An open letter to Albertan parents concerned about GSAs

When I first began volunteering for LGBTQ+ social resources, one of the first rules I learned was to Never tell a dependent youth that they “need” to come out to their parents or guardians. By now, those parents concerned about Alberta’s student run Gay-Straight Alliances (alternatively Queer-Straight Alliances) are likely aware that professionals and volunteers affirming LGBTQ+ youth tend to follow this rule, and now we have a law written by the New Democratic Party setting the same as policy for school administrations. The leadership of both the Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives have gone on record to disagree with this policy, stating that they think students joining the student-run GSA clubs ought to result in a notification for their parents, along with hundreds of other community organizers stepping into the conversation to concur.

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Silver-lining-in-genocide Senator Lynn Beyak strikes again

Apparently not satisfied with the concentration of garbage water that is her existence, Lynn Beyak decided to one-up her prior remarks about calling on the survivors of colonial genocide to seek out the silver lining from their circumstances, by insisting the LGBT Community wouldn’t have to suffer discrimination if only we stuffed ourselves back in the closet.

During a debate over a trans human rights law.

Last week, Beyak, during a debate on C-16, the transgender rights bill, went on a bizarre rant bemoaning that the radicals of the gay movement expect “all of Canada to be their closet.”

I–what? What? I can’t.

She continued to pine for a happier time when folks like her simply didn’t have to acknowledge the uncomfortable truth that gay people exist because they weren’t flaunting their homosexuality in her face.

“By living in quiet dignity, they have never had to face any kind of discrimination or uncomfortable feelings,” she said, without a hint of irony. “I would assert that is how the vast majority of the LGBT community feels.”

“Quiet dignity.” That’s some real good Christian doublespeak you’ve got going there.

Fuck me. When did we start importing neanderthals from Texas? Get this lady all the chairs so she can sit the fuck down.


Parents for Choice in Education: Stop teaching my kids queer & trans people exist

Content Notice: Homo-antagonism and trans-antagonism

Eva Ferguson begins this article in what (I hope) is a barely contained snicker:

A new toolkit for teachers on educating students around gender diversity is being criticized by parent groups who say it doesn’t give families a chance to opt out of conversations they say may not fit their values.

Yes, that’s right, there are “some families” complaining they can’t opt out of fact-based education. If you’re a regular on my blog, you’ll suspect Parents for Choice in Education, a lobby group that gets its jimmies rustled every time more facts worm their way into schools.

Ferguson writes of a guidance document published by the Alberta Teacher’s Association called Toolkit for Safe and Caring Discussions and Sexual and Gender Minorities. It’s exactly what it says on the tin: A series of tips on what a law like Bill 7 or Bill 10 actually means and what substantive changes you can make to your teaching when you need to be accommodating of queer & trans youth. It includes such insidious suggestions as…

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French Roman Catholics still beating a dead horse

We know that thanks to terrorist efforts, nationalist and fascist groups across the West are gaining momentum. We also know from history that nationalists have a tendency to draw arbitrary lines about what makes one a “true” countryman, and that the QUILTBAG community is always outside those lines. In fact the effect is so predictable that I debated investing stock in the baseball bat business, because we all know nationalists just love to beat dead horses.

So it can’t be a coincidence that French Roman Catholics are sensing a resurgency in homo-antagonism and so organized an anti gay-marriage rally despite the fact that the law passed three years ago.

Thousands of opponents of gay marriage took to the streets of Paris on Sunday to defend their vision of family values, hoping to revive the issue in political debates ahead of next year’s presidential election.

About 24,000 people took part in the demonstration, police said, far fewer than the several hundreds of thousands the group “Demo for All” mobilized in 2012 and 2013 in an unexpectedly strong show of opposition from conservatives, especially Roman Catholics.

The Socialist government legalized same-sex marriage, which it called “Marriage for All”, in 2013.

Police said 13 people were arrested after a scuffle at the protest, including six topless women from the activist group Femen. Some of them had words “Hate is not a family value” scrawled on their chests.

Organizers of Sunday’s protest aim to pressure politicians on the right, who face a presidential primary next month, to agree to repeal the law if they are elected president.

