Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during April, 2010
A Vancouver music teacher has been suspended from teaching at a Catholic high school after parents found out that she was a lesbian, according to a news release from the Pride Education Network this week.
Lisa Reimer had taken some time off to celebrate the birth of her first child with her partner. When she returned, she was told that all her music classes had been cancelled and that the remainder of her contract with the school would be spent grading papers from home. The principal noted that while the school administration was confident in Ms. Reimer’s teaching ability, many parents were concerned about her “potential influence” on students. (All gay music teachers, of course, posses a powerful Pied Piper magic that, if gone unchecked, will lead students directly into the river Gay.)
While Little Flower Academy is a Catholic school, it receives public funding and is thereby subject to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, protecting staff against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The school was quick to emphasize that they didn’t actually fire Ms. Reimer, but there are ways to discriminate other than just firing someone. Right?
A 31-year old lesbian was violently assaulted in Edmonton last week in what she and her friends are calling a hate-motivated attack. Shannon Barry required two facial plate implants to repair a broken jaw and crushed eye socket after being kicked in the face while her assailants shouted anti-gay slurs.
Thankfully, an arrest has now been made: A 14-year old boy who cannot be identified by police.
Personally, I find that age pretty shocking. Fourteen. Who and what could possibly influence a kid to assault a woman over twice his age? I mean, other than the religious figures, politicians, lobby groups, and other adult role models who routinely encourage an unnatural hatred toward an entire minority group.
Charles McVety, one of Canada’s most frothy anti-gay lobbyists, has warned that a proposed sexual education curriculum reform currently being held for review in Ontario is “part of a militant homosexual agenda to normalize homosexuality in everyone’s mind and thereby promote homosexuality.”
(Say, wouldn’t it be swell if a kitten were born each time McVety uttered the word “homosexuality?” The world would become so much more adorable.)
The proposed curriculum—based on research into preventing teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases—is really just a frank discussion of sexual health issues introduced at appropriate ages.
The earliest grade affected by the reforms, grade three, is taught differences in skin colour, body size, cultures, and families. “Some students live with two parents,” one of the documents states, “Some live with one parent. Some have two mothers or two fathers.” (Across the country, several kittens are mysteriously willed into existence.)
By grade six, students learn about puberty and the physical changes they will experience. By grade 7, they’re finally taught about pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and descriptions of safe-sex practices. Once the students have graduated from high school, teen pregnancy and infection rates will have dropped noticeably.
McVety, always one to expect the unrealistic, describes the whole thing differently, saying that the reform will “subject sixth graders to instruction on the pleasures of masturbation, vaginal lubrication, and 12-year-olds to lessons on oral sex and anal intercourse.” And all of this, of course, in an effort to “promote homosexuality.”
And who does McVety blame for all these non-existent, step-by-step lessons on anal sex and discussions on the “pleasures of masturbation?” Here’s a hint: It’s not the health researchers and scientists who back the real curriculum.
“We warned the country about this when same-sex marriage came in,” McVety announced to the press, “We changed the laws in this country, redefined marriage, the end result now this is coming into our classrooms.”
Such zeal! Such pent-up frustration! Perhaps McVety could use some relaxation time—a vacation—to help reflect on the strong possibility that he’s an idiot.
Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, has cocked many-an-eyebrow this week after declaring that eating chicken will turn straight men gay.
(I guess I see how one could make that mistake.)
Specifically, Morales was referring to the poultry industry’s practice of injecting chickens with female hormones to promote the growth of white meat, which is substantially more popular than dark meat. “When men eat those chickens,” Morales stated, “they experience deviances in being men.”
Fortunately for all my straight crushes, there is zero evidence to support Morale’s assertion. Not that it would have stopped me from preparing all those delicious blackened chicken dinners. You know, just in case.
Clay Greene and Harold Scull, an elderly gay couple in Sonoma County, California, thought they had all their inheritance and legal paperwork sorted out. They couldn’t legally marry, but they had named each other in their wills, giving each other powers of attorney, and granted themselves control over medical decisions should something happen.
According to a lawsuit filed by Clay and the NCLR, things couldn’t have gone more wrong.
