Disorientation 2013 presents…..


September 23-September 27
University of Toronto
All events are free and open to students and community members. All locations are physically accessible. 

Gender may be considered a social construction, but that doesn’t make the experience of it any less real. Our actions and interactions are structured on ideas of what it means to be male and female, masculine and feminine, and there are consequences when we don’t fit into prescribed gender boxes. Gender plays out in particular ways that structure the material conditions of our lives. Patriarchy and sexism often connect with experiences of racism, homophobia, transphobia and ableism to affect our lived experience, our communities and our organizing spaces. We want to critically analyze societal, institutional and interpersonal forces that reproduce sexism, and we want to break down gender as a construct, but still recognize what it means to experience the world through the lens of a strictly enforced gender binary. 

What are the experiences of women, trans people and gender non-conforming folks in organizing spaces? How can resisting sexism in our lives and in our activism build better long-term resistance movements? How do we tie confronting and resisting white supremacy, capitalism and colonialism to fighting patriarchal systems of exploitation? 

Join a coalition of campus groups for a week of discussion and debate on questioning the enforcement of gender roles and building towards more inclusive feminist movements! 

For accessibility info and volunteer opportunities, look below the schedule. 

Monday September 23rd

2:30-4:30- WORKSHOP
Consent 101 
Facilitator: Krysta Williams, Advocacy & Outreach Coordinator, Native Youth Sexual Health Network
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, room 2281
252 Bloor Street West

What is consent? What does a consent culture look like? How can we provide safe and effective sex education around consent to our communities? Doing the work of moving beyond frameworks like “consent is sexy” and “no means no” requires radically transforming the ways in which we talk about our bodies, and having these conversations is critical to building safe, sustainable, and healthy movements. The history of the land we are on is one of consent and agreement-making, and Indigenous models of consent can inform our understanding of how consent functions (or doesn’t) in our communities today. Join us in exploring some of the ways in which we can use consent as a framework to decolonize ourselves, our bodies and our movements.

Facilitator Bio: Krysta Williams is the Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator for the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. Krysta is of the Delaware Nation from Moravian of the Thames First Nation. She is a traditional singer and hand drummer, connecting these teachings to reproductive justice and Indigenous Feminisms. She currently volunteers with the National Pregnancy Options Infoline, a free 24/7 link to sexual and reproductive health information and services. Krysta recieved an undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo but is more interested in community and land based forms of education and learning. 

4:30-6:30- PANEL
Free Education: Is it Possible? 
Organized by the University of Toronto Student's Union
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Room 2211

Cuba, Greece, Germany, Finland, Brazil - all offer free, public post-secondary education. Could post-secondary tuition fees be eliminated in Canada? Many (including politicians) argue that this is impossible, but this remains a subject of debate - including among student activists. Many support the idea in principle, but it is often suggested that lobbying for tuition reductions and freezes is a more realistic and effective strategy than free education. Others see the rising of tuition fees as inevitable.

Join us for a discussion on the impact of tuition fees on (in)accessibility to education and social inequality, the economic feasibility of free post-secondary education, and strategies to mobilize for free post-secondary education in Canada.

What’s Wrong with the MRA? The Problem of Men’s Rights Organizing
Speakers: Steph Guthrie (Academy of the Impossible), Jeff Perera (White Ribbon Project), Ashleigh Ingle (Graduate Student Union, University of Toronto), Michael Laxer (Rabble)
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, room 2211
252 Bloor Street West

Men’s Rights Activists are cropping up at North American universities, building their “social movement” under the guise of promoting free speech and equality. In actuality, what the MRAs promote and peddle is anti-feminist and misogynist ideology and politics. Their proponents have gone as far as to incite harassment against those who speak out against them and websites like A Voice for Men have publicly slandered and targeted women. Last year, students and community members in Toronto challenged the MRAs by protesting their events on the University of Toronto campus. Since the MRAs consider the University of Toronto to be a key recruiting ground for their cause, and we’ve seen how the University of Toronto administration is all too happy to host them here, this panel will present a case for why Men's Rights organizations and activists are dangerous and why we should build towards an organized feminist movement that can respond to them. 

