Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Beware Internet Trolls and Integrity of Online Information 5/29/2012

For those of you who follow my blog with regularity, yes the millions and millions of you, hehe, I thought it would be a good time to discuss a topic I have always found fascinating: the matter of Internet Trolls. By definition, trolls are people who post inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community - such as forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into emotional responses of grief.

Seems as of late, we have an anonymous individual who claims to be from the north part of Toronto, who seems to get a kick out of trying to discredit my great athletic accomplishments. They do so without ever really giving an explanation.  This is a clear example of a troll who is clearly up to no good. 

What makes trolling interesting is that the true motive of trolls is not always obvious.  The last time I was victimized by trolls was when I was faced with a barrage of posts from feminist pro-choice activists, shortly after I resigned from a Pflag Canada committee.  While their intentions seemed quite clear: that being, to take advantage of any opportunity to promote their agenda, it remains unclear as to what agenda Toronto North (TN) really has. Could it be that TN is jealous of my amazing accomplishments? Or could it be that TN is one of these religious-right extremists who thinks that all LGBT people are possessed by the devil?  Or could this really be someone locally who takes issue to some of the controversial things I have said on Twitter about our Provincial Government? 

Perhaps we will never truly know the motive, or identity of  TN.  This brings me to probably the most important lesson I have ever learned with regards to the credibility of Internet information.  Always beware of  people online who fail to provide a tangible name and contact information.  All true entities who have something to say, will never be afraid or ashamed to identify themselves and provide proof that they really are who they say they are. TN claims to be a runner but provides absolutely no proof of this. TN show me no confidence that they can or should be giving any sort of athletic or medical advice.

Ultimately, I feel a strong sense of accomplishment and success out of the fact that I have managed to publish information that has stimulated such keen and passionate interest in me and my stories. Gaining a reaction is usually the prime motivation of bloggers. Unfortunately, this is not the type of person or reaction I have been looking for though, but this is at least a sign that I am doing something right!

It will be interesting to see if this person continues to troll away here, or disappears further into the irrelevant obscurity that their miserable anonymous existence currently champions

(note: depicted is the universal troll symbol).

Monday, May 28, 2012

McCreath won't Appeal - NL Trans still need CAMH for SRS funding! 5/28/2012

Jennifer McCreath will not appeal a dismissal from her 2009 Human Rights Complaint against Newfoundland's Medical Care Plan over access to transsexual health funding.

In her vlog, she explains the problem is the limited scope of Human Rights Act; and encourages transsexuals to lobby doctors, health policy makers & politicians for change. She complained that any trans care deemed medically-necessary by Newfoundland Doctors should be funded, and care should be provided in Canada, when available. 

Current MCP trans policy (updated last in 1996) states that funding is only available for bottom surgery, AND only upon a recommendation from the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto (Aka CAMH), AND only if the procedure is not done at a private clinic in Canada.

Unlike most other jurisdictions, McCreath says NL Human Rights Act does not allow investigators and adjudicators at Commission to refer potentially contentious public policy matters to tribunal as their scope of mandate is specific to individuals. McCreath also questions whether the lack of explicit protection under the Act for Gender Identity played a role, and whether having the Commission report to the Justice Minister (and not the House) played a role in making this a political issue rather than a human rights issue.

While significant attention has been paid by trans activists, politicians, and media, regarding the addition of Gender Identity to Human Rights Acts, she raises concern that little attention seems to be paid by any of these entities towards an out-of-date myth that transsexualism is a mental illness that requires assessment by the once-perceived guru of trans psychiatric issues, the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, aka Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH).

World Professional Association for Transgender Health (www.wpath.org) and Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (www.cpath.ca) are globally and nationally-recognized body of knowledges, respectively, on this topic. Both say that existing global best-practice guidelines for the assessment of trans patients does not require anything that can't be attained and achieved through a team of the patient's local family doctor and psychiatrist.

McCreath hasn't ruled out a civil lawsuit against the Provincial Government, but will focus her immediate attention towards building up a team of trans patients and trans acvitists, to lobby doctors, policy makers and politicians, to use moral suasion to attempt to improve human rights and health care for trans Newfoundlanders. McCreath intends to use her own volunteer consulting program (www.jennifermccreath.com) and her soon-to-be-established non-profit, Newfoundland Patient Association for Transsexual Health (www.npath.net), as catalyst tools to move this work forward.

For all questions, comments and media requests: info@jennifermccreath.com 709-753-9529

Trans Activist questions Moncton City funding of homophobic School

Kudos to a member of the New Brunswick trans community, who raised concern over the $28 million of public money that has been granted to a non-accredited private educational institute who practices homophobic hiring policies, and for speaking to the media. Crandall "university" has been on the receiving end of money from city, provincial, and federal government money. They state in corporate policy that they refuse to hire people engaged in same sex relationships due to their so-called religious values. 

UPDATE: while Global seemed anxious to put a spin on the complaint, the trans person extrapolated on Facebook expressing concern that their full message was edited out of the telecast. They offered the following:

"Well Global completely hated my response because they edited it out my entire theme of acceptance. Basically, that Crandall's students and staff are not at fault here, that we as ROP, are accepting of all persons LGBT and Straight. That we support private organizations rights to have their private rules which we know supersede Human Rights Law, but receiving public funding goes against that private ORG status. And MOST IMPORTANT, that we would rather see the their rules lifted than have the funding cut. And if the city is in the business of funding controversy, why not be fair and give Non-Profit PUBLIC groups like Pride big cash donations as well. Global was fishing, and the strung shit together to look like they caught something."
(the trans person has not been named on this blog for privacy reasons)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Successful start to Comeback 5/27/2012

Wow, today I conquered one of the most difficult challenges I have ever asked myself to do. I laced them up and hit the road for my first official race since tearing two ligaments in my right ankle. It's been a long and tough 7 months of physio, which only lead to limited improvement. However, after a moderate 16k a few weeks ago, I started to get the idea that I might be ready and able to handle this half-marathon - my third Not So Hilly Half-marathon in 4 years. 

