A minority is defined as dangerous by a segment of society that clings to traditional views of acceptability. They fail to recognize prejudices inherent in their views until a hard-won fight for equal rights and shifting zeitgeist forces them to move on, foisting their fears on the next marginalized group.
Consider the butterfly effect. Wings flap and set off a hurricane. Canada's most dramatic civil rights movement was set in motion by one man who quietly and privately pursued his carnal pleasures. His libido ignited a chain of events that continue to profoundly shape and redefine sexual, gender and cultural identities today. The butterfly in question was a mechanic named George Klippert.
The backlash against Ontario's new health curriculum has left many people confused. Is it radical? Are fundamental parental and religious rights being undermined? All parents want to protect their children, but opponents of sex education are inadvertently doing the opposite. Denying children accurate and inclusive information about their bodies, human relationships and sexuality is not protective; it is irresponsible. Without such information, children are unable to care for themselves and grow into healthy and responsible adults.
A new era of HIV prevention is upon us. Pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Canada recently announced it is seeking approval from Health Canada for the use of Truvada as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. Better known as PrEP, the new highly effective prevention tool is now on track to be available in Canada.
Coming up in a heteronormative world can be crushing to anyone who doesn't fit that mold. A lot of us who knew early that we were different also knew whether that difference was welcome -- or was to be removed. Queer writers have mined, and are mining, the insights that abandonment, isolation and violence have gifted us.
This past May, I was excited as heck when the book was finally published and printed, in my hands and ready to show the world. Only -- not everyone in the world wanted to see it, and most certainly not the school within my district. At Charlottetown Junior Public School, I approached my daughter's former kindergarten teacher about doing a reading to her students. Shortly after, I was told by the teacher that the VP said "not now" citing that the timing would likely create a backlash due to the introduction of Ontario's new progressive sex education curriculum.
The month of Pride is a time for LGBTQ2S individuals to not only say who we are; but to also celebrate and be proud of who we are. Pride month is meant to remind us that we are real and that we matter, however, not all members of our community are seen; not all are celebrated; many are silenced and marginalized, made to feel that they are not real and that they do not belong.
The curriculum is aimed at preparing kids to navigate the complicated interpersonal and sexual situations in today's hyper-sexualized world. But opponents have latched on to a number of provisions. It should be clearly understood that the new curriculum is not a "How to Manual" and that the state is not promoting a particular relationship structure. Ultimately, the government must do a better job of convincing some parents that it is responding to the changing realities. All stakeholders must feel that at least some of their concerns are heard and validated.
On March 11, 2015, Toronto City Council finally approved funding for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and 2-spirit (LGBTQ2S) youth transitional housing. Although I am extremely disappointed that LGBTQ2S youth homelessness has been inadequately addressed for so many years, I am grateful that there is more understanding and awareness of this social justice crisis. I am also grateful that more organizations are now committed to developing campaigns and programs for LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness.
Schools have traditionally emphasized conformity as a way to encourage fitting in. Those who do not conform can find themselves facing discipline for infractions that, in other circumstances, would draw little if any attention. How well can rules to create conformity work for a transgendered teenager? Not well at all.
As an evolved species, we can do better than repeating the same patterns of discrimination that feed into a looping and segregating cycle. Let's lay out all issues on the table, educate, and not stamp prejudice onto those who suffer greatly for various other reasons because they fit in with the white/ straight/ rich categories.
For a majority of Torontonians, Pride is just another big-city party. But beyond the booze and the naked leathermen, Pride is an inherently political celebration of freedom -- for LGBTQ people just like me to be who we are without fearing we'll be the target of yet another verbal assault or hate crime. I wake up every day knowing my traditional Italian family will never accept me, watch me walk down the aisle or even meet my future wife. But all those fears seem to slip away when I'm surrounded by a community of people who know the same fear and sense of injustice I do. And when we are banded together, marching down Yonge Street with flags and Super Soakers, we are practically invincible.