Tag Archives: Police

April 12 @ York: Dr. Alexa DeGagne on Changing Relationships between Police and LGB, Trans and Queer People

The Protected, the Targeted, the Criminalized:
Changing Relationships between Canadian Police Organizations, and LGB, Trans and Queer People

Talk by Alexa DeGagne, 2015-16 Visiting Scholar in Sexuality Studies

event poster - info included in body of post
Tuesday, April 12th, 2016, 3:00-4:30pm 
519 Kaneff Tower, York University
Introduced by Dr. Amar Wahab, Coordinator, Sexuality Studies
This presentation examines the history of the relationship between LGB, trans and queer people, and police organizations in Canada in order to consider why and how the recent rapprochement between certain heteronormal LGB Canadian and different police organizations has excluded already marginalized and overly criminalized LGB, trans and queer people, and has at the same time galvanized intersectional social activism among populations that are disproportionately targeted, abused and criminalized by police and the legal justice system.
Dr. Alexa DeGagne is an Assistant Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies at Athabasca University. Her research, teaching and community engagement are focused on gender-based and sexuality-based social justice movements and activisms in Canada and the United States.
Co-Sponsored by: Department of Anthropology.
Light refreshments served. RSVP to juliapyr@yorku.ca
*Please note that this seminar counts towards GFWS seminar requirements*

Twitter Roundup (for those who are picky about the bandwagons they jump on)

woman-computer-vintage(unless otherwise noted, tweets are from @OsgoodeIFLS)

Conferences/Workshops/Summer Schools

Judicial Philosophy ‏@JudicialPhil Reminder: Job: Post-Doctoral Fellowships 2014-2015 – University of Singapore (DL: 31.12) http://tinyurl.com/m7rfny5

Rosa Freedman ‏@GoonerDr 24 Oct   The International Graduate Legal Research Conference http://bit.ly/167dbTO

Rory O’Connell ‏@rjjoconnell 25 OctSummer Schools for Human Rights and Legal Studies — 2014 http://international-justice.com/2013/10/25/summer-schools-for-human-rights-and-legal-studies-2014/

Claire Potter ‏@TenuredRadical [do you read Claire Potter’s column in the Chronicle of Higher Ed? Definitely worth it] What is more fun than a summer institute son #transnationalfeminisms?  http://bit.ly/17zdLL8


Rashmee Singh Migrant #Mediators, #Gender #Violence & #Women’s Empowerment in #toronto diaspora Fri [NOVEMBER 9] @UofT http://bit.ly/1aYoFed  h/t ABhatia

Matthew Weait ‏@ProfWetpaint Podcast of Angela Davis’ lecture at Birkbeck: http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2013/10/angela-davis-freedom-is-a-constant-struggle-closures-and-continuities/

Kate Sutherland RT @LawandLit: In Bed w the Police: Katrina Forrester reviews ‘Undercover’ Evans & Lewis · LRB http://feedly.com/k/HpW5HP   #police #gender #race

Kate Sutherland ‏@LawandLit 30 Oct Paper on Critical Race Theory and Crtical Race Feminism and the Unbanked – CL&P Blog  http://feedly.com/k/16MEbup

Oct #Strikes on at UK universities this week. http://bit.ly/1aKStL5   Why?  Here http://bit.ly/1ix9kSw   here http://bit.ly/1aKStL7  #highered


Feminist Playlists

Spending Sunday in the office or otherwise working? #Feministplaylists. Maybe they help? 1/4 Bitchtapes http://bit.ly/1cCCEFK

#Feministplaylists 2/4 tumblr feministsongs http://bit.ly/1cCCZbo

#Feministplaylists 3/4 @crunkfeminists  ▶ this is how we do it: an independence day mix  http://bit.ly/HA8KIz  #sundayattheoffice

4/4 Leslie and Ellie’s Essential #Feminist Playlist via The F Word Feminist Media Collective http://bit.ly/1cCEkil  a little #cancon

What’s an Honour Crime?

project in Van against “honour crimes” 1 of 600 feds support w similar goals. http://bit.ly/1aKVjQ   is this where ALL the VAW  $ is going?