I knew I was in the worst shape I had ever been, entering a race of this distance, but I put together a game plan and stuck to it. With a course time limit of 3 hours, I set a pace that would bring me in just under that. The run went pretty much as I expected. From the get go, the lower back was extremely painful. The ankle was still very tender too.  Also, as expected, my other leg got sore for having to over-compensate due to my limp, which made it very interesting for most of the race, as I found myself using my bad right ankle to support the now worse left upper leg. 

Another interesting issue was the matter of hydration management. The sun felt hot, even though it was rather cool, and I found myself dehydrated. They only had gatorade stops at 5k, 10k, and 17k, so I had to make due.  Another unfortunate incident was that very early into the race, the pocket in my shorts ripped, and my keys, watch, and emergency kit broke loose. This meant that I ended up running pretty much the entire race while carrying this in my hands.  Oh well, I am so used to running with my purse, that this seemed to be a minimal distraction.

Given that I ran wire to wire at the back of the pack, I had a police escort right behind me for the entire race (turned out to actually be saint john ambulance folks in the car).  While I knew they were there, not once did I turn back to look at them (runner's superstition is to never look back during a race, no matter what). 

My pace remained fairly constant throughout the race. I slowed down to a walk during the few short hills on the course, and found myself limping badly and feeling totally exhausted during the last 4 km, but I managed to get accross the finishing with a smile on my face, essentially laughing along with the finish line attendants - all of who know me.  Gun time was 2.57.40, and chip time will likely prove to be about 20 seconds less.  Close call and a few moments where I though I would have to drop out, but I struck it through.  Depicted below is my finishers medal and my bib. 

Not sure when or where I will race next. For now, I am extremely happy to have survived this one, a race that was pure physical torture for 3 hours.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Animals and Ponds 5/26/2012

wow, i had a lovely afternoon of animal interaction.  i dropped into Lesters Farm to visit their rabbits, goats, ostriches and others. then hit burton's pond to see the newly-hatched first batch of baby duckies. 12 in totol, who were peeping away at me while i fed birdseed to their adult duck colleagues.  then it was my first visit to left pond of the year, where i jumped in for a swim and took in the peaceful woods.. oh, i also swam in kent's ponds with two lovely german sheppard dogs, who's owner was throwing sticks in the pond for them to chase after.  hmmm, seems ironic how i feel more comfortable liasing with other animals than other humans.. oh, now i have two cats and one hamster here at home looking for attention!  ahh, a relaxing day before a big race. going to bed early tonight for my 5 am wake up call.  such a nice sunny day here. when the weather is nice (which is rare) there is no better place in the world..

Ready to rock! (and run too) 5/26/2012

I was wondering if the day would ever come for me to feel ready and confident enough to pin one of these on my shirts ever again! 21.1k half marathon tomorrow in Mount Pearl. the 3rd time in 4 years iIhave run this! The best two runs of my seasons were these two runs in 2009 and 2011 respectively. I'm going in on torn ankle ligaments but improved enough from 6 months of physio. Hope I can finish without to much pain, and before the time limit! so excited to be running again!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Not So Hilly Half

Well, not one to shy away from setting tough goals, I have decided to attempt this Sunday's infamous 'Not So Hilly' Half Marathon (NSH) in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland.  This will be my third  NSH in four years (I missed 2010 because the date conflicted with a full marathon I had already committed to run in Halifax).  Newfoundland is best known for its hills, so the existence of 21.1k of continuous flat road is considered satirical.

As a full marathoner, the half marathon has always been considered a speed drill of sorts. the two previous times I ran it, I entered the race on tired legs, having previously run several marathons in the month leading up to it.  ironically enough, I would cite my 2009 and 2011 NSH races as the two most perfectly-executed races of my career as a distance runner. In both cases, I entered with a specific plan to run all 21 at consistent paces, and did so almost perfectly. in 2009, my goal was 5 minute kms, and in 2011, it was 6 minute kms.  In both cases, I crossed the finish line just mere seconds faster than my goal.

Anyway, 2012 is a very different story.  I have not run a formal race since Oct 2011, when I struggled through the Cape to Cabot 20k - a race I ran on extremely bad knees and under conditions of being grossly over-weight and under-trained.  Well, 3 weeks after that race, I woke up one morning with ankle pain, which turned out to be a torn ligament. It seems that a challenging summer of running on bad knees, and under-trained muscles, had put extra pressure on the ankle to the point where it eventually just gave out.

Anyway, after several visits to the physio clinic and only a handful of short runs, while still extremely painful, I have built up a muscular support system that has at least allowed me to run on the ankle without risking any further damage (beyond what would otherwise be considered regular risk probabilities).

Bottom line, although I had done practically no running in Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb and March, I was finally able to start logging some miles in April. In the past 6 weeks, I have had 8 runs of 8km or greater; including 1 at 16k.  It's hard to believe that I have not run 21.1k or more since I limped my way through the Newfoundland Provincial Marathon in Sept 2011, which i finished in 5 hr 56 minutes.  but my recent 16k demonstrated to me that 1) the ankle can handle this, and 2) as poor a shape as I may be in, I can still do this within the 3 hour time limit.

So there we have it. a goal of breaking the 3 hour time limit. I guess that works out to slightly more than 8 minute kms.  Quite sad to think that my goal is to finish dead last. but at the same time, to finish this race at all, is something I would have considered unthinkable, a mere two weeks ago.

