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.
There is no arguing that the Roman Catholic Pope is the very portrait of homophobia, and although some would argue that he has a legal right to spread his message of hatred, the question must be asked in Alberta why our government is so willing to fund a school board that supports this hatred, this outright advocation for gay genocide.
To those who expected Foster to announce publicly that she is gay, the speech was likely a disappointment. Certainly celebrity news opportunists like Harvey Levin and Perez Hilton were deleting hastily written posts for their websites when Foster said little more than "I'm single" as her big announcement. The subsequent outcry from some in the LGBTQ was perhaps far more surprising than Foster's refusal to publicly come out.
After a four-hour trek through downtown to find coloured fishnet stockings, a garter, and plastic water pistols in an outfit that reveals more skin than I do at the doctor's office, we are on our way to the Late Night Double Feature Picture Show. I begin to get very nervous when remember that I am not wearing pants.
At 15, being called Fagboy on the football field happened. Ironically enough, it was a straight kid with immaculate gaydar who gave me that name in high school. I was thankful that the moniker never lasted more than that year, but those words 'Fagboy' have stuck with me ever since. It would take a few handfuls of girlfriends, over two decades of denial and seven full years of hiding on the other side of the planet -- in China -- before I learned to let go of my fear, my shame and the idea that being gay was wrong.
One of my childhoods was happy. The B&W movies projected on our small TV screen, more often than not, contradicted the drama I was living in my own home movie reels. But there were exceptions. In fact, the images of our television's B&W movies were very real to me. Sidney Poitier was one of those images, and thankfully, he made repeat appearances.
Because today is National Coming Out Day, I was reminded of my own journey. Almost two decades ago, I came out of that supposed "closet" publicly and purposefully for when I finally figured out I was gay, I wanted to shout it to the world. I eventually found the label "gay" something to be proud of. The gay label is just one small part of the big picture. But take it away and I wouldn't be me.