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Montreal Simon: WorldPride 2014 and the Shadow of the Deathly Con Regime

Well it wasn't the yellow brick road, it was just the rainbow crosswalk in Toronto's gay village.But it did lead to an amazing place. A celebration so big that two million people are expected to attend, and at one point 25 city blocks will have to be closed off.And all I could think was, we have come a long way eh?And so has Canada. Read more »

Montreal Simon: The Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and the Con Bigots

It's International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. A day to remember the millions of LGBT people in the world who are being oppressed, hurt, and even murdered for the "crime" of being who they are.A day to remember that even in Canada, the hatred that kills is still a problem.For how can I forget that it almost killed me? Read more »

Montreal Simon: Britain, Gay Marriage, and the Tragic Legacy of Homophobia

I almost wish Margaret Thatcher was still alive so she could have seen the rainbow flag flying over government buildings in London today.Because her infamous Section 28 anti-gay law, which was similar to the one in Russia today, crushed a generation of young LGBT people.So the sight of those flags and all those happy couples probably would have killed her.Read more »

Montreal Simon: Fred Phelps: Why I’m Celebrating the Death of a Bigot

It seems only right that the day Spring finally arrived, was also the day that Fred Phelps finally departed.Fred Phelps — the founding pastor of a Kansas church known for its virulently anti-gay protests at public events, including military funerals — has died, the church said Thursday.And I must admit that my first reaction was to put on my party tuque, turn up the music, and prepare to kickoff five days of wild celebrations.Because I feel about his death like Christopher Hitchens felt about the death of that other anti-gay bigot Jerry Faldwell.If you gave him an (Read more…)

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Montreal Simon: The Day Rob Ford Was Exposed as a Bestial Bigot

When I went past Toronto's City Hall today I was happy to see the beautiful rainbow flag flying, like it is in so many other Canadian cities from St John's to Vancouver.As a gesture of solidarity with the brutally oppressed LGBT people of Russia.So you can imagine how angry I felt when I learned that the Con hog Rob Ford had tried to take it down. Read more »

Montreal Simon: The Quebec Charter and the Religion that Kills

I think I can safely say that in the icy heart of this Harperland winter, just about the last thing I want to think about, talk about, or write about is the Quebec's Secular Charter.I've written about it before, and no doubt I'll write about it again. But not tonight.Tonight I'll just say I think it's unnecessary, divisive, and will stir up the bigots in this country like hitting a hornet's nest with a stick does to the flying hordes inside it.And although I'm an atheist, and a devoted secularist, I hate bullies of any stripe.And this video (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: A not so progressive inauguration speech

There is a lot of buzz going on, from all sides, that Obama has used his presidential address as some big pivot towards progressivism. The main debate seems to be on whether Obama is just saying some lofty rhetoric, perhaps to try and cement the kind of legacy he hopes for, or whether this is some hint of a change in how he plans to approach policy and politics in his second administration. For the record, even despite the somewhat more aggressive stance of late, I am sadly very much on the former side of that debate. However, both sides seem

. . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: A not so progressive inauguration speech

Progressive Proselytizing: Transphobia is alive and well in Ontario

As a follower of both US and Canadian politics, but a Canadian resident, it is a source of national pride that much of the most abhorrent aspects of the culture wars in the US are, thankfully, absent in Canada. For all our faults, our elections don’t seem to have an over abundance of old conservative white men who can’t quite restrain themselves from talking about “legitimate rape” and the “gift from god” that a rape baby presents. Even our socially conservative Prime Minister has, as a credit to his political savvy if not his ideological tendencies, clamped down on debates over abortion (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Why Boy Scouts of America is allowed to discriminate: Comparing US and Canadian human rights laws

I recently expressed outrage over the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to continue banning members who were LGBT or atheists/agnostics. Ideally, groups like BSoA would be able to figure out for themselves that this homophobic and discriminatory policy is not acceptable. But there is also a legal question as to how it is that such discrimination is even allowed to continue in the United States while it would not be in Canada.

In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that Boy Scouts of America could continue its practice even in states like New Jersey that have specific laws against discrimination based (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Boy Scouts of America’s despicable anti-gay policy and the suffering of LGBT youth

The ever convoluted path towards full LGBT equality took another turn for the worst:

“The Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday said the organization would continue to deny gay people membership, saying that the policy “is in the best interest of Scouting.”

Not to mention its long standing ban on atheists and agnostics. It is hard to know what the appropriate emotional reaction is to a story like this. Anger, disappointment, frustration, powerlessness? I feel all of these. This ban is disgusting, homophobic and unacceptable at every level in a modern society.

