AIDS Memorial is a go

AIDS Memorial is a go

Earlier this year I did an interview with Xtra! West, a gay paper in Vancouver. They interviewed me as someone that would have placed a name for the AIDS memorial.

The AIDS Memorial was dedicated today, I could not make it there unfortunately. This memorial is there today because of the efforts of many people, not the least of them being Ed Lee.

Ed is hero in my books. When he hit wall after wall of resistance, he kept on. When many in the gay community thought it would never happen, Ed perservered. When people said it would be a waste of money, Ed proved them wrong again.

I have been to the memorial. It is a special place, it is everything Ed said it would be. I for one want to extend my thanks to him and the many other volunteers and sponsors that made this memorial happen. Hero's do this stuff, Ed, you are a hero!

Here is a link to an editorial I wrote for peace earth and justice entitled: A tale of two gay men, AIDS and Family.

Rick Barnes
Victoria BC

AIDS Memorial is a go
PROUD LIVES / Panels scheduled to be installed this spring

story by Robin Perelle / Xtra! West Feb 5 2004

“It’s finally happening,” Ed Lee laughs exuberantly. “Isn’t that exciting? It’s been a long time coming—Hello!”

After eight years of planning, persevering and pushing through obstacles, construction is finally about to begin on Vancouver’s AIDS Memorial. And the project chair can barely contain his excitement.

“It’s great!” Lee enthuses. “We’re just waiting for the weather to cooperate.”

As soon as the ground at Second Beach is dry enough, crews can plant the panel footings in the ground, he says. Then all they’ll have to do is lower the panels into place. And the panels, all 20 of them, are being cut right now by a company in North Vancouver, he notes.

“Everything is pretty much in place,” confirms Susan Gordon, a spokesperson for the parks board. As soon as the ground is dry for two weeks, construction on the memorial can begin.

Normally, the parks board tries to limit construction during the rainy season because the trucks tend to rip up the ground and make a mess. But the AIDS Memorial has already waited so long, Gordon says, that the parks board gave it the nod.

The AIDS Memorial has been a promise on the horizon since 1996, when its creators first pitched the idea to the city and its parks board. What ensued was a long, drawn-out battle over where to build the memorial. Once everyone finally agreed on Second Beach, the fundraising machine grumbled slowly into gear.

Then in 2002 more controversy struck: as the memorial committee inched towards its financial goals, it released its nomination forms to add people’s names to the panels. The forms sent a ripple of anger through the gay community, as people struggled to meet their stringent demands for death certificates and the like. The committee eventually backed down and simplified the forms and their requirements.

Now, Lee says, the committee has 800 names to carve into the memorial. It also has all the money it needs to begin construction, having slowly but surely raised $250,000 over the years.

Lee can’t say when exactly construction is likely to begin but it could be as soon as the end of February if the weather gets dry.

And that’s “fantastic news” to Rick Barnes. Barnes, who has worked with a number of AIDS organizations over the years and now works with AIDS Vancouver Island, contributed seven names to the memorial. One of them was his partner, Steven Hennessy.

“I couldn’t be happier that they’re getting the memorial started,” Barnes says. “It’s this huge, emotional thing.”

Barnes doesn’t know what the committee is planning for the opening ceremony, but there’s a song he’d really like to hear in honour of Steven and everyone else’s lost loved ones. It’s called something like “To see you smile just once again,” he says, his voice catching.

“It says we’re still together, that you brought so much joy, that you’re still with me.”

The memorial “is going to be quite an emotional place,” Barnes predicts. “It will be a place where we can get together and remember those who have left.”

And it will be both a private and public place, he notes. Public in the sense that it will be an educational tool to show the youth who “never experienced the horror that we went through in the ’80s” that AIDS still exists and still affects people.

At the same time, the memorial will offer a private place for people to remember and honour their loved ones—and draw strength to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“It will be our place,” Barnes says.

And the location couldn’t be better. “[Steven and I] had so many great times there,” he smiles, “being ourselves, being free to be gay.”

Barnes still remembers the night he and his partner returned to the West End after several years away. They headed right down to Second Beach, he says—and Steven “was home. He was back in the community he knew. And I was home.”

Lee deserves the community’s appreciation for the effort he’s put into making this memorial a reality, Barnes says. “Ed Lee has managed to steer this project and deal with all these problems. The proof is in the pudding: he’s there now.

“We need that kind of leadership in our communities,” Barnes adds.

Lee says it’s the people who contributed names to the memorial who kept him going these last eight years. “Whenever we talked about the AIDS Memorial, I met people who said, ‘thank you so much for doing this.’ These people just spurred me on and said you need to do it.

“Plus I’m a little bit of a stubborn person,” he smiles. “I like to see things through.”


