OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Censorship

The Utah state senate has voted in favour of a bill forbidding discussion of homosexuality in classrooms, even if a question was posed by a student. Other jurisdictions are now reportedly considering legislation forbidding discussion of Utah.

British PM Plans To Ban Gay TV Kisses

May 6th, 2011

Next on BBC TWO: David Cameron Kisses Another David Cameron

British Prime Minister David Cameron will unveil a plan to ban same-sex kisses on prime-time television, according to multiple media sources. The gay kiss ban, an amendment to existing television censorship rules, is part of a Cameron-backed inquiry into stopping children from “being exposed to indecent images.”

Funny… I always thought that limiting exposure to the media was the job of parents, but I guess not. British government. Go figure!

Reg Bailey, the chief executive of the Mother’s Union and person responsible for heading the inquiry, told the media that exposing children to adult themes, such as a famous gay-kiss scene that aired on Brookeside back in 1994, will “take away their innocence.”

Yes, it’s most unfortunate. One day these innocent children are out playing, running in loops and chasing insects in a field of posies, then they come inside to say the rosary and BAM! A gay person is kissing on the TV. Their innocence, lost forever, is replaced with soul-crushing guilt. Disillusioned with life, they tumble into an irreversible sorrow. Many die. It’s terrible.

Luckily, the public is taking notice. Brooke Vincent, a young actress who plays a lesbian character on Coronation Street, chimed in on the ridiculousness: “If same-sex kisses are what [Cameron] is prioritising and concentrating on changing, our country’s in trouble.”

Well put, Brooke. Lets call out Cameron on this silliness, lest it give the Harper Government™ some ideas here in Canada!

Religious University Blocks Gay Student Website

March 7th, 2011

A man angrily screams, "An outrage! With God's fury, I banish thee!" and then sheepishly figures out the user interface of his computer's website filter.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that gay people, from all different walks of life, are everywhere, including some not-so-gay-friendly places. Take, for example, Christian universities in the middle of Arkansas. But if you still demand proof, visit this heart-tuggingly amazing website by the gay students at Harding University: HU Queer Press.

Well, visit, unless you actually go to Harding University, in which case you’ll notice that the above link doesn’t work. You see, one week after going live, the university has blocked all campus access to the website—a direct order from the campus president himself, David Burke.

Speaking to the press about his decision to censor the private website, Burke expressed his immense displeasure with the site’s very existance: “I won’t even publicly speak the web address—not because I think I can keep it from you, but because the address itself is offensive to me.”

huqueerpress.com

Scandalous!

I can only imagine what Burke actually thinks of his queer students if he finds just the title of a website about them to be so terrible as to be… unmentionable.

Hmm… I wonder if Slap is blocked there? If not, I guess I mustn’t be working hard enough.

Magazine Featuring Gay Family Covered With “Family Shield”

January 28th, 2011

Harps, a small grocery chain in the southern United States, issued an online apology this week after using a “family shield” to cover up copies of Us Weekly featuring a photo of Elton John, his husband David Furnish, and their newly adopted baby.

The shield, a piece of opaque plastic about the size of a magazine cover, is labeled with the words: “Family Shield: To protect young Harps shoppers.”

To protect them from… photos of families? Well, I can’t say they didn’t name it appropriately.

Still, what a marvelously stupid concept! It gives me an idea.

Are your children being exposed to reality? Protect 'em with the Slap-certified FAMILY SHIELD.

Library Covers Gay Artist’s Statues With Bedsheet

January 19th, 2011

A bust of a man with his arm over his face with the label

With all this silly hoopla over the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council requesting their stations to play a version of “Money for Nothing” that has been edited for radio to replace a homophobic slur, I think it’s time to remind ourselves what real censorship looks like.

Before the holidays, a library in the town of Tillsonburg, Ontario, put three sculptures on display by R Bruce Flowers, a retired teacher turned full-time artist. They’re phenomenal. One depicts two older men in a playful headlock, another is of two hands grasping each other. The last one depicts a man with his arm over his eyes, entitled “Dreamer.”

The artwork was a big hit, gaining a favourable review in the town’s local newspaper. When the article mentioned the artist was gay, however, the mood surrounding the sculptures changed.

“The local Baptist church took great offence to the work as soon as they found out I was a gay sculptor,” Flowers told Xtra in an interview last month. “It seems to have contaminated the work; suddenly it was all negatively eroticized.”

