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March 2005 - Posts

March 31, 2005 10:24 AM

Buy now, pay later

What counts as $75,000-worth of "inappropriate and repugnant marketing"? What icky images pushed tennis star Martina Navratilova over the edge and caused her to sue her own business partners in Do Tell, Inc., the folks behind the queer Rainbow Visa credit card project?

Finally, some possibilities are trickling out: One story says: "At the heart of Navratilova’s complaint is the allegation that Do Tell wanted to advertise the Rainbow Card on a television show that the tennis star said portrayed gays in a negative light, according to [Navratilova's attorney, John] Chapman. He declined to name the TV show or identify on which channel it appears, but did say it is currently being broadcast. The marketing of the card on the show did not eventually occur, Chapman added." Well, there aren't that many shows the Rainbow Card might be interested in... "The L Word?" "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?" [ADDED April 1: Duh, there's no lesbian on Queer Eye. I meant that new variant, the one that includes a lesbian in the cast named Honey Labrador] What else is out there? Would they bother paying for ads on a show that wasn't specifically queer?

The Philadelphia Gay News also has some the dirt: there might be an element of friendship gone bad. The principals in the 10-year-old Rainbow Card company are Nancy Becker and Pam Derderian. Minority shareholder Navratilova is the godmother of the pair's daughter. (Navratilova's image has since been removed from company marketing materials.)

Nonetheless, this is a story about big business. In a completely separate report, PGN notes: "A portion of the credit card fees are given to the Rainbow Endowment, a nonprofit organization the three women formed to promote the health and social well being" of LGBTs. "Since 1996, the Rainbow Endowment... has distributed 78 million grants totaling nearly $1.5 million." Of course, a credit card business can't do it all on its own. It needs to plug in to mainstream mega corporations for all sorts of banking-related services. The Rainbow Card is sponsored by MBNA. That company "recently surpassed Enron as President George W. Bush's top lifetime contributor, according to the Center for Public Integrity."

Cancel your MBNA credit card over an issue of ethics, and you screw a lesbian business funneling cash into its own community, while trying to build queer visibility and change the world. Make a choice.

March 30, 2005 10:53 AM

Open season

Playing catch-up: 10 days ago, Ipsos-Reid released a survey on how "many Canadians (39%) believe the recent debates over same-sex marriage have increased discrimination towards gays and lesbians."

The survey is about perceptions. What's the reality? Tough to say given that there are so few available resources when it comes to hard numbers. But queer news in the mainstream often hikes anti-gay violence. Toronto benefits from the 519 Church Street Community Centre, located smack in the middle of the Gay Village, and its Anti Violence Program focuses on bashing and conjugal assault.

Here's program coordinator Howard Shulman's response to my question: "When there is increased attention on the LGBT community, there is usually an increase in the numbers of reported bashings. This was especially evident in 2003 in the wake of the Ontario Court of Appeals decision in favor of same-sex marriage -- there was a spike in the number of bashings." (I think that with that court ruling, same-sex marriage actually began to be taken seriously as a threat by the bigots.)

"U.S. cities had similar spikes whenever their state legislature or courts were debating same-sex marriage. Having said all of that, so far this year there was not a notable rise in the number of bashings when Parliament began its debate [in February]... this may have to do with the time of the year, and only time will tell." Howard means that it's easier to beat up fags and dykes when it's warmer outside. One theory is that big winter coats make it harder to jump around and hit people, and it's also harder to hurt someone through all the layers they're wearing. So bashing stats go up in the summer. Or maybe there's just more public canoodling when it's warmer, which of course is an affront to heterosexuals....

There is some good news. Says Howard: "The stats do not always show an increase in the number of bashings when there is mainstream discussion about LGBT issues. For example, when Ellen came out in 1997; or when [the Canadian] Parliament included sexual orientation under the Charter of Rights [making anti-gay discrimination in the provision of services like housing illegal]. There was a dramatic rise in bashings in Toronto (and most North American cities) in 1991 (which lead to the creation of the AVPs in many cities including here) that may have had a correlation to the recession, the increasing impact of AIDS and HIV."

