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

Tax Break Announcement

April 30th, 2007

Tax Overload!

Finally, a tax break for the hard-working gay guy!

Wait; I don’t think that came out right. I hope I didn’t give off the impression that taxes have been cut in any meaningful way. And certainly not for us gays—who, until last year, couldn’t even file as spouses like other couples. No, no. What I meant to say was that I’m taking a break from this site today to do my taxes.

In the meantime, though, let me extend a hearty thanks to our conservative government for giving us the 1% GST cut instead of implementing the opposition’s income tax reduction. Now, in addition to paying a delightfully crippling amount of tax, I get to receive a smaller GST rebate this year!

Well, until Wednesday, folks: Has anyone seen my calculator? It’s big and cumbersome, eats batteries faster than a flashlight in storage, and draws blocky graphs more slowly than it would take by hand.

Lobbyist Issues Global Apology For Gay Marriage

April 27th, 2007

Gwen Landolt Apology

I wonder what Gwen Landolt is up to these days. As you may know, Gwen is the spokeswoman for REAL Women of Canada, a delightfully persistent anti-gay lobby group formed in the early 80s. And since same-sex marriage is settled and here to stay, she must have moved on to something else, right?

Wait—no, no. I must’ve spoken too soon. It looks like she’s penned a formal apology to the world, on behalf of Canadians, for the same-sex marriage legislation. Observe our moment of quiet humility:

[We] apologize to the people of the world for harm done through Canada’s legalization of homosexual marriage. We are grieved and troubled as we consider the impact this is having in weakening the fundamental institution of marriage in countries and cultures around the world. […]

Our warning to you, the people of the world, is to learn from our mistakes and avoid repeating them in your own countries. Forewarned should be forearmed.

Such passion… As one of the people of the world, I assure you: a tear has been shed. The effects of same-sex marriage must’ve been far more perilous than just letting guys like me wed. (sniff.)

Oh well.

Hey, do you think this apology means REAL Women has given up its hysterical anti-gay lobbying efforts? Why, it hasn’t even been four years since equal marriage blew up all of Canada’s families and ensured the systemic collapse of society. (Or so I’ve been told.) I mean, if Gwen—and all the other lobbyists—quit, who will be left to feature on this site?

Will Singapore Decriminalize Homosexuality?

April 25th, 2007

Singapore Criminal

Gay travelers may be in for a treat! Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s influential former prime minister, has been openly mulling why gayness is still illegal in his country:

If in fact it is true, and I have asked doctors this, that you are genetically born a homosexual—because that’s the nature of the genetic random transmission of genes—you can’t help it. So why should we criminalize it?

Well, asking doctors may be a teeny bit of an oversimplification, but actively pondering why gay people say their orientation is not a choice is probably a step in the right direction.

Incidentally, gay travelers are sometimes surprised by the anti-gay laws of popular travel destinations. While Singapore still has a pretty healthy gay scene, random arrests are possible and being gay is punishable by prison terms. To help educate travelers, the Canadian government has issued warnings for gay vacationers.

And in the meantime… If you’re a gay traveler disappointed by Singapore’s current laws, here’s some alternative destination advice: Afghanistan, while popular in the news, might not be the best second-choice.

The Yogyakarta Principles

April 23rd, 2007

Yogyakarta Principles

Bill Siksay, the openly gay NDP MP for Burnaby–Douglas, has tabled a motion calling on the government to recognise the Yogyakarta Principles.

The Yogyakarta Principles, as you know, is a three-week breakfast challenge designed to keep you regular through a scientifically formulated probiotic culture.

Wait, wait. No, sorry; it’s a four week challenge. And I might be confusing it with a set of international standards affirming rights for gay and lesbian people everywhere.

The principles, which were affirmed at a human rights convention in Geneva last month, apply existing international declarations and legal precedent to ensure governments extend equal treatment to their people. Specifically, they aim to end violence, abuse, and discriminatory laws for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people everywhere.

While Canada seems to be making OK progress in this respect on its own, it really wouldn’t hurt if the current government did something to affirm these standards. You know, something other than—oh, I don’t know—hiring anti-gay lobbyists to prominent government positions, appointing judges with a legally unsound anti-gay bias, scrapping programs designed to help keep unconstitutional laws in check, attempting to overturn 8 consecutive court decisions affirming equal marriage, drafting bills to legitimize discrimination for civil servants, and so forth.

