My name is Julia-Simone Rutgers and I’m a summer intern here at The Discourse. For the next few weeks, while our regular gender reporter Emma Jones is in the GTA listening to the needs of communities underserved by the media, I’ll be lending my voice to this channel.
Funnily enough, I’ve been following this newsletter since before I started working with The Discourse. At the time, I was working in the student movement, and was interested in the discussions of gender-based violence, particularly on university campuses, as my own students’ union prepared to campaign for better sexual assault policies at our institution.
As the #MeToo movement ramped up, and questions about gender equity and gender-based violence became more and more prominent in the media, this channel provided a space to talk about these issues in a uniquely Canadian and community-focused way.
I saw the importance of this space to deepening our collective conversation about gender issues then. Now, I want to take that conversation even further.
When I think of gendered issues in Canada, I think of intersectionality. I think of the ways in which gender issues can be queer issues, racial issues, class issues and more.
I think about art, beauty, self-expression and resilience.
I think about uprooting our understanding of binaries and labels to understand the complex multitude of identities we each inhabit.
I think about what it means to make the body political.
As a queer woman of colour, I know that my body, my presence, is political.
For me, gender is part of the multi-layered performance I enact every time I leave my house, every time I join public space. I see gender as a space for play, for individuality and for celebration.
Over the next few months as I help contribute to this channel, I want to broaden our conversations about gender to highlight the diversity and complexity of gender expression across categories and labels. I want to open space to talk about gender issues as they manifest for marginalized people, for queer people, for non-binary and trans people.
I’m excited to see where this channel and our conversations will take us, to see what important and multi-dimensional issues we can explore. I’ll be sharing important reads I come across, as well as my own reflections on gender issues in politics, art, pop culture and more.
This week, I’ve got something fun to share. As a longtime Janelle Monáe fan, I wrote about attending her Dirty Computer tour stop in Vancouver, and how it felt to be in a room dedicated to celebrating and centering marginalized identities like mine.
As always at The Discourse, we want to hear from you! Have an issue you think deserves to be spotlighted in this channel? What ideas and intersections come to mind when you think of gendered issues in Canada? Which musicians are inspiring you and making you feel seen right now? I look forward to learning and exploring with you.
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