Facts of this case may surprise you, given tags. #SCC #provocation #VAW #imminence http://scc.lexum.org/decisia-scc-csc/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/13308/index.do #feminist #crimlaw, what say you?

Reproductive Rights

RT @LegalScholBlog: CFP: Abortion & Assisted Reprodctn ; Workshop deadline Nov18 special issue J l, med #ethics . http://bit.ly/1ciSxkv

‏@StepanWood @OsgoodeIFLS check out this article by @vanessa_macd & @JulaHughes in @OHLJ on the German abortion decisions http://j.mp/1atsDwT

Donncha O’Connell ‏@donnchanuig Rights bodies secure permission to make arguments in surrogacy appeal http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/courts/rights-groups-secure-permission-to-make-arguments-in-surrogacy-appeal-1.1581384#.UnQ5gz3GYDs.twitter  … via @IrishTimes

What happens when #women cannot get late #abortions #oklahoma #law #poverty http://flip.it/Ha7Yw   #hypocrisy

Pregnant Woman Fights Wisconsin Fetal Rights Laws http://flip.it/Fc5ph

The Conversation ‏@ConversationEDU Sex-selective abortion is challenging our views about reproductive freedom @Macquarie_Uni http://bit.ly/1aln9V5

Sara R. Cohen ‏@fertilitylaw 29 Oct Australia approves #PGD for #sex selective #IVF for the 1st time to avoid high risk of #autism http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/19457937/baby-sex-checks-for-autism /  …

Faux-Feminism –  Brocialism – MRA’s & the misguided

@bellhooks at @feministwire with  Dig Deep: Beyond Lean In http://bit.ly/16FkJ2r   #fauxfeminism #neoliberal What do you think?

Brand, iconoclasm, and a #woman’s place in the #revolution Laurie Penny takes on #Brocialism http://www.newstatesman.com/laurie-penny/2013/11/discourse-brocialism  …

‏ Have a read. RT @LauraGraham86: A Good Men’s Rights Movement Is Hard to Find: http://flip.it/qDpHz   via @theprospect #MRA

@sarahjkeenan Selma James on why sex workers don’t need the ‘protection’ of dickish sexist men http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/01/sex-workers-hands-off-my-whore-france-prostitutes  …

Sexual Assault

Corey R. Yung on Rubenfeld’s Big Step Backward in Rape Law @FeministLawPrfs http://bit.ly/1aNMHoD

Advising #Women Against #Drinking Sends a Dangerous Message – NYT http://bit.ly/1adP0m8   #Philosophy prof breaks down the problem.w analogy!

First Nations /School/Access/Heroes/resistance

Wanda Nanibush #idlenomore Histories of #Indigenous #women’s #resistance November 12 Toronto (poster) http://bit.ly/16S2jf3  Wanda Nanibush, Dame Nita Barrow distvisitor at Centre for Women’s Studies in Education lectures Nov 12 #idlenomore  http://bit.ly/16S1W4b

Allison Fenske ‏@AllisonFenske 26 Oct .@WabKinew’s beautiful words in @walrusmagazine · The Residential School Apology · http://ow.ly/qcvas

New DC Comics superhero inspired by young Cree activist – Shannen Koostachin –   h/t Deb Parkes http://bit.ly/HA9zRN

Ntawnis ‏@NtAwNiS 28 Oct “I deserve access to my school!” FN youth living w disabilities access to #Education esp. dificult in the North. #INM pic.twitter.com/16mxfneHr3

Women in Law

Amicae Curiae ‏@amicae1 25 Oct  RT @LIVPresident: Interesting article from @katgallow on women in the institutions of the law: http://ow.ly/q2LzW  #lawyers #auslaw

Rothna Begum ‏@Rothna_Begum For the 1st time ever in #Saudi a female lawyer @bayanzahran1 appeared in court to represent a client http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20131102185483  …  via @ahmed

like, awesome. Biglaw Memo From Top #law Firm Advises #Women ‘Don’t Giggle,’ Don’t squirm’ plus! clothing tips!   http://bit.ly/1hfBSSz

Slutwalk (small) Roundup

I haven’t written much here about what will probably be Osgoode’s biggest media moment of the year.  Slutwalk is a big deal, and the genesis of the idea was something that happened right here.  I did, of course, write about it a little bit (click here for “What not to wear”), but then Slutwalk took on a life of it’s own, rather unconnected to York or Osgoode.  Now Slutwalk is big enough to be “controversial” – and the main controversy does not seem to be about violence against women or whether and how “society” blames women for sexual violence perpetrated against them.  Nope – the media seems most interested in this (as Brenda Cossman put it on twitter) as a visual feast and a “catfight”.  Is Slutwalk feminist? Pit no against yes, and stand back!