Shortly after the article’s publication, the display case that featured the sculptures was covered with a bedsheet, hiding them from view.

John Friesen, a pastor in Tillsonburg’s New Hope church, said that he hadn’t seen the sculptures, but found them to be against family values. “It’s not portraying family values,” he told the media. “Do you see a man and a woman and children?”

Do I see a man and woman and children? Well no, actually. I imagine all I’d have seen is a bedsheet, but thanks for asking.

Friesen’s son, Greg, also got a word in with the media: “When I go to the library with my children, I don’t want to be seeing, let alone explaining, homosexual intimacy to my children,” he said.

It took a meeting with the town’s mayor before the sheet was finally removed. While the artwork is now available for admiration again, the artist is shaken. “It’s not like they came and studied the work, analyzed it, and then were offended by it,” he said. “No. It’s just because I’m a gay sculptor.”

Extremists Attack Gay Film Festival

October 4th, 2010

I object to what you have to say. WITH FIRE!

The Q! Film Festival, a GLBT festival showcasing being hosted in Jakarta, has been attacked by members of an extremist group calling themselves the Islamic Defender Front.

So far, several masked protesters have forced the cancellation of a handful of films, and have threatened to burn down venues unless the festival is shut down completely.

This is the ninth year that the Q! Film Festival has been held, but the first that generated any significant controversy. In a brave stand, the festival planners are undeterred, saying the entire point of the festival is to promote both religious and gender tolerance. “If there are parties who disagree with the ideas behind the festival,” organisers wrote in a public letter, “we urge them to state their opinions through a discussion forum or by holding a forum like a festival or something similar that allows for the exchange of ideas without fear or coercion.”

Very well put. After all, like I wrote on the Slap Facebook page, if burning down cinemas were an appropriate response to objectionable films, I don’t think the industry would exist post-Glitter.

Tourisme Montréal Temporarily Turns Off The Gay

March 5th, 2010

James over at Gay Persons of Color noticed something odd the other day. Tourisme Montréal, which recently launched a new promotional blog called The Montréal Buzz to replace the five separate ones they started last summer, had added an on/off switch to the top of their page labelled “LGBT Content.” It was off by default.

I emailed Daniel Baylis—Tourisme Montréal’s amazing gay events blogger—to see what was up. Here is his explanation:

Tourisme Montréal is very aware of the LGBT market, and wanted to ensure that LGBT content was still part of “The Montréal Buzz.” But they were also concerned about reactions to people landing on a webpage and seeing too much “gay” — for instance, the perhaps-under-sophisticated couple from the mid-west who is thinking about Montréal as a destination. There is a risk that they would see some of half naked men kissing each other and think that Montréal was not for them. Ultimately we want all types of people to visit our city and experience the joie de vivre.

I don’t envy the tourism marketing industry; they have to advertise a city as being the perfect destination for all people, including crazy bigots who feel faint at the thought they might be sharing the city with a gay. (Shock horror!)

The solution, though, shouldn’t have been to hide us gays behind a curtain with a drawstring tucked away in the corner for the curious. I mean, this is Montréal we’re talking about here; all tourists will encounter a gay person every thirty seconds. Pretending that we didn’t exist for the benefit of some extra closed-minded visitors wasn’t just offensive to gays, it was an inaccurate portrayal of an incredible, diverse city. It was the sort of ill-advised compromise that I’d expect from one of Canada’s more, uh, shall we say “perhaps-under-sophisticated” tourism marketing organizations.

Whether a post features half-naked men kissing each other or not (and let’s face it, photos of half-naked people are a staple of the entire tourism industry), Tourisme Montréal had identified all GLBT content as a special hazard, unshared by any other post category. Why, even a post about Piknic Électronique, Parc Jean Drapeau’s weekly outdoor DJ set, was hidden by default because it was presumably too gay. This ran completely counter to the original idea of a unified blog to showcase all of Montréal’s vibrancy.

The switch is gone now—as of last night—but that probably still leaves The Montréal Buzz with a dilemma: How do you advertise the same place to people who are looking for very different experiences? Their old solution of having multiple blogs (including a gay one) made sense, but meant that people interested in more than one category had to follow several subsites.

