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

Québec Gay Group Gets UN Status After All

July 30th, 2007

UN Consultive Status

After being initially rejected, the Coalition gaie et lesbienne du Québec (CGLQ) has finally been granted consultive status at the UN.

By a vote of 22 countries in support to 13 against, CGLQ will now be able to access UN buildings, attend meetings, submit reports, and address the UN in ways otherwise impossible. The group will use this opportunity to educate and speak out against attrocities committed against gays worldwide.

Alongside CGLQ, The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) was also granted consultive status, though an extra country voted against them.

Say, what do they have against the Swedish?

Swedish Box Store of some kind…

It’s Terrible Birthday Comics!

July 23rd, 2007

I’m on a short vacation from Slap this week (23rd to 27th) in celebration of my very exciting birthday, but enjoy this bit of complete irrelevance in the meantime: Terrible Birthday Comics! They’re super low-quality!

Plus, there’s a new one every day this week!

Terrible Birthday Comics: Giant Pearls

Select a comic: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

PEI Courts Gay Tourism

July 20th, 2007

PEI’s Gay Tourism Models

Prince Edward Island’s tourism department is searching for gay couples to model for some upcoming advertisements designed to bring in the ol’ pink tourism dollars. Like Toronto and Calgary‘s recent campaigns, PEI is trying to market itself as a gay-friendly vacation spot. One small hitch: Potential gay tourists may not have forgotten the nationally-reported incident in which a couple was turned away from their reserved bed and breakfast after the owner discovered they were gay.

Why Is It Always Religion Versus The Gays?

July 18th, 2007

Human Rights Showdown

Looks like the ostensible “Religious Freedom” versus “Gay Rights” debate is still alive and kicking in the media.

An Alberta man who published an open letter directly comparing gays to “pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps,” and who urged readers to “take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness [of the] homosexual machine” was served a human rights complaint by a Calgary human rights professor. The professor, Darren Lund, says that Rev. Stephen Boissoin’s letter may have contributed to a physical gay bashing that occurred two days after the letter was published.

Although this happened five years ago, the case is now in front of the human rights commission, eliciting headlines such as: Pivotal gay rights case begins in Alberta and Prof hopes pastor’s anti-gay letter will put limits on free speech in Alberta.

Now, considering that neither of the parties involved are actually gay, perhaps I could sneak a word in here…

Human Rights Showdown Reaction

This is not a gay rights case, let alone a “pivotal” one. No gay rights are being won or lost here and Canada’s largest gay rights organisation, EGALE, is refusing to involve itself in the case. This isn’t a religious freedom case, either. Despite a recent hysterical opposition to homosexuality by many churches, the views expressed in the letter are not rooted in any mainstream religion, which largely teach love and tolerance. Rather, this case is about a man who enjoys contention and wants to assert territory in hate speech’s grey areas.

The part of the letter that I’m most concerned about is not the typical “gays are evil warlords who want to brainwash your children” rhetoric, but rather Boissoinmay’s encouragement to take “whatever steps necessary” to stop gay people. That’s a call to action—and one that’s worryingly open in its interpretation. Is this sentence violating human rights by inciting hatred against an identifiable group? Well, we’ll find out shortly, won’t we?

Incidentally, unlike libel—which makes it a crime for someone to say their local politician is plaguing communities like a pedophile and that the public should take whatever measures necessary to stop him—a human rights violation can only result in small fines.

Correction: Tom, a reader with much better knowledge of the law than me, has thoughtfully noted that libel is a civil action, not a crime, and that my example is more likely to be prosecuted under section 319 of the Criminal Code. Also, the legal terminology for human rights penalties is “damage awards,” and not “fines,” which are reserved for criminal offenses. (A distinction that Tom notes is “sometimes lost on the losing person who cuts the cheque.”) Thanks, Tom!

Community Speaks Out Over Gay Bashing

July 16th, 2007

Quebec Community Support

Quebec City’s gay community is assembling to denounce homophobia after a local man was severely beaten. The 24-year-old man, who wishes to be known only as Philippe, said four men followed him after he emerged from Le Drague, a gay bar. After being called derogatory names, he was pushed to the ground and kicked several times. Eight screws were required to reassemble his jaw.

In a display of solidarity, several gay rights organisations are holding an anti-homophobia brunch at Place d’Youville, the site of the beating, during the city’s Pride festivities.

On a personal note, I’ve refrained from posting physical gay-bashing stories in the past because I felt the tone and title of this site (and certainly the illustrations) would make it an inappropriate venue to discuss such terrible events. That decision was a mistake. As I’ve become increasingly bothered by the lack of attention these stories receive, I’ll no longer hesitate to post them.

Gay-Friendly Churches To Ignore Blessing Ban

July 13th, 2007

Brave Anglicans

Despite last month’s decision by the Anglican Church to ban same-sex blessings, several brave churches are going ahead with the practice anyway.

Toronto’s Holy Trinity Church and Victoria’s St. Saviour’s Church have both declared their intentions to continue to bless same-sex couples against the rules of the national church, the latter saying that they even plan to full-out marry gay couples should the opportunity arise.

Of course, the hierarchy isn’t too happy. A senior Anglican official, under the protection of anonymity, said priests will be disciplined if they are too liberal with their blessings. And I think they mean business: Antonio Osorio, an Anglican priest, was issued a warning this month after blessing four same-sex couples, even though the blessing was simply a general blessing of members of the community. In the past year, two Anglican priests have even been ejected over the practice.

Man Pulls Son From School Over Gay Travel Agency

July 11th, 2007

Gay Travel Agency

An Ontario man has pulled his son out of an Oshawa high school after learning the school’s student trip to Europe was booked by a gay and lesbian travel agency.

