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

Happy Halloween

October 31st, 2008

Vancouver To Host 2011 OutGames

October 29th, 2008

Here’s some good news for all the gay althetes out there. Vancouver has been selected as the host city for the 2011 North American Continental OutGames. Canada’s third-largest city, which is also is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, will be well-equipped to accommodate the events and athletes with some brand-new facilities.

Canada’s no stranger to the OutGames. The first World OutGames were held in Montréal in 2006, and the first North American Continental OutGames were held in Calgary. Vancouver’s announcement means Canada will have played host to exactly half of all OutGames thus far, including those in which it’s ineligible to host (The Asia Pacific Continental OutGames). Just another plus to living in an officially homosexual country!

Hiding From Homophobia Is Not An Option

October 27th, 2008

I think most gay people, myself included, have been verbally assaulted at one time or another, and have likely even felt physically threatened. There are no official statistics on these sorts of incidents, generally because people tend to keep it to themselves. What’s alarming, though, is that physical assaults are still startlingly under-reported. This is why I was encouraged to hear about a rally of over 2,000 marchers that took to Davie Street, Vancouver, after a hate-motivated assault last month left Jordan Smith, a gay man, with a broken jaw for doing nothing more than holding hands with a friend.

Smith brought a message to the rally that resonated with me:

I was scared to be completely open prior to this event. I preferred the status quo. I no longer want to be silent. […] I’m proud to hold my friend’s hand in public.

This is an important message to understand and spread. Last week, a family member called me in complete shock over continuing anti-gay rhetoric heard from an acquaintance and otherwise generous host while out of town. While I’m not as easily shocked over that sort ignorance and hatred, I was disheartened by the reaction: “This is why I think you should hide more,” I was told.

While I trust completely that this advice was motivated by concern and love for my well-being, I regret that I cannot distinguish this reaction from those who outright threaten or abuse gay people, even though the motivations are clearly different. (Call it the Slap Doctrine, if you will.) The consequence of both actions is clear: to make gay people invisible and live in fear.

But Jordan Smith is less afraid after a violent assault than before. That’s because he understands, first hand, how hiding prevented nothing and why invisibility after the assault was not an option.

Silence in the face of homophobia is tolerance of homophobia, and unless you’re capable of living your life without ever mentioning the person you love most, capable of filtering all your words and actions as simple as holding hands, and capable of doing all this without feeling you’re worse off for it, then silence stands in the way of happiness. Stand up to homophobia, report and challenge hateful incidents, and don’t live in fear.

Canada Officially A Homosexual Country!

October 24th, 2008

Charles McVety, spokesmouth of Canada’s largest anti-gay lobby group, has declared that Canada is “now officially a homosexual country.”

Hey! We’ve done it! The gays have taken over the country! And, apparently, all it required was some aboriginal artwork from 1983 to be displayed on loan at Rideau Hall from now until mid-2011.

Oh yes, in an article entitled Canada is now Officially a Homosexual Country, McVety rails against Androgyny, a 20-foot, abstract mural depicting amoebic birds, fish, and people all looking toward a giant blue eagle. The award-winning painting symbolises the aboriginal belief that each sex is only half of our species and that—through growth, experience, parenthood, and ageing—we eventually unite both our masculine and feminine sides to become a complete human.

McVety somehow interprets this to be homosexual (uh, doesn’t that inherently involve one sex?) and holds back nothing in his protest against the painting, saying that its temporary installation in the house of Canada’s Governor General means that “political correctness has slithered all the way to the top” and that “the only conclusion is that Canada is officially a homosexual country.”

Interesting logic, but whatever; the gays are in charge now! And as my first act running the country, I shall outlaw plaid. Step two: Reform the Senate to become the Sen-sational-ate.

A huge tip o’ the toque to Unrepentant Old Hippie for the story.

Four More Churches Split Over Gay Blessings

October 22nd, 2008

Four more churches have voted to break from the Anglican Church of Canada over division on whether gay parishoners should receive blessings.