Personally, I’d recommend fairer category filters that don’t single out any community as being somehow risky or problematic. After all, a couple of young gay tourists are probably just as uninterested in child-friendly stroller parks as conservative mid-westerners would be for Divers/Cité. Having a small list of check boxes for categories like “Family,” “Seniors,” “Night life,” “GLBT,” etc. would keep the spirit of a unified blog that can be browsed all at once, while still presenting an audience-targeted view of the city and not unfairly singling out the gays.

Whatever they end up doing now, I’m happy to see that Tourisme Montréal recognized their mistake and got rid of the switch so quickly. In fact, to facilitate the matter, it has been moved here. I don’t think I’ll put it at the top of the page, but it’ll be well taken care of, I promise!

Gay toggle button

A tremendous hat tip to James over at Gay Persons of Color for alerting me to the story.

Gay Rights Deliberately Nixed From Immigrants Guide

March 3rd, 2010

Remember the government’s 63-page guide for new immigrants? Intended to teach potential citizens the ins and outs of Canadian culture, the guide was mysteriously missing any meaningful mention of GLBT rights.

Shortly after the final draft of the guide was released, Canada’s largest gay rights group, Egale, arranged a meeting with Jason Kenney, the Tory minister for Immigration and Citizenship in November. At the time, he told the group that gay rights had simply been “overlooked” during the design of the guide.

Interestingly enough, the Canadian Press revealed yesterday that not only were gay rights not overlooked in early drafts of the guide, but they were actually ordered to be removed by Kenney himself back in June.

The order to nix the gay rights sections didn’t go over well with civil servants, mind you. In August, a memo addressed to Kenney from Neil Yeates, the department’s deputy minister, urged that the GLBT-related sections be readded. Two bullet points from the memo read:

Recommend the re-insertion of the text boxes related to [...] the decriminalization of homosexual sex/recognition of same-sex marriage

Recommend the addition of ‘equality rights’ under list of rights. Had noted earlier that this bullet should be reinserted into the list as a means of noting the equality of all based on race, gender, sexual orientation etc.

Kenney—who fought against same-sex marriage from 2005-2006 and voted to open a debate to ban same-sex marriage in 2007—vetoed the recommendations, and 500,000 copies of the guide were printed without mention of GLBT rights.

So, I guess that’s what’s Kenney means by “overlooked.” (Perhaps he has a different edition of the dictionary that I do.)

Applicants for Canadian citizenship, incidentally, will be tested on the contents of the guide starting March 15th. So beware the Ides of March, new immigrants—and especially gay ones; your future government is the type that would censor your very first introduction to our country and culture.

Canada Post Foils Your Attempts At Discretion

January 18th, 2010

Anyone who requested a sexy underwear catalogue from Priape, Canada’s most well-known gay adult store, may be surprised to discover that their discreet, opaque packaging suddenly isn’t as discreet as it used to be. In fact, Priape reports that many have been prominently stamped with the words “adult material.”

The stamp was put there without Priape’s knowledge by Canada Post, our beloved mail carriers,  in conformance with new policies on “non-mailable matter.” These policies, which came into effect just over a year ago, now mandate that all “sexually suggestive” admail—even commercial mail that is explicitly addressed to the recipient—be clearly labelled as adult material, thwarting all attempts at discretion. This includes all images “that are suggestive of sexual activity,” as well as text that “describes sexual acts in a way that is more than purely technical.” (Ooh, saucy!)

A spokesperson for Canada Post told Xtra that this policy was all to protect the wee ones, explaining: “If you send it to a family and the children open the parcel, now that could be a problem.”

Yes, children opening nondescript envelopes that weren’t addressed to them would be a problem, wouldn’t it? It’s a good thing stamping “adult material” on the parcel will stop them; why, no curious kid would dare open a mysterious, forbidden envelope, labelled strictly for adults only. So thanks, Canada Post, for taking parenting responsibilities out of the hands of, well, parents, who are too burdened to ensure that their solicited, adult-ish materials stay out of their own children’s grasp.

Customs Seizes Gay Festival Films

November 25th, 2009

Adorable family dramas are so terribly inappropriate.

ROOOOSSEEEBUUUUUD!!!!

Ottawa’s Inside Out Film festival had to make some urgent, last minute arrangements after the Canadian Border Services Agency seized three films scheduled to be presented. The seized films include Patrik 1.5 (Rated PG), Clapham Junction (Rated R), and I Can’t Think Straight (Rated PG-13).

