The LGBT community is a community of fighters. We may never make sense of the tragedy in Orlando, but look at the reaction; look at the outpouring of love, compassion, and support. Compare it to the widespread indifference after the 1973 UpStairs Lounge attack, which claimed 32 lives. That’s our progress. And that’s what we will continue to fight for.
The astute among you may have perceived somewhat of a reduction in the frequency of updates over the past several weeks. With Slap approaching its seventh year, I need a break to focus on other things for a bit. In the meantime, by popular demand, a prancing unicorn has returned to the top of the page to keep all you amazing visitors company, and I remain as happy as ever to hear from you guys on Facebook and Twitter during this Slap Upside the Hiatus.
Check out this trailer for An Abominable Crime, a documentary about the rampant (and often ignored) homophobia problem in Jamaica. The filmmakers are currently fundraising to help get this film finished, and The Pulitzer Center has offered to match all Kickstarter donations. So go check it out and offer some support if you can.
Two Cameroon men who were sentenced to five years in prison for “looking gay” after ordering Bailey’s Irish Cream have been acquitted of the charges by an appeals court. The two had already passed a year of their sentence before the acquittal.
Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon, and is subject to harsh penalties. Ordering Bailey’s Irish Cream hardly seems like conclusive evidence of being gay, though. I mean, yes, it’s from the country that brought us Billy Elliot and tiny rainbow-obsessed men in green tailcoats, but that doesn’t make Guinness and bar fighting particularly gay, does it?
Less than a year ago, the Russian city of St. Petersburg passed a law banning “homosexual propaganda,” with expected hysterical results. From equal rights marches to rainbows on milk cartons, no one seems to be safe from the accusing eyes of the ruling United Russia party in their search for violators of their new law. Over 70 arrests and countless accusations have been made since the law’s introduction, and, naturally, that applies to… visiting pop divas.
Last month, Madonna was the subject of a Russian court case accusing the singer of “traumatizing minors” by advocating for gay rights during a concert in August. While Madonna didn’t attend or comment on the case, the plaintiffs sought 333 million rubles (about $10 million dollars) in damages, claiming that the singer’s advocacy would cause the nation’s birth rate to plummet and “erode the nation’s defense capability by depriving the country of future soldiers.”
The case was dismissed, mercifully. That hasn’t stopped an appeal from being launched, however, and a new pop star has now been put in the bizarre law’s cross hairs.
Lady Gaga has now been accused of promoting homosexual propaganda at the beginning of a concert last Wednesday. “We will contact the prosecutors and the law enforcement agencies to carry out a thorough investigation of the situation,” Vitaly Milonov, the MP responsible for the anti-gay law, told the media.
- Lawsuit against Madonna dismissed in Russia [Associated Press]
- Lady Gaga accused of illegally promoting gay rights in Russia [The Globe and Mail]
It’s about that time of year when the folks at The Salvation Army start ringing bells in front of their red kettles, soliciting donations. If you happen to see a Salvation Army kettle this holiday season, here’s a few reasons you should probably give your money to a more worthwhile charity instead:
The Salvation Army Is An Anti-Gay Political Lobby Group
The Salvation Army is Christian organisation based on Methodist theology that uses donations to oppose GLBT equality around the world. When you donate toward The Salvation Army, you’re funding a political lobby group that uses its power to fight equal rights.
The Salvation Army spearheaded a well-funded effort against the decriminalization of homosexuality in New Zealand, as well as opposition to the repeal of the bizarre Section 2A of England, Wales, and Scotland’s Local Government Act. This sought to forbid local authorities from publishing anything the portrays homosexuality in a positive light, and banned teaching “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship” in the region. The organisation continues to advocate against the legal recognition of same-sex marriages and other equal rights ordinances.
The Salvation Army Prioritizes Anti-Gay Doctrine Over Helping The Needy
In 2004, a New York municipal ordinance required all non-profit and charitable organisations to offer the same partner benefits to same-sex couples as they do for opposite-sex ones. The Salvation Army not only vocally opposed this measure, but they actually threatened to close down each of their New York soup kitchens unless they got their way. While the ordinance didn’t change, Mayor Bloomberg announced that he wouldn’t enforce it, and the soup kitchens remained open.
The Salvation Army Thinks You Should Die
And if you still think that The Salvation Army’s charitable activities justify their political action, here’s a real kicker: In a June, 2012 radio interview, when asked about the organisation’s use of violently anti-gay scripture in their 170-page official doctrine, Andrew Craibe, the Salvation Army’s media relations director in Australia, defended its inclusion.