Tragically, Harold, aged 88, was hospitalized after falling on the front steps of the couple’s home. Not only was Clay (age 77) barred from seeing his partner of 20 years in the hospital because they weren’t legally family, but health workers forcibly placed the two in separate nursing homes. The County of Sonoma, deeming Harold incapable to care for himself and dismissing his relationship to Clay as “roommates,” seized and auctioned off the couple’s property and possessions. Harold died three months later, without Clay by his side. Clay is now without his partner, home, or any of the possessions that they had accumulated over their lifetime together.
Same-sex marriage is very, very important.
The case goes to court on July 16th.
- Greene v. County of Sonoma et al. [NCLR]
- Meet Harold and Clay [NCLR]
- Justice for Clay Greene and Harold of Sonoma County, CA [Facebook Group]
The Vatican released a statement on Friday asserting that their officials are not “competent” to talk about psychological matters. The unusual (but fair) assessment came after one of their cardinals, Tarcisio Bertone, declared—without sound reference—that homosexuality, and not mandated celibacy, was responsible for the church’s paedophilia scandal. (No link between paedophilia and homosexuality has ever been demonstrated.)
The comments received massive condemnation from governments and gay rights groups, including Canada’s own Egale. And from me too, why not? Because unjustly blaming an already tortured minority in order to divert responsibility for this horrific cover-up is… well, about exactly what I’d come to expect from the Vatican.
I’m über stoked to introduce today’s special guest author. Arthur is a gay American who moved to New Zealand in 1995. Blogging and podcasting as AmeriNZ, Arthur regularly offers an international perspective on culture and politics.
“Names will never hurt me.” Maybe not, but there are some names that aren’t acceptable or, at least, that’s what the New Zealand public thinks.
The agency responsible for determining what can’t be broadcast in New Zealand is the Broadcast Standards Authority. In order to know what “community standards” are, they periodically poll the New Zealand public. In their latest report, two words used against gay men made the top ten list of unacceptable “swear words.”
The BSA’s report, “What Not to Swear,” was based on a poll conducted by AC Nielsen. They added eight words that hadn’t been included before, among them, “faggot.” That word came in at number nine, deemed unacceptable by 46% of those surveyed. Critics have pointed out that a majority of New Zealanders think the word is acceptable under some circumstances. However, context matters and that doesn’t mean that Kiwis believe the word is always acceptable.
Another anti-gay epithet is at number five, rejected by 60% of New Zealanders. Demureness forbids me from mentioning that word, or the rest of the words on the list (the complete report can be found on the BSA website), but the word refers to a man who engages in a particular sexual activity that women may also do.
Language evolves over time, and so do community standards, which is why the BSA surveys the public from time to time. Basically, they’re snapshots of contemporary New Zealand society.
New Zealand has evolved a lot in just 25 years, especially when it comes to GLBT issues. The fact that two anti-gay epithets make the top ten list of least acceptable “swear words” suggests that NZ society has become one that knows homophobia is wrong. Or maybe they just know not to say such words publicly.
Ultimately, of course, it’s up to people to police themselves and to refrain from using words that are deliberately hurtful or demeaning. Surveys like this show how much progress we’re making in doing so. New Zealand is in a reasonably good space. In fact, I’d swear to it.
Well, I’m out of town for a bit, so there’s no new post today. But fear not! I shall resume posting on Friday. Unless, that is, there was a horrible, fiery plane crash and no one is available to animate my charred corpse through pulley systems and the like. If such an event is to occur, applications for talented puppeteers will be available by week’s end. Until then, have a great Wednesday!
I’m super happy to introduce today’s special guest author / illustrator! Premee is not only exceptionally talented, but also living proof that not everyone living in Calgary is necessarily a gun-toting, cowboy hat-wearing, cattle-prodding, grit-eating, hay-growing, gay-hoeing, well, you get the idea…
The US military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy has always been a tough one for gay activists. The proposed changes may make it a little easier to be a uniformed gay, inasmuch as an anonymous outing is no longer cause for immediate discharge (there’s an investigation now!), but the fact remains that the military culture is generally homophobic and feels that homophobia is a valid excuse to exclude, ostracize, threaten, and whine about undue exposure to gay folks. “But it’ll ruin unit cohesion!” “I’m scared I’ll be poked awake one morning!” “I can’t focus on my job with all that gay around!” “No man’s foxhole is safe!”
