Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during March, 2007
If you’re in Edmonton today, you might get a sneaking suspicion that people are giving you the silent treatment.
For the first time ever, the University of Alberta’s annual Day of Silence has been promoted to a city-wide event. The event, inspired by the GLSEN campaign of the same name, is where participants pledge not to talk until 3pm, symbolizing the silence and self-censorship that gay and lesbian people face while closeted. After 3pm, participants gather for a terrifically satisfying group scream followed by speeches from Mayor Stephen Mandel, openly gay City Councillor Michael Phair, and other activists.
While this type of event has been extraordinarily successful around the world, right-wing special interest groups in the states are none too pleased. On April 18th, GLSEN’s National Day of Silence, “pro-family” groups are instructing parents to remove their children from school that day so they’re not exposed to the… silence, I guess.
Well, until Monday, folks: “…”
Remember Bill Whatcott? His hysterical anti-gay stance has won him repeated human rights violations and a job suspension, but that doesn’t seem to stop him from distributing hate literature. Now a local activist group might have him re-thinking his strategy.
Amber Fletcher from the Campus Feminist Action Network in Regina, Saskatchewan wrote in to announce a delightfully clever pledge drive:
We would like to collect pledges for each leaflet Whatcott distributes from now on, and donate that money to local GLBT groups.
If he continues, the GLBT centres will benefit, and we will have succeeded.
Outstanding! If you’d like to make a pledge and help out some worthy organisations, check out the CFAC website for upcoming details.
Start spreadin’ the newwws…
The state of New York has become the first in the U.S. to recognize Canadian same-sex marriages. This is exciting news for all those New Yorkers who wished they could tie the ol’ metaphorical knot of some sort, but had an aversion to moving out of the country (or to Massachusetts—for what I’d imagine are pronunciation reasons).
Now a temporary hop up north will make the whole thing official. Terrific!
My advice to New Yorkers thinking of getting some exciting Canadian paperwork: Start working on your guest list! Not only is our wedding season short, but certain special interest groups (Cough. Canadian Family Action Coalition. Cough.) are already pushing to ban foreigners from marrying here. Though I’m sure their reasons are completely unrelated. I mean, they’re lobbyists! They wouldn’t do anything mean spirited.
- N.Y. judge recognizes gay marriages [Montréal Gazette]
The Philippine National Police has issued a warning instructing its gay officers to refrain from swaying their hips as they walk. Failure to do so will result in their termination.
Chief Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao said that while the force does not discriminate against gay officers in any way, they will fire anyone who “misbehaves:”
As an institution, the PNP does not look at or interfere with one’s sexual preference, but it does look at its members’ conduct.
If they sway their hips while marching, or if they engage in lustful conduct, I think that will be a ground for separation.
I’m not entirely sure how my stride appears to onlookers, but if turns out to be career-threateningly gay, I suppose I’ll need the number of a good physical therapist. Preferably someone cute.
Well, until Monday folks!
- PNP warns gay officers not to swing hips [GMA News]
Given the rate that .com names are snaffled up, wouldn’t it be cool if gay-friendly websites could be registered in a special “.gay” community? Well, don’t count on it!
Due to increasing political pressure, ICANN, the organisation responsible for domain name policies, is introducing severe new restrictions on what words can be used for top-level domain names. In particular, if even one country objects to a certain word or phrase, then that term would be banned from use until that country’s government is satisfied. But, hey, I’m sure international grievances are resolved quickly nowadays, right?
So, which countries might object to “slapupsidethehead.gay?” I guess I could think of at least one…
- ICANN as the Net’s Word Police [Agoravox]
Archdeacon Philip Isaac has issued a dire warning for people considering going to the the Plymouth Jazz Festival in the Caribbean island of Tobago: A scheduled performance by Elton John might turn you gay!
“The artist is one of God’s children and while his lifestyle is questionable he needs to be ministered to,” said Isaac. “His visit to the island can open the country to be tempted towards pursuing his lifestyle.”
Festival organizers say the concert will go ahead as planned. What guts! All this, despite the risk of having the entire island turned into a flying nation of gayness, which tours the world on rainbow sails, bringing gay bars to the world’s queer-deprived towns. Hmm… Maybe it’ll visit my old hometown in Alberta.
Since 1983, gay men have been permanently banned from donating blood in Canada. Now Canadian Blood Services has finally promised to review the policy this April.
To the surprise of… maybe severe amnesia patients, opponents to the review have already begun preparing arguments to support the ban. Why, you ask? Well, look no further than members of the wacky anti-gay lobby! Jim Enos of Hamilton’s Family Action Council, in a phenomenal leap of logic, suggested that since CBS can bar gay blood donors, the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board should turf anti-discrimination and bullying policies for gay students.
Of course, opponents of the review say they’re simply following statistical data about HIV infection rates in gay men, and aren’t being homophobic in the least. (Chortle!)