If only homos would hide away... we'd be so much safer.

March 29, 2005 9:57 AM

A lesbian saint?

Greta Garbo stars in the title role of Queen Christina in the classic 1933 movie of the same name. The bumph on the cassette box breathlessly told me everything I needed to know about the delightful queer coding in this film: La Garbo plays opposite John Gilbert, her real romantic interest at the time, and sparks fly on screen. In truth, Gilbert was really rather busy with other men. And off camera, Garbo was more likely interested in her lady-in-waiting. As for the film: Her majesty dresses up as a man to escape the dreary trappings of royal life, only to fall in love with a visiting male dignitary. Hijinks and tragedy ensue.

There's now a newish biography of her imperialness, who lived from 1626 to 1689. It's Veronica Buckley's "Christina, Queen of Sweden: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric." Critic David Williams has sent out advance word of his review, which will appear in the April issue of the queer Kentucky newspaper, The Letter. "A woman of her own mind who never married, did as she pleased, and loved to decorate: what's not to love?" he asks.

"Initially it appeared to me that Buckley was trying to devalue Christina's lesbian leanings, and I had to ask myself: what more proof do you need? Aren't her love letters, strong evidence of her same-sex affairs, and all that juicy gossip, enough? Fortunately, Buckley does end up admitting -- though grudgingly, [that she] thought that Christina had a few lesbian flings. Whew! And here I thought I was going to have to endure another heterosexual whitewash."

Williams also writes that Christina was exasperating and thoughtless. "That's why we might think twice before canonizing her as a lesbian saint. She wasn't a very good ruler, nor was she much of a friend to most. After she abdicated the throne, converted to Roman Catholicism, and ran off to Rome, she spent the remainder of her life restlessly, even aimlessly. She never seems to have had much purpose to her life. We're left to ponder what she might have accomplished if she'd been a little more intelligent and much less spoiled." So. Should we canonize the foolish? Or only "proper" lesbians?

March 28, 2005 2:34 PM

The politics of underwear

She had been patient, she said. But the granny panties had to go. My journey began.

March 28, 2005 11:40 AM

The injustice done to Boy George

Boy George has a hangover, which might account for the many bad words ***ed out in this interview. "I tell him he comes across as being completely obsessed with his sexuality. Why? He laughs long and hard and gives me a pitiful look. 'I'm not obsessed, really I'm not. Because being gay is not your reality, it seems that I'm really obsessed with it.'" More here.

March 26, 2005 2:56 PM

"Voters don't decide issues, they decide who will decide issues"*

An activist who takes the time to read Hansard, bless his soul, has sent out a note about the upcoming vote on the same-sex marriage legislation, Bill C-38. It appears the House of Commons will vote on April 12. (It's the second reading only, all bills get three readings.) The Thursday debate in the House began:
Hon. Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre, Lib.): "Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Conversations have occurred among the parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

"That at any time, on or before April 11, when second reading of Bill C-38 is under consideration, when no member rises to speak on the amendment, or subamendment, all questions necessary to dispose of the said amendment to second reading of Bill C-38 be deemed put, a recorded division requested and deferred until the end of government orders on Tuesday, April 12."
The Deputy Speaker: "Does the House give unanimous consent for the whip to put the motion?"
Some hon. members: "Agreed."
The Deputy Speaker: "The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?"
Some hon. members: "Agreed."

The transcript is here.

*Said by pompous conservative journalist George F. Will, who also wrote: "Statecraft is soulcraft. Just as all education is moral education because learning conditions conduct, much legislation is moral legislation because it conditions the action and the thought of the nation in broad and important spheres of life."

March 26, 2005 2:13 PM

Sizzling out?

Old news for music fetishists -- but this will be new for others. "Three Dollar Bill" columnist Richard Burnett provides an update this week on anti-gay dancehall star Sizzla's new hit tune, "Nah Apologize" (it's in the middle of Burnett's column). Sizzla's chorus includes the line, "Rastaman nah apologize to no batty bwoy."

