Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during January, 2007

Gay Sperm Donor Ban Upheld

January 31st, 2007

Gay sperm ban

Gay men are not allowed to donate sperm, and that’s OK. Well, at least that’s what the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled this month after a woman was denied artificial insemination from a trusted gay friend.

The mother of one, known only as “Susan Doe,” had successfully tried self insemination with the same donor years earlier, but the “second batch” (so to speak) didn’t take, forcing her to seek clinical assistance. Much to her surprise, the clinic refused to process her friend’s sperm, citing a 1977 law forbidding gay men from donating. Nutty!

Anyway, perhaps the most interesting aspect of this whole story is that the no gays law does not apply to donors who have had sex with the recipient before. So, while getting out the ol’ turkey baster won’t exactly exempt you from the law, trying, uh, something different first just might.

So, to the anonymous gay donor: Don’t fret! Hope is not lost! Just, uh, how far are you willing to go to help your friend, exactly? I mean, a straight friend would totally try gay sex to help you in a similar situation, right?

In the meantime, Susan Doe says she’s taking this to the Supreme Court.

Principal Caves; Students Get Gay Club!

January 29th, 2007

It’s 1993

Richmond Hill High School will be getting a Gay Straight Alliance after all! That, according to a great little email I received from Maya, one of the students who was fighting for the support group’s formation:

Well, we had a PTA meeting, some more news coverage, and then the administration gave in. We have a club!

Congratulations, guys!

The principal, Dr. Ivy Chan, had previously forbid the group from operating or distributing posters on school property, citing “entrenched views” for the ban. According to Maya, Dr. Chan attributed her change of heart to a combination of media attention and her desire to keep a good relationship with her students. Aw, what a sweet gal, that one!

Incidentally, my old high school never had a GSA. But, then again, it was a Catholic school. If they had allowed such a group, meetings would have been scheduled in the nitre-encrusted basement, where drops of holy water fall from a latin-enscribed ceiling to purify the souls of the gay. You know, or something…

OK, fine: I wish I had been brave enough to start one. Congratulations again, Richmond Hill!

Women Aren’t Men?

January 26th, 2007

Annual Robot Show

Retroactive SlapEvery now and then I come across an argument against same-sex marriage that’s so unbelievably illogical, it transcends time itself. And, so, I begin this retroactive slap with a Hansard-recorded question by Maurice Vellacott (Tory MP for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin):

Unless I missed something in history, and I am certainly open to being enlightened, has there ever been a time where, when extending the right to vote, women have been termed men?

That, a delightful retort to the reminder that there have been times when government hesitated to offer equal rights to its citizens.

Now, I’d like to think Vellacott couldn’t have been expecting an answer to his question, but just in case, let me get this over with: No, Mr. Vellacott, Women were never termed men when extending the right to vote.

Fascinatingly, though, Maurice isn’t the only one with this semantic confusion. Months later, David Chatters (Tory MP for Athabasca, since retired) curiously brought up the same topic, saying “When full equality rights were extended to women in Canada […] they did not have to be called men to be equal.” Ken Epp (Tory MP for Edmonton Sherwood Park) was even brave enough to bring this bizarre logic outside of the House and in front of the press, declaring:

Blacks in the United States never asked to be called white. They just wanted the same rights. Women in Canada sought equal rights without demanding to be called men. And so I ask the question in this struggle for so-called equality for same-sex couple, why do they want to use the word that describes heterosexual marriage?

Now, giving credit where credit is due, these conservative members are correct in some respects. Women did not wish to be called “men” in their struggles for equality. And, nor, to the best of my knowledge, did African Americans ask to be called “white.” But—and maybe this is just me, so correct me if I’m out of line—when, precisely, have gays asked to be called straight?

So, with a small correction to their line of reasoning, I’d like to pose my own question for the three Conservative members: “Honorable members, pray tell: When citizens of the female persuasion were struggling for electoral voice, was ‘civil ballot casting’ ever considered a suitable alternative so that men could continue to participate in the traditional institution of voting?”

I’ll, uh, be waiting for their responses via email.

Well, until Monday, folks, have a good one!

Union To Teachers: You Gay?

January 24th, 2007

Supreme Survey For Sexual Orientation

Less than one year after the Nova Scotia Teacher’s Union scolded the Halifax Regional School Board for asking teachers if they’re gay, the union is doing the exact same thing.

Now, before you all exclaim something like “Gee whiz, talk about the pot calling the kettle tacky and unfit to grace any self-respecting gay man’s kitchen!” this survey is different. As union president, Mary-Lou Donnelly, put it:

[The survey is] more to gather information on perceptions, on resources that are available in the schools, on what we can identify in our schools that help our educators or our students or that are lacking in our schools. It’s not about identification of individuals at all.

