Tuesday, August 12, 2014

VQFF Has Become Western Canada’s Largest LGBT Arts Festival

Vancouver Queer Film Festival runs
from August 14 to August 24, 2014.

[Vancouver, British Columbia] The Vancouver Queer Film Festival starts this Thursday and runs through Aug. 24. In its 26th season, the event continues expanding its mandate and range further yet again. The nature of what defines queer cinema just becomes more all-encompassing as time goes on. This goes a long way to explaining how what began as a smaller boutique screening series is now Western Canada’s largest queer arts festival featuring all the galas, special events and unique programming you’d expect of a marquee event. “In the early days, almost anything that was made with a queer character or by someone in the queer community might have found a place in the festival because there was limited availability,” says festival programmer Shana Myara. “But now we receive over 800 films for consideration, and bring that down to 40 that we consider the most authentic for our event. Today, that includes cinema from all over the world and from an incredibly diverse number of communities.” Brazilian director Daniel Ribeiro’s The Way He Looks (Hoje Quero Voltar Sozinho) which opens the festival on Thursday is a perfect example of queer stories coming out of markets that previously weren’t producing them. Increasingly, Myara says that some of the best quality storytelling that comes to the programmers come from outside the traditional North American and European markets. “We’re very conscious of bringing voices from around the globe from these really rich filmmaking traditions such as Brazil or Taiwan,” she says. “Last year, we focused on India which corresponded to the 100th anniversary of filmmaking there.”

Read more at The Province

Vancouver Queer Film Festival 
From August 14 to August 24, 2014.
Tickets/Info: Vancouver Queer Film Festival

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gay Canadians Have Yet To Receive Full Legal Equality

[Canada] The Commonwealth Games drew attention to human rights violations against LGBT people in many member nations, but it may surprise you to know that Canada, known for having taken steps forward for LGBT equality, still discriminates against its gay citizens. In Canada, the federal age of consent is 16, for anal intercourse outside of marriage, the age of consent is 18. Canada also criminalises anal intercourse if more than two people are present, unlike other forms of sexual activity where no such restriction applies. The law affects couples both straight and gay, however indirectly discriminates against same-sex couples, as a gay male couple cannot have vaginal sex. Jonathan Cooper, Chief Executive of the Human Dignity Trust, a legal organisation which fights for fundamental human rights around the world, told PinkNews: “It’s extraordinary that a country so committed in principle to equality still maintains on its statute books an unequal age of consent – a law that criminalises gay men. “Canada should be a country we can all look to for global leadership on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality and therefore all its laws must reflect its own Charter of Rights and Constitution, which protects against discrimination and enshrines equality for all citizens. “

Read more at Pink News

The Editor of The Newfoundland Herald Has No Regrets for Printing Anti-Gay Letter

[Newfoundland Labrador, Canada] The Newfoundland Herald publicly apologized to people who were offended by an extreme right-wing opinion piece it published in the letter to the editor section of the magazine last week. In its Aug. 3-9 issue, the Newfoundland Herald published 'The Coming Christian Revolt,' written by American blogger Matt Barber, who took aim at gay marriage and abortion rights. Two letters from people outraged at the publication of the piece were printed in the Aug. 10-16 issue, along with an apology from the Herald's managing editor. Connor James MacNeil, who wrote one of the reaction letters, said the Herald never should have published Barber's letter in the first place. "No publication in Canada (or indeed the world) should be producing such ill-conceived hate speech as to make people with different beliefs and sexual orientation feel socially displaced," said MacNeil in the letter.

Pam Pardy-Ghent published a response letter in the latest issue. She didn't express regret for printing the letter, but she apologized for the hurt it caused. "Many beautiful, wise, wonderful and caring people were hurt and angered by Barber's letter, and the fact that it was published in the Herald. And for that, I'm truly sorry," she said. Pardy-Ghent said the letter posed what she considered a journalistic dilemma about where to draw the line between freedom of speech and censorship.

Read more at CBC

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The Newfoundland Herald Publishes Anti-Gay Letter From Right-Wing Hate Monger

Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Newfoundland Herald Publishes Anti-Gay Letter From Right-Wing Hate Monger

[Newfoundland, Canada] Members of a Newfoundland and Labrador Pride group were so outraged about a two-page anti-gay letter to the editor published by an entertainment magazine in the province, they filed a human rights complaint. In its Aug. 3-9 issue, The Newfoundland Herald published 'The Coming Christian Revolt' in its Letters to the Editor section. The letter is a blog post from author and right-wing American blogger Matt Barber, who published the piece on his own website, barbwire.com, last month. In the letter, Barber took direct aim at a number of topics, including abortion and gay marriage. Western Pride NL member Kyle Curlew, who initiated filing the complaint, said his "jaw dropped" when he first saw the two-page letter.​"I couldn't even believe that it was published in the Herald. It was a rallying call for people to stand against LGBT rights. Essentially, hate propaganda," Curlew told CBC. Curlew said after reading the letter, he decided to take the matter to police. "We filed a human rights complaint under C-46, Section 19, which is 'propaganda and the incitement of hate towards an identifiable group.' So we are hoping to press charges." Chelsea Noel, president of the Grenfell Campus Student Union and a member of Western Pride NL, said the letter was upsetting and people need to take a stand. "There is a lot of anger when you first pick up something like this. Especially for me, towards The Newfoundland Herald. What compelled them to post this type of material? This hate propaganda? It was really shocking. It was really alarming," Noel said. Noel said the magazine showed insightful hate towards the LGBT community.

Read more at CBC

The Editor of The Newfoundland Herald Has No Regrets for Printing Anti-Gay Letter