So, will the NDP motion pass? That depends. Shall you commence the breath-holding, or shall I?

Gay Firefighter Says Enough Is Enough

April 20th, 2007

Gay Firefighter

David MacKenzie, a gay firefighter from Pemberton, B.C., has filed a human rights complaint against his fire chief, Russell Mack. The claim asserts that Mack had repeated homophobic jokes, created an intolerable work environment, and passed David over for an “acting chief” position primarily because he’s gay.

Hmm… A homophobic fireman joke, eh? It would take an awfully clever wordsmith to come up with one of those…

Incidentally, this is not Russell Mack’s first human rights complaint. A female firefighter brought him to court last year over discrimination charges.

Regardless of what becomes of this case, Canada still has its share of workplace homophobia. A survey performed last year said that 60% of Canadians think being out in the workplace is harmful to one’s career, and 28% had witnessed workplace gay bashing personally.

Ressurecting The Court Challenges Program

April 18th, 2007

Dead Court Challenges Program

Defibrillator clear? It’s not too late! Opposition Leader Stephane Dion has vowed to restore the Court Challenges Program, which was unexpectedly turfed by the Conservative government last autumn after lobbying by “pro-family” special interest groups.

The Court Challenges Program was available to any group who wished to challenge unconstitutional laws, and was instrumental in awarding equal benefits for same-sex couples, among other important rights-related cases.

So, will this program actually be re-instated? Maybe if enough people in the government think that they ought to be protecting people from rights-trampling legislation rather than passing it… But, hey—when has Canada ever done anything quite so crass?

Church Supports Gays in Face of Shutdown

April 16th, 2007

Church Bulletin

Scott Tribe writes in with an interesting story: The U.S. Episcopal Church has voted to face expulsion from the Anglican hierarchy rather than reject gay rights. The Anglican Church issued an ultimatum in February for what it called “errant” churches, which support gay clergy and bless same-sex marriages.

The Canadian Anglicans are expected to vote to let each parish decide whether or not to accept or reject the ultimatum in June. Retired archbishop Terrance Finlay, who was suspended in October for officiating over a gay wedding, encouraged the church to follow the U.S. example:

Be willing to risk the cause of love over institutionalism.

Well said!

Magazine Names Canada’s 5 Gayest Cities

April 13th, 2007

Pro-Family Migration Patterns

Out Traveler, a gay and lesbian travel magazine, has named Canada’s top 5 gayest cities. While I’m not going to list them here, let’s just say that Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montréal should be expecting a few extra gay tourists this year! Wait, that might be a little too obvious. How about: Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal should be expecting a few fewer intolerant tourists this year. Yes, that’ll do.

As for my thoughts on the selections… Having grown up in Edmonton until my early 20s, I can authoritatively say: “Huh?” Mind you, things have probably changed in the city’s gay community, of which I knew pretty much nothing, having been closeted for the entire time. Plus, Edmonton still has the world’s largest shopping mall. That’s pretty gay, right?

So, congratulations to the cities that made the cut! And may all the ones that didn’t have an absolutely traditional Friday the 13th.

Toronto To Launch All-Gay Radio Station

April 11th, 2007

Gay Waves Invade Toronto

Looks like the airwaves are about to get a little more gay next week!

Proud FM 103.9, an all-gay radio station, is set to launch Saturday in Toronto. While its signal strength is a relatively weak 50-watts, it is the first traditionally broadcasted, gay-themed radio station in Canada.

As typical for this sort of thing, the station has already faced its share of criticism. One financial partner has already withdrawn their backing, and Lorne Gunter, a columnist for the National Post, even suggested that the new station was awarded under anti-Christian pretenses:

[The CRTC] turned down a Catholic FM station for T.O. because it wouldn’t be diverse enough, even though it promised shows for 12 cultural groups in at least 11 different languages. Meanwhile, [Proud FM] was licensed to advance diversity, despite pledging to focus almost exclusively on gay issues.

Cute. Though, in reality, the Catholic FM station’s bid was on an entirely different frequency (101.3), which was ultimately awarded to CJSA-FM, a multi-cultural station.

Regardless of the bumps along the way, the station looks like it will be all ready for launch. So let me be the among the first to extend a hearty “G-G-G-Good Luck (Zap–Zap–Zap–Whoosh) to P-P-P-Proud FM (Eff-Emm): One-Oh-Three Point Niiiiine.”

