FFFF: Olympics Already a Bit Gay

Funny Feminist Friday Film square logoThe Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion takes aim at homophobia in Russia by pointing out the Olympics have already been a little bit gay.

If you liked that and want one easy thing to do to support their campaign, check out the CIDI’s Facebook page.

There is no voice-over, only music accompanying this video, so no transcript required.

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in FFFF, LGBT Leave a comment

We Need to Address Violence Against Bisexual People

Bisexual pride flag

Bisexual pride flag

by Lola Davidson

Trigger Warning: biphobia, biphobic violence, intimate partner violence

According to the CDC, almost 75% of bisexual women have been victims of sexual and/or domestic violence. This number includes rape, molestation and stalking. 81% of those bisexual women (61% of total bisexual women) have experienced violence from an intimate partner.

This makes bisexual women the number one target of sexual and domestic violence in the world, followed by bisexual men (47.4%), then lesbian women, heterosexual women, gay men and heterosexual men. The study doesn’t specify whether trans folk were included in the identities, but I’m assuming statistically they had to have been in some way.

As a bisexual woman, these numbers are very scary to me but also painfully believable.

I wanted to explore the issue further, so I made a post on my blog explaining what I was doing and asking fellow bisexual people to share their stories. The response I got was unbelievable. I found myself reading through their responses for days; it was a very emotional experience.

Bisexuals of different ages, genders, races and classes told me about how they’ve been beaten, punched, had bricks thrown at them, disowned, stalked, raped, harassed, mentally and verbally abused – there was even one person who shared with me a story about how their neighbor came to their house and beat them repeatedly to “cure”  their bisexuality.

The attackers mentioned where both heterosexual and homosexual. The interesting thing is that almost all these survivors said they felt that the people in their lives would have been okay with their orientation if they were either gay or straight but they weren’t okay with them being bisexual because they needed “to pick one or the other”. Read more

Posted on by Lola Davidson in LGBT Leave a comment

All Out Says Living Your Olympic Dream Shouldn’t Mean Living a Lie

Screen cap from "Love Always Wins" PSAby Jarrah Hodge

All Out is trying to mobilize people worldwide to push for a repeal of Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” laws ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics. Their #LoveAlwaysWins campaign kicks off with this ad that imagines what Sochi could be like for a lesbian or gay athlete.

If you’re interested in more about what went into the creation of this ad, All Out also has a behind-the-scenes video with interviews with the actors and creators. You can also sign All Out’s petition urging Putin and Russian politicians to repeal anti-gay laws.

Transcript (after the jump): Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in LGBT 2 Comments

FFFF: Putin Puttin Out

Funny Feminist Friday Film square logo

Naomi, Marc and Natasha came up with this music video that suggests Russia’s Vladimir Putin might be protesting too much about gay people:

Transcript in Russian and English available at the video’s YouTube page (For Russian, view the “About” tab. For English, turn on captions).

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in FFFF, LGBT Leave a comment

Pope Francis Dodges Binarism and Raises Questions for All

Photo of Pope Francis in white vestments from March 2013by Jessica Mason McFadden

Let’s talk Pope for a few minutes. The figurehead’s been in the news lately, and has, I guess you could say, a fairly big circle of influence. Clearly, it’s time that we, as feminists, weigh in respectfully and thoughtfully with whatever we’ve got. I’ll begin:

When I heard the news that He had spoken of the homos, I knew very well that I would be able to divine meaning from his words. The way that I heard about it, however, still gives me a chuckle. I was in a graduate-level Religious Studies class, of all places! At the start of class, a classmate who studies broadcasting asked if any of us would like to speak about Pope Francis’ comments for his campus news opinion segment. Immediately, I wanted to speak, but there was only one problem: I didn’t know anything about what the Pope had said.

Right away, I asked what he had said and the room was filled with an incoherent mess about Pope Francis’ remarks on homosexuality, about him not wanting to comment, about him saying that homosexuality is a sin but you can be forgiven if you don’t commit homosexual acts. I felt lost in a papal abyss of homoerotic ambiguity.

We pulled up an article and I got a general idea, but still felt uninformed.  Nevertheless, I formulated a statement, suggesting that if we’re confused about what the Pope meant that we ask him directly what he meant. I also threw in a line about encouraging the Pope to allow women to serve as members of the clergy, after which I went blank from camera fright.

When I returned to my seat, I regretted that I did not go up with my fingers in peace signs and croon, “Sineaaaaaad” in my best Bill & Ted voice. I also regretted that I had not responded to my classmate’s question by discussing the fact that there are many, many, mannnnny homosexuals already in the church, since his question implied that homosexuals somehow exist entirely outside of it. The priesthood, in my bold but gently-intended opinion, is a largely homoerotic institution. The fact that we can speak about homosexuality as if it is outside of the church is by far the most baffling aspect of this whole is-this-or-is-this-not-controversy exchange.