Well, I gotta admit, this is a far better approach than the Halifax School Board’s mandatory and personally-identifiable survey. That survey was an ill-advised attempt at appearing concerned for gay staff after being fined for an appalling, gay-related human rights violation. But, still, after that fiasco, what kind of responses are they expecting, precisely? “Yeah, I can be fired based on my sexual orientation and wrongfully investigated for child molestation, but hey—the coffee here is not too shabby!”

Foreigners Shouldn’t Marry Says Right-Wing Group

January 22nd, 2007

Brian Rushfeldt Scolds Us All

Foreigners should not be allowed to marry in Canada. At least, that’s what Brian Rushfeldt of the Canadian Family Action Coalition announced to the press late last week. “To me, it’s unconscionable,” he stated. “Why is Canada issuing marriage licences to people from another country? We wouldn’t issue a business licence to a company that had no intention of staying in the country.”

Of course, foreign marriages have been allowed in Canada for decades. Curiously, right-wing special interest groups such as CFAC haven’t expressed outrage on the topic until now, baffling everyone as to what could have caused such a shift in strategy. Quite strange, indeed. Hmm… I wonder…

Oh, well. On to some completely unrelated news!

Canada is seeing a gay tourism boost thanks to same-sex marriages! Stats Canada announced last week that over 50% of the same-sex marriage licenses issued in British Columbia in 2003 were to foreign couples! Tourism boards are delighted, as Canada now fosters a booming market for gay weddings and honeymoons, drawing thousands of couples from countries that don’t recognize equal marriage rights.

Perhaps even more interestingly, Canada has been getting a local boost as well. While the overall marriage rate continued to decline in 2003, the only provinces to buck that trend were the ones that recognized same-sex marriages, effectively revitalizing the institution.

Fascinating stuff!

Hmm… Do you think there’s between CFAC’s consuming prejudice against gays and their recent denouncement of foreign marriages? … Nah. I’m sure Brian has some very persuasive arguments against economic boosts and increased foreign interest.

Well, until Wednesday, folks!

Crazy Vandal Attacks Gay Publisher

January 19th, 2007

Gay Paper Theif

Poor Capital Xtra—the weekly, non-profit gay newspaper is being attacked again! Just one year after a 47-year old man was fined for bolting the publisher’s distribution boxes shut with power tools, dousing them in brown paint, and spray-painting “HIV” and swastikas on them, the paper’s distribution channel has been targeted again. This time, thousands of copies of the paper are being stolen from Ottawa’s downtown locations.

Gareth Kirkby, the managing editor of Xtra, invited the vandal or vandals to seek other channels for their message:

What is not right is for them to impose their views on our readership by restricting access to the papers. We have challenged them to write a letter to get it off their chest. We’ll even give them a column if they want.

In the meantime, readers are welcome to read Xtra online, or seek alternate publications for their news, such as, oh… I don’t know—Slap Upside The Head!

Uh, incidentally, I was at home at the time of the thefts. I don’t live in Ottawa. That’s pen ink on my fingers, not newsprint. My beautiful Xtra mosaic ceiling was assembled from issues donated by recycling centres. This interrogation is over!

Gay Films Shunned By MPAA

January 17th, 2007

Film Ratings

Well, it looks like REAL Women of Canada and the Canadian Family Action Coalition aren’t the only ones with a grudge against gay-themed films. According to a documentary opening in Toronto this week entitled This Film is Not Yet Rated, the consequence of including gay sexuality in a film is nearly always an automatic NC-17 rating by the MPAA.

The NC-17 rating, which replaced the “X” rating in 1990, disqualifies a film from advertising by most TV stations and newspapers. Worse, many cinemas refuse to show films bearing the disapproval.

Kirby Dick, a filmmaker who went undercover to discover the MPAA’s secretive ratings process, says the organization deliberately searches for depictions that are objectionable to the Christian right (violence clearly not included) and rates them more harshly than material in mainstream films, improving the latter’s market position:

This is a political move on their part. They’re willing to sacrifice films—well, for one thing, it’s not their films they’re sacrificing, it’s the independent films and the foreign films, which are their competition. So it’s a win-win situation. They appeal to the Christian right and they hurt independent films.