This issues strikes close to home (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Obama comes out in support of same sex marriage

Years back, when Barack Obama first told us that his views on gay marriage were “evolving”, I predicted that he would support gay marriage before the next election. That day has now come, and Obama has evolved to join his supposedly progressive base by supporting gay marriage.

Good. For the first time, the President of the United States is now publically in support of gay marriage. However, I am still irritated with Obama on this file, largely because of how incrediably political his move is.

During his presidency, Obama has thrown several bones to his base with things like repealing

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Progressive Proselytizing: On Feminism

I am proud to call myself a feminist. I take it as a first principle needing no further derivation that all people deserve equality of freedom and opportunity, and that it is both morally right and morally obligatory to fight for this in society. Feminism, to me, is simply the subset of this that pertains to women and issues specific to women. I thus don’t consider it a particularly difficult or surprising position to take and feel that anyone who agrees with the above characterization ought to identify as feminists as well.

Surprisingly, not many people self identify as feminists

. . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: On Feminism

Progressive Proselytizing: On unnecessarily codifying specific freedoms such as the freedom of religion

Should there be explicit protection for the freedom of religion in the founding documents of society? This question may at first seem to be an obvious ‘yes’ since almost everyone – including most atheists such as myself – consider it to be abundantly clear that people should have the freedom to believe in and practice whatever religion they like. I would immediately reject any constitution or charter that did not protect such things. The question, however, is whether religious freedoms should be explicitly enumerated and codified in these documents or whether a larger principle of freedom which includes religious freedom

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One Town’s War on Gay Teens | #uspoli #lgbt

One Town’s War on Gay Teens | Politics News | Rolling Stone:

“Asked on a radio program whether the anti-gay agenda of her ilk bore any responsibility for the bullying and suicides, Barb Anderson, co-author of the original “No Homo Promo,” held fast to her principles, blaming pro-gay groups for the tragedies. She explained that such “child corruption” agencies allow “quote-unquote gay kids” to wrongly feel legitimized. “And then these kids are locked into a lifestyle with their choices limited, and many times this can be disastrous to them as they get into the behavior which leads to disease

. . . → Read More: One Town’s War on Gay Teens | #uspoli #lgbt

Progressive Proselytizing: LGBT clubs in Ontario Catholic schools get neutered

After a protracted battle over the issue of whether so called ‘gay-straight clubs’ must be allowed in Catholic schools, many LGBT allies thought a legitimate victory had been attained when Queen’s Park ruled that such groups must be tolerated. Delaying far past the required deadline, an associated Catholic think-tank has sent in its recommendations on how these clubs should be allowed to run.

The suggested name? ‘Respecting Difference’ clubs. Groan. Further, the clubs get saddled with various restrictions that ”they are not to provide personal counseling in a group setting“ nor could they present “activism, protest or advocacy of . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: LGBT clubs in Ontario Catholic schools get neutered

This drama with the Catholic school system reminds me of a Mel Brooks moment

I’m sorry, I just can’t help it sometimes.It’s probably not the most famous or best-remembered scene from Blazing Saddles (and in truth, it’s got a lot of competition), but in light of the Catholic school system’s way of dealing with gay and lesbian st… . . . → Read More: This drama with the Catholic school system reminds me of a Mel Brooks moment

All this Catholic-school business reminds me of a Mel Brooks moment

I’m sorry, I just can’t help it sometimes.It’s probably not the most famous or best-remembered scene from Blazing Saddles (and in truth, it’s got a lot of competition), but in light of the Catholic school system’s way of dealing with gay and lesbian st… . . . → Read More: All this Catholic-school business reminds me of a Mel Brooks moment

Jack Layton’s Funeral, Learning About Jack, The Family Man. A Few Words To Critics,

Jack Layton’s state funeral service couldn’t have been more fitting. Different kinds of music being played, from classical to Quebecois from Martin Deschamps to pop to a gospel rendition of a 60′s Youngbloods’ classic by Julie Michel. The musical selections also represented something Jack Layton strived toward, besides social democracy; diversity. In fact, not . . . → Read More: Jack Layton’s Funeral, Learning About Jack, The Family Man. A Few Words To Critics, . . . → Read More: Jack Layton’s Funeral, Learning About Jack, The Family Man. A Few Words To Critics,

Progressive Proselytizing: Marriage Equality, Obama, Jurisdiction

Which of these sounds like a true leader, a president one can get behind: the man who strongly and emphatically declares what he thinks is morally right and acts accordingly, or the man who tries to make enough small improvements in the right direction… . . . → Read More: Progressive Proselytizing: Marriage Equality, Obama, Jurisdiction