*There will be no video or audio recording of this event. Any oppressive language and/or actions will not be tolerated, and those engaging in such behavior will be asked to leave the event*

Speaker Bios: 

Jeff Perera is a Community Engagement Manager for the White Ribbon Campaign, the world’s largest effort to engage men in re-imaging masculinity and help end gender-based violence. Jeff also founded Higher Unlearning, an online space to explore how ideas of gender & masculinity play out in everyday life.

Steph Guthrie is a feminist advocate and community organizer who uses social media and interactive events to spark and sustain conversations about gender justice, labour, politics and education. She is a faculty member and lifelong learner at Academy of the Impossible. 

Ashleigh Ingle is a feminist and an anarchist who organizes with working people and students at the University of Toronto and in the community. She is the current chair of the Women and Trans people caucus of the U of T Graduate Students' Union. She participates in grassroots feminist organizing at the University and hopes to see the response to the presence of MRAs to be the creation of a militant feminist movement capable of responding to the manifestations of white supremacy and patriarchy faced by students and workers at the University of Toronto and beyond. 

Michael Laxer is blogger for rabble.ca, a two-time former candidate and former election organizer for the NDP, was a socialist candidate for Toronto City Council in 2010 and is on the executive of the newly formed Socialist Party of Ontario.

Tuesday September 24th

12:00-2:00- WORKSHOP
Alternatives to the Medical Model of 'Mental Illness': Mad Pride, Mad Culture, Mad Community 
Facilitator: Mad Pride Toronto
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, room 2199
252 Bloor Street West

Join representatives from Mad Pride Toronto, an arts, culture, and heritage festival created by Mad people and those labelled 'mentally ill' that has been celebrated locally for 20 years, for a presentation and conversation on alternatives to the medical model of 'mental illness'. We will talk about consumer/survivor/Mad community and culture, language and identity, discrimination, Mad Pride, activism, self-help, and other non-mainstream approaches to craziness and neurodiversity. www.madprideto.com

2:30-4:30- WORKSHOP
Comic Books for Justice Workshop 
Facilitators: Elisha Lim and Kit Wilson-Yang
Hart House Music Room
7 Hart House Circle 
*ASL-English Interpretation Confirmed*
*We will have a snack picnic outside Hart House after the workshop, weather permitting!*

Elisha Lim and Kit Wilson Yang lead a discussion around radical queer and feminist comics, and then invite participants to collaborate on a giant wall-comic about the coming year.

Facilitator Bios: 
Elisha Lim is the author of comic strips like 100 Butches and Sissy. Lim has exhibited art and videos internationally, including the debut solo of Toronto’s Feminist Art Gallery. They have been awarded grants by the Canada Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and Quebec Arts Council and have juried art grants in Canada and the States. They have lectured on race representation and gender neutral pronouns on panels, artist talks and United Nations conferences since 2009, and directed Montréal’s first Racialized Pride Week in 2012, for which they curated the central exhibit “2-Qtpoc” at the gallery articule. They are currently working on two projects: a graphic novel called 100 Crushes and a zine about queer prayers.

Kit Wilson-Yang is a mixed race trans woman who makes art and space. Recently she ran a workshops series with trans youth at the Sherbourne Health Centre called Super Trans Powers, a series of art workshops that created an eclectic zine of stories and art by trans youth. She makes zines and writes stories and music. 

6:30-8:30- PANEL
On the Outside: Prison Abolition as Collective Liberation 

Speakers: Monica Forrester, Swathi Sekhar (Prisoner Correspondence Project), Claudia Medina (Prisoner HIV/AIDS Support Action Network), Mandy Hiscocks
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, room 4422
252 Bloor Street West

The state is in permanent, sustained conflict with people who inhabit certain bodies. Women, trans people, visibly queer people, racialized people, gender nonconforming people -- all share a common experience of being targeted, profiled, harassed, criminalized, and incarcerated. Join us for a panel discussion where we will discuss best practices for building healthy resistance and movements around prison abolition and prisoner support. How does the state legitimize and actively enact violence on certain bodies through agendas of racism, colonialism, sexism, and transphobia? How can we organize ourselves within movements to resist criminalization, repression, and state sanctioned violence? How does prisoner support connect to building a broader movement around prison abolition? Coming out of this space, we hope to continue conversations around resistance to the prison system and to repressive legislation that continue to criminalize and incarcerate our communities and our comrades.

