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All posts tagged with: Homoculture

Higher education supports nondiscrimination protection for transgender individuals

Eric Gouvin, Dean at the Western New England University School of Law

While much work has been done in the United States over the years, including the landmark ruling of the Supreme Court this past June on marriage equality, there is still a long ways to go. Transgender rights and equality has been the theme of many organizations throughout 2015. Pending legislation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would expand nondiscrimination protection for transgender individuals in business and other facilities that are open to the public.

“The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been a pioneer in protecting and advancing the civil rights of LGBT people and this legislation affirms the state’s commitment to treat all of its citizens with equal dignity and respect,” said Eric Gouvin, Dean at the Western New England University School of Law.

On Friday, November 6, 2015, the Western New England University School of Law faculty voted unanimously in favor of a resolution of support for pending legislation, noting such exclusion has no place in higher education.

“The Law School strives to provide an inclusive educational environment for all our students,” said Professor Jennifer Levi. “We support statewide efforts to ensure that all public accommodations throughout the Commonwealth are open and accessible to all – including transgender residents.”

Advocates are pressing the state legislature to address the pending legislation, known as S.735 and H.1577, before it breaks for the holidays on November 19. Massachusetts nondiscrimination laws already protect transgender residents in other areas of state law, including areas such employment, public education, credit, and housing. No express law protects transgender patrons in restaurants and other places of public accommodation.

Other organizations in higher education have also expressed public support for pending legislation, including:

  • Boston College Lambda Law Students Association
  • Harvard Gender and Sexuality Caucus
  • Harvard Transgender Task Force
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design
  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design​ Student Government Association
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Northeastern University
  • Public Higher Education Network Of Massachusetts
  • Simmons College
  • Tufts University
  • UMass Dartmouth Center for Women, Gender & Sexuality

Award-winning documentary ‘South Beach on Heels’ now available

South Beach on HeelsDrag queens and transgendered individuals are a quintessential part of the gay community. South Beach on Heels, a multi-award-winning film, is a full-length documentary that chronicles the lives of these beautiful queens as they entertain in vibrant clubs of South Beach, Florida.

South Beach on Heels is directed by Dmitry Zhitov and has been touring the film festival circuit over the past year, racking up an astounding 12 awards from around the world, after debuting at the 2014 Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

“’South Beach On Heels’ follows the onstage, backstage and offstage lives of eight hard working drag and trans entertainers,” says Zhitov. “My film explores the fascinating and amazing people behind the make-up, jewels and wigs. Through the film, moviegoers learn what it takes to stay tough as nails in an industry built on big hair, big dreams and illusion.”

While the film is about drag queens and the transgendered community, it portrays the hope, tolerance, courage, and acceptance in the LGBT community.

“The diversity of the characters in the film mirrors the diversity of the drag and trans communities we encounter in our everyday lives,” said Zhitov.

The full-length feature of South Beach on Heels, is $3.99USD for 48-hour access or $12.99USD for the complete download.


Jessica Sutta puts on epic performance at Matinee Las Vegas 2015


Jessica Sutta Matinee Las Vegas 2015

Matinee Las Vegas got underway on Friday, May 22 with the opening party, Klubberdome, featuring the hit American singer, songwriter, dancer and actress, Jessica Sutta. Jessica’s performance was, in a word, epic!

Jessica Sutta Matinee Las Vegas 2015

The recent release of a number of chart-hitting songs including Again and Bottle Bitch, have helped Jessica Sutta further her reposition as an incredible pop and dance solo artist. Jessica Sutta is best known for being one of the original five members of the Pussy Cat Dolls, which put her on the track to stardom.

Jessica Sutta Matinee Las Vegas 2015

Jessica Sutta performed her hit new single, Let It Be Love, along with Show MeGonna Get U, and Bottle Bitch. Jessica Sutta is currently working on a new album, Feline Resurrection, which will feature her latest songs. The new album is due out this fall, to which she has been passionately creating music that is all about love and respect.

Jessica Sutta Matinee Las Vegas 2015

Sutta goes on in her commitment to the LGBT community through the changes by bringing on a brand new team, which includes a choreographer, creative director, stylist, vocalist, and many dancers, from the LGBT community. Most notably, her latest video shoot features drag queens, transgendered, and gay individuals, creating an epic all-inclusive performance! Sutta reports she anticipates releasing her newest album at the end of summer.

Jessica Sutta Matinee Las Vegas 2015

For years, Jessica Sutta has been a strong and loyal supporter of the LGBT community. She is genuine and authentic in her passion, dedication, and commitment to supporting LGBT rights and equality. Her unwavering support has helped boost her reputation, solo career, and appearances at LGBT events.