Interviewer: According to the Salvation Army, [gay people] deserve death. How do you respond to that, as part of your doctrine?
Craibe: Well, that’s part of our belief system.
Interviewer: So we should die.
Craibe: You know, we have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief.
Interviewer: Wow. So we should die.
Harsh stuff, huh? So, if you’re feeling extra charitable this year, consider donating directly to a local shelter, or help out reputable and transparent international charities like Doctors Without Borders. Let the regressive lobby groups find their money some other way.
Slap reader Paul has written in with some good news coming out of Nova Scotia. The province passed its Transgendered Persons Protection Act on Friday, explicitly protecting trans Nova Scotians from housing and employment discrimination. The bill still requires royal assent before becoming law, but there’s nothing to worry about there. I’ve yet to see the terms “queen” and “denied GLBT rights” appear alongside each other.
Last Tuesday saw some pretty big wins for equal marriage rights in the United States. Voters in Maryland, Washington, and Maine solidly supported same-sex marriage, marking the first time that a popular vote granted marriage rights to same-sex couples in the country.
As usual, whenever big steps toward equality is made, I just have to check in on the Pope to make sure he hasn’t ruptured too many eye vessels. And from the noticeably stronger language coming out of the Vatican lately, he might need some prescription eye drops.
“It is clear that in Western countries there is a widespread tendency to modify the classic vision of marriage between a man and woman, or rather to try to give it up, erasing its specific and privileged legal recognition compared to other forms of union,” Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s chief spokesman, announced after Tuesday’s elections.
Funny, I wasn’t under the impression that Maryland, Washington, and Maine “gave up” heterosexual marriage on Tuesday, but hey, in a country where the rights of minorities are voted on by the majority, I suppose anything can happen.
“Why not contemplate also freely chosen polygamy and, of course, not to discriminate, polyandry?” Lombardi asked rhetorically.
Well, that’s a little funny, because if you look at what the bible has to say about polygamous marriages (or “traditional marriages,” as historians would be correct to call them), I wouldn’t expect the Vatican to have any strong objections about it. Right?
Let’s do some quick word association. When I say “gender identity,” say the first thing tha—OMG TOILETS!!!!
I’m not exactly sure where Ontario’s fringe Family Coalition Party gets its funding, considering they routinely get less than a quarter of a percent of the popular vote, but they seem to have enough resources to design and distribute some rather astonishing flyers equating the passage of a bill adding gender identity to the human rights code with bathroom predators.
NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo’s Bill 33, which passed in June, finally updated the Ontario human rights code to explicitly include trans Canadians in its existing protections. I guess the Family Coalition Party isn’t too happy about it, though, judging from the flyers distributed across Cheri’s riding. Referring to the bill as “The Bathroom Bill,” the party accuses DiNovo of enabling child predators by letting “a man who calls himself transgendered” to enter women’s washrooms, threatening “the lives of girls and women by putting them at greater risk from male sexual predators.”
Uh, they do realize that sexual predatory behaviour—especially toward minors—is already illegal, right? Do they seriously think this bill opened some kind of loophole here?
DiNovo, of course, sees the attack for what it is. “The transphobic message of the flyer is that trans folk are, in essence, pedophiles,” she told the media. “The whole structure of their argument is ludicrous unless you understand that basic message: there’s no such thing as a trans person; there’s just male pedophiles dressed as women.”
Bravo, Cheri. Now don’t waste any more time on these kooks and their crazy flyers.
If you speak French, you’re in for a real treat from this group of protestors in France. And if you don’t, I think you’ll find that the clip transcends language into something that is universally mockable.
Other countries take note. If you enact crazy anti-gay laws forbidding any positive portrayals of homosexuality, here’s what you can expect to happen:
A popular brand of milk is being accused of illegally promoting homosexuality in St-Petersburg, Russia. The milk, a PepsiCo-owned brand, features a jolly dairy farmer, standing in a lovely green field beside a rather happy-looking cow, with a rainbow arching across the sky.
“A rainbow appeared on the [milk] cartons, a world-renowned symbol of the gay movement,” said Anatoly Artukh, a member of the anti-gay lobby group People’s Council. “That immediately put me on alert.”