After reflecting on my blog and vlog that I posted yesterday after my disappointing 10k training run, I figured that the best way to get myself fired up and excited about life again, was to set extremely ambitious, yet attainable goals.  running this race and crossing the finish line will put some legitimacy on my comeback, as while not a full marathon, this will still represent a significant accomplishment as my first post-ankle-injury race.

For those who are not aware, ligaments are probably the worst thing you can injury: bones heal, muscles repair themselves, tendons and ligaments generally do not directly heal. once you've stretched or torn them, they are stretched for life. in the case of a ligament, if you completely severe them, you will need surgery to weave them together - like a wicker basket.  In my case, I have two torn ligaments, but they are not severed, so I have been advised against surgery but to strengthen the muscles around them and adjust my running motion.  losing some weight would also be advisable, as I know I ask a lot of my entire body, by carrying around what has got to be 80 pounds too much.

Anyway, sure, there is always a chance that I will not finish this race, but heck, I live my life based on a probability matrix.  I have just about everything to gain, and only a minimal chance that I will actually come out of this with something to lose. So it's on! looking forward to finally pinning a number on my running shirt again. and excited that what has traditionally been my busiest running month (May), will not be completely shut out.  While it still remains unlikely that I will ever run another full marathon again, this is at least something positive.

Monday, May 21, 2012

What's Wrong Jennifer? May 21/2012

well, this was supposed to be a private e-mail to a couple of friends, but i figured, i might as well put it out there for the world to see, read, assess, and hopefully react too.....  so after a few minor edits, here it is....  lots of good things happening these days, but just enough gaps and holes to make it appear as though my life is miserable..........  thoughts anyone??

......Wow, that was a long sleep-in for me.. lol lots on the go.. rough day, rough week, rough year, heck, rough century! the problems and challenges keep piling on my life and the solutions seem to be tougher to find. 

From losing my human rights case against MCP and being out $20000, to not being able to find a good job, to dealing with a permanently injured anke ligament, to coming to terms with my separation from st. john's LGB community, to still mourning the loss over family members who still can't accept me as jennifer... to the little things... like crushing over someone i met last week that i can't have..

So many things are going so well for me these days, yet there seems to be enough gaps and holes in every situation to make me feel as though i am the most upset, lonely, and unhappy with life than i have ever been before... i think the biggest conflict is that as much as i have come to love so many things about newfoundland, i realize, as i knew all along, that i don't belong here.. i'll never be totally happy or accepted here, and that my goals and dreams will never materialize here.. only problem, is that there's no where else i really wanna be either.. just a lost soul still trying to find her way thru life.... 

Wow, i just typed an impromptu blog post.. lol anyway, there's life in Jennifer's world.. hehe

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Miss Universe Canada - Jenna Talackova's big night 5/19/2012

well, the popularity of this event, since the re-instatement of Jenna Talackova, was so demanding that organizers created a live webcast so the world could watch Jenna and 61 other lovely beauties compete for the title of miss Universe canad - the person who would represent Canada at the Miss Universe contest later this year.

Jenna captured more media attention that any other of the ladies combined, and she handled her interviews with poise and professionalism.  Jenna appeared totally happy and comfortable as she strutted her stuff on stage. While she made the first cut to the final 20, and the second cut to the final 12, she did not make the final cut to the top 5.  Ironically, it was the other Vancouver delegate who took home the grand prize.  Jenna won one of the special consolation awards though, a co-winner of Miss Congeniality.

Most importantly, Jenna achieved monumental success in terms of raising public education and awareness towards trans discrimination and the issues facing trans people. she broke down a barrier and fought for the right to stay in the event.  Not only did she open doors for herself, but she opened doors for trans advocates all over the world.

During the event, i traded tweets with transwomen from all over the world, including toronto transwoman Susan Gapka, who was in the live audience.  I also provided play by play updates for Montreal Gazette journalize Jillian Page, who didn't have the bandwidth on her internet connection to get the live video feed. Jillian blogged shortly thereafter.

I sent off Jenna a private e-mail tonight to congradulate her and thank her for all her has done, and to encourage her to continue to play an active role in trans rights advocacy work.  Time will tell.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Transsexual activist boycotts gay-rights breakfast with Human Rights Chair!

May 16, 2012 - PRESS RELEASE: Transsexual activist boycotts gay-rights breakfast with Human Rights Chair!

May 17 Marks International Day Against Homophobia. Among the local events in St. John's to commemorate this occasion is a breakfast event by Planned Parenthood at the Battery Hotel. The event features a keynote address by Remzi Cej, Chair of the Human Rights Commission of NL (NLHRC).

While gay activists often claim to speak for and represent members of the transgender and transsexual community, the Head of the soon-to-be-established Newfoundland Patients Association for Transsexual Health (Npath.net) Jennifer McCreath, says this is inappropriate.

McCreath filed a human rights complaint in 2009 against Newfoundland's Medical Care Plan when she was denied funding for transsexual surgery, even though her local doctor said it was medically-necessary. Last month, NLHRC ruled against McCreath and dismissed her complaint. She plans to Appeal.

"The hoops and red tape that NL transsexuals need to negociate in order to receive funding are absolutely ridiculous and nearly impossible to handle" McCreath explained. "I take personal offense that Mr. Cej would speak at any LGBT-rights function, after this ruling. There appears to be a strong misunderstanding between the difference of sexual orientation and gender identity" she elaborated.

While gay and lesbians have explicit Human Rights protection at both federal and provincial levels, by virtue of the words "sexual orientation" being included in the respective Acts, "gender identity" is still left out. On May 16, NDP MHA Gerry Rogers questioned Minister of Justice Felix Collins over this exclusion, and asked that gender identity be added; however, Collins refused.

No stranger to conflict with the gay community, McCreath resigned earlier this year from St. John's Pride Inc., a non-profit org that she co-founded, in part, due to what she said was a "lack of understanding and respect for trans issues by gay leaders."