Writes Burnett: "So I am delighted to report that Jamaican security forces raided Sizzla's... premises on March 17, seizing a cache of illegal firearms including six AK-47 rifles, three sniper rifles, one M-16 rifle with a fitted silencer, two shotguns, one Intratec submachine gun, ammunition, and two bullet-proof vests. After Sizzla and 32 others were detained by police, Jamaican National Security Minister Peter Phillips announced, 'We are at war [with criminal gangs].'"

March 26, 2005 12:55 PM

Lesbian porn, or Nancy Ruth part 2

I profiled Nancy Ruth -- then known as Nancy Jackman -- back in 1993. She was no Canadian senator then, but rather the hand-picked candidate of the provincial Progressive Conservative Party (R.I.P.) in the Toronto riding which included the gay village. The opposing New Democratic Party aspirant at the time said: "I'm the only openly gay candidate."

Admittedly, this profile of Jackman-Ruth is now 11 years old, but she was no youngster coming to terms with her politics: By then, her opinions were firmly entrenched. Here are some excerpts from that profile.

"Nancy Jackman doesn't like drag queens. Jackman sat on the founding board of directors of Casey House, the hospice for people with AIDS. But in 1988, when drag queens proposed a fundraiser, Jackman stepped down. 'From my own understanding of feminism, cross-dressing from a position of power -- that is, male -- is a problem. I made no move to stop the board, but I felt uncomfortable. My time had come -- so I left.'

"Jackman says she still supports Casey House, even though drag shows have become one of the hospice's biggest sources of cash, giving Casey House some $250,000 over the years."

She traveled with the World Student Christian Federation, was a United Church minister for a time, and created a charitable foundation, Nancy's Very Own, which exclusively focuses on women's projects. (She later sponsored a youth site, Cool Women.) "But she's perhaps best known for helping found and fund the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). 'What the LEAF experience did for me is to understand the importance of laws,' she says. 'The other side of litigation is to legislate.'

"LEAF is now under the gun for its role in the Butler decision, in which gay male SM porn was shown to Supreme Court justices [as a way to shock and disgust them]. LEAF spokespeople said that this would help the justices understand the degradation of women in heterosexual porn." And so the judges actually expanded the definition of obscenity to include written or visual materials that are "degrading and dehumanizing." Definitions, of course, were not provided. Within weeks, a judge declared an issue of the mainstream gay porn mag Advocate Men obscene. And oh yes, lesbian porn got caught, too: Butler was referenced by the judge who declared an issue of the lesbian mag Bad Attitude to be obscene (including a photograph by Canadian photographer Jennifer Gillmor).

"Jackman, who is still involved in LEAF, refuses to discuss censorship.... 'I have no idea,' she says about Butler. 'I've got other things to worry about. I need lawyers from different sides to sit down and teach me.' [Yet] Jackman has lectured on law and litigation for years."

In fact, LEAF suffered years of nasty internal battles over the Butler mess. Some thought dyke porn was gross, others did not. Eventually, the good gals won, and LEAF sheepishly issued a sort of apology. In 1999, LEAF staff lawyer Kim Buchanan said: "We did not expect or intend for obscenity legislation to target lesbians and gay men. That's what ended up happening."

But what to do? The Butler decision was already enshrined -- nothing could be done in the immediate. So LEAF tried to create a loophole, arguing that lesbian porn should be viewed differently than straight porn, that the historical inequalities between men and women were irrelevant in lesbian porn. The courts didn't buy it. And neither did Nancy Ruth (Jackman), who denounced the organization she helped found. And during the court case, Ruth (Jackman) sat next to Catharine MacKinnon -- the noted American anti-porn feminist nutcase.

March 25, 2005 10:26 AM

We have a lesbian senator...

... and she is Nancy Ruth. Lordy.

