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 Nova Scotia is obviously one of the provinces with this outdated view, but also apparently hasn’t considered the possibility that not all uterine surgery on trans people is related to sex reassignment.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!

Here’s another win for science! A controversial study conducted in 2001 that claimed a small minority of gay people were able to change their sexual orientation from gay to straight has been retracted by its author, admitting that the study simply did not survive the peer review process and that its conclusions were unsupported. In fact, no study suggesting that sexual orientation is changeable has ever been successfully reproduced or has survived the rigors of scientific scrutiny. Of course, I’m sure that “ex-gay” organizations, like Exodus, will be updating their promotional material to reflect this retraction immediately.

Camp Fyrefly—a Canadian summer camp for GLBT youth—has announced that it is expanding this summer, admitting 50% more campers than last year. That’s pretty impressive. In fact, at this rate, the camp will exceed the population of Canada in just 33 years—and the population of Earth just 13 years later. World domination is ours!

Morning News Interrupted By Gay Porn

April 23rd, 2012

A man looks very happy while eating his breakfast in front of the television.

Television viewers in Hamilton, Ontario last week found their breakfast interrupted (enhanced?) by nearly three minutes of “eye-popping hardcore gay pornography.”

The mihap, which happened around 9:30 a.m. Friday during the CHCH morning news show, is reportedly the result of severed cable lines outside of the station’s control that had been spliced back together incorrectly. As a result, viewers were treated to a free viewing of Lucas Entertainment’s After Hours instead of their usual morning news chatter.

When normal broadcasting finally resumed, the station’s news anchors and management issued an apology: “We’d like to apologize to some of our cable viewers for the inappropriate content that aired around 9:30 this morning.”

It actually makes a lot of sense that they’d only apologize to “some” of their viewers, because I can assure you no apology would be necessary in my household!

The CRTC, Canada’s broadcast regulation agency, says they’ve received three complaints over the incident. They are now investigating to determine which cable company was responsible for the mixup and will prepare a report outlining the steps that will be put in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Hmm… I wonder how this would play out if the incident happened in the uptight United States?

Today is the Day of Silence, and to note the occasion, let me say the following:

Family Research Institute, an anti-gay lobby group based in the United States, has warned Americans that advancements in equal rights for GLBT citizens has “doomed” Canada forever. Funny… I don’t feel particularly doomed today. I mean, once you get used to all the walking corpses wailing through rivers of fire along the streets, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them. A particularly roasty corpse returned some sunglasses I dropped today. His fingers were hot enough to melt the plastic frame a bit, but it was a kind gesture nonetheless.

Mike and Ike, some kind of sentient candy entities with human names, have apparently split up according to marketing material from the Just Born candy company. I didn’t even know they were gay. Well, you know what they say: There’s plenty of Swedish Fish in the package. Personally, I’m just hoping someone puts an end to the forced racial segregation in boxes of Nerds.

Tremendously sad news out of Halifax today as Raymond Taavel, a well-known activist for the gay community, was killed by an assailant while trying to break up a fight outside the city’s gay bar. A candlelight vigil is being organized by the Halifax community to honour his memory. My thoughts go out to everyone devastated by this senseless tragedy.

Danielle Smith, the leader of Alberta’s Wildrose Party, says she’s in support of same-sex marriage (an odd thing to say, since that’s already the law and provincial politicians don’t have the legal authority to change it), but she clearly isn’t speaking for her candidates. Allan Hunsperger, who is currently running for Wildrose, penned a lengthy article in June describing how gay people will “suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire.” Just another friendly threat of unending torture from your future legislators, I guess!

Anti-Gay Groups Target Canadian Game Developer

April 16th, 2012

A gay star wars character waves a rainbow lightsabre through the air to create a rainbow.

BioWare, an Edmonton-based game development company, is being targeted by anti-gay groups over the option to make your character gay in their latest video game, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

“In a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists,” said Tony Perkins, head of the anti-gay lobby group Family Research Council.

