Galvanizing Canadians

Galvanize 1. b: to stimulate or excite as if by an electric shock

-(merriam-webster)

Photo by palindrome6996

News out of Canada today still lacks in-depth information and examination, but so far what is coming out is that a same sex couple who got married back in 2005, while trying to get a divorce, were told by the Canadian government that their marriage had never been legal. The British-American couple was shocked at this revelation, and according to the Toronto Star (newspaper) the same applies to thousands of other same sex marriages between non-Canadians that have taken place in Canada since 2004.

If you remember back to 2004, it was the height of same-sex marriage phobia in the United States, and the re-election of George W. Bush.  Americans, as well as people from all over the world who could manage it, went to Canada where the country had embraced its role as a nation where same sex marriages could be legally performed and recognized. The government even used this image, as they do to this day, as part of their promotion of  Canada as a world leader in human rights.  The reports that have surfaced this week indicate that government lawyers are now arguing in court that if same sex marriages aren’t legal in the home country of those getting married, then the marriage isn’t legal in Canada either.

In the coming days the government as well as the lawyers may change their story. The prime minister, unsurprisingly, claims ignorance as to any change in government policy.  But regardless of what elected officials, lawyers or the media say, this development should be enough to galvanize Canadians who value human rights and equal treatment. The spark that reawakens a movement that has, perhaps, fallen asleep to what seemed like mission accomplished.  Suddenly betraying thousands of couples should be an electric shock that sweeps representatives out of office, and embarrasses lawyers and others into resignation and generally speaking – the social wilderness. This is the time to take something horrible and turn it into a rally cry to demand justice, a real, lasting justice that cannot be undone.

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Terrorizing Gay Iraqi’s

My good friend John of Americablog has been in Paris for the last few weeks and sent me a message today. The message contained excerpts from this article in the Guardian which tells about religious extremists in Iraq who troll gay websites and chat rooms seeking to identify gay Iraqi’s, track them down, and then torture or murder them.  They do this in the name of religion, citing the usual claims related to god and religious rules as justification for butchering men and women in ways that words cannot describe.

In his message John asked me if, among my many friends in the hacker community across the world, I might know some who could help expose these murderers who use computer skills to find their prey.  Although I do know many skilled individuals, I didn’t have a good answer for him. Is it possible that in a world where such a barberic group of killers exist, there might also be a group dedicated to human rights and the belief that none of us should ever be hunted for who we are, who could combat their activities?  Part of me thinks it is too TV, too Hollywood, that in the real world of post-Saddam Iraq, it is not possible to stop such horror.

Yet outside of the idea of stopping a group seeking to identify gay Iraqi’s, couldn’t those of us concerned with this issue help in other ways? The most basic – making sure there is information, readily available and being passed around any place where gay Iraqi’s could find it, on how to keep their identities safe.  On how to be vigilant for someone who is pretending to be something they are not. Although it might seem like common sense to some of us, it still seems to me one step we can take towards stopping fundamentalist monsters from committing atrocities.

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Respect to Stonewall

On June 28th 1969 NYC police raided the Stonewall Inn. That night police arrested and beat numerous people, especially transgendered and gender non-conformist people. Outraged and tired of the oppression, people from the community gathered outside the Inn while the people inside tried to barricade themselves, and eventually a fire broke out.

But that’s just my summary of an event I wasn’t alive to experience. With this post I encourage you to reflect on, remember, or perhaps learn about the Stonewall Riots, if you haven’t already. Naturally I also wish to show my solidarity with LGBT friends throughout the world, who to this day have still not had many of their rights recognized and respected, as humans and citizens. The struggle continues and I hope very much that like those brave people at Stonewall, and well before Stonewall and long after, I too can help advance the cause of equality and justice, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.

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Being Pride Month

This is pride month and I realize I’m yet to do anything related to LGBT rights and focus on related situations worldwide. Actually I’m surprised to not yet have heard reports of violent and disgusting attacks on participants at Gay Pride festivals throughout Eastern Europe. Seems as though every year I’ll catch images of Moscow police beating gay citizens for carrying signs or participating in nonviolent demonstrations. Or I’ll read the reports from Romania of marchers being beaten, or the banning of pride celebrations in Poland. No, this year I haven’t been talking about the issue all that much, but the month isn’t over yet – so I will.

But to perhaps begin to talk about some of the pride events taking place in the world, and yes, to have a laugh as well, I wanted to recommend the great and potentially insane Tim Can’t Reid’s latest video entry where he recounts his experience at Gay Pride in Spokane, Washington. I’ve never been to Tim’s corner of the US, but it is almost like being there just by listening to Tim and watching the images.

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