News and Events

OmiSoore in the News and at Events

16 June 2018
MONTRÉAL
#DuSangÀDonner / GotBlood2Give


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13 June 2018
The Politics of Blood
In this Q&A, OmiSoore Dryden, visiting professor, Faculty of Community Services, explores the stories and stereotypes that surround blood

By: Madeleine McGreevy

March 9, 2018
“CBC Halifax Information Morning. Interview: #GotBlood2Give Anti-Black Racism, Gay Blood and Canadian Blood Donation.”

March 7, 2018
“Black Canada Speaks: On Blackness And Empowerment”
Here’s what black liberation looks like for these Canadians.

February 28, 2018
“Black Queer Life and Canadian Homonationalisms.” (Guest Lecture)
Ryerson University

February 16, 2018
“Racism and Health Ethics in Blood Donation Research” (Guest Lecture)
York University

February 13, 2018
“Love, Justice & Transformation: Imagining Black Futures.” (Panelist)
Black Liberation Collective Ryerson University. February 13, 2018

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February 10, 2018
“Womanism, Black Feminism and the Politics of Love” (Panelist)
Journey to Black Liberation Symposium. Hosted by The Black Daddies Club and Harbourfront Centre.

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November 29, 2017
“#Got Blood to Give: African and Gay Blood Bans”

ResearchTalk_Ryerson_Nov29

Nov 16, 2017
Graduate program in Gender Studies Annual Symposium: Queen’s University
Keynote Address: Black Queer Life and the Theorizations of Blood (Donation)

Queen's University Grad Symposium

Nov 10-11, 2017
(IM) Material Cultures: Health History Collections in a Digital Era
Agenda: (Im)Material Culture

ImMaterialCulture_Nov11

Nov 7, 2017
Radio-Canada: Nord de L’Ontario
Questionnaire pour don de sang raciste selon une chercheuse ontarienne

Nov 6, 2017
Thorneloe University News Release
Professor Awarded Significant Grant to Study Blood Donation in Canada

CBCNews: Sudbury
Researcher says blood donation questions racist, unfairly target gay men

Nov 5, 2017
The Sudbury Star
Professor Leading National Blood Study

Nov 2-3 2017
Queer Canada: 30th Annual Tw Days of Canada Conference
Brock University
Final Two Days of Canada Queer Canada Programme includes front and back covers

queer_canada-two_days_of_canada_2017_poster-page-001

4 July 2017
Intersectionality Awareness Week
OpenLetter_IAW
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam withdrawing ‘intersectional’ motion that clashed with Black activists: Paradkar
Rinaldo Walcott: City council all crossed up on Intersectionality Awareness Week proposal

9 April 2017
“If it Don’t Fit, Don’t Force It”: Search of HIV Prevention Theory for African, Caribbean, and Black Communities in Canada. Montréal QC
CAHR 2017 – Special Session (Youtube)

23 February 2017
Roots, Routes and Revolution: What Black Liberation Means in the 21st Century
A panel discussion hosted by the Massey College Diversity Committee

BlackLiberationPoster_Feb23.jpg

10 February 2017
#EndTheBan Town Hall 💉
2:00-4:00pm
William Waters Lounge
321 Bloor Street W
Toronto, ON

26 January 2017
Lecture at University of Alberta
The Queer ColourLine of Citizenship

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12 July 2016
TVO Shared Values: Black Lives Matter TO and Pride Toronto (2016)

Why did John Tory break his promise to BLMTO?

3 July 2016
Co-host of Blocko18

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1 July 2016
An open Letter to our Family: A Celebration of Sorts. But More So, a Call to Continued Struggle. Cause Our Black Lives Matter! (posted on Facebook 1 July 2016)
Co-Written by: Beverly Bain, Rinaldo Walcott, and OmiSoore H. Dryden

