Thursday, February 16, 2012
BY MATT MILLS - The Supreme Court in the Indian capital New Delhi is hearing arguments from social conservative groups in that country about recriminalizing gay sex, reports the Times of India.
Sex between men was punishable by up to 10 years in prison in India until 2009, when the courts struck down the law. In the span of just a few months, almost one
sixth of the world’s population, some 1.2 billion people, won more freedom over their own sexualities. In the current case, a coalition of socially conservative groups wants the gay sex law reinstated. As the Times reports, the court asked yesterday for the challengers to define "unnatural sex."
For background, check out some of the work Xtra writers have done on India:
Thousands attend gay pride in India
Indian court decriminalizes gay sex
Legal activist Ponni Arasu on repeal of gay sex law
AIDS Sutra: Untold stories from India
Kaj Hasselriis's Passage to India series is fascinating.
And here's a big list of other stuff from Xtra.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
BY MATT MILLS –In a piece entitled "Bromance Is Blossoming into Bronography," published in Saturday's Globe and Mail, columnist Johanna Schneller identifes what she sees as an emerging trend in US entertainment media: a proliferation of dick jokes.
It's a funny and interesting essay in which the author uses scads of penis analogies and double entendres, enumerates a great list of recent dick-joke examples – very helpful for those readers who want to build dick-joke video libraries of their own – then argues that dick jokes, or jokes about genitalia of any configuration, are simply not that funny. Kind of a head-scratcher, really, if you take it too seriously, but well worth a light read.
Here's an example pointed out by Schneller, with more than 33 million views on YouTube: Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake's collaborative masterpiece, "Dick in a Box."
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
An Ipsos MORI poll out of the UK indicates that Christians in that country have overwhelmingly secular views on gay issues.
From the results:
- Six in 10 respondents (61%) agree that homosexuals should have
the same legal rights in all aspects of their lives as heterosexuals,
and those who disapprove of sexual relations between two adults of the
same sex (29%) are greatly outnumbered by those who do not (46%).
And some interesting results on faith-based education:
- While Christians are more likely to support than oppose
state-funded faith schools, this support is reduced when non-Christian
faiths schools are included. Less than half (45%) support state-funded
faith schools for any religion, whether Christian or non-Christian,
while just over half (53%) are in favour of state-funded schools for any
- Less than a quarter (23%) think religious education in state-funded schools should teach pupils to believe
in a religion: 15% think it should teach pupils to believe in
Christianity and 8% to believe whatever faith the school subscribes to. Most (57%) think state-funded schools should teach knowledge
about the world’s main faiths evenhandedly, without any bias toward
any particular religion, and without trying to inculcate belief.
- More Christians oppose (38%) than support (31%) the teaching of six-day creationism in state-funded school science lessons.
- The current law in England and Wales requiring state schools to
hold a daily act of broadly Christian worship is not strongly supported,
either, with almost as many Christians opposed to it (36%) as in favour
The poll was commissioned by the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
It's as if Christians in the UK are more secure in their spiritual beliefs. If only there were a way to turn the hearts of more Canadian and US Christians in this direction. Check out this video of a talk entitled a Ten-Point Vision of a Secular America by author Sean Faircloth.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
BY DANNY GLENWRIGHT – New leaked WikiLeaks documents have revealed that the United States government is worried about the Catholic Church fomenting homophobia in Poland.
(David Walberg photo)
LifeSite News has reported that the cables, from the US embassy in Warsaw, cite the Church as “central” in the promotion of homophobia in the European country.
“The Catholic Church plays a significant role in the formation and propagation of anti-gay attitudes in Polish society, especially in rural areas,” states one cable from August 2009.
Poland has a population similar to Canada's, and more than 85 percent of citizens are members of the Catholic Church.
This is not the first time the country has been in the news for homophobia; in 2006 then-Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynsky was publicly rebuked by the European Parliament over the Polish government’s homophobic tendencies.
At that time the rightwing League of Polish Families party was part of the government. Members of the party have previously attacked those marching in feminist and queer parades in Poland.
Pride marches were illegal in Poland until 2007, when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that banning parades violates the right to freedom of assembly and association.
Warsaw, the country’s capital, played host to EuroPride in 2010, the first time the event was held in Eastern or Central Europe.
At the time the BBC reported that eggs were hurled at marchers and a petition with more than 50,000 signatures was submitted on behalf of anti-gay organizations calling for the cancellation of the event.
The most recent WikiLeaks dump also revealed that US ambassadors in Sierra Leone have been looking at ways to temper African attitudes toward gays and lesbians.
Check out our video clip from Pride in Warsaw:
For more on Pride in Warsaw, see Courage and joy prevail at EuroPride in Warsaw.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, marks the opening day of Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children and Youth.
Jitters, one of the films showing, is an Icelandic coming-out and coming-of-age story. It’s quite compelling, it's beautifully shot and written, and it's a very sophisticated, adult and modern portrayal of human sexuality.
From the Sprockets page at the TIFF website:
A refreshingly realistic take on teenage life, Jitters follows Icelandic teenager Gabriel on a trip to England, where he has a life-changing encounter with the rebellious and freethinking Marcus. As Gabriel reconnects with his tight-knit circle of friends back home, his confusion about his sexual identity is brought to the fore when tragedy befalls the group, forcing them to re-evaluate their fragile relationships to each other and to their families.
Director Baldvin Zophoniasson, actors Atli Oskar Fjalarson and Birna Run Eiriksdotitr and other members of the Jitters film crew will be in attendance April 7th, 8th and 9th!
Sprockets runs April 5 to 17 at the gorgeous Bell Lightbox, 350 King St W
in Toronto. Jitters runs four times, starting on Thursday, April 7. Check dates and times here.