A QUEER TEST
OTTAWA, ON – A group of Carleton University students is asking for an apology from their administration for a fifty-year-old test sponsored by the Government of Canada. In 1961, at the height of the Cold War, the Canadian government asked Carleton University to devise a scientific test to determine whether a person was gay. At the time, homosexuality was often considered a psychological character flaw that left individuals vulnerable to manipulation.
The test would eventually be referred to as The Fruit Machine, and was comprised of several psychological tests, including one designed to detect how a subject’s pupil responded to images of naked or semi-naked men and women. The test never worked, and the project was eventually abandoned. In addition to the apology, the students also want the university to erect a small monument on the campus as a reminder of the hundreds of gay and lesbian military personnel and civil servants who were fired or demoted from positions on the sole basis of their sexuality.
SASKATOON, SK – This month, about a hundred people turned up for the first ever gay-straight alliance summit in Saskatchewan’s history. The two day event was the brainchild of OUT Saskatoon and Camp Fyrefly, who hosted a series of workshops designed to help students and teachers develop new skills to help strengthen their rural and urban Gay Straight Alliances (GSA’s).
Events included a queer prom, a poetry slam, keynote speakers and almost a dozen workshops. Amanda Guthrie, the Youth and Education Coordinator for OUT Saskatoon beleives that rural young people especially needed to know they were not alone, “It’s really important that they have the opportunity to meet others that are like them, and to meet people who are concerned about similar issues so that they don’t feel so alone,” Guthrie told media. Keynote speakers included Ryan Jimmy, a queer indigenous researcher who facilitated a GSA in North Battleford; and Leo Keiser, a queer/trans writer and activist from Regina.
NEW YORK, NY – Xena: Warrior Princess, the screaming, cart wheeling superhero from the 1990’s camp TV series of the same name is finally coming out. That’s according to executive producer Javier Grillo-Marxuash, who is currently developing a series for NBC that will see the character of Xena return to the small screen.
For years, fans have speculated that her character was gay, given that she travelled the medieval countryside with a sexy blond female sidekick who was clearly more than just a “friend.” It also helped that she spent season after season beating up macho assholes.
While it was never explicitly acknowledged that she was gay, actress Lucy Lawless finally admitted that her character was not bisexual, but full-on queer. The new series is expected to reflect that, said Grillo-Marxuash. According to an interview with Gazette magazine Grillo-Marxuash says the new series will see Xena drag all the gay subtext of the original series “out of the closet.”
A WARM WELCOME
WINNIPEG, MB – An openly gay U of W student from Malaysia has been granted protection as a refugee and will not be deported back to his home country of Malaysia. In April, an Immigration and Refugee Board ruled that Hazim Ismail should not be deported. During a 45-minute hearing, Hazim told the story of how he was publically outed by the Malaysian press after his GoFundMe campaign went viral. He began the funding campaign after his family disowned him and stopped paying for his education last year after finding out he’s gay. The Malaysian government has a long history of jailing and banning homosexuals. Ismail successfully made the case that he feared for his life if he was sent back to his home country, and noted that he once thought of returning to Malaysia, but since his case has attracted so much media attention, he has received threats from members of the general public. The ruling means that Hazim can now apply to become a permanent resident.
–Cade Malone is a gay broadcaster and communications specialist who has previously interviewed Brian Pallister on two occasions while news director at 730 CKDM in Dauphin Manitoba.