May, 2013 / Author: admin

Compiled by Sean Snowdon

Quebec government runs ads to combat homophobia

QUEBEC CITY—The Quebec government has spearheaded a media campaign to raise awareness about homophobia in the province. Two ads currently running depict everyday scenarios that do not explicitly address sexual orientation, until the final moment when viewers may be caught off-guard by a same-sex couple kissing. Viewers are then asked, “Does this change the way you thought 20 seconds ago?” 

The five-year TV, radio and web campaign is meant to be positive and get people questioning how open-minded they really are, reported The Globe and Mail. 

Prior to the campaign, the provincial government commissioned a survey to assess the acceptance of sexual diversity. Results found that out of 800 Quebecers surveyed, 90 per cent identified themselves as being open to sexual diversity, yet only 40 per cent felt comfortable seeing a samesex couple showing affection in public. The government will run a second survey after the campaign has ended to see if there has been a shift in perceptions.


Yukon school’s controversial policy on homosexuality making waves in community

WHITEHORSE, Yukon—Vanier Catholic Secondary School has come under fire for its use of church-based policy on homosexuality. The school’s current policy describes homosexuality as being a “grave disorder,” “morally evil” and “intrinsically disordered,” according to CBC News.

Yukon’s Minister of Education Scott Kent has described this policy as not meeting the Education Act and as likely contradicting the Charter of Rights and Freedom and the Yukon Human Rights Act.

The Yukon Teachers’ Association (YTA), led by president Katherine Mackwood, has stated that several teachers at the school have asked for transfers due to the school’s “change of vision.” Mackwood notes that morale has continually plummeted since Gary Gordon, Yukon’s bishop, took charge of Vanier’s policies several years ago.

Unrest at the Catholic school has ignited discussion in the community, resulting in a rally of over 250 attendees at the Yukon Legislative Assembly to ensure, among other things, that all public schools are upholding the Department of Education’s policy on gender identity and sexual orientation.


Canada funds efforts to combat ‘kill the gays’ bill in Uganda

OTTAWA—Since November of last year, Canada has spent $200,000 on a concerted effort to protect and aid gay Ugandans in their fight against the country’s anti-gay bill. Funding from the Government of Canada has helped kick-start several projects in case the bill passes, including an emergency hotline, training for legal experts and activists in the region to fight the pending legislation and the planning of panels aimed at raising awareness on gay rights, according to the National Post. 

The bill, which met international condemnation last year, sought stiffer punishment for its LGBT population, including life-long prison sentences and the possible implementation of the death penalty. The bill has yet to come before the legislature for a vote and is currently fifth in line on a list of bills to be addressed.


Comic shop removes books of outspoken anti-gay writer

OTTAWA—A comic book shop in Ottawa is showing its support for LGBT rights by removing the work of a vocally anti-gay writer from its shelves.

The shop, not far from Ottawa’s gay village, has received overwhelmingly positive response to its stand on writer Orson Scott Card’s opposition to gay rights. Rob Spittall, owner of The Comic Book Shoppe, expressed “there’s been a huge wave of support for us. I even got a message from a guy somewhere in the States, I believe North Carolina… saying congratulations and thanks so much for taking a stand on things,” reports CBC News.

Card is set to contribute to the upcoming Adventures of Superman for DC Comics, which will not be stocked in Spittall’s shop. Card is both a member of the board of directors for the National Organization for Marriage, as well as an outspoken opponent of gay rights, recently being quoted as stating homosexuality is a “reproductive dysfunction” born of choice.

The shop will continue to provide the option to special-order Card’s work to accommodate the needs of serious collectors.


Anti-gay crusader violates human rights

OTTAWA— In a 6-0 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled a Saskatchewan crusader violated Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Code when he distributed anti-gay pamphlets in 2000 and 2001.

The high court also refined the definition of hate speech by striking down some language in the provincial code, clearing William Whatcott of any wrongdoing with the other two flyers. The court found the language in the code that defines hate literature as something that “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person” unconstitutional.

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal originally ordered Whatcott to pay a total of $17,500 to the four complainants for the pamphlets that referred to gay men as sodomites and pedophiles, according to the Winnipeg Free Press. The Supreme Court decision means he’ll have to pay one complainant $2,500 and another $5,000.

Whatcott, a born-again Christian, vowed to produce more pamphlets “taking issue” with the Supreme Court’s ruling and spreading his other views. 

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