All three films had already been shown in Canada. Patrik 1.5 debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008 and I Can’t Think Straight was a mainstream theatrical release over the summer.

Canadian customs regularly seizes materials it suspects to be obscene, and often classifies gay films, books, and artwork as such. In 2000, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the CBSA was unfairly targeting GLBT content and ordered it to stop its discriminatory policies.

The CBSA is still permitted to seize materials randomly, something that the film festival’s director, Jason St-Laurent, doubts is the case here: “It seems biased at some times, and at other rimes random, but to me, this time, it is not a random event.” Brice Dellsperger, a filmmaker featured at the festival agrees: “It happens all the time; it’s something that we constantly face.”

Well, that settles it. Slap Upside The Head: The Movie will be distributed digitally!

Scholastic Censors Book Over Lesbian Moms

November 4th, 2009

Pink isn't always very gay

Luv Ya Bunches, a short novel for ages nine to twelve, has been pulled from U.S. book fairs by the Scholastic publishing company because one of the book’s characters, Milla, has two mommies.

The novel, published by Scholastic and written by Lauren Myracle, is about four school girls who form lasting friendships despite not having much in common other than all being named after flowers.

Shortly before the book’s release on October 1st, Scholastic sent a letter to the author asking her to remove several offensive words (specifically “geez,” “crap,” “sucks,” and “oh my God”) and to change Milla’s parents to be straight—or be banned from the publishing company’s book fairs. (Oh my God, that sort of crap sucks. I mean, geez!)

The author, speaking to a literary news site, had this to say:

The other issues, words like “crap,” just made me shake my head and laugh. But the idea that two moms could be problematic… well, astonished would be the best way to describe my reaction.

Myracle agreed to clean up the filthy, filthy language by changing “crap” to “junk” and so forth, but absolutely refused to ungayify Milla’s parents. As a result, Scholastic’s book fairs division banned the book outright, budging only a tad after gaining some negative press. So, while they continue to refuse to include the novel in book fairs targeted toward the book’s intended readers, they will permit it to appear at middle-school book fairs where the readers are too old to hold any interest in the novel. (Scholastic’s Canadian division, notably, never had a problem with the book and features it both in their book club and book fairs division.)

Still, it’s a good thing that Scholastic isn’t in charge of publishing this blog, or they’d probably blacklist me for even thinking to utter the following scathing and profane invective:

Jeepers golly gosh, Scholastic! What gives?

Wherever They Burn Books…

October 16th, 2009

There was a hot shirtless guy in the middle.

Earlier this year, a Wisconsin Christian group sued the American Library Association for the right to burn a library book entitled Baby Be-Bop. The book is a charming young adult novel about a gay boy struggling to come to terms with his sexual orientation after being attacked by a homophobic gang. Totally unacceptable, according to the religious extremist group who—backed by legal aid from the Christian Civil Liberties Union—demanded not only the rights to burn the book publicly, but also sought $120,000 in compensatory damages because the elderly plaintiffs’ “mental and emotional well-being was damaged by this book at the library.”

Robert C. Braun, the president of the Christian Civil Liberties Union branch, made his intentions quite clear: “We don’t want it put in a section for adults,” Braun told the press, “we want it out or destroyed.”

I haven’t heard what became of the lawsuit (which likely means it failed miserably), but the story stuck in my mind due to the sheer insanity of the situation. These kooks would absolutely burn this website if they could.

I had written off the situation as being hopelessly beyond response, when I came across another story this week that I found to be a wonderful inspiration. And it has a Canadian twist.

Peter Bernier, operating out of his Toronto home, is the founder and sole operator of Rainbow Link. Since 2005, Bernier has donated boxes of GLBT-themed books to small town libraries, helping stock the shelves with stories that people like him can relate to. Recalling what it was like reading his first queer novel as a gay person, Bernier explained his motivations to Xtra: “I wanted to read gay love stories. It was a long time before I found anything that reflected my desires or made any sense of them.”

Essentially, while some people are trying make books unavailable through symbolically violent means, one man is making them available through hard work and generous donations.

