Author Archives: geoffreyandmika

What matters most is not ‘what’ you are, but ‘who’ you are. ― DaShanne Stokes

 

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The Right Honourable Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau.

 

A general election is scheduled for Canadians on October 21st. The governing Liberal Party with Justin Trudeau as its frontman seeks re-election. I think it likely the Trudeau Liberals will win re-election, and if so, this is bad news for Canadians. Since taking office in 2015, the Liberal government with the prancing popinjay that is Justin Trudeau consistently sowed division among Canadians. The Liberal government promoted its globalist agenda in pitting Canadians against one another via the imposition of identity politics on Canadians. Yes, the Liberals, with Justin Trudeau as their spokesman, pushed the belief that group identity matters more than individuality and the content of character in each of us as individuals. In doing so, the Liberal government instilled division rather than unity among Canadians since taking office in 2015. In 2019, Canadians are set against each other according to superficial differences such as race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation and the like. Not only that but the Liberal government set a standard of political correctness to which not even the sanctimonious Justin Trudeau can adhere. Continue reading

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I am a Canadian. — John Diefenbaker

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“I am a Canadian,” is the opening phrase in a notable quotation from the Right Honourable John Diefenbaker (1895-1979) 13th Prime Minister of Canada serving from June 21, 1957, to April 22, 1963. The entire quote reads as follows:

“I am Canadian, a free Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship God in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, free to choose those who govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” (John Diefenbaker, House of Commons Debates, 1 July 1960)

Yes, John Diefenbaker was a proud Canadian–not only that he was a proud Canadian nationalist. As Prime Minister, Diefenbaker advanced the cause of Canadian nationalism. He envisioned:

One Canada, one Canada, where Canadians will have preserved to them the control of their own economic and political destiny. Sir John A. Macdonald gave his life to this party [Conservative]. He opened the West. He saw Canada from east to west. I see a new Canada – a Canada of the North! (John Diefenbaker, Winnipeg Manitoba, 12 February 1958)

Diefenbaker lived during the first century of Canada’s existence. He witnessed the development by which Canada gained independence from Britain. Until 1931, with the passage of the Statute of Westminster, the British government managed Canada’s international affairs. Diefenbaker saw Canada fight in two world wars and Canadians suffer through the Great Depression. He proudly saw the passage of the Canadian Citizenship Act in 1947. Canadians have much to be proud of in their history.

While Diefenbaker saw all that is good in Canada and being Canadian, he did not overlook the problematic moments in Canadian history. Canadian society was not without issues of unjust discrimination and prejudice. Diefenbaker observed:

From my earliest days, I knew the meaning of discrimination. Many Canadians were virtually second-hand citizens because of their names and racial origin. Indeed, it seemed until the end of World War II that the only first-class Canadians were either of English or French descent. As a youth, l determined to devote myself to assuring that all Canadians, whatever their racial origin, were equal and declared myself to be a sworn enemy of discrimination. (John Diefenbaker, Nowlan Lecture, 6)

Diefenbaker knew of the head tax charged on Chinese immigrants. The head tax, enacted in 1885, remained in effect until 1923. Chinese immigrants to Canada were charged (at its worst) $500 for admission to Canada as landed immigrants. From 1923 to 1947 Chinese immigration to Canada was banned. He knew of the internment of Japanese-Canadians in World War II. He was well aware of the Catholic-Protestant divide in Christendom that existed well into the 20th-century in Canada. I remember my mother telling me that my father had to convert to Roman Catholicism to marry her in 1960. My father’s family is Anglican. It is hard to believe such tribal divisions existed in Canada historically, but it is the reality.

Diefenbaker envisioned Canada as a nation organized according to the values of liberalism and pluralism. In shaping his vision of Canadian society, Diefenbaker was inspired, in part, by the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a Canadian-led effort. John Humphrey, a professor of law at McGill University, became director of the United Nations Division on Human Rights in 1946. Humphrey produced the first draft of the declaration. When Diefenbaker became Prime Minister in 1957, he set out to enact a piece of legislation–following up the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human rights–called the Canadian Bill of Rights. In addressing the historical issues of unjust discrimination and prejudice in Canada’s history, the Canadian Bill of Rights asserts in part:

 It is hereby recognized and declared that in Canada there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex, the following human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,

  • (a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law;

  • (b) the right of the individual to equality before the law and the protection of the law;

  • (c) freedom of religion;

  • (d) freedom of speech;

  • (e) freedom of assembly and association; and

  • (f) freedom of the press.

