OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Vancouver
Housing discrimination has always been a little difficult to measure. Yet, even in a city as diverse and vibrant as Vancouver, it’s reported to happen. While it’s illegal to deny a gay couple housing simply because of their sexual orientation anywhere in Canada, proving this kind of discrimination is not easy; landlords don’t normally admit to such prejudice. (At least, not the cowardly ones.)
This is what makes a recent experiment conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia so interesting.
Two professors and 34 students designed an experiment around some housing application letters. The letters were all identical except for a small detail. Some letters indicated a heterosexual couple was interested in the property, while others indicated a gay male couple, a single parent, or a lesbian couple. The letters were then sent to 1,700 different landlords in the Vancouver area.
The results are unfortunate.
Letters that were from the gay male partners were 25% more likely to be rejected than letters from the straight couples—more than any other group. The next-most discriminated group, single parents, were 15% more likely to be rejected.
The results, naturally, depended on the neighbourhood in which the property was located. Vancouver’s West End, for example, which has traditionally been an area favoured by gays, had a much higher acceptance rate of all family types than elsewhere in the city.
Now, considering that Vancouver is a pretty a diverse city, it probably exhibits less discrimination than elsewhere in Canada. In this sense, 25% is a pretty worrying statistic, wouldn’t you say?
The results of the study have been published in the August edition of the academic journal Social Problems.
Shaun Woodward, a 37 year old construction worker, was in a Vancouver gay pub last March when he was offered a beer by Richard Dowrey, a 62 year old gay man out celebrating his retirement. Woodward, who is straight, was angered by the gesture, sucker punching the retiree amidst a stream of homophobic slurs. Dowrey suffered permanent brain damage, leaving him with severe memory problems. He will require assisted living for the rest of his life.
Robin Perelle from Xtra Vancouver interviewed Dowrey for an article published late last week. The story is heartbreaking. In Perelle’s words:
I visited Dowrey at his care home in Langley the day before his attacker’s sentencing hearing. Dowrey can’t remember the attack. He can’t remember his friends at The Fountainhead [Pub]. He can’t remember his life.
I ask him how old he is; “60-something,” he tells me, unable to be more precise. “I don’t remember a thing from the 40s and 50s,” he adds. I ask him why. “I don’t know,” he replies, watching me.
“I hope I’ll get better one of these days,” he says, pointing at himself. “I hope so.” “I just have to get this leg fixed,” he says.
Woodward claimed the attack was self defense because the 62 year old had made “unwanted sexual advances.” Provincial Court Judge Jocelyn Palmer dismissed Woodward’s gay panic defense outright, calling the gay-bashing an “unprovoked attack, driven by virulent homophobia,” delivering a six-year prison sentence.
Judge Palmer’s choice of words, “virulent,” is fitting. Homophobic sentiment spreads and strengthens itself, and silence does nothing to stop it. Homophobia must be challenged wherever it is encountered, well before it escalates to this level of violence and destroys lives.
- Man ‘driven by virulent homophobia’ sentenced to 6 years for attack on gay man [Vancouver Sun]
- Unrecognizable [Xtra Vancouver]
A gay-bashing victim who was assaulted in Vancouver earlier this month is very unhappy with the response he received from the police.
Thomas Pope says he was waiting for his friends outside a McDonalds when two men started taunting him with homophobic slurs. When his friends finally stepped outside, the two men turned their taunts to one of them as well, eventually escalating to violence. Thomas was punched several times in the face, and his friend, Jacob Pyne, had a tooth knocked out. Their female friend, Sara, wasn’t targetted. “They said that they had no problem with her because she’s a girl,” Thomas told the press, “they had a problem with [Jacob and me] because we’re “faggots.”‘
The police were called and arrived quickly, but that’s where things got weird. “She was swearing at us and yelling at us, the police officer,” Thomas told the press. “She said it was just a he-said-she-said incident and wouldn’t take my statement; that they were off the clock and we were lucky they even responded to the call.”
It took the involvement of Spencer Chandra Herbert, a Vancouver MLA who was concerned about this story, to get the police’s attention. An internal investigation which includes video surveillance is now underway.
It’s supremely disappointing that the police allegedly behaved in this manner, because reporting homophobic attacks is exactly what needs to be done as soon as something like this happens. Here’s hoping this ends up being resolved quickly!
- Police belligerent and unprofessional at gaybashing [Xtra West]
- Police conduct questioned in alleged gay-bashing [Toronto SUN]
Shawn Woodward, a 37 year old man from Vancouver, was found guilty of aggravated assault this week after sucker-punching a 62-year-old gay man. Richard Dowrey, the victim, was left with permanent brain damage and will now require assistance for the rest of his life.