The rational response, of course, would be education and desegregation; unfortunately, it looks like the official response is ghettoization.
Marine Commandant General J. Conway has been interviewed saying “I would not ask our Marines to live with someone that’s homosexual if we can possibly avoid it,” and has gone on to outline his plans to completely segregate gay from straight troops. This uninformed and frankly nasty attitude promotes a culture of otherness and, so far from progressing gay troops from inferiors to equals, will probably make them targets by setting them apart from the rest of their units.
On the other hand, since single housing is now proposed for those gay servicemen, it might actually end up being a little nicer than life in the closet!
Let’s end the week on some sweet notes, why not?
British Columbia’s legislature will have a new name to remember after an NDP MLA married his longtime partner last month. Spencer Herbert will now be known as Spencer Chandra Herbert, making him Canada’s first MLA to take his gay partner’s last name. The Vancouver-West MLA has already updated his website with the change, and hopes that other legislative sources will soon follow. The change won’t take too much effort, mind you; during house proceedings, MLAs are always referred to by their constituency.
On the other side of the ocean, Slap reader Melanie has written in with some good news about a British soldier in Prince Harry’s regiment. Lance Corporal James Wharton from the Blues and Royals has married his boyfriend, Thom McCaffrey. James wore military regalia to help formalize the wedding, which was held at the regiment’s Knightsbridge barracks. It was the first same-sex wedding for any member of the Household Cavalry.
Of course, after these two weddings, I’ll keep an eye out for news on whether or not society will continue. Until then, have a great weekend!
- Gay MLA weds and takes husband’s name [Xtra West]
- Gay Wrexham soldier’s wedding makes military history [The Leader]
- Prince’s Man in Gay ‘I Do’ [The Sun]
California is advancing a bill that will repeal a bizarre “gay cure” law from 1950. The law states that “the State Department of Mental Health shall plan, conduct and cause to be conducted scientific research into the causes and cures of sexual deviation, including [...] the causes and cures of homosexuality.”
A bill to strike the ancient law advanced on a 4-0 vote, with three abstentions from members who supported the removal of the homosexuality reference, but would still like the law on the books to research sexual predators.
No word on whether or not the state will next stop its investigations of crop failures due to witchcraft.
- Calif. considers repealing law to study, cure gays [Associated Press]
- Calif. Looks to Change Gay “Cure” Law [NBC Bay Area]
It’s hard to believe, but today is Slap Upside The Head‘s fourth birthday!
Yes, it has been a full four years since the very first Slap post was published on April 5th, 2006. And, to commemorate, here is some Slap-themed wallpaper! Take your pick:
The owner of a café in downtown Waterloo, Ontario, has kicked out a lesbian couple for sharing what they say was a short, closed-mouth, peck on the lips.
Zoey Heath and her girlfriend Jenny Kirby brought their laptops to Café 1842 in order to work on their schoolwork. They started getting ready to leave when they shared a parting kiss. That’s when the heard the café owner yell “What’s going on here?” as she walked over toward the two, finally saying “Stop that. That’s enough. This is no place for that.”
Sonia Adlys, the owner of the café, paints a different picture, saying that the two were “necking.” “If you want to make love, you go behind closed doors,” she said. “We have senior people, families; we’re a family restaurant—I walked up to [the couple], yes maybe I was a little loud, and I said ‘Excuse me, can you please leave?’”
Presumably, police and trauma councillors were brought in to attend to all those poor seniors, families, and children who may have accidentally witnessed the kiss. The café will also very likely remain closed while authorities investigate the damage.
In the meantime, the Zoey and Jenny say they won’t be returning to Café 1842 again, although they’re not organizing a boycott. Instead, a Facebook group is setting up a kiss-in on the premises in protest—a pretty good idea, if you ask me!
(Thanks to Slap reader Paul for alerting me to this one!)