Jessica Sutta Matinee Las Vegas 2015

If you missed Jessica Sutta’s incredible performance at Matinee Las Vegas, you can catch her this summer at Chicago Pride.

Celebrate same-sex weddings with the perfect card [Contest]

Same-sex wedding cardSummer wedding season is just about in full swing, as brides and grooms get ready for their big day. It’s been a decade since Canada officially and legally recognized same-sex marriage until the Civil Union Act, on July 20, 2005. And the United States could soon follow suit soon, in what is expected to be a historic year with the Supreme Court about to make a decision on same-sex marriage that will impact the entire nation.

Many businesses struggle with understanding the LGBT market. They do not understand that same-sex couples do not conform to the hetrosexual norms, especially when it comes to same-sex weddings.


Related stories: 


An easy example of this is something as simple as buying a wedding card. Very few retailers carry cards for gay or lesbian marriages. It’s a huge frustration for those looking to celebrate an important date with their friends, families, chosen families, and loved ones.

Same-sex wedding cardPapyrus, a specialty store featuring personalized stationary, cards, wrap and gifts, has listened to the needs of the market and offers an assortment of cards to celebrate same-sex weddings. They offer a beautiful line-up of cards featuring same-sex grooms and brides.

With over 160 stores in Canada and the United States, Papyrus has recently opened its newest store at Yonge Eglinton Centre in Toronto.

“We are so thrilled to expand the brand Papyrus to Toronto yet again,” said Dominique Schurman, CEO of Schuman Retail Group. “With this new store at Yonge Eglinton Centre, and 20 throughout Canada, we continue to innovate the card and gift giving experience here and across the country.”

The new Toronto store marks the seventh Papyrus store in the greater Toronto area (GTA). There are three Papyrus locations in metro Vancouver, and you can shop 24/7 through the Papyrus online store from anywhere in Canada or the United States.


Enter now for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Papyrus. To enter, leave a comment on this post on why same sex marriage is important to you.

For a bonus entry, tweet the following:

I want to win a $50 GC to @papyrus_online from @br_webb so I can get the perfect same-sex wedding card. http://bit.ly/1IVI00W #WinPapyrus 

Contest closes at 5:00pm PST, Wednesday, May 20, 2015. One random drawn winner will be announced on this blog post on or before Friday, May 22, 2015. Read the complete contest rules.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

This contest is now closed.

Congratulations Michael Anthony, you are the lucky winner of a $50 Papyrus gift card.

Thank you to everyone who entered by sharing on Facebook, twitter, and subscribing to HomoCulture.ca. Please keep watching for more contests coming soon.

Landmark year for same-sex marriages

Canada celebrates 10 years of same-sex marriage rights in 2015

In 2005, Canada legalized same-sex marriageThis year marks a decade since Canada celebrated victory. On July 20, 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world, and first country outside of Europe, to legalize same-sex marriage. Canada has long been a pioneer in equality rights, dating back to The Constitution of 1981 (The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms), legal benefits for cohabitating same-sex couple in 1999, and provinces that began to recognize same-sex marriage as early as 2003. When Canada enacted the Civil Marriage Act, under Prime Minster Paul Martin’s Liberal minority government, it brought an overwhelming change to LGBT culture in Canada.

The United States, a world-leader on so many fronts, has struggled to bring marriage equality to their nation. It’s been a long journey, with an end in sight. On June 26, 2013, gay rights activists and proponents celebrated as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMO), was struck down. Today, same-sex marriage is legal and recognized by the Federal Government in 36 states and the District of Columbia. More than 70% of the American population lives in a jurisdiction where it is same-sex marriage is legal and recognized. Now, the United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments and will make a decision, on behalf of the entire country, whether a state may refuse to license same-sex marriages or to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. A ruling is expected to be delivered in June 2015.

Related stories:


Leann Rimes closes out White Party with spectacular show

Leann Rimes performing at White Party Palm Springs 2015

As the blazing hot sun of the day tucked quietly behind Mount San Jacinto, and the moon began to rise, so did the excitement of thousands of people who converged on the festival grounds in Palm Springs for the White Party T-Dance. After three solid days they had been waiting in anticipation for this much anticipated live performance. Leann Rimes!

Leann Rimes performing at White Party Palm Springs 2015

The two-time Grammy award winning and multi-platinum recording artist burst onto stage, dressed in a white blouse, pants and heels, ready to give the crowd a spectacular show they had been waiting all weekend for.