Simple as ABC or 20/20 foresight. Gays need to remember Matthew's Legacy

Simple as ABC or 20/20 foresight. Gays need to remember Matthew's Legacy.

Stop Homophobia today and do something positive today!

A colleague of mine currently living and working in Australia has suggested the following course of action. I like it and will be following through with his advice.

I have also posted an editorial on Peace, Earth and Justice, where I am the editor for GLBTQ news.

"But I propose more gay-specific remedy. ABC also hosts The View, the queen by queens for queens and Queens alike. Click here to send Joy Behar, a longtime community ally, an email. Let’s get The View to get Judy Shepherd (Matthew’s Mum) on to tell her side, which was largely edited out of the 200/200 segment."

"Be nice though. Thank Joy for her support and treat her like the ally she is. Getting his (Matthew Shepard's)Mum onto Mum TV right could make a critical difference."

See also: Matthew Shepard's Murder - ABC & 20/20 dismiss critical facts in gay hate crime and Gay Org Responds to ABC 20/20 : Matthew Shepard story "NOT A CREDIBLE PIECE OF JOURNALISM"


Matthew Shepard's Murder - ABC & 20/20 dismiss critical facts in gay hate crime

Matthew Shepard's Murder - ABC & 20/20 dismiss critical facts in gay hate crime

ABC's 20/20 has sunk to new lows. Television news sources once respected due to their high standards are now under criticism due to a shift to obtaining higher ratings for advertisers.

20/20's story on Matthew Shepard's murder is just such a piece of tabloid journalism. They have interviewed people who have changed their story many times, have motivation to change their story and failed to put forward all the credible facts.

"This was indeed a complex murder; no one is suggesting otherwise," Garry concluded. "But for 20/20 to lay out a case based on speculation, innuendo, the avoidance of critical facts, sources lacking in basic credibility, and reliance on conflicting pieces of information is reckless journalism." - GLAAD Executive Director Joan M. Garry

Matthew Shepard's story is only one case of hate motivated crimes against gays in the United States. Many more equally horrific cases have been prosecuted since and many more are being swept into the proverbial closet.

Homophobia is the largest health issue facing gays in the United States, Canada and around the world. ABC's 20/20 has made it okay to continue to ignore the dangers of being gay in this case, the United Sates.

Click here for GLAAD's link to emailing ABC

Rick Barnes

peace earth and justice


AIDS Awareness week

AIDS Awareness week is upon us again. World AIDS Day is on December 1, 2004. You will find events right across the world, memorials, protests, celebrations and gatherings to support those living with and or affected by HIV/AIDS.

On November 30, in Vancouver the formal dedication of the AIDS Memorial will take place at 11:30am. My partner Steven Hennessy is remembered on this memorial. If you have a chance, go see the memorial at Sunset Beach, Vancouver.

The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) has produced a series of public service announcements that are pretty compelling. I have linked two of them here and provided a direct link to CAAN.

Please take time to listen to them.

In memory of Steven Bryan Hennessy 1958 - 2002

Messages from the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network

Duane Morriesseau-Beck
Duane Morriesseau-Beck is 34,
two-spirited, Metis
and lives with HIV.

Audla Geetah-Cyr
Audla Geetah-Cyr is a 15 year old Inuk whose mother died of AIDS when he was 4. Here is Audla’s radio message on HIV / AIDS, Fear, Discrimination.


Ten Reasons Not to Move to Canada

Ten Reasons Not to Move to Canada
by Sarah Anderson

Ready to say screw this country and buy a one-way ticket north? Here are some reasons to stay in the belly of the beast.

1. The Rest of the World. After the February 2003 antiwar protests, the New York Times described the global peace movement as the world's second superpower. Their actions didn't prevent the war, but protesters in nine countries have succeeded in pressuring their governments to pull their troops from Iraq and/or withdraw from the so-called "coalition of the willing."Antiwar Americans owe it to the majority of the people on this planet who agree with them to stay and do what they can to end the suffering in Iraq and prevent future pre-emptive wars.

2. People Power Can Trump Presidential Power. The strength of social movements can be more important than whoever is in the White House. Example: In 1970, President Nixon supported the Occupational Safety and Health Act, widely considered the most important pro-worker legislation of the last 50 years. It didn't happen because Nixon loved labor unions, but because union power was strong. Stay and help build the peace, economic justice, environmental and other social movements that can make change.

