Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

“What’s the Big Deal” Is Now Answered: Tobi Hill-Meyer on “Tranny”

Tobi Hill-Meyer has an excellent series up about the controversy over “tranny” and its use as a slur, going far deeper than the word itself.  Part one delves into meanings:

… the message that a tranny is someone who is incapable of doing femininity correctly, whether you’re talking about the shoes that make you look like a tranny, insulting a cis woman’s “tranny makeup,” or the outfit that turns a cis woman into “a hot tranny mess.”

… “Tranny” is reserved for those whose femininity is deemed fake, incorrect, or forced, those whose sexuality is either too brazen or too frigid, those who dare to take power and space and need to be knocked down a peg.

That’s why it’s frustrating to see cis women who can understand the utter horror and indignation of being called a tranny themselves but are completely willing to dismiss the negative implications when the term is used against trans women – because supposedly it’s just a factual statement that she is trans….

Part two looks at how the media commonly uses the word, getting at the intent:

… In both cases, defenders of the film and TV show quickly moved to argue the right to use the term “tranny,” held discussions on whether or not cis people should be allowed to use the term and whether or not the intention was to offend. Doing so, however, completely ignores the pattern of trans-negative representations that are the real offense…

So if you really want to focus on community boycott, media criticism, and protest as a form of censorship, by all means we can have that conversation – so long as you understand it’s about boycotting, criticizing, and protesting transphobia and not just the utterance of a single word.

Part three gets into context on the individual level:

Ultimately, the important question is not just if, but how does the term get used against a person? It’s pretty common for straight men to be called faggot, but that doesn’t mean it’s an anti-straight slur. Trans men occasionally are called tranny, but that doesn’t erase the fact that the slur specifically attacks one’s femininity as fake or a failure, as if they are a man in a dress who’s trying too hard – as explained in part one. I know a few sissy, femme, and/or crossdressing trans men, and I can understand how they feel they have some ownership over the term, but it’s because they are sissy/femme/crossdressing, not because they are trans men.

For example, consider the various “women and trans” events and spaces that are conspicuously lacking representation of trans women. It’s almost always due to trans misogyny, historically and/or currently. Trans women are more likely than trans men to have traumatic experiences with the term and be triggered by it. When trans men use the term in such spaces – as commonly is the case – it contributes to the dynamic keeping trans women out, regardless of whether or not it is their intention.

I highly recommend this series.  Like Tobi, I’m not interested in being language police and am more focused on the intent… and in these segments (which aren’t terribly long, by the way, so don’t let the “it’s in three parts” thought dissuade you from reading), she nails that perfectly.

For further reading, I also recommend another piece she did on trans language, including this observation on “gender identity:”

I know, I know, it’s the whole basis of our legal claim to trans people’s rights, but its very linguistic construction is based in an assumption of cis-supremacy… By discussing the gender a trans person identifies as rather than the gender a trans person is, we’re right back to defining trans girls as boys who identify as girls rather than as individuals who are girls who were assigned male at birth.

When we base our legal claims to non-discrimination protections within “gender identity” it reinforces a legal framework that sees trans people as “really being” the gender they were assigned at birth. When I see the case of a trans man who was fired because he is trans, it’s hard to apply “gender identity” here. The reality is that he isn’t being discriminated against for identifying as a man – there are probably several other co-workers who also identify as men – he was fired for being trans. The current way that the courts process this distinction is to evaluate the trans man in terms of being a woman who was fired because “she” identifies as a man.

This clarifies why the legal system has such a problem getting trans people’s pronouns right. When the subject of the sentence is “a woman,” it naturally follows that you should use female pronouns. Insisting upon male pronouns in this example without also insisting on male terms being used as the subject drastically decreases the chances of people being able to follow the request.

Personally, I’m not certain that we will find a perfect term, that “gender identity” has been workable in its usage over the past couple decades, and that generally when it’s used, it doesn’t have the same kind of intent to undermine, but it’s interesting.

Holiday Wishes

I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and the best wishes for 2011.

Remember that even if you’re alone, you do have family — sometimes a dysfunctional one and distance between us, but family nonetheless.  Take care, keep heart, stick together as best you/we can.

If you’re lonely over the holidays, Ethan St. Pierre is still podcasting his 13 Days of Christmas, until 10:00 MST (midnight Eastern) tonight and from 9:00 AM MST (11 Eastern) until 10 MST on Christmas Day.  He’ll be having guests, music and sometimes call-ins.

For those able and wanting to give this holiday season, a couple options are definitely worth considering:

For those readers who are US citizens and will be listened to on this, Bil has alerted people to a seriously tragic situation taking place in Florida.  You don’t need money to give to this one — your time is more valuable here:

Betsie has now been diagnosed with stage four cancer and is dying. After she didn’t contact her family for over a week, her family traveled to Florida to check on her and discovered that doctors had discovered an inoperable bowel blockage. Betsie is unable to take in any food and is slowly starving to death in prison. The state has decided to refuse Betsie IV nutrition saying, “She’s going to die sooner or later.”

What you can do is to help keep the pressure on to have Betsie released into her family’s care.  Find out the details, information on what you can do, an update on the situation and the relevant contact information at TBP.