The Anglican Church is in tatters due to in-fighting over doctrine, with gay blessings being the centrepiece issue. Fourteen congregations have left so far.

Ah, another disagreement over what God wants. If history serves as any indication, I think this will all be resolved quickly through a happy consensus with much rejoicing and merriment…

Small Town Fights To Stop Gay Pride Parade

October 20th, 2008

High school students in Abbotsford, British Columbia, have run into opposition for their plans to hold the town’s first gay pride parade in November. The idea for the parade was prompted in part by the local school board’s decision to turf a social justice course over gay content.

Drawing quotes from a Facebook Group called 1,000 People Against the Pride Parade for Abbotsford, The Province reported that opponents criticized the parade as being an “attention-seeking gesture rather than a legitimate social cause.”

Yeah, so here’s the thing: If a minority group’s small-town, cultural parade is drawing enough criticism to prompt Facebook opposition groups and media attention, then it’s a freakin’ legitimate social cause. Gee whiz.

School District Yanks Gay Motivational Speaker

October 17th, 2008

Alex Sanchez, a celebrated gay author was uninvited from speaking at several New Brunswick schools after a handful of parents complained. Sanchez was supposed to speak about tolerance, as many gay youth find themselves isolated and struggling to find acceptance.

Keith Pierce, the District 10 superintendent who made the decision to uninvite Sanchez, said that “a few parents” had complained. Because, as you know, preventing kids from learning about tolerance is the surefire way to ensure everyone turns or stays heterosexual.

The Night of the Election Returns!

October 14th, 2008

Just to pre-emptively explain why I haven’t been working on Wednesday morning’s post…

Tories Ditch Film Censorship Bill

October 10th, 2008

The federal Conservatives have withdrawn a film censorship clause from bill C-10. The clause, which would have allowed the government to withdraw tax credits to films and television shows that they deem “contrary to public policy,” was dropped amidst declining support in the polls during the election.

Evangelical lobbyist, Charles McVety, originally claimed responsibility for the clause, indicating that that any films with gay content, such as the sweet family comedy, Breakfast With Scot, would be among those ineligible for tax credits.

While I’m happy that the clause has been turfed, I wouldn’t doubt for a second that the Tories would introduce it again, or would have even turfed it if their poll support hadn’t been slipping.

They just really don’t want Slap Upside The Head: The Film to see the light of day!

Election Sign Vandalism is Ridiculous

October 8th, 2008

After reading about an anonymous vandal who wrote anti-gay slurs all over a gay MP’s election posters, I got to thinking a little bit about election sign vandalism in general.

I’m not a fan of election signs, to understate the matter a tad. Election season is visual mayhem at its most mayhem-y. It’s like if Satan, Attila the Hun, and Cruella de Vil all got together to form an advertising enterprise, enslaved humanity in the corrugated plastic mines, and used all their resources in a conspiracy to eliminate depth-of-field. Trees? Think of them as nature’s signposts! Lampposts are just long necks for headshots. Heck, why not use election sign pillars as a post for even more election signs?

That said, I can’t say I understand the purpose of vandalizing election property.

For one, vandalism actually makes the signs uglier. Second, as far as communicating one’s political leanings goes, it’s not worth the effort. I mean, say you really, really disagree with an election candidate. Will painting an eyepatch on him sway voters? Would anyone walking along the road suddenly believe the candidate has switched gears partway though the election to reveal himself as a fearsome, swashbuckling pirate? (Whatever swashbuckling means, anyway.)

There’s also a chance that sign-seers would feel compassion for the vandalees. While all parties are surely victims when it comes to poster-haters, those that draw the most shocking or widespread vandalism could garner at least some sympathy, maybe even in the form of votes. That’s why vandalism as a means of political expression is fundamentally counterproductive.

Personally, I think seeing the word “fag” scrawled over Scott Brison’s signs should be cause enough to remind people that homophobia is very much alive and well, and has definitely reminded me why we absolutely need gay representatives and supporters who will help put a stop to it.