Well, I guess that means Slap Upside The Head: The Animated Movie might be put on hold for a while…

Principal Bans Gay Support Group

January 15th, 2007

Gay Straight Alliance

Well, chalk up another victory for the folks who just aren’t comfortable with the gays! Ontario’s Richmond Hill High School has forbidden a student-run gay support group, the Gay Straight Alliance, from meeting or distributing posters on school property. The principal, Ms. Ivy Chan, cited “entrenched views” as the reason for the ban, saying “I could go ahead and be politically correct and have one, but a gay straight alliance—some people would be for it, but there would be a lot of parents who would oppose it.”

Well, it’s a good thing that disaster was narrowly avoided! And so eloquently, too. I mean, can you imagine students meeting on school property to discuss such dangerously controversial topics as tolerance? And what if they started spearheading things like safe space initiatives and organize events like the Day of Silence? Kaboom!

Ms. Chan was quick to point out she’s an inclusive person, and that a staff-initiated “Diversity Club” (which has yet to be formed) would “encompass everyone.” Though, naturally, I’d imagine no emphasis on gayness would be allowed.

Parenthetically, Richmond Hill High School has a Women in Leadership Club, a Jewish Culture Club, and eleven other school-sponsored groups. But banning those would be so last generation! Am I right, folks?

Tourism Calgary: “We’re Gay-Friendly, Really!”

January 12th, 2007

Calgary Gay Tourism

Ah, the power of the pink dollar! Tourism Calgary has started promoting the city to gay and lesbian tourists after the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce announced that Canada’s gay travelers spend over $7 billion annually. Joe Connelly, the vice president of Tourism Calgary, was especially quick to chime in, announcing that “Calgary is very gay friendly.”

Now, as a former Calgarian myself, I’d love to suggest a few of the amazing gay sights that the city has to offer. In fact, I think I have a travel review kicking around here… Ah, yes; here we go!

Calgary, Canada’s Most Gay-Aware City!

Whether you’re gay, lesbian, or simply not a bigot, Calgary is sure to offer a unique “culture-shock” experience you won’t soon forget! Located in the heart of Alberta, Calgary is world-renowned for its fascinatingly homogeneous culture. Spend an afternoon marveling at the city-wide hick pride festival (locally known as the Calgary Stampede), admiring a cowboy hat in the local shops, or simply wincing at the country music scene.

Gay travelers are in for a particularly special treat! Calgary’s only gay bar, Twisted Element, is located in the downtown’s eerie west side. If you find references to Detour, Boystown, RekRoom, or other gay-friendly establishments in any tour guide, don’t skip out just because they’ve closed down! Any of these empty buildings would make an atmospheric and affordable movie set.

Calgary’s annual gay pride parade is a must-see spectacle, unique for having marchers outnumber spectators, and its nationally-reported protester incidents! Gay issues are always at the forefront of the city’s consciousness, and stories will be featured prominently in the six o’clock newscasts. You’ll enjoy such street question segments as A-Channel’s January 18, 2005 poll: “Do you think that same-sex marriage is in the same category as adultery, prostitution, and pornography?” The results (51% yes, 49% no) will surely be an interesting conversation-starter when you get back!

So come to Calgary! If it’s good enough for Stephen Harper, Ralph Klein, Bishop Fred Henry, and Rob Anders to call home, it’s good enough for you to visit!

Ah, memories… Well, until Monday, folks!

Update: In researching for an article, Kevin Libin from The National Post wrote in with a correction. There is, indeed, more than one gay bar left in Calgary. My apologies, folks!

Diane Haskett Flees Stateside, Cites Same-Sex Vote

January 10th, 2007

Diane Haskett Flees Canada

Poor Diane Haskett. After finishing a distant third in the London by-election last month (behind both the Liberal and Green Party candidates), she has decided to flee the country.

In a parting message on her website, Haskett explained her rationale in deciding to move stateside only a month after the by-election results. She cited wanting to spend more time with family, but not without drawing special attention to last month’s same-sex marriage vote, which apparently didn’t quite turn out her way:

If for nothing else, I believe my candidacy was for the purpose of offering the people a choice on the marriage issue.

Now that the final vote has been taken in the Parliament of Canada, this issue is firmly and finally decided. The people of London and the people of Canada have spoken through their elected MPs. And present and future Canadians will bear the consequences of that decision.

So, there you go. Gays get marriage equality, Diane Haskett leaves with a dire warning for the rest of us. A darn good deal, if I may say so!

(Oh—And, Diane? You’re all paid up on the $5000 fine you got for violating the human rights of gays back in 1997, right?)

Whaaa!? Vic Toews Supports Human Rights Museum

January 8th, 2007

Vic Toews Bot

Well, I’ve got good news and I’ve got eerie news!

