... bio !

I am More Than You Want Me to Be!

Ellen's Headshot

Born and raised in Toronto, I am loud, dry witted, quick spoken, direct, passionate, non-traditional, creatively unbounded, brutally analytic, and threatening to an astounding number of people.

I have a strong world view that has grown from my upbringing, my understanding of the dominator/oppressor culture in which we live through feminist and human rights equity analysis, community service, volunteerism, my experiences and learning in addictions, recovery, and trauma, 12~step work, and an ever~growing non~secular spirituality developed through self~awareness, guided exploration, participation in the Leather community, tantric breath and body work, and dance.

Promoting Substantive Human Rights

I recognize and am grateful for my many privileges. I know I owe something in return for these blessings and work toward social and cultural change through creative problem solving and activism. I rarely accept an unconditional "No" for an answer. Like Lucy van Pelt, I maintain that there is “always a loophole!”

I strive to live by example, not just pointing my finger and complaining, but walking my talk lending my time and sharing my knowledge. I do not set myself apart from others, but acknowledge our similarities and connectedness. Purely selfish, I realize that what hurts another deprives me of their skills and energy; when some are harmed, we all suffer.

Developing My Soul

I do not separate politics from spirituality or activity. Everything matters; all our actions and inactions ~ silences, tolerances, and confrontations ~ make a difference, creating ripples in the universe. We must accept personal responsibility for maintaining a society whose cultural imperatives promote secrecy and erase individuality. There are implications for the bigger picture in everything we do; we must always be aware of and balance this in the choices we make for personal expression and participation.

I spent much of my youth in or around water: I was a national life guard and swim instructor. In hindsight, these remain representative of my fundamental character

  • authoritative nurturing ~ inviting growth through structured regulatory defence and protective care~giving, and
  • modeling, guidance, and teaching ~ cultivating empowerment through self~sufficiency and accomplishment.

Inviting Magic

Balance is achieved in my life through play. Laughter and fun ~ nourishing a strong connection to and fostering the child within ~ are essential to survival.

I enhance my soul by spending as much time as possible in the beauty of nature at outdoor festivals, beach parties, and camping excursions. I was deeply immersed in the Toronto dance community, attending both Burning Man and the Michigan Women’s Music Festival. I presented Sexuality workshops at OM.

Public School

I had difficulty with the extreme controlling and sexist treatment of school; living up to the outrageously limited behaviour and gender role expectations crushed my spirit. Unable to withstand the hypocrisy of the totalitarian régime, where questioning the system was considered the very definition of psychological disorder and the ultimate in disruptive behaviour, I was a “problem student.”

I left high school at 16, but returned to finish a year later. I haven't really left school since.

Post~Secondary Education

I attended York University, where I completed studies in computer science, mathematics, and psychology. I was awareded my Master's degree in Psychology, concentrating in areas of test construction, personality, industrial/organization from the University of Western Ontario.

I found my way into Human Rights work while at UWO through:

  • student leadership and advocacy in the union, including Chairing my own committee
  • participation at the table in Collective Bargaining for the Graduate Student Union contract
  • advising on special issues, particularly women's safety and a Campus Safety Audit
  • representation in upper administration, sitting on Presidential and Senate committees reviewing Academic Policy and implementing Employment Equity under the Federal Contractor's Programme

My feminist politics and activist participation were not well received at UWO. I completed all of my Doctoral studies, including my comprehensive exams and residency requirements, but remain a Doctoral Candidate; I did not complete my dissertation.

Work Experience

I left my Doctoral studies to work at the Ontario Human Rights Commission in Systemic Investigations, where I remained until a change in government eliminated this proactive component of advocacy law enforcement in the province.

Since then I have worked independently -- offering personal counselling, event management, complaint processing, and dispute resolution -- and continuing my community service work - most recently with the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape.

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Leather Play defines my sexuality. Feminism is my driving philosophy. Spirituality is my essence. Respect is my ethic.

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