Potentially Illegal Religious Bill Drafted By Tories

April 9th, 2007

Draft Religious Freedom Bill

It’s… It’s aliiiiiiiive! Well, almost.

The federal Tories have drafted a “religious freedom” bill that would allow civil marriage commissioners or Justices Of The Peace to refuse their public services to gay and lesbian couples, but haven’t introduced it in parliament yet.

While the government continues to deny they have plans to actually table legislation on the subject, The Globe and Mail was able to access over 1200 pages of information confirming that such a bill was researched and drafted as late as October. Oddly enough, the Globe also revealed that these records were almost entirely blacked out. (Though, since Mr. Harper has assured us a much more open government, I’ll attribute the blacked out portions to unrelated poetic clutter.)

Now, as for why the Conservatives don’t intend on introducing this bill after so much planning… Who can say? I mean, it’s certainly not in their character to be sneaky with human rights issues, springing this bill upon an unsuspecting public only after they’ve been handed a majority, right?

Incidentally, other provinces have tried to introduce bills on the subject (I’m looking at you Alberta and New Brunswick!), but legal experts have panned them for being fundamentally illegal.

Happy Birthday, Slap!

April 6th, 2007

Happy Birthday Slap

Can you believe it, kids? Yesterday marked Slap Upside The Head‘s first birthday!

Yes, it’s been a full year since I dolled out my first virtual slap in a barely relevant story on Brigitte Bardot.

I almost missed the occasion, too. While I was occupied writing a conference paper that could render non-grad-students comatose, my boyfriend (who’s also named Mark, much to the delight of everyone who thinks they’re the first to call us “Marky Mark”) generously assembled the above anniversary calendar. It’s made from a card I drew for his birthday that he kept, scanned in, and decorated with a computer graphics program he’s not terrifically comfortable with.

So thank-you, Mark, for not only going out of your way to ensure there was something to commemorate this site’s birthday, but also for putting up with the countless times I’ve had to utter the phrase: “I have to work on tomorrow’s Slap.”

I love you!

Calgary Launches Gay Outgames

April 4th, 2007

Calgary OutGames

Well, they did it! The first-ever Continental Outgames was launched this week in Calgary, Alberta. The games are supposedly the largest gay-themed event ever held in the province of Alberta (the second-biggest being the time I accidentally bumped into another guy on the C-Train).

While I questioned the choice in venue before, it does go to show that Alberta isn’t all Ted Mortons, Fred Henrys, Rob Anders…ses, and Ralph Kleins. Happily, the games have been met with enthusiasm, and the coinciding human rights conference has brought some extra perspective to Cowtown. The games have even drawn some influential speakers: Judy Shepard gave a passionate speech about gay awareness, and comedian Lily Tomlin is scheduled to close the games on Saturday.

So, overall, I guess there wasn’t much to worry about! Or maybe those delightfully wacky, “non-hateful” protesters just haven’t finished their Thursday night homophobic sign crafting class. Either way: So far, so good!

In semi-related news, the amazingly tasteful and universally adored editors at Calgary’s Swerve Magazine have apparently commissioned some awesomely gay illustrations for their issue on the Outgames. I haven’t seen it in person myself, but professional framers are predicting that the cover picture may become more popular than Whistler’s Mother… Or, uh, so I’ve been told.

Well, have a great Wednesday, kids!

Anti-Gay Activist Loses Case To Sue Union

April 2nd, 2007

Union Master

The excruciatingly slow rickshaw of justice has, at last, stated the obvious. Susan Comstock, who decided to sue her union over its support of same-sex marriage, has lost her case.

The poor dear brought her union to court last year, claiming that her religious beliefs were violated by the Public Service Alliance of Canada‘s support of the federal same-sex marriage bill. Of course, that claim assumed one’s religious rights include single-handedly deciding the financial spending of all organizations you belong to, which is just nutty. Unless you happen to be Phil Horgan, president of the Catholic Civil Rights League, and the man who represented Comstock:

I think [the ruling] is indicative of a problem Canadians will have in addressing what is becoming a somewhat oppressive environment. The reach of these decisions is only starting to be felt.

Ooh! A chilling warning of future cases.

Hey, does this mean I can sue Blockbuster Video for using part of my membership fee to stock copies of Runaway Bride? I can’t begin to describe how much that offends me.