First, the good news: Vic Toews, Justice Minister Extraordinare, has been given the ol’ steel-toewd boot from Harper’s cabinet! Toews, who stated that the 9 consecutive court rulings guaranteeing equal marriage were all mistakes, and who pledged to introduce legislation legalizing discrimination against gays, had his own wacky vision of Justice, and shall be dearly missed on this site. (Sigh. Now, unless Jack Layton suddenly turns homophobic, the only moustache I have left to draw is Bishop Fred Henry’s.)

Now, the eerie news: Some of you may have heard of the multi-million dollar Canadian Museum of Human Rights to be built in Winnipeg. The museum is supposed to feature an exhibit on gay rights, drawing the wrath of right-wing special interest groups. Lifesite, for example, called the museum a “powerful propaganda institute,” adding that its supporters have “made a monster of the word tolerance, [have] raped the word gay, and [have] beheaded the term human rights.” And the kicker: Vic Toews, as the new Treasury Board President, supports it!

Yep, you heard right. Toews will be meeting with the museum’s planners to discuss a $100 million government commitment, saying “[the museum] certainly is a priority that Manitobans want resolved and I want to see how I can meet our commitments.”

So, there you have it! Now, as long as the museum isn’t renamed to the Vic Toews Museum of Human Rights, it looks like I may actually have a reason to visit Manitoba!

Kablamo! “Pro-Family” Groups Explode Over Ruling

January 5th, 2007

Traditional Family Explodes

So, sometime after lunch on Wednesday, I was disrupted by a peculiar noise not unlike watermelons being dropped off an overpass. At first I was a little concerned, but after reading some of the online “pro-family” news sources, I discovered it was just all of Canada’s traditional families exploding.

As it turns out, an Ontario judge ruled that a child’s biological father was permitted to be a legal guardian alongside his adoptive lesbian mothers. In short: this kid has two mommies and one daddy.

Of course, that nutty anti-gay lobby was quick to go into assault mode, quickly crafting a connection between Wednesday’s ruling and same-sex marriage. Dave Quist, head of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, said the government needs to “hit the pause button” on same-sex marriage and launch a royal commission to study the state of the family in Canada. Former MP, Pat O’brien, was a tad more dramatic, asking: “Words like mother, father, marriage—could they become meaningless?”

Such concern. Could “mother,” “father,” and “marriage” become meaningless words? Like “zooberblab,” “gafungwa,” and… “pro-family?”

I’ll alert the dictionary people. Just to be safe.

But, in the meantime… Why such a reaction? Could the anti-gay lobby’s objections that same-sex marriage denies children of their biological parents really just have been a red herring to cover the fact they’re really just not too fond of gays? (Shock horror!)

And couldn’t this three-parent situation have just as easily happened to an opposite-sex parent family that relied on an in-vitro donor? Why is same-sex marriage even entering the picture? You know, ’cause perhaps—just perhaps—families are classified into more than just traditional and ungodly homosexual fakers.

Well, have a great weekend, kids!

The Anti-Gay Lobby’s New Year’s Resolution

January 3rd, 2007

Lobby New Year

Hey there, kiddos! I’m back from my little website holiday, and let me be the first—well, more likely the several dozen-th person to wish you a happy and prosperous new year!

And, of course, I come into the new year bearing some tremendously fascinating news from the anti-gay lobby! Our good friends at Focus on the Family Canada—in conjunction with the Institute for Canadian Values—in conjunction with the Canada Family Action Coalition—have formed an “informal coalition!”

Wow! Just think what new ideas they’ll come up with together! Do you think they have a name yet? If not, I’d like to suggest The Canadian Family Values Institute for Action Coalition Focusing. That, or The ‘I Rather Dislike Gays’ Club. Whichever communicates their objectives more effectively.

Anyway, their first goal is to lobby the government into ordering a royal commission on marriage and families. At least, that’s what they released to the press on New Year’s Day. (Sounds like someone had a wild new year’s eve!)

While the commission would ostensibly include everything from family tax policy to child care, a spokesperson for the coalition mentioned—in passing—that it could also “revive the gay marriage issue in Parliament.” But, I’m sure that’s really just a sideline for the whole movement. You know, if it comes up.

And if Harper doesn’t agree to this commission—the ol’ Family Focus Action Institute for Canadian Coalitions is prepared to do some pretty hefty damage. As spokesperson, Joseph Ben-Ami, threatened: “Don’t expect me to go out and vote Liberal. But I do have an alternative and that’s staying home.”

Oooooh!

Well, until Friday, folks!