Thursday, April 30, 2009
This is a great move that will enhance queer visibility in the party and continue to promote greater understanding. And it's already garnering some nice media attention.
Best of luck to the organizers as they do outreach this weekend at the Vancouver convention. I wish I could be there, but I'm quite busy with writing and other work. But I'm really looking forward to watching coverage on television. Cheers.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Iceland's conservative-led government had just collapsed, partly as a result of problems caused by the failure of that country's banks in the recent credit crisis.
Sigurdardottir led her Social Democratic Party into elections this past weekend and, together with her coalition partners, achieved an absolute majority, a first for a left-wing government in Iceland.
"Our time has come!" said Sigurdardottir, 66, who will lead a coalition with the Left-Green party.
Her victory is seen as a return to left-wing policies after almost 18 years of conservative Independent party domination and a sign too that women are going to take a stronger role in running the country. More women than ever before were returned to parliament and Icelandic media claimed that the island’s ancient assembly was now fourth in the world in terms of female participation.
All in all, a wonderful moment in the history of politics.
Toronto's Inside Out LGBT Film & Video Festival has launched its 2009 festival website, complete with full movie listings.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, a film I co-wrote and helped produce, The Golden Pin, (which stars Kris Duangphung, pictured above) is screening in this year's fest as part of the renowned Hogtown Homos selection of shorts on Wed May 20th at 7:15 pm at Toronto's Isabel Bader Theatre.
Tickets are already on sale for Inside Out members. Non-members can purchase tickets starting April 30. Click here for more details.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Check out this great new ad trumpeting the strengths of the new voting system being voted on May 12th in British Columbia, BC-STV.
Regular readers of this blog will know how much I hate our existing 'Winner-Take-All/First-Past-The-Post' voting system in Canada. In 2004, B.C.'s Citizens' Assembly (a group made up of ordinary citizens like you and me) looked at our existing voting system and found it extremely wanting. This wasn't a difficult conclusion to make since First-Past-The-Post handed power to the wrong party in 1996, and then handed 97% of the seats to the Liberals in 2001 despite them only winning 57% of the votes.
First-Past-The-Post is a broken system that doesn't deliver representative legislatures in Canada. BC-STV represents the best chance for electoral reform in Canada and I hope B.C. voters finally put it over the top next month. For more information, go to stv.ca. And congrats to the Yes side for this great ad.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
There's a veritable shit storm of great parodies on Youtube making fun of the recent fear mongering and shameful ad put out by the so-called National Organization for Marriage.
My friend Scott liked this one the best. I also liked this one. But my favourite has to be the one linked above, featuring a very cute and confused actor. Enjoy!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
To vote for me, click here.
Sadly, my tools for creating my online 'canvas' didn't work too well. I wasn't able to add text based on the online instructions provided, and the site administrator never got back to me when I asked for assistance. A writer's canvas without any text is problematic obviously, but you all know I can write, don't you?
In any event, this is a great way to promote both artists like me as well as a great automobile.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I've seen Susan Boyle's BGT performance video on Youtube probably six or seven times...What a great time for a such a gift! I came across this particularly touching tribute from this anonymous straight guy on Youtube. Suddenly the benefits of living in the era of the internet really hit home with what we're capable of experiencing together...I love you, Susan!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I'm thrilled to let you know that a film I co-wrote and helped produce, The Golden Pin, will be screening at next month's Inside Out Gay and Lesbian Film and Video Festival in Toronto.
Directed and co-written by my good friend, Cuong Ngo, the short film tells the story about a young Vietnamese-Canadian swimmer who struggles to follow a different path than that chosen for him by his father. The Golden Pin explores the consequences of burying our own needs in matters of the heart.
I am so proud of this film. Filming it was life-changing, I agree. ;-) The entire team who put this together was outstanding. There are plans to adapt it into a feature film. Stay tuned.