And if you do have money to give and are interested in helping sisters and brothers in dire situations around the world, consider giving to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), which I regularly see in the newsfeeds getting involved for trans and LGBT people who are in need — and sometimes in danger for their lives.

In the meantime, here’s a wish to save for those darker moments, when you’re wondering what we go through all our trials for.  Sometimes, this will be little consolation, and other times, it will mean everything.  But although I have mixed feelings about the “it gets better” projects, I do still believe that it’s worth hanging on, because we change more than just our bodies and / or apprearance, although we sometimes don’t notice.  This is slightly modified from Muse’s “Hoodoo,” (linked because embedding was disabled):

I’ve had recurring nightmares
That I was loved for who I am
And missed the opportunity
To become a better person…

Guest Post: Natalie Murray Clarifies Canadian Military Dress Rules Media Coverage

The Canadian Military has released a policy on dress for trans soldiers. Unlike in the US, gays and lesbians have served openly since 1992 and trans people have been able to serve in the military since 1998.

The following guest post is by Natalie Murray, who is an IT technician stationed at CFB Trenton, Ontario.  She has been in the Canadian Forces since 1987.  She transitioned in 2003.

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I am a proud member of the Canadian Forces, with 27 years of service, including 24 years in the regular force.  I am also a transsexual woman, one who transitioned in uniform seven years ago, the eighth to ‘officially’ do so.  (I’m personally aware, though, of two people who transitioned, then signed the dotted line.)

A few weeks ago, I was asked to do an interview with CBC’s Brent Bambury, for his radio show ‘Day Six’.  Brent was asking me about my experiences transitioning in the Canadian Forces, and my thoughts on the prospective repeal of the onerous Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy in the US.  The spot appeared on the December 4th show.

Four days later, I awoke to find an article in the National Post newspaper about something completely unrelated to DADT.  It seems that the Canadian Forces had recently released a directive containing guidelines for the management of transsexual members.  At the bottom of the article was a quote from me, purloined directly from the Day Six interview four days previously.  The way the Post outlined the directive, it was made out as a policy that was all about the new dress code for transsexual and transvestite members.  They brought in the horrible Scott Taylor, from Esprit de Corps to comment, and he pronounced it as ‘out of touch’, ‘politically correct’ and ‘badly timed’, because it happened to arrive at the same time as a report from the Canadian Forces Ombudsman about veterans.  There were other articles as well, a LGBT publication from the UK, a fashion piece and the obligatory right wing christianist piece, all of them about clothing, the supposed ‘new transgender uniforms and dress requirements’, and all of them quoting the National Post article.

So I wrote back to the National Post.

I am the Canadian Forces member quoted in the article. I feel I need to clarify a few things.

First, the Canadian Forces does not accommodate members who crossdress, or transvestites, as you term it. Gender Identity Disorder is a recognized medical condition, hardly a choice, and as such, the CF gives members with GID the proper and appropriate medical treatment indicated by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. It is treated as any other medical condition for any other member.

I do not believe Scott Taylor of Esprit de Corps is at all qualified to comment on this issue. He is sadly misinformed if he thinks this has to do with only clothing. It’s not being ‘politically correct’.  It’s a medical concern, pure and simple.  The Canadian Forces is a large organization, and new directives on all manner of subjects are sent out daily. It is quite unfair to suggest that the directive concerning transsexual members arriving at the same time as the report from the Ombudsman about something completely unrelated is somehow there to take away from that important issue. Perhaps, instead of relying on what he might have read on the Internet about transsexual people, especially Canadian Forces members, maybe he should come and talk to some of us before making such pronouncements.  By the way, Scott, the term is ‘transgender’, not ‘transgendered’.  As well, ‘transsexual’ is an adjective, not a noun.  Please do not strip me of my hard-won female identity.

I am proud of my more than 23 years of service to the CF and to Canada.  I did not transition ‘recently’ as the article suggests. I started the process in 2003, started living full time in the female role in early 2004 and had my genital reconstruction surgery in Montreal in 2005. I was the eighth member of the Canadian Forces to transition in uniform, although I personally know two people who transitioned well before that and signed the dotted line later on.

Lastly, I recognize the whole ‘soldier first’ meme, of course, but I’m not army.  I wear Air Force blue.

They edited it down, of course, but the version they printed still contains most of what I wanted to say.  (Aside, I got a few messages sent my way congratulating me on my good work, including one from the office of the Vice Chief of Defence Staff, in Ottawa.)

I clarified further when Lynn Conway posted this article and others on her trans news site:  The Military Human Resources Records Procedures – Chapter 34 – Management of CF Transsexual Personnel covers everything related to a military transition. All it says about clothing is that the member will properly wear the uniform of the ‘target gender’, as they put it. The dress regulations themselves haven’t changed by a single word, and no reason or need whatsoever for that to happen. Our dress and deportment is still expected to be of the highest standard, as for every other member.

So what is this new ‘policy’, exactly?  Well, for starters, it’s not any sort of policy at all.  It’s a set of guidelines, and it’s not all that new.  With a few small changes, it’s pretty much what I had to deal with when I transitioned almost eight years ago.  For all I know, I may very well have been the one setting all the precedents now included here.