Dear Fam,
     It is rare when we come together as black and black queer folks in Toronto to talk about our blackness and queerness. Wednesday June 29th was one of those rare moments at the Blackness and Queer Politics forum at the 519 Community Centre, sponsored by Toronto Pride. The room was packed to capacity. Black folks filled the room wanting to listen to conversations and engage with each other about our black queer lives. The speakers challenged us, supported us, uplifted us, demanded more of us, and celebrated us.
     Beth Jordan moderator for the evening, in her introductory comments reminded us that the evening was about our Black lives and encouraged us to celebrate each other and engage with each other and the panelists.
     Rinaldo Walcott, the first speaker, asked us to think through the state of our political conversations as we all seemed so moved by Jesse Williams speech at the BET Awards. He also spoke about the neo-colonial work of the Dignity project and asked us to think more critically about this project, it’s work, and how it benefits/harms us. Rinaldo Walcott insisted that we think through the strategies of black feminisms of the 70s and 80s when we think of the anti-black racism and queer and trans political work of today and tomorrow.
     Kim Katrin Milan spoke about how Black queer and trans Femmes must also do battle with street harassment, slut-shaming, reproductive justice and access, and the structural discrepancies that award normative recognitions of education (university degrees) over the kind of skills that one posses from alternative ways of knowing and learning, thus challenging the politics of respectability.
     Jordan Samuel offered us their reflections on nationalism, youth activism and racism in academia. 

Before we continued with the speakers, Rodney Diverlus of BLM-TO insisted that white people who were sitting in the front, and were physically able, give up their seats for the overwhelming number of Black folks who were seated and standing at the back of the room. This shift would better allow Black folks to engage with each other and the panellists. And We embraced this shift of gaze. This strategy of Black LGBGTQ folks being moved into the central/main space (usually, and in this case, occupied by whiteness) also allowed for a visual shift in the power imbalances often created through white supremacy. This was an invention made by Black and feminists of Colour in the 80s, so for many of us it made perfect sense to have this occur in that moment.

     Syrus Marcus Ware spoke about the importance of acknowledging that we are not always ok. That we are sad, feel defeated, feel anxious, feel afraid, are angry. He asked us to think through how we do this work in as an integral aspect of decolonization and in coalition work with Indigenous communities. Syrus reminded us of the importance of child-minding support and that many Black LGBTQ folks could not attend that night because they were without child-minding options. Syrus then also spoke about Black Trans women and they being missing from the stage, and how police have continued to harm, murder, and harass Black Trans women, and Black LBGTQ folks.
     The last speaker on the panel was Rodney Diverlus. Rodney spoke about the work of BLM, he spoke about how white queers had heckled them during the intervention at the mural. He called on us to not be fooled by the PR of policing…

Overall, we were also reminded that we did not need to fear leaving white spaces to build black queer spaces of our own.

     With Rodney’s earlier intervention, the room was better suited to shape the forthcoming conversation and our ability to engage honestly, openly, and excitedly about our Black queer and trans lives – our black queer and trans lives which have been lost to police violence, poverty, homelessness, incarceration, our daily experience of racism, surveillance, homophobia, and transphobia.
     These exchanges were riveting, gut wrenching, filled with emotion, pain and justified black anger. We were talking about our lives for fuck’s sake. We were also sharing with each other the pain and distrust of our white queer and trans allies evident in the treatment of Blockorama in Toronto Pride, being shut down by white queers as BLMT confronted Police as they attempted to unveil an ‘artistic’ yet fully contemptuous racist, transphobic on the side of a school building. The on-going experiences of Black queer and trans people in this city within all aspects of white supremacy (including white people) often include an expectation of a particular type of Euro-respectability. One that is understood to be appreciative, kind, non-questioning, grateful, and most importantly uncritical. In essence we are tone-policed. And the result of this is, if folks – white and black – do not feel that we are being deferential enough they will (and have) come for us. We know that regardless of how we say what we say we are often thought of as too angry, angry without purpose, hostile, aggressive, rude, uncouth, and uncivilized.

So as our conversations continued they were in fact loving, and harsh, and pleading, and blistering, and insistent.

     Yet the next day on fb we encounter two posts – One from Doug Kerr and one from Michael Went that speak to the comments of one person – LaLi Mohamed, but ignore the initiator of this conversation – Rinaldo Walcott (@blacklikewho)

     These two posts, in fact, become a call for people to affirm one particular narrative of this story. And as we know, as a result people attempt to scold us, shame us, punish us, and guilt us. They claimed our critiques were an attack. They claimed our ability to discern and identify how some people are benefiting from Black pain was violent and misguided. They claimed we were being disrespectful (though to hold Lali responsible for a conversation started and continued by Rinaldo seems to us to be deeply disrespectful) But we know how this goes already.
     And in doing so, they claimed the position of victim. Public calls for support (we’ve seen this before) were used to rally the allies. And in doing so revealed to us, yet again, the limits of their ability to work with us.

