Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during April, 2009
Michael Ignatieff, the leader of the federal Liberal Party, has outlined some important topics to be discussed at the upcoming party policy convention—and addressing the recent ban on gay organ donors is one of them.
Health Canada, under the direction of the Conservative government, banned all gay men from donating organs in December of 2007—even if a transplant patient urgently requires an organ to survive. The bizarre move drew immediate criticism from the medical community as being scientifically unfounded and dangerous, and doctors have outright refused to comply with the ban.
Still, the rule is officially on the books, and the Tories have shown no interest in reversing it. Considering that there are no alternative procedures for organ transplants, that all organs are screened for diseases, and that there is a constant shortage of donors, turfing the ban seems like a no-brainer to me. Here’s hoping the Liberals make it a quick policy point!
- Ignatieff calls Liberal policy convention ‘about plenty’ [The Hill Times]
Marc Dalton, a candidate in the upcoming B.C. election, has drawn criticism over the surfacing of a homophobic email that he authored back in 1997. The email, which was sent while Dalton was an elementary school teacher, tiresomely equates gay people to adulterers and gamblers:
There are […] behaviours and acts that most of us would not condone: rape, robbery, assault, drunken driving, pedophilia, incest, and so on. There are other moral issues that large segments of our society do not see eye to eye: gambling, adultery, pornography. I believe that homosexuality fits in this category.
As is increasingly customary amidst elections, the email was revealed by a rival party, accompanied with a demand that Dalton resign for its content. NDP rival Spencer Herbert called the email’s message “disturbing,” adding “to say people like myself and other gay people are the same as pedophiles is an offensive remark.”
In fairness to Dalton, I don’t believe the email equates gay people to pedophiles, and frankly, the whole tone of the email seems like just another woefully misinformed repetition of religious morality talking-points. Still, Dalton, who is also a former pastor, has only provided a meaningless—even snarky—apology, saying “if Spencer Herbert or any other individuals have taken offence in their reading of this 12-year-old e-mail, I extend my unequivocal apology.”
The email is old, but much like the Tom Lukiwski fiasco, I think the age of the offending comments is irrelevant. I also think that all this talk of the email content and when it was made is a distraction from the larger issue.
Dalton’s email wasn’t sent out of the blue; it was sent to a fellow teacher in response to an anti-bullying initiative brought up by the B.C. Teacher’s Federation. The initiative was to protect children who were being bullied and harassed for having gay parents, or for being gay themselves. Not only did Dalton disagree with protecting students from this anti-gay harassment, but he actively started a counter-petition, circulating it among teachers, trying to get the anti-bullying initiative struck down. In Dalton’s words:
There are many, many people who hold homosexuality to be an improper and high-risk behaviour. […] I am against the BCTF ram-rodding the homosexual motion against the wishes of great numbers of parents (and teachers) in this district and in this province.
This, the act of actively thwarting an initiative to protect children from bullying under the disingenuous guise of somehow protecting parental freedom to oppose homosexuality, is the true vulgarity here. This important character revelation has relevance to the current election, and its in this respect that I agree with Spencer Herbert. MLAs are required to represent everyone in their community, and Dalton, having shown that he is not up to the task, should quietly remove himself from candidacy.
Well, this is getting bizarre! Wednesday’s silly little story about the Alberta government defining same-sex couples as “benefit partners” instead of “spouses” in their employee benefit plan is causing more of a stir than expected.
Same-sex marriage is a legal reality in Canada, but Alberta’s gay government workers are being categorized differently. It should be a no-brainer to remedy this and move on—or so you’d think.
Lloyd Snelgrove, an Alberta cabinet minister and president of the treasury board, is continuing to defend the separate-but-equal treatment in the benefit plan, saying that the government’s benefit plan shouldn’t be used to “drive social change” and that anyone who has a problem with it should go to the Human Rights Commission instead of the plan’s source.
