Here are all the fantastically amazing entries posted during February, 2012

Bad news out of Russia: St. Petersburg passed a law banning “homosexual propaganda” today. What counts as propaganda is broad and ill-defined, so Russian Slap readers may officially reading be illegal material right now! So, I guess you might want to close your windows or something, right?

Yesterday, a house committee in Oklahoma rejected a horrendously anti-gay bill that would have made it legal to fire state municipal employees just for being gay. The bill was introduced by lawmaker Mike Reynolds, who is now officially so homophobic that even Oklahoma thinks he has gone to far.

Alberta Doctors Still Billing Province For Treatment Of Homosexuality

February 27th, 2012

An old timey doctor attempts to cure a homosexual with an unusually large leech. "Just let the leech do its work; I'll fetch some treacle and rose water."

Last year, Alberta finally removed homosexuality from its list of disorders that doctors in the province could bill the government for treating. This was 38 years after the disorder was delisted by the American Psychological Association, of course, but Alberta’s a little slow and deserved some congratulations for taking the leap forward into about four decades ago.

Strangely, it seems that not all doctors have got the memo about the change. Kathleen Range, a spokesperson for Alberta Health and Wellness confirmed to the media on Friday that Albertan doctors are continuing to submit diagnostic codes for treatment of homosexuality along with their billing information.

Sounds like some of these doctors might be suffering from a case of old timey Albertanism. Some ground eggshells, castor oil, a good dose of electroshock and—if all else fails—relocation therapy ought to do the trick, don’t you think?

You’re on a roll, United States! The Maryland senate passed, yesterday afternoon, a bill granting equal marriage rights to all state residents. The governor said he will sign it into law as soon as it reaches his desk. For celebratory measure, he’ll also change the state name to Marryland, why not?

A US federal court has ruled that the country’s Defense of Marriage Act—a law forbidding any federal recognition of same-sex relationships—is unconstitutional. Judge Jeffrey White, a Bush appointee, issued the ruling today on the basis that DOMA violates the constitution’s guarantees of equality. Congratulations, Americans: Your backwards prejudices are shedding faster than a traumatized mutt in July! (January in the southern hemisphere.)

It’s fairly well known that Mormons can convert other people to Mormonism posthumously, no matter what beliefs that person may have had when they were alive. Not too many people know, however, that it’s also possible to turn dead Mormons gay through the powers of the Internet!

A bill protecting the trans community from employment and housing discrimination in Ontario is expected to be introduced in the provincial legislature today. This will be the fourth time the bill has been introduced, but its odds are actually looking pretty good this time around. You know what they say: Fourth time’s even charmier!

Tories Normalize Marriage Laws

February 20th, 2012

A despondent Stephen Harper thinks to himself: "What have I become?"

The federal Conservative Party introduced a bill on Friday that would explicitly confirm the validity same-sex marriages granted to foreigners in Canada, and extend the right to divorce to any foreign couple whose marriages are recognized in their country of origin.

This bill puts an end to a bizarre government court case where a federal lawyer tried to argue that all Canadian same-sex marriages issued to foreigners are invalid, understandably causing a whole lotta drama last month.

It’s pretty rare that the Tories do the right thing when it comes to GLBT issues, even for no-brainers like this, but this was definitely the correct action to take. So in what’s probably the first such occurrence in the history of this site, I shall extend a pat upside the head to the Tories for taking care of this swiftly and reasonably.

Of course, considering Stephen Harper’s backwards views on equal marriage rights, I imagine he must be curled up in a corner right now, hugging his knees, rocking himself softly to sleep. When you govern a country as progressive and diverse as Canada, sometimes you have to sacrifice your personal prejudices. (Sometimes, but clearly not always.)

A dating website in China is claiming that over 80% of Chinese people born after 1980 “don’t disapprove of homosexuality.” I didn’t not hesitate to not withhold this story, since I wasn’t not unsure if the methodology wasn’t unsound, but the results definitely don’t not appear to not be discouraging!

It looks like Rhode Island legislators are prepared to introduce three equal rights bills today, including one that proposes full marriage equality in the state. Well, there you go! Just because a state is small doesn’t mean its minds are too.

Google has posted a Valentine’s Day video on their home page, and it includes an adorable gay couple near the end. Aw, how sweet! That couple, though, is displayed in a visual collage alongside other “non-traditional” pairings such as a dog and a cat, a cookie embracing some milk, and an astronaut holding hands with an alien. Uh… thanks?

Catholic Schools Unveil Their Tax-Paid GSA Replacements

February 13th, 2012

A man with mushrooms growing from his head comforts an upset student:

The Ontario Ministry of Education has long recommended that all schools offer student-run Gay-Straight Alliances. GSAs intend to improve the lives of GLBT students, giving them positive role models, and offering a safe respite from bullying. Their benefits are also well-documented; schools with GSAs have a demonstrably lower incidence of teen suicide.

The tax-funded Catholic school boards are certainly no exception to this recommendation, but they’ve been a strangely dedicated source of resistance. In fact, not a single Catholic school in Ontario has a GSA—and students that have tried to form one have either had it shut down, or hijacked and transformed into a different kind of club altogether. It’s this latter strategy that’s becoming the norm.