Oh well, here’s a set of links for your consideration, but let me make a minor intervention first – my own position is that I have no doubt that Slutwalk has feminist potential. I think that our questions ought to be around how that potential could be realised and perhaps more importantly, is it being realised. Is participating in Slutwalk bringing more women to feminist activism? Are existing organizations gaining members through Slutwalk? Is Slutwalk strengthening women’s groups in their advocacy with police forces? Or, are women participating in Slutwalk and denying that they are feminists?  Do women who are walking see Slutwalk as a way to claim “I can wear what I want” – a fundamentally individualist claim – or do they understand/does Slutwalk encourage the conception that this is an issue which women can/should confront together.  Are women who participate truly deconstructing the word slut, or are they reclaiming that word but hanging on to the ideas which animate the misogynistic use of the word (ie., just because I’m wearing this doesn’t mean I’m a slut – but her, that girl, she’s a slut because….”). Are women who are walking recognizing differential vulnerabilities to sexual assault and supporting women who are the most vulnerable?  Has this helped mobilize action around sexual assault on campus – does it get back to the original inception at all?

I don’t think that this debate can be about being the feminism police at some kind of grand scale, but I think down in the details there are important questions to be asking and conclusions can be drawn from the answers.

OK, so the round up – in the form of the tweets I’ve put out linking to various things.

It’s a really short roundup, I’m hoping people will contribute the best things they’ve read in the comments.

A critical take at The F Word (“We’re Sluts, Not Feminists: Wherein my relationship with Slutwalk gets rocky):

[blackbirdpie id=”67782506539266048″]

The organizers speak:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/OsgoodeIFLS/status/67783119671009280”]

Our Dean’s thoughts (yes, the Dean. I imagine him typing “slut” and my mind boggles. Reclaiming!?)

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/DeanSossin/status/68499347557466112″]

Margaret Wente (not a favourite of mine…) of the Globe and Mail enters the fray (she gets lots of mileage out of this – denigrating university students, immigrant communities, naive feminists, the media….) but she raises a good question about the nature of the media coverage. So another question: how do the organizers deal with media interest in Slutwalk(s)? Simply because the media can’t be controlled isn’t a good enough reason to condemn the organizers. But it’s something to think about in terms of strategy.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/BrendaCossman/status/68676739060072448″]

Here’s a debate on TVOntario’s the Agenda (three American women, Heather Jarvis, one of the Slutwalk organizers, and Kate McPherson, a York University Professor from history & women’s studies).

If you want more Gail Dines and Heather Jarvis, or prefer radio, here they are on Q,

What Not to Wear [updated [again 17.02.2011]]

Update Thursday Feb. 17.2011

Things have moved along quite a bit since my last update. For one, the news media and blogosphere caught up.  Jezebel, Torontoist, CBC, the Toronto Star, Rabble and campus newspapers including the early off the mark Obiter Dicta and York’s Excalibur all reported on the story. The Star story has a quote from the amazing “Jane Doe“, a woman with the experience and expertise to put this in context.  Here’s what she told the Star:

Jane Doe, who won a landmark case against Toronto police in 1986 when a judge ruled she was used as bait to capture a serial rapist, said that unfortunately this was not the comment of “one bad apple.”

“In 2007, I was paid by the Toronto Police Services Board to monitor their sexual assault training for two weeks and the course is riddled with sexist and racist myths and attitudes about rape. I produced an assessment for them and it quickly disappeared.”

And now, in addition to the joys involved in reading the comments on all these sites, we have the apology.  The text is in the picture below.