There are many polite words for Nancy Ruth: Honest. Up front. Stubborn. And there IS a lot of good in Ruth. She gets things done, and is an activist of many years: poverty issues, immigrant women, charter issues. We're talking feminism galore. She's done all sorts of astonishing things that the independently wealthy can do when they have a conscience and an iron will.

Ruth was nee Jackman, born into high falutin' Ontario royalty (brother Henry, Hal to his friends, is a former provincial lieutenant governor -- he's as leftie as a multimillionaire businessman can be). Ruth changed her last name a few years back over family stuff that she's never discussed publicly. She's both charming and foul-mouthed (some wonder whether she suffers from Tourette Syndrome, though I think she just likes to be blunt). She was appointed to the Canadian Senate yesterday (one of nine newbies), and, entertainingly, will sit as a Progressive Conservative. That's a party that no longer exists, having recently merged with a more right-wing gang to create the Conservative Party. She's not a compromiser, and that's good for us on many levels.

But she's also the sort of feminist who believes in women as victims, and her obsession with protecting women from victimization has hurt us in many ways, as well. I'll complete this entry later in the day.

ADDENDUM: ACTUALLY, I filed this the next day.... apologies for the delay.

March 25, 2005 10:02 AM

Blacks get indigestion, too

Prime Access Inc. is a New York-based marketing agency specializing in "urban majority advertising," and company president Howard Buford has an interesting piece in the January Gay & Lesbian Review, in which he discusses gay and lesbian advertising and includes some comparison with the evolution of ads featuring African-Americans.

"The use of gay and lesbian images in advertising can be expected to follow the trajectory of African-American representation, which has a much longer history in U.S. advertising. The first marketing efforts traded on broad stereotypes that associated this group with proficiency in food preparation: early examples would be Aunt Jemima's Pancakes, Uncle Ben's Rice, and Cream of Wheat," writes Buford.

"Another association for African-Americans has been with cleaning products, and even today there's a TV spot for Pine-Sol that exploits the worst cliche about the sassy 'colored' woman. Nevertheless, advertising has largely moved beyond these stereotypes to portray African-Americans in virtually the same range of everyday situations as any other group, visiting a theme park or getting indigestion just like everyone else. Even the field of mainstream cosmetics has now embraced African-American images -- highly personal products have always been the most sensitive to any sort of 'denegration' -- something that didn't happen until the late 1990s....

"By the same token, marketers can be expected to become more sophisticated and begin portraying gay and lesbian people as plausible experts in a wider range of topics than just fashion and home decorating. For now, a show like 'Queer Eye For the Straight Guy' is in fact trading on such stereotypes, but it represents the kind of stereotype that has moved other 'emerging markets' into the cultural mainstream. Here an evolution can be observed from a negative stereotype to a positive attribute. Thus a classic stereotype of gay men is that they're overly concerned with their appearance. The flipside of this is an image of gay men as genuinely better groomed and even better looking than the average straight guy -- and possibly even sexier."

The complete piece can be found here.

March 25, 2005 9:34 AM


Drat. "Angela Robinson's attempt at a hip send-up of teen comedies fails miserably... it is neither smart, witty, or subversive," writes movie reviewer Katherine Monk in my morning paper. Katherine is Vancouver based and writes for the Asper-owned Canwest chain. If there were funny dyke jokes, she'd get them.

"Most surprisingly, for a lesbian movie, it plays into dated straight cliche by treating the women as empty vessels in push-up bras and stilettos without any redeeming human qualities.... D.E.B.S. feels like girl-on-girl porno for straight men -- only without the sex, female chemistry or a decent story." Ouch. Now what am I going to watch this weekend? (Actually, I'll probably see it anyway; perhaps I'll fall under its good-humoured spell.)

On the plus side, it's good to read an honest pan of a lesbian movie. The acclaimed "Mambo Italiano," by local Montreal boy Steve Galluccio, was a terrible movie (released in 2003). I began to wonder whether my disappointment with it made me an idiot -- or whether reviewers all over the world felt obliged to like a homo flick. I went with the latter.

