Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during May, 2011
For the sixth consecutive year, Moscow has forbidden a peaceful gay rights demonstration from happening within the city, and for the sixth consecutive year, equal rights advocates have defied the ban—with violent consequences.
Sadly, this isn’t a surprise. Homophobia runs very deep in Russian culture, so the same story returns year after year. An otherwise peaceful demonstration is met by violent counter protesters from radical right-wing organisations, and the end result is that the peaceful demonstrators are arrested by the police.
Banning peaceful protests is never a good idea, so I’m grateful for the bravery and dedication these men and women show year after year.
It may seem like Moscow has a long way to go, but attitude only change with visibility. When I was a teen growing up in Edmonton in the 90s, I remember a news story about the city’s first gay Pride march. A small handful of protesters stood in front of city hall with handmade signs. About one in three had their heads covered by paper bags with holes cut out for eyes. They were afraid of being identified, afraid of losing their jobs or being outed to their families. This was in Canada, only about 15 years ago. Things have changed a lot since then, and it’s happening all over the world—just at different paces.
I’m looking forward to the year, guaranteed to come, when I’ll post about the first march in Moscow without arrests or violence.
- Dozens detained in failed Russian gay pride march [Montréal Gazette]
Despite threats from Toronto’s mayor to pull its funding, a city council committee has unanimously voted to continue supporting the city’s annual Pride festival.
Toronto Pride is Canada’s largest Pride celebration—a massive tourist draw, and one of the city’s largest festivals overall. Mayor Rob Ford had threatened to pull all city funding from the festival, however, due to a stupid controversy over a minor participant in the parade portion of the festival’s weeklong events. That participant, a group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, had already indicated that they would not participate this year, but Rob Ford still refused to provide funding, saying that he may grant money after the festival was finished and there was proof that QAIA had not participated.
Now, this committee decision doesn’t really change Rob Ford’s douchey antics—the city will still only pay money after the festival, and only on condition that the group doesn’t march, but at least there is some formal assurance that the money is coming. Committee members have also provided assurance that having a single rogue member of the group wearing a T-Shirt during the parade, or some other unauthorized minor participation, would not result in funding being pulled; only full participation would make the council reconsider the funds.
I guess Toronto Pride needs to find some new drama now. Personally, I suggest the Montréal approach: Foster a silly internal rift until the event gets split into two competing weeklong events, making the summer twice as gay!
- Pride funding approved by city committee [CBC News]
Alvaro Orozco, a gay Nicaraguan who unsuccessfully attempted a refugee claim in 2007, was arrested late last week in Toronto while waiting for a bus on his way out to dinner with a friend. He’s now being held in detention without bail, and can be deported at any moment—unless he gets some serious community help.
I had posted several stories about Alvaro before he went into hiding, including a guest post (by proxy) from Alvaro himself. His story was typical for gay refugee claimants in Canada: He fled a country where homosexuality is illegal, but was denied refugee status because he wasn’t deemed gay enough by the adjudicator. Many refugee claimants are asked to provide impossible proof that they are gay, despite having to have hid all such evidence in their home country. In Alvaro’s case, the adjudicator questioned why he hadn’t actively sought out sexual partners while he was travelling up to Canada through the States. He was 14 at the time.
Since arriving in Canada, Alvaro has established himself in Toronto as a photographer, artist, and activist. Now 25, he has been hiding from immigration while awaiting the status on his last-resort Humanitarian and Compassionate application. This arrest puts his entire future in jeopardy, particularly since his story has already reached mainstream Nicaraguan newspapers and homosexuality, while now legal there, is widely not accepted..
Alvaro’s future can be influenced by community support, but we need to take action now. If you have a few seconds right now, please sign this online petition to Let Alvaro Stay in Canada. (Believe it or not, in refugee cases, community support like this can actually have a strong influence on the outcome.) Also, you can join the Let Alvaro Stay Facebook page where information about events and other avenues of support are posted. A lot of his personal friends are there too, so you can learn more about Alvaro’s story, his artwork, and community activities while you’re there.
Me, I’ll be pushing for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to give Alvaro a seat in the Canadian Senate. As you already know, many Canadians who have run into trouble with the law or have been rejected by voters (and thus society in general), have been appointed to the senate where they can safely
sleep serve until they reach the age of 75—with a generous salary to boot. Normally I’d say this would be a long shot but, considering recent senate appointees… Alvaro’s head and shoulders above the lot of them.
Of course, whatever happens, we’re thinking of you, Alvaro!
Sad news, everyone. Harold Camping, an 89 year old pastor and expert on the Christian bible, has discovered the date of the rapture. And it’s this Saturday, May 21st.
Unfortunately it looks inevitable, too. Camping, who previously said the end of the world would occur on September 6th, 1994, has since spent many years studying the bible and has stated without any uncertainty that the bible “guarantees” this Saturday as the rapture—for real.
Sadder still, it looks like we gays are at least partly responsible for earth’s destruction. “The emergence of the ‘Gay Pride Movement’ and the complete disregard of the Bible in all of society today” are some of the very few primary factors that Harold included in his calculation of the date.