Woodward, who is straight, claimed that the punch was made in self-defense because Dowrey had made “unwanted sexual advances.” Now, that’s a pretty crazy argument on its own, but it’s extra absurd in this case. The assault happened inside the Fountainhead Pub, a gay bar in the middle of Vancouver’s gay district.
After examining witness testimony, the judge found that Woodward’s evidence was not credible, that no sexual assault took place, and that Woodward merely became offended and violent after being hit on by a gay guy.
Sentencing happens in September, where it will be decided if the assault was also a hate crime.
- Guilty verdict in Fountainhead Pub assault [CBC News]
A Vancouver man has been given a harsh, year-long prison sentence for assaulting a gay man back in September, 2008.
Jordan Smith was holding hands with his boyfriend as they walked along the street in Vancouver’s gay district when he was attacked by Michael Kandola. The attack knocked Smith out cold and broke his jaw, requiring surgery to have it wired shut.
Smith had never held hands with his boyfriend in public before and hasn’t done so since.
Kandola’s lawyers argued that the assault, caught on film by a security camera, should not be considered a hate crime—a notion that the judge rightfully dismissed. The attacker shouted anti-gay slurs before and after the assault, even as the victim was laying unconscious on the ground.
This is one of the first gay bashings to be ultimately ruled a hate crime under sections 318 and 319 of Canada’s criminal code—a very welcome change from the norm.
You see, occasionally, I hear some nonsense about how “all crimes are hate crimes,” and that tougher sentences shouldn’t be given in instances like Smith’s attack. I could not disagree as completely as I do with this sentiment. Hate crimes are different from regular crimes in that they target an entire community, not just a single victim. They send the message that all gay people had better watch their backs. This ruling sends the message that anyone who would terrorize the gay community with violence should watch theirs.
- B.C. judge declares attack on gay man a hate crime [CTV News]
- Attacked for holding hands [Surrey Leader]
A Vancouver music teacher has been suspended from teaching at a Catholic high school after parents found out that she was a lesbian, according to a news release from the Pride Education Network this week.
Lisa Reimer had taken some time off to celebrate the birth of her first child with her partner. When she returned, she was told that all her music classes had been cancelled and that the remainder of her contract with the school would be spent grading papers from home. The principal noted that while the school administration was confident in Ms. Reimer’s teaching ability, many parents were concerned about her “potential influence” on students. (All gay music teachers, of course, posses a powerful Pied Piper magic that, if gone unchecked, will lead students directly into the river Gay.)
While Little Flower Academy is a Catholic school, it receives public funding and is thereby subject to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, protecting staff against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The school was quick to emphasize that they didn’t actually fire Ms. Reimer, but there are ways to discriminate other than just firing someone. Right?
Claude Mailhot and Alain Goldberg, two commentators for RDS, Canada’s French-language sports network, have issued a public apology over homophobic comments made during the men’s figure skating competition at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The comments were made in reference to a performance by three-time United States figure skating champion, Johnny Weir, and came just after two Australian commentators landed in hot water for similar, but tamer comments about the same athlete.
“This may not be politically correct,” Mailhot began in French, “but do you think he lost points due to his costume and his body language?” Goldberg agreed, saying that Weir’s performance reflected badly on male figure skating: “They’ll think all boys who skate will end up like him. It sets a bad example.”
“We should make him pass a gender test at this point,” continued Goldberg, with Mailhot joking that Weir “should compete with the women.”
It’s kind of like clockwork, mind you. Male figure skaters are often criticized for being perceived as too feminine, and it’s a form of misogyny that’s getting pretty tired. It’d probably take a decorated figure skater to cure such a lack of creativity.
Weir is as much an artist as an althlete. If you ask me, the only “bad example” here is the suggestion that some forms of art should be dismissed instantly due to the gender of the performer.
Honte à vous deux, Claude et Alain.
- Gay rights group to launch complaint over ‘homophobic’ comments by RDS analysts [Canadian Press]
- Fury over RDS’s ‘homophobic’ treatment of Johnny Weir [Montréal Gazette]
- Figure skater shrugs off ‘homophobic’ remarks [Pink News]
A man who was harassed with homophobic slurs and physical assaults by a woman at the Vancouver Olympics opening ceremonies is wondering why the venue’s ushers, security, and organizers have ignored the whole incident.
The unidentified woman mistakenly thought Tyler Sheppard and his friends were in her seat, prompting her to launch into bizarre tantrum, calling them gay slurs and kicking.
