Weekly Commentary from Egale's Executive Director
Ignoring the facts to achieve ‘truth’
October 25, 2006
There’s an old saying out there that one shouldn’t let actual facts get in the way of ‘truth.’ The religious right in Canada seems to adhere to this as part of its credo.
Does ‘coming out’ still need its own day?
October 11, 2006
Today is the annual “National Coming Out Day.” It’s mostly underlined in the United States but in Canada, a handful of student groups and other organizations mark it, usually without much fanfare.
La politique « rose » ou « arc-en-ciel »
October 1, 2006
De plus en plus et ce, à tous les niveaux au Canada, le rose - ou plutôt les couleurs de l’arc-en-ciel - colorent la politique.
Here We Go Again
September 25, 2006
It’s back-to-school month and time for a little history lesson. Two years ago, on September 16, 2004, Manitoba became the fifth jurisdiction in Canada to recognize equal marriage for same-sex couples.
Alberta Bill Redux
September 7, 2006
Like a bad horror movie, in which the monster refuses to die despite repeated attacks, an Alberta Private Member’s Bill keeps returning to haunt us - and the ‘undead’ will apparently be back next Spring!
Avant-coureurs des vents politiques?
September 1, 2006
Il paraît que la communauté LGBT est à l’avant-garde lorsqu’il s’agit des nouvelles tendances de la mode, de la musique et des styles.
Leadership in the land of Mandela
August 31, 2006
South Africa’s political leadership is courageous. If only Canada’s was, too. Having liberated itself from the yoke of Apartheid, South Africa still struggles with racial tensions and is daunted by AIDS, which has ravaged its people.
Lesson from Camp
August 24, 2006
‘Camp’ is that wry humour which frequently characterizes drag performances. In this column, though, we’ll be talking about a lesson gleaned from another kind of camp.
The queering of municipal politics
August 17, 2006
Openly LGBT politicians are no longer novel but municipal politics seem to be getting queerer this year. Two openly gay candidates are vying for the top job of Mayor in their respective cities.
No Wedding Belles in the UK... yet
August 10, 2006
Canada recognizes two British women who married each other as legal spouses. Their home country, however, does not. Instead, the UK government is treating them as registered domestic partners.
When “boo” sends a powerful message
August 3, 2006
Montreal is in the hearts of several thousand LGBT activists and athletes but also, on the minds of politicians - especially one who was loudly boo-ed by an entire stadium!
Fierté? C’est par ici!
August 1, 2006
Nous y sommes : la saison des célébrations de la Fierté! Depuis juin, voire même depuis mai dernier dans certaines villes canadiennes, on célèbre la Fierté LGBT partout.
What in the world is going on?
July 27, 2006
The world of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified (LGBT) sports, politics, culture and human rights, is coming to Canada this summer.
One Year Later
July 20, 2006
A year ago today, if you’re reading this column on its July 20 publishing date, Bill C-38 was proclaimed into law, officially recognizing across Canada equal marriage for same-sex couples.
The Big Chill: New York Court decision
July 13, 2006
The American LGBT community was dealt a devastating court decision but we should not feel secure and smug, here in Canada.
Lesson from America
July 6, 2006
It’s an interesting quirk of history that Canada and the United States, neighbouring countries who share the world’s longest undefended border, celebrate their national holiday within days of each other.
Tout va pour le mieux au monde?
July 1, 2006
Selon un des courants de la pensée contemporaire, le progrès social est une trajectoire certaine. Malgré quelques trébuchements, l’humanité avance, lentement mais sûrement,...
Age of consent: Inequality remains
June 29, 2006
Federal Justice Minister MP Vic Toews doesn’t think a lot about anal sex. But he really should. The Justice Minister, in his rush to introduce legislation to raise the age of consent, completely ignored an opportunity to address...
Brokeback Mounties and Tourism
June 22, 2006
June is prime wedding season but one couple’s nuptials has attracted an inordinate amount of attention. Jason Tree, 27, and his 28-year old partner David Connors, are getting married by a justice of the peace on June 30, at...
Nosy boards get failing grade: Good intentions, bad approach
June 15, 2006
Why are school boards so curious about their teachers’ sex lives? The Halifax Regional School Board and the Toronto School Board recently distributed surveys to their staff in which a number of personal questions are asked...
Pride is upon us!
June 8, 2006
This Sunday, a few thousand people will come together before the Legislature for Winnipeg’s annual Pride rally. But that’s just the icing on a whole cake of events - see here for details: www.gaypridewinnipeg.com.