Speaker Bios: 

Monica Forrester is a 2spirit black femme sista working and advocating at the grassroots level for transwomen, women, and the sexworking community. She is the Executive Director of Trans Pride, and works with Toronto-Transitioning Together bringing awareness, inclusion, and visibility to all trans identified people.

Mandy Hiscocks is an activist and organizer in Guelph, Ontario. She spent most of 2012 in jail, where she learned a lot about who is incarcerated and why, and how it all benefits the state and the capitalist economy.

Swathi Sekhar is a collective member on the Prisoner Correspondence Project. The Prisoner Correspondence Project coordinates a penpal program and resource library for people in prison who are connected to, or have, trans and queer identities (including gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, gendervariant, two-spirit, intersex, queer and questioning).

Claudia Medina has worked with criminalized women for over 19 years in organizations such as Voices of Positive Women and Positive Youth Outreach. In the past 4 years Claudia has worked as the Women’s Prison Program Coordinator at PASAN, an organization that provides programs and services for ex-prisoners and prisoners living with HIV/AIDS. Her role provides support to prisoners with Hep C and HIV and to deliver HIV/AIDS educational workshops on a monthly basis to women in the Provincial and Federal Women’s prisons. A main aspect of the Women’s Prison Program Coordinator role is to address the systemic barriers that exist in Ontario prisons that further oppress criminalized women.

Wednesday September 25th

World Café: Strategic Talks for the Year Ahead
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Room 2198
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/614731705244889/

Enjoy some free food and meet the people and groups on campus doing radical work! Whether you’re new to campus activism, or seasoned, this is a chance to meet folks, get motivated, and plan for the year. Rotating discussions will be held on social and environmental justice issues and resistance on campus. Have ideas to radicalize U of T? Come share your thoughts, and plug into what’s already going on!

6:00-8:00- PANEL
When Women Rebel: Gender and Militancy 
Speakers: Kelly Phlug-Back, Jaroslava Avila, Baolinh Dang
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, room 2211

The history of women mobilizing against the state is long and varied. The legacies of women like Angela Davis, Leila Ahmed and Assata Shakur have informed and inspired modern day iterations of female militancy like the Gulabi Gang and the women militants of the Kashmir region and Niger River Delta. Worldwide, there is a sustained mobilization against the brutality of state repression collectively led by women. Join us for a panel discussion on the status of women and militancy today both locally and globally -- where we will share stories, resources and insights. 

Speaker Bios: 

Kelly Rose Pflug-Back is an author, activist, and student based in Toronto. She has participated in grassroots harm-reduction and anti-poverty initiatives accross Canada and written extensively on issues including sexual violence, the prison system, queer issues, and environmental justice. In 2012-2013 she served 8 months jail time for involvement in the G20 summit protests in Toronto in 2010.

Baolinh Dang is a member of the Proletarian Revolutionary Action Committee of Toronto, an anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist organization that initiated the formation of the Revolutionary Student Movement chapter at the University of Toronto.

Jaroslava Avila is a member of the Women's Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu [Toronto], an indigenous Mapuche solidarity organization that seeks to inform the public on the plight of the Mapuche land claims struggle in so-called southern Chile, supporting Mapuche and other Political Prisoners in Wallmapu (Mapuche Territory), Chile and beyond. She has bore witness to local land reclamations by Indigenous Peoples on Turtle Island for many years, actively organizing to create links between these anti-colonial and other community based struggles across the continent.

Thursday September 26th

12:00-2:00 PM: WORKSHOP
Boundless for Who? 
The struggle of working-class students in the academic industrial complex
Facilitator: Transitional Year Programme Preservation Alliance and the Revolutionary Student Movement
Hart House Music Room, 7 Hart House Circle
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/572365192801259/

The University of Toronto’s Boundless Campaign describes boundless possibilities and potentials for its students, but the reality is a different story. Working-class students, mostly racialized, face countless barriers to enroll, stay and graduate from post-secondary education. While millions are spent on programs to increase the university's global competitiveness, Transitional Year Programme (TYP), a program that allows working-class students to access an undergraduate degree, is in constant threat of elimination. More and more, the university is making a statement: the Boundless Campaign is NOT for the unaccounted Black, Indigenous, queer & trans, single mothers, disabled and poor students that TYP could be further serving.

