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

Another Priest Suspended For Same-Sex Wedding

October 31st, 2007

Another Priest Suspended

OK, I’ve lost count.

Reverend Michael Bury from St. John the Evangelist church in Stirling, Ontario has had his marriage license suspended after performing a same-sex marriage back in August. As an added measure, he has been ordered not to attend church until January.

The man is on medical leave.

Reverend Bury, of course, is definitely not the first priest to be disciplined for supporting his gay parishioners. And, as is the case here, most of the disciplinary actions have come from the Anglican church, which has been oddly contradictory about gay blessings recently.

In June, the General Synod decreed that blessing same-sex couples did not conflict with church doctrine, then promptly voted to ban the practice. This month, the Ontario and Montréal dioceses voted to allow same-sex blessings.

Hmm… Reverend Bury is from Ontario; I guess this makes their decision non-retroactive.

Well, until Friday, have a safe and happy Halloween! If you don’t have a costume yet, here’s an idea: Go as a wacky contradiction! Just fine some Anglican garb and…

Peace Activist Ejected By Church

October 29th, 2007

Social Justice ROUNDHOUSE!

Poor James Loney. The Roman Catholic peace activist and former Iraqi hostage has been booted from yet another Church-sponsored shindig because he’s gay.

Archbishop James Weisgerber uninvited Loney from speaking at a social justice conference this weekend after the Campaign Life Coalition lobbied to have him nixed. Maria Slykerman, head of the right-wing organisation, urged parishioners to call and write the Archibishop, calling the guest speaker an “unrepentant, active homosexual.”

Loney was to speak on the subject of peace and justice. Irronnyyyy…

While Loney said he respectfully disagrees with the Archibishop’s decision, other speakers weren’t quite as forgiving. Nerina and John Robson, two of the conference organizers and scheduled speakers, have dropped out. When contacted by the press, Nerina was frank and honest about her withdrawl: “How can I speak at a conference on social justice when it is committing such an unjust action?”

The Editorialist’s Wacky Perspective

October 26th, 2007

Editorialist

Slap reader Sheena writes in with a gem from out East:

A columnist from the Chronicle Herald, Peter Duffy, wrote [an article] about a speaker’s panel of gay and transgender youth at a sex-ed conference hosted by the Pictou Children’s Aid and the Pictou Sexual Health Centre, formerly Planned Parenthood.

Not only did the speakers not know the media would be present, but they asked Duffy not to include their pictures or names—which he did. As a result, Duffy’s article outed one of these youth to his entire town.

Ah, how editorialists love to flaunt their ignorance. If only Petey were the exception, not the norm!

The Chronicle Herald, sadly, doesn’t have an online copy of this masterwork for posterity, which is too bad. Petey starts off with some comedic preamble about not knowing which pronouns to use to describe transgendered people, and then describes, in great detail, his personal anguish experienced during the talk. He describes gender transitions as “mutilation” and “the stuff of nightmares,” and peppers the article with delightful interjections such as: “[this] makes me queasy,” “I’m still squirming,” “I feel positively ill,” and finally “I feel really sad for many of today’s young people.”

But really, most of what you need to know about Petey’s position is from his first statement: “I’m mistaken. Or am I? One thing’s for sure, I’m definitely confused.”

Honestly, I don’t really understand cross-gender identify either. But passing judgment over something I admit I don’t understand would be foolish. These speakers were courageous enough to share their experiences, and when they say they’re happier having gone through those experiences, who would I be to question their feelings?

But then, sensitivity, self-education, and exploring other viewpoints aren’t really prerequisites to being a journalist, are they?

Point/CounterPoint: The Dumbledore Controversy

October 24th, 2007

Point-Counterpoint: The Dumbledore Gay Controversy

Professor Albus Dumbledore, a character from a mildly popular book series that I can’t quite remember the title of, is gay. Some people are furious, with a Toronto Daily News columnist writing: “Such an ousting of one of the most beloved characters in [the] book had no value and may hurt the future of Harry Potter.”