“Drive social change?” Same-sex marriage has been legal in Alberta since 2005; the change already happened. Surely this is just a matter of updating the books to keep consistent. But even Alberta’s premier, Ed Stelmach, has now come out against calling same-sex spouses “spouses” in the plan: “The benefits are the same,” he said during Wednesday’s question period, “and that’s the most important thing.”
It’s true: The benefits are the same—just like the water that leads to separate drinking fountains come from the same pipes, but something’s still not right. It’s a cliché, but one apparently requires repeating: Separate but equal is not equal. The Alberta government should just acknowledge reality, update the darn plan, and move on to something more important.
Gay government workers in Alberta are not allowed to list a same-sex partner as a “spouse” in their benefits package, according to a government booklet.
Scott Mair, a former government employee, said in a radio interview that the government only permits same-sex spouses to be defined as “benefit partners” instead of “spouses,” and that because of the difference, same-sex couples cannot register or update their spouses’ benefits online.
Astonishingly, Lloyd Snelgrove, an Alberta Cabinet minister and president of the Treasury Board, called the double-standard “fine,” and that he had “no intention of changing the definition of spouse to include people in same-sex marriages.”
An interesting stance, since the federal parliament already did that in 2005. I guess Lloyd overturned it when we weren’t looking. You’re a sly one, Lloyd!
And Tango Makes Three, a children’s picture book about penguins at the Central Park Zoo was the most challenged book for the third consecutive year, according to the American Library Association.
The book recounts—through delightfully charming watercolour illustrations—the true story of two male chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo who incubate and hatch an abandoned egg, raising it as their own. The picture book generated more formal complaints and was pulled off more Library shelves than any other book in 2008, with most complainants criticizing it for being “anti-family,” “pro-gay,” and “anti-religion.” (I’d just call it “pro-adorable.”)
GAFPA, The Gay, Athiest, Family-Destroying Penguin Association, has issued a press-release, calling the book censorship “Chirpichirpi-Quaaaah!”
The province of Alberta has completely eliminated all forms of gender reassignment surgery from its public health care, cloaked as a cost-saving measure to improve the economy. The surgery, which was recommended to about twelve Albertans per year, can demonstrably improve the lives of transgendered individuals at virtually no cost to the health care system.
Already, the move has sparked outrage and confusion among the transgendered community, and has some MLAs—including a Conservative backbencher—seeking answers. The move seems a tad ideological, considering the negligible cost of the services, and that the province only recently eliminated health care premiums at a cost of over a billion dollars.
Ontario had also tried de-listing gender re-assignment surgery from its public health care system, but was forced to re-introduce it by the Human Rights Commission ten years later.
- Tory MLA questions delisting of sex changes [Edmonton Journal]
- Oprah expresses interest in Canadian sex-change surgery decision [Canada.com]
Michal Grzes, a conservative politician in western Poland, has publicly spoken out against his local zoo for acquiring Ninio, a ten-year-old elephant that has only shown interest in other male companions.
No longer content with moralizing individuals of his own species, Grzes called Ninio complete waste of money:
We didn’t pay 37 million zlotys (about 14 million Canadian) for the largest elephant house in Europe to have a gay elephant live there.
A spokesperson for the zoo said that elephants don’t normally reach sexual maturity until the age of 14, and so he still may not have discovered his sexual orientation.
Opponents are reportedly praying to help stop Ninio’s recruitment of child zoo patrons into the sinful elephant lifestyle.
(Hat tip to James over at Gay Persons of Color.)
Well, it’s the Easter long weekend, so let’s have some fun!
National Organization for Marriage, an anti-gay lobby group based in the United States, has released one of the wackiest anti-gay advertisements I’ve seen, comparing same-sex marriage to a violent storm. YouTube has the goods.
The disparity in outlook has taken a turn for the melodramatic, has it not?