The abuse didn’t stop even after an usher confirmed that the seats were correctly assigned. Mr. Sheppard is now looking for answers as to why the usher and police at the venue didn’t do anything about it. Days later, the organizers have yet to return calls about the incident.
In an interview with Xtra West, Sheppard called the whole ordeal “demoralizing.” “My friends heard it; a lot of people heard it,” he said. “She kicked me in the back with her foot which left a red mark.”
Yikes! I guess the ceremonies didn’t charm everyone. I mean, I know the torch lighting incident didn’t go as smoothly as planned, but this is a bit of an overreaction, don’t you think?
Edmund Bro and Keith Scott, two gay, physically disabled, HIV-positive tenants in West Vancouver, have won their case with the Human Rights Tribunal over an abusive and homophobic landlord. Each tenant was awarded $15,000 to compensate for their year-and-a-half of relentless harassment from Michael John Moody and his son, Guy.
The Human Rights Code in British Columbia forbids, among other things, discrimination based on disability, sexual orientation, and source of income. Moody, being the sampling type it appears, decided to violate as many of these as possible. In addition to constant verbal harassment, he physically assaulted the two disabled men, demeaned their reliance on disability benefits, and even refused to conduct repairs on the property.
Bro and Scott moved out, of course, leaving Moody free to rebuild his property as a summer spot for anti-gay lobbyists.
- Gay tenants win B.C. Human Rights Tribunal complaint [Straight.com]
A Lesbian couple in Vancouver is complaining to the media after a bus driver told them the city’s Sunday family special didn’t apply to lesbian couples.
Vancouver public transit allows up to two adults and four children to board a bus using a single FareCard, but when Ashlee Gowriluk and her girlfriend tried this, they say they were told this only applied to opposite-sex couples. Even when Gowriluk called the transit authority with her cell phone confirming that the Sunday special applies to any two adults, the bus driver refused to acknowledge the policy, instead driving off announcing that he would never stop for them again.
A spokesperson for Coast Mountain Bus Company, the operator of public transit in Vancouver, said the company is investigating the incident. Not being happy with a mere investigation, Slap Upside The Head is starting a petition demanding that all drivers be replaced with adorable, bus-driving robots.
A Vancouver woman has complained to the press after discovering a gay magazine while rummaging through a display at American Apparel.
BUTT, a Netherlands-based magazine, was partially sticking out of a backpack in one of the store’s displays when Trina Campbell decided to remove it and leaf through its contents:
I slammed the magazine closed and looked at my daughter in horror. She looked at me and said “What?” I said, “Did you see that?” She said “No.”
I actually started crying.
The magazine, which is available for sale at all American Apparel stores, is not actually pornography; however, it does contain R-rated images, so the store requires proper ID to be shown in order to buy a copy from behind the counter.
Funny. Judging from American Apparel’s all-Lycra stock, I was under the impression that they couldn’t sell anything to minors. My mistake.
Anyway, I don’t think it’s particularly appropriate to have R-rated material stuffed in a display backpack, but then it’s not particularly appropriate to rummage through store displays either. Since the magazine wasn’t very accessible (all sale copies are stored behind the counter), I have a feeling that the complaint has more to do with the fact that a sexually-suggestive magazine was available at American Apparel in the first place. You know, the store where the outfits you buy and the credit card you use to buy them weigh about the same.
A young man has been arrested in Vancouver after punching a gay man in the face for singing Christmas carols.
The victim, who did not wish to identify himself to the media, was walking past St. Paul’s hospital with a friend when he became inspired by the Christmas lights display and burst into carols. The attacker, 21 year old Christopher Clifford Mercier, suddenly became enraged and punched the singer in the face while shouting anti-gay slurs.
While the victim was not seriously injured, these attacks are serious. This is Vancouver’s second, reported, spontaneous anti-gay attack this autumn. Jordan Smith, another Vancouver gay man, suffered a broken jaw after being assaulted in late September.
The Vancouver police are investigating the attack as a hate crime, a move which I applaud. Minorities are often at a greater risk of assault for no reason other than simply being a minority; this is why hate crime laws are in place. Gay bashing is not a sport and it is vital that the police send out a message that this will not be tolerated.
Here’s some good news for all the gay althetes out there. Vancouver has been selected as the host city for the 2011 North American Continental OutGames. Canada’s third-largest city, which is also is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, will be well-equipped to accommodate the events and athletes with some brand-new facilities.
