I grew up in Calgary, Alberta – a pretty conservative area of the country, by Canadian standards, anyway. So, I therefore grew up with fairly conservative views that were common at the time in the 80s (pro-oil/gas, anti-union, the homeless should just get jobs, feminists are “feminazis”, left-leaning people are “bleeding hearts”, etc.).
Those views followed me to Manitoba, where I did my Masters degree. Even though I mostly held strong to those views, I was beginning to be exposed to more left-leaning views (mostly the inequalities of the education system when it comes to First Nations communities, and inner-city schools).
I moved to Ontario in 2005, and noticed my views moved slowly from right-leaning to centre, then to the left. I began mostly with finally being able to see (I’m sure it was there in the past, I just had my eyes closed to it) the sexism in the academic world, which turned into me caring about women’s rights in general.
That started an avalanche in me and I’ve learned more about (and have started to care much more about) the inequalities in the education system, the environment crisis, the struggles and burdens of other marginalized groups, the poverty in our own cities, and what privileges I am automatically given because I’m white, middle-aged, middle-class, able-bodied, and cisgendered.
Though I’ve tried to be more vocal and open with my views in recent years, this past year I’ve felt like I’ve been pushed become involved in a more visible way: our family walked in the Pride Parade, and I marched in a Sister March on January 21st, with 2.5 million other women from around the globe. To keep that momentum, I sent letters to the leaders of all the federal political parties in Canada outlining a call to action for them to commit to ensure women’s rights are part of their agenda (want to do the same? Find a template here).
One of my goals for this year is to become more involved in my community, and I feel taking part in these events that mean so much to me is a step in the right direction.
I think my political evolution has to do with several factors:
- Political geography (Alberta is right-leaning, Ontario is more left),
- Who I interact with (Alberta: I was young, so family and other adults in their sphere + other teenagers/20-somethings – we knew nothing; Ontario: mostly academics/teachers/other professionals)
- I’ve gotten older, and therefore empathize more with the struggles of others, and am finding what’s important to me (I assume this happens with age, but maybe not?)
- Learning, reading, and trying to keep on top of current events
Regardless of the reasons, I have witnessed and evolution in myself but I am trying my best to be unapologetic about it. I’m sure some see the change as negative and others as positive, but it shouldn’t be US vs. THEM, or LEFT vs. RIGHT. We should find ways to work together to solve the issues facing our world today.
Yes, I’m a feminist! Yes, I care deeply about our environment! Yes, I am troubled by how marginalized groups are treated as second-class citizens! Yes, I think everyone should have a minimum income level! Yes, I think many of us in Canada are privileged and refuse to acknowledge it and the problems it causes!
So….Yes, I’m a bleeding-heart liberal! And I’m not sorry.