Leann Rimes performing at White Party Palm Springs 2015

Leann Rimes performed a number of her hit songs including, And It Feels Like. The sea of shirtless men couldn’t get enough of the songstress, who belted out song after song. The crowd sang along, without skipping a single word or beat. They loved every minute of it!

Leann Rimes performing at White Party Palm Springs 2015

It’s not coincidence why Leann Rimes performed at White Party Palm Springs. No stranger to supporting the LGBT community, in December 2010, Leann Rimes performed her hit song, The Rose with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles in honour of the LGBT teenages who had taken their lives in 2010.

Leann Rimes performing at White Party Palm Springs 2015

Later, in 2011, Leann Rimes wrote, “I believe in equality for everyone. I believer everyone should have the right to love and commit to whomever they want. […] All I know is that in God’s eyes we are all the same. I just wish we could see through the eyes of God more often.”

Leann Rimes performing at White Party Palm Springs 2015

As the show ended, the sky erupted with fireworks, said to have been a bigger display than the annual 4th of July show Palm Springs residents are used to. It was sensational ending to a fantastic concert.

Leann Rimes performing at White Party Palm Springs 2015

Over 30,000 people attended the three-day long weekend, confirming White Party Palm Springs really is the biggest gay circuit party in the world. The 27th annual event is said to return April 22-25, 2016.

Related Posts: 

The funny, horrible and (possibly) true stories of setlife

SetlifeMany gay men find themselves drawn into wanting to work in the exiting industries of fashion, film and entertainment. As it’s clearly portrayed on reality TV shows, it can be a tough, cutthroat world, where only the strongest survive. Openly gay Canadian fashion stylist and writer, Christopher Massardo, knows first hand and he’s written about it in his new novel, The funny, horrible, and (possibly) true stories of setlife.

The novel is a compilation of over a dozen short stories based on Christopher’s experiences in the fashion and entertainment industries, all told in a humorous and comedic style.

“These short stories are from some of my experiences on set,” said gay Canadian writer and publisher, Christopher Massardo. “This includes situations that others in the LGBT community can relate to.”

Christopher’s stories include how reputations can be smeared and tainted, being dumped over the phone while at work, and co-workers who push the boundaries of sexual harassment at work. These short stories will either have you laughing or crying.

As a fashion stylist, Christopher Massardo has been featured in Dolce Vita, Z!NK, Supplementaire, IDOL and Papercut. He is the owner of PRESS the fashion magazine.

Christopher’s new book, The funny, horrible, and (possibly), true stories of setlife, is currently available for pre-orders digitally on Kindle/Amazon for Kindle users, on Indigo/Chapters and Kobo, which was released on May 1. The paperback edition is due in select stores on May 15 in Canada. The print edition is also currently available for pre-order via Amazon (Canada, USA, Japan, Germany, UK & France) and Bokus (Sweden).

Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic

Stole Key West Cocktail Classic a

Stoli Group USA LLC Key West Cocktail ClassicAre you the best LGBT bartender in North America? If you are, then you need to enter the Stoli Key West Classic. Over the past two months, Stoli has been travelling across North America in their search for the best LGBT bartender. Could it be you?

The Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic is the largest LGBT bartending competition in North America. There are regional competitions held across North America where bartenders compete to be named the best in their region, and go on to compete for the top prize at the finale in Key West, Florida.

Contenders for the regional competition must be 21 years or older and represent at local LGBT bar, restaurant or other accredited entertainment venue. Competitors are invited to showcase their skill and present their most original Stoli cocktail creations.

Winners of the regional challenge will receive an all-expense paid trip to Key West, Florida, June 10-14, to compete in the grand finale. The finale competition will be judged by fashion designer, Andrew Christian, and TV celebrity Jai Rodriguez. The top competitor in the finale will take home $5,000 for their local charity, a Stoli bartending kit, and the opportunity to ride in the Key West 2015 pride parade as honorary celebrity grand marshall.

While the regional competitions are already underway, there are still a number of cities left including Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco.

What are you waiting for? Register today to compete or make plans with friends to watch the competition.

BONUS: If you’re in Vancouver, HomoCulture’s very own, Brian Webb, will be one of the judges!

Organizations rally urging Gilead Sciences to expedite Truvada as PrEP in Canada

Gilead Science Truvada at PrEP in Canada

Yesterday, in what could be a game changer in bringing Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to Canada, gay men’s health and HIV/AIDS organizations across the country called on Gilead Sciences to apply to Health Canada for use of Truvada as PrEP. It is the first time that so many of these organizations have come together in support of PrEP in Canada.