March 24, 2005 9:53 AM

Artistic integrity? Phfeh

Listened to Captain James T. Kirk's 2004 album, "Has Been." It's quite fun. A mix of musical styles, a talking-more-than-singing approach that helps overcome the fact that William Shatner can't carry a tune. Plus a self-deprecating sense of humour. It was hilarious -- until I got to the middle of the album, and heard "What Have You Done," about finding his wife dead in the backyard pool. ("In truth I knew/ I was too late for death/ I had one chance/ I grasped her arm and floated upwards.") Only then did I realize that the whole album was serious.

Edit the artist. Just fast forward through that tune, program the CD player to skip it, take a three minute bathroom break. My entertainment trumps your agony.

March 23, 2005 11:01 AM

Ow, my head

I'm starting to think that homosexuality on TV has jumped the shark. I know I was impressed with all the homo stuff on telly sitcoms and dramas just two months ago -- but it's getting ridiculous. This week I can't turn on the set without getting fed gay content with Redeeming Social Value. "Oh bother," said Pooh Bear, resting head in hands. "I just wanted a Bit of Mindless Distraction."

Instead I found a comedy, The Newsroom, in which a shrink suggests that self-obsessed newsman George Findlay has latent homosexual tendencies -- then a stroke paralyzes the shrink, leaving George in emotional agony. And the medical drama "House," where a homophobe discovers his mobster brother wants to turn state's evidence in order to use the witness protection program to start a new life as an out gay man. Most hilariously, the bigot decides not to kill his sibling for the impending bean spilling, but tells him to do what makes him happy. Riiiight. (Actually, a couple of people with some insight into organized crime tell me there are quite a few bisexual mobsters, but that's another issue.)

Then there was the special, heart-warming (straight) AIDS storyline on "Judging Amy." And this afternoon (at 3:30), we Montrealers can finally see the banned episode of the kiddie Postcards From Buster on VPT (WETK-33). Sigh. Maybe I could find some "Married with Children" reruns.

March 22, 2005 11:38 AM

Gossip builds community

Columnist Billy Masters is often an entertaining read. Go here and click on the "Filth!" button on the left hand side of the page. Today's blurbs: American Idol, Michael Jackson, and Angelina Jolie continues to brag about her bisexuality. For the boys, lots of porn news (including details on the size of Antonio Sabato's member). I usually stop reading about halfway through...

March 22, 2005 9:58 AM

Yes it is! No it isn't!

It's dueling press releases, as Canada's PrideVision denies that the American Q Television has made a purchase offer, and Q Television says it has.

"'By acquiring Pride Vision, Q would be able to cut its expenses down on all of its programming costs,' Frank Olsen, president and CEO of Q Television Network, said in a statement Friday. 'It is still early in the game but we feel confident with our bid to purchase the network and further expand Q and the Queer television movement.'

"But, Monday, PrideVision said no bid had been made. 'PrideVision is not seeking buyers,' Bill Craig, president of the network and its majority shareholder, said in a statement. 'A representative of Q Television telephoned PrideVision without invitation last week simply to explore possibilities,' Craig's statement said. QTV, however, maintains that discussions have taken place." The full, confusing story's here.

March 22, 2005 9:30 AM

The triumphant return of Rick Mercer

I love the idea of Ricky the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television comedian. But here's a man whose hype has outstripped his talent. I started calculating his show's smile-per-minute ratio, and it just didn't warrant my time. Failed satire and social commentary make for hideous television, and my accounting method is not mean nor shallow: It's eminently practical.

But I was bored and turned on the telly last night, and Mercer's baaaack! His "Monday Report" was funny and snarky and made me a fan all over again. Insufferable loud-mouth Paul Cellucci, the outgoing American ambassador to Canada, was saluted ("Don't let the door hit you on the ass"). British Columbia's premier (unsuccessfully) tried to sell university tuition increases to a (supposedly) cold-calling skeptical student. And a fake government of Canada ad offered a pamphlet on how to talk to your children about airline bankruptcies.