So, for those of you who absolutely feel compelled to damage, cut, or otherwise modify election property, may I suggest that you just indiscriminately remove the freakin’ eyesores altogether and write a letter to the editor instead. The horizon will thank you.

Tories Cut Funding For Gay Festival

October 6th, 2008

The Conservative government has denied funding for the world’s largest charity gay dance festival, Black & Blue, for the third consecutive year. The annual Montréal festival, which contains over 60 events and raises money for HIV/AIDS research and gay community groups, used to receive up to $50,000 annually from Canadian Heritage until the Conservatives took power. Since then, their funding has been consistently denied.

Robert Vezina, president of the non-profit group that organizes the festival, said he was frustrated by the unprofessional behaviour from the government since the Conservatives took power:

Ever since the Harper government was in power, we’ve got zero. The reasons are really nebulous—they’re really sneaky. They give us answers that contradict themselves from year to year, and then verbally, they tell us on the phone we’re not “family oriented enough,” and then of course when we ask them to put this in writing they don’t.

Mauril Bélanger, the former deputy chair of Canadian Heritage, said that he wasn’t surprised by the cuts, considering the government in power:

I think we’ve seen that time and again from this government—ideology trumps objectivity, trumps respect, trumps treating all of us equally. [This is] a government that makes decisions by ideology that is basically targetting some segments of our population unfairly, and that is not the country I know.

To compensate for their lost funding, Black & Blue will reportedly alter this year’s event schedule to contain fewer all-night dance parties and more family puppet square dancing afternoons.

Candidate Declares That Gays Should Be Killed

October 3rd, 2008

This illustration intentionally left blank. (Well, I guess it's not really blank; I mean, there's text here, but let's just say some people aren't worth the drawing time.)

An independent candidate in Sudbury, Ontario shocked an audience of high school students during a federal election debate by calling for the murder of all gay people.

David Popescu made the comments in response to a audience member’s question about same-sex marriage. Many in the audience were reported to have risen to their feet in disgust, while the other candidates from the Liberal, NDP, and First Peoples National Party watched in stunned silence.

In a telephone interview with The Sudbury Star, Popescu unabashedly re-iterated his position, indeed promoting the murder of every gay person:

A young man asked me what I think of homosexual marriages and I said I think homosexuals should be executed. My whole reason for running is the Bible and the Bible couldn’t be more clear on that point.

What a miserable, small man.

Inciting hatred and calling for the murder of identifiable groups is illegal in Canada, and Sudbury police started their investigation within hours of the debate.

While Popescu’s behaviour requires punishment by law, Sudbury Secondary School deserves strong condemnation for their lax reaction and for refusing to clarify whether or not they would allow Popescu to speak at the school again. Principal Paul Camillo said that the school “respect[s] all other opinions, although we may not agree with them.” What a cowardly, disgusting stance in the face of an invited potential policymaker who directly called for the execution of a large number of the school’s students.

Holy Crap! Canada Accepts Gay Refugee!

October 1st, 2008

The Immigration and Refugee Board has decided not to deport Ismail Mulawa, a gay refugee claimant from Uganda.

(Parenthetically, sorry for the somewhat unrelated illustration today; I just hadn’t really prepared anything to draw in this situation.)

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, so when Mulawa came to Canada for the 2006 International AIDS Conference, he skipped his flight back home, claiming refugee status. Several conference attendees had seeked asylum once arriving in Canada, but not all that based their claim on being gay have had much luck. Canada has an abysmal record when it comes to dealing with gay refugees, often burdening claimants with providing substantial proof of their homosexuality—despite them having had to hide all traces of it from previous governments. Thankfully, Refugee Board member Tom Pinkney sympathized with Mulawa’s situation. Mulawa now qualifies for permanent resident status and can be a full citizen in as little as two years.

Congratulations to Mulawa and his new home!