week

it's been a tough week as i have battled a bad cold, which has sapped what little energy i seem to have these days. i managed to survive the work week, which is pretty much the only priority i have these days. so many other things in life i want to do but they were all pretty much on hold this week. i have many e-mails to catch up on, many bulletins to read, and many jobs i want to apply for... hoping to get caught up over the weekend. i had a sluggish 8k run friday night, which was my only run this week, since running 39k last sunday.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

June 6, 2010 - what the heck

well, i shouldn't be running on this bad foot, but i figured, what the heck? i've got a field trip on wednesday so that is sorta like a rest day from work, so i ran 39k this afternoon. including 8 laps around quidi vidi lake, where i saw two sets of baby duckies! very cute.. i also saw the infamous Goose, who was honking at some of the duckies.. lol then it was a visit to burton's pond on the way, where there is one mommy duck that has 11 babies! i also saw some of my favourite old familiar duckies. nothing like some old familiar quacking animal faces to cheer me up!

well, i hope i don't pay the price tomorrow for this run, but i actually don't feel too bad. i ran at a slightly slower than marathon pace, and took breaks to see the ducks, so i feel rather fresh. i ran i in about 4 hr 30 over a span of 5 hr 35.

well, it was 2 years ago this Tuesday that i was the runner up in the last ever Eastern Marathon in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland. i was literally in my athletic prime back then. i certainly hope that the day will come when i can get back to running at that level. i still think about that race every day. if i hadn't ran 100k the weekend prior, i can only wonder if on fresher legs, i could have held off ol' Mack to win that race. he stormed from behind to catch both me and Peter G. around the 31k mark, and he never looked back, beating me by a mere 4 minutes. ahh, the running memories.. lol


Saturday, June 5, 2010

June 5, 2010 - exhaustion

a very difficult week for me. i slept in til 2 pm today. then went out for a light walk to see the baby ducks at burton and kent pond, which was lovely. back home and took another nap. absolutely no energy today. looking forward to having a chat with one of my psychologists on monday in hopes that we can figure out a new plan to help resolve the many problems and challenges in my life.

meanwhile, i am sure it will be more of the same tomorrow, as i try to rest and recuperate.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June 2, 2010 - running career on hold

well, it's been a disappointing week for me. My employer recently made some major modifications to my job duties - essentially changing it from a desk job to a physical labour job. i am now finding myself standing on my feet pretty much all day, where i am doing a great deal of bending, lifting, squatting, and climbing step ladders. doing this every day for just 2 weeks has already taken a major toll on my feet - even more so this week. bottom line, i'm lucky if i can manage to walk home at the end of the day, let alone even think about running.

needless to say, i am quite disappointed about both the change in job duties, and my inability to carry on with my running. i am now scrambling to find another job as soon as possible, as this current situation adds yet even more stress and aggravation to a life already full of challenges.