Today in Alberta there is a debate about parental rights v. the rights of LGBTQ kids. It centres around the obligation of a school teacher to whom a student discloses their orientation or gender identity to tell that student's parents. I was fortunate that my parents were supportive and understanding. Not all kids are so fortunate.
As we speak, there are thousands of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender folks from across the world who are not able to spend Christmas with their families this year. They have been beaten, cursed at and made to feel like they do not belong, leading them to say goodbye to their family and friends.
Prior to the 1970s, house parties were an essential element of the homosexual social scene. Photographs of these private affairs are rare. The few that are available in archival collections memorialize a history of forced seclusion. One of the most tantalizing photographs I've come across in my research of Canadian LGBT history is of a trio of men attending a Christmas party in 1956. Standing in front of a decorated tree, a young man with a then-stylish pompadour delights in opening his gift while another man, who has his arm around him and another gentleman, looks on.
After being chastised by my own country of birth for coming out as a lesbian in April of this year and speaking out against the discrimination and harassment I had endured, I began to think that our Caribbean LGBTQ community would simply have to crawl back into our holes of pain and isolation and with muzzles over our mouths. That was until Marlon James!
The Law Society of Upper Canada -- now with the Court's approval -- won't recognize TWU's law degree solely because the person who earned that degree decided, while studying law, to join others in a religious community where people share a personal commitment to traditional marriage. Lawyers have the freedom to advocate for, and practice, their moral beliefs about sexuality. This reflects a basic respect for fundamental Charter freedoms. So why should it be any different for those seeking to enter the legal profession?
Over a year ago, Canada lifted a 30-year-old prohibition on gay men donating blood. However, Canada Blood Services still includes a ban on blood donations from any man who has had sex with another man in the past five years. That is why the Young Liberals of Canada want a policy that is based on evidence, because no single, loosely defined group should be discriminated against based on generalized statistics, perceptions or prejudices. A blanket ban on sexually active MSM is not merely discriminatory; it's unsafe.
It wasn't until Fay Slift's turn as Tracy Turnblad that I felt my nausea float back. With three wonderful back-up dancers including the very funny Fluffy Souffle, their number from Hairspray was pure beautiful trash. The back-up dancers sprayed litres of hairspray on themselves and the audience. Have you ever been high on hairspray? It's surprisingly heady, a bit like champagne... the champagne of gasoline?
My wife, Jónína, and I are proud to have been asked to participate in WorldPride 2014 by sharing our views and our own personal story. Jónína and I have reason to be thankful. But our joy is mixed with sadness. For it is difficult to enjoy a life of freedom, tolerance and full human rights while hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of our brothers and sisters in other countries have to fear for their lives every single day.
One of the first depictions of gay life in a mainstream magazine was published by Life in 1964. In the half-century since those barely discernible gay men appeared in Life, the interplay between increased visibility and increased social acceptance for members of the queer community has been extensive.
More than once as a young person (and even in adulthood) I've encountered professionals who believe my sexual orientation is the cause of my depression. I've also encountered professionals old enough to be my grandparents who suggest my sexual orientation is a mental illness in itself. It is why I remain skeptical to this day of seeking treatment; especially with a professional I've never met before.
I knew several things. That I would finally meet my sister. And finally, confirmation of what I had known for two decades: my sister was also sexually abused by our father. Knowing something to be true and finally staring truth in the face is overwhelming. I would never feel the same as I did before that Wednesday morning.