GLBT books offer guidance, advice, consolation, and entertainment to millions of gay people. To find out more about Rainbow Link and help become part of the exact opposite of a book burning, write to “culture” at RainbowLink.ca, or send something the old fashioned way: Rainbow link, P.O. Box 111, Station F, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2L4.

Alberta Delays Gay Lesson Opt-Out

September 2nd, 2009

At least until next year, when we can pull you out altogether.

Alberta’s strange new law requiring teachers to notify parents before tackling any lessons dealing with sexual orientation has been delayed until next year so that the school boards can prepare formal procedures.

The Alberta Teacher Association as well as several large municipal school boards was against this bill from the start, but the provincial Conservative government has so far been adamant that the law is necessary for parents to be able to pull their children out of classes, preventing them from learning anything about gay issues.

The law was part of a revision to the Human Rights Act, which means that any teachers who violate the new law will see themselves before the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

The whole thing is a bad idea, so sparing an extra year’s worth of children from all this is welcome news. Too bad it’s not delayed indefinitely.

School Censors Little Girl’s History Report

May 22nd, 2009

She moves away from the mic to breathe in.

Natalie Jones, a sixth grade student in San Diego, has been disallowed from reading her history report on Harvey Milk, the United State’s first openly gay and tragically slain politician, until her fellow classmates receive permission from their parents to hear it.

Theresa Grace, the principal of the girl’s elementary school, said that a school board policy forbids the teaching of any topics that include discussions of sexual orientation without first receiving parental permission.

Sound both absurd and familiar? It should! Ted Morton, a Conservative MLA in Alberta, has thrice tried to introduce a bill that would implement the same policy province-wide. And now Lindsay Blackett, a Conservative cabinet minister, has introduced a similar bill that would require teachers to pull students out of class unless they have permission to hear reports like Natalie’s.

I guess I can see where they’re coming from, though. I was involuntarily and irreversibly transformed into a homosexual after hearing too much of a classmate’s report on the Enola Gay.

“Gay” Book Most Banned For Third Consecutive Year

April 20th, 2009

Evil... EVIL... Magic... BEWARE...

And Tango Makes Three, a children’s picture book about penguins at the Central Park Zoo was the most challenged book for the third consecutive year, according to the American Library Association.

The book recounts—through delightfully charming watercolour illustrations—the true story of two male chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo who incubate and hatch an abandoned egg, raising it as their own. The picture book generated more formal complaints and was pulled off more Library shelves than any other book in 2008, with most complainants criticizing it for being “anti-family,” “pro-gay,” and “anti-religion.” (I’d just call it “pro-adorable.”)

GAFPA, The Gay, Athiest, Family-Destroying Penguin Association, has issued a press-release, calling the book censorship “Chirpichirpi-Quaaaah!”

Asian Network Censors “Gay” From Oscar Telecast

February 27th, 2009

For legal purposes, these are actually the Stintflones.

STAR, a Pan-Asian television network owned by Rupert Murdoch, is drawing criticism this week for its decision to censor their broadcasting of the Oscar telecast on Monday morning.

Audiences found that all occurrences of the words “gay” and “lesbian” were deleted from the ceremony’s acceptance speeches, specifically those of Dustin Lance Black and Sean Penn for the film Milk.

Jannie Poon, a spokesperson for STAR, was unapologetic, saying that the network has “a responsibility to take the sensitivities and guidelines of all our markets into consideration.”

Well, I’m outraged, I am! Being ___ myself, I find this to be an affront to the sensitivities of the network’s ___ and ______ markets. ___ and _______ viewers all over Asia—as well as the greater worldwide ___ community—are being told that words and references to anything ___, such as ___, _______, ______, and even _____ are so _______ that they can’t even ___ ______ or ____________ the ____ ___ ______ ___ ______!

Tories Ditch Film Censorship Bill

October 10th, 2008

The federal Conservatives have withdrawn a film censorship clause from bill C-10. The clause, which would have allowed the government to withdraw tax credits to films and television shows that they deem “contrary to public policy,” was dropped amidst declining support in the polls during the election.

Evangelical lobbyist, Charles McVety, originally claimed responsibility for the clause, indicating that that any films with gay content, such as the sweet family comedy, Breakfast With Scot, would be among those ineligible for tax credits.

While I’m happy that the clause has been turfed, I wouldn’t doubt for a second that the Tories would introduce it again, or would have even turfed it if their poll support hadn’t been slipping.

