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On February 28th, I had the pleasure of attending The Vancouver Men’s Chorus (VMC) video launch party for their contribution to the It Gets Better Project. The media release was held at CBC headquarters in Vancouver and kicked off with a few words from organizer Yogi Omar and then when into a quick speech from Jen Sung, Youth Outreach Coordinator for Out In Schools. Jen told a personal story of a time when she was leaving a club, walking hand in had with her girlfriend and was called a dyke. She recalled the feeling of anxiety attached to that word and all those fears came rushing back, all from one simple word. The story continued, tying in the importance of projects like “It Gets Better” and continual educational programs like Out In Schools that help prevent homophobia and bullying.

I commend the The Vancouver Men’s Chorus for contributing to the “It Gets Better” project and deciding to have a voice (and quite a nice musical one at that). With persistence we can one day put at stop to homophobia and bullying and I look forward to that day.

Watch the video after the jump…

We Do Something…Do You?

In: Calan, Politics & Issues

Recently I came across one of the most amazing websites that I have ever seen for youth under 25: I personally have been working a little bit with Do Something but I’ll save that for another time. On their website they describe themselves as “one of the largest organizations in the US [and Canada] that helps young people rock causes they care about. A driving force in creating a culture of volunteerism, is on track to activate two million young people in 2011. By leveraging the web, television, mobile, and pop culture, inspires, empowers and celebrates a generation of doers: teenagers who recognize the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action.”

After checking out their website I found out that Do Something isn’t just your average “Do Good” website. 1,229,579 teens took action last year through their programs. That’s insane! As a young person and someone who is actively working on a Do Something campaign I’ve found this website and the people there to be extremely helpful in questions that I’ve had. It’s really simple to start a Do Something Club, just go to their Clubs Page and it will walk you through step by step how to set one up. Even if you’ve already set up a program, charity, or cause that you are working on you can still create a club and then you can also apply for seed money and scholarships through the Do Something Program.

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Pop-Tart Pick: Kat Graham

In: Calan, Music

Wow I had no idea Katerina Graham was so SASSY. For those of you who can’t place it she’s our favorite witch, Bonnie Bennett, from Vampire Diaries. If you keep up with the show she was last scene sucking face with Steven McQueen and I am soooo jealous! When I came across this video I had no idea what to think. It’s not the highest end video by any means but after watching it a few times I had the song stuck in my head. It’s catchy and I love the R&B flavor she’s got in there. I’m digging the Queens she has in the video doing their thing, cause we ALL know how sassy those ladies are!

watch Kat Graham’s “Sassy” music video after the jump

Above photo: Transgender Actress Candis Cayne

Today I woke up to an e-mail from a petition I had signed a while ago in support of Bill C-389, which will add gender identity and gender expression as protected grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act and in federal hate crimes laws. This is awesome new for the Transgender community but it still has to be passed into law. Bill C-389 was introduced by NDP MP Bill Siksay and read for the first time in May 2009 but finally last night the private members’ bill passed third reading in the House of Commons and is now on its way to the Senate. I’m worried that the Conservative dominated Senate will try their hardest to prevent the Bill from passing into law but only time will tell now. The vote was close, 143-135, but surprisingly saw six Conservatives break ranks to vote in favour of human rights – including John Baird and Lisa Raitt. Maybe with this news other Conservative MP’s will follow and the Bill will be passed into law for Canada.

Currently the Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based upon race, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for which a pardon has been issued. The amendments add both “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the prohibited grounds of discrimination. Opposition has tried their hardest to see this Bill fail stating that nowhere in the bill are the terms “gender identity” or “gender expression” defined or differentiated. They also argue, legal recognition of transgendered people will allow men who say they are women to enter women’s washrooms, making it easier to commit assaults and other attacks on women. To me this is just ridiculous and sounds more like they are grabbing for anything possible to stand in the way of this Bill. If a man commits assault despite claims of sexual identity or whatever washroom her is in, it is still assault and he should still be charged as such. I don’t think the opposition really understands that if a man is claiming to be a transgender woman and is in the pre-op stages they want nothing to do with their man bits, let alone use them in a sexual way. So for a man to claim transgenderedness and yet assault a woman, clearly said man is lying and trying to use it as an excuse.

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Well I was looking at our latest poll “What topics should we cover more of?” and Gay Issues is winning by a landslide having over 100 more votes then any other category. So I’ve been trying to do more post about Gay Issues and what’s going on in the world of GAY GAY GAY! One of my last posts about the Halton Catholic School Board in Ontario really hit me hard because like I said I’m currently working on setting up a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at my old high school.

