This is a lengthy posting and perhaps a controversial one.
In my opinion we can only bring about change and garner acceptance of BDSM, sexuality and gender by projecting a positive image - to do otherwise is counterproductive and reinforces the social stigma that many face on a daily basis.
This is what I base my opinion on.
The Ottawa Police Service observed the Transgender Day of Remembrance by unveilling a banner at its headquarters. The banner will be on display in an effort to commemorate this event and raise public awareness. The Transgender Day of Remembrance was established to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender or anti-transsexual hatred or prejudice.
A Transgender March to Parliament Hill followed the flag raising ceremony in support of Bill C-389 which will add Gender Identity and Gender Expression to the Canadian Human Rights Code.
The unprecedented cooperation between the police and the transgender community was overshadowed, as was the message from Parliament read by Bill Siskay when the story was covered in the media across Canada, including the Vacouver Sun "Transgender rights activists arrested in Ottawa".
Despite 200 people marching and only 2 protesters arrested. the focus of the day is shifted from the positive such as Ottawa transgender community remembers, elebrates and Ottawa Police observe the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Bill Siksay’s bill, C-389, adds gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act and amends the hate crimes and sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada. I have stood face to face with Mr.Siksay and have listened to him describe the procedural path that bill C-389 will follow - the bill does face opposition from people who describe it as a "bathroom bill" that will enable perverts to play in the women's washroom. People need to see that transgender people are just people - not clowns or caricatures of women or men, and are for the most part are normal people.
Great, a momentous event overshadowed by the actions of the few. Who do you think the voters, the parliamentarians and members of the senate will think of as the bill progresses? Is it likely that another police department will try to bridge the gap between transgender people after what happened to the Ottawa police?
Now to the crunch - in my opinion, we will bring about change as a result of presenting ourselves as well spoken, articulate and rationale people. Ranting and raving is not a successful strategy for change. We will gain acceptance by acting in a responsible manner, albeit while having fun. Civil disobedience simply does not work - perhaps it was necessary in the past, but not now.
Pride parades across Canada present a positive image of the LGB communities. It's an image that portrays people having fun at the expense of no one, people who are just themselves. I marched in a few parades this year as part of the Op Connection and was almost overcome with emotion at warmth and acceptance that was afforded to a contingent of men in women in uniform. We did not hurl insults at civilians, heterosexuals or (in my case) 'vanillas' - to do so would have made us look like fools instead of demonstrating by our presence that gay and lesbian people are just normal people.
When my marriage broke up I became involved with the Victoria BDSM scene, and in a full time relationship that involved aspects of kink. I also became involved in a custody battle with my ex - one that despite mention of my involvement in BDSM, was resolved by following the simple advice of 'winning by being reasonable' and letting the the other party rant and rave.
Furthering our goal of acceptance whether it be as gay men or lesbian women, kinky people or transgender people will require the projection of a positive image, one that shows that we are just normal people.
During the Edmonton Taboo Sex Show, my friend Jennifer was interviewed by Brenda Kerber - I'd encourage you to read the article as published, both for the message and as an example of projecting a positive image.
Pictures of the Ottawa ceremony, the march and the rally at Parliament Hill are here