They just really don’t want Slap Upside The Head: The Film to see the light of day!

Hit Song Banned In US Over Supposed Gay Subtext

September 15th, 2008

Chasing Pavements, a hit song by UK artist Adele, has reportedly been banned by some radio stations in the United States over bizarre claims that the mellow pop song is actually a gay anthem.

Adele, speaking at the Nationwide Mercury awards last week, expressed disappointment over the whole incident, insisting that there’s absolutely nothing gay in the song:

Some weirdo on the Net wrote that Chasing Pavements was about being gay, which isn’t true at all. Because of that some radio stations in the States wouldn’t play it.

Adele said that the controversy started after an anonymous user posted an entry at Urban Dictionary, a slang dictionary website to which anyone can contribute definitions. The term “chasing pavements” was not on the site until after the song was released, but is now defined as something… err, not terrifically fitting for such a laid back ballad. Weirder still, there’s nothing in the rogue definition that is necessarily gay-related, making me wonder why all this gayness entered the picture in the first place.

Still, those of you who want to hear this filthy, filthy song can catch it on YouTube.

School Board Bans Anti-Homophobia Poster

June 23rd, 2008

Poster Censor

The Mission Public School District in B.C. has banned an anti-homophobia poster from all of its staff rooms for the second time in two years. The poster, which was to be displayed in locations only visible to staff members, featured a gloved hand holding a medical syringe accompanied by the tag line “homosexuality is not an illness.”

Randy Huth, the Director of Instruction for the school district, said the poster was “graphic,” adding that it visually depicted substance abuse and homosexuality. Huth said that even though students were unable to view it, it was “inappropriate—even for staff too.”

Lauren Gosselin, a spokesperson for the Fondation Émergence who designed the poster, was surprised by Randy’s interpretation:

[Substance abuse] is not what we were aiming for when we were designing the poster. The message that we want to send out is basically a very simple one: homosexuality is not a disease, period.

I’m inclined to believe the poster designers. Substance abuse isn’t mentioned anywhere in the poster text and I’m not really sure that injection drug users use sterile gloves more than, say, nurses.

Incidentally, this is not the first time the Mission Public School District has banned an anti-homophobia poster. Last year, it pulled posters featuring a newborn wearing a hospital bracelet with the word “homosexual,” accompanied by the text “Sexual orientation is not a choice.”

Church Bans Peace Activist Over Gay Marriage Stance

May 23rd, 2008

Church Gay Barrier

Poor James Loney. The Christian peace worker, made internationally famous after being held hostage in Iraq for several months, has been barred from speaking at another religious shindig simply because he’s gay.

Loney was booked to speak at Sacred Heart Cathedral yesterday night by a Roman Catholic group, but cathedral staff forbade the event after discovering the speaker was gay. While officials indicated the ban was due to Loney’s views on same-sex marriage, he was not scheduled to speak on the topic.

You’ve got to admire James’ courage, though. Sticking to your faith in a church that actively denounces your existence can’t be easy. After nearly giving up his life for his religion, Loney has now been barred from quite a few religious events because he’s gay.

In October, The Campaign Life Coalition successfully lobbied to ban him from speaking on the subject of social justice at a church-sponsored peace conference, calling him an “unrepentant, active homosexual;” the year prior, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton rescinded their annual funding of a peace forum because Loney was the keynote speaker on the theme of “The Price of Peace.” But the real kicker was two summers ago, when the Ontario Catholic Youth Leadership Camp shut down entirely because the Knights of Columbus, who financed the camp, said that having Loney working there signaled that the camp was “promoting the homosexual lifestyle.”

Children’s Story Most Controversial Book Of 2007

May 7th, 2008

Penguin Hate

The American Library Association released their annual list of most challenged books on Tuesday. Topping the list for the second consecutive year is And Tango Makes Three, a true story about a couple of male penguins at the New York Central Park Zoo.

The story is actually pretty cute; the penguins pair off as a couple and begin incubating an egg-shaped rock as if it were their own. Eventually the zoo-keeper takes notice and replaces the rock with a real egg that another penguin had abandoned. The two penguins take turns sitting on the egg until it hatches into an adorable baby chick, which they raise together.

The book, complete with really sweet, colourful illustrations, generated more formal complaints and was pulled off more library and school shelves than any other book since 2006.

