December, 2012 / Author:

Forty-two years after graduation, Robin Tomlin will have a yearbook where he is not labelled a “fag”.

Better late than never

VANCOUVER – Bullying is much in the news, but can you expect an apology 42 years after it happened? 

That’s what’s happened to Robin Tomlin, who says he was bullied during his time at Argyle Secondary School in North Vancouver in the late 1960s.

In 1970, the year he graduated, Tomlin was horrified to see the word “Fag” written as a caption for his yearbook photo. In 2012, after his daughter saw the homophobic yearbook and demanded he take action, Tomlin finally received a formal apology from the North Vancouver school board. 

Board spokesman Victoria Miles told reporters Tomlin will get an apology and a new yearbook.

“Amending the yearbook has been a big part of this, and amending it in a way that respects his needs is an important part of the resolution,” she says. “Mr. Tomlin will receive amended copies of the yearbook and we will have amended copies in the library. We will also have copies of amended pages available for anyone else who may have a copy of that yearbook.” 

Even better, his former classmates decided to throw him a special graduation party, as he was unable to attend his original one. He is now also working with his old school to address the problem of online bullying.


Human Rights Act to include the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression”.

After Manitoba, Nova Scotia considers new gender protection

HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP) is pressuring lawmakers to amend the province’s Human Rights Act to include the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression.”

Kevin Kindred, chair of NSRAP, says the changes are needed to prevent trans people from discrimination.

 “The particular push in Nova Scotia came about because of the progress at the federal level and within other provinces,” he says.

Ontario took similar action in June, passing the Trans Rights Bill 33 and Manitoba has also passed legislation to change its Human Rights Act. Federally bill C-279, curently awaiting approval from the justice committee, offers the same protection.


Penis construction surgery now covered in B.C.

VICTORIA, British Columbia – The B.C.  Ministry of Health has done an about-turn after refusing for years to fund phalloplasty, a penis construction surgery.

B.C. has announced that it will now fund the surgery for a limited number of transgender men under the province’s Medical Service. The procedure involves taking a graft of tissue from a donor site and extending the urethra. 

The change was announced at the recent Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH) conference in Winnipeg .

The province had previously refused to cover phalloplasties, citing a lack of information regarding safety and patient satisfaction. For several years it has funded other procedures for trans men, such as hysterectomies and mastectomies. 


Jack Hallam will bequeath at least $700 to Omar Khadr after his death. Pentagon-approved sketch by Janet Hamlin

Omar Khadr to inherit cash from gay B.C. activist

VANCOUVER – Retired zoologist Jack Hallam of Salt Spring Island says he’s leaving Omar Khadr some money in his will, even though he thinks the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner wouldn’t approve of his own lifestyle as a gay atheist.

Hallam, 84, wants Khadr to put the money towards his education now that he’s been repatriated to Canada after spending a decade at a U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay. He has put aside $700 for Khadr because he thinks the Toronto-born man has been treated badly by both the American and Canadian governments.

In October 2010, Khadr pleaded guilty before a military commission to five war crimes, including murder in violation of the rules of war. In return, he was given a further eight years behind bars but was allowed to return to Canada to serve out the rest of his sentence.

Khadr’s lawyers say he had also been studying at Guatanamo with the long-distance help of an Edmonton tutor, who once visited the detainee at the Cuba-based prison.

Benefactor Hallam says he may increase the amount of money he leaves Khadr so he can use it to adjust to life back in Canada.

“I think the young man has been treated abominably,” Hallam told The Canadian Press. “His story just moved me. He was tortured, he was kept in solitary confinement, he had light deprivation.”

Khadr was just 15 when captured in Afghanistan. Hundreds of Canadians have donated money to the family of the U.S. soldier who was killed by a grenade thrown by Khadr during a battle. About 400 people have donated about $30,000 so far.

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