The first screening is set for Wed May 20th at 7:15 pm at Toronto's Isabel Bader Theatre. For more on the Toronto Inside Out film festival, click here...
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
It would appear that I very much deserved it. This story is but one of many lately that continue to remind how lucky we are to have this woman nowhere near the White House. For the sake of Alaskans, I hope she's out of office there soon too. My apologies to all of those I offended by saying anything complimentary about this terrible politician.
Kudos to other bloggers and twitterers for creating a firestorm around the story and getting quick action from Amazon.com. The company blamed a computer glitch for the delisting of queer titles and said that there was no new policy on adult materials. According to Xtra.ca, the Amazon fiasco was the most talked about topic on Twitter on Sunday, and it remained the top topic on Monday morning.
But I must ask: If you're pinned to your computer on a holiday weekend, what's wrong with you? It's spring, get outside! lol
On another note, I continue to greatly admire American activist Joe Solmonese and others at the U.S.-based Human Rights Campaign. Again today, I got an email from them warning of powerful right-wing groups in Iowa who are mounting a campaign to reverse the recent court decision giving same sex couples the right to marry in that state. The Human Rights Campaign is urging supporters of equality to send emails to Iowa leaders encouraging them to remain strong against the right-wing onslaught. Click here to send an email message to Iowa's political leaders urging them to continue to support fairness and equality.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
"Speaking to the gay magazine Attitude, the former Prime Minister, himself now a Roman Catholic, said that he wanted to urge religious figures everywhere to reinterpret their religious texts to see them as metaphorical, not literal, and suggested that in time this would make all religious groups accept gay people as equals.
"Asked about the Pope’s stance, Mr Blair blamed generational differences and said: “We need an attitude of mind where rethinking and the concept of evolving attitudes becomes part of the discipline with which you approach your religious faith.”
Blair's words are music to my ears, I must say. I particularly liked his comment that conventional wisdom was not necessarily wise: "It can be wrong and it can be just a form of conservatism that hides behind a consensus. If you look back in time, through the suffragette movement, the fight against slavery, it’s amazing how the same arguments in favour of prejudice crop up again and again and again."
Good on Tony! Click here to read the whole Times Online piece.
This is one of the most bizarre interviews I've ever seen. It was filmed Wednesday during a live radio broadcast panel discussion with Billy Bob Thornton's band The Boxmasters on Jian Ghomeshi's Q on CBC Radio. I post it here for your amusement and/or horror...;-)
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The Vermont Legislature voted Tuesday to override Governor Jim Douglas' veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry. The vote was 23-5 to override in the state Senate and 100-49 to override in the House. Under Vermont law, two-thirds of each chamber had to vote for the override. Talk about a close call!
Vermont now joins Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa where same sex marriage is legal in America (with California still pending). Approval of gay marriage in those latter states came from the courts.
I will say I prefer winning marriage equality rights in legislatures, not the courts. I'm glad that politicians in Vermont appreciate the importance of equal treatment under the law. Congrats to Vermont!
Tim Hudak has always struck me as a bit of a goof. I'm sure it's his lack of real-world experience that contributes to that perception, as well as a certain right-wing arrogance.
It might be in my selfish interests as a Liberal to see Hudak win the leadership as such a scenario would make re-election easier for Dalton McGuinty's Liberals in 2011. When the rest of the world is turning away from unbridled conservatism, Hudak and others around him (like Mike Harris) are demanding a return to the far right. I would like the next alternative leader of the province to be viable, have some life experience under her/his belt and be able to reach out to all Ontarians. Such abilities are not weaknesses, as I'm sure many on the far right of that party believe after John Tory's tenure.
We'll see what path that party chooses come summer...
Sunday, April 5, 2009
For the record, the only gay youth Boissoin wants to protect are those enrolled in so-called reparative therapy. There is nothing abnormal or immoral about being true to oneself; it is immoral, however, to pretend to be promoting God’s work when in fact you are doing the exact opposite.
