Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during October, 2010
Well, it’s Halloween, and since I’m probably a tad past the trick-or-treating age, I’m spending the evening watching cheesy horror movies.
There’ll be no post on Monday—I’ll be far too frightened—but things will be back to normal on Wednesday. Until then, have an unsettling evening of terror!
The world’s most famous gay-disliker, Pope Benedict XVI, is being toted about Europe in his Popemobile™ this autumn, including a stopover in Barcelona. And while he’s poping it up Spanish style, he’ll be treated to quite the spectacle!
On November 7th, an organization called Queer Kissing Flashmob, has invited people from across Spain to come and protest the pope’s backward views on gays and women by locking a little same-sex lip. If all goes according to plan, while the Popemobile™ popes his popiness from the Plaza de la Catedral to the Sagrada Familia, he’ll be surrounded by hundreds of men and women, all gay-kissing each other.
Not one to be outdone, the pope is reportedly sharpening his laser-like gaze in preparation for the glowering of a lifetime. Fortunately, even the most accomplished glowerer is powerless when his subjects’ eyes are closed in a passionate and super-hot, gay kiss.
Best of luck to the organizers! May your Queer Kissing Flashmob be the queerest, kissingest, flashiest mob yet!
- Pope Benedict XVI to be greeted by ‘gay kissing’ protest in Spain [Digital Journal]
Thanks to readers like you, Slap has been voted the best GLBT blog in Canada for the third consecutive year at the Canadian Blog Awards! Your support has been truly mind-blowing. Congrats to the runner up, James at the amazing Gay Persons of Color, and all the other nominees. Keep reading, sharing, and getting involved!
Despicable news from the east coast: Early last week, a gay couple living in Little Pond, Price Edward Island had an incendiary device thrown through their window in the middle of the night. While their house burned to the ground, the couple had to escape through a window, not knowing if anyone was outside to harm them. It took twenty firefighters nearly two hours to stop the flames.
Neighbours suspect the attack was a hate crime, as the gay couple’s mailbox had been set on fire a week earlier and the couple had previously complained about an anonymous harasser. Police have confirmed that they are treating the fire as arson, but haven’t found any suspects.
The community reaction to the crime has been swift and compassionate, but the couple, who has not been identified by the media, is understandably terrified. They asked a neighbour to accompany them when returning to the site of the fire to search for belongings, since they were too scared to go by themselves.
Here’s hoping the suspects are found. There is absolutely no room for this sort of hateful violence in Canada. In the meantime, anyone with information about the attacks is asked to contact the Kings District RCMP.
Special thanks to Slap reader Matthew, and everyone else who sent in this story.
- Co-ordinator says fire highlights homophobia on PEI [The Guardian]
- P.E.I. town fears fire was hate crime [CBC News]
It’s civic election day in Toronto today, and the polls indicate a dead heat. By the end of the day, the new mayor of Canada’s largest city will likely either be George Smitherman, who happens to be gay, or Rob Ford, who has been featured on this site twice for ridiculous, homophobic conduct.
Having no patience for intolerance, it should go without saying that I would prefer Smitherman to win over Ford. There are, of course, those that would prefer otherwise—and while they’re of course entitled to vote for whomever they choose, some of their messages have taken a turn for blatantly homophobic.
Catholic Insight, a politically-motivated religious publication, heartily endorsed Ford over Smitherman last week, calling Smitherman “ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil, that of homosexuality.” While the publication tried to remain as polite in phrasing as possible, there was nothing civil about it. “While those attracted to same sex orientation have the right to be treated with dignity like all other persons,” their endorsement stated, “they should not be appointed or elected to leadership positions.”
Gosh, how respectful of them. We gays are perfectly entitled to human dignity, so long as we not take any initiative on any public matters and remain as isolated and invisible as possible. Still, at least Catholic Insight had the decency to use their own name to deliver their hateful message that gays are inferior, incapable as role models, and shouldn’t be elected to any position of influence. Late last week, an anonymously produced, paid radio ad began airing on the Canadian Tamil Broadcasting Corporation. Translated, it begins thus:
- Man #1
- Elder brother, who are you going to vote for?
- Man #2
- (Snickers dismissively) What a question! We are Tamil. We have a religion, a culture. Take Rob Ford, he is married to a woman.
Meanwhile, near Victoria Park, crudely-designed posters began to appear overtop of existing election signs asking “Should a Muslim vote for him who married a man?”
Calling the ads “blatantly homophobic,” George Smitherman issued a statement to the press. “I will remain focused on offering a Toronto that finds strength in our diversity and builds for the future, not divides,” he said.