The protesters marched through prosperous western sections of Paris, waving French flags and the “Demo for All” movement’s blue and pink colors. Some held signs declaring “All together for the family” and “In 2017, I’ll vote for the family.”

Again, they seldom bother to explain how not shitting on Queer people somehow constitutes an assault on the family. Meanwhile QUILTBAG people wanting to, you know, start a family, still can’t thanks to the abusive Catholic lobby.

Let’s say I really like turkey sandwiches, so I go to a sub store to get a turkey sandwich. What the anti-gay lobbyists are doing is essentially shouting from the spot behind me in line that I shouldn’t be allowed to have a turkey sandwich because they prefer ham sandwiches. That the ham is still there for them to purchase seems to escape them.

I will never understand the rationale for this so-called “family values” rhetoric because they obviously are operating from a very twisted idea of what family is.

Needless to say, fuck off Christofascists. Those of us privy to history know better than to view you as anything but a menace.


Triggering Canadian Nationalists

Content Notice: Defacing the flag, I guess?

Let it never be said that sensitivity and the need for safe spaces is in any way monopolized by minorities or liberals. As it turns out, all you need to do to ‘offend’ a certain brand of Canadian Nationalists is add some colour to a piece of fucking fabric:


I got a rape threat on my Facebook for sharing this. Facebook says said threat “isn’t a community standards violation.”

According to internet trash basket Life Site News, this ‘distortion’ of the Canadian flag ‘disturbed’ the head of the Christian Heritage Party.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared at the Toronto Gay Pride Parade waving a Canadian flag with the vertical red bars replaced by the rainbow stripes of the LGBTQ movement.

“It’s disturbing to see the flag put to such a use,” Rod Taylor, head of the Christian Heritage Party, told LifeSiteNews. “He is showing disrespect for all the Canadians who disagree with him on the gay agenda. He is basically saying, ‘This is the new Canada, so get used to it.’”

Yes, Rod Taylor, that is the message. You can’t institutionalize second class status for (cis) queer citizens. Boo hoo. I’d drink your tears but I think my doctor would advise against it–that much salt is bad for my health.

Life Site News goes on to correctly point out:

Another site,, goes further, stating “the Canadian flag may be a symbol of pride, unity, honour, and sacrifice, but it’s not against the law to disrespect, deface, and destroy it.” In fact, “there are no laws against desecration, such as burning, shredding, stomping, or spitting on it. However objectionable, such acts are protected forms of expression under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Yes, this is the part that reactionaries always forget about their so-called freeze peach: Actual freedom of speech protects citizens criticizing the state, and that criticism can include ‘defacing’ the flag, if we were even to accept that this qualifies as defacing. But perhaps nationalists are too busy arbitrarily drawing lines on “true” Canadians to remember that. They’ll romantically say shit like “people died for that flag!” and then promptly ignore the part where the war the soldier died in was ostensibly to protect our freedoms.

Freedoms like defacing the flag.


Reminder: Sweet Cakes by Melissa wasn’t merely sued for discrimination

They also doxxed the lesbian couple lodging the complaint:

But that was not all the couple suffered.

Laurel Bowman-Cryer filed a complaint in January 2013, but because she filed it online on her smartphone she was not shown the disclaimer informing her that the complaint, including her name and address, would be sent to the individual against whom it was being made. When Aaron Klein received the complaint, he immediately published it on his Facebook page in full, with Laurel’s name and address included.

That’s right, the Kleins doxxed the Bowman-Cryers.

In testimony Tuesday, Rachel Bowman-Cryer said she and her wife received death threats as media attention and criticism from strangers escalated in the months after the story went national in January 2013.

She said the threats were part of a stream of “hateful, hurtful things” that came after the couple’s contact information (home address, phone and email) was posted on Aaron Klein’s personal Facebook page. She said she feared for her life and her wife’s life.

And it’s worse even than that, because the couple had foster children.

Also on Tuesday, Rachel Bowman-Cryer disclosed that she and Laurel felt an even greater level of stress because they were foster parents for two young girls and feared they might lose the children.