While McCreath is supportive of anti-homophobia advocacy, she says she won't attend this event based on principle, "while many trans people are heterosexual, there are some who are gay/lesbian, so this issue affects our community as much as those who are not trans; however, this partnership between Planned Parenthood and Cej sends me a message that they don't respect the need for trans rights."

media inquiries:
info@jennifermccreath.com 709-753-9529

Printable Version

Personal & Intimate TV Taping 5/15/2012

Yesterday, I had the interesting experiece of pre-recording a full-length 30 minute tv special for Rogers Out of the Fog, a local community news show here in St. John's.  TV producer Anna Delaney had became aquainted with my work last year during the recording of the Pride Week LGBT Health Care Panel Discussion, which I directed and hosted. Anna and I kept in touch and eventually found ourselves working together on LGBT issues.  I recruited two local youths to interview for her to discuss gay bullying, earlier this year on her show; and found myself gently twisting her arm into lobbying Rogers management to create some programming that looked at trans issues.

About 6 weeks ago, while Anna and I were in the process of planning the development of a trans 101 type of program, the Jenna Talackova beauty pageant story went viral, and Anna asked me to collaborate with her on what I feel turned out to be an awesome televised discussion about not just Jenna, but the overall issues of trans human rights.

Building upon the success of the Talackova interview, Anna was keen to get the two of us back in front of a camera to discuss trans issues in a broader sense, and to specifically, do a biographical piece about me.  Anyway, we had a date set and intended to trade e-mails back and forth about putting together the content. Mostly due to me being very busy, there was only a little communication.  In the end, I essentially showed up to the meeting yesterday quite content to talk about whatever Anna wanted to ask me, and she came totally and awesomely prepared!

The goal was to not only tell the story about the challenges I have faced and been public about, but dig deep into my brain and give the viewers a chance to really get to know what it was like to be in my shoes as I negociated the challenging process of being trans, without even knowing it; then, discussing details of my transition, in terms of physical, psychological, and social.

Anyway we had planned to shoot the video in my home, so that we could also get some footage of me literally living at home in my apartment - me in the kitchen, me with my cats, etc. But turned out, my living room was too small to allow for a suitable arrangement of cameras, lights, tripods, etc. So we ended up having to film elsewhere. We ended up in a lovely living room set, that was actually part of a display at Leons furnature store!

Anyway, while the tech was setting up, Anna and I had well over an hour to sit and chat. Most of the conversation was about me and my various stories. While Anna already had a blueprint for what she wanted to talk about, this extra prep time allowed her a chance to dig deeper and gain knowledge of the background behind the surface.

Anyway, when we finally got rolling, I was totally relaxed and in my zone. What made this unique; however, is that instead of having my business face on, I had a personal face. This was really the first time I had ever done television where there was no particular issue. I am used to analyzing an issue and giving recommendations, but in this case, it was strictly an exercise of facts about me and my life, and assessment of my various feelings and perceptions of my intimate person experiences.

While I like to think of myself as a very open person, the casual discussions I have on a regular basis with strangers, do not usually dig very deep.  This chat with Anna was very deep. The on camera stuff was extremely deep, and the off camera stuff was even deeper.  After we had finished filming, Anna and I chatted even further while the tech did her tear down of equipment. By the end of the night, well, I think I told Anna more of my intimate personal thoughts and secrets than I ever could have imagined that I would tell her!

Overall, Anna seemed very pleased with what we captured on film. While I questioned whether it focused too much on personal and not enough on my various work, she suggested that the balance was excellent and that it would make for great TV. Given that this is a show about me, and not necessarily about an issue, this definitely makes sense.  Usually, this 30 minute feature is reserved for folks that I would consider to be much more famous than I am - such as rock stars, actors, and senior politicians.  I am totally flattered that Anna and the rest of the Rogers team felt that I deserved a spot among this company.

Anyway, there's more to the story.... the story behind the story, I suppose. While I have often done personal stories with TV reporters, I found myself very quickly eating out of Anna's hands.  Right from the get go, I could tell that not only was she interested in this as a news story, she was genuinely interested in me as a person and interested in learning more about me and the issues I have faced.

Sitting and chatting both on and off camera with Anna felt like I had been chatting with a life-long  best friend. She was so easy to open up to. She has an amazing personality and demeanor. This didn't feel like a TV interview at all. It felt sort of like a first date, only I was doing almost all of the talking.  Telling my story to anyone can be very emotional for me. In this case, I found myself revisiting and telling stories about some very tough times - some of the most challenging and confusing situations in my life. I was literally revealing some of my greatest experiences of weakness and vulnurabuility.

I could sense that Anna was also feeling the emotions too. I could also tell that she was totally accepting me as a human being and that she had gained incredible respect for the way I have battled so many adverse situations. Likewise, I had gained extreme respect and admiration for her due to her passionate and personal interest in not only doing this story for benefit of societal education, but because she knew it would help me with my public image-building goals. 

Once we had finished and were ready to say good bye, I reached out, with a few tears in my eyes, and gave her a big hug, which she graciously accepted and hugged me back. As I walked down the street on my way home, the flood gates opened and I was literally balling my eyes out! I continued to cry uncontrolably for over an hour. That was one of the most emotional experiences I think I have ever had in my entire life.  I guess I was overcome with emotion over the fact that I after so many years as a shy, confused person, with low self-esteem, I felt totally comfortable opening myself up and exposing my biggest vulnurabilties, not only to someone I barely knew, but in some cases, to a TV camera that will reach thousands! I have reached the ultimate height of self-confidence and self-comfort.

I think I was also emotional because it had been such a long time since I had a face to face, one on one, intimately-personal discussion with someone I admired and felt totally comfortable with.  I think another thing that really hit me, is that I realized I had developed a rather intense crush on Anna - which I suppose is not hard to understand why, (look up the term 'propinquity' folks). 

