Social Justice for LGBTQ Seniors

Fred Litwin
July 18, 2018
Somewhere in an Ontario long-term care facility today, a LGBTQ senior may be facing bullying and discrimination. We know this from a recent CBC news report that broke our current ageist fixation on the rights of LGBTQ schoolchildren. The story inspired Fred Litwin to imagine how Ontario’s new Conservative government might deal with this neglected social justice issue, in a hypothetical bureaucratic memo to Health Minister Christine Elliot. Laugh if you dare.

Social Justice for LGBTQ Seniors

Fred Litwin
July 18, 2018
Somewhere in an Ontario long-term care facility today, a LGBTQ senior may be facing bullying and discrimination. We know this from a recent CBC news report that broke our current ageist fixation on the rights of LGBTQ schoolchildren. The story inspired Fred Litwin to imagine how Ontario’s new Conservative government might deal with this neglected social justice issue, in a hypothetical bureaucratic memo to Health Minister Christine Elliot. Laugh if you dare.
Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter

Nowadays much of the public controversy over the rights of LGBTQ Canadians is focused on schoolchildren. In Alberta, the NDP government and United Conservative Party opposition clash regularly over gay-straight alliance clubs in schools. In Ontario, the new Progressive Conservative government under Premier Doug Ford is in tepid water already over its move to scrap the province’s gay-positive sex-ed curriculum. Protests have erupted, with some teachers vowing to keep using the curriculum. The problem with the intense media focus on the rights of LGBTQ kids, however, is that it risks obscuring the challenges faced by LGBTQ seniors.

Gay conservative activist Fred Litwin, no spring chicken himself, noticed the CBC tried to correct this imbalance in a recent story about gay seniors and their fear of bullying and discrimination in long-term care facilities. Although the story was rather thin on evidence that it actually occurs, it got Litwin thinking: how might the Ford government handle this problem? That remains to be seen, but in the meantime Litwin has imagined the following helpful bureaucratic briefing note that might land on the desk of Health Minister Christine Elliot.

To:  Christine Elliot, Minister of Health

From: [name redacted], ADM, Long-Term Care facilities

Re:  Issues for LGBTQ seniors

Here a number of important issues that your government must act on as soon as possible.

1. The rights of LGBTQ Seniors are at risk in Ontario long-term care facilities. One way to ensure that LGBTQ seniors are treated with respect is to start gay-straight alliances at all our long-term care facilities. Among the policy questions this raises are: do seniors need consent from their children to join? We recommend against this as it could involve “outing” seniors to the children.

2. The current application form for long-term care facilities contains only fifteen genders. We have heard complaints that we need to be more inclusive and that we should expand our list. The Trans sub-committee has been asked to develop recommendations, including how often we need to update our forms to accommodate new genders.

3. There was a recent commotion at the long-term care facility in Scarborough [name redacted] when it was discovered that the CIS-Males had assembled in a TV lounge and turned off CBC programming to watch a football game. Noise was reported by residents on lower floors and staff found an empty pizza box the next morning. We recommend keeping remotes under lock and key and developing a list of acceptable programming.

4. Further to point #3, it has been suggested all CIS-Males receive some sort of medical treatment. Perhaps we could use a drug like valium. To find a solution we recommend a special session of the Therapeutic Healing & Homeopathy task force of the Holistic Health committee.

5. Concern was raised at the Trigger Warning workshop last month that we weren’t addressing the power imbalance between men and women during mealtime. There have been reports of males asking females if they would like a “Kokanee Grope”. We can no longer ignore this important issue and consent cards may be needed to help residents cope with this problem. We’ll also have to adjust our safe space guidelines, so the sexism & ableism sub-committee of the wellness committee will need to schedule some additional meetings.

6. One of the new long-term care facilities in Hamilton is moving ahead with construction without consulting the new floor-plan suggestions from the Trans Workspace Consultative Panel. They recommended separate floors for non-transgender males, and non-transgender females, and that all the gender fluid residents should be separated from those who are questioning or unsure. The panel did not address demigender and adrogyne seniors but we are recommending they be put on the neutrois and pan-gender floor. All new long-term care facilities must have an additional eight floors to accommodate twelve of the specified genders in the Ontario ‘Gender 2030’ master plan.

7. One resident complained at the [redacted] facility that zir pronoun card was not changed after ze changed zir gender. Trans advocates are calling for an Ontario-wide commitment that all pronoun identifiers will be updated on resident’s doors within 48 hours of changing their gender. We think it may be possible to commit to 24 hours, but will need to consult the Pronoun Fitness Council.

8. This week, during an inspection at the [redacted] long-term care facility, twenty boxes of plastic straws were discovered. As per last month’s memo on the global tortoise nostril crisis, the deadline for discarding of ALL plastic straws was last week. Each facility will do an immediate inspection and report back before 5:00 PM on Friday that the facility is certified plastic-straw-free. We expect residents will love the new all-metal straws, although an increase in denture repair costs is also expected.