So I’ll go through it and:

The first paragraph spells it all out exactly. “This document has been created to provide the transsexual member, the CO and the URS/Res Unit with some guidelines pertaining to their administration.”

Then it gets into a bit of terminology, acronyms used and touches on the need to maintain the member’s privacy.  A transsexual individual should expect the URS/Res Units to be dealt with the utmost privacy and respect. Only sections and individuals are to be informed, the “need to know” basis must be applied, (e.g.: when changing the gender in a system, there is no reason to indicate as to why).

The definition they have for people like us isn’t bad, all things considered.  Transsexual. A transsexual is a person who has a psychological need to belong to, or identify with, the opposite sex and to live life as a member of that sex. A transsexual person has changed, or is in the process of changing, his or her physical and/or legal sex to conform to his or her internal sense of gender identity. The term can also be used to describe people who, without undergoing medical treatment, identify and live their lives full-time as a member of the gender different from their assigned sex/gender.

It states the requirement for the transitioning member to write a memorandum stating your intention to transition, starting a paper trail up their Chain of Command, which would serve as the authorization to make the needed administrative changes down the road.  More on this later…

Then there’s the all important paragraph about clothing.  A transsexual member shall dress consistent with their target gender and shall comply with the same standards of dress and deportment as applied to all other members of that gender. That’s it, that’s all.  No mention of trans specific uniforms or special dress regulations for trans members.  We are expected to dress to the same high standard as everybody else.

It mentions that medals, awards and honours will not be reissued under a new name, citing no legal authority for rewriting history.  Maybe another battle to fight down the road, but not worth the trouble right now.

Then it gets into all the changes of documentation, both during transition and post surgery and/or legal name change.

During transition, things like new uniforms are issued, new ID cards, a temporary green (i.e. for government travel) passport, medical category as required.  It specifically states that no alteration of gender or name without the required legal documentation.

This is a little bit different from what I experienced.  One of the first things they did for me, without having this policy in place, was to have me declared administratively female on all my military docs, which meant that everything else could now fall into place, which it did.  With the requirement for the initial memorandum, it would appear that administrative declaration is a thing of the past, with the requirement for the actual legal documentation of GRS there.  I did still require the legal change of name for them to do that, and this hasn’t changed either.

Post surgery and/or legal name change sees the rest of the documentation changed.  All the military administrative files, medical and dental files, full passports both blue and green, and advice to the member to ensure documentation at CRA and any other non-DND documentation is properly changed.

That’s really it in a nutshell.  It’s not complicated and hardly secretive.  So why all those news stories suggested it was all about clothing is beyond me…unless you take the position that they have some sort of axe to grind.  Thanks to this experience, I’ve learnt a bit about how the media works, just how fucking lazy they really are, and have a better idea of whom I can trust.  I shall be more careful down the line.

Natalie Murray in Trenton

The Religious Right Doesn’t Want Gay Congressmen Showering With Them, Either

As Canada’s Bill C-389 — which would extend rights to employment, housing, access to services and protections from the excusing of violence for gender identity and gender expression — inches on toward Third Reading and a similar bill (ENDA) languishes in the US, the religious right south of the border is all a-panic over the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT).  And an oddly familiar argument is being thrust into the forefront.

They’re afraid that straight and gay soldiers might have to shower together.  Openly gay congressman Barney Frank was confronted by CNS (which was formed to present a conservative bias in news) on the matter:

“What do you think happens in gyms all over America?” Frank said when asked by CNSNews.com about the working group’s recommendation that straights be required to shower with gays. “What do you think happens in the House of Representatives? Of course people shower with homosexuals. What a silly issue. What do you think goes wrong with showering with homosexuals? Do you think the spray makes it catching? I mean people shower with homosexuals in college dormitories, in gyms where people play sports; in gyms elsewhere. It is a complete non-issue.”

Of course, in Canada, we’ve been past all that, with no washroom or shower issues — even trans soldiers serve without this problem (trans people can’t serve in the US military regardless of the repeal of DADT), and without female soldiers being exposed to penises.  Trans Canadians have already been using washrooms consistent with their presentation (and have done so for decades) without there being any epidemic of problems.  Because apparently, trans Canadians have more respect for other humans and for the principle of privacy than religious right bigots do.

But the religious right isn’t interested in that, and keeps harping on shower fear.  The shower argument was also previously presented in various places by FOX News, WingNutDaily et al, including this graphic screencapped by StopBeck (h/t Pam’s House Blend):

For those who know nothing about the issue and never gave it much thought — let alone research — the whole washroom thing sometimes seduces people into thinking that it has merit.  Even Barney Frank has succumbed to trans panic with regard to washrooms, and said things which have been exploited by the religious right — things he probably now regrets (although a public refutation of those comments would be nice).

In the end, this argument was never about any actual dangers, but about the “squick” factor that homophobes and transphobes get when fixating on what we have in our pants and what we do in bed.  Which, of course, is none of their business, however much they feel they should be able to control those things through legislation.

So if anyone had any doubts about what the potty panic debates were all about or thought that maybe they had some merit, now you know better.