I guess it also hit me that like so many other crushes, this is someone who is not available, and someone who might not have any interest in dating me nevertheless.  Heck, finding a match will be very tough. First of all, getting people to take a romantic interest in me is challenging enough, as I am either too masculine or too feminine, depending on where people fall in the sexual orientation department.  I am literally going to need someone who sees me as a person, rather than for sex, gender, or past sex or gender presentations.  If that's not bad enough, I will also need someone who is comfortable being publicly linked to me, a public figure. While I have had many people express romantic interest in me since I became Jennifer, none have been willing to make a public commitment. Seems everyone who likes me, wants to stay in the closet about it, as they are too afraid or worried about what others will think of them, if it were public knowledge that they were either attracted to me, or were dating me. 

Anyway, my new little crush is a nagging reminder that after 4 years of not being mentally in the zone to even consider wanting a relationships, the past year and a half have been frustrating and lonely.  While I'd rather be single than date someone who is not a good match for me, I am really feeling that this is a major gap in my life, that needs to be filled.  Oh well, as they say, not much I can do other than continue to be myself, try to be in a positive mood whenever I am around other people, and try to put myself into positions to meeting new people with common interests. I also need to continue to make myself a better person in terms of both mental and physical health - and this is exactly what I plan on doing. 

Closing out the report, I tried to Vlog after my crying had toned down, but was still too emotions to produce anything that warraned a youtube upload.  I finally calmed down enough to fall asleep around 2.30 am. Today, I was in this emotional state of depressive shock. I literally started crying at my desk at work about 5 times in the first hour, and many times throughout the day. I'm finally feeling better now, that I have gotten this blog down on paper, as well as blogged about a few other things that I have been meaning to write about.

Anyway, the Out of the Fog TV special is slated to air next month. It will be very interesting to see what the final editted product will look like, and how it will be received by the viewing audience. If all goes well, I am seriously considering creating and producing my own independant film that is basically going to be a 3-4 hour memoirs-styled interview. If this does get off the ground, I know exactly who my first business recruitment call will be to!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Candidates for 2013 St. John's Election (Did I Start This?) 5/15/2012

It was a very interesting weekend in St. John's as far as the future of our City Council is concerned.  First of all, as I blogged about earlier today, I announced in the Weekend Telegram newspaper, my intention to seek a seat on the City Council in the Sept 23, 2013 Election.

Later that day, the provincial NDP Party (which I am a member of) held a fundraising dinner event (which I did not attend due to financial and other logistical reasons). During this event, keynote speaker Thomas Mulcair, the new leader of the national NDP party, made a surprising endorsement towards existing city councillor 'at large' Sheilagh O'Leary. Tom stated that he supported and endorsed her candidacy and stated that he would be back in Newfoundland next year, essentially to help ensure she got elected as Mayor!  Apparently, this caught Sheilagh off guard as she has not made any formal announcement regarding her candidacy in 2013 for any position.

For a national political party leader to endorse a mayoral candidate, especially one whom he admitted he had just recently met, seems like a rather suspicious political ploy.  But it is what it is, and it created tons of reaction the next day!  Existing mayor Dennis O'Keefe was critical of the endorsement, suggesting that he has run without the banner of a provincial or federal political party. he also announced his intention to seek re-election in 2013, and to do so without political affiliation.

later that day, Premier Kathy Dunderdale critisized Mulcair for sticking his nose into a situation that she felt it didn't belong.

Anyway, I am glad people are starting to talk about municipal politics here 16 months before the election. low voter turnout has always plaged these elections. Getting more people engaged should lead to greater voices being heard, greater candidates seeking nomination, and the best candidates getting elected.  I am looking forward to being part of this mix!

On the note of political affiliations, I must be honest that I am currently assessing my status as a member of both a provincial and national political party (NDP). I have some big decisions to make in terms of determining whether it is going to be helpful or harmful for me. 

20 Questions in Telegram 5/15/2012

This past weekend, I had the amazing experience of being profiled in a full-paged article in the weekend newspaper here in St. John's. The feature is called 20 Questions, which includes an article about a prominent member of society, as well as 20 personal questions, that will allow the reader to learn about the personal side of someone you may only know superficially from watching the news.

Journalist Tara Bradbury approached me about a month ago with the idea and I was all over it. We traded e-mails back and forth over the questions, and had a lengthy voice conversation to help her write the article. I wanted to use this opportunity to build upon my existing public profile so those who already know me for being a transperson, will get a chance to learn more about the various work I have done and experiences I have had.

Among things people got to learn about me include:

Why I chose the name Jennifer
What I was like as a youth
What is my favourite food, music, year
What are my hobbies
What bugs me
Who inspires me
My most prized possession
What I would do if Premier for a day

Overall, this gave me a chance to give readers an overview of my transition, my marathon running, my love of animals, my advocacy work for human rights. It also allowed people to see the human side of me, as I revealed one of my many current celebrity romantic crushes, discussed my aspirations of having a family - that includes biological children, and discusses how much I seem to appreciate the little things in life, such as a day at the beach or some time playing with my cats. It also profiled my infamous sarcastic sense of humour!

It also served as a chance to review some of my greatest business accomplishments, including my direction and production of a made-for-tv educational forum and a live arts and entertainment event. I also got to demonstrate my vision for the future of this province, should I be in a position of political power; and I announced my intention to seek election next year on the City Council.

I am really pleased that I am finally getting public recognition, not only for being trans, but for being an amazing community leader, who just so happens to be trans. Feedback from the article has been amazing. Occurences of people stopping me on the street to chat have increased.

