A humble little blog about books, information, and other things that are good to know.

Posts tagged ‘LGBT’

Banned Books with Gay Content

It’s been hectic lately – getting ready to move, plus job-seeking, plus celebrating a milestone birthday with one of my best friends! – but I’ll get back to more regular writing some time soon. In the meantime, check out this list of banned and challenged books (old and new, fiction and non-fiction, written for all age levels) from Huffington Post – all books deemed objectionable by some because they deal with LGBT themes.

Glad Day!

Front alcove of Glad Day Books.

Image via Pride Library at the University of Western Ontario.

I had intended to post a Pride booklist, but there’s something else I want to talk about in this post-Pride blog entry: an experience that made me super-excited about a bookstore for the first time in a good long while.

Oh, I’ve been excited about books at a bookstore, books I have the opportunity to buy or can’t wait to read. But this time, it’s the bookstore worth getting excited about.

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Why Pride?

in honour of Toronto Pride Week 2012

Sticker: "It's okay to be gay."

Image via Yujean Stickers.

I’ve had people ask me before, “Why do gay people get their own parade? Straight people don’t. Why do they have to make such a big thing of it?”

The answer is twofold: because it’s harder to discriminate against somebody you know, and because spirit in the face of oppression needs to be celebrated.

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Catholic Students and Gay-Straight Alliances

Archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Cardinal Collins

Image via National Post.

Today’s episode of Ontario Today on CBC radio featured an interview with Catholic Archbishop Thomas Collins, who argues that anti-bullying legislation giving students the right to form gay-straight alliances infringes on freedom of religion. It’s less than fifteen minutes long and well worth listening to, primarily because of the way Collins deals with the question of Catholic doctrinal objections to homosexuality and whether those are at the root of his objection to GSAs.

Because he doesn’t.

It’s a bit of amusing to listen to him straining so hard to avoid the very blatant question, “Is this really about Catholic teachings on sexuality?” It really obviously is. You can’t complain that gay-straight alliances infringe on Catholic religious freedom without calling attention to the fact that Catholicism is very much against homosexuality. But gosh darn it, he sure does try.

In order to skirt the issue of church teaching on homosexuality, Collins essentially invents a made-up world in which the government forces GSAs on schools that don’t want any, while non-LGBT victims of bullying get ignored in favour of the glamorous gay kids. Then he describes what he finds objectionable about that scenario. He’s right. That’s a horrible way to combat bullying . . . but it’s got nothing to do with what is actually being proposed.

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Savage Attacks

Dan Savage

Photograph by 4Salcia, taken at the University of Western Ontario’s “It Gets Better” presentation.

The media is all in a frenzy about Dan Savage’s recent comments at a journalism conference, where he was speaking about his anti-bullying initiative, The “It Gets Better” Project, and his work as a spokesperson for the LGBT community. The story, in a nutshell: Dan Savage remarked on the parts of Leviticus most Christians ignore (like prohibitions on shellfish and menstrual intercourse), he used some profanity in referencing them, and a bunch of Christians in the audience staged a protest and walked out. Now the right-leaning, anti-gay community is lamenting that Savage is totally fine with bullying, as long as it’s Christians being bullied instead of gays.

“It’s amazing that we go to an anti-bullying speech and one group of students is picked on in particular, with harsh, profane language,” said high-school teacher Rick Tuttle, quoted on socially conservative LifeSite News. Commenters from the same site describe Savage as irrational, aberrant, depraved, fake, mentally ill, morally degenerate, pathetic, psychopathic, and blasphemous.

Now that’s a point that I feel like I need to challenge.

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Romance Novel Readers, It’s A New World!

"His for the Holidays"

Image via Carina Press.

When I posted a link to an article on gay romance novels on my Facebook page, I really expected a more positive response.

Instead, the response I got was somewhere between bored and contemptuous. It’s old news, Salcia, they said. Slash has been around for decades. It’s been on the Internet since the start. There’s the yaoi subculture in Japan, and gay communities have been writing fiction as long as they’ve been around. It’s hardly the first time gay male love stories have been published.

I get that. But I still think the popularity of mainstream romance novels featuring male-on-male love stories is a step in the right direction for a more open vision of human sexuality, and I’m excited about it.

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Slacktivism: What Good Are Silly Facebook Memes?

Change your default Facebook picture to a cartoon from your childhood. The goal? To not see a human face on facebook until Monday the 6th of Dec. Join the fight against child abuse, and invite your friends to do the same.

That’s the latest cause on Facebook, and it’s got traction – not because people think this helps to fight child abuse, I rather suspect, but because we have such fond nostalgic memories of the cartoons we watched as kids. I chose a picture from Rainbow Brite – maybe I’m supporting abused gay children? Hard to say. But it’s been super-fun, and in some cases rather educational, to check out what TV shows others choose to represent themselves online.

My profile picture on Facebook - Rainbow Brite and Friends

Image via TV Tropes.

But are any of us really “joining the fight against child abuse”? Well, not really. I’d wager we’d all be willing to make a statement about how wrong it is – after all, child abuse isn’t one of those things people tend to stick up for. Even abusers would probably speak against it, justifying their own behaviour towards children by saying it’s “discipline” or “tough love”, not “abuse”. And like I said, most people aren’t really making a statement about child abuse. This is a fun Facebook game.

My good friend Drumrider wrote about this back in October, when the Facebook charity causes were breast cancer (through the bra colours meme or “I like it on the floor”) and supporting gay kids against bullying (where we showed our solidarity by wearing purple). In her post, she asks, “Did wearing purple make a difference?” and largely concludes that it did not. She references the Malcolm Gladwell concept of “slacktivism” – a passive kind of activism where Internet users can substitute changing a status here or a profile picture there for actual substantive work towards change. They can then say, “Well, I did my duty, I raised awareness” and go to bed with a clear conscience, even though they’ve actually made no real difference at all.

Have they?

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