Now, I’m not exactly “in” on the whole Star Wars universe, but from what I remember about the movies, isn’t “the Empire” the bad guys? If so—and if Perkins is right—then all you’d need to destroy evil and bring peace to the universe forever is to send wave after wave of homosexual activists at the Empire.

I think I’d like to play that game, actually.

Electronic Arts, the game’s publisher, said they’ve received “thousands of letters” threatening to boycott the title over the mere option to play as a gay character. (And, knowing the demographic that usually writes these kind of letters, I’m sure all of them would have otherwise bought the game and played it for months. Snicker.) In response, Jeff Brown, an EA spokesperson, issued a statement supporting their gay customers, and vowing to end anti-gay harassment that gay gamers often experience online:

EA has not been pressured by any groups to include LGBT charcters in our games […] However, we have met with LGBT groups and sponsored industry forums to discuss content and harassment of players in online forums. In short, we do put options for same-sex relationships in our games; we don’t tolerate hate speech on our forums.”

Good for EA and Bioware! After all, some of us were getting a little tired of saving the princess.

Alberta’s Wildrose Party Pushes For Anti-Gay “Conscience Rights”

April 9th, 2012

A man asks Danielle Smith what to do with a particular document: "What should I do with this 'Charter of Rights' thing?" Danielle responds: "Oh, just send it to the shredder."


Shredder from the Ninja Turtles rips the Chater of Rights and Freedoms in half.


The Wildrose Party, a socially-conservative provincial party hoping to wrestle power away from Alberta’s current conservative government, is defending its election platform against some pretty serious criticism this month. The policy is pretty far to the right of the political spectrum, even by Alberta’s standards.

One contentious point in particular, though, involves the concept of “conscience rights:” The ability for citizens in the service industry to refuse public services to others based on whatever private religious beliefs they may hold. If made into policy, explicit situations include civil marriage commissioners legally refusing their services for gay couples, pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control, and other equally wacky concepts.

I’m not sure if Wildrose is aware that this kind of legislation swings both ways, allowing someone like me to refuse services to, oh… say, members of the Wildrose party. You know, for being total knobs.

More to the point, though, this policy would be illegal, as the federal Charter of Rights and freedoms forbids public service discrimination based on race, sex, age, religion, or sexual orientation. Frighteningly, though, the party could weasel this kind of bill into law through obscure constitutional loopholes like the Notwithstanding Clause, and they haven’t ruled this step out. I would certainly hope Albertans wouldn’t tolerate such extremes.

Danielle Smith—the leader of the Wildrose Party—steadfastly defended the policy, however, releasing a statement accusing all concerns surrounding the policy as “fear-mongering” by “liberal politicians.” If you ask me, it sounds like someone’s got their hubcaps in a twist over some pretty serious constitutional flaws in their policy. Here’s hoping Albertans don’t stand for this kind of nonsense on April 23rd.

Trans Pride Canada has released a pretty thorough style guide that should assist media writers when writing about trans issues in Canada. As someone who has been on the receiving end of offended readers’ wrath for confusing terms like “gender” and “sex,” please accept my Ultra Thanks 3000™, Trans Pride Canada!

An assistant principal at Fullerton Union High School in California interrupted and disqualified a student competing for the title of Mr. Fullerton (A silly contest the school has going on, apparently) because the student said he hopes that same-sex marriage will be legal in California so that he can get married one day. The student, who was answering a question about where he sees himself in ten years, was ushered off stage in front of hundreds of parents and other students. The assistant principal has since apologized to the student, and—I presume—all other gay people for having probably supported Proposition 8.

Jenna Talackova, the trans beauty contestant that was booted from the Miss Universe Canada pageant for being born a male, has been allowed to re-enter the contest as long as she meets the Canadian legal definition of a woman, which I believe she does. This is a pretty big, visible step for trans recognition, so congrats to Jenna! Here’s hoping the owner of the pageant franchise—a certain Donald—doesn’t Trump this decision.

United States May Relax Customs Restrictions For Same-Sex Couples

April 2nd, 2012

Airport Security Check. Straights: No Aerosols, No Weapons. Gays: No Aerosols, No Weapons, No Wedding Rings.