I thought his comments deserved their own post, as well as my response to them. Below, you’ll also find a link to a copy of Boissoin’s original 2002 letter so you can judge for yourselves if his letter was an incitement to violence, as I believe.
TODAY’S COMMENT FROM STEPHEN BOISSOIN:
You said "he basically compared gay activists to dangerous vermin against whom any action readers deemed necessary should be taken to save children."
Another perfect example of manipulation. Grossly stretching the facts to suit your cause. I NEVER encouraged nor advocate violence. Those that know me, including gay youth and young adults, know that I would never so such and that I would protect them if necessary. The media knew and has expressed that they do not feel that I advocated violence in my 2002 letter to the editor.
You people continue to BS the public and present yourselves as poor victims. Any communication that doesn't support you is 'homophobic' or hateful etc etc.
It's true, I hate homosexuality. It is a disgusting abnormal and immoral lifestyle. No use beating around the bush about it.
Straight & Proud
AND MY COMMENT IN RESPONSE:
Stephen, your hateful religious views continue to cloud your judgment. My line is a very fair summation of your characterization of gay activists.
I'm not going to beat around the bush either: Homosexuality is a naturally occurring, inborn orientation that has always been with us and will always be with us. It cannot be taught, 95% of children will grow up to become heterosexual regardless of whether or not people like me are treated equally and with respect in this society.
It's sad that after all these years you still can't be rational about your own words and the extreme damage they have caused.
In 2002, you wrote: "It's time to stand together and take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness that our lethargy has authorized to spawn. Where homosexuality flourishes, all manner of wickedness abounds."
"Whatever steps are necessary"? Easily, that line can and usually does mean violence, particularly when you asserted in your letter that people like me winning equality and dignity in life is the equivalent of, "every professing heterosexual [having] their future aggressively chopped at the roots."
"Their future aggressively chopped at the roots"? You identified a problem that doesn't exist, you asserted all gay activists like myself are just trying to "sleep with children." You used fiery language meant to incite unspecified action, which could easily be interpreted by any gay basher as good justification for violence, especially since your letter was signed as a Reverend. In the history of homophobia, far less inflammatory words have been used to justify great amounts of violence and suffering.
Without a doubt, it was incitement to violence and you should be ashamed of yourself.
But clearly you aren't. Religious extremists will always cling to their hatred because it makes them feel powerful and righteous. That's the only thing that's disgusting here.
While I think some of the punishments handed down by the Alberta Human Rights Commission against you may have been heavy-handed, there is no doubt in my mind that you incited violence in your letter. And for that, there should be justice.
Gay & Proud.
Click here for a link to the original 2002 letter by Stephen Boissoin.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Same-sex couples in Iowa will be able to obtain marriage licenses starting April 24th. Iowa now becomes the third American state where gays and lesbians are no longer second class citizens.
Richard Socarides, an attorney and former senior adviser on gay rights to President Clinton, said the ruling carries extra significance coming from Iowa.
"It's a big win because, coming from Iowa, it represents the mainstreaming of gay marriage. And it shows that despite attempts stop gay marriage through right wing ballot initiatives, like in California, the courts will continue to support the case for equal rights for gays," he said. “Unlike states on the coasts, there’s nothing more American than Iowa. As they say during the presidential caucuses, ‘As Iowa goes, so goes the nation.’”
I'd like to think that today's ruling will start a trend similar to the remarkable victory in January 2008 for then-Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Before Iowa, few gave the first-term Senator from Illinois much hope of winning the U.S. presidency. But Iowa showed that his message of hope and change could resonate outside of traditional Democratic strongholds.
Perhaps those Americans (and others) sitting on the fence on this issue will continue to reflect and come sooner to agree that unjustifiable discrimination in law is never a good thing. Before various court victories in Canada on equal marriage, Canadians seemed generally divided on the merits of equal marriage. Years later, there's a new consensus that equality under the law trumps all other positions.