She said they spoke to state adoption officials who told them it was the couple’s responsibility to protect the children and keep privileged information confidential, even as their own privacy was threatened by news coverage of the case.

The next time you see someone upset about that nice baker couple Oregon ordered to pay $135,000 to that spiteful thin-skinned lesbian couple, let them know that that nice baker couple doxxed the lesbian couple and very nearly cost them custody of their two children as a result. And then send them a copy of the court’s final ruling.

I signal boost this reminder from Libby over on Patheos because Sweet Cakes by Melissa returned to the news when they announced their closure, blaming the “gay mafia” for their loss of business–despite the fact that bigots raised an extra $300,000 over the damages they lost–all of which they pocketed. It seems that the coverage doesn’t adequately remind its readers that the plaintiffs were doxxed for having the audacity to challenge Christian entitlement.

Regardless, losing all your business sounds like a response from the Free Market. Here I thought Conservatives trusted the Invisible Hand. Or is that only when the Invisible Hand is directed by Invisible Backers?



Some thoughts on coming out

We have a lot of odd ideas about coming out of the closet.

For one, it’s not always clear when we begin being in the closet. Certainly many of the QUILTBAG people I know reported some subtle hints, the tiniest whispers of self awareness, long before they had learned about the concepts of gay or bi or trans. So is it the first time you learn the word, and realize “this is me”? Is it the point at which you identify with the term internally, but don’t necessarily express it? Was I in the closet when, at age six, I asked my daycare worker when it would be my turn to be a girl–only to be told that this was a “silly fantasy”? Was I in the closet at age 14, when I said I was tired of being a boy? Or did I only begin being in the closet between my “eureka!” and my first announcement that I would be transitioning, which would be winter 2013, to the friend who had made me confront the possibility during one of my TERF episodes?

Two: We’re always in the closet. Being QUILTBAG isn’t always visible. When I meet new people, I’ll sometimes get polite smalltalk about whether I’ve met any boys (nevermind that as an adult, I would be dating men), or someone will unknowingly probe into a part of my past prior to my transition, which can make things real awkward real fast. One time, a cis woman who was a new acquaintance at a function had expressed dismay that she forgot her pads and asked to borrow some from me, which probably took me a few extra seconds to parse out as to why I was being asked to begin with (she’s assuming I have a uterus). These things happen because we still tend to assume heterosexuality and cisgender identity, and also tend to erase the broad range of human intersex development in general.

In other words, we never stop being in the closet, because we have to constantly come back out of it to contradict the assumptions every time we meet someone new. Sometimes, if we’re bi+, we have to remind observers that a relationship can be heterosexual-passing but that doesn’t invalidate our polysexuality or result in us no longer being “gay.” (The difficulty in acknowledging what bi+ sexualities actually are is prevalent)

Three: Hardline prejudice against a minority is reduced by knowing a member of said minority. When people in positions of institutional power legislate against the QUILTBAG community, one of the strategies attempted by advocates is to put a face to the concept. It is easy to debate on gender variance or sexual orientation as if it were a theoretical, something abstract–harder (though not impossible) to advocate for its restriction through force or coercion when you are speaking directly to a QUILTBAG person. On the one hand, this produces a moral imperative to be out of the closet, because it results in fewer prejudiced people. …On the other, some of those prejudiced people will be prejudiced either way, and might murder you if they know you’re Queer-spectrum, which certainly punches holes in said moral imperative.

I liken it to a classic exercise in morality & ethics. You pass by a lake and see a drowning child. Are you morally obligated to save the child? The answer is contextual: Weak swimmers would likely only get themselves killed without saving the child, so the moral imperative shifts to finding help. If you happened to have rescue training, and were a strong swimmer, it is much harder to justify ignoring the drowning child. The only calculus considered there should be whether to attempt the rescue yourself or to find help.

