This was the closing to this week’s issue of Jockstrap Friday’s newsletter. The issue was released late for jockstrap lovers on the “PLUS” side of the UTC line. Yet, it is an important message that needs to be heard and acted upon.
Not all of our Jockstrap Friday readers got their email on time because; I needed to take a day, probably the first day in a long time, or I was going to lose it.
The actions by the City of Toronto and the Toronto Police Service against homeless folks, earlier this week, disgusted and infuriated me – right down to the core of my being. I was done. Spent.
We saw images of Toronto Police officers walking shoulder to shoulder, trampling through an encampment, stomping on and destroying everything in their path.
This is how I feel about the situation…as best as I can describe it.
The ONUS of homelessness is upon us all. When we hear the call for de-funding of the Police, this here is what is being talking about. I will use Toronto (where I live) as an example. First and foremost the job of our Toronto Police Force is to “Serve and Protect”.
The message, that I am receiving loud and clear from the Toronto Police Service is all that ” Serve and Protect” means, is the Toronto Police Service (and subsequently City Council) “serve their own purpose and protect their own backsides“.
The daily budget for Toronto Policing, is reported, to be $3 100 000, per day. Just $1 000 000 of that could have been used to house (or pay the rent of) over 80+ homeless folks FOR A YEAR. Imagine the other community and social programs that would benefit from just ONE DAY.
Walking through an encampment and destroying everything you can lay your boots on is not solving the problem, it’s moving the problem so the privileged don’t have to be bothered.
Well it is time for us to be bothered. Check our privilege. Check our bias. FIGHT for the proper solution.
As a community of Queer Folks, I keep hearing that silence and inaction are the same as condoning actions. There is logic in that statement. Logic that requires positive and proactive solutions to save us all from homelessness and hunger.
Unless we actually do something, our privilege continues to come, in part, at the expense of every single person that has been displaced and is homeless; when it could be shared, and the only thing we would notice is our quality of life improving because everyone around us, in our city, from edge to edge, has a home, is safe, protected and is also flourishing.
Yesterday was Wednesday. Over at TURNIP TEEZ I started the PINK Collection. Inspired by PINK SHIRT DAY – A day set aside where we all can come together and wear pink to show we all say no to hate, bullying and discrimination of any kind.
The PINK Collection, at its heart, no matter what colour you wear, is there to remind you to extend kindness in everything you do. You don’t know someone’s situation, their abilities, the mechanism that is the engine of their life.
The best bet is to always default to KINDNESS.
Take a moment, if you have INSTAGRAM to check out the collage on my @turnipteez Insta account. Like the photos – tag friends in the last collage photo to spread the word.
CHECK YOUR BIAS
For all of you that think “people chose homelessness” I want to remind you that I was homeless 2x, while I fully employed full time in my career & running this website and the podcast. I never chose the situation.
#1 Since my permanent injury at my previous employer and the subsequent permanent damage to my heart, the numerous surgeries, I still have to jump through hoops to PROVE that I am disabled. It is humiliating, degrading and embarrassing. 3 times my own insurance payments have been suspended. After wiping out what savings and investments I had and my family turning their back; I was homeless.
#2 Another on of the times, while I was waiting to hear if I was “disabled enough” so I could start receiving my benefits again, I had to leave an unhealthy living situation.
Neither of these were my choice. Yet I am at the mercy of someone who HAS no clue who I am, what my struggles are. They get to decide, if I can still receive the disability benefits I am entitled to; which allow me to just barely live at the poverty line and maintain an appearance that belies my current dire and desperate situation.
Please check your BIAS.
PINK: We take $5 from the sale of each PINK Collection t-shirt (this includes the PRIDE t-shirts) & mug and set it aside for 2 projects.
#1 Liam’s Project – this is a very homegrown effort by friend of TURNIP STYLE Liam (Gingerbums) who was driven by his own compassion to help the homeless in the San Francisco area, where he lives. Putting aside his own, Parkinson’s disease, terminal cancer diagnosis and treatment, he continues to make it a priority to buy; socks, underwear, toiletries, sleeping bags, tents, meal cards, gift card, from his own pocket. He also, as a trained medical professional, offers medical assistance to those that need it and personally works to find shelter for folks.
#2 The 519 LGBTQIA+ Community Centre in Toronto – Some of you will remember retired TURNIP STYLE co-editor UrbanGuyTO lost his husband (Paul) to suicide in 2015. The 519 Community Centre was very import to Paul. He would be there very often with one activity group or another. The 519 works hard to offer, not just a safe place of refuge during the day but also a place of actual community and learning, in efforts to enrich the lives of OUR community and avoid the social problems we are facing today; like homelessness.
Surely, some of you able-bodied folks can spare some extra cash to buy some PINK at TURNIP TEEZ. Help out the homeless, liven up a community and keep TURNIP STYLE running (I reinvest what pennies are left over into expenses that are related to running TURNIP STYLE – since I am not allowed to make a penny while disabled or I have to pay it back).
If you prefer to donate directly to Liam’s Project, reach out here and I will get you in touch. If you prefer to donate directly to The 519, please visit their website https://www.the519.org/, we ask that you please make your donation in honour of “Paul Kivitso”.