Signed by the Board of Directors of the Health Initiative for Men, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and endorsed by other major organizations, the letter called on Gilead Sciences to make an immediate application and includes an online petition to sign.

Canada is far behind the USA, the UK, and other nations in moving towards adopting PrEP as an essential strategy to halt the HIV epidemic. In addition to signing the petition, consider writing to your Member of Parliament to have Health Canada speed the process so needless infections don’t occur. Also, if you are outside of Quebec, consider writing to your provincial legislator to include Truvada as PrEP in the provincial drug plan formulary – something Quebec has already done.

Only by uniting as a community will gay men in Canada start to see an end to a virus that has plagued the community for over 30 years.

8 things gay men need to start doing, immediately

Miami Winter Party 2015


There are many things that gay men need to stop doing, but instead of focusing on the negative, and perhaps the things we either can’t change, or are out of our control, it’s time to embrace the things we can do to make our lives a whole lot better. These are just a few of the things gay men need to start doing, immediately, to be healthier, more realistic, and to help build a better community.

  1. Be yourself. No matter what other people say, always stick to your ethics and morals. Never bend because of peer pressure. Be authentic, real, and true to you. Surround yourself with people and things that boost your self-confidence. You deserve it!
  2. Dress appropriately. As the years go by, you wardrobe should be saying bye-bye. While no one expects you to have a closet full of the latest and most expensive fashions, you should be dressing appropriately for your age, and your body type.
  3. Accept everyone. The LGBT community has be begging for equality rights for decades, and as those rights are slowly being granted, we are our own worst enemy of discrimination and racism within the gay community. Way too many gay men judge against each other because of their culture, skin colour, ethnic background, religion, clothing style, or other ridiculous reasons. We’re a diverse and colourful community; embrace it!
  4. Meet Mr. Right Now. Clearly holding out for Mr. Right hasn’t been working, so instead of waiting for your prince to come along, ask a few guys you already know, or guys you think maybe aren’t quite your type, out on a date. You’ll be surprised. At the least, you’ll make some new connections and get to know more about the other guys in your community.
  5. Quit slut shaming. Some people are more sexually active and have more sexual partners than you. There’s nothing wrong with that. For some people, sex is sacred, and for others, it’s pleasure. Each person has their own comfort level and express their sexuality in their own way.
  6. Get tested regularly. Knowing your status is incredibly important. Even if you don’t have a lot of sexual partners, or if you think you are in a monogamous relationship, you still need to protect yourself and stay on top of it. Partners cheat. You can’t look at someone and tell if they are HIV positive detectable. Your partner might not have been recently tested. Condoms aren’t always used.
  7. Put your phone away. If you’re out at a club, restaurant, or coffee shop, instead of staring at your phone, enjoy some real face time with real people. Put your phone on DND and into your pocket and try have a undistracted social experience, either with friends, or meeting new people. You’ll be amazed. It’ll be like experiencing the world pre-mobile. You’ll love it! #OldSchool
  8. Clean up your act. It’s time to put away the drugs and stop smoking. Both are completely unhealthy and turn-offs for most guys. Instead, get together with a hand-crafted cocktail or a nice bottle of wine. You’ll be a lot more classier.

What other ideas do you have that gay men need to start doing immediately, to improve themselves and the LGBT community. Leave your answers in the comment box below.

Gay Rights Champion Hillary Clinton Running for US President

One of the strongest global and American advocates for LGBT rights around the world launched her second campaign for the White House. Former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State and new grandmother Hillary Clinton announced her intention to seek the highest office in the United States through a YouTube video that now seen more than two million hits.

Her video was marked by a diverse group of Americans including an African American couple, Hispanic individuals, and even a lesbian and gay couple.   The video aims to show a different side of Clinton who has been in the public eye for more than two decades. She stated “I am getting ready to do something too” and goes on to say that she’s getting ready to run for president.

Clinton suggests that Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times but that the  deck is still stacked for those at the top.   The gay rights champion argues that Americans need a advocate and she wants to that cheerleader.  She’s hitting the road this week heading to Iowa and New Hempire to win the votes of Democratic voters throughout the country.   The Clinton that the world sees today is transformed from the woman in the 2008 presidential election.  She knows her weaknesses and strengths and perhaps most importantly she’s a confident in who she is as a public figure.   Opponents may argue her policies but her standing as a global leader is solid.

