Archive for November, 2011

Marriage Equality video: Wrapping up everything in 2 mins (beautiful)

An Australian organization Get Up made this marriage equality video which drives the point hard in the most tender way imaginable in just less than 2 mins. Its beautiful and touching.

A must watch

via YouTube

Use and throw: Now its time for humans in the hands of Canadian government

Sayed Shah Sharifi is an Afghan who betrayed his own country and worked as a translator for the Canadian military. He is now a traitor in the eyes of the Taliban, for having worked for foreigners.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has left the decision making in the hands of ‘highly trained civil servants who have decided Mr. Sayed’s life is not in danger if he goes back to his country and hence not eligible for permanent residency in Canada. Moreover, according to Mr. Kenney, these Afghans knew what they were signing up for. They were promised payment for their service and nothing more.

So whatever happens to them now is not the problem of the Canadian government. The Talibans were not defeated and are increasingly gaining power. In such a scenario, Mr. Sharifi is in danger of being hunted down and probably killed by the Taliban insurgents once he goes back to Afghanistan.

There has been proof of death threats and harassment his family has been facing from the insurgents including his father’s report where he informed of Talibans visiting him and warning him that Mr. Sharifi would face their wrath once he returns, for ‘working with infidels.’

As per Toronto Star reports, Mr. Sharifi had reported his Canadian Commanders, Navy Lieutenants Jason Walsh, Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Radimer and Army-Captain Alexander Duncan about threatening phone calls from the Talibans in 2008 and 2009.

The immigration department claimed that his information were inconsistent. As per Mr. Sharifi, he claims he provided the same information everytime. At one point he was told his VISA was approved and waiting his medical and security clearance. He was then scheduled an interview on the 21st of July, which was the final step in the process of getting the VISA.

According to Mr. Sharifi, the Canadians who interviewed him, identified themselves as “immigration intelligence officers”. These officers, as per Mr. Sharifi, asked him weird questions. They told him that they had read Seyed’s article in the newspaper and asked whether he passed the VISA screening on the basis of that. In response to this, he showed these officers 13 recommendation letters and certificates from Canadian officials. They asked him if he was happy that Osama bin Laden was killed.

So what do we have here? An Afghan interpreter’s words against Mr. Kenney’s immigration officers.

Canada is famous for giving refugee status to hundreds and thousands of people across the world on the basis of adversities they face in their own country. But here, this man helped the Canadian troops by putting his life in the line of fire, literally and this courageous act doesn’t warrant a resident permit? Just because there is no more use of him, the Canadian government can just throw him out in the cold?

He could no longer go back to Kandahar, so he moved his family to Kabul to get away from the continuous death threats from the Taliban.

When Mr. Kenney was asked on Wednesday in the House Of Commons whether Mr. Sharifi would get a visa, Mr. Kenney said, “There is a process in place. Sharifi has been given the same access as everyone else who has qualified for the program, and the officials in charge have determined that he does not qualify.”

Mr. Sharifi is still alive which is a good thing but it might not be for long. Before something disastrous happens which could not be reversed, the Harper government should do the right thing and show the world once again how compassionate the country is and grant this brave Afghan a visa which would be a ticket to a life without death threats and a reward for his service and bravery.

info. taken from Toronto Star article

A summery of how the LGBT and LGBT friendly candidates did in the latest US election

Maybe not a Tsunami, but definitely a tidal wave of LGBT and LGBT friendly candidates emerged in the latest election in the United States. Ofcourse there were a few bumps but we can’t get it all in one shot. If this is any indication of how the people of United States preferences are, the Republicans have a lot to worry about in 2012’s presidential election.

I will start with

1) Missoula, Montana: Caitlin Copple, an openly gay candidate was elected as the city-council member. Why is  her victory worth mentioning?? Its because she defeated her incumbent who was one of the two council member to vote against an anti-discrimination ordinance that was proposed back in 2010.

2) Lancing, Michigan: A loss here. Rory Neuner lost to her opponents who were reelected. But its not the end of the world.

3) Largo City, Florida: Michael Smith beats his opponent Mary Gray Black who campaigned against him using his sexuality as a tool. She outed him as gay and thought she would secure her seat on the basis of that. But surprise surprise, when Michael won the Commissioner of the city defeating her by 54% votes.

