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

Perhaps discouraged by polls showing that opposition to equal rights for the GBLT community is falling rapidly, members of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle Church in Greensburg, Indiana, have resorted to this: Coaching four year olds to sing “Ain’t no homos gonna make it to heaven” to an applauding congregation. (And for those of you who need to clear your brain of the mind-bogglingly hateful idiocy demonstrated in that video, I offer this calming link as therapeutic support.)

Looks like Toronto’s got another annual event coinciding with Pride Week: A city councillor has proposed—once again—that funding for the city’s annual Pride festival be withheld until it can be confirmed that a group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid does not participate in the parade portion of the weeklong event. Perhaps we can also withhold Toronto councillors’ salary until it can be independently confirmed that they are not, in fact, giant douches.

Ontario Catholic Schools To Get GSAs

May 28th, 2012

Dracula congratulations you with a "Condraculations!"
I admit it. I jumped the gun with my Congratulalien last year. When the Ontario government announced that all schools—including Catholic schools—must allow the formation of student-run GLBT support groups, I took that to mean students would finally be getting Gay-Straight Alliances, a proven strategy to improve student safety and reduce instances of teen suicide due to bullying. Having endured twelve years of Catholic schooling myself, I perhaps should have been able to predict what happened instead. While students weren’t explicitly denied support groups, the Catholic school board forbade these groups from being called GSAs and continued to meddle with their direction. When students requested a GSA, they were forced to accept a strange replacement—generic support groups where any discussion of gay issues would be ostensibly halted as being not inclusive enough.

Last week, after substantial pressure (and a tad more controversy than I’d expect in this decade), the Ontario government introduced a bill that unambiguously mandates GSAs in any school where students request one. That includes the name and direction that it implies. With all indications pointing toward a speedy passage, I hope that I’m not premature in issuing a most sincere Condraculations!

Today’s the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, a magical day where anything can happen—including a public endorsement by… Toronto Mayor Rob Ford?  There can only be one explanation: A Dickensian epiphany, ghosts and all. A Merry International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia to everyone!

A recently retired politician in Denmark seems to have discovered a new argument against equal marriage: Killer snails are hermaphroditic, therefore same-sex marriage should be illegal. Gee… I never thought of it that way before.

California Moves To Ban Gay “Conversion” Therapy For Teens

May 14th, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Camel: Nonsensical Conversion Complete.

Encouraging news coming out of California this week! The state senate is quickly passing some new legislation that would ban the practice of applying the unscientific and discredited practice of gay “conversion therapy” on anyone under the age of 18. The bill would also make anyone over the age of 18 sign a waver acknowledging that the practice is ineffective and harmful before seeking such therapies.

Conservative groups are already up in arms, saying that the ban tramples the rights of parents to “seek appropriate psychological care for their children.” According to the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, however, there is no circumstances under which such therapy is ever considered appropriate. Both organisations have warned, in no uncertain terms, that sexual orientation is unchangeable, and any attempts to treat being gay as a disorder are likely to result in serious psychological harm.

Canada, incidentally, does not ban conversion therapy. In fact, it’s a registered charitable activity here. Here’s hoping that California’s proposed legislation is signed into law, and that Canada follows suit!

Check out this video of Jane Svoboda arguing against a non-discrimination ordinance in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s about as coherent and reasoned as any other anti-gay argument, but the reactions of the guy in the back is priceless!

Barack Obama announced his personal support of marriage equality yesterday, making him the first U.S. president to do so. Political analysts are already speculating on how this will affect November’s elections, although I don’t really expect that rabidly anti-gay voters would have supported Obama anyway. Still, in the off chance that you Americans don’t re-elect Obama, what do you think of a friendly trade? You can send Obama up here, and in exchange you guys can have Stephen Harper. He’s always wanted to be a U.S. president, you know.

North Carolina conducted a statewide study yesterday to resolve the question once and for all: Are most North Carolinians narrow-minded bigots? The answer, of course, was yes.

Nova Scotia Refuses To Pay Medical Bill For Trans Man

May 7th, 2012

The province of Nova Scotia has refused to pay for a trans man’s hysterectomy, leaving him with a surprise $3,400 bill.

After experiencing some abdominal pain, Jessiah MacDonald was told that his uterus had several abnormal polyps and was recommended by a gynecologist that it be removed for preventative measures. He took his doctor’s advice (as most people should), but was told after the operation that he would have to pay for the procedure out-of-pocket because the province doesn’t pay for sex reassignment surgery.

“I felt it was wrong because despite my gender, I still have pieces of my body and if a piece of my body gets sick, I expect it to be treated as any other piece,” Jessiah told the media in an interview.

Canada has universal health care, which means that provinces typically pay for all medical bills, but sex reassignment is still considered cosmetic or unnecessary by some jurisdictions. Nova Scotia is obviously one of the provinces with this outdated view, but also apparently hasn’t considered the possibility that not all uterine surgery on trans people is related to sex reassignment.

Jessiah has now filed a human rights complaint against Nova Scotia’s Department of Health and Wellness.

The Canadian military has hinted that it will stop funding gender reassignment surgery in its health care package as a cost-saving measure. Yeah, because that’s the spending problem we’ve got in the military;  not, say, some other $25-billion spending plans currently under consideration.

Slap reader Jen writes in with a really great fundraiser idea in memory of Raymond Taavel: “I’m a displaced Haligonian in Toronto, and am organizing what I am hoping will end up being a Canada-wide initiative. I’m also an avid crossfitter, so I’ve planned a tribute workout for raymond, on May 17th (the International Day Aganinst Homophobia and Transphobia). It’s a fundraiser for the Youth Project in halifax—they do the kind of work to help create the kind of world Raymond imagined.”

Great idea, Jen! If anyone is interested in helping raise some money for a worthy cause, and potentially win some nifty prizes in the process, check out the event website!