Put him on alert for what, exactly? That someone, somewhere is going to sit down for breakfast, see a rainbow on their milk carton and think: “Hey, you know what I’ve never questioned before? My sexuality. Maybe I’ll call that number I saw written on the wall of that truck stop’s men’s room.”
Heaven forbid a real rainbow should ever appear across the sky in St-Petersburg. The meteorologists would have quite a bit of explaining to do.
Of course, here in Canada, milk that has undergone the homogenization process is marketed as “homo milk.” And it’s marketed to children. I know a lot of people who drank homo milk growing up that didn’t turn out gay, but then again—there wasn’t a rainbow on the carton.
- Russian activists slam ‘gay milk propaganda’ [ABC News Australia]
Saudi Arabia is one of the only countries in the world that forbids women from driving. Any woman caught behind the wheel there is subject to arrest and lashings.
Amidst growing international criticism for this policy, a report prepared for the country’s legislative assembly has been released to justify their laws and bolster support. The report’s findings don’t look good, I’m afraid: Allowing women to drive vehicles, it says, would “increase prostitution, pornography, homosexuality, and divorce.”
The authors didn’t detail how women drivers actually results in these things, but my mother drove me places growing up, and I turned out gay. So—as you can see—all the pieces fit.
In a speech to French bishops last week, Pope Benedict XVI announced that gay people aren’t fully developed humans and are threatening families. While I’m sure very few gay people actually care what the pope thinks of us, sometimes this guy just evokes imagery I really want to draw.
“The family is threatened in many places by a faulty conception of human nature,” the Pope said in reference to the emergence of equal marriage laws. “[The Church] must promote those values that permit the full development of the human person,” he continued.
Hmm… I was born a few weeks prematurely. Do you suppose that’s what the Pope means?
At any rate, this about-face on the subject of the “full development of the human person” is kind of new for the Catholic Church, who normally argues for the rights of zygotes, fetuses, and other not fully developed humans. Still, for the time being, it’s clear that half-developed human creatures (all of which are gay) are out to destroy your family. So, you know, be on the look out for that or something.
Students and researchers at the University of Alberta have created a website that counts homophobic slurs on Twitter in real time. It’s both amazingly awesome and a little depressing, but makes me pretty happy to be a U of A alumni. Check it out.
A lot of gay people find their relationships don’t receive much support from their parents, but I think a lot of us can be glad we don’t have anyone quite this determined: A Hong Kong billionaire is offering over $65 million to any man who can woo his daughter away from her wife and partner of seven years. Because, you know, a strange man motivated by large sums of money is apparently a much, much preferable suitor than a woman motivated entirely out of love.
I’ve always thought that Canada and Australia are similar in a lot of ways. It’s kind of like a parallel Canada with a warmer climate, more poisonous animals, and a superior electoral system. And now, like Canada once did, it’s going through some setbacks in its transition on the path to equal marriage rights.
Australia’s parliament voted down an equal marriage bill last week in a vote of 98 to 42. It’s a big disappointment for a lot of same-sex couples who will now have to wait before getting the same civil benefits that opposite-sex couples have.
Canada had some similar votes, not long ago. In 1995, Canadian parliament rejected a bill that would have allowed for civil unions by a vote of 128 to 52. Then, in 1999 parliament passed a motion affirming the legal definition of marriage as “the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others” by a vote of 215 to 55. Yet, almost four years later to the day, Ontario was finally issuing legal same-sex marriages. Before two more years could pass, nearly all the provinces had followed suit. On July 20, 2005 (coincidentally, the anniversary of my coming out date) a parliamentary vote had given equal marriage rights to every single Canadian, six years after an overwhelming defeat for equality in the house of commons.
So, to my friends in Australia: I wouldn’t fret too much over this setback. According to polls, popular support is already on your side, and—more importantly—so is history. You might be a few years behind Canada in rights, and more than a few degrees above Canada in temperature, but thanks to everyone keeping up the good fight, you’re still ahead of many other countries around the world and I’m utterly convinced you’ll be enjoying full equality much sooner than later. Keep it up!
The lengths people go to in order to stop gay people from enjoying their life…
Thomas Amons, a principal for the Beaumont Independent School District’s Taylor Career and Technology Center in Texas, has canceled an entire cosmetology course rather than let a student whom he thought was gay take it.
Cequada Clark, the course instructor, said that Amons had asked her to kick out the student because he seemed “flamboyantly gay,” but she refused for moral reasons. Undeterred, the principal then consulted BISD’s legal team to see if it would be possible to prevent the student from enrolling due to his sexual orientation. When the “no” response came back the next day, Amons shut down the entire course and Ms. Clark was fired.
