Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during July, 2008

Male Strippers Anger Legion Member

July 30th, 2008

Male Stripper

A group of male strippers from Las Vegas danced for a Legion fundraiser in Prince Edward Island last week, prompting one member to complain to the media. The dancers, who stripped down to their undies for an audience of cheering women (and some cheering men) were booked by the Legion, who called the event a great success.

28 year-old Legion member, W. MacAusland, however, was disgusted and angry. While he made a special point of mentioning that he didn’t actually attend the event, he said a friend in attendance was so disgusted that she left after 40 minutes. (That, of course, being how long it takes to exceed your tolerance for the strip show that you paid to attend…)

MacAusland is now demanding that the Legion apologise to… themselves, I guess, for allowing strippers into their own club, or he will tear up his membership.

Legion manager Robert Palmer said the fundraiser was a hit, and that they will book the Las Vegas troupe again.

Update May 17, 2014: MacAusland’s first name has been redacted by request.

Dr. Flamingo Jones and the Quest for the Artifact of Many Colours

July 28th, 2008

Dr. Flamingo Jones

I’m exceptionally pleased to present today’s Guest Slap. The author, Dr. Flamingo Jones, is a world-renowned archaeologist and researcher at the University of Oxbridgeshire. While I know little about his reclusive past and current whereabouts, he has kindly agreed to share with us, occasionally, his knowledge, discoveries, and insights.

Good day to you, ladies, gentlemen, and those who do not wish to confine yourselves to such limiting terminology. Today, I, Dr. Flamingo Jones, intrepid explorer, researcher extraordinaire, and head of the Department of Queer Archaeology at the University of Oxbridgeshire, am most humbly honoured to be writing a guest post for Slap Upside The Head. You may have heard of me from my previous work, such as my unearthing of the famous trove of phalli found in the great pyramid of Khufu.

Today I am here to discuss a much more recent artifact: The rainbow flag. As a researcher of Queer Archaeology, I am often asked about how the rainbow flag came into being. Some assume that the rainbow flag has always been a symbol for homosexuality, because, really, what could possibly be gayer? However, the truth is that the origins of this important gay pride symbol are much more recent than many folks suspect.

The creation of the rainbow flag is attributed to one Mr. Gilbert Baker (video interview) of San Francisco, who created it in 1978 to serve as a symbol for the gay community there. The original flag was influenced by a striped, multi-coloured—but not rainbow-coloured—flag to promote racial harmony, and has undergone myriad transformations over the years with revisions and vexillological offspring involving stars, hearts, triangles, paws, changes in the colours and number of stripes. In fact, Baker’s original flag had eight colours, as opposed to the current standard of six. These eight colours were pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo, and violet, which, according to Baker, represented respectively: sexuality, life, healing, sun, nature, art, harmony, and spirit. However, the first flags were dyed and sewed by Baker himself along with volunteers, so supply was limited and most of the public had to just go ahead and use whatever rainbow-ish flags they could find, regardless of what those flags actually represented. These flags came from all sorts of different origins, such as the Italian Peace Flag against war and nuclear weapons, India’s Meher Baba spirituality flag, or the Wiphala flag of the ancient Incan civilization.

Later that same year, San Francisco’s mayor, George Moscone, was assassinated along with Harvey Milk, the city’s first openly gay supervisor. In the wake of this tragedy, the gay community made the decision to rally around Baker’s flag as a source of strength and solidarity for the 1979 gay pride parade. However, when Baker went to mass produce his flags, he found that hot pink fabric was not as easily available as he had expected. That colour was removed from the flag. The decision was then made to change the indigo stripe to blue, and eliminate the turquoise stripe altogether, bringing it down to just six stripes, so that the flag could be displayed evenly along the parade route, with three colours on either side of the street’s lamp posts.

A fascinating history for a fascinating piece of our cultural tapestry, don’t you think? I shall be back in the future with more important issues in the field of queer archaeology, but for now I must be off. Those ancient Egyptian phalli won’t unearth themselves!

Return Of The Terrible Birthday Comics

July 22nd, 2008

Hey kiddos! I’m taking a short vacation this week to celebrate my birthday. Fret not, though! To make up for my absence, there will be a brand-new, exceptionally low-quality comic strip every day this week! It’s the return of the Terrible Birthday Comics!