Instead they played the self-pity card, ‘what more can I do’…

They played the black card: ‘I have a black friend, child, spouse, in-law, ‘look at my black resume and all of I have done for you’…

They played the martyr card ‘how will I possibly go on’ ‘should I go on.’

And as we know, white folks and Black folks rallied around them. And in this process fully revealed their detest of blackness.

In seeing this we are again met with ‘private’ conversations: you misunderstand, let me explain my position, this is how it should have been addressed, etc. And the ones harmed by this attempt at public shaming (the ones who were vulnerable in revealing our frustrations), those who claimed to want to work with us instead abandoned us… but we are all familiar with how this works.
     We were not then surprised to see that this lament of white tears was then removed. Cowardice happens in many forms.
     So fam let’s get clear… this is what bullshit looks like. Don’t let it get twisted. We are not here for that… In fact those conversations are actually never about us, they are about a continuing colonial project – one that does nothing to actually address how the colonial nation is responsible for much of the homophobic harm happening in our various diasporic homes. Instead, we continue to be treated as children in need of a benefactor. This is bullshit. And then we are shitted on and called ungrateful when we dare to question this work and those involved. This is also bullshit.

For those of us who understand that the system is working exactly how it was created to work, we are not interested in trying to ‘fix’ it. We are, actually interested in creating and establishing new forms of relations(hips)

On Wednesday night we were not playing. We are not playing now.
Some believe there needed to be a “private” conversation. Some believe that regardless, white supremacy will always be a present entity with which to grapple.

But we all believe that these conversations and struggles are part of what it means TO GET FREE!

18 June 2016
Despite Mass Shooting at Gay Nightclub ‘Gay Blood’ Donation Banned
Pride: Canada’s Daily African, Canadian and Caribbean News Magazine.
by Neil Armstrong

14 June 2016
Interview on CBC Sudbury’s afternoon show, UpNorth with Jason Turnbull
A call to change blood donor eligibility rules

12 June 2016
Interview on NewsTalk1010 with Desmond Cole
Orland Shootings and the refusal to accept “Gay Blood”

30 May 2016
Book Celebration at Congress with Dr. Suzanne Lenon
Thank you to UBC Press for hosting us.
(photo by glb)

CongressBookCelebration

29 April 2016
CBC The Current “Beyoncé’s Lemonade gives Black women in Canada a lot to savour.”  Piya Chattopadhyay

1 April 2016
Press Conference: Black Faculty Canada at Black Lives Matter TO tent city.

14 March 2016
Lecture at York University
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28 February 2016
Interview: “Bad Blood: Why does Canada still reject queer and immigrant blood?”
Jamie Woo

21 February 2016
Interview NewsTalk1010 with Desmond Cole
Canadian Blood Services and the racist homophobic bans

October 2015
Disruption Queer Inclusion: Canadian Homonationalisms and the Politics of Belonging (Dryden and Lenon, UBC Press, 2015)
Our Book is #4 in the 2015 Top 15 Non-Fiction Books at Glad Day Bookshop – Thank you!

Top15GladDayNonFiction

16 October 2015
Book Launch – Disrupting Queer Inclusion: Canadian Homonationalisms and the Politics of Belonging
Facebook Events Page:     
Disrupting Queer Inclusion Book Launch
Hosted by Glad Day Bookshop @Buddies and Bad Times Theatre, Toronto

OurBook

26 September 2015
#BlackLivesMatter
#TakeBackTheNight
Toronto’s 35th annual Take Back the Night rally to focus this year on black women

21 September 2015
CBC Radio 1 interview on the news
Canadian Blood Services and the racist deferral of African/Black blood
630am interview

Canadian Blood Services, donor questionnaire and African/Black blood
730 am interview

2 March 2015
End the Ban campaign questions blood donation policy

21 February 2015
Black History Month: Sudbury
BlackHistoryMonth Poster_eng&fr

20 February 2015
DailyXtra: Gay Blood Ban
Where’s the outrage on Canada’s gay blood ban? by Rob Salerno

11 February 2015
#EndTheBan
#EndTheBan: Town Hall on MSM Blood Ban (video)

23 January 2015
Activist Community Forum on Policing
Against Policing: A First Critical Conversation in Sudbury. by Scott Neigh

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Photo credit: MitchelRaphael.com
BookLaunch: Disrupting Queer Inclusion

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