Join us for a panel and discussion as the Transitional Year Programme Preservation Alliance and the Revolutionary Students Movement share their perspectives on the intensified corporatization of the university and their work in the “Expand the TYP!” campaign. All marginalized, working-class and progressive youth and students are encouraged to attend!

Kerri Kimoto is a member of the Revolutionary Students Movement.

Carla Rodney is a member of the Transitional Year Programme Preservation Alliance.

2:00-4:00 PM: WORKSHOP AT OPIRG-York
Exploring Contradictions in Organizing: A workshop with Sarah Schulman 
Facilitated by: Sarah Schulman and Students Against Israeli Apartheid 
Room 430, Student Centre Building, York University
4700 Keele Street

The role of North Americans in funding and legitimizing the Israeli occupation of Palestinians is one of the great moral issues of our time. A blossoming student movement is growing rapidly, and requires a lot of conversation and communication of political, emotional and ethical issues. Join us for an open conversation with Sarah Schulman where we can calmly and honestly address the questions that come up in anti-Occupation and queer organizing. Sarah Schulman, [alongside SAIA @ York,] will share their personal journeys to activism through their pursuit of the Israel/ Palestine question and work with participants to hone arguments and explore contradictions.

7:00-9:00- KEYNOTE
How Change Is Made: A keynote with Sarah Schulman
Health Sciences Building, Room 610
155 College Street
Closest Accessible subway station: Queen's Park
*ASL-English Interpretation Provided*
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/234733823341392/

An author of sixteen books, a playwright and a long-time activist, Sarah Schulman will weave through her own stories of resistance and her experiences in organizing spaces in the past 35 years. From her time with the Lesbian Avengers to her work with the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP), from the founding of Housing Works to her more recent outspoken criticism of the Occupation of Palestine, her talk will center around discussion of her own work in building inclusive, sustainable movements, including combating sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression in her organizing work. How do we learn from the past and use activist histories to develop future struggles? Join us at Disorientation Week 2013 to explore combating the multitude of oppressions that play out in our movements and in our lives, and sharing stories for movement and community building. 

Friday September 27th

2:30-4:30 PM: WORKSHOP
Time to Bash Back: Radical Queer & Trans Organizing 
Facilitator: Rocio Velasquez
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, room 8201
252 Bloor Street West

Radical queer and trans* organizing was written into history during the events of Stonewall in 1969, when radical queer and trans* youth decided to bash back and resist police repression and homophobia. What does radical queer and trans* organizing look like in Toronto today? Well, not much has changed since 1969 in the sense that the dominant social and political structures of the state are not broken but continue to work exactly as they were intended to: to oppress people. This workshop will provide a platform for sharing strategies for solidarity in combating systemic oppression and state repression, as well as a platform for naming challenges to solidarity within queer and trans* community. The workshop will ask participants: what are the goals of our (local) movements, and how can we hold both movements and our community accountable? We will share Toronto specific resources, strategies and insights for mobilizing radical queer and trans* community.

Facilitator Bio: Rocio Velasquez Guzman was named after her mother and grandmother, her grandfather and the man who made part of her father. Indigenous to the "Americas", a mestiza woman carrying the magical mixture of blood from 500 years of colonialism, Ro made a home here in Canada amongst misfits, punks and lovely creatures. She likes to feel relations in her everyday life getting stronger through food and time spent together. Ro is a fan of conflict, drum n' bass, and plays in a crust band. She's also in school to become a baby-catcher.

6:30-8:30 PM: 
Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street
With Author Mark Bray and Megan Kinch from Occupy Toronto
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, room 5240
252 Bloor Street West 
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/579051758826419/
More info about the book here: https://www.facebook.com/TranslatingAnarchy

OWS organizer Mark Bray combines his direct experience in the movement with nearly 200 interviews with the most active, influential architects of Occupy Wall Street, to reveal the revolutionary anarchist core of Occupy. Although The New York Times and CNN thought that OWS simply wanted tighter financial regulations and a millionaire's tax, Bray shows that the vast majority of organizers called for the abolition of capitalism altogether. 