Tribunal decision: A further sign on road to trans recognition
June 1, 2006
It may not be the most headline-grabbing victory - the right of transsexuals to chose the gender of the police officer strip-searching them - but any legal acknowledgement of trans people lays one more stone in the foundation towards full recognition.
La saison des anniversaires
June 1, 2006
Nous arrivons en pleine saison des noces. Or, le mois de juin nous invite aussi à marquer plusieurs anniversaires importants.
The Ostrich Bill
May 25, 2006
I’m reluctant to give Alberta bad press, especially after the province made such a valiant effort to promote it’s stand-in role for Wyoming in the film “Brokeback Mountain.”
A “teachable moment”: Human rights case underlines homophobia in schools
May 18, 2006
Last week, a Board of Inquiry for the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission ruled in favour of a teacher who was unfairly discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation. The case underlines how homophobia still characterizes many schools.
Count us in, but treat us equally
May 11, 2006
For the second time, the Census will collect information on same-sex couples but StatsCan is insulting queers in their counting.
May Day, Gay Day: The labour movement’s support of LGBT rights
May 4, 2006
May 1, International Workers’ Day or “May Day”, provided an opportunity to explore the contribution our country’s unions have made to the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified (LGBT) people.
Le gouvernement Conservateur : muet mais inquiétant
May 1, 2006
Dans son Discours du Trône, livré le 4 avril, le nouveau gouvernement fédéral Conservateur de Stephen Harper est resté muet quant à ses intentions vis-à-vis de...
Back again before the Court: Thanks for nothing, Canada Customs
April 27, 2006
Vancouver’s Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium was back before the Supreme Court of Canada on April 19, once again facing off with government.
Pro athletes coming ‘out’: Trendy blip or encouraging trend?
April 20, 2006
A growing number of professional athletes seem to be revealing their sexual orientation. Is it a temporary trend, prompted by the upcoming OutGames and Gay Games or the result of extensive media coverage of same-sex marriage and
Marriage Vote Still On
April 13, 2006
Just when we thought we could relax a bit. I was very much looking forward to the post-marriage era for our community.
When silence is golden
April 6, 2006
I usually urge people to ‘come out’ of the closet. There are times, though, when silence is golden, as the old saying goes. The recent rescue of hostages in Iraq, including gay Canadian James or Jim Loney, is an effective illustration that
Poisson d’avril nous invite à voir au-delà de nos frontières
April 1, 2006
Les Pays-Bas se rendaient-ils compte, le 1er avril 2001, alors qu’ils devinrent le premier pays au monde à rendre légal le mariage entre conjoints de même sexe, que la date coïncidait avec le Poisson...
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Fool for Love? April Fool’s for same-sex love
March 30, 2006
When Parliamentarians in the Netherlands legalized same-sex marriage on April 1, 2001, did they realize that the date coincided with April Fool’s Day? Five years later, equal marriage is legal in five countries. This ain’t no joke!
Gay and lesbian seniors: Facing huge health-care obstacles
March 23, 2006
Earlier this month, two McGill University researchers released a study which shows gay and lesbian seniors face huge obstacles when seeking adequate health care.
Catholic Church: House with cracked foundations
March 16, 2006
Two years ago, a retired Roman Catholic priest was suspended for publicly supporting equal marriage of same-sex couples. Last month, 19 priests from Quebec published an open letter blasting the Roman Catholic Church for its stance on homosexuality.
Women of the world, unite... with LGBT people
March 8, 2006
Could advances in human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people have been possible without the women’s “lib” movement?
Here comes the judge, let justice accompany him
March 2, 2006
By the time this column is published, Canada will probably have a new Supreme Court of Canada judge. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has nominated Justice Marshall Rothstein to sit on the country’s high bench.
L’élection fédérale : résultat pas très encourageant pour les personnes LGBT
March 1, 2006
Je vous l’avais promis dans ma dernière chronique : ma perspective sur le résultat de la récente élection fédérale. Contrairement à plusieurs politiciens...
Lobbying disguised as research: The first step to greater influence
February 23, 2006
Since it worked in the States, it should work here. At least, that’s what the religious right hopes as it continues subtly organizing to reclaim political space. On February 16 in Ottawa, the Institute of Family and Marriage Canada (IFMC) held ...