The Canadian Bill of Rights was superseded by the passage of the Constitution Act in 1982 with the entrenched Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

To his credit, John Diefenbaker laid the groundwork for our national identity as Canadians. Despite what so many people think currently, nationalism is not a dirty word. As I grew up the values of liberalism and pluralism–the proposition on which Canadian identity is built–that John Diefenbaker advocated were instilled in me. I remember the Centennial celebrations in 1967 fondly; the swell of national pride Canadians felt in celebrating Canada’s first 100 years as a nation. I am proudly Canadian. I am not ashamed of my European heritage–my ancestry goes back to the British Isles. In keeping with Diefenbaker’s vision, I view the people with whom I interact as individuals and judge them according to the content of their character. I reject the notion that expressing Canadian nationalism is racist, that it is a declaration of white supremacy. No, Canada is not a “post-national state.” Canadians are well within their rights to stand up for their national interest, and Canadian law guarantees them their right to speak up and do so.

I hope Canadians will not lose sight of the fact that Canada is a great place to live and Canadian citizenship is worth fighting for. Yes, John Diefenbaker got it right when he advanced the cause of Canadian nationalism and Canadians would do well to remember as they face the challenges of life in the 21st-century.

Posted by Geoffrey

 

Sentence first, verdict afterwards. — Lewis Carroll

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Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, poses with Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and Sadiq Khan, Lord Mayor of London.

“Sentence first, verdict afterwards,” is the unreasonable demand issued by the Queen at the trial in the novel Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. What brings this quotation to mind is the absurdity of the emotional and knee jerk response to the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Her mawkish virtue signalling and condescension towards Muslims is truly cringe-worthy. I can only surmise this is a desperate effort to appease Islamists. It is a despairing ploy on her part to ward off a retaliatory attack on New Zealand by Islamists. If Jacinda Ardern thinks putting on a Muslim veil, encouraging New Zealanders to do the same, broadcasting the Islamic call to prayer over the airwaves, and having an Islamic prayer recited in parliament is going to impress Islamists, she is delusional. New Zealand had better brace itself for retribution from Islamists for the 50 Muslim citizens killed in Christchurch.

If this situation were not bad enough, Jacinda Ardern, moved ahead with a hastily crafted plan to prohibit specific makes and models of semi-automatic guns currently owned by New Zealanders. She justifies this decision in pointing to the dead and wounded in the Christchurch terror attack. This decision is emotionally driven, poorly thought out–there is zero public consultation. Sure, it is very popular with supporters of gun prohibition, both in New Zealand and across the world, but what does she expect to accomplish with this course of action? The people gunned down in the mosques in Christchurch were helpless against the attacker. It took New Zealand police 36 minutes to arrive on the scene. The fact that the attacker used semi-automatic rifles in the attack is incidental. The attacker in the shooting spree at the École Polytechnique at the Université de Montréal in 1989–in which 14 women were murdered–used a semi-automatic rifle. As the Report of the Coroner’s Investigation into the shooting at the École Polytechnique concluded: “with the unlimited ammunition and time that [the shooter–name redacted by the author] had available to him, he would probably have been able to achieve similar results even with a conventional hunting weapon, which itself is readily accessible.” (Report of Coroner’s Investigation)

There has not been an investigation into the attack on the mosques in Christchurch and the background of the perpetrator. Therefore, there is no rational basis on which to proceed with the prohibition of specified makes and models of semi-automatic guns as a response to this atrocity. Just as in Alice in Wonderland, Jacinta Ardern demands “sentence first, verdict afterwards.” Her maudlin virtue signalling and knee jerk jump to implement gun prohibition shows how weak and emotionally driven she is as Prime Minister. It does not inspire confidence. I hope the police and intelligence services in New Zealand are actively preparing for the likelihood of Islamist retaliation. It is sure to come. Beyond that, New Zealand’s gun owners are preparing for a fight with their government over the hasty decision to advance the prohibition of specific makes and models of semi-automatic guns. The dispute between New Zealand’s gun owners and their government only diverts attention from the threat of terrorism and ensures that New Zealanders are as helpless as the men, women and children gunned down in the mosques in Christchurch given the risk of future terror attacks.

I hope New Zealanders pull together and calmly and rationally take stock of their situation and work toward developing practical measures to ensure the peace and security of every individual and community in their society.