Complainants charge that the book leads impressionable children to accept the penguin lifestyle.

Lobbyist: No Tax Credits For Adorable Gay Comedy

April 18th, 2008

Determining Film Taxes

Breakfast With Scot, an unbelievably sweet comedy about a closeted gay couple who unexpectedly finds themselves raising a bubbly 11-year old boy, is under attack once again by anti-gay lobbyists.

Previously, the Canadian Family Action Coalition led a boycott of the NHL over the film, which licensed the Toronto Maple Leafs logo. The boycott wasn’t very successful. (Go Habs!)

This time, though, Charles McVety, a spokesperson for the group, is seeking government intervention. He singled out the family comedy as being one that would have all its tax credits revoked by the government if Bill C-10, which is currently in front of the senate, were to pass into law. The bill seeks to deny tax credits to films after they’ve been produced if the content is found to be “objectionable.”

McVety—who previously claimed responsibility for Bill C-10, but has since backpeddled—summarized Breakfast With Scot as a film about “an 11-year-old boy who is being raised by a homosexual Toronto Maple Leaf to be a homosexual.”

Ignoring, for a moment, that the notion that someone can be raised to be homosexual is rejected completely by the psychological, medical, and academic community, I’m amazed by this misclassification. Either McVety has never seen the film, or he is lying about what he saw.

I had the privilege to see Breakfast with Scot last autumn in attendance with the director, producers, and its young star. It was a sweet, family comedy about a closeted hockey star and his lawyer husband who like to keep their lives discreet. They suddenly find themselves caring for a tragically orphaned 11-year-old, who enjoys cooking, dressing up in feather boas, singing Christmas carols in summer, and drawing exactly the sort of attention that his new guardians like to avoid. I won’t ruin the story, but to describe the film as anything but a gentle holiday comedy with strong, moral themes is dishonest.

Still, McVety has targeted and seeks to punish this film because the guardian characters are gay—a point central to the film’s comedic premise. “We are objecting to films that proselytize young people into homosexuality,” he told reporters. Laurie Lynd, the filmmaker, was stunned, adding that if the movie’s tax credits were revoked, it “could have killed the film completely.”

McVety has said multiple times that Bill C-10 is about ending the funding of pornography with tax dollars. That’s not what he’s demonstrating, especially since policies are already in place to prevent that. Instead, this bill is about revoking tax credits (not even funding) from any films that disagree with McVety’s ideology—and after they’ve been made, to boot. With this broad definition of what constitutes an objectionable film, and with an after-the-fact process, Bill C-10 will force filmmakers to reconsider producing anything with content as edgy as, well, a gay couple.

Sigh. Maybe I’ll just produce Slap Upside The Head: The Animated Film stateside.

Singapore Fines TV Station For Showing Lesbian Kiss

April 11th, 2008

Gay TV Outrage

The Media Development Authority in Singapore has fined StarHub Cable Vision, the country’s cable operator, for airing a music video that showed two women kissing. In a statement, the media authority called the kiss “a breach of the TV advertising guidelines, which disallows advertisements that condone homosexuality.”

The cable operator has agreed to pay the fine and no longer show the music video.

Homosexuality is illegal in Singapore and media featuring gay people is often banned in the country. Earlier this year, for example, an X-Box game was banned for featuring an alien lesbian couple.

Religious Groups Demand “Gay” Cartoons Pulled

March 31st, 2008

Gay cartoons are coming to brainwash Russian children!

Christian and Muslim groups in Russia are demanding the shutdown of 2X2, a cartoon television network, because it airs programs that “promote homosexuality.”

The groups have formed a lobby coalition called the Consultive Council of the Heads of the Protestant Churches in Russia. They’ve singled out South Park as a particularly offensive program and called for the government to strip the television station of its license:

Through the use of cartoons this channel is pumping, day and night, an ideology into the consiousness of minors of perversion and other vices.

Yekaterina Doglosheveva, a spokesperson for 2X2, said their station’s target audience is 16-30 year old men—not children—and that Russia is a secular state. He asked where the line would be drawn:

The atheists could have just as well written a letter to demand that all religious channels and programs be closed. We work respecting the constitution, we do not violate the law.

A good stance—although, the council may have a point. I’ve watched The Simpsons for years and turned out completely gay!