4) Savannah, Georgia: A bump. Pam Miller, who if elected would have been the 1st openly gay city council member did not happen. Georgia is not new to openly gay council members, but it would have been a 1st for Savannah. Better luck next time Pam.

5) Cincinnati, Ohio: Chris Seelbach was elected among 7 other democrats in the city council. He becomes the 1st openly gay candidate to sit in the council. 4 republicans were ousted.

6) Charlotte, North Carolina: LaWana Mayfield was elected by the people of Charlotte who was an openly gay candidate. This is important because North Carolina is debating Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

7) Indianapolis City-county: Zach Adamson got elected as the 1st openly gay council member and restored democrat’s control on the city.

8) Sunniside Unified school district, Arizona: Probably the most happy and satisfying victory was that of Daniel Hernandez in the school board. A little background on him? He was the gay man who became the hero of the Rep.Giffords shooting incident where he saved her life. And yes, Ms. Gabrielle Giffords is one of the few republicans who is definitely not anti-gay. Good luck young man!

9) District 18, Iowa: This probably turned out to be one of the dramatic voting constituency in the last 24 hrs of election when an anonymous robo-call targeting democrat Liz Mathis for being pro-gay. The call warned Iowa voters about the pro-homosexuality stance the democrats have taken and urged them to call Ms. Mathis and ask which homosexual sex acts she endorses. Speculations are National Organization for Marriage (NOM) was behind it, which obviously vehemently denied by NOM. NOM had spent a lot of money to put a republican in the senate which would have lead the path to over rule the same-sex marriage law  passed by the state supreme court and seek for a constitutional ban on it. But with this win, that dream went down the drain.

10) Virginia: Here is a downer. Republican Patrick Forrest lost against state senator Janet Howell. Yes he was republican and gay. There was nasty campaigning that went on making his sexuality as a tool. What proved fruitful in Iowa, unfortunately didn’t in Virginia. But again, although a gay republican would have been highly welcomed, a democrat is not that bad. She won for the 6th term.

11) Houston, Texas: Annise Parker was reelected the mayor of Houston against a lot of mudslinging from her opponents for her sexual orientation. Congratulations!!!

12) San Francisco, California: The gay mayoral candidate Bevan Dufty lost this election while opposition candidate Ed Lee leads considerably. But all is lost here. Out of the 16 candidates there are lots of pro-LGBT mayoral hopefuls.

13) Holyoke, Massachusetts: Saved the best for last. Holyoak just didn’t choose its first openly gay mayor but also the youngest when the elected 22 years old Alex Morse.

So these were the victories and failures in the election. More to be happy about and for a change I am happy to write this blog. Worth mentioning, there were hardly or no tweet from NOM president Brian Brown all of last evening, which added to my happiness. “evil laugh”.

SSM marriage on TV in New York performed by Conan O’Brien

CONAN OFFICIATES A WEDDING X390 (GRAB) | ADVOCATE.COM

Among all the depressing LGBTQ news that we keep hearing, here is one to liven your spirit and bring a smile to your lips.

On 1 year anniversary episode of his talk show on TBS, Conan O’Brien officiated the same-sex wedding of his costume designer Scott Cronick and his partner David Gorshein in his show in front of the camera.

It was a short and sweet wedding and it didn’t matter that its was funny man Conan who was officiating the wedding, people teared up when the grooms exchanged their vows. There was nothing funny about that.

Here is the video of the wedding for all of you to enjoy.

http://teamcoco.com/video/scott-cronick-david-gorshein-wedding

RAINBOW stickers in business windows… what message do they send?

Everytime I see a rainbow sticker on a business window, I ask myself  ‘why do they have it? What message are they sending out to LGBT  and the straight community?’

The obvious answer is, that particular business is letting people know that it is LGBT friendly. Which is a relief and all LGBT people can go there and shop, eat, drink or enjoy whatever service the business is offering. Pretty straight forward.

Then it struck me, so are we not supposed to do business with those who do not sport an evident sign of being gay friendly? Or if we do, do we have to be in constant fear that they might refuse service to us?

Yes it can happen and it has happened. But most of the time than not, the services asked for, were very LGBT specific like, same-sex wedding related, adoption, bed and breakfast reservation etc. In most of these cases where service has been denied were on the basis of the proprietor’s religious beliefs.