Voters throughout the United States of America have a chance to elect a fighter who will fight for their issues, including equal rights for LGBT Americans.  While much progress has been made under President Obama, there remains much work to be done yet.   The Clinton campaign can count a San Francisco gay group “I’d bottom for Hilary” in their pocket.  The “Bottom for Hillary” group suggests that they are a powerful group of people who are willing to bottom for Hillary.  “She is a bad ass bitch.  She is the head bitch in charge.  She is the Ma’dammmmnn President”.

hilaryclinton2I’d bottom for Hillary

It should be intriguing to watch as the 2016 presidential race unfolds.  HomoCulture hopes that all citizens in the US will take time to reflect upon who will fight for equal rights for all as promised by their constitutional documents.

We are curious what you think about Clinton – do you support her for her commitment to gay rights?  Why or why not?  Will she become the first woman president?  Let us know your comments on Twitter by using the hashtags #homoculture and #hilary2016.

Indiana Enacts Legal Discrimination Against LGBT Customers

“No person in America should be afraid to walk down the street holding the hand of the person they love,” said US Barack Obama.   President Obama has arguably been one of the greatest allies in American history for the advancement of the rights of the LGBT community in the United States.    While the US purports to be a champion of the rights of the vulnerable and those who need freedom, every American still does not have the right to marry the person they love.    Laws still exist in the country that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.   Laws that give employers the right to fire LGBT people, laws that give the right for landlords to evict on the basis of sexuality and now America still passes new laws to find new ways to discriminate.   Here are a highlight of a two events this past week that show that the battle for equality is still active in the United States.

First of all, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed legislation into law that would allow businesses to discriminate against gay customers in the name of religious freedom.   Perhaps Indiana legislators and Governor Pence forgot the meaning of the word freedom but allowing a group of people to discriminate against another group of people is not freedom.   If a business owner disagrees with one of their customers being gay then practice this belief in private.   Every citizen has the right to freedom of speech but they do not have the right to hate or the right to discriminate.   Many Conservatives throughout the United States are on the wrong side of history.   Celebrities including George Takei and CEOs across the country have been calling for a boycott of this state since this law was signed into law by Governor Pence.  Seattle and San Francisco Mayors have cancelled all public travel to the state as a stand against this discriminatory law.




Secondly, Arkansas presently considering a similar law that would restrict cities from creating their own localized protections for the gay community.    The Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said of the Senate vote that passed this bill, “this bill is poison pill for jobs and investment in the state of Arkansas, and Governor Hutchinson has a duty to veto it”.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest LGBT civil rights group in the United States and leading the charge for equal rights for every American citizen.   The United States has an opportunity seize this opportunity to show the world that they are truly leaders in the fight for human rights and freedom, not just in word but in action too.   Please support the Human Rights Campaign as they fight for equality for all.


Words can barely describe the utter disgust that many have felt by these laws and other actions recently but do not be discouraged but have hope.    Take your frustration and support organizations like the Human Rights Campaign.   Take your anger and show the world the love.

We are reminded everyday by the raw evil and tragic situations everyday but let your reaction to the fight for equality be one of love.

What is with this drag queen thing?

Alberta drag queen Carmen Dioxide

Drag queens are an integral part of every gay community. They play an important role, as gay rights advocates, entertainers, role-models, and influencers. If you have never been to a drag show, or if you’re only been to a few and don’t understand what it’s all about, you’re about to unlock the secrets to these incredible people!

“For me, drag is a performance art, no different than acting, singing, or getting on a stage to perform any other form of art,” said Alberta drag queen and competitor in the upcoming Alberta’s Next Drag Superstar, MacKenzie Royce, who goes by the drag name, Carmon Dioxide. “It combines makeup artistry, fashion, comedy, and acting all in one crazy character that I have created: Carmen Dioxide. She’s quirky, she’s ditsy, and she can drink you under the table any day!”

Drag means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some view it as an extension of their personality; others, as an opportunity for fundraising; even still, some pursue it as an actual career.

With the explosion of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and perhaps more importantly, the coming forth of many community queens, many people have picked up this unique art form and done some insanely creative things with it.

Carmen Dioxide 2

“I think each drag queen brings something different to the stage, and whatever it is, it’s truly wonderful,” said Carmen Dioxide. “With all of these things being said I also think that it is important to differentiate between people who perform in drag, gender-fluid individuals, and trans individuals for several different reasons.”

“If we group people who are trans and people who perform in drag into one group, it gives people the idea that trans people are only dressing up for entertainment and attention,” said Carmen Dioxide. “This is not that case. Trans people have a truly individual lived experience in which their gender identity just not match the sex they were assigned at birth. It is not a choice. Performing in drag is.”