Thanks again to @Tara_Bradbury and the Telegram newspaper for this amazing exposure!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Dale Kirby tweet did not violate rules. Cons out of order!

following up on my last blog, NDP provincial MHA Dale Kirby made a statement on twitter about his disappointment at a lie he claimed was told by a Conservative during a radio interview earlier that week.  Well, in the House, calling someone a lier is not allowed, and often leads the Speaker to ask the member to formally withdraw the remark and appologize.  The Cons put pressure on the speaker to insist kirby do so over his tweets.  Now current House protocol policy clearly states that their rules do not apply to communocation done outside of the house. So basically, the Cons were in the wrong to ask Kirby to apologize and the speaker was in the wrong too. Kirby did nothing wrong and did not deserve to be attacked.  in the end, he apologized anyway, as he was anxious to move on to more serious business.  

and hmmm, no wonder people seem to be losing faith in the political system, political protocol, and politicians in general.

Anyway, keep up the great tweets Kirby. even if you get gained up on by a dozen Cons, you know I and others will always be here to back u up!

Politicians Tweet newsworthy?

i can't help but find it very interesting how traditional media outlets such as television, radio, and newspapers, are starting to write stories about twitter wars happening between politicians.

it's interesting to see the social media phenomima go full circle. a few years ago, it was the blogs who got attention of media in hopes that media will report on the issues. now, seems many of us are foregoing our attempt to engage mainstream media because we know they are watching us.

rather than have to convince media to pay attention to our issues, a couple of spiritted tweets should have them knocking on doors for interviews.

i must say that i have found myself right into these discusions. for someone in my shoes, with my ambitions, it makes sense to develop regular dialogue with promiment politicians and other important community members. they all know me now, and have had a chance to get to know my stances on key issues, and get to know my communication strategies.

if i really am going to become the first transsexual to be elected into political office in Canada, seems i am doing everything right so far, in terms of getting my name and values out there in twitter world!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama supports Gay Marriage? It's about time!

ok what century is this folks???  here's a run down of timeline when same-sex marriage became legal in all judisdictions of each of the following countries:

Argentina 2010
Belgium 2003
Canada 2005
Iceland 2010
Netherlands 2001
Norway 2009
Portugal 2010
South Africa 2006
Spain 2005
Sweden 2009

So should we be celebrating that the President of another major nation would voice support of this in 2012? or should it simply be expected that all presidents and all political candidates of major world powers would be respectful of hukan rights and equality? 

What's sad is that in 2012, less than 20% of American states allow same-sex marriage. and even worse, states such as North Carolina are allowing citizens, and not human rights legal professionals, to determine who gets access to equality. 

C'mon USA. the world is watching. Stop embarassing yourselves and get with the times! 

and yes, i formally support and endorse Obama for re-election! so get out there and vote for him folks!!!

Corbet Abandons Corner Brook Pride, Snubs Media & McCreath!

On May 5, 2012, Corner Brook newspaper the Western Star erroneously reported that Corner Brook Pride Inc had dissolved. The article also implied that co-founder Christian Corbet had ducked an interview request, and also stated that Corbet's apparent search for his replacement 'came up empty'. I am mentioned briefly in this article as well, hence my interest in blogging about it, and the situation.

Well, first of all, as of today, Corner Brook Pride Inc is listed on the Provincial Government's Registry of Companies web page as being ACTIVE. So, not dissolved at all! More on that issue later.  Secondly, I had previously reported on this blog that I had been recruited by Corbet to be a part of a team that would take over the role of keeping this company a float. Needless to say, I was quite alarmed to read about Corbet's statement in the press.

Anyway, when I attempted to contact the Western Star and correct their misinformation and clarify what's really going on, I was advised by the editor that my comments would not publish. Ok then, fine! You can censor me all you like Western Star but good luck attempting to keep me silent!  So, here it is, on my blog: the truth about my role, and an assessment from me as to what really went down and what went wrong.

First of all, it's no secret that Corner Brook Pride Inc became the first legally-registered non-profit Pride organization in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, when Christian Corbet and two others filed incorporation papers and launched what was initially an awesome organization.

On September 11, 2010, I had the awesome privilege of not only attending the focal point of Pride Week, but I was invited to speak as a special guest.  Having recently taken steps to file incorporation papers for St. John's Pride Inc., I knew that attending and meeting with the founders of Corner Brook Pride would prove to be a valuable experience. 

So the million dollar question in this province seems to be: why incorporate Pride? Well, my theories proved correct when I visited Corner Brook. Incorporation = instant credibility.  I was shocked to see such amazing support from major organizations, for a Pride Week of such a small city.  Fire, Police, and Ambulance reps were in attendance and marched in the parade. Even a fire truck and ambulance rode in the parade!  There were floats and banners from several organizations, ranging from unions to political parties to local small business to major international companies. Letters of support had been obtained from National political leaders, as well as provincial. and the media coverage was much more than I ever would have guessed.

Anyway, I took some amazing knowledge and experiences back to St.John's with me and proceeded to use it to develop the biggest and most-attended Pride Week in the history of the province during St. John's Pride Week, July 2011.

Meanwhile, while I was reaching new heights, Corbet and company were struggling.  Just days before their 2011 Pride weekend was due to kick off, it was announced that Corner Brook Pride Inc. had cancelled plans due to apparent lack of support from city officials. CBC filed a report that contains a variety of accusations. A city official fired back in the comment section.

One thing I have learned, is that if you are running an organization who's success depends on cooperation with your municipal government, it is probably not a good idea to bash them in the media, whether you feel it is warranted or not!

Interestingly enough, less than 48 hours after this cancellation announcement was published, a new announcement was made indicating that city officials has collaborated with a new group of grass-roots community members to ensure that a pride parade did occur, and it did indeed occur!

For the remainder of the calendar year, movement on CB Pride's website and Facebook page remained very limited.  Then all of a sudden, on January 18, 2012, I received personal communication from Corbet asking if my business partners and I would be willing to "take over the helm" as he put it, stating that because he and one of his fellow directors were leaving the province, that "Corner Brook Pride Inc. must now move into the hands of other capable people."