So, unfortunately for a lot of us, at around 6:00 pm California time, a massive earthquake (a phenomenon which, as you already know, is caused by homosexuality) will destroy everything on Earth, opening graves and calling all Christian believers—both deceased and living—into the sky toward heaven, somewhere in outer space. The rest of us will be left behind on a ruined planet until October 21st when God will apparently destroy the place entirely.
While a few months without any bigots actually sounds quite nice, the inconvenient timeframe means I’ll have to schedule my annual Halloween party a little earlier in the month before Earth is finally destroyed. Also, the earthquakes don’t sound very pleasant. Luckily I think I’m insured for that.
Anyway, I’m not yet sure if I’ll continue updating this site after the rapture, but stay tuned just in case.
- Christian radio network warns of Judgment Day on May 21 [USA Today]
- Billboards along Florida’s Turnpike warn that May 21 is Judgment Day [Orlando Sentinal]
- Science versus religion — Will the world end on October 21, 2011? [Digital Journal]
John Cummins, the only candidate for the leadership position of the provincial Conservative party in British Columbia, has declared that being gay is a choice and that the Human Rights Code in the province should therefore exclude gay and lesbian citizens.
“In my view it was not necessary to add another category,” Cummins told the press last week. ”I’m not a scientist, [but] some of the research tells me that there’s more of an indication that that’s a choice issue.”
Well, no credible research says that, actually. And while my M.Sc. would happily indicate that I am a scientist, I won’t presume—as does Mr. Cummins—that I have any authority to speak about this subject on an academic level since this isn’t my particular field of science.
That said, I have plenty of experience in research methodology and can recognize credible peer-reviewed studies when I see them. In the medical and psychological community, there is no controversy. The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association (and so forth ad nauseam), have all concluded that sexual orientation is not a choice, and that it’s not changeable.
(Or, you know, Mr. Cummings could have just asked a gay person, like me, if they chose their sexual orientation. I didn’t, in case he’s wondering.)
Still, I’m curious about something…
In addition to prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, the B.C. Human Rights Code also prohibits discrimination based on religious affiliation. Since religious affiliation is clearly a choice, and since I’m sure Mr. Cummins uses consistent and sound logic in making important leadership decisions, why does he feel that religious protections should be stripped from all BC citizens?
I’m still awaiting his response, but will surely let you know when he gets back to me. (Chortle.)
British Prime Minister David Cameron will unveil a plan to ban same-sex kisses on prime-time television, according to multiple media sources. The gay kiss ban, an amendment to existing television censorship rules, is part of a Cameron-backed inquiry into stopping children from “being exposed to indecent images.”
Funny… I always thought that limiting exposure to the media was the job of parents, but I guess not. British government. Go figure!
Reg Bailey, the chief executive of the Mother’s Union and person responsible for heading the inquiry, told the media that exposing children to adult themes, such as a famous gay-kiss scene that aired on Brookeside back in 1994, will “take away their innocence.”
Yes, it’s most unfortunate. One day these innocent children are out playing, running in loops and chasing insects in a field of posies, then they come inside to say the rosary and BAM! A gay person is kissing on the TV. Their innocence, lost forever, is replaced with soul-crushing guilt. Disillusioned with life, they tumble into an irreversible sorrow. Many die. It’s terrible.
Luckily, the public is taking notice. Brooke Vincent, a young actress who plays a lesbian character on Coronation Street, chimed in on the ridiculousness: “If same-sex kisses are what [Cameron] is prioritising and concentrating on changing, our country’s in trouble.”
Well put, Brooke. Lets call out Cameron on this silliness, lest it give the Harper Government™ some ideas here in Canada!
- ‘Indecent’ lesbian kiss scenes face watershed crackdown [The Daily Mail]
- Brooke Vincent blasts PM over TV plans [STV]
Last summer, I got married. To the greatest husband in the world, I should add! We were surrounded by family and friends, outdoors on one of the most beautiful days of the year. I wish I were poetic enough to describe it, because I had never experienced so much joy in a single day, but those of you with an Emotion-o-tronic 5000 can attach their USB BrainLink™ connector and click here to experience my wedding day memories via a direct brain emotion transfer.
Anyway, my wedding day was important to me, but it might not have happened had the political landscape been different. On the very first day of campaigning for the 2006 election, Stephen Harper promised to have a Conservative-controlled parliament re-vote on my right to marry. If he had sufficient numbers, it would have damaged my life intimately. I wouldn’t be wearing a ring right now.
Well, it’s election day again, and Stephen Harper is now asking Canadians for a majority, which would give the Conservatives complete power over Canada’s laws and policies.
Before voting today, remember that Harper is not a moderate. He has voted against equal rights for GLBT citizens at every opportunity, and is not done with us yet. Just months ago, he personally voted against protecting trans Canadians from workplace and housing discrimination. And with the party’s clear voting history, it would only take a single backbencher member’s bill to successfully strip away existing rights, such our hard-fought right to marry.
Today, vote. And vote strategically. It affects you more than you might think.