Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

3 Articles from August 2021

  1. The audacity of coming out

    The transphobic narrative is a lie. Let’s spend more time talking about how awesome it is to finally be yourself.

    In two more days I go back to school. I’m doing my best not to think about that and distract myself with other thoughts, such as how far I have come in the 18 months since I came out as trans. Last September 2 was the first time I wore a dress to work and felt like I was fully inhabiting my new self. In a case of déjà vu, school for me shut down in March 2021 about the same time it did in March 2020, and we are returning—physically to the building—on September 2 once more! So this Thursday will be a kind of anniversary for me, a very affirming one.

    Trigger warning for a brief but intense description of the transphobic violence in our society including suicide and murder.

    As many trans people will tell you, there is a big difference between realizing you’re trans, coming out, and starting some kind of transition. For me, these three events happened to coincide closely. That’s not always the case. Lots of trans people spend years knowing they are trans, from childhood or beyond, but they delay coming out for a variety of reasons that are often structural. Many trans…

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  2. Neither angels nor demons: it’s time we stop treating teachers as exceptional

    Teachers in our society are subject to vocational awe, put on a pedestal and told we should be grateful for the role we play. But this exceptional reputation is really just a smokescreen for devaluing our labour and refusing to address the problems with our education system.

    Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a “normal” job. I know, I know—there’s no such thing as a normal job. The 9-to-5 staple of TV sitcoms is, depending on whom you ask, an endangered species or a myth that never existed in the first place. I get it. Similarly, I’m not trying to romanticize other jobs or insist that teachers have it worse than the rest of y’all. Certainly I’m not being called at 2 am because a server went down or harangued by a client because the pipe I supposedly fixed is leaking again. Every job has its challenges and struggles. Yet I feel that teaching and some similar professions face an interesting paradox in which our struggles are invalidated by the myth that we asked for it, that by signing on for this profession we signed up for these struggles and that makes it ok to perpetuate them.

    I’m going to use teachers throughout this piece because it has a narrower specificity than “educators” and I want to speak specifically from my experience as a public (secondary) teacher. Moreover, I recognize that the word teacher holds a venerable connotation in our cultural consciousness…

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  3. One issue is many

    So Canadians will be heading to the polls on my birthday. Not the birthday gift I wanted from our Prime Minister, but I guess it’s the only one I’m going to get. We had a federal election only 2 years ago. Justin Trudeau claims it’s important to give us all a voice in who will be steering the country out of this pandemic (which is still happening). I am all for participating in the democratic process, but the cynic in me thinks you really just hope you’re going to get a majority this time.

    Anyway, I used to talk a lot more about politics on my blog (I used to blog a lot more in general). Nowadays I mostly yell on Twitter; last week I explained that I am a one-issue voter in this election. Nevertheless, I feel like it’s necessary that I register my opinion here, in a less ephemeral place than Twitter. I want to be able to look back in five years and know where I stood at the time.

    As I said in that tweet, the one issue on my mind for this election is climate change. I popped an allergy pill almost every day…

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