Posted by Geoffrey

The wolf is always at the door. — Don Henley

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Keeping the wolf from the door is a fact of life. You never know what fortune will bring. I am reminded of this by the horror unleashed in Christchurch, New Zealand when a maniac went on a killing spree at two mosques where people gathered for prayers. The suspect in this atrocity live-streamed his attack on worshippers at the mosques as he gunned them down. The video is available online for those who want to view it. I listened to the description given by someone who saw the video, and that is more than enough for me; I will not watch the video. What came through in the description of what happened in the video is the sad reality in this horror is the people who perished were utterly defenceless. The likelihood of finding yourself caught in a terror attack at the mercy of someone intent on mayhem is remote but a possibility; just one of the vagaries of fortune. Continue reading

The way forward is always found through greater respect for the equal rights of all. — Martin O’Malley

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Equality between the sexes, particularly the equality and participation of women in society is something Canadians value. In fact, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Section 15 Equality Rights expressly prohibits discrimination based on sex. The Charter allows for the legislation of affirmative action laws designed for the “amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.” (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms). Moreover, since 1971 among the departments of the government of Canada, you will find that of the Status of Women Canada. The mandate of Status of Women Canada is to promote “equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada.” (Status of Women Canada)

Historically, the division of labour in Canada was based mainly on sex. The norm was that men worked outside the home and lived with the understanding that Canadian citizenship included the duty to take up military service in times when Canada went to war. Women worked in the home and were called upon as a reserve labour force to step in and take on men’s jobs in the fields and factories while the men served in the Canadian military in wartime. This was the reality when Canadian men were away fighting during Canada’s participation in the First and Second World Wars.

In the present, Canadian men and women compete for the same jobs in the Canadian Forces and the broader labour market. In the past, women were excluded from combat roles in the Canadian Forces and enrollment in Canada’s military colleges: Royal Military College and Royal Military College Saint-Jean. Following the mandate of Status of Women Canada, women were admitted to Canada’s military colleges starting in 1980. Sex-based segregation is mostly a thing of the past, but for a very long time, it was a reality. Some occupations were denied to women because they were deemed unsuitable for women. Yes, the status of women is taken very seriously in Canada. With the concern and emphasis on the status of women that is demonstrated in legislation and the devotion of an entire government ministry, the question remains: what about the situation of men in Canada?

Regarding the status of men in Canada, it is widely assumed that for men–white English-speaking men in particular–their place in Canadian society is guaranteed. Consequently, it is primarily maintained that there is no need to worry about the status of men in Canada. This assumption that there is no need to be concerned about the situation of men in Canada is challenged by the emergence of a movement advocating for the well-being of men and boys in Canada.

Of the various issues regarding the status of men in Canada that generate concern, suicide rates figure prominently. In fact, demographically, data generated by Statistics Canada indicate in 2012, show there were 3,926 deaths by suicide in Canada, of which 2,972 were men and 954 were women. The suicide rate in Canada in 2012 was 17.3 deaths per 100,000 men compared to a suicide rate of 5.4 per 100,000 women. As these data demonstrate, men were three times more likely to commit suicide than women. (Dustin K. Macdonald. Canadian Suicide Statistics 2016)

Another concern with the situation of boys and men in Canada pertains to the participation of boys and men in secondary and post-secondary education. Once again, data compiled by Statistics Canada show that “in 2016, 8.5% of men and 5.4% of women aged 25 to 34 had less than a high school diploma, representing about 340,000 young Canadians.” (Sharanjit Uppal. Young Men and Women Without a High School Diploma) In 2016 in college and university enrollment in Canada, 1.15 million women were enrolled as opposed 883,000 men. (Statista)

It is also the case that it is Canadian men who are at higher risk of injury and death in the workplace. Data compiled by the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada shows that in 2016 864 men died on the job as opposed to 41 women and, 145,972 men were injured on the job as opposed to 95.479 women. (Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada)

Groups such as the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE) are concerned. There are groups affiliated with CAFE on university campuses across Canada currently that includes the University of Toronto Men’s Issues Awareness Society, the York University Men’s Issues Awareness Society, the University of Guelph Men’s Issues Awareness Society, the McGill University Men’s Issues Awareness Society, the Carleton University Men’s Issues Awareness Society and the Trent University Men’s Issues Awareness Society.

The stated aim of CAFE is listed below:

Our goal is to facilitate an inclusive, rational and civilized public conversation about the status of boys and men in Canada. Topics we think should be discussed include mental & physical health, suicide, family law, education, public policy, workplace safety, media & cultural stereotypes, and misandry. We believe this conversation must be based on facts and evidence-based research and not on ideology, e.g. gender profiling that assumes that only women can be victims and only men can be the perpetrators of abuse and discrimination.

Moreover, CAFE took care to clarify its position on equality between the sexes affirming: “We do not believe that equal rights is a zero sum game, and we reject the notion that identifying and eliminating discrimination against men and boys will somehow increase discrimination against women and girls. By definition, equal rights means equal rights for everyone.” (CAFE) CAFE is well-represented by men and women in its leadership and organizational structure. The list of advisory fellows includes Janice Fiamengo who is an author, editor, and Professor of English at the University of Ottawa, Eleanor Levine who is a Field Educator at Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Jackie Orsetto who is a Course Instructor and Research Coordinator, Department of Sociology, Trent University and notably, Warren Farrell, author of Why Men Are the Way They Are and The Myth of Male Power. The advisory fellows lend their expertise in helping CAFE fulfill its mandate of consciousness-raising through events, campus outreach, research, press engagement, YouTube and blogging.

In setting out to reach its stated goal, CAFE opened the Canadian Centre for Men and Families in Toronto in 2014 and the Canadian Centre for Men and Families Ottawa in 2017. The statement of values for the Canadian Centre for Men and Families states:

We value equality, tolerance, respect, dignity and acceptance.

We value all fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of thought, freedom of association and freedom of the press. We believe in the importance of discussing different perspectives and we oppose censorship of controversial or politically incorrect ideas.

We value peaceful and non-violent approaches to settling differences.

We value the human rights of each and every individual. We believe the advancement of human rights is not a zero sum game where some will win only if others lose. We believe every human wins when any individual succeeds in advancing their human rights.

We value people above ideas; we strive to ensure beneficial outcomes for our clients, personnel and our community.

We value education; as an educational charity, we are committed to the highest standards of education and strive to continually improve educational content and experience.

We value public policy that flows from fact-led and evidence-based scientific research rather than political or ideological commitment or special interest agenda.

We value the wellness of people; we strive to improve the wellness of our personnel, our community and the public.

We value excellence; at all times, we undertake to continually improve our business based on feedback, input and participation of our community, personnel and the public.

We value transparency; at all times, we undertake to demonstrate transparency to our personnel, members and the public.

We are an open and diverse community of individuals that embraces individuals regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, religion, age, marital status or national origin. (Canadian Centre for Men and Families)

Notice CAFE refrains from collectivizing individuals according to superficial characteristics such as race, sex, and ethnicity. Still, a critical point in the Vision, Mission and Values of the Canadian Centre For Men and Families is the emphasis on boy’s and men’s issues as noted:

  1. The CCMF will focus on the entire breadth of boys’ and men’s issues, including:

■ The “Boys’ Crisis” (education, bullying, suicide) – Creating a new sense of purpose for our sons, while preserving an equally purposeful environment for our daughters

■ Empowering boys and men with conflict resolution and communication skills that reduce violence in our communities and benefit all members of society

■ Educational and other resources to improve the mental and physical health of boys, men, and all those in their life

■ Workplace Issues (e.g. workplace safety and equality)

■ Family Law, Fathers Issues and working toward the best interest of all children

■ Crime and Punishment/Legal Issues focused on creating a fair system for all

■ Media, Social and Cultural Misandry

■ Academic Misandry (e.g. in Gender Studies and Culture Studies programs)

The status of women in Canada, the drive for their full participation in economic, social and democratic is a laudable goal. Certainly, the drive for equality between the sexes in Canada is a good thing; but it is important that the status of boys and men is not overlooked, or so would you think. Unfortunately, there is vehement and hostile opposition to CAFE, the Canadian Centre for Men and Families and CAFE’s effort to establish Men’s Issues Awareness groups on university campuses in Canada. For instance, CAFE had its permit to take part in the parade at World Pride 2014 in Toronto revoked days before the event, despite having taken part in the event without incident in 2013. When asked about this by reporters, Pride executive director Kevin Beaulieu stated: “There has been some concern expressed about the activities and purpose of CAFE and whether they actually match the intent they express.” When asked to elaborate, Beaulieu replied, “I’m really not going to go into that.” (as cited in the Toronto Star) However, in 2015, Toronto Pride barred CAFE from participating in Toronto Pride in perpetuity. The Pride Toronto Dispute Resolution Process with Paul Bent as arbitrator was employed. Bent justified the ban stating in part:

My decision is based on balancing of interests: I considered CAFE’s response that inclusion, diversity and equality are values the organization shares with Pride versus the numerous complaints filed against CAFE’s participation arguing that CAFE, as an organization and through its affiliation with men’s rights groups, contravenes Pride Toronto’s vision to, “create a safe space to engage communities in the celebration of their sexuality.”