Dwight Budgell said he became worried when he was asked to make a cheque out to Rainbow High Vacations: “I clicked on [the website]; it’s the world’s largest gay and lesbian travel company.” Panicked, Budgell pulled his son from school entirely, fearing “the propaganda” of the trip and being “blackballed” by the school administration.

The school’s superintendant, Lou Vavougios, was rightfully confused by the action:

The board used an educational tours division that books everything and travels with the students.

Other than the ticket, there’s no other transaction with Rainbow High [Vacations]. It really doesn’t make a difference where you get your ticket from. It’s just a seat on a plane.

Despite Budgell’s drastic and confusing behaviour, he insists that he harbours no ill will toward gay people:

What they want to do with their own personal lifestyle, I don’t have a problem with it.

Oh, we believe you, Dwight… We believe you. (*cough* *bullcrap* *cough*)

Man Sues Over “Gay” Exam Question

July 9th, 2007

Bar exam question case

Stephen Dunne, a 30-year-old Boston man, refused to answer a question on his state’s bar exam involving the property rights of a married lesbian couple. After learning he didn’t score high enough to pass the exam and earn his lawyer’s license, he’s now doing the only thing he knows how: He’s suing.

Dunne, a self-proclaimed Christian, blamed his failure on the question’s hypothetical lesbian couple, calling their marriage and property rights dispute “morally repugnant and patently offensive.” He said the question was designed as part of a greater conspiracy to promote “secular humanism’s homosexual agenda.”

Last I checked, same-sex marriage is a legal reality in Massachusetts.

So far, there’s no word on whether Dunne will also be suing for the non-gay questions he got wrong.

Mayor’s Robotic Toilet Stall-Openers To Stop Gay Sex

July 6th, 2007

Robo-John, the robotic toilet gay sex stopper

Slap reader John Kelly writes in with a story that just can’t be made up.

Jim Naugle, The Mayor of Fort Lauderdale, is convinced that gay sex is rampant in the city’s beachfront restrooms. To counteract the alleged problem, the mayor has recommended the city invest a quarter million dollars into “Robo-Johns,” robotic toilets that swing the stall door open if a patron takes too long.

While crazy-expensive, mayor Naugle insisted that robotic toilets are the only way to protect children:

[Gay men] are engaging in sex. Anonymous sex. Illegal sex.

We’re trying to provide a family environment where people can take their children who need to use the bathroom without having to worry about a couple of men in there engaged in a sex act.

Hmm… Wouldn’t spring-loaded doors be more likely to expose potentially raunchy acts to unsuspecting restroom patrons? Oh well.

While the mayor praised the increased morality of robotic toilets, Sergeant Frank Sousa of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department painted a slightly different view of the situation: “There’s no evidence, no reports or arrests made for any men having sex in any restrooms.”

Interesting perspective. Still, I guess—to some—it’s better to spend a quarter million on automated toilet door launchers than take the word of the police department.

The Robo-Johns, which also play music and clean themselves, have yet to be approved by council.

And Now, A Reader Mistakes Slap As Homophobic

July 4th, 2007

Mailbag Explosion

Let’s do the mailbag thing today! A (somewhat confused) reader writes:

Dear Mark,

I accidentally came across your website and am so incredibly offended and upset by it. How could you create such a thing? Do you believe being gay is a choice? The only reason you are so angry about it is because you are harboring homosexual feelings inside of yourself. Otherwise, you may be a godless person, I am not sure. Either way, live and let live. If you do not know any gay people, get to know one and ask them if they would choose such a horrible existance [sic]. Would you choose to be descriminated [sic] against or hated upon? Who would? The AIDS comments are disgusting. Ignorant. You know nothing about the disease. What about the people in Africa with AIDS who were bitten by a mosquito? You are ridiculously blinded to the reality of health situations in the world. Get a life and educate yourself. What is your education level? Probably not very high.

Corey [Last name removed]

Dear Corey,

I’m sorry; I’ve been a terrible, homophobic blogger. I have, indeed, been harboring homosexual feelings inside of myself, and I suspect my boyfriend has too. To make up for all of my angry, angry writings, I’ve painstakingly converted this site into a gay-friendly publication. I hope it meets your standards.

As for the AIDS comments, I’m not entirely sure what I’ve said about the subject, but I’m sorry for it. And, although HIV cannot be transmitted by mosquitoes, I’ve forgotten that people in Africa probably find the bites as annoying as we do here. Hereon in, I’ll do my best to warn them.

With heartfelt apologies,
your pal,
–Mark, MSc.

Well, that’s all for today! If you’d like to submit something to the Slap Mailbag, fire off an email to:

Email

Happy Day After Canada Day

July 2nd, 2007

Canada Day Harper

Today is a holiday here in Canada. So, in lieu of my usual post, I present my exclusive interview with Prime Minister Stephen Harper or a reasonable facsimile:

Stephen, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview.

I am Harper.

Now, you’ve been an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage and made a promise to re-visit the issue on the first day of campaigning for the 2006 election. Why, after eight consecutive court rulings affirming same-sex marriage, a federal law, and years of parliamentary debate, did you feel this was necessary?

The first time I stared blankly into my wife’s eyes and shook her hand in marriage, I knew traditions were traditional. Let me just say this: Canada’s New Government™.

The Court Challenges Program was an inexpensive way for the government to ensure its citizens could challenge unconstitutional laws. This program was cut last autumn. In light of the Language Commissoner’s findings that this cut violated the Officials Languages Act, will the Conservative government re-instate the program?

Scoff. I hardly think it’s the government’s job to protect its citizens’ rights.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

Céline Dion is not a leader.

Thanks so much for your time, Stephen. Bonne journée!

Bonjour.