Canada’s no stranger to the OutGames. The first World OutGames were held in Montréal in 2006, and the first North American Continental OutGames were held in Calgary. Vancouver’s announcement means Canada will have played host to exactly half of all OutGames thus far, including those in which it’s ineligible to host (The Asia Pacific Continental OutGames). Just another plus to living in an officially homosexual country!
- Vancouver to host Outgames a year after Winter Olympics [Times Colonist]
- Outgames mix sport and diversity [24 Hours Vancouver]
The Pumpjack Pub, a Vancouver gay bar, was evacuated after a caller left several homophobic messages, including a threat to blow up the bar at 6pm, last Wednesday.
Vince Marino, a co-owner of the bar, said that they received nearly 8-10 calls from a male caller, and whenever no one answered, he would leave a homophobic message. After one message included a specific bomb threat, the police were called and the bar was evacuated. The messages, which Marino described as involving “derogatory comments toward the gay community,” were also turned over to the police.
There’ll be no additional snarky comments on this story, kids. Death threats are serious and have no place in a civil society.
- Bomb threat targets PumpJack [Xtra West]
The Vancouver Board of Education has outlined rules in which parents may pull their students out of class due to familial religious beliefs. In a formal policy, the board said that while parents may request that students be pulled out of lessons dealing with gay issues in Health class, this does not apply to other classes—and any missed material still must be learned through either home instruction or self-directed studying.
Some parents have expressed concern that these regulations are too strict and infringe upon parental rights to pass personal values onto their children. I don’t believe that’s the case here; parents are absolutely free to teach what they believe to their children. The issue, instead, is whether parents have the right to censor the curriculum taught at school and prevent students from hearing parts of controversial topics that parents disagree with.
Having gone through a Catholic school system where gay issues were never addressed, I know what it’s like to be in the dark on gay health issues and have personally felt the effects of a blind-eye to homophobic bullying. Independent of what parents choose to teach their children at home, it’s extremely important that these are dealt issues with in schools. Gay students exist and often do not feel they can ask questions that concern them directly for fear of outing themselves.
The Vancouver Board of Education is right. These programs do not infringe upon or contradict parental rights, and should not be censored. Violence and harassment are never acceptable, regardless of one’s beliefs on homosexuality, and preventing the distribution of health information to those that require it would be irresponsible.
- No skipping gay-friendly classes, schools tell parents [Vancouver Sun]
Gay men are twice as likely as heterosexual men to be victimized by violent crimes in Vancouver according to a nine-year study on the subject.
Researchers at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS surveyed 500 gay men as part of an effort to document the rate of physical violence in the Vancouver area. While the gay statistic wasn’t particularly surprising considering the continued persistence of homophobia, researchers were struck by the age of the victims. Gay men who came out of the closet before the age of 24 were attacked more frequently.
Dr. Thomas Lampinen, one of the researchers, said that the age findings highlight the importance of tolerance initiatives in schools:
In schoolyards all across the country, if ethnic and racial slurs were being uttered at this rate, it would be tolerated for about a New York minute. And yet, somehow, it seems OK for kids to be saying daily, “Oh, that’s so gay,” or calling people “faggot.”
Anti-gay and religious groups routinely oppose anti-homophobia measures in schools. One group called Defend Traditional Marriage and Family successfully pulled an optional teacher’s resource booklet on diversity from teachers lounges, and the Catholic Civil Rights League has launched a similar, grassroots assault against draft guidelines in B.C. Three Catholic School boards have even refused to let researchers distribute optional student surveys designed to measure the extent of homophobic bullying in school.
With such an organized assault on anti-bullying initiatives, it’s no wonder some people get the message that violence against gays is OK.
Dealing with hecklers isn’t Guy Earle’s specialty. When a lesbian couple started kissing during the Vancouver comedian’s performance, he decided to draw audience attention to them, prompting drunken heckles. Reportedly, Earle’s response wasn’t exactly measured:
You’re fat and ugly, no wonder you’re lesbians, you can’t get a man that’s why you’re dykes. You must be on the rag, you stupid dykes.
After receiving the classic retaliatory “glass of water, meet face”, the comedian then took one of the woman’s sunglasses of her head and snapped them in half.
Earle, who was booed by the audience, later admitted that he “lost his cool,” but that “sexuality [had] nothing to do with it.”
Well, that ought to confirm his status as a comedian, no?
- Lesbians targeted at Zesty’s [Xtra West]
Out Traveler, a gay and lesbian travel magazine, has named Canada’s top 5 gayest cities. While I’m not going to list them here, let’s just say that Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montréal should be expecting a few extra gay tourists this year! Wait, that might be a little too obvious. How about: Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal should be expecting a few fewer intolerant tourists this year. Yes, that’ll do.