Here to discuss the controversy is Laura Mallory—a Christian activist and anti-Harry Potter crusader—and Professor Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry:

Laura Mallory, Point: “My prayer is that parents would wake up; the subtle way this is presented as harmless fantasy would be exposed for what it really is—a subtle indoctrination into anti-Christian values. A homosexual lifestyle is a harmful one. That’s proven, medically.”

Dumbledore, Counterpoint: “I’m fictional.”

Interesting discussion! Join us Friday for another engaging issue.

Canadian Soldiers Jailed For Gay Bashing

October 22nd, 2007

Jailed Soldiers

It looks like two Canadian soldiers have completely forgotten what it is they’re supposed to be defending.

Eric Wright and Ryan Dowie were both due to serve in Afghanistan when they attacked and seriously injured a gay man in Amsterdam. The man said he was assaulted after the two asked him if he was gay.

While the courts said there was a lack of evidence to support the hate crime aspects of the assault, the soldiers are now serving prison terms in the Netherlands. The pair had repeatedly stomped on the victim’s face, fracturing his skull and breaking his nose while shouting anti-gay slurs. Each were each charged with attempted manslaughter, attempted criminal negligence causing bodily harm, and public violence.

Shameful.

Not That Kind Of Pride

October 19th, 2007

Giant, Mouthwatering Gay Cocks LLC

Take Pride Winnipeg, an organisation devoted to picking up litter and removing graffiti in Manitoba, might be changing its name. Board member and City councilor Grant Nordman sent a letter to the Winnipeg city council expressing concern that the current name promotes an “alternative lifestyle,” adding that the misconception is “a fairly common occurrence.”

Take Pride’s manager, Colleen Kurlowich, had some doubts over the proposal:

I’ve been here 61/2 years, and I’ve received maybe four or five calls where there has been confusion about our mission.

At the top of their new name recommendations: “Rainbow Patrol: We’re not gay, we just like to be tidy.”

That Gay Politician in Quebec Calls It Quits

October 17th, 2007

Openly Gay Politician

André Boisclair, the former leader of the Parti Québécois, has announced that he will leave politics on November 15th.

And the Nod-o-th’-day award goes to The Globe and Mail for reporting on this story without using the phrase “openly gay.” (Something I clearly can’t resist.)

Anglican Church Kinda Approves Same-Sex Blessings

October 15th, 2007

Blessed Oven Mitt and Homosexual

Ottawa Anglicans have voted to allow priests to approach the bishop to request that they can bless same-sex couples.

(I’ll wait if you need to re-read that.)

This clear and decisive baby step passed by a vote of 177 to 97 on Saturday, making Ottawa Anglicans the first in Canada to not officially forbid same-sex blessings. A national meeting over the summer decided that blessing same-sex couples was not against core church doctrine, but that such blessings should be banned. Blessings that are allowed nationally include heterosexual unions, births, houses, boats, and pets.

Calgary Mayor Doesn’t “Condone” Gays

October 12th, 2007

Livin’ The Mayoral Lifestyle

Calgary’s mayor, Dave Bronconnier, announced at a mayoral debate on Wednesday that he could not “condone” the gay “lifestyle,” adding that if he had any choice in the matter, he would not have allowed Tourism Calgary to promote the city to gays. The mayor’s remarks were in response to an audience member’s complaint that her tax dollars were spent on a tourism campaign directed at gays and lesbians. (The poor dear!)

The woman, who angrily waved the tourism ad in her hand while asking the question, is one of Calgary’s many crazies who just have to declare how much they dislike gays at every available public venue, adding to the city’s unique image and charm. While the mayor said that the tourism agency’s marketing campaigns is not under his jurisdiction, he also felt compelled to sympathize with the question-asker instead of leaving the whole thing out of his hands.

Of course, when pressed by reporters to clarify his remarks, Bronco said it was the lady’s question that he wouldn’t condone. He did not clarify why he wouldn’t have allowed the Tourism Calgary campaign, or what his “lifestyle” comment was referring to.

As a former Calgary resident, I’m just happy to no longer be living somewhere where people go out of their way to distance themselves from my “lifestyle” (which I just call my “life;” it’s not terrifically different from anyone else’s).