The Rob Ford campaign, meanwhile, posted a response on Twitter. “I do not condone the recent Tamil Radio ad,” the campaign stated, “I support diversity & have no issue with others’ lifestyle choices.”
Uh, OK. Except being gay isn’t a “lifestyle choice.” And, frankly, from Ford’s past actions as a city councilman, he very clearly doesn’t believe that gay people should have the same legal rights as straight people, let alone think the gay community should receive any city support or recognition for its renowned cultural events.
Toronto’s a great city that deserves a great mayor. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you guys today!
The city of Moscow has been fined €29,510 by the European Court of Human Rights for banning equal rights demonstrations in the city.
For several consecutive years, former mayor Yuri Luzhkov had banned gay Pride marches, calling them “satanic.” (I must’ve missed the year that the parade featured a live goat sacrifice.) When organizers ignored the bans, police did nothing to protect marchers from violent protestors, often hauling off the marchers in handcuffs instead.
Like many other parts of the world, the Council of Europe guarantees the rights of citizens to gather for peaceful protests. In light of this, the court ruled that Moscow couldn’t simply ban gay Pride marches simply because they don’t like gays.
The decision, incidentally, came on the same day that Yuri Luzhkov was replaced as mayor. He was fired by President Dmitry Medvedev in September after 18 years as mayor.
Comeuppance! I always wanted to use that word.
Conservative MP Vic Toews, the Minister of Public Saftey, was awarded an honorary Law degree from the University of Winnipeg yesterday admist student protest. Standing on stage with Toews, valedictorian Erin Larson said she was not proud of the University’s decision to confer the degree, adding that the school had lost its integrity. Outside, students protested with signs.
Toews was an outspoken opponent of equal marriage rights for gay couples during his ironic term as Justice Minister. Calling the legalization of same-sex marriage “a mistake” despite nine consecutive lower court rulings declaring it a constitutional necessity, he actively fought against the courts’ unanimous consensus. He introduced a House motion in 2006 to revisit the law, opening the door to end marriage rights for gays and have existing same-sex marriages annulled. Acknowledging that the law would be unconstitutional, the Justice Minister suggested the use of Canada’s obscure Notwithstanding Clause which could legally pass laws known to be unconstitutional for five years at a time. If he had succeeded, I wouldn’t be married today.
After his motion was defeated, Toews attempted to introduce a bill ostensibly titled the Defense of Religion Act. The bill would have allowed civil servants, such as civil marriage commissioners and justices of the peace, to deny public services to gay couples.
Personally, I think universities are welcome to confer degrees to whomever they choose, though I think it shows a certain amount of laziness to select controversial figures (such as politicians still in the middle of their careers) without considering whether or not their actions have been consistent with the university’s own values and policies.
And, of course, I’m welcome to confer my own Honorary Slaps to whomever I choose. Vic Toews seems like a pretty good first candidate, don’t you think?
- Students oppose honorary degree for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews [Winnipeg Free Press]
- Protest planned for Toews [Winnipeg SUN]
A gay-bashing victim who was assaulted in Vancouver earlier this month is very unhappy with the response he received from the police.
Thomas Pope says he was waiting for his friends outside a McDonalds when two men started taunting him with homophobic slurs. When his friends finally stepped outside, the two men turned their taunts to one of them as well, eventually escalating to violence. Thomas was punched several times in the face, and his friend, Jacob Pyne, had a tooth knocked out. Their female friend, Sara, wasn’t targetted. “They said that they had no problem with her because she’s a girl,” Thomas told the press, “they had a problem with [Jacob and me] because we’re “faggots.”‘
The police were called and arrived quickly, but that’s where things got weird. “She was swearing at us and yelling at us, the police officer,” Thomas told the press. “She said it was just a he-said-she-said incident and wouldn’t take my statement; that they were off the clock and we were lucky they even responded to the call.”
It took the involvement of Spencer Chandra Herbert, a Vancouver MLA who was concerned about this story, to get the police’s attention. An internal investigation which includes video surveillance is now underway.
It’s supremely disappointing that the police allegedly behaved in this manner, because reporting homophobic attacks is exactly what needs to be done as soon as something like this happens. Here’s hoping this ends up being resolved quickly!
- Police belligerent and unprofessional at gaybashing [Xtra West]
- Police conduct questioned in alleged gay-bashing [Toronto SUN]
In the four-and-a-half years this site has been around, I’ve gotten quite a few reports from people who have seen my drawings in some pretty strange contexts. Just this week, for example, I learned that a Vietnamese restaurant in Kingston, Ontario is using a Slap illustration in their Thanksgiving ads. (I’m optimistic that this means a free meal is on its way, because I could really go for some Phở gà right about now!)
