At a time when LGBT communities face frightening and growing prejudice from governments overseas, Canada's Bill C-279 serves as a stark moral contrast with the likes of Uganda, Russia, and numerous undemocratic regimes across the Middle East. It is often overlooked that the "T" in LGBT refers to the transgender community, members of which continue to face serious discrimination in some quarters. In supporting C-279 and calling on Parliament to enshrine greater protection for transgender Canadians, I am proud that we continue the legacy today.
Dear Minister Baird, I write to you today regarding the discrimination and attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Russia. I call upon you, in your role as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in addition to continuing to speak out against the homophobic legislation and attacks on LGBT Russians, to institute a visa ban for the originators of the law in question. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development should also identify opportunities to support LGBT activists in Russia.
Call me a slow learner, but I suddenly realized why there have to be gay pride parades at all. It does not matter if it is a big city, small city, Canada or the U.S. There are not enough straight people supporting homosexual rights. And I couldn't help but wonder when the day will come that there will be no need for a Pride Parade.
The youth I have spoken to over the years have described Toronto's shelter system as a dangerous place for LGBTQ youth because of prolific homophobia and transphobia. I have heard stories of youth living in parks because they did not feel safe in the shelter system due to daily threats of homophobia and transphobia.
Let's not let our fight for equal rights be clouded by the fact that LGBT people can get married across our great nation (and a number of U.S. states). In many countries, homosexuality is still illegal and punishable by imprisonment or death. People who are still fighting for basic rights and freedoms need our help.
Since Manitoba's religious schools receive over 50 per cent of their funding from the province, they are all being mandated to comply with the proposed legislation: Bill 18 -- required to implement an anti-bullying strategy that includes gay-straight alliances. Our rights cannot exist in a vacuum, isolated from the reality around them. Rights engage with other rights. Not only does our Charter have a built-in provision to permit the limiting of rights in certain situations, but also, the transactional nature of our public lives dictates that different rights will come into contact other rights. Those who oppose Bill 18 should read the Charter in its entirety; it doesn't stop at freedom of religion, nor is there a hierarchy of rights.
"As an 80-year-old butch lesbian, Stella may be an unusual movie hero, but her central dilemma, her goal, is to just keep her family together. Gay or straight, conservative or liberal, god-fearing or agnostic, everybody can relate to that simple quest. People root for her, they want Stella to win. That she has no self-censoring mechanism helps -- we'd all love to be that socially inept and honest from time to time."
What you may ask is diversity fatigue? It is the Herculian effort required by diversity practitioners to keep the momentum going through the toughest economic crisis since the depression. It is maintaining the gains with front-line managers (the so-called frozen middle) who ask "when will this diversity thing end? Have we not handled it by now?"
On an official visit to Canada last week, Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of Uganda's parliament, found herself in a bit of a tiff with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. Speaker Kadaga protested Minister Baird's "arrogance" and "promoting homosexuality." She declared, "We are not a colony of Canada." But Canada will not be any better off if Uganda stops threatening its gays. Minister Baird called out Speaker Kadaga because today, in the community of nations, where we all theoretically equal, it is anathema to the concept of human dignity that a state should sanction the persecution of a group of its own citizens for no reason other than who they are. Standing up against that is not colonialism; it's decency.
During the debate, without thinking, I tweeted that Romney had just been "raped" by Obama. Realizing my mistake, I deleted the tweet seconds later and issued an apology later in the debate. It may have taken an idiotic mistake on my part, but I now appreciate more than before the importance of language in advancing our values. It is not enough to pay tribute to certain laudable rights-related causes every once in a while. We must be serious about the issues in question in every aspect of our lives. We could collectively start by choosing our language more carefully and opposing the use of certain inappropriate words whose meanings have unfortunately become watered down over the years. I know that's where I'll begin.
The days of making simplistic associations between homosexuality and artistry are fading -- or at least the second annual 10 x 10 Photography Exhibit suggests as much. The exhibit was borne of a persistent desire to promote and honour members of the LGBT community. Ten photographers each contribute 10 images capturing the faces (and bodies!) of LGBT artists prominent within the copse of Toronto's artistic landscape.
When people around me learn of my profession in pornography, they immediately start asking morbid questions. I'm used to this: Society has always tried to control our sexuality. But I'm not so much concerned with society. I'm more concerned with what I'll say when my daughters ask: "Mommy, what is your job?"
The Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival has just begun and this year marks a significant shift in queer filmmaking: a movement away from the simple "coming out" story, and away from films that play up gay stereotypes because it really is no longer "fine" if we do it ourselves. Films with LGBT content are becoming just that: films with LGBT content, versus "gay movies."
There was a time when it would have been unthinkable for an American president to utter those words, but today that era has passed. In a nation divided by Democrats and Republicans, secular and religious, north and south, today marks a day where America has moved one step closer to no longer being a nation divided by straight and gay.