9. Posters are going out to every facility declaring the seven new mandatory values attestations required in order to be eligible for federal funding:  Cishetero-patriarchy exists, white supremacy exists, ableism exists, racism exists, colonialism never ended, capitalism is bad. They will be prominently placed at entranceways and residents will be invited to put them up in their rooms. The first facility to put up fifty posters will win three sessions of gender-segregated group aromatherapy.

10. We have a new service for seniors with vaginas (regardless whether they identify as male or female): once a month, we are offering a bus service to the Gwyneth Paltrow spa for herbal yoni steaming. The word we hear most often from people who receive the treatment is empowerment.

11. The children of some residents are complaining that we don’t have enough gluten-free food. So we are starting a new workshop on eco-friendly food in a long-term care environment that is mandatory for all staff. Our first vegan long-term care facility will open next month in the Annex in Toronto. Cost savings on meat and energy are expected to be substantial. However, your government’s decision to cancel Ontario’s cap-and-trade program means we won’t be getting anticipated carbon credits.

12. The buses to Toronto Pride from several facilities were problematic this year. The lesbians of colour didn’t want to sit with the white-privileged Trans people and they started throwing quinoa at each other. The only solution is to have separate buses, or perhaps double-decker buses – trans seniors on the bottom and lesbians on top. Accommodating straight men (especially police and military veterans) who wish to go the parade remains a low priority.

Love C2C Journal? Here's how you can help us grow.

More for you

Want More Affordable Housing in Canada? Build More Houses

Solving Canada’s housing crisis shouldn’t require more than a single lesson in economics. When prices are high, a free market always responds and supplies more. Yet amidst Canada’s severe problems of housing affordability, this foolproof mechanism is continually frustrated by governments that are either ignorant of how markets work, fixated on preserving the status quo or display naked contempt for the profit motive. Peter Shawn Taylor looks at the scorn heaped on land developers, landlords and the rest of the housing supply industry and wonders how they became the villains of this story.

Thinking Clearly in a Time of Panic

How should the conservative mind respond to the coronavirus pandemic? Panic and despair are in ample supply, and the urge to succumb appears widespread. Others have steered, via deliberate ignorance, to fatalism, though the walls are closing in on such rebels. Both extremes are beneath thoughtful conservatives. C2C Editor-in-Chief George Koch counsels that however dark today might appear, the eternal search for objective truth – the foundation for all conservative thought – is the first necessary step along the path to seeing humankind through to brighter days.

Future of Conservatism Series Part IV: Rallying the World’s Centre-Right Parties

As Canada’s Conservatives evaluate leadership hopefuls and ponder what their party is about and which path might lead to electoral victory, it’s easy to ignore international politics. They should take a look, for the world holds dozens of established centre-right democratic parties, and many are tackling challenges of relevance and adaptation at least as steep as those burdening Canada’s Conservatives. John Weissenberger travelled to Washington, D.C. for the annual conference of the International Democrat Union (IDU) and provides his assessment in this essay. Later this year, once international travel is restored, Weissenberger heads to Vienna to deepen his understanding at the IDU’s 2020 Forum.

Averting “Climate Poverty” for Canada’s Middle Class

Pursuing grandiose visions tends to cloud judgment, and when the vision is saving our very planet from an apprehended climate crisis, it’s little surprise that numbers are fudged, logic is twisted, the hardest-hit are ignored and entire social classes are cast into the trash. Matthew Lau, however, refuses to be dazzled by dreams. In this article, Lau remains rooted in reality and fixed on crunching the numbers to come up with some arresting conclusions about the huge costs of government climate policies to working people here and now, set against marginal if not ephemeral benefits to come over the next 80 years.

Hit the Bench: Beverley McLachlin’s Reputation Takes a Dive in Retirement

When Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Beverley McLachlin stepped down in 2017, she was regarded as one of the most consequential jurists in Canadian history, largely due to her court’s activist approach to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Her career arc was also widely considered a triumph of progressive feminism in the face of an entrenched legal patriarchy. That reputation is due for a re-assessment. Grant A. Brown sifts through the evidence of McLachlin’s autobiography and various post-retirement missteps, and unearths what he feels is a surprising lack of principle, objectivity and sound reasoning.

Stronger Alliances with First Nations Could Help Overcome Blockade Disruptions

The sight of Justin Trudeau’s ministers genuflecting before petty aristocrats, anarchists, tire-burners and masked thugs sickened millions of Canadians – and made some of us think about hoarding critical supplies. Aside from the venality and sheer ineffectiveness of the Liberals’ approach, Gwyn Morgan was struck by our enlightened rulers’ bone-headed misunderstanding of diplomacy. Going cap-in-hand to the people who despise you is unlikely to end well. And when there are other options, it’s unforgivable. Morgan suggests instead applying age-old principles of diplomacy – like supporting one’s allies to maximize their influence. He should know, for he has done it himself.

Share This Story

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on print


Subscribe to the C2C Weekly
It's Free!

* indicates required