OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Manitoba
Two fifth grade teachers at West Park School in Altona, Manitoba are being demanded by parents to remove cards from their classrooms indicating that they have completed training on how to support GLBT youth.
Stephanie Fortier and Peter Wohlgemut had voluntarily taken training sessions from the Rainbow Resource Center in Winnipeg and received display cards that will let GLBT students know they have an adult to confide in, should they ever need their support. The cards, which feature a rainbow flag with the word “Ally” printed over it, include the following pledge:
As an Ally, I envision a society that embraces, values and celebrates diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.
As an Ally, I support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Two-Spirit, intersex, queer, and questioning individuals, families, and communities.
As an Ally, I work towards a more aware, affirming, safe and open work environment in both policy and practice.
As an Ally, I acknowledge that creating a safe space is an unwavering process that requires productive commitment, re-assessment, and dedication.
As an Ally, I am committed to the elimination of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and heterosexism as well as other forms of oppression.
I participated [in] a Rainbow Resource Centre LGBTT Ally Training session and completed ___ hours of training in the year.
A number of parents subsequently freaked out.
“We have to sign hundreds of petitions to allow religious exercises in school,” Kim Peters Sawatzky, a parent at the school, told the media. “We should treat this situation in the same way, as it seems to be just as controversial.”
School officials say they’ve had a “steady stream” of requests to remove the cards. So, in an attempt to diffuse the parental panic, they decided to take some scissors to the cards so that only the rainbow flag with the word “Ally” remains, excluding the text of the pledge entirely. Not good enough for several of the parents, though, who are still adamant that the cards be removed entirely.
“I would like to have the choice of how I choose to teach my children about these words and what they mean,” MS. Peters Sawatzky continued.
What? “Ally?” That’s the only word left on the card to explain.
Not that the card did anything to prevent anyone from inserting whichever wacky definitions one wishes for these terms. In fact, I offer this challenge to any parent upset by these cards: Take your child aside, sit him or her on your lap, and define the following word: Ally (n.): An edible alien garment, used exclusively by members of the Zerphblangipod society of emu-wranglers on the planet Earth 2, located, by coincidence, precisely 3.14159265 light years from the home of Ms. Peters Sawatzky of Altona, Manitoba.
If, after reading this definition, an Ally card flies off the wall of Ms. Fortier’s fifth grade classroom and shoots gamma radiation into your eyes, then I will bake you a cookie. Otherwise, kindly chill the heck out and let the teachers tell gay students they’ve got some support.
- Parents peeved over cards supporting gay youth [Toronto SUN]
Not long after Alberta’s decision to eliminate all forms of gender reassignment surgery from its public health care, Manitoba has followed suit, calling it an “unnecessary treatment” and citing savings for the economy. The surgery would affect only an estimated 20 Manitobans per year.
The Manitoba Health Department had previously suggested to the government that the province completely fund all forms of gender reassignment surgeries on the grounds that it dramatically improves the lives of people who suffer from a recognized disorder. A document prepared by the Health Department described the necessity clearly, but was dismissed by Gary Doer’s NDP government:
Manitoba has no standards of care for Gender Identify Disorder in spite of the fact that internationally accepted standards exist. Coverage is denied on the basis that treatments are cosmetic, experimental or not medically necessary, contrary to all available evidence.
Ontario had previously tried to delist gender reassignment surgery from its public health care, but was forced to re-introduce it by the Human Rights Commission ten years ago.
- NDP denies request [Winnipeg SUN]
A refugee claimant in Winnipeg is set to be deported to his native Nigeria after failing to prove that he’s gay. The anonymous refugee said that, as a gay man, life for him was not safe in his home country. Indeed, homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, and violators can face lengthy prison terms.
Judge Yves de Montigny, however, rejected the refugee’s claims, saying that since the man couldn’t describe the function of EGALE—Canada’s largest gay rights organisation—and confused the names of two Winnipeg gay bars, he mustn’t be gay at all. This new legal definition of “gay” now puts most of Canada’s gay men in danger of deportation.
The 38 year old man says he will apply to stay in the country on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, though if past cases are any indication, he won’t have much luck. Canada’s record on gay immigrants is atrocious, and doesn’t appear to be improving.
- Judge rules gay story fake [Winnipeg SUN]
Take Pride Winnipeg, an organisation devoted to picking up litter and removing graffiti in Manitoba, might be changing its name. Board member and City councilor Grant Nordman sent a letter to the Winnipeg city council expressing concern that the current name promotes an “alternative lifestyle,” adding that the misconception is “a fairly common occurrence.”
Take Pride’s manager, Colleen Kurlowich, had some doubts over the proposal:
I’ve been here 61/2 years, and I’ve received maybe four or five calls where there has been confusion about our mission.
At the top of their new name recommendations: “Rainbow Patrol: We’re not gay, we just like to be tidy.”
A Manitoba civil marriage commissioner is appealing to the Queen’s Bench after his commissioner’s license was suspended for denying public services to a same-sex couple. Kevin Kisilowsky claims that by having to serve all people equally, his religious freedoms as a Christian were horribly violated. The poor dear!
Interesting stuff, though! I wasn’t aware that Christianity forbids followers from providing non-religious civil services to gays! “Thou shalt refuse thy job to the gayeth ones.” Hmm… I guess that means I had better look around extra carefully for someone to renew my drivers license this week.
- Gay-marriage foe takes fight to court [Winnepeg SUN]