Of all the illustration thefts though, my favourite are from anti-gay forums, Facebook pages, and blogs. Violating international copyright laws is one thing, but using the evidence to publicly mock yourself is delightfully nutty.
In that spirit, let’s do the meta thing today! Presenting my top-most stolen illustrations used for anti-gay purposes by people who clearly can’t tell they’re being made fun of.
I’m not too sure what everyone who stole this image assumed I meant when I drew it. It originally accompanied a post about how people misunderstand the point of Pride flags, but I guess it’s more easily interpreted to mean that if children ever see a rainbow, their sexual orientation will instantly set its arrow to über gay. Like most copyright infringements against me, I didn’t document all the times this was stolen, but at least JJ over at Unrepentant Old Hippie caught one of them a while back for posterity.
This barely made sense in its original context, but seeing it on at least a dozen generic (as in having nothing to do with the T-Dot or radio towers) anti-gay Facebook groups and blogs makes even less sense. Perhaps they think we insatiable gay activists are actually erecting full-spectrum laser towers to terrorize… what? Train Operators?
This drawing, which I apparently made when I was 2, has been stolen hundreds of times by my estimates. It accompanies a post about a real-life male nurse who pickets health centres, claiming that all gay people have AIDS. I’m not sure what I can say to justify this thing, other than that if I knew so many people would see it, I probably wouldn’t have held my pen with chopsticks instead of fingers.
If the previous illustration has been stolen hundreds of times, this one is probably approaching the thousands. To demonstrate, there’s a great Facebook group dedicated to reporting other, homophobic groups that violate the site’s terms of service, and at any given time, two or more of them will have this set as their profile picture, guaranteed. I can’t even tell you the number of forums and message boards this has appeared on. And all from people who, apparently, think chasing their children with cut-outs of green, leather-clad monsters on a stick is actually a pretty good training exercise in case they encounter a real life gay. My intention was to exaggerate the already irrational hysteria about gay people, but it’s now clear that I really ought to capitalize on this. The monster-cut-out-on-a-stick business must be a lucrative one! It’ll be a great investment opportunity for you, too. (Contact my CFO for details.)
Of course, if you see a Slap somewhere out in the wild, be sure to let me know. A high-profile theft from some well-publicized anti-gay organization is overdue, I just know it!
Well, it’s Thanksgiving here in Canada, so I’m taking the day off. For those unfamiliar with Canadian Thanksgiving, I’ve prepared some posts with Canadian Thanksgiving Trivia a few years back. Even now, I’m learning new differences between the holiday and its U.S. counterpart. For example, did you know that U.S. Thanksgiving desserts are traditionally made with pumpkins? Since all pumpkins have long frozen up here this time of year, we always make pies out of citrouilles (or “rooeys” as we call them). Also, since pilgrims never settled this far north, our traditional thanksgiving symbol is the nun.
Anyway, I hope you all have a lot to be thankful for this year. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
In the wake of four student suicides egged on by homophobic bullying, Exodus Global Alliance has abandoned an anti-gay school program dubbed the Day of Truth.
Since 2005, The Day of Truth took place every year in schools across North America—strategically scheduled to occur one day after the Day of Silence, an anti-bullying campaign designed to draw attention to how gay students must live in silence and fear to avoid harassment. “I’m speaking the truth to break the silence,” Exodus’ pamphelts read, “Exodus network is mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality.” (Emphasis theirs.)
While Exodus took over the campaign in 2009, it was originally started by the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian-funded legal group who unsuccessfully brought a school to court for suspending a student who wore a disruptive T-Shirt. “Be Ashamed,” it said. “Homosexuality is Shameful.”
It’s not surprising that Exodus wanted to take over the campaign so eagerly; it meshes with their mission perfectly. Exodus’ whole purpose is to promote the idea that gay people are morally corrupt, but can change through prayer and reparative therapy—a notion flatly rejected by all medical and psychological associations. Schools were also beginning to actively reject this message, having seen first-hand the dire harm that suppression and silence does to gay students.
As programs like the Day of Silence grew in popularity, Exodus felt more and more undermined by their effectiveness. Threatened, they lept at the opportunity to bring their unscientific message to schools, providing materials and instruction to schools across the continent. Their efforts immediately enabled bullies with anti-gay slogans and provided adult permission to spread messages of intolerance and shame, adding to the oppression and silence that gays already felt every day. It carefully nurtured the environment in which gay students felt so ashamed and hopeless that some would resort to suicide.
