Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during July, 2011

Better Late Than Never: Gay Group Gets UN Accreditation

July 27th, 2011

An 80s girl gets a call on her massive cell phone: "I've got some TOTALLY RAD NEWS, Becca! You got in!"

The International Gay and Lesbian Association, one of the world’s oldest GLBT equal rights organisations, has finally won consultive status to the UN Economic and Social Council, after years of trying.

The group had actually gained consultative status back in 1993, only to have it taken away in 1994. A bit of a tease, really, but then again, this is the era that thought Mrs. Doubtfire was the pinnacle of comedy.

Anyway, 17 years later, the group is finally back in with an impressive vote of 30 to 16 against. Countries voting against included Iraq, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Egypt, and Ghana. Those for included India, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada (yay!), Chile, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, and Hungary.

Congratulations to the IGLA! The UN may have about as much power as their shadow clubs formed in elementary schools across the globe, but it still says something about attitude progression worldwide, and that’s nifty enough for me!

United States Inches Toward Real Freedom

July 25th, 2011

La Liberté éclairant les États-Unis après une période d'hibernation

Well, I’m back from my vacation abroad, so let’s start up again with some short, but welcome news! New York officially started issuing same-sex marriage licenses yesterday, just days after President Barack Obama certified the end of the military’s silly “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that banned openly gay citizens from serving in the country.

Hundreds of New Yorkers lined up patiently to get their marriage certificates on Sunday, many of whom had waited for decades. The first couple to get their certificate was Phyllis Siegel, 77, and Connie Kopelov, 85, who have spent the last 23 years of their life together. The total number of marriage licenses issued the first day totaled 659, a new record for the state. A great day for the institution of marriage!

The official repeal of the ban on openly gay people in the army will happen on September 20th.

Congratulations to everyone who helped fight for both of these important steps in getting full equality. Keep it up, and soon everyone in the States will get the freedom they were promised!

Des Nouvelles De L’Avenir

July 20th, 2011

Good day to you, gentlemen, gentleladies and other various gentlepeople. It is I, Professor Flamingo Jones of the University of Oxbridgeshire, writing to you once again. For the next week or so, Mark, the author of Slap Upside the Head, has graciously agreed to accompany me on a research expedition to France. Our primary goal is to finally uncover the true origin of the phrase “Gay Paris.” So, during this excursion, he will unfortunately not be able to create the vivid illustrations that one normally comes to expect of this esteemed website. To make up for this, I have prepared something else to serve in his stead. Over the years that I have conducted research into the field of Queer Archaeology, I have learned what all other historians have learned: history repeats itself. Would that we could learn from the past, but with almost regular certainly, mistakes are repeated, and those of us who are specialists in the historical sciences can even predict what patterns society is doomed to repeat in the future.

In that vein, I will be preparing three illustrations that will predict the geopolitical current events that I expect will transpire within the next week. Although my style of illustration cannot hold a candle to Mark’s, I too can draw; after all, I did study Calculus at Le Sorbonne. I am certain that my method of using the past to predict the future will undoubtedly be uncanny in its similarity to the front pages of newspapers of the day.

Just in case my predictions are wrong, however, Mark will also be posting some reader-submitted GLBT-related stories of interest below each hopefully relevant illustration. Please feel free to send Mark anything you find along!

Until we meet again,

Professor Flamingo Jones, B.Sc., M.QA., PhD.GSc.

Friday’s Tidbits

A cat walks on the moon.

Monday’s Tidbits

President cat.

Wednesday’s Tidbits

Catzilla!

Dr. Flamingo Jones And The Tome Of Wonders

July 8th, 2011

Dr. Flamingo Jones reads a book on the beach.

I’m very happy 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.

A hardy hello to you, readers! I, Dr. Flamingo Jones of the University of Oxbridgeshire, will today be sharing a tidbit from my field of Queer Archaeology that pertains to the more recent past, specifically regarding a very important book written in 1973: The seventh printing of the DSM 2, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Second Edition.

Now why would this particular printing of this particular book be of any import to queer history? Well, because it represented a major change in the attitudes of professional medicine toward gay and lesbian individuals, as well as a major step forward for our own human rights. Before this point, homosexuality had been categorized as a mental disorder. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association board of directors chose to down-grade it to the category of sexual orientation disturbance. That category remained in the next version, the DSM 3, until in 1987 when homosexuality as a disorder was removed altogether due to the fact that there was insufficient scientific evidence supporting the need for such a category.