It wasn't all perfect. Mercer still does lousy stand-up. His machine gun delivery of one-liners ("The Front Page" and the opening monologue) rarely delivers. (Older viewers will see the high groaner quotient as a tip of the hat to old style Canuck comedy, nostalgically evoking the bad jokes of the CBC's iconic Wayne and Shuster duo.) Mercer's true talent is improvising with others, where his quick mind shines.

His insistence on traveling about the country, on visiting the far north, hanging out in university pubs or (like last night), spending time on a Coast Guard ship, adds immeasurably to our understanding of our own country. His is an inquisitive nationalism that acknowledges Canada as a whole.

Mercer's gay, of course, but is offended about being asked. He won't actually deny his relationship with longtime executive producer Gerald Lund. But that's as far as he'll go, mumbling to reporters that knowing too much about his private life will keep viewers from appreciating his jokes. Funny, I know about his private life and last night I still laughed.

March 21, 2005 5:11 PM

Gory Tory civics

Capital Xtra's Gareth Kirkby has filed another story on the weekend's Conservative Party convention. When delegates voted en masse against same-sex marriage, gay Tories put "a positive spin on it. A predicted walkout of delegates after the same-sex vote failed to materialize. They’re choosing party over principle."

Other popular policy moves include:
"Raising the age of sexual consent to 16 from 14;
"'Three strikes and you're out' criminal sentencing;
"And adding property rights to the Constitution, a move that would undermine the ability of government to protect the environment."

March 21, 2005 4:27 PM

The easy way out

Today is "racism is bad" day. And a federal government press release just went out announcing The Action Plan Against Racism, which has been allocated 56 million smackers over five years. Yet more background here. (Ignore the usual insipid pre-fab quotes -- zip down to the meat.)

Here's a couple of the more interesting bits:
One project will standardize the collection of data related to crimes and incidents motivated by hate;
Another will examine perceived racial-profiling and the over-representation of certain groups in the justice system.

It all sounds good. Until you get to the cybercrime stuff. "Countering Internet-Based Hate Crime (Justice Canada) proposes to combat hate via the Internet by working to establish a tip line to facilitate reporting, and working with Internet service providers to identify online hate." The feds want to shut down hate sites (and hate speech is illegal in Canada).

Regular readers will know that I'm a civil libertarian on such matters, and consider the criminalization of personal opinions to be contradictory to all that is good and just, plus it's just a stupid thing to do (like the world needs more friggin martyrs to the cause of racism).

But of course there's a price to pay for that attitude. Extra hate requires extra work to fight it off.

I so much want to believe that I can bring the misguided around. We all want to believe that education can work.

That's not necessarily true. "We expose our senses primarily to information that reinforces our own ideas," wrote William L. Rivers in the 1970 tome, "Politics and the Press." "This the psychologists call 'selective exposure.' In one test of it, Wilbur Schramm and Richard Carter of Stanford University found that Republicans are almost twice as likely as Democrats to watch a Republican-sponsored telecast. We also tend to see what we want to see -- 'selective perception' -- which social researchers have shown so often that they now have approximately the same compulsion to demonstrate it again that a mathematician has to show that two plus two equals four. Some of us go to ludicrous lengths to perceive 'facts' that will support our prejudices. In one experiment, anti-Semites looked at editorial cartoons that ridiculed religious bias and saw them in reverse -- as glorifications of Anglo-Saxon lineage."

Does that mean education can never work, and we should give up? Of course not. People can change. And if not them, then their children. Or their children's kids.

But criminalizing speech doesn't fix the problem, it just sends the bile underground. Banning is easy, and change, it turns out, takes work.

March 21, 2005 9:57 AM

For the spiritualist who has everything

It's the perfect gift: send her a spectre. "At My Adopted Ghost, we're committed to bringing ghostly and human spirits together." Mike C. from North Carolina says: "I have a hard time talking to people and thought that I may be able to communicate better with a more spiritual companion. I think I finally found someone who will listen to me."

