In 2011 Quebec filmmaker Dominic Poliquin made a spoof of a Heritage Minute ad that featured a gay Mountie proposing to his partner in the Armed Forces. Now he’s released another celebrating marriage equality, this time showing the story of a lesbian couple:
“Koinonia” is a Greek word meaning “communion by intimate participation” and it has important meaning to Christianity as it was used in the New Testament to describe the relationships between early Christians.
I first learned the word through my upbringing in the United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant denomination. The ideals of the United Church are generally liberal and inclusive, with policies developed from the bottom-up by congregations and regional organizations rather than central leadership. These aspects meshed well with my family’s liberal politics and my early feminist consciousness.
Through church and my parents, I learned that Jesus loves all God’s children, regardless of gender, race, class, nationality, or sexual orientation. I learned that one should be forgiving but also stand up for the oppressed, that someone’s faith and good deeds matter more than the size of their bank account. I learned that we should not judge others for their sins unless we ourselves our blameless.
These are all things I believe today, part of what I see as the philosophy of Jesus Christ, lessons worth promoting even though I now consider myself an atheist.
It wasn’t until I got to university that I began to understand that Koinonia can be political and that discovery led me to leave the church and ultimately Christianity.
Where I got hung up was the loving thine enemy part. Read more
Gender Focus welcomes guest contributor Bianca. Bianca is a Calgary blogger who loves to write. She is interested in knowledge – especially trying to understand our world in a rational way. She is currently exploring the work of biologist Jeremy Griffith, who is addressing these deeper questions and it’s explaining a lot to her! You can read a review here.
A person’s teenage years are a time of evolution. You go through a lot of changes as a result of your human nature – both emotional and physical ones. It isn’t an easy process for any person to go through. However, I had an especially difficult time because not only was I a teenager growing up in Calgary, I was a lesbian.
Calgary was probably one of the worst cities to grow up as a lesbian. Now the situation has drastically changed and Canadian society has become far more accepting, but when I was in high school I felt very alone and angry at the world. I had known I was a lesbian ever since I was twelve years old. Around that time a lot of my friends began dating, had their first kiss, and so on. I kept trying to be interested in the male qualities women were supposed to be attracted to – tall, dark, and handsome, that sort of thing, but I always found my female friends to be far more appealing in terms of their looks as well as the emotional connection it was possible to develop with a woman.
I finally gave up the charade and admitted to myself that I was a lesbian. That was the difficult part. However, the uncomfortable part was telling my family. That is why I waited three years to break the news. They were complete, by-the-book Christians, which didn’t make them the ideal audience. I thought when I told them they would be angry, but it was the complete opposite. I almost wish they were angry. They tried to reason with me, convince me that I was just confused, that what I was feeling was against human nature. I tried to counter their argument by saying that homosexuality occurs everywhere in human nature as well as the natural world. I mean, ¾ of giraffes have homosexual relationships and male penguins have been known to mate for life! This was to no avail. Read more
This is the third part in my anti-racist feminist analysis of Canada’s Heritage Minutes ads. Click here for Part I or Part II.
While not all Canadian kids of the 80s and 90s can tell remember the name of the guy who screened new designs for Canada’s flag, or the one who made the woman smell burnt toast when he poked her brain, most of us remember at least something from the Heritage Minutes, as indicated by this video:
Heritage Minutes have become the subject of acting impressions, high school history classes, and even drinking games. And they’ve provided great source material for political satirists and other artists looking to comment on Canadian culture and identity. Here are a few of my favourite take-offs that define “A Part of Our Heritage” in creative new ways: