Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during March, 2009
Alberta will amend their provincial human rights legislation to explicitly protect gays from discrimination.
Culture Minister, Lindsay Blackett, who just last month said that updating the province’s human rights legislation to include gays would be a “knee-jerk response,” has apparently jerked his knee, giving him ample recovery time to draft up the much-needed legislation.
Alberta was the only province in Canada to not include gays in their human rights laws, despite a decade-old Supreme Court ruling requiring it.
Claire L’Heureux-Dube, a former Supreme Court judge, has predicted that the courts will toss out any arguments linking same-sex marriage to a polygamist sect in Canada.
Two men currently facing charges related to a religious cult in Bountiful, British Columbia have already indicated that they will invoke gay marriage as an argument defending their dozens of wives.
“It is contrary to the equality of the sexes,” L’Heureux-Dube said to the press, noting that in the United States these men would be charged with sexual exploitation rather than simply having multiple spouses. Indeed, the polygamy charges in Bountiful appear to be a blanket charge for greater accusations of incest and exploitation.
So where do the gays come in all of this? Beats me! I’ve only heard the argument from those wacky anti-gay lobbyists, not the actual connection.
- Former top court judge doesn’t buy polygamy argument [Canada.com]
The United States government has indicated that it will finally sign a U.N. document denouncing the criminalization of homosexuality worldwide.
This new move will reverse a bizarre decision made by the Bush administration in December, where the United States broke ranks with the majority of U.N. members (including every European country, as well as all North, South, and Central American nations—excluding the island of Saint Lucia) in refusing to sign the symbolic document.
The anti-gay lobby group, Family Research Council, is, of course, enraged:
Adding to the long list of Bush positions that are now history, the Associated Press reports that the Obama administration will reverse Bush’s policy and endorse a nonbinding U.N. declaration to “protect” homosexuals. [...] Press reports emphasize that the declaration calls for the “decriminalization” of homosexuality, a policy already forced on the U.S. by a 2003 Supreme Court decision.
Ah, yes, don’t we all wax nostalgic now and then for the good ol’ days when U.S. laws were more like those of Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, and North Korea? Those halcyon days when gays like me were simply locked away where no one had to concern themselves over our existence. Surely those were simpler times—before that mean old Obama marched on in, tore that cooling pie right off the window sill, and sucker punched grandma in the ribs.
A super hat tip to JJ at Unrepentant Old Hippie for digging up the story.
- UN Statement on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity” [US Department of State]
- Queer Eye for the State Guy? [Family Research Council]
Well, Canada’s already abysmal record in dealing with gay refugee claimants probably isn’t going to get better.
Doug Cryer, the former director of public policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, has been appointed to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board by the Conservative government. Cryer, who says that all gay people are inherently sinful, will now decide if gay refugees will be allowed to stay in Canada to avoid persecution of homosexuality in their home countries.
Canada is habitually unaccommodating of gay refugees, often requiring exhaustive proof of homosexuality from claimants who have had to spend their whole lives hiding it from oppressive governments. Many countries criminalize gay people, with sentences ranging from fines, to incarceration, to death. While keeping an eye out for anyone who would falsely claim to be gay is important, many of Canada’s past deportation decisions have been catastrophes.
With Cryer’s appointment, legitimate concerns of anti-gay bias are overshadowing the even bigger issue: Cryer has absolutely no experience with refugee matters. Luckily, I know of an excellent accelerated training strategy: Deportation to the Kingdom of Gaybonia.
Kari Simpson, an anti-gay activist, has filed a complaint against the B.C. Education Ministry for not doing enough to help students who “suffer from homosexuality and other dysfunctional sexual orientations.”
The bizarre complaint goes on to allege that schools simply aren’t turning enough gay students straight. As Simpson puts it:
Sexual re-orientation therapies have helped thousands of individuals recover from such dysfunctional orientations. School counsellors are being denied the tools to be effective advocates for students in need of sexual re-orientation help and they should have access to resources and training that will equip them to properly counsel students.
Gee, that’s just awful. Think of all those thousands of poor, suffering gays that were denied their right to re-orientation by that callous school board.
Odd, though, don’t you think, that this human rights complaint had to be filed by a Christian activist instead of just one of those thousands of suffering students who were denied a gay cure. (Though, frankly, the only suffering I’ve ever endured as a gay person is from people like Kari.)
See, what Kari already knows—but chooses to ignore—is that all peer-reviewed research into reparative conversion therapy for gays has not only shown that it’s completely ineffective, but that it’s demonstrably harmful to one’s well-being. That’s why every respected medical and professional organisation has gone on record to condemn the very idea, including The American Psychological Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Medical Association, The American Counselling Association, The American Psychiatric Association, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
If I had to take a gander at it—which I don’t, but it’ll be fun—I’d say that Kari is filing the human rights complaint for two reasons. First, the Human Rights Commission has a history of protecting the rights of gays, and a small subset of religious activists feel it’s at their expense. By launching a destined-to-fail complaint she is setting herself up for some kind of hilarious martyrdom for a tiny, but delightfully obsessed group of nuts, which she can then use to further criticize the commission. Second, she gets a venue in which she can repeat the myth that there’s really no such thing as gay people to begin with: just straight people who need help escaping their sin.
Disingenuous compassion has been a failing strategy for these activists for years. This time won’t be any different. It’s just too bad that she has to waste valuable time from the people who have real human rights violations to report.
The proposed law, delivered to a parliamentary committee this week, would incarcerate gay couples who get married for five years, as well as any witnesses to the ceremony for one year.
Well… Someone’s awfully cranky.
Many governments worldwide are actively homophobic, but jailing well-wishers who simply attend a gay wedding would, essentially, make it illegal not to be homophobic.
But perhaps there’ll be nothing to worry about. As James points out, the proposed law would be entirely moot—at least, according to the government. Just last month, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs declared that an exhaustive, country-wide search for gays and lesbians had been carried out and that they “could not come across any Nigerian with such sexuality.”
A mother has complained to the media after discovering that her daughter was able to select two females as marriage partners in the free trial of The Game of Life, a computer version of the popular Milton Bradley board game.
The game is a relatively dull 1960s carry-over that lets you move a little car around a board, following a generic script starting from graduating school, to marrying, to buying a house, and finally to retirement.
“You know how kids are,” the anonymous complainant told WorldNetDaily, a political website, “My daughter noticed right away—even before I did—and clicked on one of the girls instead of one of the men and then asked ‘Mom, how come I can marry a woman?’”
Gee, that’s awful. Although, really, I’m not sure I see what’s so difficult about saying “some girls marry other girls.” I guess this parent also wanted to inject all her personal objections to gay people alongside the simple, matter-of-fact explanation. Knowing how sex-obsessed anti-gay folks are, that likely involved concepts beyond what a 6-year-old is capable (or ready) to understand.
So, rather than simply omitting her objections and just acknowledging the reality of the situation, the unnamed mother went and did the next easiest thing: She went to the game’s website and tried to persuade the administrators to censor the game. But—the poor dear—her publicly viewable complaints were promptly deleted for being inappropriate. ”I had no idea how insidious they were being with pushing the homosexual agenda,” she remarked.
The 1960s version of the game, incidentally, also “pushes the homosexual agenda” by allowing players to put two blue or two pink pegs in their little car.
- Christians Attack “Gay Agenda” in PC Game [The Escapist]
- Conservative Christian site decries Game of Life’s ‘gay agenda’ [Joystiq]
The Traditional Anglican Communion, a group of Anglicans who abandoned the global Anglican church over same-sex blessings and the ordination of women, has decided to go back to their very early roots and re-join the Roman Catholic Church, if The Vatican will let them.
Anglicans spit from Rome in 1534 over their refusal to annul the marriage of King Henry VIII. Nothing like a common dislike of the gays to mend a 475-year old rift, huh?
- Traditional Anglican Communion wants to join Catholic Church [Daily Gleaner]
Troubled economic times have a lot of people predicting doom and gloom, but one of Russia’s most influential scholars has employed an unusual methodology for some rather specific future events.
In a lecture to an invited selection of international media representatives, Igor Panarin, Dean of a diplomat school for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, predicted that the United States will be fractured into six rump states (with Alaska falling to Russian rule) by 2010. Panarin’s prediction and timeline are based on what he said was a natural progression from observed “social and cultural phenomena.” Specifically: School shootings, a growing prison population, and the number of gay men.
What terrible news, but it all falls into place! My gay friends across the border are a clear sign that Barack Obama will soon declare martial law, thrusting the nation into chaos before toppling its own government and entering an era of terrifying anarchy. A semblance of order will occur only after rogue leaders self-assemble into six autonomous states, of which only conservative Alaska will escape by embracing Russian rule.
Oh, horrible fate! And all within the next nine months. How ever shall my stateside friends manage? Courage, friends. Courage!
David Popescu, the crazy fringe candidate from Sudbury who declared that all gays should be killed during a federal election debate, has been charged by the Greater Sudbury Police Service for two counts of the wilful promotion of violence and hatred toward an identifiable group.
Canada outlaws speech that promotes violence or hatred toward minority groups through section 319(2) of the Criminal Code. Despite this, Popescu has only stood by his remarks, saying that his promotion of LGBT genocide is protected by his freedom of religious expression. (Maybe he skipped over the “Thou shalt not kill” bits?)
Already, some right-wing commentators have leapt to Popescu’s defense, claiming that his prosecution is just an example of the oppression and intolerance that Christians are currently facing.
Sigh… Let’s just get this out there, shall we?
Reporting a death threat is not opression or intolerance; investigating a death threat is not oppression or intolerance; charging and prosecuting those who utter death threats is not oppression or intolerance. I will not accept that threatening an entire group of people with death is OK because one interprets their religious texts as such. In fact, I don’t believe that resistance to any of the harmful, hateful messages often repeated by those shielding themselves behind religious texts is oppression or intolerance. Tolerance has never meant submission into being treated as inferior and unworthy of human dignities.
So, to those who seriously believe it’s intolerant for gays to resist being told we are lesser, that we shouldn’t ask for or deserve equal rights, or that we simply write off a call for our death as a religious freedom: Suh-lap!
Despite a growing number of countries demonstrating that gay marriage does not destroy society and all of life as we know it, some very special types of people remain in hysterical panic, as this gem from North Carolina demonstrates.
Speaking to an anti- gay marriage crowd, David Gibbs—the lawyer best known for his fight to keep the brain-dead Terri Schiavo on life support—hypothesized about a post- gay marriage future:
[Same-sex marriage] will open the door to unusual marriage in North Carolina. Why not polygamy, or three or four spouses? Maybe people will want to marry their pets or robots.
Their robots! It all fits into place! Why, just today I caught my robot looking at me with a distinctly amorous gaze.
Why? Why did I order a robot that can love?
And a huge tip o’ the hat goes to JJ at Unrepentant Old Hippie for a story that I just couldn’t resist.
- Marriage rally draws 1,000 [News & Observer]
Here’s a cute story to lighten those mid-week blues. The B.C. legislature has welcomed some of Metro Vancouver’s gayest royalty for the first time on Monday in acknowledgement of the community’s efforts—minus one small detail.
The Emperor and Empress of Surrey, accompanied by Mr. and Ms. Gay Vancouver attended Monday’s legislative session at the invitation of NDP MLA Spencer Herbert, who called the royal visit one of many “small steps toward a fuller appreciation of our province’s great diversity.” However, due to dress protocol, all tiaras and sashes had to be left at the hotel.
“The symbol of the crown is usually reserved for one individual,” the Empress said to the press, referring to, I assume, Stephen Harper. “Yes, I would have loved to have had all my regalia,” added Ms. Gay Vancouver, “but I’m still here as Ms. Gay Vancouver!”
Good on all of them! Until Friday, kiddos!
