Posts tagged ‘Dan Savage’

January 13, 2012

UPDATED: Why Stephen Harper’s Government Is Ruining Canada – Yet Again!

Jan 13, 2012 –

The Globe and Mail has just published the Government’s announcement that ALL same-sex marriages performed in Canada are legal and valid in Canada.

All same sex marriages performed in Canada are legal and the law will be changed to ensure that divorce is readily available to non-residents who were married in the country, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says.

Speaking at a Toronto luncheon Friday, Mr. Nicholson blamed the Liberal government that preceded his for not filling a “legislative gap” that has left thousands of same-sex couples in an agonizing position of being unable to divorce should they feel a need to.

read the rest in the Globe and Mail here.


Today came disturbing news that government lawyers in Canada argued in a case involving an American couple married in Toronto  that no divorce was necessary because the marriage was invalid to begin with. The reason? Because, according to the lawyers, if the country that the couple comes from doesn’t allow same-sex marriage then the marriage is invalid in Canada too.  There was a more obvious ( though stupid) one-year residency requirement for divorce they could have cited but they chose to bring up that bizarre argument.

So according to these legal luminaries a marriage performed in CANADA isn’t even legal in CANADA if the couple could not get married in …I dunno… Saudi Arabia?  I think the idiots need to understand something about sovereign nations – they make their own laws. The couple is married the second they enter Canadian airspace and likely to be put to death for being gay in their homeland. Very simple. As Dan Savage pointed out in one article, is Canada going to tell a straight Saudi/Jewish couple they can’t marry in Canada because it isn’t allowed in Saudi Arabia?

CBC News had a couple of stories on the subject to open the news this evening and I recorded the second story about how same-sex couples ( including Dan Savage) are reacting to this Harper government encouraged stupidity.  Apologies for the quality as I recorded it off the screen on my mobile.

I totally agree with Dan Savage’s reaction to the issue as posted on George Stroumboulopoulos of the CBC’s website :

“Sorry, motherfucker, but this “issue”–the civil equality of gays and lesbians–is wide open now and your fucking government opened it. The debate over same-sex marriage and the civil equality of gays and lesbians has been returned to the frontpages of Canada’s newspapers and a renewed debate over same-sex marriage will dominate Canadian television and radio news programs. And Canada’s religious conservatives will doubtless complain–loud and long–about their precious children having to hear about homosexuality every time they turn on the news. Stephen Harper’s government reopened this issue, not the gays, and Stephen Harper’s government deserves the blame.”

Read the article here ( I un-gentrified the words as I am 100% sure Dan would have used the actual words)

Egale Canada gave their take online as well.

Toronto: Canada’s federal Department of Justice has made a conscious decision to intervene in a case that challenges the validity of thousands of marriages. According to their arguments same-sex marriages performed in Canada between non-citizens whose countries of origin do not recognize marriage equality are not now and have never been legally valid. A direct insult to gays and lesbians both in Canada and abroad, this action reflects either complete neglect of the government’s responsibilities over the past seven years, or a direct attack on the principle of equality in Canadian law.

Since 2004, governments across Canada have issued marriage licences to same-sex couples coming from abroad. Never were any of these couples informed that Canada had no intention of recognizing the marriage licences it was issuing.

Egale Canada calls on the federal government to come clean: have thousands of same-sex couples been misled by Canadian officials for nearly eight years, or has the federal government adopted a policy of surreptitiously attacking the rights of gays and lesbians through disingenuous legal interventions?

This most recent case comes as the federal government is also intervening in an Ontario case to argue that two Canadian citizens who entered into a same-sex civil partnership in the UK–an equivalent to marriage in all but name–are not legally married in Canada and therefore cannot be granted a divorce.

“Not only does this throw into question hundreds of legal rights such as property, spousal support and child custody, it is a betrayal of basic human rights,” said Helen Kennedy, Executive Director of Egale Canada. “It is indefensible for the Government of Canada to play politics with people’s human dignity.”

Egale is Canada’s LGBT human rights organization: advancing equality, diversity, education, and justice.

