Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during December, 2011
It’s the final round of voting at this year’s Canadian Blog Awards, and thanks to readers like you, Slap Upside the Head is one of the five finalists! It’s not over yet, though. If you’ve got a few moments, please vote for Slap in the GLBT category.
Well, I’m off to the prairies for the holidays, spreading all sorts of seasonal merry cheerfulness with friends and family. This does mean, however, that there shan’t be any updates until my glorious return in the new year.
Until then, have a great Christmanukkahwanzoliday and an insanely spectacular new year! As always, feel free to interact with me and other Slap fans on the Slap Facebook Page, via @MarkFromSlap on Twitter, and the brand new Slap Google+ Page. Also, here’s an octopus attacking Santa.
As if common sense weren’t enough reason to give full, equal marriage rights to same-sex couples, a study out of Columbia University has provided some extra support.
Legal same-sex marriage, according to researchers, reduces the number of medical visits among gay and bisexual men by 13 percent, further reducing health care costs by 14 percent.
Mark Hatzenbuehler, the lead researcher on the study, said that legal equality likely results in health benefits due to a reduction of stress-related issues, both mental and physical. (Living in a committed relationship where someone you love is keeping an eye on your health and safety probably doesn’t hurt either.)
So, if I understand how medical statistical methodology works, allow me to summarize: Since we can marry, gay men in Canada are 13 percent more likely to survive after licking a subway seat. And that’s good to know.
The study was published last week in the American Journal of Public Health, and tracked over 1,200 patients in a Massachusetts health care clinic.
- Same-sex laws reduce stress, medical visits [CBC News]
Greg Davis, a socially-conservative Mississippi mayor, has come out to the press after an audit into city spending discovered that he spent $67 at Priape, a Montreal-owned gay adult store. The audit was part of a larger investigation into over $170,000 of misused city funds that Davis is alleged to have been spent on personal purchases.
Davis focused his political career on a conservative, “family values” platform—which, historically speaking, should have been enough to out him as gay. And, while misusing thousands and thousands of tax dollars on personal expenses is certainly not very befitting of a mayor, I do give him a tiny bit of credit over other outed conservatives for not following the usual convention of concocting some outlandish explanatory story in a transparent attempt to cover up his gayness.
No word on what David actually bought at Priape while in Canada, but I’m guessing it wasn’t a snappy new belt from their fashion line.
The federal Conservative Party—who re-affirmed an official party policy to ban same-sex marriage in Canada only 6 months ago—has issued a strong condemnation toward Nigeria for a draconian law that punishes same-sex wedding participants with up to 14 years in jail.
Well, that’s a tad severe of Nigeria, wouldn’t you say? I may have to cancel all my planned vacations to Maiduguri and Ogbomoso in protest.
A condemnation was undoubtedly the right thing to do on the part of the Tories (and specifically John Baird), but it doesn’t seem particularly meaningful when their own party policy only differs in the punishment, not attitude toward the law itself.
Nigeria’s proposed bill is also a very easy thing to condemn, since the punishment is about as proportionate to the crime as women MPs are to the rest of the Conservative party.
But, hey. Baby steps, right?
- John Baird slams Nigeria over anti-gay bill [CBC News]
The Australian Labor Party officially adopted policies in support of full equal marriage rights for same-sex couples last week.
That’s an encouraging sign, certainly increasing the likelyhood of a successful same-sex marriage bill being introduced in parliament.
Canada’s governing Conservative party, incidentally, officially adopted an opposite policy during its last convention, supporting the revocation of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in Canada. But, given Stephen Harper’s history of plagiaris—err… I mean, enthusiastic imitation—of Australian politicians, perhaps the Tories will now reconsider.
Here’s wishing Australia the best of luck in its journey toward full, equal rights!
The city of Saint Petersburg in Russia has introduced a bill that would impose a $100 fine for anyone found promoting “homosexual propaganda.” The fine is increased up to $1,600 for organisations.
The bill defines homosexual propaganda as a “public act promoting homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgenderism to minors.”
“Public act,” however, is not defined—making the bill dangerously broad. The intention is certainly to put an end to things like Pride marches for equal rights, but may also potentially criminalize things like public hand-holding. Even with a narrowed definition, the bill almost certainly violates legal standards in the country, but the bill is also popular and has widespread support. Courts in Russia routinely side on imposing serious limits on the human rights and freedoms of gay people.
Arkhangelsk and Ryazan—two other Russian cities—already have similar laws on the books.
- Russia proposes ban on gay ‘propaganda’ [Digital Journal]
Gay-themed films are pretty commonplace nowadays. Nearly every major city (metropolis, if you will) has a GLBT film festival, and pictures that would previously have been restricted to exactly these sort of venues have slowly found their way into mainstream cinemas. Some, like Brokeback Mountain and Milk, are Oscar-winning successes.
This certainly wasn’t always the case, though. Tackling such contentious topics was considered hopeless not too long ago, both financially and professionally.
So, given that storytelling of this nature has only recently gained widespread acceptance, how long do you suppose gay cinema has been around? Go on, guess. I’ll wait.
Got a decade in mind?
Well, if you guessed some time after the Stonewall riots in 1969—the birth of the modern gay rights movement—then you’re off.
Same if you guessed any time since World War II.
In fact, the earliest full-length, gay-accepting film with a strong message of equal rights was a picture from the silent era—A German one entitled Anders als die Andem (Different from the Others). It was released in 1919, not even a full year after the first World War.
The film revolves around a violinist who falls in love with a male student and whose relationship is made public by an extortionist. Eventually brought before courts, the violinist’s career is ruined and he is eventually driven to suicide.
The film’s modern understanding of sexual orientation is startling, given that it’s practically a century old, predating the experiences of nearly everyone alive today. Here are some memorable quotes from one character in particular; a doctor:
You must not condemn your son because he is a homosexual, he is not to blame for his orientation. It is not wrong, nor should it be a crime. Indeed, it is not even an illness, merely a variation, and one that is common to all of nature.
Love for one of the same sex is no less pure or noble than for one of the opposite. This orientation can be found in all levels of society, and among respected people. Those that say otherwise come only from ignorance and bigotry.
Due to censorship laws, the director was frustrated to learn his film was forbidden to be seen by anyone outside the medical and psychological community less than a year after its release. Most copies were destroyed thirteen years later, when the Nazis rose to power. All that remains today is just over 50 minutes of fragments, which is available for you to watch below.
And that’s some interesting stuff in gay history.
- Different From the Others [Google Video]