Gay Bashers Skip Out On Court Date

October 10th, 2007

Family Bonding

A father and son who beat a gay man in Lake Cowichan have skipped out on their court date last Tuesday, securing arrest warrants. Mark Edwards, a 21-year old gay man, said he was called slurs, punched, kicked, and choked by the pair because he was gay, and the attackers remain unrepentant. (I guess family bonding activities have changed since my childhood.)

Members of the gay community were appalled by the beating, and have organized a Safe Harbour Respect for All event which takes place on October 17th. The event, aimed at businesses and community members, will discuss anti-discrimination steps in an effort to build a more tolerant community.

First step: Encourage fishing instead of, say, pummeling.

Happy Thanksgiving

October 8th, 2007

Thanksgiving Turkey

It’s Thanksgiving in Canada today, so I’m taking the day off. In the meantime, though, here’s some quick Canadian Thanksgiving trivia for those living elsewhere:

Most people know that Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated today and Canadian Halloween is celebrated on American Thanksgiving, but few people know there are differences in Thanksgiving dinner customs. Americans, apparently, roast their turkey in the oven instead of serving it as raw, seasoned slices for dinner guests to pierce with a fourche à foin and cook over nutmeg-scented candles. Also, since the Canadian climate is not suitable for growing potatoes or carrots, mashed acorns and goat cheese are more common. After dinner, it’s customary to tip the hostess by putting some loonies, toonies, or foonies into a toque in the middle of the dining table.

Sadly, I won’t get to see my family at Thanksgiving this year, but I’ve still a lot to be thankful for. Have a great holiday, kids!

House Refused To Gay Couple

October 5th, 2007

Off the market

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has agreed to hear a case from a lesbian couple who claims they were refused a house because they’re gay. Although the couple had signed an offer for the property, they say that the seller, Alexander Berry, backed out once he discovered they were lesbians. Berry said he didn’t know the two women were a couple and changed his mind because of the short time limit on their agreement. The property was sold to a young family two days after the gay couple had signed the offer.

While the case isn’t scheduled to be heard until the 15th, Berry tried to get the complaint dismissed, arguing that he didn’t fall under B.C. human rights jurisdictions because he’s Albertan. The tribunal rejected his request.

So, knowing how these things normally work, I think we can expect a decision to come as early as November, 2014.

NDP Boycotts Homophobic Artists

October 3rd, 2007

Elephant Man Performance

The federal New Democrats have called for a boycott of Jamaican musicians Elephant Man and Sizzla. Both are currently touring in Canada, though several venues have canceled performances and refunded tickets after the nature of their lyrics, which calls for the murder of gays, was brought to their attention.

NDP MP Bill Siksay said that these sort of performances have no place in Canada:

I hope that fans of Jamaican dancehall music will appreciate that a vibrant musical tradition should not be used as a cover for the promotion of hatred. I hope that they will choose to boycott performances.

A spokesperson for Elephant Man offered a signed declaration stating that anti-gay songs would not be performed, but Stop Murder Music, a Jamaican activist group, said that past declarations aren’t “worth the paper [they’re] printed on,” once the artist returns to Jamaica, where anti-gay violence is rampant.

Group Lobbies to Censor Unavailable Book

October 1st, 2007

Book Censorship

Defend Traditional Marriage and Family, an anti-gay lobby group, is trying to ban a book entitled Open Minds to Equality because it presents a “morally neutral” view of homosexuality. The book, an optional teacher’s resource for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, is unavailable to students.

Jack Fonseca, the lobby group’s spokesperson, said that Catholic teachers should not have the option to read the resource because “[it] could have the effect of encouraging students and teachers to view the gay lifestyle as being morally neutral,” adding “they will have been led to reject Jesus.” In an open letter, the group stated that “the effect of this book is to indoctrinate teachers and children to accept and celebrate homosexuality under the guise of ‘diversity’ and ‘equality.'”

So, which is it? Is the book “morally neutral,” or something that “indoctrinates” readers to “celebrate” homosexuality? Frankly, I don’t think that Defend Traditional Marriage and Family distinguishes the two. Anything that acknowledges the existence of homosexuality without condemning it is akin to “celebrating the gay lifestyle” in their eyes. And that’s enough for them to lobby to ensure teachers are ill-equipped to dealing with issues that gay students face.