I must give the complaints of members of the LGBTTIQQ2SA community precedence when they indicate the participation of CAFE could directly undermine the participation of queer, lesbian and trans women in the Pride Parade. Consequently, I determined that the Pride Parade is not the right venue for CAFE given Pride Toronto’s vision to create a safe space for people of all genders and sexual orientation. (As cited in NOW Magazine)

Regrettably, for opponents of the movement advocating for the well-being of men and boys, equal rights between the sexes is indeed a zero-sum game. In March 2013 three Ryerson University students, Anjana Rao, Argir Argirov and Sarah Santhosh, petitioned to open a men’s issues group on campus–the Ryerson Men’s Issues Awareness Society (MIAS). The stated aim was to “create a progressive and constructive voice and lend representation to any and all Ryerson students concerned with the issues of men and boys.” (The Eyeopener) The reaction from the Ryerson Student Union (RSU) was swift and uncompromising. Neda Hamzavi, Equity Issues Commissioner and RSU Board Member, was determined to block the opening of a men’s issues group at Ryerson University when she pushed through the following amendment to the Women’s Issue clause in the RSU Policy Manual:

4. Groups, Meetings or events [that] promote misogynist views towards women and ideologies that promote gender inequity, challenges women’s right to bodily autonomy, or justifies sexual assault  5. The concept of misandry as it ignores structural inequity that exist between men and women 6. Groups, meetings events or initiatives [that] negate the need to centre women’s voices in the struggle for gender equity. (As cited in Maclean’s)

In defending this amendment Hamzavi stated: “We want to acknowledge that the additions that we added here are regarding the ideas of misandry and reverse-sexism, both of which are oppressive concepts that aim to delegitimize the equity work that women’s movements work to do.” Marwa Hamad, vice-president equity at the RSU, said the policy will preserve space for discussing misogyny and institutionalized gender imbalances. (As cited in Maclean’s) The President of the RSU, Rodney Diverlus, concurred with Hamzavi in asserting: “We know that oppression and the marginalization of men is something that doesn’t exist just like the oppression and marginalization of straight people or white folks in our society.” (The Eyeopener)

In spite of the effort to block the opening of a men’s issues group on campus, plans to open a men’s issues group at Ryerson University during the Fall Semester in 2013 got underway with the support of CAFE. On February 6, 2014, CAFE held a talk on the Ryerson University campus, Are Men Obsolete? Feminism, Free Speech and the Censorship of Mens Issues, delivered by Karen Straughan, a member of Men’s Rights Edmonton and publisher of her YouTube channel as GirlWritesWhat. Initially, Ryerson University demanded that CAFE pay $1600.00 in security fees, but in the end the university absorbed the expenses as it was decided they were a barrier to free expression. The Ryerson Men’s Issues Awareness Society was established in 2015 and on October 19, 2015, an application for club recognition with the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) was filed. On October 27, 2015, the Ryserson Student’s Union informed the Ryserson Men’s Awareness Issues Awareness Society their application was rejected. The Ryerson Student’s Union justified their rejection of the application for club status on the grounds that “other groups like the Women and Trans Collective were already addressing many of the issues MIAS sought to focus on. Further, RSU claimed that men have “systemic privilege,” and that a group focused on men’s issues would “harass” women and make them feel “unsafe”.” (Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms)