The United States’ Department of Homeland Security has proposed finally lifting restrictions requiring same-sex couples to fill out separate customs declarations.

Currently, heterosexual families are allowed to fill out one customs declaration per household, while same-sex couples are treated as if they were strangers that happen to be on the same flight. This discrepancy is a direct result of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids any federal recognition of same-sex partnerships.

Treating same-sex families as, well, families is estimated to save two million dollars as the procedure is streamlined.

There’s no word yet on whether this new procedure will apply to foreign (i.e. Canadian) same-sex couples entering the United States, but if it does, we may be able to start using the phrase “land of the free” in relation to the U.S. without using air quotes and chuckling.

A crowd of about 200 appeared in Queen’s Park, Ontario yesterday, protesting provincial legislation that will help eliminate anti-gay bullying in schools. This rally also marked the unveiling of some brand new terminology to be used by the anti-gay lobby, as a spokesperson began referring to Gay-Straight Alliances as “homosexual sex clubs.” The protesters then unexpectedly switched topics to rally against school-time “kidnapping, murder, and treason gangs,” previously known as chess clubs.

Ice cream maker Ben and Jerry’s has renamed a flavour of their signature frozen treat from Oh! My! Apple Pie! to Apple-y Ever After as a way of showing their support for same-sex marriage in the UK. Opponents of equality are now reportedly lobbying for their own flavour introduction: Living in Sinnamon.

Trans Contestant Booted From Beauty Contest For Being Born Male

March 26th, 2012

Jenna Talackova is accosted by a pagent official: "Now, kindly hold still a moment while the Former Penis Detector (TM) does its thing..."

Jenna Talackova, a contestant in this year’s Miss Universe Canada pageant, has been disqualified from the competition after organisers discovered that she’s trans.

Pageant judges selected Talackova from numerous other applicants to compete in the finals for the Donald Trump-owned competition, but after Denis Davilla, one of the directors, had suspicions that she didn’t meet the requirements of being a “naturally born female,” he asked her about her history. After confirming she was born a male, Jenna was pulled from the competition that same day.

Personally, I don’t get it. It’s a beauty contest. Judges thought she was beautiful enough to advance to the finals. What’s the problem, exactly?

Perhaps she may not have fared well during the portion of the competition where contestants demonstrate a live birth, but otherwise she clearly had the looks and determination to win.

Give ’em hell, Jenna!

Nation for Marriage, one of the United States’ largest anti-gay lobby groups, is launching a boycott against Starbucks over the company’s support for equal marriage rights. Gosh, I wonder how Starbucks will weather the loss of their closed-minded, religious fanatic customer segment. I’ll be sure to report on the monetary damage as more news comes in, although for brevity, I’ll henceforth refer to the lost customer segment by their names: Buck and Peggy.

Canada has a new, openly gay MP this week after a byelection on Monday filled Jack Layton’s old seat with the NDP’s Craig Scott. Congratulations, Craig!

The Muslim Council of Britain has declared that equal marriage rights are “unnecessary and unhelpful.” What a coincidence—I was just thinking the same thing about declarations from the Muslim Council of Britain!

Zimbabwean Senator Suggests “Sex Gadgets” To Curb Homosexuality

March 19th, 2012

A man hands a blow-up doll to a prisoner: "Good news, prisoner! I brought a cure for your homosexuality."

A Zimbabwean senator has recommended cutting back on prisoners’ food budget and providing “sex gadgets” instead as a strategy to reduce homosexuality from spreading throughout the country.

Speaking  before a parliamentary committee this month, Ms. Sithembile Mlotshwa explained her, uh, logic: “Considering that some of the same-sex orientation—homosexuality—come from prisons and when those people are out they then spread that orientation, what measures are you putting in place to make sure that vice is stopped?”

“In other countries,” she continued, “they provide sex gadgets.”

“[The prisoners] can stay without food, but they want their sexual desires to be satisfied whether you like it or not.”

Ms. Mlotshwa, mercifully, omitted what type of gadgets she had in mind. Although, I’m not sure why providing food and sex gadgets are necessarily mutually exclusive. Surely there exists something that will serve as both, am I right?