37 Years Later, Alberta Delists Homosexuality as a Mental Disorder

After several steps backward with the delisting of health care coverage for gender reassignment surgery, a parental rights bill that enables parents to remove their kids without penalty from classes not consistent with their beliefs, an outright refusal to include trans people in revisions made to the Alberta Human Rights Act, and an Alberta Health Act which still leaves many glaring questions, the province may finally take a baby step forward.  Thirty-seven years after homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Alberta says (again) that it will finally remove homosexuality from its diagnostic code.  According to information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by human rights activist Rob Wells, between 1995 and 2004, the diagnosis was used 1,782 times.

The province has known about the classification for more than a decade and the Conservative government first promised to change it in 1998.  On Tuesday, Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky repeated that promise.

Alberta uses a code system that is somewhat based on the ICD-9, which was written prior to the delisting of homosexuality.  The Alberta Health and Wellness codes are available via the Edmonton Journal.  Wells has filed a human rights complaint, noting that several attempts have been made to address the oversight:

Whereas I have raised this issue with my Member of the Legislature in 1997, and whereas the  Minister, (then the Hon. Halvar Jonson) acknowledged my concerns, in his July 27, 1998 letter to Alberta Liberal Health Critic Mr. Gary Dickson Q.C. MLA, and wrote  “One concern pertains to diagnostic code 302.0-homosexuality.  Alberta Health uses a clinical modification of the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revsion (ICD-9) for diagnostic coding.  This coding was developed by the World Health Organization and is used world wide.   A new coding structure has been developed  which Alberta Health is considering.  This new coding will address the concerns regarding the classification of the diagnostic code for homosexuality.”;

Which, of course, is a promise that sounds remarkably like the one made on Tuesday.

(Crossposted to The BilericoProject)

7th Annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Friday is the 7th Annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.  From Bound Not Gagged:

We stand against the cycle of violence experienced by sex workers around the world. Recently in Geneva, the United Nations Human Rights Council reviewed the human rights record of the United States during their Universal Periodic Review. Uruguay’s recommendation to the Obama Administration – to address “the special vulnerability of sexual workers to violence and human rights abuses” – is the moral leadership we have been waiting for!

Join us in solidarity to fight the criminalization, oppression, assault, rape and murder of sex workers – and of folks perceived as sex workers.

December 17, 2003 was our first annual day to honor the sex workers who were murdered by serial killer Gary Ridgway. In Ridgway’s own words, “I also picked prostitutes as victims because they were easy to pick up without being noticed. I knew they would not be reported missing right away and might never be reported missing. I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.” (BBC, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3245301.stm)

In Canada, we have the horrible legacy that left nearly 50 women dead on a pig farm near Vancouver, and more that keep disappearing.  Yet in the midst of that, the Conservative government is trying to undermine Sisters In Spirit.

The Conservative government is opposing the use of the name Sisters in Spirit and any work on a groundbreaking database on murdered and missing Aboriginal women cases if the Native Women’s Association of Canada expects to receive any funding for new projects on the issue, sources say.

If you are Canadian and want to do something to mark the day, MP Irene Mathyssen is preparing a paper petition to call for renewing funding so SIS can keep working to combat the pattern of missing and murdered women in Canada, many of whom are at the crossroads of being sex workers and Aboriginal.

MP Bill Siksay to Retire Before Next Election

Bill Siksay, Member of Parliament for Burnaby-Douglas, has announced that he will not be running again, in the next election:

Put simply, it just seems like time.  I am now in my 25th consecutive year working in federal politics.  I spent 18 years working as an assistant to the former MP for Burnaby-Douglas, Svend Robinson, and almost seven years as the MP.  I was elected and re-elected three times.  Few political careers span 25 years.

I am not resigning my seat and will remain as the MP for Burnaby-Douglas until voters choose my successor in the next federal election.  I will continue to work hard for the people of Burnaby-Douglas.  My office remains open and my staff and I will continue to help constituents with their problems with the federal government.  And I will continue to work on the issues of the day.

The issues of the day include Bill C-389, which proposes to add gender identity and gender expression to the Canada Human Rights Act and the hate crimes clause of the Criminal Code of Canada.  He adds a separate note to trans people:

This does not mean that I am abandoning Bill C389 and the struggle for full and explicit human rights for transsexual and transgender Canadians. I will continue to work hard to get the Bill through the House and off to the Senate before an election.

The bill would die when an election is called if it has not been passed in all stages in both the House and Senate. This timing has always been a huge challenge in a minority Parliament with an election always looming. I’m very hopeful that if the bill should not complete the process in this Parliament that there will be another MP who will pick up the bill in the next Parliament. Who knows, maybe even the next government will choose to move forward with a bill of its own? Don’t forget that we’ve identified new allies and supporters, and raised new awareness, as the debate has progressed.

One of the highlights of my time as an MP will always be my work with the transsexual and transgender communities. You’ve taught me so much about our humanity for which I am very thankful.