Furthermore, there is a widely held stereotype of guys who perform in drag, that this means that you want to be a woman. This is not the case. Drag performers are artists. They are creative and push the boundaries of what people call art every time they get up on stage.

“It takes time, money, and a great deal of courage to go out into the world with a wig, a pair of heels, and a pound of makeup on your face,” stated Carmen Dioxide point-blankly.

“By grouping people who are gender fluid and people who perform in drag together, we do a similar thing: we negate the individual and subjective experience of the gender fluid individuals in society who do not necessarily define themselves by gender,” explains Carmen Dioxide. “Instead they feel comfortable expressing themselves as both men and women, without a thought. Again, not a choice. In the same way that trans people deserve to be respected, understood, and accepted, so too do those who are gender fluid.

Essentially by grouping all of these unique people together it underminea the value of their personal, social, and all other categories of their identity.

“I am a male and I have always felt that way,” explains Carmen Dioxide. “I perform in drag for entertainment and to help my community raise money for some amazing causes. It’s not because I feel I am actually a different gender, nor is it a sexual fetish. It’s simply something I do. I feel comfortable dressing up like a woman, because I don’t think it is embarrassing to be a woman. I don’t see going to a drag show or performing in a drag show as any different than going to see a play or acting in a play – and neither should you.

Ultimately, no mater how an individual identifies with him or herself, each and every one of us deserve the respect that you would give any other individual in the world. is here to experience. But never, assume or pass judgment on someone for who they are or what they do simply because you did not take the time to ask the question.

BC Premier Christy Clark will not follow Alberta’s lead on gay-straight alliances

Christy Clark Pink Shirt DayBC Premier Christy Clark has proven once again that her commitment to helping to advance the rights of the LGBT community in her province has only been talk, not action.

Many in the gay community have been patiently waiting for her to fulfill her promises from her leadership campaign to be an advocate for the LGBT.   Many believed her but unfortunately her commitments haven’t been met with action.

Some LGBT leaders would argue that she has, in fact, done more against gay rights in BC than half of the actually anti-gay groups.

Her comments made to a BC radio station on Wednesday, March 11 did not help with changing this perception.

Clark said that BC will not follow Alberta’s lead in requesting schools to sanction gay-straight alliances between students to protect them from bullying and abuse.

These alliances are well-known to help foster understanding and more respect within school environments for students who are LGBT.

While Premier Clark suggested that BC’s anti-bullying program already has a strong stand against bullying on the basis of sexual identity, Clark suggested that BC does not need to do anything more.

“We’re trying to find a balance that way here in British Columbia and I would argue we lead the world in that in looking to create safe schools where there’s a real climate of inclusion for all kids, “said the BC Premier.

While the Premier and the BC Education Minister Peter Fassbender appear unwilling to do anything more to create safer schools for LGBT student, there remains a reality of bullying and struggle for gay and lesbian students.

New Democrat MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert said that BC should go farther and implement the Alberta plan to create gay-straight alliances.

Chandra-Herbert has been a long advocate for protections in BC law for transgender peole throughout the province.

While the Premier may think that there needs to be no further action to protect gay students, a Vancouver teen’s online post this week showcases that challenges still exists for these students.

This young student online post shared his pain after telling his parents he is gay has gone viral on Wednesday. The fifteen-year-old is getting support from around the world after sharing his dad’s reaction to news he is gay.

The messages are hurtful, and have been shared thousands of times from his Tumblr page. “You embarrass me. I’m going to puke.This is worst than death.”

This young man needs to be supported and needs to know that he can go to school and feel safe.

It’s time for the Premier to put aside politics and marketing campaigns and take real action.

Conversation of ideas, matter – The LGBT+ Pedagogy paradox

The paradox of LGBT+ Pedagogy

Within the LGBT community, ideas matter. The LGBT community is the most diverse cultural grouping in the world, consisting of every religious, ethnic, and gender identity. In other words, LGBT people exist in every part of the world and depending on their lived experience, are unique.

You don’t have to go very far in the LGBT community to walk through a minefield of words and labels.  The word Queer has divergent opinions, sometimes seen as being politically correct, only to be challenged by someone as being right, wrong, good or bad. It isn’t unusual for gay elders to view the word queer as offensive, while many youth have embraced it. It is often difficult to build common understanding when our community at times uses words and labels as badges of honor or shields to shame.

There appears to be an invisible hierarchy of marginalization within the LGBT community, based on gender, ethnicity, religion and class. We would benefit by working together to address the root cause issues and challenges together, rather than working against each other.