It is an apt metaphor for being out. If you’re privileged in other ways, it can be less risky to be out of the closet, just as someone with both strength and training might be able to attempt a rescue. Of course the risk is difficult to quantify, and in general we should allow for any given Queer person to decide for themselves whether to be out. And it is definitely worth emphasizing that the risk-calculus only has to be taken to begin with because of the prejudices against Queer folk. In essence, the closet only exists because cishet folk build it, either through erasure or violence. Although we ought to concern ourselves with children drowning, imagine if there also existed a serial child-thrower who was continuously throwing children into lakes, and we focused all of our energy on the rhetorics surrounding the rescuers and none of our energy on the child-thrower. I think we could all agree that as necessary as the rescues are, there too exists a need to address the root of the problem: In this example, the asshole throwing children into lakes.

I’m all in favour of Queer folk finding empowerment in our coming out narratives. I will, however, still remind my cishet readers that each story is its own risk calculus, and advise that you separate one’s status as out or not from any kind of moral stance. In reality, whether or not one is out is largely a product of their environment, more an indication of dumb luck than anything else.

Above all else, remember this: You are part of that environment.


Johns Hopkins faculty disavow Paul McHugh’s homophobic and transphobic report

Paul McHugh is at least partially responsible for this odious missive titled “Executive Summary on Sexuality and Gender.” The summary in question was picked up by a number of reactionary lobby groups in short order, adding to McHugh’s long history of being one of the selective citations used when attempting to justify homophobia/transphobia as scientific.

What will no doubt be denied by those same reactionary groups is that the faculty at John Hopkins are aware of the report, and in fact they have published what might be missed as a withering condemnation of it:

Science, and particularly the fields of psychiatry and psychology, has made major advances in our understanding of the complex issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. For instance, accumulating data support the concept that gender identity is not strictly a binary phenomenon. And scientific evidence clearly documents that sexual and romantic attractions to people of the same and/or different sexes are normal variations of the diversity of human sexuality.

That is why the recent report, released by one current and one former member of our faculty on the topic of LGBTQ health, is so troubling. The report, “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological and Psychological and Social Sciences,” was not published in the scientific literature, where it would have been subject to rigorous peer review prior to publication. It purports to detail the science of this area, but it falls short of being a comprehensive review.

We wish to make clear that there are many people at Hopkins who hold a profound and long-standing commitment to the health, wellness, well-being, and fair and non-stigmatizing treatment of LGBTQ people and communities. We do not believe that the “Sexuality and Gender” report cited above is a comprehensive portrayal of the current science, and we respectfully disassociate ourselves from its findings.

“We respectfully disassociate ourselves from its findings” is academic-speak, a sort of scathing disagreement, the equivalent of coming upon one’s car and finding the tires have been slashed by your nemesis.

Because reactionary lobbies are well known for their creative work (/extreme sarcasm), we ought to be surprised to see this exact scenario has already played out. Parents for Choice in Education, a reactionary lobby group advocating for the continued special snowflake status of Catholic schooling in Alberta, propped up two doctors from the University of Alberta to grant some kind of scientific credence for their prejudice. The U of A, having caught wind of this, immediately disavowed the two doctors in question. Yet, much like the reactionary groups propping up McHugh, PCE is suspiciously silent on how it continues to justify supporting doctors who have been told by their employer that their opinions are “inadequate,” which–again–is academic-speak for “fucking ridiculous.”

Perhaps that might suggest that scientific accuracy is not, in fact, their main priority?


“No way under heaven,” says Baptist school after being told to respect Queer youth

Two Baptist schools which are financed by public money have decided they are not going to draft a Queer-inclusive policy for their students, despite it being required by Bill 7, Bill 10, and the Education Minister: (emphasis mine)

A Spruce Grove pastor who oversees two Christian private schools has accused Alberta’s education minister of wielding “dictatorial power” on the issue of LGBTQ rights, and says his board has no intention of complying with the government’s new policy.

I have a duty as a pastor to protect the flock of God,” said pastor Brian Coldwell, chair of the Independent Baptist Christian Education Society, which runs two schools in rural Parkland County with a total of 200 students. “And there is no way under heaven I’m going to allow gay activists to come in here and basically undermine our ministries and our religious freedoms or confuse and corrupt our children.”