That’s why, in July, I was encouraged by the Ontario government’s announcement that school boards and principals would have no say over how GSAs are run in the province. “If the students want to have a specifically dedicated group to supporting gay and lesbian and transgendered youth, they will have one,” MPP Glen Murray announced to the press. That was during the height of election campaigning, and now that the McGuinty government has been re-elected, it’s time to take a look at the progress that’s been made.

It doesn’t look good.

The Peterborough Victoria Northumberland And Clarington Catholic District School Board (That’s PVNCCDSB, for you alphabetophiles who prefer GLBTTQQIAAP to GLBT) released a tax-funded pamphlet outlining their new equity policy last week. Under the policy, GLBT support is only available in broad-based Equity Clubs, and—in a pretty blatant affront to the Glen Murray’s promise last summer—they strategically de-emphasize issues that gay students face in an attempt to appear more diverse.

So, what would a gay student expect to get out of one of the PVNCCDSB’s new clubs covered by the policy? Here’s what the pamphlet has to say about students who are seeking support related to their sexual orientation:

The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.

This kind of condescension isn’t appreciated, even when it isn’t factually incorrect. But this particular resource is a rich tapestry of contradiction. As the pamphlet notes in a column directly beside the section calling gay people “objectively disordered,” the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from its list of recognized disorders four decades ago.

This is not delivering the support that gay students need. As long as the Catholic school board in Ontario receives tax dollars from the province, it should not be free to disobey the scientifically-sound, and government-mandated recommendations from the Ministry of Education. So, now all eyes are on the McGuinty government. Was all their talk about requiring “specifically dedicated groups” in support of GLBT youth just an empty election promise? I’ll be waiting!

(Big hat tip goes to Ann, a concerned parent with children in the PVNCCDSB, for the story.)

Don’t forget: Pink Shirt Day, Canada’s anti-bullying campaign, is coming up in just a couple of weeks! If you don’t have a pink shirt to wear, you can buy one from the Pink Shirt Day website (proceeds support the Boys and Girls Club of Canada), or just do what I do and accidentally throw something red in the wash.

Check out this clip of Ellen DeGeneres utterly destroying a bizarre, anti-gay lobby group’s logic—schooling them on what real family values are. And she’s so cheerful while doing it; it’s like watching Elmo kill Dracula!

Equal rights are sweeping through the States like a tsunami of gay! The Washington state House passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage today, following last week’s passage by the state senate. All that’s left now is for the governor to sign the bill into law, which he is expected to do as early as next week. Wow! At this rate, you guys will have entered this century in no time!

Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d end up typing: I agree with… Bill OReilly?

Great news for all our friends in the States! The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling today declaring that California’s Proposition 8 (which banned same-sex marriage in the state) is unconstitutional! I wonder if opponents of marriage equality will now finally give up and admit they’re on the wrong side of history, or if they’ll carry onward and magnify their already-secured historical humiliation. (Actually, somehow I already know the answer.) At any rate, congratulations to all my friends to the south on this important win!

Tired of waiting for family, acquaintances, clergy, editorialists, and random strangers to remind you that they think you’re going to hell? Get bible-bashed in the comfort of your own home with the LGBT Going To Hell eBook, now apparently for sale on Amazon.com!

Gay Soldier in Afghanistan Receives Death Threat

February 6th, 2012

A sudden tear in the Bigotverse delivers hateful sentiment from the annals of yesteryear.

Gays in the military isn’t exactly a new thing for Canada, but you might not know it from the experiences of Andrew McLean, a Warrant Officer working at Kandahar Airfield.

McLean tried his best to keep his orientation secret from colleagues, but that had to change after he received an anonymous, threatening letter back in September. Speaking to the media in an interview, McLean recalled the experience: “It said ‘You’re gay. Because of this, minus two.’ That’s metric [for] six feet; 6½ under.”

Mortified that he had been discovered, McLean brought the letter to the attention of his superiors after struggling internally for two days.

This story caught my attention mostly because of timing. Canada lifted its ban on gays serving openly in the forces in 1992, a full 20 years ago. The military, though, much like the world of sports, doesn’t make being openly gay easily, although there aren’t any obstacles on paper. That’s why it’s actually encouraging to hear of soldiers speaking out against this kind of harassment.

McLean now says he serves openly, and is actually less afraid for doing so. I’m not only happy for him, but also thrilled that he shared this experience. This not only got higher-ups to publicly affirm their commitment to welcoming gay soldiers, but also to add some much needed visibility in the macho world of national defense. And all it took was some ignorant and cowardly hate mail.

Gay skiers have something to look forward to this week. Whistler is celebrating 20 years of WinterPRIDE, its annual weeklong GLBT ski event. They started this in 1992, if you can believe it—although it may have been an effort by anti-gay groups to get gay people involved in horrible ski accidents. Luckily it turned out to be a lot more fun. Congrats to Whistler on the milestone! (Hat tip to Melanie for the story.)

The subject of Canada’s new trans-unfriendly airport screening regulations was brought up in the House of Commons during question period this week. Check out these videos of Randall Garrison and Dany Morin speaking in support of trans Canadians amidst jeers from the Conservative party, as well as a clip from Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, who demonstrates his commitment by using a phenomenal female voice.

Great news for our friends in Washington, today! A bill legalizing same-sex marriage was passed by the state Senate this morning. The bill, which was voted in 28 to 21 against now heads to the House, where it is expected to pass.

Presenting the Genderbread Person.