Fortunately, the Day of Truth is not happening this year. At least, not under the supervision of Exodus, who announced their abandonment of the campaign this week. The timing is not a coincidence, either. Just three weeks ago, four students killed themselves in separate incidents, unable to bear the harassment of their classmates. Candelight vigils were held in cities across the U.S. and Canada on Wednesday, and a successful online campaign has received hundreds of thousand of views, urging bullied students to keep hope that things will get better. Faced with growing outrage over the sentiment that they were actively promoting, Exodus had no choice but to end their management of the campaign. They offered no apology or regret, though, and their Day of Truth website now leaves a simple message thanking everyone who participated.
Exodus continues to feign compassion where convenient, but still heartily maintains that gay people are inherently evil and should be subjected to defunct therapies. They are still responsible for the attrocious Love Won Out conference, and for the incalculable misery of those subjected to their unscientific practices. And as long as they can spread this message, their affiliated lobby groups—to whom they ultimately answer—can point to Exodus as evidence that gay people don’t actually exist and therefore don’t need equal rights protections in the law.
Exodus Global Alliance is a registered charity in Canada, and the focus of a campaign I’ve started to help put an end to their tax benefits. Homosexuality is not a disease; it’s not changeable; it does not need to be changed; and no medical or psychological association supports what Exodus is doing. Help put an end to phony charities in Canada and Slap into Action.
Oakleigh Marshall, a high school senior in Muskegon, Michegan, was voted homecoming king by his classmates only to have the honour revoked by the school because he is transgendered.
Oak, as he is known to classmates, fully identifies as male. All of his teachers use masculine pronouns, he wears a male school band uniform, and will be wearing a male graduation robe when he graduates this year. After being voted as homecoming king by his classmates, though, the school invalidated the ballots and assigned the runner-up as homecoming king instead.
Todd Geerlings, the Assistant Superintendent, said that the school’s decision to invalidate the classmates’ votes was simple because Oakleigh was enrolled in school as a girl, and girls can’t be homecoming king. Oak’s friends and classmates have since set up a Facebook page entitled “Oak is My King,” protesting the school’s decision.
Speaking to the press, Oak expressed that he was happy with all of his friends’ support, but was disappointed at not having something tangible. “I don’t see why there’s any reasons why someone who’s different shouldn’t be on court,” he said. “I have just as much qualifications as anyone else in school.”
Well put. Here’s hoping the school reconsiders their decision, or at least issues an apology.
Special thanks to Slap reader Rebel Jackson for the story!
- Transgender senior can’t be king [WOOD 8]
The Q! Film Festival, a GLBT festival showcasing being hosted in Jakarta, has been attacked by members of an extremist group calling themselves the Islamic Defender Front.
So far, several masked protesters have forced the cancellation of a handful of films, and have threatened to burn down venues unless the festival is shut down completely.
This is the ninth year that the Q! Film Festival has been held, but the first that generated any significant controversy. In a brave stand, the festival planners are undeterred, saying the entire point of the festival is to promote both religious and gender tolerance. “If there are parties who disagree with the ideas behind the festival,” organisers wrote in a public letter, “we urge them to state their opinions through a discussion forum or by holding a forum like a festival or something similar that allows for the exchange of ideas without fear or coercion.”
Very well put. After all, like I wrote on the Slap Facebook page, if burning down cinemas were an appropriate response to objectionable films, I don’t think the industry would exist post-Glitter.
- Gay film festival attacked by masked Islamic protesters [The Guardian]
- Statement Letter [Q! Film Festival]
Andrew Shirvell, an assistant Attorney General in the U.S. state of Michigan, has started a bizarre, one-man crusade against a gay college student.
In what can only be described as a complete obsession, Shirvell regularly downloads and quotes material from the student’s Facebook content, as well as that of all his friends and family; he started a website devoted to denigrating the student, publishing offensively doctored photos and insults; he regularly pickets and videotapes the student, even outside his private home.
The target of Shirvell’s baffling obsession is Chris Armstrong, the elected student body president of the University of Michigan, who also happens to be gay. That doesn’t mesh well with the anti-gay Shirvell, who is completely clueless as to how strange his behaviour is.
Seriously, this guy is totally nuts. Don’t take my word for it, though; he recently agreed to an interview on CNN with Anderson Cooper. Go check it out. I’ll wait.
All done? Wow, eh?
I’d suggest that someone start a Andrew Shirvell Watch, but frankly Andrew Shirvell is already doing a pretty bang-up job at documenting the certifiably insane creepiness of Andrew Shirvell.