November 2019 Newsletter
Upcoming HAAM Events
Monthly Meeting – Gender and Sexual Identity for Dummies
Saturday, November 16th, Canad Inns Polo Park, 1405 St Matthews Avenue, 5:30 – 8:30 PM
We try our best to understand the latest science and the social and ethical aspects of gender and sexual identity, but the subject remains quite confusing for many of us. Is it genetics, brain chemistry, environment, or something else that makes human sexuality what it is?
We welcome Dr Neil McArthur, Director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba, to help us sort it all out. Details here.
HAAM and Eggs Brunch
Sunday, November 24th, Original Pancake House, 2220 McGillivray Blvd, 9:30 – 11:00 AM
Our monthly casual get-together is a great way to meet and get to know your fellow HAAMsters.
The location changes every month so that the same people don’t always get stuck having to cross town.
Save the Dates!
Winter Solstice Party – December 14th.
Monthly meeting and AGM – January 11th
HAAM and Eggs Brunch – January 19th
Check our Events calendar for the latest information on all upcoming events.
About our Events
Welcome! Our regular monthly meetings are always open to the public. Come early for dinner, drinks, or just to visit. Our social and (optional) dinner time begins at 5:30. Meeting is at 6:30 followed by the presentation at about 7:00 PM. Late-comers and drop-ins are welcome, so if you can’t make it on time or stay till the end, don’t worry. You can eat during the meeting if you’re late – the buffet is open till 8 PM.
If you are new and just checking us out, you are welcome to attend one or two events before becoming a member. After that, if you wish to continue to participate, we ask that you support the group by joining. Our annual dues are reasonable and include a limited-income option.
All events are subject to change, and some details may be TBA. In the event of inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances, events may be subject to cancellation or details may change. Check the Home page of our website, our Facebook page, or Meetup for information and updates.
Charity of the Month –Trans Health Klinic
In keeping with the theme of this month’s meeting topic, we have chosen the Trans Health Klinic (a program of Klinic Community Health Centre) as our charity.
Klinic provides care to Trans individuals > 16 ½ years of age seeking transitioning care (hormone start and surgery) living in Manitoba, and to all individuals who fall under the Transgender and/or Non-binary umbrella: inclusive of Two-spirit, Agender, Bigender, Genderqueer, Gender fluid, and more.
The program includes medical treatment and surgical referrals (some procedures cannot be performed in Manitoba), education, and both professional and peer counselling and support. Trans Health Klinic also offers education and guidance to other health professionals (e.g. family doctors) who provide primary care to their clients.
The Trans Klinic’s current needs are chest binders for their exchange program, equipment and learning materials for their teaching groups, equipment for pre and post op care, and funding for community education about gender diversity.
Let’s help them out with some of these needs!
Donations for the Charity of the Month will be collected at the monthly meeting. Tax receipts are available for donations over $10. If you would like to donate but cannot attend the meeting, you can do so via the ‘Donate’ button in the sidebar. Just include a note letting us know that the money is for the charity.
Respecting one another’s pronouns
Most of us are by now aware that sex is no longer viewed by scientists and medical professionals as strictly binary (i.e. male and female). If you’re interested in learning more about the components of sex and gender, there is some great information available from the World Health Organization.
As awareness of gender diversity increases, more and more people are learning about the importance of respecting each other’s identities. Many workplaces, educational institutions, and community organizations are developing policies around terms of address. In some environments, everyone is being asked to declare their own pronouns, to ensure that everyone is referred to correctly and respectfully and no one is singled out.
In keeping with the Humanist values of respect and inclusiveness, we are proposing to update HAAM’s position statement on human rights to include a statement about respecting gender identity and pronouns.
Notice of proposed amendment to Position Statements
HAAM’s Position Statements on a number of social issues were approved by our members at the AGM in January 2014. They are posted on the website under the About Us tab (along with our Mission Statement and Philosophy). The section on human rights currently reads: “HAAM opposes legislation that seeks to discriminate against people on the basis of gender, race, age, mental or physical disability, religious belief or lack thereof, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We believe that laws and regulations that limit or deny freedoms and rights must have a valid, secular foundation.” The proposed amendment would insert the following sentence after the word ‘identity’:
“We respect people’s gender identity and pronouns”.
This revision will require approval from our membership at the AGM in January 2020. All paid members of HAAM are eligible to vote at the AGM. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.
Expanding our supportive, secular community
For the past year, the Eastman Humanist Community has been organizing breakfast gatherings on the first Sunday of the month in Steinbach. On two occasions I decided to drive out to join the group and to support their efforts. The breakfast groups are small, ranging from 2 to 12 people.
The drive out to Steinbach was pleasant, lasting 45 minutes from my home to the restaurant. The food was nothing exciting – the same breakfast that you get in Winnipeg. I did enjoy meeting with and learning from people from a smaller community living in a more powerful religious environment. My observation is that EHC members face challenges different from us in larger communities. Being open about non-belief or atheism has both professional and familial consequences that we do not experience in more secular communities. This emphasizes to me the importance of supportive groups such as the EHC.