As with all gay civil rights victories, we can likely expect considerable backlash from the religious right over this issue. I'm not sure if Iowa has a similar ballot initiative process as California and other states, but when those pesky equality provisions in state constitutions get in the way of keeping those gays down in the gutter, so-called religious types will move heaven and earth to "re-define" equality in such constitutions to mean "heterosexual equality only."
Decades from now, we'll be watching as voters in U.S. state after U.S. state repeal those anti-equality provisions in state constitutions passed in these times. But for now, the culture war continues. It's nice to win a major battle.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Sullivan took objection to several of Dreber's arguments, but most especially this line: "If homosexuality is legitimized -- as distinct from being tolerated, which I generally support -- then it represents the culmination of the sexual revolution, the goal of which was to make individual desire the sole legitimate arbiter in defining sexual truth. It is to lock in, and, on a legal front, to codify, a purely contractual, nihilistic view of human sexuality. I believe this would be a profound distortion of what it means to be fully human."
Sullivan's response, posted earlier this week, is a beautiful read.
Here's a snippet:
"...far from nihilistically renouncing nature, the [gay] marriage movement aims at reclaiming the mantle of nature for homosexuals alongside our heterosexual peers and siblings and parents. We know now that same-gender attraction, bonding and sex is ubiquitous in nature, and almost certainly has some evolutionary explanation. We know too, experientially, that the love cherished by many gay couples is real and beautiful and deeply human. It is not merely "contractual" or "nihilist". It is organic, natural and completing. It is humanizing and it is civilizing. History is full of such relationships, and they stand proudly alongside their heterosexual peers. The reduction of these shared lives and loves to abstract sexual acts is itself a form of bigotry. It is an attempt to reduce the full and complex human being to one aspect of his or her humanness. It is, in my view, anti-Christian to speak of gays the way this Pope does. The Christian calling is not to guard ferociously the ramparts of the 1950s out of fear but to listen to the experiences of gay people - what the Second Vatican Council calls the sensus fidelium - and try to integrate their humanity into the structures from which they have been so cruelly excluded, with such horrible human consequences, for so long.
"It is Rod's self-evident panic at the thought of such an integration that has made some of us sit up and take note. There is some lurking fear that if this form of being human is recognized as equal in the civil sphere, let alone the sacred one, then the entire edifice of heterosexuality and marriage and family will somehow be destroyed or undermined. I do not believe that in any way. And I don't think it's possible to believe that without, at some level, engaging in homophobia - literally an irrational and exaggerated fear that the gay somehow always obliterates the straight, or that 2 percent somehow always controls the fate of 98 percent. This is where paranoia and panic take over. It is where homophobia most feels like anti-Semitism."
Well written, Andrew!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Sweden has allowed civil unions for same sex couples since 1995. Now Sweden joins Holland, Belgium, Canada, Spain, South Africa and Norway allowing same sex marriage country-wide. (Massachusetts and Connecticut are the only two American states where equal marriage remains unchallenged, California still pending.)
There has been much speculation about the true identity of 'Gritgirl', the pesky little video producer who continues to shoot darts at the Harper Conservatives with "her" telling and timely attacks, including the video posted above.
Some have said that Warren Kinsella is really Gritgirl. They are wrong.
Some have said that Jason Cherniak is Gritgirl. They are wrong also.
After many weeks of holding it in, I can't any longer.
Alas, it's little old me. Why am I coming out? Because I always love coming out. Revealing one's secret identity can be a very dramatic and scary thing. But spring is in the air and I'm feeling excited. I thought it was time to be honest with all Canadians and finally take credit for all of my hard work.
Have a great April's Fools, everyone! (Okay fine, I'm not really Gritgirl. I don't know who's producing these lovely videos, but I hope they continue to do so until we get rid of this unresponsive Harper government.)
You can see all of Gritgirl's stinging indictments of the Harper government here.