Well, without hestitation, although I was extremely busy, I responded that I would be more than willing and glad to take over the helm in a leadership capacity, to up keep the day to day administration of the company, and to actively start recruiting local members who could eventually take over.

I also made it clear though, that I wanted to know what I was getting into first, and that this offer was contingent upon a satisfactory review of corporate state of affairs and corporate records. Well, interestingly, this request seemed to scare Corbet, as he cancelled out of a planned conference call to discuss these matters, at the last minute. Then after further procrastination, his communication completely stopped. I can only wonder what he was thinking. How did he expect me to take over his company without access to corporate records? What exactly was it that he had to hide, I can only wonder?

Anyway, concerned that Corbet had disappeared completely from the province and left the organization and it's community abandoned, I contacted the Deputy Mayor and other grass roots organizers to introduce myself and to attempt to get some inside information on what really went down  between Corbet and the City.

Anyway, as winter turned into spring, people started to wonder what was going on with Pride. A reporter from the Western Star contact me, of all people, to inquire about the state of affairs of CB Pride. I made it clear that I had been contacted by Corbet asking for my help, and that I had agreed in principle, but that the communication had abruptly stopped before any formal agreement or transfer of duties had occurred. 

Anyway, as Monday's article stated, Corbet apparently did not wish to be interviewed, other than to state that his apparent attempt to find replacements was unsuccessful.  Well Corbet, I take strong offense to those comments!  Not sure why you decided to back out on my offer and back out on the entire CB community, but I am not going to sit back here and look like a fool. You are clearly the one who has failed and who has let everyone down! Unlike you, apparently, I have great relations with my City's Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and various councillors;  and unlike you, apparently, I had the dignity and respect for my city's community to step aside when I could no longer do my job for St. john's Pride to the best of my ability, and I took steps to put a transparent, accountable and democratic process in place to fill my seat and fill two other new seats. 

While CB Pride sits 'not in good standing' with Government, due to their apparent failure to file their Annual Return, (while under your watch, I might add), St. John's Pride Inc. appears to be doing very well and has adapted excellently, though this transition of leadership! While relationships between myself and the new directors may not be the greatest, I can sleep well at night knowing that I put the organization and it's community members ahead of myself and my 'pride'. Whether my replacements succeed or fail, I know I did everything I could to set them up for success.

Anyway, while it sadly appears that there will be no summer pride week in Corner Brook this year, the good news is that the Western Star also reported that an individual named Kirk Quilty has apparently come forward and identified himself as someone who hopes to rally other grass-roots community members to come together to create a September pride event. So let's hope not all is lost.

What seems to have gotten lost in this story is the fact that while Corbet may have left the province, he never did formally transfer or dissolve Pride Inc. This company is still a legally-existing entity and Corbet still has the power and legal authority to make life miserable for these new would-be grassroots organizers.  This also means that no other group of people may legally call themselves Corner Brook Pride nor create another company with said same name. This could clearly cause some major road blocks. If I recall correctly, a company left abandoned and dormant will not be formally dissolved by Government unless the company fails to file Annual Returns for three consecutive years. Hence, Corbet's actions, or shall we say, lack of actions, could have lasting implications on his former community!

Anyway, I hope this article clearly demonstrates that although I had previously announced my excitement to be a part of CB Pride 2012, it was through no fault of my own that this did not materialize.  I apologize to all Newfoundlanders that I was not allowed to play a role in keeping CB Pride afloat. I will also take this opportunity to apologize for Corbet, since he doesn't seem to want to apologize for himself, for leaving behind such a sad legacy, and for seemingly failing to live up to his commitment as founder of CB Pride Inc., to act in good faith and in the best interest of the organization.

In closing, I see Corbet has recently 'blocked' me from Facebook. I can't help but feel sad and disappointed to not only see Corbet abandon his outgoing community, but for turning his back on me. Corbet and I had many wonderful conversations, and as sad as this 2012 snubbing is to me, I will always feel grateful for his open arms in 2010, when he not only allowed his St. John's counterpart to be a keynote speaker at his event, but in doing so, gave huge recognition and visibility to the trans community and the issues faced by trans Newfoundlanders - something that many other Pride organizations world-wide, fail to do.

Anyway Corbet, if you do happen to come out of hiding and read this little old blog from little old me, I want you to know that the door is always open, and if you are ever ready to let go of your, um, 'pride' and apologize to me, I would be quite happy to accept it and would be quite happy to re-engage you in communication and help you try to salvage what little good reputation you may have left in this province, should you ever want to try to salvage it. 

(Depicted here is Corbet with me out front of Corner Brook's Old City Hall on Sept 11, 2010, shortly before the ceremonial Pride flag raising for 2010 Corner Brook Pride Week.)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

McCreath's Mississauga Marathon Streak Comes to an End 5/5/2012

Well, it is going to be a rather emotionally-tough Sunday morning for me, as this will mark the first time since taking up the sport of marathon running that I will not be on the roads of Mississauga Ontario. All good things must come to an end, I suppose, so I'd like this to be a celebration of what has always been a special annual event for me from 2007-2011.

Here's a history of notes I jotted down after each run.