He is the first Canadian politician to be openly gay prior to being elected to Parliament, and has served as critic for Ethics, Access to Information and Privacy (currently); Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues (currently); Citizenship and Immigration (previously); and Canadian Heritage and Housing (previously).  He has championed reproductive rights and anti-poverty initiatives, among many causes.  He and partner Rev. Brian Burke are very active with the United Church of Canada, and Bill was one of the first people to come out as gay during the ordination process — he then helped lead the campaign toward LGBT inclusion.

For trans people in Western nations, there has been a long history in which “incrementalism” means being told to wait our turn, someone will come back for us, and then it never happens.

Well, Bill Siksay came back.  It’s not the same as doing it ourselves, I suppose (it’s going to take a bit of work to get into the positions where we can), but Mr. Siksay certainly restores some faith that there are some real allies out there.

(Bill C-389 staved off an attempt to kill it at report stage, at a vote of 143 to 131 — the first time trans issues have been brought to a vote in Parliament.  It moves to Third Reading, with the first hour of debate now happening later than expected, likely in February.)

(Crossposted to The Bilerico Project)

The Canadian Religious Right’s Obfuscation Fetish

If you donate to Lifesite.ca, LifeSiteNews or parent company Campaign Life Coalition, you might want to be aware of this.

Lifesite is condemning a United Nations resolution that is calling to have sexual orientation re-added to the list of classes on a declaration that was composed recently.  Most of the article is devoted to Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, who says that “What this is really all about is mainstreaming the homosexual agenda… It’s about putting the homosexual agenda on par, and actually above, freedom of religion.”

They neglect to mention that the resolution condemns execution and genocide simply because people belong to a particular class.  Apparently, it’s perfectly okay with Ruse, Patrick B. Craine and Lifesite to slaughter people if they’re gay.

Really?  Would they honestly leave that part out in order to encourage Canadians of faith to endorse the murder of LGBT people?

Of course they would.  The Canadian religious right (not to be confused with all Christians) has been actively adopting the policy of obfuscating fact in order to evangelize the world and marginalize all who don’t agree.  Don’t believe me?

The Guardian reports that a couple would rather close their hotel than to allow a gay couple to stay there.  This would, of course, be their decision, and not the ruling of the judge hearing the case.  As for the Canadian religious right media headline?  “Will Britain ban Christians from owning businesses?”  Just a wee bit of truth-stretching, eh?

Catholic Insight phrases Bill C-389 (which would extend legal protections in employment, housing and protection from violence to trans people) as “forcing all Canadians to pay further homage to the homosexual lifestyle.” (Homage?  I don’t remember asking for any homage….).  Elsewhere, they add, “It is really a declaration of war by certain MPs upon Canadian society, an invitation to violence, humiliation, and a trampling upon of Judeo-Christian morality, one shared by many Canadians of other religions.”

The publicly-funded Waterloo Region District School Board has given bibles to Grade 5 students every year for the past 64 years.  Naturally, people are upset that our schools are being used to proselytize, indoctrinating kids into a particular faith, and have set up a petition.  The phrasing at No Apologies?  “Ideologues still fighting Gideon Bible distribution in Waterloo.” (Waterloo Region Record’s defense of the practice, apparently, is that it’s okay because they don’t look like bibles.)

In reference to human rights in the US, where the Employment Non-Discrimination Act proposes to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people — probably to scare people about the possible granting of human rights here — Catholic Insight scares people into believing that the Boy Scouts and faith-based adoption agencies will be forced to close.

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority wants to offer HIV testing to all patients.  Timothy Bloedow objects to this, in “Professionals want responsible Canadians to pander to the corrupt.”

Catholic Insight had to scrape to find someone (they chose a Texas University) that would assert that screening methods were too unreliable to allow gay men to donate blood.

Lifesite also gives us the story of Abigail Seidman, a pro-life activist who claims that her pro-choice mother was seduced into a world of satanism and human sacrifice:

Seidman described her mother’s abortion clinic as “pervaded with occult imagery and practices.” The workers considered “abortion to be a form of sacrifice,” would perform the procedure as a sort of ritual, and worshipped deities embodying death, she said.

Of course, they don’t actually say that the reason all pro-choice people want abortion to be available is because embryos are a favorite delicacy of His Majesty the Goat, but….

A Toronto Star columnist asserted that:

No religion is an island. All are in need of dialogue with other cultural, spiritual and intellectual traditions to help them “awaken” to the “signs of the times,” including human rights abuses. And when religious voices are added to the growing chorus of human rights advocates, the results, in the words of Prejean, are “downright refreshing.”

Naturally, the headline the religious right ran made it sound like doing so, and granting human rights to any class (presumably excluding the special rights afforded to religion) would compromise the Christian faith (Human Rights gut the Church of its Moral and Spiritual Testimony)

Lifesite tries to sound more journalistic by not infusing blatant opinion (except the occasional insistence that homosexuality is mental illness and such), but tends to balance their reporting heavily toward their perspective through the selection of interviewees.  That has helped them perpetuate the “bathroom bill” terminology equating trans people with washroom predators.