If you meet the screening requirements (!), a mere US$23.95 (plus shipping and taxes) will get you a spook, a manual, a certificate of adoption, and your shade's biography. (Options include Gaylord, who "died when Cher fans stampeded a ticket outlet selling tickets to her 'final tour.'")

Would you make for a good ghoul guardian? "The ideal Ghost Host is someone with lots of time, patience, and not too many children or pets. (Ghosts are jealous by nature, and they do not like to compete for your attention.) Ghost Hosts are typically 24 to 49 years of age, though a Ghost Host can still be in diapers or as old as dirt. Ghost Hosts are male or female and from all walks of life. Note: We've found that single artistic women and married men moonlighting as clowns make the best Ghost Hosts, though we have no idea why."

March 19, 2005 11:01 AM

U.S. company wants queer Canuck TV

The American Q Television Network wants to buy Canada's PrideVision. The Canuck channel is having all sorts of problems. Sigh.

ADD ON [Sunday] Canadian broadcasting ownership rules can be found here.

March 19, 2005 9:56 AM

Ex gays are just looking for love in all the wrong places

They -- the ex gay enemy -- sound a lot like "real" gays when they talk about how unhappy they are with the culture of homosexuality. Many of these ex gays say that they can't find love. Just like many of us. More here.

March 19, 2005 9:55 AM

Harper on abortion and marriage

When he becomes Canada's prime minister, Conservative leader Stephen Harper will ban same-sex marriage (but allow for equal treatment under the law, implying some sort of queer couple's registry). He also told delegeates at this weekend's policy convention in Montreal that he would not introduce any legislation on abortion: thus it will remain legal. Harper's full speech is here (in PDF format).

March 18, 2005 4:41 PM

The last of today's Tory politics

Recently had brunch with two lovely people -- a lesbian couple. One woman teased the other about not liking public displays of affection, and blamed internalized homophobia. But the first woman then explained that she enjoyed same-sex public touching because it creeps out the heterosexuals.

She's using homophobia as a weapon. I'm not sure that's healthy.

So, was it appropriate for the Pink Panthers to use homophobia to humiliate Stephen Harper with their demo's centrepiece, the papier mache Harper-being-sodomized?

March 18, 2005 9:54 AM

Tory, tory, madory, fadory

"Those wild and crazy Conservatives are in Montreal. Delegates to the party's policy convention came to town with copies of the 10 Commandments and $20 bills. By Monday, they won't have broken either" (Montreal Gazette columnist Mike Boone).

Also from the Gazoo: "About 40 protesters in pink balaclava-type face coverings greeted delegates... [demonstrators arrived] by 'sodomobile' -- a white van bedecked with a papier mache roof sculpture of a [Conservative Party leader] Stephen Harper likeness being sodomized by a Pink Panther."

ADDENDUM: Regularly updated Canadian Press coverage of the Tory con can be found here.

MORE ADD ON [posted 15:08]: Capital Xtra's Gareth Kirkby might well be the only queer press reporter covering the conference. Today's story is here.

March 18, 2005 9:47 AM

Heavy metal pissing match

Because there's a difference between manly make-up and girlie shit, as explained by Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue: An interviewer asked Sixx whether he wears more or less make-up on stage now than he did in his days as a hair metal rocker. "It's the same as I've worn always," Sixx said. "Listen, if you wear make-up to look pretty like Poison, you're a bunch of fags. Motley Crue wears it more like Keith Richards. It's just to look [messed] up. I want to look like I just got punched in the face every day."

Found in Washington, D.C.'s queer Metro Weekly.

March 17, 2005 7:03 PM

Why being straight is unhealthy

"A former interim leader of the Conservative Party has resurfaced at the helm of a national campaign against gay marriage. And Dr. Grant Hill isn't backing down from views that once branded him as homophobic. He says he'll spread his message at the pivotal Conservative policy convention this week as the party tries to cast itself as election-ready."