Monday Edition

Tuesday Edition

L’édition du mercredi

Thursday Edition

Friday Edition

U.S. Repeals HIV Traveler Ban

July 18th, 2008

The United States has repealed their ban on HIV-positive visitors and immigrants yesterday as part of a larger bill designed to combat AIDS through research and education.

Since 1987, any HIV-positive, non-US citizen was disallowed into the country, even to visit. This bizarre policy was later codified by congress in 1993, requiring another act of congress to overturn it. Fifteen years later, that has finally happened.

The bill’s journey wasn’t without some strange twists of its own. Senator Elisabeth Dole attempted to amend the bill to be named after the late Jesse Helms, who originally introduced the traveler ban with horrific anti-gay sentiment. That motion was defeated, which is good. Otherwise who knows what wacky law names they’d have next? The Dick Cheney Firearm Prohibition Law… The DDT-Growth Hormone Food Safety Law…

Danger: Gay Motorist!

July 16th, 2008

Gay Driver

Italy’s Ministry of Transport has been found guilty of discrimination after they told a gay man that he must re-take his drivers test due to a “sexual identity disturbance.”

Danilo Giuffrida, a 26 year old from Catania, Italy, was told that if he didn’t take his drivers test a second time, his license would be revoked. After successfully passing the drivers test for a second time, Danilo’s license was renewed for one year instead of the ten years for heterosexuals.

Imagine that. I didn’t think my driving was so inherently dangerous. Though, really, if the Ministry of Transport wants to think that being gay is a disability, that’s not too bad of a trade-off for one of those parking tags.

Worldwide Anglican Conference Bars Their Own Bishop

July 14th, 2008

Contention Prevention

The Lambeth Conference meeting of Anglican bishops, a once-a-decade event in the worldwide Anglican community, has banned one of their own Bishops, Gene Robinson, from attending because he is gay.

Robinson is the first openly gay U.S. Episcopal bishop. While his appointment was controversial within the Anglican community, he is decidedly a bishop. His banning has prompted an appeal from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who called it a mistake to disinvite Robinson, and pleaded with the Anglican community to unite itself.

Conference organizers justified Robinson’s ban by saying his invitation would have become the focus of the event.

Comedian Holds Fundraiser After Anti-Lesbian Tirade

July 11th, 2008

Michael Richards Guest Stars

Here’s a story that’s getting weirder: Guy Earle, the Toronto comedian who responded to some lesbian hecklers by going on a massive, anti-lesbian tirade and snapping one of their sunglasses in half is now facing a human rights complaint over the incident. He’s holding a benefit gala on the 19th to raise funds for a legal defense.

The evening of comedy includes several stand-up comedians, most notably Linda Ellis, a lesbian comic. (No, there’s no Michael Richards—but can you imagine?)

Now, I’ve previously slapped Mr. Earle for his bizarre and violent response to the hecklers, but I gotta say this human rights complaint won’t go very far. I’m not sure how much I can comment on the whole situation without having been there, but I’d have a really hard time dismissing the context of a late-night comedy club. Guy Earle was dumb and should feel ashamed for his personal attacks, but he’s a raunchy comedian and the complainants were hecklers. Surely they can see the irony in this.

Earle deserves serious denunciation, just not from the state. (Well, OK, maybe a teeny fine to replace the sunglasses. Finding a good pair is hard!)

Canada To Deport Another Gay Refugee

July 9th, 2008

IRB Goggles

Canada is all set to deport Jane Okojie, a bisexual Nigerian woman, because the Immigration and Refugee Board did not believe that her sexuality would be an issue in her home country. Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, and those suspected of being gay can be jailed or worse.

Jane said that she is terrified, claiming that she was already detained in Nigeria after authorities discovered she was bisexual:

In Nigeria things are very bad for lesbians and gay people. If you are a bisexual or lesbian or gay you can be stoned to death and you can be sentenced to prison for many many years. The government doesn’t care.

Since arriving in Canada, Jane has given birth to a daughter who is now 18 months old. If deported, Jane will have to bring her daughter out of the country as well.

Canada has an atrocious record of deporting gay refugees to countries where homosexuality is illegal. While Jane has been granted a temporary stay due to the removal of her immigration lawyer, the Immigration and Refugee Board has already refused Jane’s refugee status and has rejected a stay based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Court Challenges Program Returning, Almost

July 7th, 2008

Court Challenges Ejection

The Court Challenges Program, a means to ensure that unconstitutional laws could be challenged by those who otherwise couldn’t afford it, was scrapped by the Federal Tories in 2006. The program, which cost a pittance, was cut largely due to lobbying from anti-gay groups who were angry that the program was helping to strike down laws that illegally infringed upon gay rights.