“Standing up for Canada” means standing up for the Charter
February 16, 2006
Canadians who support equality should be concerned with Prime Minister Harper’s appointment of Manitoba MP Vic Toews as Minister of Justice.
Valentine’s for your lover but Valentine’s for your politicians, too
February 9, 2006
Love used to be illegal. In certain parts of the world, it still is. I’m referring to the love between two people of the same gender. This may have been what Oscar Wilde, on trial in 1895, famously called the “Love that dare not...
The U.S. and Iran: partners in silencing queer voices
February 2, 2006
What does the United States, one of the most powerful countries on earth, have in common with Cameroon, China, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, Sudan, and Zimbabwe?
À l’aube de 2006, la Cour Suprême passe à l’époque moderne
February 1, 2006
Ceux qui ont des rapports sexuels plus « libres » ou moins conventionnels ont pu se livrer à leurs ébats avec moins de crainte, grâce à une décision récente de la Cour Suprême du Canada.
Election 2006: Equal marriage not part of Conservative mandate
January 26, 2006
The big news about the recent federal election is not what happened, it’s what didn’t happen. The Conservatives, while they won “the prize” of forming the next government, did not make the huge gains expected.
Layton is on top, Harper on bottom
January 19, 2006
Pun aside and (sort of) unintentional, Layton does come out on top while Harper is a bad, bad, bottom. Jack Layton, leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) scores A+ for his stances on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identified (LGBT) issues.
The two promises that would lead to chaos
January 12, 2006
Conservative leader Stephen Harper has promised, if he becomes Prime Minister, to introduce another vote on the definition of marriage, even though Parliament decisively dealt with this matter this past summer.
As we step into 2006, Supreme Court ushers in modern era
January 5, 2006
Many people whoop it up for New Year’s but those who enjoy non-conventional sex can relax more, thanks to a recent Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision.
L’élection fédérale : il existe une autre façon de voter
January 1, 2006
Nous aurons à peine digéré notre repas des fêtes et récupéré de la célébration du Nouvel-An alors que les divers partis politiques...
When religious extremism becomes economic terrorism
December 22, 2005
The American Family Association (AFA) doesn’t like that Ford is trying to sell cars to queer folks.
Discrimination is discrimination: Court decision in B.C. a step back on trans rights
December 15, 2005
On December 7, three judges of the B.C. Court of Appeal gave their blessing to a clear case of discrimination. Shame on them and their faulty interpretation of the law.
Stephen Harper: Unfit to be Prime Minister
December 8, 2005
On the first day of the federal election, Conservative leader Stephen Harper announced that he wants to re-open the same-sex marriage issue... six months after it’s been dealt with. Brilliant tactical move or propensity for shooting himself...
Election and HIV: Thinking beyond voting day
December 1, 2005
When this column was written, just under a week ago, the federal election campaign hadn’t officially been triggered. By the time you read this, however, two things will have happened.
Ending Violence: Not just for women only
November 24, 2005
December 6, 1989. Some readers will not need more details to know the significance of this date. They will recall with mortification and sadness the horrible killings that occurred on that day.
Fund SRS now!: Time to correct previous “negligent, reckless” decisions
November 17, 2005
“I find that the conduct of Ontario was negligent, reckless and an abuse of power.”
‘Lest We Forget’
November 10, 2005
On Remembrance Day, there is usually ample coverage of the sacrifice by many, and of the great atrocities of war. This space will draw attention to another chapter worth remembering.
Freedom for all means freedom for each
November 3, 2005
It can be challenging to hear an opposite point of view. When that opinion is vehement and hurtful, it’s even more challenging to defend the right of that opinion to be expressed.
Intersexuality comes out of the closet
October 27, 2005
According to the Intersex Society of North America or ISNA (http://www.isna.org/), about one in every 1,500 babies is born “intersex.” This subject is not discussed very much although there is increasing coverage.
Torch Song Eulogy: A tribute to an activist
October 20, 2005
Canada lost a true activist when George Hislop died earlier this month at the age of 78.
Pink Blood: It’s not pretty
October 13, 2005
When it comes to hate-motivated violence, LGBT people (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) are remarkably similar to mainstream society. No-one likes to talk about it.
The Catholic hunt for gays
October 6, 2005
Either the Catholic Church’s leadership has got it all wrong or it is a crafty political operator... or both.
Trans murder conviction a step forward
September 22, 2005
I didn’t know Gwen personally. After all, she lived in California.