Clergy aside, apparently there is still some confusion about where Pope Francis stands on contemporary political issues, but much of that has to do with our collective desire for concretes to fight, either for or against.

Thanks to his interview with Rev. Antonio Spadaro, we have a few more clues. According to my decoding, when it comes to homosexuality, Pope Francis puts the person first. Essentially, he doesn’t exactly say what the church should say to homosexuals. Instead, he poses more questions. Sure, it may be a moment of rhetorical deflection, but I like to think he’s offering a wise and high-minded response.

In not answering the question in terms of judgment, he sets an excellent example for anyone. In other words, by not condemning, he offers acceptance. He also offers depersonalized wisdom, saying, “it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.” Read more

Posted on by Jessica Mason McFadden in Feminism, LGBT Leave a comment

A Closer Look at REAL Women of Canada

Photo of the Canadian Parliament buildings

Photo of the Canadian Parliament buildings

by Patricia Kmiec

The self-described “pro-family conservative women’s movement” known as REAL Women of Canada has made their way into the headlines once again. This time they have publicly attacked Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird for publicly defending gay rights in Russia and Uganda. REAL women explains that Baird’s position is “offensive” and “undermine[s] other countries’ sovereignty and dignity.”

Of course, the media is attracted to the irony of this conservative group publicly calling out Baird, one of the most recognizable faces of the Conservative government, for “causing collateral damage to his party.” While I often find such public spats over ‘how conservative is too conservative?’ entertaining, there comes a point where we need to look at exactly who is perpetuating these ideas and who is listening.

REAL (Realistic, Equal, Active, for Life) Women of Canada was founded in 1983 and served as an active lobby group that countered efforts of pro-choice feminists to legalize abortion in Canada, and their anti-choice position remains at the centre of their work. They have also actively campaigned against other causes including: legalizing prostitution, expanding access to state-supported childcare, and establishing a Canadian human rights museum.

Though REAL Women claims to represent “women (and men) from all walks of life,” it is clear that their outdated ideas are shared by very few. In fact, they make no mention of their membership numbers or who their board members are on their website. Though their Facebook group has 738 members, a quick browse through the comments suggests that many of even those who “like” the group’s page are just there to oppose their regular posts.

So why should we care? It appears that this organization has very few members and is only given any attention when they release a press statement that is simply too absurd to ignore. But should we be ignoring them? I wish it were that easy.

Unfortunately, REAL Women still has sway with the Conservative government. As recently as last year, REAL Women was one of the chosen community organizations invited by the Harper government to recommend Canadians for the Queen’s Jubilee awards, while hundreds of other organizations (including EGALE Canada) were left off the list and unable to put forward nominees for the well-recognized awards.

So what are women (you know, women who actually care about women) to do? I would say make sure that your voice is out there. Regardless of who is telling us that we no longer need feminism and that women have achieved equality in Canada – keep letting people know that you support women’s rights.

Write letters to the editors, post comments online, volunteer for local feminist organizations (or start one!), or contact your local political representative when women’s issues come up, because you can be sure that the women of REAL Women are.

It is true that women’s views span across the board. Certainly women have every right to be anti-choice or disagree with issues like gay marriage – but when an organization like REAL Women continues to lobby the government in favour of discriminatory action on various levels, it is essential that actual real women continue to stand up against them.

Posted on by Patricia Kmiec in Can-Con, Feminism, Politics 2 Comments

“Gay Cure” Now Off the Market: Exodus International Says a Healing Goodbye to an Era of Shame and Trauma

rainbowby Jessica Mason McFadden

The news is out and on repeat, as usual, only this time: it’s personal, the kind that makes you cry in relief and do a dancey-dance at the same time. How often do we feel that what we read is relevant and personal to our lives, our nows? We turn to various journalistic sources for satire, for political affiliation and infuriation, for doses of depression, for a little reality, for a lot of unreality and, sometimes, for good news. Last night I received good news, news that I think is not only good for me but good for you, too, and good for the globe:

Exodus International (EI), a nondenominational Christianity-based “ex-gay” ministry out of Anaheim, dedicated to the suppression and redirection of homosexual desire as well as “rehabilitation” of former homosexuals, has announced that it will close.

More than this, the ministry made a public apology for the irreparable damages it has caused. Founded in 1976, Exodus spread its message and provided its services with over 260 ministries across North America. By 2004, an Exodus Global Alliance had spread into an additional 17 countries.

Why care about Exodus’ change of heart? Because it’s a sign of progress after a thirty-seven-year period of pain – something I know about, personally, because I experienced the effects of Exodus first-hand, nearly ending up as one of the “reformed.” Read more

Posted on by Jessica Mason McFadden in Feminism, LGBT 5 Comments