5/13/2007: my first ever official marathon. just 4 months prior, I was a 238 pound couch potato that decided to take up running to lose weight. never though I would be running a marathon so soon. Marathon finish #1 of 30. Finishing time: 4.19.48

5/11/2008: a great winter of training, ITB healed up, weight down to 168, and deep into the start of my transition from male to female (including a formal legal name change to Jennifer), I felt I was prime for a BQ in just my 2nd year as a marathoner. Things were going great and I was on 3:10 pace but fell to the ground with extreme cramps at 39km. eventually got up and finished the race, still with a very respectable time, but felt extremely disappointed. Marathon finish #6 of 30. Finishing time: 3.19.06

5/10/2009: running a 1.52 on the first half of Boston got me thinking about speed again. My goal was to run at BQ pace and I gave it all I had in Mississauga, and was able to carry on this pace for 19 miles, but the knees and ankles were still too beat up and had no other option but to slow down substantially in the end to finish this one. Marathon finish #16 of 30. Finishing time: 4.08.53

5/16/2010: well, it was a rough day for me as I battled sore legs/knees, fatigue, and the heat. But it was great just to finish in fairly good health, and i am confident I will 'survive' next week's very hilly Halifax run. Marathon finish #23 of 30. Finishing time: 4.56.03

5/15/2011: ran into fellow Maniac Vincent Ma at the start, and we decided to run together for the first 10.5k. he had just run south dakota the day before and I grabbed his kit for him. We had a great chat while running. we went faster than I would have liked but slower than he wanted. 67 min. then he took off and I slowed down.. lol.  My knees were still a mess from last week's run, so I was forced to take it slow. my endurance was never an issue though and I crossed the finish line happy with my B goal of a PB for the year.ran into fellow Maniac Vincent Ma at the start, and we decided to run together for the first 10.5k. He had just run south dakota the day before and I grabbed his kit for him. we had a great chat while running. We went faster than I would have liked but slower than he wanted. 67 min. then he took off and I slowed down.. lol. My knees were still a mess from last week's run, so I was forced to take it slow. my endurance was never an issue though and I crossed the finish line happy with my B goal of a PB for the year. Marathon finish #28 of 30. Finishing time: 5.05.27

You can read my thoughts on all 30 of my marathons here at my marathon maniacs page .

Here's a pic from each year, starting with 2011 and going backward each year to 2007.

running update May 5, 2012

well, i rolled my bad ankle quite badly thursday afternoon during a routine walk home from work. one of the drawbacks of having a permanent ligament injury is the extremely painful affect any time you sprain the ankle again. luckily, 48 hours later, it seems back to where it was.. although, i have not run on it since. it got swollen and i had to ice it that night, and it was very tough to walk friday morning.

energy levels have been very low this week too, as i have been deeply engaged emotionally into the fall out from my loss at the human rights commission. i am pretty much drained right now and burnt out. enjoying a weekend in bed napping so far. running is the farthest thing from my mind.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Transsexual McCreath loses MCP Human Rights Case!


The Human Rights Commission of NL (HRC) has dismissed a 2009 complaint against the NL Medical Care Plan (MCP) by Jennifer McCreath, due to what they say was a lack of evidence in their investigation.  McCreath now has until May 28 to appeal (to the Supreme Court).

McCreath, a local public figure in St. John's who is best-known as a transsexual who runs marathons, incorporated gay pride, and lost her job, filed a Human Rights complaint after being denied funding by MCP for procedures that had been deemed medically-necessary by her doctors in St. John's.

MCP's policy for transsexual health has not been reviewed since 1996. The policy states that corrective sex reassignment surgery will only be covered if a recommendation is obtained from the controversial Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH), in Toronto, ON.  Furthermore, the policy only covers a small handful of trans procedures, and will only cover them if treatment is not received at a domestic private facility (even though Canada's only surgeon, and one of the world's best, Dr. Pierre Brassard in Montreal, is used by four other provinces).

Notwithstanding this policy, McCreath's doctors advised against her visiting the CAMH due to the long waiting lists, the financial burden of travel costs for multiple visits, and their reputation for being behind the times and not assessing patients using global best-practices.

After being denied coverage, McCreath borrowed the $20000 needed for the surgery and proceeded to have the operation performed in Montreal. Brassard agreed to operate on McCreath given that she and her doctors had successfully applied the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH.org) Standards of Care - a global industry-recognized best-practice assessment protocol for the care of Transsexuals, that has existed since 1979.

"40 years ago, transsexualism was viewed as a mental illness, so sending people away to the institute in Toronto seemed logical; however, medical science has evolved, and most global experts recognize this as a physiological birth-defect, where diagnosis can be done by practically any team that consists of a psychiatrist and family doctor, and treatment includes hormonal therapy and surgery," said McCreath. While McCreath is disappointed with the dismissal, she vows that the matter is not over.  Having already undertaken consultative discussions with three human rights lawyers, she feels she has a very strong case for her appeal.

Furthermore, win or lose, McCreath feels it is important as an advocate to not only raise awareness to trans issues, but to point out concerns with the HRC. Specifically, the length of time the investigation and review process took seemed unreasonably long; and the fact that HRC and MCP lawyers both report to the Minister of Justice could point to a potential conflict of interest. McCreath also has concerns that the lack of explicit protection in the Human Rights Act on the grounds of 'gender identity' and 'gender expression', may have also played a role in this decision.

Already in the process of launching Newfoundland Patient Association for Transsexual Health (NPATH.net), a non-profit society to undertake advocacy work for transsexual health accessibility, McCreath will now expedite this launch and start work immediately.  Whether through this organization, or as an individual, McCreath hopes to find support.  She knows she is not alone in her fight for trans rights in this province. Given her rough financial situation, and her inability to find employment that can match her earning potential, she is hoping to find sponsors and/or finding a lawyer who is willing to take on this case Pro Bono or at a reduced rate.

Also at stake, appears to be the credibility and reputation of the provincial health care system as a whole, as the suggestion that doctors in the province aren't competent to assess McCreath and other trans patients, would appear to be a major insult to what is supposedly a have-province.

Jennifer continues to proves MCP policy makers wrong every day that she functions and flourishes in society as a post-transitioned female.

For all inquires, contact Jennifer McCreath:

phone 709-753-9529