As for my thoughts on the selections… Having grown up in Edmonton until my early 20s, I can authoritatively say: “Huh?” Mind you, things have probably changed in the city’s gay community, of which I knew pretty much nothing, having been closeted for the entire time. Plus, Edmonton still has the world’s largest shopping mall. That’s pretty gay, right?
So, congratulations to the cities that made the cut! And may all the ones that didn’t have an absolutely traditional Friday the 13th.
Over 70 Vancouver postal workers walked off the job yesterday morning after discovering they were to deliver unaddressed homophobic pamphlets. The 28-page pamphlets, published by an Ontario church, tells gay readers that they are “ungodly, unhealthy, and unnatural” and calls AIDS “the consequences of homosexuality.”
Canada Post responded by saying they’re not in the business of censorship and will deliver the pamphlets, but would also not require that their postal workers handle them. Instead, managers will put the offensive brochures into envelopes and deliver them themselves. (Though, I suspect the envelopes are just a matter of convenience, as duct-taping the pamphlets into balls, dipping them into vats of self-curing synthetic compounds, then soldering them shut in elegant steel sarcophagi locked by puzzles requires unaffordable resources.)
Of course, in fairness, I haven’t seen the pamphlets so I can’t verify whether or not they’d qualify as hate mail under Canadian law. It’s my strong belief that—barring the incitement of hatred—every Canadian has the right to speak their mind. But, to the person that crafted the fliers… Dude, seriously, that can’t be your excuse…
Sending lengthy, unsolicited homophobic pamphlets half-way across the country? Talk about misplaced zeal! Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t make it the right thing to do, bucko!
Strangely, the success and funding somehow isn’t sitting well with the anti-gay lobby group, REAL Women of Canada. Spokeswoman Gwen Landolt (who scoured the film listings to publicize such gems as: “Deconstructing Crack Ho” and “Toilet Sex in Canadian Cinema”) had these kind words:
The films [in the festival] are simply degenerate and degrading to humanity. There is no artistry there, the films are used as a political statement against established social mores, a way of showing contempt, of saying “we don’t have to be held to normal standards of behaviour.”
Wow, I know exactly what you mean. When I was at the festival, instead of watching “Pride and Prejudice: LGBT Struggles for Human Rights” I must’ve accidentally walked into “Horrifyingly Gratuitous Debauchery” back-to-back with “Look At Me; I’m Going Potty On Your Family’s Lawn!” It was so awful; both were being force-fed to unwilling parishioners and impressionable children by drug addicts and activist judges. Why did you fund this film festival, Department of Canadian Heritage? Why?
Ahem… Landolt then attacked the Heritage department for having promoted tolerance in the past.
The Heritage department is filled with problems. The department has got to be examined; it’s a disgrace. In the public accounts of 2004-2005, the department issued $112,800 in funding to EGALE [Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere], for the purpose of “furthering participation in Canadian society.” Was that really necessary?
Oh; that was a question. Let’s see, was the funding for equality organizations really necessary? Well, as long as groups like yours, Gwen, spend every waking minute pressuring our lawmakers to ensure that gays and lesbians are devoid of rights, culture, and their constitutional freedom as a citizen to make whatever freakin’ arts films they want—yes! It is really necessary.
Thankfully, the Department of Canadian Heritage has a good sense of reality. Spokeswoman Dominique Collin, had this to say:
Through their Festival, the [Vancouver Out On Screen Film Society] presents a wide range of culturally diverse media arts and attempts to bring the issues and experiences of the LGBT communities into the mainstream, fostering acceptance and understanding.
Right on. Do you think it’s working?
The word Pride™ has been trademarked by several of Canada’s Pride™ organisations, as some small promoters have discovered.
Jamie Lee Hamilton was delivered a letter from the Vancouver Pride™ Society informing her that she would have to pay $65 to promote her events ManPride and TrannyPride this summer. Jim Deva, a Vancouver bookstore owner, thinks the whole concept is ridiculous.
I don’t think the Vancouver Pride Society board was elected to be the Pride police. The whole concept of this Pride policing is not healthy at all. It will not increase diversity. Some people will be acceptable and other people won’t. I find that the dangerous sort of part of the whole thing.
Pride™ Toronto, the organisation spearheading this movement, said that they trademarked the word Pride™ as a protection from big business.
As for my thoughts… I’ve been a proud™ attendant of many Pride™ events in the™ past, and I’m personally™ in disagreement™ that the word™ Pride™ is something™ that requires™ protection™.