I go to this particular super-market to do my grocery and I see this rainbow sticker stuck on the glass door and pretty noticeable as soon as you walk in. What if they didn’t have it? Can I assume they are not gay friendly? And by saying not gay friendly,  does it mean if they find out I am gay, or if I come with my partner, holding hands walking down the aisles with our trolley,  the authorities will come and ask us to leave? I don’t think so. But if they do, we need to fight that.

Why do we find the need to restrict ourselves to these businesses? In the gay village, do we have posters or stickers saying we are straight friendly? Funnily enough we don’t but that doesn’t stop tons of straights coming to Church Street restaurants and eating, holding hands with their girl friends and even kissing. They don’t feel threatened coming into our ‘territory’ but we do and for good reason. Funniest is when I see rainbow stickers on shops in Church Street. I mean really? You have opened a business in the gay village, can you be anything else but gay friendly?

Seeing a rainbow sticker makes me feel like a handicap. Its same as businesses advertising they are wheel-chair accessible. But being gay is not a handicap, is it? We should be able to go wherever we want without thinking twice.

Before I moved to Toronto, I have never shopped or eaten anywhere which displayed rainbows. And I never even thought it was necessary. It never crossed my mind that I might not be welcomed there. But now after seeing these in so many windows, when I come across one which doesn’t have it, I stop and think before entering. That’s not right. I don’t need special treatment. Imagine every physically handicapped going to shops own by other handicap people because they feel, they would understand each other, they are one of them, coming from the same community of challenged people.

If they ever start feeling that way, it would be sad indeed. It would mean we failed each other as humans. Why would this be any different? Why the need of a gay village? Why huddle up and feel safe within the confines of familiar boundaries? A gay couple might be thrown out of a bar or pub outside the village for kissing, hugging or doing whatever the authorities perceive as inappropriate behaviour. This mainly happens because very few venture outside the gaybourhood. Imagine the hundreds of gays who go drinking every evening in Church Street, for 1 whole month went drinking all over downtown. Would it not have the same effect of Pride Parade, which is to bring awareness to the straight community? How many couples would these businesses throw out. Remember, I am not saying that gays go and be promiscuous, and vulgar and make people around them all embarrassed. Could the incidence of the lesbian couple in Tim Horton‘s be avoided by spreading our wings beyond the gay village and not once but 365 days in a year?

Its worth a shot. We just might come across the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

3 arrests made in relation to Texas Gay man beating

The three attackers Daniel Martin (33), James Lester (31) and Mickey Joe Smith (25) have been arrested in relation to the heinous attack on 26 years old Burke Burnett in Lamar County, Reno, Texas.

The charges are 2nd degree felonies, which is punishable upto 20 years in prison. The Lamar County Sheriff told LGBTQ Nation that a county grand jury will decide if it was a hate crime. Under Texas statute, hate crime prosecution will put the charges to 1st degree felony which is punishable with upto 99 years of prison time.

A detailed report can be found in the LGBTQ Nation’s blog post.

The District Attorney Mr. Gary Young refused to divulge any more information on how the investigation was proceeding.

Texas gay man: Stabbed, beaten and thrown onto a fire

Although I am sick and tired of reporting these hate crimes, I am compelled to do so as this happened in a small town Paris in Reno, Texas. And I am afraid that this heinous crime might get downplayed by the authorities in the very redneck part of United States. If even 5 people read this, thats 5 more people who would know what happened.

Burke Burnett, a 26  year old gay man was stabbed with broken beer-bottles, beaten up and then thrown onto a burning barrel. He was at a straight friends house party. The attackers yelled anti-gay slurs while assaulting him like  “pussy-ass faggot,” “gay bitch” and “cock-sucking punk”.

Mr. Burnett’s girl-friends managed to break-up the fight (if you can call 4 men beating up 1 man a fight) and took him to a hospital while the other party goers just stood there and watched and did not come to help.

Although Mr. Burnett knows all of his attackers and one of them personally, no arrests have been made after one week. Although the investigating officer told Mr. Burnett that this would be classified under hate-crime, there are rumours that the police is planning to downgrade the crime to a misdemeanor as it happened in a party.

For full details and more pics you can check the Dallasvoice.com

As a footnote, Texas is the land of Gov. Rick Perry who is famous for being a homophobe and scarily enough is running for president.

The district attorney‘s number for Lamar County, in Reno, Texas is 1-903-737-2458. Please call and demand a thorough investigation.

Tag Cloud