Bloedow operates No Apologies and also christiangovernance.ca (although they’ve recently merged).  In his consultation to the 2011 federal budget, he recommends “shutting down the enslaving Indian Act and setting Aboriginal people free to be entrepreneurial and to abandon dependency” (voiding treaties with First Nations peoples and cutting off all reparations payments), defunding all Non-Governmental Organizations “so that only those with a real membership base” (i.e. religious institutions that have trained their dependent denominations to shell out wads of cash) will survive, eliminate Marxist graduated taxation (stop taxing wealthy businesses and individuals according to their earnings), “encouraging voluntary social supports and reducing expensive and destructive dependence on the state” (cut off all social programs), “sharply reduce red tape, and roll back the micro-managing, paternalistic developments of recent years with the increase in oppressive regulations under the guise of health and safety” (because deregulation works oh so well, such as when it was applied to banks in the US)

With Charles McVety’s recent reprimand from the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, people may be waking up to the habitual use of bald-faced euphemisms, distortions and lies to terrorize their flock into fearing fictional menaces. Such as claiming that “homosexual propaganda” is behind why nobody thinks of Wikileaks as a gay conspiracy, or insisting that human rights legislation “panders to terrorism,” and using “science” by organizations that start from a point of bias like Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (which was seen distorting studies, omitting or obscuring data and more to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage) passed off as fact.

They’re almost as bad as American wingnut Brian Fischer crying that a recent Canadian policy is evidence that repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will force military personnel to crossdress. Canadians have to wonder if people are coming down with Tea Party fever, when irrationality starts spreading, like the PEI transportation minister’s attribution of a minor fall in the Provincial Legislature to being “the hand of God”. Nearly all of these articles came out this month.

Something is wrong in the state of Canada.  And it is not that sex and gender diverse people are “allowed” to exist.

If you donate to Lifesite.ca, LifeSiteNews or parent company Campaign Life Coalition; No Apologies or parent ChristianGovernance; or Catholic Insight, you might want to consider what you’re financing.

Censorship! But only if it’s us!

It seems that Canadians are starting to play into Charles McVety’s victimhood claims.  It’s not surprising when Lifesite parrots the claim, or even the National Post, but when the average Canadian blogger is echoing the censorship cry, then it’s obvious that people really don’t pay attention.

MgS provided an excellent dissection of what it actually was that earned the ruling from the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (link goes to the voluminous text of their decision) that brought about McVety’s downfall (although it should be noted that it was CTS that decided to pull his program from their channel, not the CBSC) — and it wasn’t simply a case of voicing objections to homosexuality, as it seems to be painted.

Consequently, people seem to be buying into McVety’s complaints about being “unfairly censored.”  Once a hypocrite, always a hypocrite, I suppose.

Of course, this past October, the Conservative government buckled to pressure from Charles McVety and disinvited Imam Zijad Delic from speaking at a Department of Defense event for Islamic History Month (and possibly had the event cancelled altogether?) despite the fact that the Imam is a reputable man, not an extremist.  McVety’s rhetoric:

“Was the Delic invitation facilitated by associates of the Canadian Islamic Congress or other radical Muslim elements operating from within National Defence headquarters itself? Something has gone wrong, and we ask fair-minded Canadians to call upon Prime Minister Stephen Harper to fully investigate this serious security failure.”

Charles McVety has very vocally opposed a sex education curriculum and anti-bullying education because kids might have to acknowledge the existence of gay people and be taught that they deserve respect.

He has opposed granting human rights to transsexual and transgender people using a fictional argument about washroom predators to scare people and shout down the idea of allowing trans people to work, live and access services without fear of marginalization or violence just because of who they are.

By the way, the secret trans agenda has been exposed: “I’m not afraid of these beliefs, although it’s not exactly heartwarming to hear those things said about you and people like you. But people are free to believe and say those things. I only ask that those attitudes not be seen as justification for denying me work, access to services, housing or other forms of participation in society. The vehemence of those words, though, underscores that there are people out there who would not think twice about doing exactly that.”

McVety’s Canada Family Action Coalition has a long history of calling for censorship of viewpoints they don’t share, including his demanding that a Canadian adult broadcasting network have its license revoked, in 2008.  These people are not really about free speech, and I’m sure they’d gladly have this blog and half the Internet censored, given half the chance, in order to silence the “homosexual agenda,” the “feminist agenda,” the “liberal / socialist agenda,” and such.  Charles McVety did not fall victim to the “thought police,” Charles McVety is a member of the thought police, who crossed broadcasting standards by grossly and repeatedly lying outright, for which he was reprimanded. For this, his network dropped his show, and was rather hush about it, so that people could draw their own conclusions.

So puhleeeeez, stop making him out to be a martyr for free speech.

And when people like Timothy Bloedow parrot the censorship whining and in the same breath bemoan the fact that a kids’ book was published about having two dads, calling it “explicit” (another right-winger posted the entire thing: you be the judge how “explicit” it is), it becomes obvious that the rest of the Christian Nationalists aren’t a whole lot better about double-standards.

MgS: Charles McVety … Martyr?

The following guest post comes to us from MgS at The Cracked Crystal Ball II:

Last week, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council made public a ruling on a series of complaints about things McVety had said on his program Word.ca.

Predictably, this week, we find him playing the martyr card, instead of taking responsibility for his own actions.