Personally, I think it’s about freakin’ time CBS reviewed the policy. Deferring donors based on safe-sex practices instead of sexual orientation would not only increase the safety of the blood supply, but help smack the GRIDS out of public consciousness. While the gay community has been particularly affected by HIV and AIDS, Canada’s fastest growing HIV demographic is young heterosexual women, which already forms over a quarter of the HIV infections in the country.
In the meantime, gay men: No blood donor cookies for you!
Won’t someone please think of the children!?
An Ottawa city councilor is out to ban Capital Xtra, a weekly gay community newspaper, from being distributed in public after a father complained that his son saw an ad for a gay chat line at a local community centre. An ad! How awful!
The paper (which has already been the victim of mass-theft and defacement) was immediately pulled from the centre’s display case, and now the city is mulling over bylaws to prevent its distribution elsewhere. Greg Evans, the father, is encouraged by the city’s actions, but was pretty shaken up: “I sat there looking back and forth at the pictures and words at the kids’ basketball practice, and I thought, ‘this is wrong!’”
Gareth Kirkby, the editor of Capital Xtra, is furious:
Capital Xtra is not an adult publication. It is a community newspaper. The municipal government has no business restricting the content of community newspapers.
We at Capital Xtra are tired of being labeled obscene, or adult material, or even pornography. [...] It’s time city hall acknowledged that queer individuals, couples and families live throughout the city, use the full range of city services, and have the same rights to access their community newspaper of choice as is enjoyed by straight families.
Rusell Zinn, a lawyer for for the paper added that there are serious legal issues with the city’s actions, saying the paper’s removal “is not only illegal, but highly offensive to the city’s gay and lesbian community.”
As for the shattered family: There’s no word yet on how gay Greg’s son turned after seeing the ads, but—just to play it safe—he’ll probably subscribe to the Ottawa SUN, where his children can view ads for straight chat line, dating, and escort services.
Anyone got a golf score clicker I can use?
An Anglican priest in Saskatoon will have his minister’s license stripped for not refusing to perform same-sex marriages. Reverend Shawn Sanford Beck said he’d rather be dismissed than go against his conscience:
[Denying same-sex marriages] goes against everything else I’m about in my ministry and everything else that the church stands for. I’m trying to send a very strong message to the gay and lesbian community, and to other communities that have been alienated from the church, that we don’t all think the same and there are people willing to go to the wall.
While I commend Reverend Beck for his stand, his ejection doesn’t surprise me considering the Anglican Church is willing to shut down entire congregations and punish retired Archbishops over their pro-gay stance. Of course, the Catholic church is also quite happy to fire priests, deny communion to elderly volunteers and rescind charity money over gay speakers.
This judgment is apparently called the “What Would Jesus Do?” approach.
Incidentally, in addition to losing his minister’s license, Reverend Beck will no longer be able to continue working for a Lutheran inner-city project. Yep, that’ll teach him to treat gay people as ordinary human beings!
- Sask. priest cut from church for performing gay marriages [Star Phoenix]
- Priest fired over same-sex marriage [Montréal Gazette]
I guess there’s an ill-reported eleventh commandment to note!
Religious conservatives in New Brunswick are positively rhapsodic over a Tory-introduced bill, known as Bill 37, that will allow government servants to refuse civil marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The bill, according to the Christian lobby group Canada Family Action Coalition, will protect the religious freedoms of civil servants.
Hey, how about that? Did you know that Christianity forbids its followers from performing secular duties for gays? I was raised Roman Catholic, but must’ve skipped past that part of the bible. Luckily I didn’t mention I was gay when I got my government health forms mailed out!
Both supporters and opponents of the bill admit that the whole idea is probably unconstitutional, and therefore illegal. But, now that the federal Conservatives have scrapped the Court Challenges Program, who can afford to challenge illegal laws anyway?
So who’s next on the list of people to protect? Probably chauffeurs who just don’t feel like transporting gays to city hall, bless their hearts. And, while we’re on a roll, maybe those fundamentalist vendors who don’t think women should be sold property of their own. Religious protections abound!
André Boisclair, the openly gay leader of the Parti Québécois, became visibly upset this week after a local radio host called him and the PQ a “club of fags.”
“We must never live in a society where racism, intolerance, discrimination, sexism or homophobia are…” Boisclair started before he became too choked up to continue, drawing applause and support from his audience.
Louis Champagne, the radio host who made the offending comment, has not yet apologized for the remark and has been pulled from the air while the station investigates.
As for me, though I respectfully oppose the PQ’s separation platform, this new trend of publicly smearing gays (cough, Isaiah Washington, cough, Tim Hardaway, cough, Ann Coulter) is getting kind of tired. Creative consultants aren’t that expensive, are they?
I should probably also point out that the actual quote was “un club de tapettes,” which strikes me as slightly more derogatory, but I can’t draw a room full of flyswatter socialites, so you’ll have to suffer the English translation.
Well, until Friday, folks!
- PQ Leader Andre Boisclaire chokes up while speaking on homophobia [Canada.com]
- Radio station pulls host who insulted Boisclair [Montéal Gazette]