Safety on campus is a big issue at York University (and at many other schools too) and students frequently raise their concerns about it.  Here’s a recent safety audit of the campus, here is a news release from the York Federation of Students about a year ago after a violent sexual assault near campus, in which the YFS calls on the University to act on the audit, and here’s a map of Toronto using Statscan data to illustrate violent crime rates across the city [2006 census] (I offer this one in part to illustrate that although many of the neighbourhoods around the University have high violent crime rates, the areas in which most students tend to live (on campus and near campus) have lower violent crime rates.

Sometimes, the police and York Security Services do sessions for students on “Safety Tips”.  A few weeks ago, the law school held one.  And at that session, i’m informed, a uniformed member of the Toronto Police Service told the audience that -although he knew he shouldn’t say so –  one “safety tip” he could offer was the suggestion to avoid dressing like a “slut”.

[Let me be clear- I wasn’t present.  I heard that the officer used the word slut or sluts or slutty and that the association between safety and non “slutty” clothing was made.  I think my primary source is as good as they come]

Update: Osgoode’s Assistant Dean Ronda Bessner was present at the session.  She was shocked and appalled to hear the comments and immediately afterwards she spoke to an equally shocked York Security rep (who had arranged for the Toronto Police Service to be there) to discuss how to respond.  AD Bessner phoned the senior constable at the TPS repeatedly, and when he called back, he admitted that he knew why she was calling.  AD Bessner (backed by an equally appalled Associate Dean Shelley Gavigan), has asked for written apology & explanation for the comments.  More information when it’s available.

When I discussed the comments with colleagues & students, everyone was shocked and angry.  But I think that we’re shocked at the unprofessional nature of the comments rather than the revelation that some people think these things (which makes us angry).  Is this kind of comment actually a distraction? Or is it an illustration of the pervasiveness of these beliefs, a hint at how challenging the larger goal will be to attain, an invitation to take on these kinds of beliefs (again!) directly? I’m inclined to think that there are important ways in which this is a distraction, even if it is an illustration.  It is the kind of situation which can easily be converted to a “bad apple” argument, and/or an argument about the police, and both of those seem far too narrow.  Sometimes I feel I’m being baited into losing my focus, baited into returning to arguments that have been made again and again, and I feel determined to keep moving forward.  But I can see that this approach isn’t always going to work.  When to turn back and do road repair work?

In other news, I’m brushing up on my arguments about why women deserve the vote.

I searched and searched for a picture of an outfit with which to illustrate this post (see past angst over the illustration issue), but every single one turned out to be totally begging for it. The overalls, the muumuu, the suit, the judicial robes, the lululemon pants and TNA parka, the classic librarian look, the flightsuit, the short shorts,  the trenchcoat, the slanket – when I really looked at these, it became obvious that all were totally inappropriate for wear by any woman who wants to be safe, since all have been sexualised one way or another.  I wonder if there’s anything at all which a woman can wear to prove that she really does not want to be assaulted?
I’ll update this post re: institutional responses (Osgoode’s and the Toronto Police Service’s). In the meantime, here are a few suggestions for reading – please put yours in the comments – along with your comments, of course.
  • Duncan Kennedy’s Sexual Abuse, Sexy Dressing and the Eroticization of Domination
  • Is Clothing Probative of Attitude or Intent – Implications for Rape and Sexual Harassment Cases; Lennon, Theresa L.; Lennon, Sharron J.; Johnson, Kim K.P. 11 Law & Ineq. 391 (1992-1993)
  • Undressing the Victim: The Intersection of Evidentiary and Semiotic Meanings of Women’s Clothing in Rape Trials; Sterling, Alinor C.  7 Yale J.L. & Feminism 87 (1995)
  • The Canadian Journal of Women and the Law recently published a volume honouring the 10 year anniversary of the Jane Doe case. Click here for more information and links.
If you would like something less academic, perhaps you will enjoy Amanda Hess (@thesexist) on short skirts etc. She doesn’t pull punches.
The next generation of potential rapists will have to receive their social cues by eavesdropping on the advice we’re providing to the next generation of potential victims. This is what they’re hearing: If she’s wearing a short skirt, it’s not your fault when you rape her.
Which is a bit of a zinger, but also terribly depressing, because it is written in 2011 and not 1981.