Well, that’s a little drastic, wouldn’t you think? After all, from the school’s perspective, gay money works the same as straight money. If anything, money from a gay cosmetology enthusiast might even smell nicer and have fewer creases.
- Sexuality the deciding factor in program’s closure [The Examiner]
Slap reader Christian submits this bit of craziness: David Cecil, a British theatre producer, is facing a possible prison sentence after staging a play criticizing Uganda’s anti-gay attitudes. The performance, entitled The River and The Mountain, is about a gay businessman who is killed by his own employees. Since it clearly wasn’t very well received by Ugandan authorities, I have a proposal for his next production: The Producer and The Slapees, a gripping tale about a gay theatre producer who is jailed for putting on a freakin’ play.
Slap reader Daniel sends us this crazy bit of news: A doctor in Sydney, Australia has prescribed chemical castration drugs to an 18 year old New Zealand patient in an attempt to “cure” his homosexually. Cyproterone acetate blocks production of testosterone, mostly eliminating sexual drive in males. Luckily, the Medical Council of NSW did some of their own elimination after a thorough review of the case, banning the 75 year old doctor from practicing medicine outside the field of radiology.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has launched a formal objection to a proposed kind of website address ending in .gay. The complaint asserts that the new top level domain name would offend their culture. Personally, I just wonder what the difference between google.com and google.gay would be. Perhaps the logo would be even more rainbowy.
A group calling itself the “Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund” along with an anonymous “beleaguered parent” is suing the Ontario school system for not providing advance notice of gay subject matter.
“The parent seeks nothing more than to be given advance notice so that he can […] withdraw his children before the lesson,” the group announced on Friday.
While the press release itself didn’t mention gay issues specifically, the newly-formed group’s website obsesses over the topic almost exclusively, also establishing their opposition to “misguided” Gay-Straight Alliances, and any book written by GLBT authors.
Say, isn’t it odd that the same groups who often demand schools “teach the controversy” when it comes to learning about evolution and other scientific progresses, are so quick to censor and block other material? I spent my entire grade school education in the Catholic school system where gay topics were never discussed, probably on purpose. The only thing that withholding this information did for gay students like me was leave us uninformed and ignorant for many years before having to find out what we needed to know on our own from an uneven selection of reliable and unreliable sources.
At any rate, I want to offer a thought to this parent. Since he has chosen to sue the school board anonymously, let’s refer to him as Count Moriarty Von Jafar IV.
Mr. Moriarty Von Jafar, expose your kids to as many ideas as possible and stop presuming ownership over their minds. By all means, introduce them to your own ideas (and trust me, there’s plenty of time to teach your kids your own ideas; they don’t have to always hear your worldview first), but have the responsibility to let them discover ideas you don’t particularly like. Shielding them from a world you don’t always see eye-to-eye with is a complete impossibility, and that’s a wonderful thing. The less sheltered and more challenged a mind is, the more resilient and capable it becomes.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), an anti-choice and anti-gay lobby group based in the UK, has distributed fliers suggesting that legal same-sex marriage will lead to an increased number of abortions.
“Legalised same-sex marriage will increase confusion about what it means to be a man or woman and removes natural conception from the idea of marriage,” the pamphlet states. “We must protect real marriage because it protects children in the womb.”
Now, I know it sounds like there are some logical connections missing in this assertion. You may think that, due to the dedication and procedures necessary for a gay or lesbian couple to have a child, abortions would be highly unlikely in the LGBT community. SPUC, however, was clearly limited for space and had to omit some details. So, on behalf of SPUC, here’s how I think that they think this works:
All men are secretly gay and always have been, which is why governments enact laws to keep them from marrying each other. Once such legal barriers disappear, however, men will no longer be interested in any sort of physical reproduction with women, threatening the human race with extinction. Desperate for babies to continue our survival, humanity will have no choice but to construct a system of automated weaponry to launch razor-thin projectiles tipped with pre-fertilized eggs directly into the tummies of women (all of whom are still heterosexual since everyone knows that lesbianism is just a myth). The impregnated women—now alone and having left the kitchen to pursue careers—will be ill-equipped to raise their egg-gun children on their own, forcing them to choose between a quick abortion and a life of poverty. Piles of aborted fetuses will litter the cities, one beside each coin-operated abort-o-matic booth.
Did I get that right, SPUC?