McVety has fired back at the ruling against his TV show, singling out the head of broadcasting council.

“We should not have Mr. Ron Cohen, a bureaucrat, tell me what my opinions can be and what my opinions can’t be,” McVety said.

A statement on the show’s website referred to the broadcasting body as “thought police” that launched “a vicious attack against Word TV,” it said.

“Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees freedom of speech, opinion, press and religion,” the statement continued.

Ummm…no, Mr. McVety, nobody is telling you what your opinions can and cannot be. The issue has more to do with how you present them … somehow, it seems that lies and blatant distortion are seen as a bad thing…

Let’s go take a look at the decision itself:

Errors of Fact: Human Rights Tribunal “Conviction” Rates

In dealing with both the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) and the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC), host McVety has either carelessly or purposefully misled his audience when he referred (in both cases) to the “one hundred per cent conviction rate” of both regulatory bodies. The Panel assumes that the host was, on that basis, attempting to impugn any decision emanating from those tribunals as unfair, biased, distorted and unworthy of the public’s trust. Leaving aside the host’s mistaken (and judgment-laden) use of the words “convict” and “conviction” in this context, whatever his motivation, his allegation of an undisputed, unmarred “conviction” record is incorrect and misleading to Word TV’s viewers.

In the case of Alberta, the decision record of the AHRC was, to pick the three years prior to the December 2009 broadcast, as follows: in 2007, three complaints were upheld and five were dismissed; in 2008, five were upheld and six were dismissed; and in 2009, two were upheld and two were dismissed. In other words, of the 23 Commission/Tribunal decisions in that period, 43% were sustained and 57% were dismissed. This is far from the 100% McVety had posited, and constitutes a serious distortion of the facts.

In the case of Ontario, the decision record of the HRTO is not dissimilar. In 2007, six complaints were upheld and three were dismissed; in 2008, seven were upheld and 27 were dismissed (of these, 21 could be characterized as procedural or jurisdictional dismissals, but they were dismissals nonetheless); in 2009, for reasons unknown to the Panel (likely procedural or administrative), the number of decisions jumped significantly; however, a review of a random block of 78 of these resulted in seven complaints upheld and 71 dismissed. As in the case of the AHRC, this is very far from the 100% McVety had posited, and constitutes an equally serious distortion of the facts.

In short, McVety lied to his viewers – and not just a small lie, but a gross distortion of the facts.

Errors of Fact: The Criminalization of Commentary

The single most egregious and misleading assertion by host McVety was his November 8 assertion that, in his words, “it is now a crime to speak against homosexuality. Yes, I said a crime. Bill C-250 went through our Parliamentary system and made it a crime for anyone to speak against sexual orientation.” That is wrong. All Bill C-250 did was to add to the list of protected categories of identifiable groups in Sec. 318(4) (namely, “any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion or ethnic origin”) and, by reference, Sec. 319(1) and 319(2) of the Criminal Code, the words “or sexual orientation”. In other words, the substance of the Criminal Code provisions dealing with the advocating of genocide and the public incitement of hatred remained unchanged. Moreover, it must be borne in mind that Bill C-250 only renders the genocide and hate provisions consistent with the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, which, nearly ten years before, had read “sexual orientation” into Sec. 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in its decision Egan v. Canada [1995] 2 S.C.R. 513, in which Mr. Justice La Forest stated:

I have no difficulty accepting the appellants’ contention that whether or not sexual orientation is based on biological or physiological factors, which may be a matter of some controversy, it is a deeply personal characteristic that is either unchangeable or changeable only at unacceptable personal costs, and so falls within the ambit of s. 15 protection as being analogous to the enumerated grounds. [Emphasis added.]

In any event, it is not a crime to merely “speak against” homosexuals, or members of any of the other groups identified in Sec. 318(4). Crimes are a serious matter. In order for Sec. 319 to be invoked, an accused must be found to have intended, in making the offending statements, to incite or promote hatred, or must have had knowledge that making the statements would have created a substantial certainty that hatred would be promoted. It cannot be forgotten that, as the Supreme Court said in R. v. Keegstra [1990] 3 S.C.R. 697,

The word “hatred” further reduces the scope of the prohibition. This word, in the context of s. 319(2), must be construed as encompassing only the most severe and deeply felt form of opprobrium. [Emphasis added.]

On the issue of freedom of expression itself, the Court also stated in that decision:

Section 319(2) of the Code does not unduly impair freedom of expression. [...] This section does not suffer from overbreadth or vagueness; rather, the terms of the offence indicate that s. 319(2) possesses definitional limits which act as safeguards to ensure that it will capture only expressive activity which is openly hostile to Parliament’s objective, and will thus attack only the harm at which the prohibition is targeted. [...] [W]hile other non-criminal modes of combating hate propaganda exist, it is eminently reasonable to utilize more than one type of legislative tool in working to prevent the spread of racist expression and its resultant harm. To send out a strong message of condemnation, both reinforcing the values underlying s. 319(2) and deterring the few individuals who would harm target group members and the larger community by communicating hate propaganda, will occasionally require use of the criminal law. [Emphasis added.]