“Girlie-man” Governor: bodybuilder politician shows weakness
September 15, 2005
Last year, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ignited a controversy in the California State Legislature when he called Democrats “girlie-men” for not passing his budget more quickly.
Gays did it: Sodom, Gomorrah... now Louisiana
September 8, 2005
Those who suggest that ‘godless gays’ have prompted God to unleash natural devastation should be careful their analysis does not instead indict themselves.
The cause of homosexuality: Scientific research causes flap
September 1, 2005
A couple scientists in the UK could have saved money and enjoyed a couple of nice trips by visiting penguins in Bremerhaven, Germany and swans in Boston, Massachussetts.
Iran executions: thinking before we (re)act
August 25, 2005
Two Iranian youth were put to death on July 19 after they were found guilty of sexually assaulting a thirteen-year-old boy some fourteen months earlier. We will not likely ever find out all of the facts surrounding the alleged incident or the ensuing...
Schools as safe learning environment or living hell?: Authorities have moral and legal reasons to be proactive
August 18, 2005
While many students don’t like going back to classes because it means the end of summer, some of them are dreading it because school is hell inside of locker-lined hallways.
Michigan Fest: Womyn-only welcome
August 11, 2005
Running this year from August 9 to 14, the Michigan Womyn’s Festival - the “y” is on purpose - celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Swerve vs. CanWest: Let the battle begin
August 4, 2005
It’s not the first time that CanWest takes an aggressive business approach nor that Winnipeg’s queer publication Swerve creates news, instead of just reporting it.
Equal marriage battle: finally over... or is it?
July 28, 2005
Equal marriage legislation Bill-38, introduced by Justice Minister Irwin Cotler on February 1, has finally passed the Senate and been signed into law.
The choice before Lutherans: Convention happening in a swirl of events
July 21, 2005
Lutherans in Winnipeg for their July 21-24 National Convention couldn’t be meeting at a better time.
Catholics on the Offensive: Church takes aim at two pre-equal marriage MPs
July 14, 2005
Earlier this year, Charlie Angus, NDP MP for Timmins James-Bay, was informed by his priest that he could no longer receive communion because he supported Bill C-38 which affirms the right of same-sex couples to legally wed.
“Sí!” to equal marriage: Spain lands Bronze in same-sex nuptial ‘race’
July 7, 2005
It was an undeclared competition, according to several Canadian lawyers and activists who supported equal marriage. This group of people jokingly compared to an Olympic competition the process whereby countries were slowly but surely recognizing...
New Brunswick decision offers foreshadowing: Parliament moves forward on equal marriage
June 30, 2005
By the time you read this, Bill C-38 may be on its way from the House of Commons to the Senate, and poised to become law.
G.I. Joe and G.I. Mo - Marriage comes to the military
June 23, 2005
It was just a question of time before gay soldiers who were in love would get married. Now, they have the blessing of Canada’s Armed Forces.
Getting revved up by Ford: U.S. Christian group calls for boycott
June 16, 2005
Here we go again. Earlier this month, the American Family Association (AFA) launched a boycott of Ford Motor Co.
Pride and Prejudice
June 9, 2005
This weekend will mark the climax of Winnipeg’s Pride festivities, including a party and a parade through downtown. Like many cities across the world, the Prairie’s queer capital celebrates Pride this month.
All in a daze: Gay Pride Day, Heterosexual Day, Day Against Homophobia
June 2, 2005
Toronto City Councillor Shelley Carroll should talk to Yellowknife City Councillor Alan Woytuik. Maybe Carroll, a heterosexual mother, could help Woytuik see the light.
Conservatives and C-38: Upholding democracy... only when it suits them
May 26, 2005
The storm clouds had been gathering over Parliament Hill. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper wanted to rain on the Liberal government’s parade.
May 19, 2005
And the winner of the “OUTrageous Award” for discriminatory treatment of LGBT channels is... Shaw Cable!
Message to Americans attending “Love Won Out”: “We Are Family”
May 12, 2005
On May 15, we will celebrate International Day of Families. Unfortunately, some people define “family” to exclude homosexuals. And they are coming to Winnipeg on May 14.
Rosie O’Donnell cruising in Halifax
May 5, 2005
Former talk-show host Rosie O’Donnell is used to making waves. Now, her cruise ship is going to make them in Halifax harbour.
Justice Soon for Trans People?
April 28, 2005
Trans equality rights have been bubbling to the surface for a couple years. During the past month, the bubbles made more noticeable bursts through a Windsor factory worker, a banned Vancouver volunteer and 4 Ontario human rights complainants.