Gender, Race, Policing – R. v. Bonds

Here is the decision in R. v. Bonds, the Ottawa case not from the SCC, but getting a lot of press.  PDF here or here.

Stacy Bonds of Ottawa

I noted before (in this post: Gender Invisible: “Many Police Stops in New York Unjustified, Study Says”) that we usually assume that it is men who are stopped (illegally and/or on the basis of racial or other forms of profiling), so the fact that THIS case is the one getting so much press is really interesting. What it all means i do not know, since much is being made in the media of Ms. Bonds slight stature and spotless record.  Well, if you have to be small and largely  perfect in order to get attention when you’re assaulted by police officers, then I doubt we’ll get that much out of Bonds’ ordeal. Well – we’ll get this: YAY for VIDEO!

The judgment doesn’t talk about WHY these things happen (see below for snippets), but concentrates on WHAT was done.  Prof. David Tanovich at the University of Windsor Law School says some of what needs to be said in the Ottawa Citizen:

As Bonds is a black woman, there is also the lurking question of whether race and/ or gender were a factor not only in their decision to stop her on the street, but also to subsequently humiliate her. Given what we know about racism in policing and given that one of the officers was earlier temporarily demoted for assaulting and repeatedly Tasering a young woman in a cell less than a week before this incident, this is a very real likelihood.”

(link to article here)

I think the video is a must watch. It’s disturbing since you watch a woman being assaulted by another woman and three men. But it’s being done in our name and I think that is why we can’t turn away from it.  I hope I’m right about this.   Link to video.

Here are some bits from the judgment of Judge Lajoie.

The stop & arrest

[As the] cruiser in which [Constable Downey] and Constable Flores are, approach[es] the van , Ms. Bonds separates herself from the van, and the van drives away . As Ms. Bonds walks away , she takes a sip from t he bottle of beer and then disposes of this bottle in the city waste basket . That demonstrates to me that she is conscious that she shouldn’t be doing what she is doing , and that she understands the situation. When she is approached by the Constables, she does provide her name and date of birth as required , and this information is checked, either by Constable Flores or Constable Downey , and Ms. Bonds is found to truly be a person of n on-interest. There are no reports involving Ms. Bonds with the Ottawa Police Service .

Then Ms. Bonds is questioned by the officers and is told t o go home. She walks away, but seemingly has second thoughts and wants to have more information regarding why she was  stopped by the police. She is told a second time to go home . It is at that point when she is again questioning her police  intervention that she is arrested by Constable Flores for being intoxicated in a public place .
Constable Flores defined her intoxication as being the smell of alcohol from her breath and staggering when walking away . It is quite evident that these two very minor observations , together with her past  behaviour with the police, do not come close to the definit ion of public intoxication.

At the station

We then see that Special Constable Morris is somewhat on the right side of Ms. Bonds, and through another camera scene , which is the overhead, it is quite evident that at that point in time, someone has a hand inside Ms. Bonds pants , down around her upper leg or hip area . We can see the formation of a fist or hand inside her tight white pants.   And it is at that point in time that Sergeant Desjourdy tells us that he saw Ms. Bonds mule kick Special Constable Morris.


I was appalled by the fact that a strip search was undertaken by [female]Constable Morris in the presence of, and with the assistance of at least three male officers . It is quite evident that none of these  Officers have received gender training,  and that they do give only lip service to female dignity and privacy.

I lived across from that police station in Ottawa for a year.  People who visited would sometimes say, “Oh, that must make you feel safe.” and I would stare at them in horror.  It was creepy at best.  I’m not trying to suggest here that I felt danger. For a whole variety of identity and privilege reasons, I didn’t. But I worried about others and I was creeped out by thinking about what was going on in that building. And no, I don’t hate police officers. I’m just focused on reality. Many are lovely, I’m sure, and I don’t think that being very hard on those who aren’t and challenging the structures which allow and encourage illegal, racist, violent behaviour is somehow disrespectful to excellent officers of the law. I think if anything it is supportive.

All best luck to Ms. Bonds in pursuing justice for herself.  I hope that she gets some.