Due to an out-of-court settlement with the Federation de Communautes Francophone et Acadienne du Canada, the program appears to be making a comeback. Sadly, it’s not without some major changes to fit in with the ideological reasons why the program was cut in the first place.

The first change is the name: It’s now called the Program to Support Linguistic Rights. The second change is exactly what the name implies: It’s exclusively to support linguistic rights, and not the rights of everyone. This means that there still will not be a way to challenge illegal laws that infringe upon minority rights without having deep pockets.

Helen Kennedy, a spokesperson for the gay rights group Egale, expressed disappointment in the replacement:

[The Tories] are ranking minorities. How do you place precedence of one group over another?

This is really a problem and I think that we’ve seen a slow, subtle erosion of LGBT rights since the Tories came to power. This is a very subtle way of denying us access to the justice system.

In 2007, opposition leader Stephen Dion vowed to ressurrect the Court Challenges Program as it existed before it was cut.

Obsessive Small-Town Wedding Soldiers

July 4th, 2008

Pile o\' Hugs

In my web travels I often collect stories that I intend to share, but then become distracted by newer, shinier stories—or feel too lazy to illustrate them. This is what becomes of those stories: A Pile o’ Sla… Hugs?

The Town of Truro, Nova Scotia—which made national news last year after some bizarre homophobic comments by its mayor—has finally reached an agreement with a local gay rights group, amending its employment equity policy to include sexual orientation. A strange outcome, considering the dispute was over a flag-flying policy.

For the first time ever, Canada’s Armed Forces marched in Toronto’s Gay Pride parade, promoting equal rights and openly recruiting gay servicemen and women. This is in stark contrast to the policies of the United States. I’d ask if you’d like me to describe them, but I’m afraid I can’t tell.

A nation-wide poll shows that support for same-sex marriage in Canada has climbed to 68%. Recent converts cited a lack of family-destroying meteor showers for their change in opinion.

The top leader of Canada’s Anglican Church is standing up for gay-friendly denominations in the country, saying that ultra-conservative factions are obsessing over the wrong issues. Primate Fred Hiltz said it’s unfortunate that some Christians are “preoccupied with sexual acts between homosexuals and falsely equate homosexuality with promiscuity,” adding that they’d gain more credibility on sexual issues if they devoted the same energy to “combating sexual abuse, sexual exploitation by people in positions of power, and global sex slavery.” Hmm… Combating something that everyone agrees needs combating; what a novel concept!

Same-sex marriages skyrocketed last month, as gay couples plan their weddings around Pride celebrations. Because if it weren’t for that, no one would want a June wedding.

Well, have a great weekend kiddos, and Happy Independance Day to all my Stateside visitors. May it be nothing like the movie.

Lobby Group’s Gay Obsession Backfires

July 2nd, 2008

An AFA Christmas

The American Family Association, an anti-gay lobby group based in the United States, is well-known for altering copy from Associated Press stories on their OneNewsNow website. In particular, they invariably change all occurrences of the word “gay” to “homosexual.” It’s dishonest journalism and against AP policies, but hey—they like their obsessions.

It’s not a random decision, mind you. The AFA and other anti-gay lobby groups prefer the term “homosexual” because it’s more clinical-sounding and negative compared to gay. It also keeps focus on sexuality and sexual behaviors, while de-emphasizing love and humanity, which is precisely what’s needed if they are to counter simple human rights for gay people.

Still, when I say that they invariably change gay to homosexual, I mean invariably.

Let’s take a look at how they re-printed an AP story about Tyson Gay, an American sprinter:

Tyson Homosexual easily won his semifinal for the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials and seemed to save something for the final later Sunday.

On Saturday, Homosexual misjudged the finish in his opening head and had to scramble to finish fourth […]

Fascinating. And NBA star, Rudy Gay?

Memphis Grizzlies backer hit the hay hoping that Kevin Love would open things up for Rudy Homosexual in the frontcourt.

What a hoot! Bravo, AFA; you’ve discovered the downside to auto-replace!

(And a big ‘ol hat tip to People For The American Way for the story.)