I started my journey back in October to go back to my old high school, Centennial S.S. in Coquitlam, and set them up with a great GSA. It doesn’t sound difficult but there’s actually a lot of work that goes into it. I had to write up the proposals for the Teachers Board to go over for the club to get approved, get a criminal records check, find teacher sponsors at the school and also lock in a date we wanted to launch the club. Centennial use to have a club back when I was there (2001-2005) but it was very small and the people in it didn’t seem very welcoming, I also wasn’t out at the time. Since I graduated they stopped having one. So going into building a new club I had to face the fact that there was a stereo-type against the club of only the “hardcore gay kids.” To get past this I have planned a large event to kick-start the club with performances by dancers, singers, and actors from the LGBT and straight communities. I want to try and make it seem more inclusive so that it’s not just about the gay kids but for anyone who needs to have that safe place to go to once a week and hang out with some other people who at times might not feel like they fit in anywhere else. Plans are underway and all is going amazingly well, better than I could have imagined.

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Rosette Is On “Fire”

In: Behind The Cast, Calan, Music

I’m sure most of you out there have herd the song “Sunloverz vs. Rosette – Fire,” thanks to Universal Canada getting wind of it, loving it, and distributing the song. Well the music video has just been released and she defiantly knows how to kindle a flame. You might remember her from her “Crushed” and “Uh Oh” days back in 2004, now she is back with a new look and fierce determination to stick around this time.

I had the privilege of being on set for the video shoot and I’m glad to see at the hard work has paid off. It was a 17 hour long day for most of us but it was a lot of fun. In the video Rosette is sporting the latest fashion from amazingly talented local Vancouver designer, Mr. Jason Matlo. My personal favorite being the sexy black number with the sparkles under it. The video shoot took place at new local gay hangout on Saturday nights, Five Sixty. It was only fitting since the gay community has embraced her song like any other heart thumping, beat pounding, dance diva anthem. We love a good Diva don’t we?

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Well that’s just the opinion of one member of the Halton Catholic School Board in Ontario. Jane Michael seems to think “A homosexual lifestyle … is not in accordance with the Catholic Church, Why can’t heterosexual students have a club? I don’t think sex clubs should be in school.” OH Marry, no she didn’t! If you haven’t already heard about this story, the Halton Catholic School Board in Ontario recently made a move to ban all gay-straight alliances in the district. This probably came about because the Catholic Bishop, Paul-Andre Durocher, chair of the Education Commission of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario gave his two cents saying that gay-straight alliances are inappropriate for high school students. Apparently providing a safe space for LGBT students is against Catholic principles. He’s probably just upset that no one invited him to the party.

According to Xtra, one board member, Alice Anne LeMay, even went as far as comparing a GSA to a club for Nazis saying “We don’t have Nazi groups either,” rationalizes board chair Alice Anne LeMay. “Gay-straight alliances are banned because they are not within the teachings of the Catholic Church.” This type of ignorance and outright homophobia is so upsetting to me. Not only is this sending the wrong message to LGBT youth within the Halton Catholic School District but it’s also in direct violation of the Human Rights Code put forward by the Ontario government.

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On January 15th, Claire Buffie, reigning Miss New York, will make Miss America history by becoming the first woman to bring the fight for LGBT equality to the Miss America stage. Will you be watching? I know for the first time in a long time I actually want to watch Miss America. We all remember the story of Carrie Prejean, Miss California/Traditional Marriage/Sex Tapes/National Organization for Marriage, blablabla who was Miss USA 2009 first runner-up. She was the bitch witch that thought marriage should be between a man and a woman and Perez Hilton went all equal rights on her butt. She was later stripped of her Miss California USA 2009 crown for alleged breaches of contract.

Claire, whose sister came out several years ago, is an executive board member of the New York City chapter of PFLAG and also is very active in the community. Two years ago she started the “Straight for Equality: Let’s Talk” campaign, where she travels to schools and talks with the student to help promote inclusion and civil rights for all. On Claire’s blog she talks about how cool it is being able to speak at schools, “I feel like every time I leave a school I say, THAT was the coolest experience I’ve had at a school. How can that be? You have to remember that although you are telling the same story over and over, or a variation of it, it is still someone’s first time hearing your story. That influence and fresh response is what motivates me to keep speaking and sharing my story.”

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