Not satisfied with this response, the Ryerson Men’s Issues Awareness Society appealed the Ryserson Student’s Union’s rejection. In doing so they emphasized their “pre-existing commitments to remain independent of any external control, to reject all forms of violence and hate speech, to take all precautions for safety at any group functions, and to provide a safe place for discussions free of fear for personal safety.” (Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms) In spite of this, on January 26, 2016, the Ryerson Student’s Union Board of Directors denied the appeal. This decision left the Ryserson Men’s Issues Awareness Society no alternative but to take the Ryserson Student’s Union to court. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (a non-profit organization founded in 2010 with a mandate to uphold the constitutional freedoms of Canadians) agreed to represent the Ryerson Men’s Issues Awareness Society in court. As Marty Moore, lawyer for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms maintained: “Student union executives are not entitled to discriminate against students or groups whose expression they disagree with. Yet, students at Ryerson are forced to take their student union to court in order to have their fundamental rights and freedoms – which the student union itself recognizes – respected on campus.” (Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms)

The case was heard by Justice Paul Perell heard in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on January 24, 2018. Justice Perell handed down his judgement on February 26, 2018, in which he dismissed the case. Justice Perell ruled “turning then to the merits of Mr. Arriola’s and Ms. Godlewski’s case against RSU, there is no merit to it.” Justice Perell added “Mr. Arriola and Ms. Godlewski have no right nor entitlement to official Student Group status, which is a discretionary matter for the RSU to decide in accordance with its published policies and procedures.” Justice Perell found, also, the Ryserson Student’s Union’s appeals process “more than adequate.” (As cited in The Eyeopener) While Justice Perell’s ruling is a disappointment for the Ryserson Men’s Issues Awareness Society, they maintain their presence on the Ryerson University campus despite not having club status.

In the last analysis, advocacy for the rights and well-being of men and boys is not at all unreasonable as the guarantees in Canadian law for equality between the sexes apply to men and boys, just as they do for women and girls. The emergence of the movement advocating for the well-being of men and boys in Canada is a necessary and worthy adjustment to Canadian society; just as is the drive to ensure the equality and full participation of women in Canadian society. The efforts of CAFE, the Canadian Centre for Men and Families and affiliated groups, are, in effect, striving to balance the scales in the status of men and women in Canada. The fact remains even if you disagree with CAFE, the Canadian Centre for Men and Families and affiliated groups; they have just as much right to present their evidence and express their thoughts as you do to challenge and refute them. CAFE and like-minded groups, who advocate for the rights of men and boys, carrying on the effort based on facts and evidence-based research and not on ideology are well worth hearing, and I wish them every success in their endeavours.

Posted by Geoffrey

The counterculture is always repackaged and made into a product. It’s part of America. — Jim Jarmusch

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The history of the gay rights movement in the United States is fascinating. Is it a civil rights movement or is it a social justice movement? Is gay a demographic or is gay a community? Are gay rights the drive for civil rights, that gay people be at liberty, as individuals, to participate in society, openly, and free from persecution? Is it a social justice movement, the gay community driven by a countercultural constituency, intent on separating itself from mainstream culture? The answer to these questions is the gay rights movement in the United States is a combination of the two perspectives. To date, the successes of the gay rights movement in the United States are laudable. The repeal of laws that criminalized homosexual sex is a significant gain. Gay people live openly and are free to marry. True, elements of anti-gay prejudice linger, mainly from the ranks of the religious and socially conservative; moreover, there is only a patchwork of laws in place across the 50 states that prohibit discrimination in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation. However, I think these are the least of the worries for the gay rights movement in the United States. While both perspectives, civil rights and social justice, contributed to the success of the gay rights movement; what most concerns me about the current state of the gay rights movement in the United States is the influence of a decidedly countercultural constituency of U.S. society on the gay rights movement. In my opinion, this only undermines the successes of the gay rights movement in the United States and hinders its progress as a civil rights movement. Continue reading

Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible. — Maya Angelou

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Prejudice is defined as “an unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling, especially when formed without enough thought or knowledge.” (Cambridge Dictionary) I experience prejudice as both a gay man and gun owner. You may be familiar with the crude caricature of a gay man: that of a limp-wristed, effeminate man who speaks with a lisp and has an incessant compulsion for sex. You may also be acquainted with the cartoonish stereotype of gun owners as lower class white men who are uncouth and certain to tell you the only way you will take his gun from him is “from my cold, dead hands.” Certainly, these are the extreme ends of these particular prejudices. There are occasions in my life when people directed anti-gay slurs at me and to a lesser extent snide remarks about my supposed lack of virility and questionable mental health for being a gun owner. Still, the prejudice I face as a gay man and gun owner that really concerns me is far more indistinct than loutish people who call me “queer” or “gun nut” because they just do not know any better. Continue reading