Okay, so, essentially he’s complaining because the government, which pays his salary, is saying he has to treat Queer students with respect, as mandated by law, because his “flock” needs to be “protected” from “gay activists” who “confuse and corrupt” children. That’s a funny story coming from the same institution that routinely protects pedophiles and brainwashes them into thinking Queer people are broken, perverted, or otherwise dangerous.

Here’s an unsettling revelation: The St. Albert Catholic School Board has in writing that its “guiding policy” for Queer youth is to preach “chastity.”

(6) Imposes no special requirements/additional constraints  Calls students with same-sex attractions to a life of prayer, self-control, and chastity.  Procedure explicitly requires a staff advisor of any student group to impose the “Church’s definition of chastity as a basis for advising students within their work” (Procedure 4.6 & 4.7).  Requires any student group (such as a GSA or QSA) the additional burden to follow the “CCSSA Life Framework” (See Procedure 3 and Appendix 1).

These abusive mother fuckers are receiving my tax money to install god damn fucking conversion therapy-lite in god damn fucking public school. This religious indoctrination is precisely why the suicide rate is so high for Queer youth. And this shit is being taught in publicly funded schools!

David Swann, the leader of the Alberta Liberal Party (yes, they still exist) has also called on David Eggen to not only dismantle antagonistic school boards, but to ban conversion therapy.

“The legislation, supported by every provincial party, and the policies set forth by the government, were created to provide kids with the right to be who they are,” said Swann. “No organization, especially a school, should have the ability to take those rights away.”

“This is precisely the situation where LGBTQ protections are most needed,” Swann said in a statement. “There is an antagonistic school board and a strong bias against the LGBTQ community.”

Swann also called on Eggen to ban the practice of conversion therapy throughout the education system, after Coldwell said Christian counseling would be used to help LGBTQ students.

“This type of ‘therapy’ is widely opposed by experts in psychology, psychiatry and social work,” said Swann. “There is no place for it in Alberta’s schools.”

A petition has been started to lobby for the pulling of these school’s public funding. Please sign it here.

If schools that receive Albertan education funding dollars do not want to follow the law – they should not continue to be funded by the taxpayer, obviously. Tax money is not meant to subsidize spaces that make LGBTQ2+ students unsafe. Every student has a right to attend school in a safespace, Brian Coldwell has repeatedly demonstrated in public he is incapable of providing that – including during a bizarre interview on Ryan Jespersen’s radio show a few weeks ago where he discussed ex-gay “Pray the Gay away” conversion techniques which can cause irreversible psychological damage and amounts to child abuse.

Your signature and signal boosting are hugely appreciated. Call on the NDP to take action instead of grandstanding. I am sick to my stomach just thinking about “Christian counselling” and “chastity” advice.



August 30: Earlier version of this article said the two schools were Catholic. I’ll own up to it–I just assume every time religious dickheads do dickhead things in Alberta, it’s the god damn Catholics. In fairness, St. Albert’s Queer policy is still rancid.

Jason Kenney receives endorsement from another garbage fire

Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney receives another endorsement from a gold star asshat conservative pundit, Sheila Gunn Reid. But this endorsement is a bit… erm, shall we say roundabout?

If you don’t support Jason Kenney’s bid to lead Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives, some of Kenney’s allies might launch gender-based attacks on you.

Just ask former Alberta PC MLA David Quest who expressed concerns about Kenney’s leadership bid on Ezra Levant’s right-wing Rebel Media website last week.

Shortly after, fellow Rebel personality Sheila Gunn Reid took to her YouTube soapbox to tar-and-feather Quest, denouncing him as a Liberal and even taunting the former MLA for losing to a “gender-queer Colombian immigrant” during the last election.

…Sure. Roundabout. 

Basically, David Quest criticized Kenney’s bid for the “Progressive” Conservative leadership, citing Kenney’s history of being the political equivalent of cucumbers pickled in gasoline. So one of Kenney’s biggest fans, suspected garbage fire Sheila Gunn Reid, decided the best way to discredit Quest was by pointing out he lost his election to a, quote, “genderqueer Colombian immigrant.”

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