- Drag queens lose crowns in protocol tussle [Globe and Mail]
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. Given all the recent hubbub about Harvey Milk and Sean Penn’s portrayal of him in the Oscar-winning historical film, I decided that this would be an ideal opportunity to talk about the modern gay rights movement.
While Milk was undoubtedly an important and influential early figure in the gay civil rights movement, gay people largely owe their rights to a moment several years before his first foray into the world of Californian politics. It’s a night that many people perhaps know the name of, but do not know much about, which is why it will be the topic of today’s article: The Stonewall Riots.
The Stonewall Riots took place in The United State’s other gay homeland, Christopher Street, in Greenwich Village, New York, 1969. At that time, America’s policies toward gays and lesbians was comparable to that of most Iron Curtain, communist-controlled nations. Most states had laws criminalizing homosexuality, as did most other developed countries around the world.
However, in New York, there were a few bars that would serve openly gay customers, drag queens, and lesbians. Police raids at these establishments were common; they would come in with both plainclothes and uniformed officers, claiming to be searching for liquor sale infractions. They would then arrest patrons of the bars providing little or no charges. Drag queens, butch lesbians, Blacks, and Hispanics would be arrested more often than white men. Men dressed as women would automatically be arrested, and women had to be wearing at least three pieces of feminine clothing, or else they would be arrested as lesbians. Adding insult to injury, the day after the arrests, the names of all arrested would be printed in the newspaper, often resulting in them being fired from their jobs. The bar would be allowed to re-open, sometimes that same night, after paying a bribe to the police. Indeed, most gay-friendly establishments were owned by the mafia, including the Stonewall.
On the morning on Saturday, June 28, 1969 at 1:20am there was a raid on the Stonewall that certainly did not go as the police had planned. They started off as usual, turning off the music, turning on the lights, lining everyone up, and inspecting genders. The bar was quite full that night—approximately 200 customers—but the patrons who had valid identification and were released didn’t just leave; they congregated outside the bar’s entrance, attracting a larger and larger crowd of onlookers who jeered and shouted at the police.
This was the second raid on the Stonewall in a week, and would become the straw that broke the camel’s back. There are differing reports as to who actually threw the first punch. Some say it was a drag queen, some say it was one of the bar’s African-American patrons, but several accounts exist of a woman, one of the bar’s lesbian regulars, who fought police for several minutes. As the stories go, when she finally was subdued and thrown into the back of a police wagon, she yelled out in desperation “Why don’t you guys do something?”
The crowd went berserk, freeing those in custody, smashing and burning the police vehicles, and pelting the officers with coins, beer cans, and bricks from a nearby construction site. With mafia help, the police barricaded themselves within the Stonewall, trapped until reinforcements could come rescue them. Rioters used parking meters as battering rams to break into the bar, at which point police had to use the threat of firearms to make the protesters back off. The riots were spontaneous, an eruption of pent-up frustration that had built up in the repressed gay community, the flames of which were fanned by homeless gay youths who slept in a nearby park, as well as other anti-war, anti-police, individuals who weren’t gay, but found like-mindedness in New York’s Greenwich Village.
Sissies aren’t supposed to fight back. At least that’s what New York’s police believed. But those beliefs were rapidly overturned by the persistent escalation of violence that occurred that night, and continued the following night. On Sunday, thousands of demonstrators took to Christopher Street to riot again in an even larger protest that halted on Monday and Tuesday only because of rain, and erupted once more on Wednesday, when 500-1000 demonstrators took to the streets calling for changes in treatment by police, and calling for a boycott of the Stonewall and other mafia-run bars so that gays could control their own establishments.
The riots that night were the stepping stone for gay pride movements internationally, and are now known as the “hairpin drop heard round the world.” (The term “hairpin drop” was gay slang that meant dropping hints about one’s sexual orientation.) In fact, the riots were so unifying that in some parts of the world, such as many parts of Europe, gay pride parades are called CSD, or Christopher Street Day, named after the street where the Stonewall Bar once stood and which gave birth to the modern gay rights movement.