The following is cross-posted from the Damsel in de Tech blog. Click here to see the original.
Yesterday morning I caught wind that U of T is going to be hosting an MRA speaker. A friend shared this lovely and daintily-written article on her wall (caution - it goes to A Voice for Men - if you don't want to give them page hits, then you might want to pass):
The baiting part is probably my favourite. This way if counter-protestors show up and are impolite, well by golly, we were "warned" and they can be as violent and vitriolic as they'd like because, heck, why not. If no one shows up, well by golly! They scared us all off! Success!
Not that they could ever hope to harness or emulate the awesome of Freddie Mercury's nipples.
Anyways, as fun as that all is, I've decided that since no one else was up to organizing a counter-presence, I'd arrange one myself. I was at that previous "infamous" counter-protest and I noted that one of the elements missing was an offering of tangible alternatives to people who may get sucked in by such speakers, so I thought I'd set up this event with a different tone and intent.
From the Facebook event page:
Once again the U of T campus will be playing host to a speaker that relies on sexism and racism as scapegoats for some of the legitimate grievances that men in our society currently face, to forward their bigoted agenda.
This article gives a thorough background on the speaker coming to campus:
bloggers/michael-laxer/ 2013/03/ guess-whats-coming-u-t-mens -rights-movement-janice-fi amengo-pau
Information on the event here, that won't give their page undue hits (it still has info on the old location that has since been updated):
festevents.nsf/ 591df5f4e9bb95b0852572ff005 02015/ 8b64bf07cf5bb4d885257b1a007 85c5b?OpenDocument
It can be useful and cathartic to simply protest hate speech on campus, but we recognize that events like this so often take advantage of vulnerable people who are sincerely looking for answers. Let's make this counter-presence a productive one and provide as much information as we can gather and distribute to attendees.
If anyone has contacts with organizations that support men in Toronto, please post links here to help us distribute them more effectively. Let's work together to make sure the men who are facing hardships are heard and actually given something tangible and constructive to walk away with.
Being reactive can be very useful and appropriate, but I personally want to build up a collection of resources so when these issues continually come to fore (and they will), we'll have some alternatives already on hand. And, just as importantly, if there are gaps in services (as there very likely are), this will give us a good way of finding out what those gaps are. Heck, we might even be able to get the participants at these events on board to help close those gaps and create or expand services within Toronto to support them.
For any readers, please let me know about what services you know of that are available for men in Toronto. I mean any services, such as addiction counselling, housing assistance, suicide intervention, support for survivors of sexual violence, court support, etc. If you know of services that are missing and needed, please let me know that, too. Let's use this opportunity to be productive and address these issues in a real way.