In a progressive judgement, the Federal Court of Canada has decided that there is an an obligation upon the Refugee Protection Division to specifically discuss why the Applicant, as a homosexual living in a place where it has been demonstrated that homosexuals are harassed, would not be subjected to persecution as she cannot live her sexual orientation openly. Some GLB refugee claims are thrown out because a person cannot prove that they are queer. Here the applicant proved that, and also proved that in her home country queers faced persecution. This is an important case because it says that it is up to the government to show she would be safe returning home, rather than up to her to demonstrate that she would be in danger. C.C.F. v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration),  F.C.J. No. 1346
Sheila Gilhooly has published a fabulous new book, "Mistaken Identity" , stories about her life being (mis)taken for a man. Though cisgendered Sheila is read as male about 70% of the time.
The stories are chilling, hilarious, triumphant.
There will be a launch at Little Sisters - we'll keep you posted. And the book is available for preview - go to Sheila's website
http://sheilagilhooly.wordpress.com, and click at the bottom of the page.
Full disclosure: I am Sheila's partner and wrote the afterword.
According to Julia A. MacMillan, professor of pediatrics and associate dean for graduate medical education at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, every study ever done over the last 30 years confirms that children are healthiest if raised by two loving parents, regardless of gender.
In an article in today's Baltimore Sun, MacMillan notes "Every major children's health and welfare organization, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Child Welfare League of America, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, confirms that gay parents make good parents. The American Medical Association, the nation's largest and most well respected association of physicians, with a membership of more than 200,000, agrees". Studies purporting to show that LBG parents are flawed have been completely debunked for their pseudo-scientific methodologies.
There is currently no research specifically about trans parents.
According to a New York appeals court, it is no longer slander to call someone gay - because there is no longer any stigma to being gay.
Formerly, if someone called a person gay or lesbian, that person could sue for money damages because it was a slur on their reputation.
There are no recent Canadian cases on the topic; but I suspect the result would be the same here if someone tried to sue for being called gay (even if they weren't).
The Nepalese government, responding to pressure from the LBGT community and a court case last year, has announced that citizenship documents will now provide an option to identify as a third gender.
The change was greeted with alacrity in the Nepalese queer communities, according to an online article in IBN Live (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/nepals-gays-lesbians-get-citizenship-status/261025-2.html)
It is interesting that in Nepal, being lesbian gay or bisexual, or being transgendered, are treated together; in North America (except for some First Nations) we treat sexual orientation and gender identity as separate concepts.
And it is interesting that Nepalese queers have argued for another category, as opposed to arguing that gender markers should be removed altogether. In pending human rights cases we are arguing that passports (and any other identity document that includes a photo) should have no gender markers.
What does it mean that Obama has endorsed same sex marriage?
- a political calculation that he will gain more votes than he will lose by taking this position
- one of the only progressive things he can do since he doesn't control the Senate or Congress
- made necessary because Joe Biden said it first
- a genuine stand for the civil rights of same sex partners
- all of the above?
I expect that it is all of the above, and more reasons we don't know.
And does it matter?
Before the same sex marriage fight in Canada, people thought that same sex marriage was just a matter of opinion. After we won the marriage cases, forcing the federal government to amend the Marriage Act to permit same sex marriage, Canadians understand that marriage is a Charter-protected civil right. And that has made a huge difference to the general acceptance of queers in this country.
The right is right: gay marriage does change the nature of marriage, because marriage is not exclusive any more. And that is a good thing. It moves us closer to the day when everyone - whether married, common law, or "single" - can have the social benefits which started out available only to married heterosexuals. Such benefits include everything from pension benefits to preferential tax treatment to 'family' discounts. Fully a quarter of the laws of BC affect one's rights as a member of a couple or a family.
I spoke to some queers in the U.S. yesterday about Obama's announcement, and they said that it has had a galvanizing effect on queers there, who are feeling energized and proud about Obama's statement. All the best to our US queer friends and allies in this fight!
Whatcott went to the University of Calgary to distribute anti-gay leaflets. The University charged him with trespassing. Whatcott argued successfully that the university cannot charge him with trespassing in those circumstances, because his right to distribute anti-gay leaflets is protected by the guarantee of freedom of expression in the Charter of Rights.
For the complete decision: R v Whatcott