For example, hosting a conference for the LGBT+ community can be difficult because words hold so much weight that is difficult to navigate the political correctness, yet there are so many conversations that could bring amazing ideas together. The era of AIDS brought the LGBT community together, caring for each other, and it was the first time where the men and women’s community came together. We have done this before.

Conversations with each other are a great starting place when we don’t understand the other person’s perspective. Whether it’s the use of pronouns to describe gender, the correct terminology for who is gay, whether the sequence of our acronyms are LGBT + or GLBT+, this list is endless.

Here is the paradox; words are socially constructed based on each humans lived experience and they are all equally valuable. However, our individual stories are what build our common understandings of each other, not words or labels. Next time you read something that provokes you, try having a conversation about it, and you may be pleasantly surprised how much you have in common.

Lets build on the stories and focus on the things that we have in common, like freedom to love, marriage, protest, adopt children, have access to LGBT+ sensitive health care, seniors care and the list goes on. Lets listen to each other and in turn will elevate us all up.

“You are not listening, unless you are willing to change your mind” ~ Guy Nasmyth

Gay-straight alliances – safety over ideology

Mayor Naheed Nenshi

While the United States continues to battle for equal rights throughout all of their 50 states, the most conservative province in Canada, Alberta, is in the middle of a battle to protect gay-straight alliances (GSA) in their schools.   These clubs provides a chance for LGBT students in schools to gather in a safe place with a teacher sponsor and straight classmates.   It is well known that suicide rates among gay and lesbian teenagers are much higher than their straight counterparts however, GSAs provide a much needed safe space.

The fall of 2014 saw two different bills before the Alberta Legislative Assembly that aimed to protect the rights of youth to form school clubs. To the relief of many throughout the province the Alberta Premier Jim Prentice put a pause to the debate in order to allow for more public consultation.   Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi characterized the debate as “damaging” and “hateful”. Mayor Nenshi was critical of this debate in the provincial legislative assembly as it’s about saving the lives of young students throughout the province.   He said that he believed that this debate reinforced negative stereotypes of Alberta and his city. The 2 term Mayor suggested that these clubs were about the safety of students.

While the consultations are being undertaken at this time, Pride Calgary called upon the provincial government on Thursday to protect GSAs in all Alberta schools. “They make a tangible difference in the lives of a group of young people who are at heightened risk for suicide,” said Pride Calgary President Stephen Wright.

Wright’s group is encouraging political leaders, media leaders and everyone in the province to purchase a t-shirts from Pride Calgary to show their support for these youth. All proceeds from every t-shirt sold will help fund the expansion of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network through the Calgary Sexual Health Centre.

Often individuals from outside of Alberta believe that Alberta is a conservative province in Canada that isn’t accepting when the reality is the opposite.   Wright concluded that “it’s important to remember we’re equal and valuable, no matter who we love”.

Political leaders everywhere must never forget that arguing over social ideologies is not going to save the life of a teen who is yearning to be accepted.   Perhaps the social discourse in Alberta and throughout North America can be focused on how we ensure every single young people knows that they are valued and they do matter.

Las Vegas – Wedding Capital of the World

The view of the Las Vegas strip from the Stratosphere Hotel

Las Vegas is known as the wedding captain of the world. Vegas is expected to become the hot spot for same sex marriages in the United States. As the United States approaches the Supreme Court decision in June, Vegas should expect an increasing number of marriages and fabulous bacholar parties in the city. While New Oreleans remains a popular spot for straight couples, Vegas is an increasing hot spot for gay couples.

The wedding chapel in the Stratosphere HotelVegas is full of hot gay nightclubs, cheap luxury hotel rooms, exceptionally good food and cocktails, sexy pool parties, plus a range of fabulously over the top things to do in the city.   Weddings are always a celebration of two people and their love with all of those who they care deeply about. Consider Las Vegas as a fantastic location for a meaningful celebration of gay couples love and commitment to one another.

The wedding chapel at the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas

One of the most popular gay marriage chapels in the Sin City is the Stratosphere Hotel that promises breathtaking views of the the Las Vegas strip and the entire valley. The Chapel in the Clouds is one of the highest wedding venues in Vegas, located 1,149 feet high above the Vegas. The hotel promises to have you floating in the air while you say your wedding vows.

Catered dinners in the private dining rooms with spectacular views in the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas

The Stratosphere has private dining areas, with, as you would expect in Las Vegas, an amazing assortment of top-quality food and full-service bars. You can even head up to the rooftop to see if you are brave enough to go on some of the rides that will launch and dangle you from the highest points in Las Vegas.

The rides on top of the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas If marriage rights are granted to all Americans in June by the US Supreme Court then Vegas will arguementably be the hottest city in the world for gay weddings and bacholar parties.