I want to write a lot more but I have been angry all day about, once again, Stephen Harper trying to turn one of the most progressive countries in the world – MY country – back to the 1950s.  I take some comfort from knowing that 60% of Canadians did not vote for this vile politician and his gang of evil clowns.

In the meantime why not visit  (thanks to my pal Ben Rene in Ottawa for the link).

January 1, 2012

Assi Azar – It Gets Better

Israeli TV host Assi Azar tells kids it gets better. Being a TV guy myself I am happy he did this because even in a progressive country like Israel bullying is still a reality for kids and especially LGBTQ ones.

December 22, 2011

Disney – It Gets Better

Via Born this Way Blog on FB – who said :

The LGBTQ community have been the artists, imagineers, the dreamers, and the very backbone of Disney since its inception. This is beautiful!

As usual the stories are sad and painfully resonant  but the message is one of hope.

December 10, 2010

Rhodes Scholars – It Gets Better.

The reach of Dan Savage’s project is pretty amazing.


November 3, 2010

Canada rolls out its own It Gets Better Campaign.

Though my adopted homeland is very progressive by world standards when it comes to LGBT rights  it is still not always easy for kids. Some kids are still bullied despite the fact that all levels of government are , at least ostensibly, working to ensure that discrimination based on sexual orientation does not happen. Sadly, the system also allows various religious denominations to preach that LGBT kids are somehow fundamentally flawed and this filters down to both the kids and the bullies.

It may be a little late but Canada has now chipped in with its own version of It Gets Better. I must say it is filmed very well and definitely has a Canadian feel to it. Enjoy.


October 26, 2010

Facebook staff for It Gets Better Project

October 25, 2010

No easy answers

Support the NOH8 Campaign

I have been posting a lot of things about the plight of LGBT kids who are frequently the victims of bullying and who have so much more to deal with as they try to find themselves.  This is , of course, just part of a bigger picture as many adults around the world are also bullied simply because of their sexual identity – who they are. It ranges from overt threats of death as seen in proposed legislation in Uganda to more subtle versions in the US in the form of DADT and DOMA. Even in countries such as the one I consider home, Canada, there are still manifestations of hatred based on ignorance. LGBT  Canadians and their supporters  had a long struggle to bring Canada to a point where a guarantee of non-discrimination is included in the Charter of Rights. I know I was out there marching back in the day.

In Trinidad & Tobago  ,where I am now working and living , there seems to be an emerging consciousness that one group is being deprived of basic rights that everyone should be entitled to. As the link in my last post might have illustrated, there is much homophobia here. It may be related to a high level of  professed religious allegiance and a lower level of  education and exposure to broader ideas – but it exists. There isn’t the overt and disgusting violent manifestation as is seen in Jamaica and, truth be told, there are even  a few very out there characters who escape violence even though they are themselves in public places. They can do so as long as they don’t use the ‘G’ word. If they said “we need Gay and Lesbian rights!”  they would probably be booed or attacked.  The unspoken rule here is that you can be yourself but not if you make it a matter of civil rights. That is just plain wrong. To say that would mean that the rest of society is somehow threatened.

In recent days here we have seen the group CAISO that decided to mobilize against the arrival of an Ex-gay US minister in T&T.  They decided to show up en masse  to one of his lectures wearing protest T-shirts and ask him questions. It might not seem like much but it was a first for this country. Naturally, as has happened around the world, other parts of the LGBT community decided to argue over this action. Some said it was wrong to draw attention to the ridiculous man, others said that it would only cause a backlash from the religious community.  Those points may have validity but to me the fact a group of young people chose to not care about social repercussions and decided to make a statement was important. It reminds me of Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project and  the fact there was a backlash to that. Never mind he managed to get the US president to speak out on LGBT bullying ( though Hillary did a far better job) . Every little protest action is important in any rights movement. Trust me – I know.