School boards take note: Hate and harassment are not acceptable
April 14, 2005
In the wake of the Gomery inquiry, speculation on the timing of the next federal election and anxiousness about the prospects of equal marriage legislation, the case of Azmi Jubran was barely noticed.
John Paul? Meet God: A candid conversation in the sky
April 7, 2005
I would love to have been a fly on the wall -- or rather, a wisp of cloud wafting over --
Zoo story causes flap: Flocking to the defense of gay penguins
March 31, 2005
The following story could be dismissed as an April Fool’s joke except that, as the old saying goes, “truth is stranger than fiction.”
A Tale from Two Cities: Political misreading and time to express support
March 24, 2005
Two important meetings took place on the March 18-20 weekend. The first one gathered Conservatives from across Canada in Montreal for their first policy convention as a united party.
How the religious right went: from boycott to intimidation
March 10, 2005
Sometimes, political causes are taken into the economic sphere like when a group calls for a boycott. That’s an acceptable way to demonstrate one’s convictions. But when the political battle becomes intimidation, the cause being defended is...
Gay love spores and don’t-ask-don’t-tell: US Army has enough problems without getting Canada into BMD
March 3, 2005
Canada will not be joining the United States in the latter’s controversial ballistic missile-defense system. That should be the least of the US Army’s problems, though.
From Ottawa to Springfield: The debate on same-sex marriage hits its stride
February 24, 2005
More viewers probably tuned in to the Sunday, February 20th broadcast of The Simpsons’ “same-sex wedding” episode than watched the February 16th kick-off debate on Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act, which proposes to legalize same-sex...
Webster’s murder was a hate crime; Time for an inquiry into the Crown’s handling of case
February 17, 2005
Murder is never a pleasant thing. When the killing is done using objects like baseball bats, the act is made even uglier. But when the motivation for the crime is based on dislike for members of an identifiable group, murder hits rock bottom as a...
New York says “We do!” Valentine’s message from south of the border
February 10, 2005
For the third year in a row, a same-sex Valentine’s Day message was delivered by the U.S.
Cartoon characters promoting tolerance: The fruits of religious imagination turn to rot
February 3, 2005
I’m not making this up. Honestly. I probably couldn’t, even if I tried.
Equal marriage: Opponents are throwing everything they can
January 27, 2005
In a single week, we saw quite the line-up of opposition to equal marriage.
Martin Luther King Jr.: An ally of LGBT people?
January 20, 2005
Every third Monday of January, we are invited to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Born January 15, 1929, he was killed by an assassin on April 4, 1968.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Melo: Your son did not have to die.
January 13, 2005
I was very sorry to hear last month that your fifteen-year old son Joshua killed himself. I am truly saddened that he saw this as his only recourse following continual bullying from his peers, including homophobic insults.
Thunder Bay brouhaha: Homophobia alive in well in newspaper’s letters
January 6, 2005
There’s a sharp wind in Thunder Bay and it’s not weather-related.
« Les deux solitudes » : de nouveau à la mode en Amérique du Nord
January 1, 2005
J’en conviens, l’expression « les deux solitudes » popularisée au milieu des années 60, trouve ses origines chez l’historien et écrivain Hugh...
Same-sex marriage: queer issue of the year but it’s not over yet
December 30, 2004
As if to punctuate 2004 and remind us that the year’s major queer issue was undeniably same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) recognized, on December 21, the equal right of same-sex couples to civil marriage.
Time for Criminal Code reform: Victimless crimes should be removed
December 23, 2004
Maybe you’re someone who once rented an “adult” video. Maybe that adult video portrayed a threesome - 3 adults consenting to, and engaging in, a safe sexual interaction. Maybe you’ve even tried this yourself.
Winnipeg activists win Award: while Canada goes for the bronze
December 16, 2004
On the morning of December 9, the same day that local activists Richard North and Chris Vogel received the Manitoba Human Rights Commitment Award, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) indirectly vindicated them.
Getting Bush-whacked: LGBT Canadians stand in solidarity with American counterparts
December 9, 2004
The President of the United States visited Canada recently. Among the thousands of protesters who greeted George W. Bush in Ottawa and Halifax, there were many hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transidentified (LGBT) people.
Two dates to commemorate; Two events to address
December 2, 2004
This column usually focuses on a single event or issue but today, this simply is not possible.