There were many whose work contributed to this great step forward, such as Alfred Kinsey, who showed that the number of people who had some level of homosexual experiences or feelings was greater than previously assumed. Evelyn Hooker’s studies showed that homosexuals were just as well-adjusted and psychologically healthy as heterosexuals, and that professional psychologists couldn’t actually identify who was gay or straight based upon accepted psychological tests. Alfred Freedman found the same results for lesbians. Robert Spitzer was the one who lead the movement to de-list homosexuality as a disorder, but there were also a number of other gay psychologists who helped to move the cause forward too.

The DSM 5 is due out in May of 2013, wherein I hope that homophobia is introduced as a disorder. After all, homophobia can definitely be cured!

Ontario Catholic Schools To Get GLBT Support Groups

July 6th, 2011

Congratulalien!

Great news! Thanks to pressure from students, the Ontario government has announced that all schools receiving public funding, including Catholic schools, must allow GLBT support groups starting this September.

“The choice to have an LGBTQ group will be the choice of students, not the choice of principals and school boards,” MPP Glen Murray announced to the press on Friday. “If the students want to have a specifically dedicated group to supporting gay and lesbian and transgendered youth, they will have one.”

GLBT support groups, such as Gay-Straight Alliances, have a proven track record of improving student safety, but Catholic schools have been fighting their formation for years. What started off as a blanket ban (a strategy that became increasingly difficult to justify as evidence of these groups’ benefits became clear), eventually turned into a kind of hijacking by Catholic administrations. Whenever a group was requested by students, it would instead be directed into strange, generic support group. Such groups would be identified as promoting diversity and being all-inclusive, but whenever issues facing gay students were brought up, discussion was halted by administration for not being “inclusive” enough—focusing on a specific segment of the student population.

With Friday’s announcement, the Ontario government has made it clear that students will get exactly the kind of peer support they need, and that the Catholic boards’ nonsense will no longer be tolerated.

Having gone through the Catholic school system for my entire grade school education, I’m thrilled! Starting this year, you’ll be getting the kind of support that I never had. Congratulations on this important step, and keep up the good fight!

Correction: In the original post, I suggested that the government’s announcement would mandate the formation of GSAs, but the announcement really only mentioned “LGBT support groups.” Regardless of the title, I take this to mean explicit support for LGBT students, and not generic anti-bullying groups (otherwise what would have been the purpose of the government’s clarification on their policy last Friday?). To me, the timing and strong wording of the announcement is a stern response to recent nonsense from the Catholic boards, but in the interest of full disclosure, until the government explicitly uses the term Gay-Straight Alliance, some people are still skeptical. Either way, the government is pushing for help. Here’s hoping all will be clarified this September!

Toronto Councillor Tapes Parade, Tries To De-Fund Pride

July 4th, 2011

Queers AGainst Douchey City Councillors

I hope all my friends in Toronto partied it up at Pride over the weekend, because it could be seriously jeopardized if a Toronto city councillor gets his way!

Giorgio Mammoliti—along with his bestest friend in the whole-wide-world, mayor Rob Ford—wants to take Toronto Pride off the books and into the gutter. I guess he’s got somewhat of a grudge against the annual, weeklong GLBT culture festival and equal rights protest. The festival, Canada’s largest of its kind, is a massive tourist draw, bringing in millions of tourism dollars every year. It has always faced some opposition from various people, largely homophobic, who don’t really understand what the festival is all about, but Mammoliti seems to have a very special vendetta.

Funding from the city for Pride was held hostage this year unless a minor participant in the parade portion of the weeklong festival is banned from marching. That participant is a small group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, whose controversial message has been a wee bit of a sticking point for some. The group, not wanting to jeopardize Toronto Pride, promised they would not participate in any official Toronto Pride events.

Now, I doubt that Mammoliti and Ford really care about QAIA’s controversy. Their concern about the group really seems like a diversion—an issue over which they can ostensibly express outrage, leveraging it to achieve a goal they’ve had long before QAIA was even in the mix: The de-funding of Toronto’s Pride festival.

Rob Ford, in addition to having a long record of opposing equal rights for gays, is the first mayor in years to have been a no-show at the festival. Mammoliti was spotted filming the Dyke March on Saturday, searching for a screw-up—a defiant QAIA member, perhaps—to use as evidence that the festival’s money should be withheld permanently. He says he caught exactly that on camera, and will present it as evidence to the mayor and city council to cut the festival’s money once and for all.

So what will happen to Toronto Pride? If it’s funding is withheld, it’ll have to file for bankruptcy, and Canada’s largest celebration of GLBT culture and progress will face some serious downsizing. Downsizing of a scale that Ford’s influence over the city should face come the next election!