CAISO has complained that they got no media coverage. I can’t speak for the rest of the media, as I have done several news items and interviews on related subjects,  but late afternoon on a weekend is not the best time to hold such a thing as we are all stretched for cameramen. It also didn’t help that the Prime Minister had called a press conference at the same time.  Word of advice send a press release of your intention to every media house.

I think it is time I bring back humor to my blog . The focus will stay but I need to be more myself  and blend it with the issues I care about.

Still reading Simon LeVey’s amazing book Gay, Straight and the Reason Why: The Reason for Sexual Orientation. Everyone should buy it.

October 12, 2010

A most interesting day…


One day everyone will have a place at the table.


It was a pretty exciting day for me and that isn’t even including the 19 stories we had in our newscast this evening.  It was a pretty significant day for observers of LGBT rights  as three developments in the US kept my Twitterfeed buzzing all afternoon.

The first:

At 1:34pm @PrideinUtah was to first to introduce this story to my feed ( and everyone needs to follow Pride in Utah):

BREAKING: Judge Orders Immediate End To DADT Discharges

Posted by Admin (Eric) at 1:34 PM. Placed in National/International category

California – (via the daily kos) U.S. district judge Virginia A. Phillips orders the Defense Department to ‘immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding.

Later on The Advocate posted an excellent analysis of what the development means.

A bit later on that news was dimmed a bit when I got a tweet from @GLADlaw ( an excellent group that I would urge everyone to support)  stating that

Today, the Department of Justice filed a notice of appeal in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, GLAD’s challenge to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  The case was heard in May 2010 by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro, who issued a decision finding DOMA Section 3 unconstitutional on July 8, 2010. “

I guess that is part of the Administration being the ‘biggest supporter’ or maybe not. Read the full story from GLAD here.

Then I saw via @eqca ( Equality California) that

Florida’s ban on same-sex couples adopting children has been overturned and won’t be appealed: Congrats,Florida!”

A mixed day indeed. @PrideinUtah also posted a link to an interesting study from OkCupid :

Gay Sex vs. Straight Sex

I think it is interesting that they went to the trouble of undertaking the study and their reasoning is rather touching:

Gay issues have been in the news a lot lately, from the debate over same-sex marriage in Congress to a sickening rash of gay-bashing here in New York City. We see a lot of emotion out there, instead of information, and we wanted to provide some data-based context on sexuality so that people might make better choices about what they say, think, and do.

We run a massive dating site and therefore have unparalleled insight into sex and relationships. Here’s what we’ve found, in numbers and charts.

Good for them and pretty amazing their sample is 3.2 million users.

On a personal level I tried to do my little part. I did two interviews with the lovely Verna St. Rose Greaves today on bullying. Verna ( or Auntie Verna to many) is a social activist here who has dedicated her life to helping others and especially children and victims of abuse. She campaigned for the current government here which was her first foray into politics other than a brief senatorial position preceding the election. She is essentially out of politics now and she was my first choice to talk about the subject.

Most people love her but a lot of people also dislike her because of her principled stand against the death penalty. It may well be the reason she has no position in the current government. She is pretty fearless and has one of the biggest hearts I have ever encountered. We spoke about the responsibility that we all have in stopping an environment that encourages bullying and the feeling that it is okay to prey on those who are weaker or different in some way. I liked her statement that we should all put a camera in our home or workplace  and then rewind and look at how many of us practice some form of cruelty to those around us on an everyday basis. She dealt with things head on including dealing with bullying because of sexual orientation in which she said the fact we live in a homophobic environment makes it even harder for those kids.

Towards the end of the second interview I asked Verna what she would say to one of the kids who is being bullied. She came close to tears when she spoke to camera and said that she was sorry because we are all responsible for not getting more involved. I was glad the camera stayed on her because I was actually closer to tears. I admitted during the interview that I had been bullied relentlessly in elementary and high school. I guess that makes the interview my little contribution to the “It Gets Better” project.

I will try and upload the interviews after the second one airs tomorrow.

October 7, 2010

Clever flip side of Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project – It Gets Worse

I think this is a very clever message to those who bully. via Truth Wins Out blog