Lets go have a fabulous time together in the city that never sleeps.

Alabama court decides to delay overturn of gay marriage ban

Congresswomen Patricia Todd

The wheels of history continue throughout the United States of America.   While the 2016 presidential cycle begins to rapidly ramp up, the road towards marriage equality for all Americans is also moving forward.

Despite the LGBT community rejoices in the presidential declaration last week that marriage is a civil right for all Americans, the fight continues.   The state of Alabama began the process to appeal the overturning of the state’s ban on same sex marriage.  As a Canadian and I have access to all the rights I’d ever want and even enjoyed the right to marry for more than a decade now. I am utterly frustrated that the United States has yet to fully live up to its passion for freedom and liberty for all. The state has requested a delay on the 11th circuit ruling until the US Supreme Court rules in late June on the legality of marriage rights for all.

Two women in Anniston, Alabama went forward to the county courthouse trying to obtain a marriage license but Probate Judge Alice Martin said they were refused.

Meanwhile two men attempted to marry in Jefferson Country in Birmingham but were also denied. State Congresswomen Patricia Todd said on Facebook over the weekend that she will not stand by and allow legislators to talk about “family values” when they have affairs. Go Rep. Todd! While this fight for rights continues, so does the fight for many to publicly come out and be who they truly are.

A recent TED talk by Morgana Bailey courageously talks about why her silence for 16 years has personal, professional and societal impacts.   Bailey discusses in front of a crowd of her coworkers what it meant to hide who she was and fear the judgment of others.

The goal of the gay rights movement is to see all those within the LGBT community be treated equally in every country, every community and every neighborhood.   While much progress has been seen in recent decades, the genuine fight for this goal around the world still rages on.   The fight can seem daunting but think today about how you can spread more kindness and more love is this world then go from there.

Be an “Ellen” wherever you are!

7 Reasons to Volunteer in the LGBT Community


When most people think of volunteering, their visions may include soup line-ups, political organizing, sporting events, road-side trash programs and church or community events. While these are true and real ways to volunteer, there are many other areas where the gay community needs your help. Most LGBT communities are built on the foundations of non-profits. Whether it is for LGBT health, social services, housing, food programs, community outreach, and queer film festivals, there is a non-profit within an arms reach you could volunteer for.

Some stereotypes particularly about gay men being wealthy and having disposable incomes, affect our own communities perceptions of realty when it comes to poverty. Many in our LGBT community live below the poverty line and access food banks. Other people volunteer for organizations that work with LGBT refugees. In a world of competing interests, here are 7 reasons to volunteer for the LGBT community.

  1. It feels good and it is sexy
  2. You meet great people with shared values
  3. It keeps reality in check and reminds us of our blessings
  4. It’s a great way to show employers that you give back and you care
  5. Expertise is needed on boards and on committees to keep our community strong
  6. Not for profit organizations are one of the back bones of our LGBT community
  7. It creates legacies of caring for each other and models the way

Many people like the idea of volunteering but don’t know where to start. It can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider what things you care about, whether it is poverty, healthcare access, anti-bullying campaigns, seniors or youth programs. There will be a relevant non-profit in your community you can volunteer for. Most have applications and it’s helpful to get clear about why you care in advance and how much time and the types of services you can offer. The most important pieces to volunteering is getting clear about what can you commit to and then following through. The rest just makes you feel great.

5 ways to give back to the LGBT community in 2015

Ways to give back to the GLBT community in 2015

It is quite easy to get overwhelmed in everyday life, that sometimes we overlook ways to give back to the LGBT community and charity in general. In fact, there are so many world events that can make a person shutter. There are times when you have to wonder if there are any ways to make a difference and add to a more peaceful world and gain fulfillment in your life at the same time. The answer is yes.

Margaret Mead said it best, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Due to our hectic lives, not everyone can give time for volunteering, or some cannot afford to donate but here are 5 easy ways to give back in 2015 that you can incorporate into your life.

  1. Volunteering your time to a local not-for-profit
  2. Donate money to organizations that are aligned with your values
  3. Offer your experience in areas where you can offer special expertise and knowledge
  4. Participate in non-profit focus groups or workshops
  5. Attend LGBT fundraising events

Giving is living and provides significant strength to the LGBT community with strong organizations. Whether they are organizations that support LGBT youth, seniors, refugees, health initiatives, social services, housing, etc., our strength is measured by how we care for the most vulnerable in our LGBT communities. In 2015, please think of making a contribution in one of the five ways to give back. Its that simple.

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