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.
It was a gruelling schedule. I came to deeply respect the life of the touring musician as I battled reoccurring ear infections and worriedly Googled the symptoms for scurvy after eating at McDonald's three times in one day, and enlisted our coats and bags to construct makeshift bunks on the overnight bus rides.
At 23, I tested positive two years before I even got my first professional acting job. Everything I've done professionally has happened since I tested positive. But when that doctor looked into my eyes, told me I was HIV positive and then said, "You're going to die." I had a decision to make. It wasn't if I was going to go, but how I was going to live. I knew that if I was going to survive, I had to take care of myself the best I could and that meant (and means) staying firmly and actively engaged in what thrills and interests me. Perhaps, I do not have the luxury of disinterest.
It never occurred to me that my music and sexuality could be helpful in this way. I have just always written what I write. But never as a political act. But today I sang in front of several hundred queer high school students. My lyrics suddenly took on new meaning. I can't stop thinking how this conference could have completely changed my youth.
Should students at Catholic schools who are not Catholic be allowed to exempt themselves from Catholic related courses and activities? The answer is clearly yes. I am a product of the Catholic system of education, and I do not believe it deserves to continue in Ontario any longer. In a supposedly multicultural society, it is insulting for the government to fund and prefer the teachings of one specific group. The ever-changing makeup of Canadian society means that we are no longer a "Judeo-Christian" nation if we ever were, and so, we cannot give preference to a faith simply because we have a tradition of doing so
The UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicated that of the 158 Palestinians killed in the November Israeli assault on Gaza, 103 were civilians. Israel's deputy defence minister indicated that Palestinians would bring upon themselves a bigger "shoah" -- holocaust. Unitarian Chaplain Reverend Audrey Brooks questioned how Israel could inflict the horror of the Holocaust on the Palestinians. Time and again, Jews and Muslims, notwithstanding the narrative of bigots in their respective faiths, have reached out to each other.
Toronto City Council has confirmed that the 2012 Pride Week will not be deprived of its funding despite the intention of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA) to march in the parade.They have the right to march, so let them. When they march down Yonge Street, let all those in the crowds know that QAIA is about many things, but gay rights is not one of them.
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."