By "translating" their ideas into everyday concepts like community empowerment and collective needs, these anarchists sparked the most dynamic American social movement in decades.
This event is co-sponsored by Upping the Anti.

Disorientation 2013 is a collaborative effort of several U of T campus groups:
- OPIRG-Toronto 
- Centre for Women and Trans People 
- Graduate Student's Union 
- Association of Part Time Undergraduate Students 
with financial support from the University of Toronto Student's Union (www.utsu.ca)

Check out these awesome events coming up just after Disorientation Week!

Monday September 30th

Trans Film Screening Series: The Alt-Education Edition
Doors at 6 PM, Event starts at 6:30 PM
William Doo Auditorium
45 Willcocks Street
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/635044003206870/

Wednesday October 2nd

6:00-7:30 PM: WORKSHOP
Divesting for a Green Future: Divestment as a tactic for achieving climate justice
Facilitator: Toronto350.org
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 
Room 10-200 (tenth floor)
252 Bloor Street West

Toronto350.org, the Toronto chapter of 350.org, will host a workshop discussing the history of divestment campaigns and the recent movement to divest from fossil fuels. The workshop will include a discussion of Toronto350.org’s current divestment campaign at the University of Toronto, as well as the merits and challenges of divestment as a tool for achieving climate justice.

Sunday October 6th
12:00-5:00 PM: WORKSHOP
Making Movements Accessible Workshop
*ASL-English Interpretation Provided*
*Light snacks will be provided*
Length: 5 hours
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, room available through registration
252 Bloor Street West
Closest Accessible Subway station: St. George 

*Please register by September 26th for this workshop.* Spots are limited. To register, e-mail opirg.toronto@gmail.com or phone 416-978-7770 (if no one answers, please leave a message and will we get back to you). In your registration, please indicate if you will require: 
- childcare
- ASL Interpretation
- attendant care
- any dietary restrictions
- any other accessibility requests

This workshop will talk about both the political and practical aspects of accessibility in political organizing. It will focus on the political importance of building inclusive movements, the strength that including diverse groups of disabled people brings to organizations and movements
and what some of the things we should be putting in place to make events and organizations more accessible.

Trainer: A.J. Withers is a longtime radical disability and anti-poverty activist. They are also the author of Disability Politics and Theory (Fernwood) and the If I Can't Dance is it Still My Revolution zine series and blog (still.my.revolution.tao.ca). As a disabled and trans organizer, A.J. thinks a lot about access, barriers and privilege and how to transform social movements to be inclusive.


We are always looking for new people to get involved with the work we are doing, and Disorientation is a great way to do it! You can e-mail us directly about volunteering with OPIRG-Toronto at opirg.toronto@gmail.com.


Disorientation strives to meet the accessibility needs of students and community members. With a limited budget, we know sometimes meeting access needs for everyone at all events is difficult, and we are continually learning how to do better at this. We appreciate your feedback on accessibility concerns at past and upcoming events. 

All Disorientation events are held in physically accessible spaces on the University of Toronto campus. We strive to maintain a scent-free space, though as most of the spaces are classrooms, they may have been in use directly prior to a Disorientation event. Some buildings at the University of Toronto have gender-neutral washrooms, though not all of them do.
Information about the accessibility of each event will be included with the event description on the website, and on this Facebook event, when it becomes available. 

We will have ASL-English interpretation available at the joint Disorientation keynote with OPIRG-York, the "Comic Books for Justice" workshop and the "Making Movements Accessible" workshop. We apologize that we do not currently have the capacity to provide ASL-English Interpretation at all our Disorientation Week events. 

The organizers of Disorientation are aware that material in a workshop, the presence of an individual and/or discussion at an event can bring up intense feelings and can be triggering for different people in different ways. If you feel comfortable, we encourage you to talk to the organizers about what is coming up for you in these spaces and about how we can strive to make them safer and more inclusive. Please take care of yourself and each other.

We can make childcare available at the keynote event, if people can contact us at the contact e-mail below, letting us know that you will require childcare. If you are interested in attending any other events in Disorientation and would require childcare to attend, please contact us at opirg.toronto@gmail.com.

All other accessibility inquiries and concerns should be directed to the e-mail above.