So much for the Tories hoping for a nice, non controversial meeting! The story continues: "Hill... says few people are willing to risk being criticized by stating what he says is scientifically obvious: that the homosexual lifestyle includes 'distinct health negatives;' that those with an 'unwanted sexual preference' can choose to change it; and that children do best when raised by straight couples. 'My position is based on science, on social science, my experience as a doctor and all the data and literature that I review in a scientific way... Every single [piece of] data says that marriage between a man and a woman is the best environment to raise children.'"

Asked about the homosexual lifestyle's "distinct health negatives," Hill cited AIDS as an almost exclusively gay disease.

Anyone want to take a shot at listing heterosexual "distinct health negatives"? There are quite a few, methinks.

March 17, 2005 1:03 PM

Famously hetero

Fun squibs in The Advocate relating how celebs deal with gay rumours.

"Troy Aikman
"RUMOR: In September of 1996, sportswriter Skip Bayless published the book Hell-Bent: The Crazy Truth About the Win-or-Else Dallas Cowboys, which examined the rumor that the quarterback was gay.
RESPONSE: Aikman publicly threatened to punch him out and later married a Dallas Cowboys publicist in 2000."

Others mentioned include American Idol Clay Aiken, Tom Cruise, Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford, celebrity ex-husband David Gest, Whitney Houston, Helen Hunt, Ricky Martin, Kelly McGillis, Mike Piazza, Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and Oprah Winfrey. And Liberace, who denied, denied, denied....

March 17, 2005 11:36 AM

Hookers and homos

There's yet more posted in the Prostitution category, which is tracking the House of Commons Subcommittee on Solicitation Laws. Many thanks to all those who have sent in comments and presentations, and keep it coming! Hustlers and prostitutes especially welcome. Are there any johns (or janes -- how many women pay for sex?) out there who want add their two cents?

March 17, 2005 11:05 AM

Smooches for Stephen

I can get pretty snotty about "activism," but in the end almost all uppitiness is better than none at all. Even if the activism strikes me as dumb. Montreal's Pink Panthers (Pantheres Roses) once protested the evil commercialism of Valentine's Day by throwing up in gay village stores. The action was... poorly thought out.

"After puking on the doorsteps of the Village's most prosperous shops and bars catering to gay businessmen, members of this radical queer group flooded the neighborhood with counterfeit coupons, symbolizing the reign of the pink dollar and the capitalist compliance of today’s average gays and lesbians. Before vomiting on the step of the shop Priape, Amelia, a member of the Pink Panthers, confessed that the whirlwind of commercial publicity surrounding Valentine's Day really got her gut: 'Businesses make me feel like I’m really cheap if I express my love for my girlfriend in any other way than by buying her some meaningless object.'

"Another member of the Pink Panthers, before vomiting on the step of the store Wegavideo, revealed that the most infuriating thing for him was the capitalist appropriation of emotions like love and liberty, which have always belonged to everybody and should never have become dependent on consumption."

I don't think that barfing on a DVD will make people see the light. But good on ya for making a fuss. (And, well, it was kind of funny....)

Today, the Pink Panthers are sponsoring a kiss-in and street party to welcome (and oppose) Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper and his band of merry goofs, holding their big convention here in Montreal over the weekend. The Pinks leave Square Victoria (located by the subway stop of the same name) at 5 pm, and will end up kissing at the Palais de Congres (the conference centre).

Tory delegates will pick a party president this weekend. The choice is between a straight rural Alberta working class guy and a gay Montreal lawyer. Most importantly, the party will spend the weekend trying not to implode while the moralist control freaks fight the libertarians on social issues like homosexuality and abortion.

Let's give them all big sloppy kisses to start the conference out right.

March 16, 2005 3:02 PM

What's in a name?

What's the best part about the spam in my inbox? The absolutely lovely monikers generated for the sender's line:
Electroencephalogram I. Upbringings
Fearfuller B. Emasculates
Bristol F. Tactlessly
Uteruses H. Tegucigalpa
Encumbrances P. Wisterias
Abbreviated G. Towellings
Disciple G. Adipose
Blunter R. Coarseness
Exorcising L. Mesmerism
Skeletal M. Repossess.
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