I’ll leave the final bit of amusement courtesy of the Human Rights Campaign, who has managed to get the audition tapes for the spot—and, interestingly enough—every one of those concerned individuals is a California doctor and Massachusetts parent. Fascinating!
Anyway, thanks to everyone who sent this ad in. Have a great long weekend! Slap will be back on Wednesday instead of Monday. Cheers!
In just this past week, Sweden, Iowa and Vermont have all either passed legislation giving equal marriage rights to same-sex couples, or have had laws banning same-sex marriage struck down as unconstitutional. Clearly, equality is unstoppable!
Eventually, anti-gay lobby groups everywhere will realise this and begrudgingly move on… to attack some other minority group, in all likelyhood.
It’s barely believable to me, but yesterday was Slap Upside The Head‘s third birthday! If this site were a person, it’d be walking about comfortably and have a pretty decent vocabulary.
To help commemorate Slap’s blogoversary, my wonderful, talented, smart, and incredibly handsome fiance let me take a break from the computer by preparing this delicious virtual cake in Google Sketchup. (The website think’s it’s delicious and sends its thanks.)
Of course, there wouldn’t be a website if it weren’t for all the readers and supporters out there. You’re what keeps this site alive. Thank you all!
Sweden’s parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage on Wednesday. The vote—which, despite its date, was no April Fool’s joke—passed with an impressive 226-22 support, making Sweden the seventh country worldwide and the fifth country in Europe to provide equal marriage rights to all citizens. The law comes into effect May 1st.
Neat! And I didn’t think it was possible for more gays in Sweden to sing “I do I do I do I do I do” then there already were. Congratulations, you guys!
Hello, friends. My name is Damian and I am your new host for this website. In these times of economic uncertainly, I was happy to help Mark out by buying the rights to these pages, and by doing so I can help all of you.
As part of the ownership transfer, I’ve agreed to keep all of the site’s old articles intact and available, and I promised to uphold Mark’s mission to help out the gay and lesbian community in whatever way I can. You see, having been involved with homosexuality in my past, I know what it’s like to struggle as a homosexual. That is why I’m eager to deliver my message of love and hope directly to people just like you through this website.
First, I’ll get the obvious out of the way: There will be some big differences on this site from now on. For starters, I’m not an artist. For this post, I’ve scanned in some doodles that Mark made on the contract of the site’s sale terms, but eventually I’ll be showcasing the beautiful works of Eugene Poisson D’Avril, a wonderful and talented oil painter who volunteers frequently at our church. I will also eventually relocate the old posts to a separate archival section of the site and rename all the pages to better communicate a more positive message of love and change: Love Upside The Head.
For now, though, my first action here will be to talk about change.
What is change?
Websters defines change as “to exchange larger units of money for smaller ones.” You see, I was once trapped by the black talons of homosexuality, and with your donation, I can provide the time and materials necessary to help you escape the homosexual lifestyle and put yourself on the path to a more fulfilling life.
For men, I will replace your lust for hot, sweaty, abdominal muscles and the chiseled landscape of the male body with your innate desire of boobies. For women—you’re all just confused. It’ll pass. But through the power of love, you too will learn to repress your biological desires into a black ball in the pit of your stomach and live a life of feigned contentment with a new, heterosexual partner. Or, failing that, a life of total solitude and abstinence, just like me.
So, welcome, everyone, to Love Upside The Head! I look forward to being your guide on the journey to change!
Your pal, Damian.
Update 9:45 PM: Good news! I, Mark, have regained control of this website. All will be back to normal very soon! I had no idea Damian was going to do this with the site’s direction. If only you could have heard what he told me beforehand… Luckily, by inserting the doodles I scribbled on our agreement into the post, he had published content from a confidential contract in violation of its terms. So, I tore up the agreement and gave him back his toonie. I’ll get my laundry money elsewhere, thank-you-very-much!
For those who are feeling too groggy to think about when this was published, let the historians note that this was, indeed, an April Fool’s joke. Cheers, kiddos!