I don't know about you, but if I just created history for my country on a world stage and my fellow citizens reacted by calling me derogatory names that could potentially put my life in danger, I would seriously think about moving to another country. Sadly, Jamaican athlete Omar McLeod was not so lucky.
Like it or not, Canada is a country that celebrates freedom of expression. Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that "Everyone has freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication." That "Everyone" includes people who say objectionable, false, foolish, misguided, or even ugly things.
Homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia remain rampant in most institutional settings, including schools, healthcare facilities, and shelters and housing programs. LGBTQ2S youth remain largely overrepresented in the homeless youth population, with estimates as high as up to 40 per cent of homeless youth identifying as LGBTQ2S.
Law Societies in Ontario, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia decided that TWU's law degree could not be accredited because the University excludes gays and lesbians. Why was it right for them to deny accreditation? Because, unfortunately, our society remains filled with hatred for sexual minorities. The mass murder of gays and lesbians that occurred last week in Orlando provides a horrific example of what can occur when a country allows one of its constitutional rights to run amok.
This Ramadan we must be reminded that there are those who fast from intimacy and physical love all the time because they are gay and their circumstances or their mindset make it impossible for them to find and fall in love with a partner of the same gender. Muslim family -- we know this is not how life is supposed to be lived.
George Clark is pretty easy to laugh off. But when March 8 rolled around, I found myself on the Alberta Legislature grounds with a crowd of a couple hundred overwhelmingly white people gathered for George Clark's glorious revolution. And while it started out as funny, by the time it was over it had gotten a little scary.
I am often reminded of Martin Luther King, who uniquely demonstrated that eloquence trumps bigotry, when researching Canada's earliest LGBT activists. They, like King, were at the forefront of a dramatic civil rights movement, making powerful and persuasive arguments for social justice in the face of sometimes brutal suppression.
The holiday season is truly a magical time of year. It is a time for giving, reflection, and appreciation. Many individuals and organizations come together and show thanks by donating what they can to those in need. Unfortunately, the holidays will not be magical for everyone, especially not for a high proportion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and 2-Spirit (LGBTQ2S) youth who have experienced familial, societal, and institutional rejection. The holidays can be an especially lonely time for many, particularly for those without a safe place to call home.
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.