I intend to continue to join my friends in the EHC for their breakfast gatherings whenever I can. I encourage other HAAM members to consider a pleasant drive to Steinbach on the first Sunday of the month to support the EHC. Please contact EHC at eastmanhumanists.ca/ and they will provide you with the location and meeting time.
– Arthur Prystenski
Partners for Life and Organ Donor Update
HAAM pledged 25 blood donations from our members in 2019, and at the end of October we have 22. Can three more people donate before the New Year? Come on – we can do this!
If you haven’t donated before, or aren’t familiar with the Partners for Life program, keep reading and click the arrow below for all the info you need.
Do you still have an old organ donor card (maybe like the one in the photo, or on the back of your Manitoba Health card) in your wallet? It’s obsolete. Paper cards have not been issued for at least two years, and the organ donor registry is now entirely online. This ensures that it’s up-to-date and available to any medical professional when it’s needed, anywhere in Manitoba.
The online registry might be a problem for some folks who still aren’t comfortable with computerized forms. If you know someone like this, please let them know that they can call the organ donor registry office by phone (204-787-1897) and speak directly to a staff member who will enter their information manually.
ALL Manitobans are encouraged to sign up for the organ donation registry. Signing up means only that you are giving permission for the use of your organs. Don’t worry about whether or not you think you might qualify. Decisions about suitability are made by health professionals at the time of death or near-death.
for instructions on how to sign up for these programs, as well as more information and links to Canadian Blood Services (blood donations) and Sign Up for Life (organ donation).
Book of the Month – Do You Believe in Magic?
This book is subtitled Vitamins, Supplements, and All Things Natural: A look behind the curtain. I picked it up last year at a conference because the author, Dr. Paul Offit, was there and was signing copies. When I got home, I took a long time to get around to actually reading it. But it turned out to be fascinating, for two main reasons – 1) Offit explains the science behind a lot of pseudoscience (i.e. the reasons why it doesn’t work); and 2) because he doesn’t outright condemn all ‘alternative medicine’ as I assumed he would. Instead, he describes the specific ways in which alternative therapies can be harmful, and how in some cases they may actually help:
“Both have their place. The problem comes when mainstream healers dismiss the placebo response as trivial, or when alternative healers offer placebos instead of lifesaving medicines, or charge an exorbitant price for their remedies, or promote therapies as harmless when they’re not, or encourage magical thinking and scientific denialism at a time when we can least afford it.” (p. 255)
You know the book has hit its mark when it inspires purveyors of woo-woo to attack it. The one-star reviews on Amazon are fun to read – here are a few samples: “Offit is a shill for allopathic medicine also called modern medicine (AKA the medical mafia)”; “As soon as the term “alt” medicine appears, you know this will be a work of propaganda.”; and “Lies & half-truths with some clever fabrication thrown in. Author makes money off vaccines but never discloses his conflict of interest.” There are 67 reviews like that. Some reviewers ranted for several paragraphs.
Offit covers topics like acupuncture, mega-vitamins, chronic Lyme disease, laetrile, and more. We know that all of these have been proven ineffective and sometimes dangerous, but if you want to understand why, this is your book. Offit doesn’t use complicated language in his writing; his references to the applicable scientific studies are included in an appendix, so the book is an easy and entertaining read. – Dorothy Stephens
All our library books and DVD’s are free to borrow for paid HAAM members.
Visit the Library page to request to borrow a book or DVD, and we will make arrangements to get it to you.
Do you have a Health Care Directive?
– Do you know who legally gets to make medical decisions for you if you are too ill to speak for yourself?
– Do you know the difference between a health care directive and a power of attorney? How about the difference between a patient advocate and a health care proxy?
– Is it legal to stop a life-saving treatment after it has already started? And if so, who gets to decide?
– If you were seriously ill or injured, would your family know what treatments you would want (or not want)? Would you want them to have to guess? Could they all agree about what to do?
– How are requests for Do Not Resuscitate handled in hospital? In the community? (Can I just get a “DNR” tattoo on my chest?)
– Which medical treatments are considered ‘heroic measures’?
– If I write a health care directive, what am I supposed to do with it after it’s done?
If you can’t answer all these questions, or have never even thought about them, it’s time to learn about Advance Care Planning. Don’t think you’re too young to worry about it – none of us knows what will happen an hour from now. Advance care planning isn’t just for people who are old or dying – it’s a plan for your future health care if you become seriously injured or ill.
On the Winnipeg chapter of Dying With Dignity website, you can download a free complete Advance Care Planning kit, read sample health care directives, and find other useful info. The chapter will be also hosting workshops on ACP’s in the new year. These presentations explain everything in the kit (and more), plus provide an opportunity to ask questions. It may be more than you’ll ever want or need to know… but it will also give you (and your family) peace of mind once you’ve completed the process.
If you’re interested in a workshop, contact the Winnipeg chapter of DWD to be notified of upcoming dates and times.