Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during November, 2011
If you’re gay and ever wondered why you’re not straight, perhaps you’ve just been drinking too much Peruvian tap water.
José Benítez—the mayor of Huarmey, a small town located in the Ancash region of Peru—is convinced his town’s water supply is causing heterosexual men to turn gay. The bizarre comments, which were uttered at the launch of a project designed to improve water distribution, seem to have stemmed from an television report back in 2000. The report famously claimed that the 14,000 residents of the town of Tabalosis—which happens to be the source of Huarmey’s water—were all gay men.
While Peruvians are left scratching their heads over the whole spectacle, I suppose there’s a small benefit to come out of this. Mayor Benítez has apparently stumbled upon the physical manifestation of pure gay: A metallic element called strontium (Chemical symbol Sr, atomic weight 38), which occurs in higher-than-normal levels in his town’s water.
And I thought the only thing strontium caused was cancer. Go figure!
A new poll released by Angus Reid this month suggstes that anti-gay discrimination is still a reality for some people in the GLBT community.
While 90% of GLBT employees in Canada indicated that their current bosses and coworkers are tolerant of their sexual orientation, just under 50% indicated that they’ve experienced discrimination at some point in their careers. Basically, gay people are smart enough not to remain in jobs where they are actively discriminated against, but about half have found themselves at exactly that kind of job at some point in their professional lives. The most worrying statistic: half of the respondents who found themselves faced with job discrimination said they wouldn’t do anything to address the problem (other than look for new work, I imagine).
Still, with 90% of GLBT respondents currently working discrimination-free in Canada, things are getting better.
Parent’s Voice, the municipal political party whose sole purpose revolved around revoking the Burnaby District School Board’s anti-homophobia and anti-bullying policy, has been soundly defeated.
Parent’s Voice was a staunch opponent to the existing school board’s policies acknowledging GLBT students—policies that demonstrably help reduce harassment and bullying that has historically led to suicide. Thankfully, voters instead re-elected the entire city council and school board who had introduced and stood by these important policies. The highest placing of all the Parent’s Voice candidates, by contrast, came in tenth place.
This thorough rejection rather aptly demonstrates just how much of a minority these vocal opponents to equal rights and protections for GLBT people really are. Still, it’s important not to dismiss their actions as inconsequential, so I wish to congratulate all the students and supporters that helped get people out to the polls and counter the sort of nonsense that Parent’s Voice stood for.
Here’s to Burnaby’s much safer schools!
- Voters reject Parents’ Voice [Xtra Vancouver]
Tourism BC has apologized after distributing a marketing brochure telling business owners in the province that they are not allowed to promote gay tourism in China.
The brochure, entitled How to Market Your Business in China, states that advertising to gay tourists in China was forbidden by the Chinese National Tourism Administration. The wee problem with this statement: Absolutely no such ban exists.
The province’s NDP tourism critic, Spencer Chandra Herbert, was left completely baffled. “Why was this language in the B.C. government brochure?” he asked. “Who put it in there and for what reason?”
The B.C. government responded by saying that the details of various marketing restrictions between Canada and China (you know, the ones that don’t include any sort of gay marketing ban) are federal government territory, and the province had no role in its endorsement.
The province has since pulled the brochures.
A Nigerian bill, opened for debate this month, will jail anyone who has—or bears witness to—a same-sex marriage ceremony in the country.
According to the Nigerian senate website, the bill would forbid the “coming together of persons of same sex with the purpose of living together as husband and wife or for other purposes of same sexual relationship.”
The wording of the bill is such that it would likely apply to foreigners upon entry to Nigeria as well.
Well, there goes my plans to move to Nigeria and become a renowned baker of same-sex wedding cakes. Plus, I was looking forward to seeing that really amazing tourist attraction of some sort that Nigeria is so well known for.
- Nigerian bill would punish gay marriage with five years in jail [National Post]
A teacher in Burnaby, British Columbia has received a death threat over the school board’s proposal to adopt anti-homophobia policies designed to reduce incidents of bullying and make schools safter for GLBT students.
The letter, adorned with illustrations of bloody knives, reads as follows:
Must immediately withdraw POLICY #5.45
Adhere to the basic social principles!
You have no right to do so!
You want to destroy our children!
You are our enemy!
You will be shot!
Similar anti-homophobia policies have been implemented across B.C. without issue—and certainly no death threats—but some bizarre opposition in Burnaby has drawn the policy into the national spotlight. A one-issue political party with five candidates, The Parent’s Voice, was formed expressly to oppose the policy.
While I don’t expect that Parent’s Voice is officially responsible for the death threat, the alarmist language employed by the party certainly contributes to an atmosphere in which these types of reactions are encouraged. In a press release announced shortly before the letter was delivered, the group called the anti-bullying policies part of a “hidden political agenda” consisting of “homosexual propaganda” and “left-wing social engineering led by gay activists” to undermine parents.
The RCMP is investigating the letter.
Shorter University, a small university in Rome, Georgia that you’ve likely never heard of before today, has announced that it will now be requiring each of its employees sign a “pledge of personal lifestyle.” The pledge is an assertion that the employee is not gay, and does not “engage in all sexuality not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.”
Employees who fail to sign the pledge face termination of their contract.
If you’re wondering whether this is legal, wonder no more: It is. Since Shorter University doesn’t receive any federal funding, it doesn’t have to adhere to federal nondiscrimination regulations.
Well, you know what they say: When in Rome, Georgia… don’t do as the Romans do or you’ll be fired.
- Baptist university says employees must pledge they are not gay [Digital Journal]