It is the view of the Panel that the host’s statement that “it is now a crime to speak against homosexuality” is factually incorrect and misleading to the audience. It is a gross distortion of the serious reason for the creation of a protection in the criminal law in order to give effect to the Parliamentary goal of prohibiting the incitement of hatred against identifiable groups. Any broadcaster may disagree with the adoption of such a criminal remedy by the Government, but, once adopted, no broadcaster ought to distort its meaning or effect. It would be correct to assert that “it is now a crime to incite hatred against homosexuals” (in the circumscribed conditions of the Section); it is not correct to assert that “it is now a crime to speak against homosexuality.”

Yet another point where McVety has lied to his audience. My, we’re doing well here, aren’t we?

Let’s move along to how McVety chose to portray the proposed changes to Ontario’s Sex Education curriculum.

Mis-characterizations: What the Curriculum Teaches Children

The host is, as noted above, entirely free to disagree with the proposed Government curriculum changes favouring openness and diversity. That would be fair enough, but apparently not far enough to suit him. He has characterized the school issue in the following way on the January 17 program: “All of these sexual practices to be taught to our children in our schools. When we send little Johnny and little Jane to school, [it’s] not to learn to be homosexuals and lesbians.” He then attributes the curriculum modification proposals to “an activist group”, whose members “have an insatiable appetite for sex, especially with young people.” There is not a shred of evidence offered in support of this clearly excessive characterization of the Government’s motivation and the alleged criminal practices of the proposers of the curriculum changes. On the January 24 episode, he again refers to “this activist, homosexual activist agenda.” Overall, the McVety comments go a considerable step beyond those dealt with by the Prairie Regional Panel in CKRD-AM re Focus on the Family (CBSC Decision 96/97-0155, December 16, 1997). That Panel said:

While Focus on the Family is free to describe the homosexual lifestyle as sinful, as did Life Today with James Robison [see CHCH-TV re Life Today with James Robison (CBSC Decision 95/96-0128, April 30, 1996)], the program under consideration here has gone much further. It has treated support for the movement as “flimsy” and has disparaged that support (see, for example, the dismissal of a study authored by a gay activist with the general statement that “like all gay science, it really has very flimsy foundations”). Moreover, it has attributed to the gay movement a malevolent, insidious and conspiratorial purpose, a so-called “agenda”, which, in the view of the Council, constitutes abusively discriminatory comment on the basis of sexual orientation, contrary to the provisions of Clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics.

In sum, the Panel finds that the characterization of the revised curriculum as one designed to teach homosexuality is utterly wrong. The proposed curricular revisions are intended to teach tolerance. McVety is entitled to disagree that such teaching of tolerance should be tolerated but his twisting of the purpose of the revisions is wrong-headed, unfair and improper.

Hmmm…let’s see, twisting things and distorting the facts. Last I checked, that’s yet another form of lie – and no better than any other lie.

Perhaps we should look at the nature of his characterizations of Gay Pride parades …

Mis-characterizations: Gay Pride Parades

The Panel notes that the Gay Pride events, including the parades associated with Pride Week, have become quite mainstream. This hardly means that homosexual activities are, or need be, everyone’s cup of tea. Once again, the Panel has no difficulty with the broadcast of a critical position regarding the funding of LGBT events, but the constant accusation of “sexual perversion” levelled at the parades, the labelling of the parades as “sex parades”, and the argument that advertising for Pride events promotes sex with children (and specifically “there’s boy, young boys and young girls and you can do whatever you want with them”) and “underage people” are disparaging and unacceptable. The latter is another important recurring implication, if not an outright accusation in the dialogue between host McVety and his guest Brian Rushfeldt, namely, that gays prey on young boys and girls, on “underage people”. McVety may not like homosexuality. That is his entitlement, but to leave the totally unsubstantiated impression that gay and lesbian adults have a predilection toward young, underage people is insidious and unacceptable.

In all, the Panel finds the McVety mis-characterizations as excessive, inappropriate, disparaging, and abusive and consequently in breach of the Human Rights Clauses of both Codes, as well as Clauses 6 and 8 of the CAB Code of Ethics. It also considers that, given the central role that the manifestation of gay pride plays in the LGBT world, the immediately preceding comments constitute a derision of the traditions and practices of that community, and hence a contravention of Clauses 6 and 3 of the Equitable Portrayal Code.

My goodness, yet another lie perpetrated by misrepresenting the facts and distorting things.

I’m positive that Mr. McVety must have done all these things in error. Surely a man of the cloth such as he couldn’t have forgotten what Scripture has to say about lying?

Exodus 20:16 “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

Leviticus 6:2 “If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour;” … 6:6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest:
6:7 And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.

I’m just guessing here, but I don’t imagine Mr. McVety sacrificed a ram for each of the shows in question…

Proverbs 12:22 “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.”

Proverbs 13:5 “A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.”

Now, Mr. McVety, before you go running off at the mouth about the evilness of others, I suggest you take a long hard look at what your oh-so-precious scripture says about what you’re about to say when you sit in judgment over others.

For the rest of the population, you might want to think twice before taking anything McVety says about Bill C-389 seriously.

Link to original post at The Cracked Crystal Ball II

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