3. The great strides made in voter registration and youth mobilization must be built on rather than abandoned.

4. Like Nicaraguans in the 1980s, Iraqis Need U.S. Allies. After Ronald Reagan was re-elected in 1984, progressives resisted the urge to flee northwards and instead stayed to fight the U.S. governments secret war of arming the contras in Nicaragua and supporting human rights atrocities throughout Central America. Iraq is a different scenario, but we can still learn from the U.S.-Central America solidarity work that exposed illegal U.S. activities and their brutal consequences and ultimately prevailed by forcing a change in policy.

5. We Can't Let up on the 'Free Trade' Front Activists have held the Bush administration at bay on some issues. On trade, opposition in the United States and in developing countries has largely blocked the Bush administrations corporate-driven trade agenda for four years. The President is expected to soon appoint a new top trade negotiator to break the impasse. Whoever he picks would love to see a progressive exodus to Canada.

6. Barack Obama. His victory to become the only African-American in the U.S. Senate was one of the few bright spots of the election. An early opponent of the Iraq war, Obama trounced his primary and general election opponents, even in white rural districts, showing he could teach other progressives a few things about broadening their base. As David Moberg of In These Times puts it, 'Obama demonstrates how a progressive politician can redefine mainstream political symbols to expand support for liberal policies and politicians rather than engage in creeping capitulation to the right.'

7. Say so long to the DLC. Barry Goldwater suffered a resounding defeat when he ran for president against Lyndon Johnson in 1964, but his campaign spawned a conservative movement that eventually gained control of the Republican Party and elected Ronald Reagan in 1980. Progressives should see the excitement surrounding Dean, Kucinich, Moseley Braun, and Sharpton during the primary season as the foundation for a similar takeover of the Democratic Party.

8. 2008. President Bush is entering his second term facing an escalating casualty rate in Iraq, a record trade deficit, a staggering budget deficit, sky-high oil prices, and a deeply divided nation. As the Republicans face likely failure, progressives need to start preparing for regime change in 2008 or sooner. Remember that Nixon was reelected with a bigger margin than Bush, but faced impeachment within a year.

9. Americans are Not All Yahoos. Although I wouldn't attempt to convince a Frenchman of it right now, many surveys indicate that Americans are more internationalist than the election results suggest. In a September poll by the University of Maryland, majorities of Bush supporters expressed support for multilateral approaches to security, including the United States being part of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (68%), the International Criminal Court (75%), the treaty banning land mines (66%), and the Kyoto Treaty on climate change (54%). The problem is that most of these Bush supporters weren't aware that Bush opposed these positions. Stay and help turn progressive instincts into political power.

10. Winter. Average January temperature in Ottawa: 12.2°F.

Sarah Anderson (saraha@igc.org) is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Disabled woman wins latest round with government

Disabled woman wins latest round with government

This has been a hard case to watch. Part of it due to the Government's seemingly tough stand on the issue and the agony Cheryl Hutchinson has been put through to get some justice.

The court has yet to rule that Cheryl Hutchinson's father would be entitled to the money, however they have decided that keeping the money they were awarded by the BC Human Rights Tribunal, $118,000, would be a miscarriage of justice.

The BC Government was with holding the award until the case was heard in BC Supreme Court partially on the basis that the Hutchinson's would not be able to repay the money if the province wins in court.

This is a victory for poor folks in BC. If you were well off the money would be paid as the government as they would accept they had a reasonable chance of recovery. That amounts to discrimination on the basis of someones economic status. Had the Hutchinson's been well off they would not have required to go to the Human Rights Tribunal in the first place.


B.C. Human Rights Tribunal Decision

Hutchinson - B.C. Supreme Court decision

For more information Disability issues in BC go to The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities
The BC Coalition of People with Disabilities is a provincial, cross-disability advocacy organization. Our mandate is to raise public and political awareness of issues that concern us. We hope, through our work, to facilitate the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of society and to promote independence.

CBC WebPosted Nov 26 2004 07:53 AM PST

VANCOUVER - A Vancouver woman with severe cerebral palsy who won a landmark human rights case this summer, has won another major battle – this time in court.

The B.C. Ministry of Health had refused to give Cheryl Hutchinson permission to hire her father as her caregiver, despite the fact that he has looked after her since she was 13.

Earlier this year, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ruled that refusal amounted to discrimination.

The ruling was the first of its kind in Canada. And other disabled British Columbians had hoped it would allow them to hire family members as caregivers.

However, the provincial government appealed, and also applied to withhold $118,000 in damages – pending the results of that appeal.

But a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled the Hutchinsons deserve the money now, even if they aren't able to pay it back if the province wins its appeal.

LINK: B.C. Supreme Court decision

In his decision, Mr Justice Bryan Ralph notes Philip Hutchinson is 73 years old, and living on Old Age security and Canada Pension Plan benefits.

Ralph writes that he recognizes there is a reasonable chance Mr. Hutchinson won't be able to repay the award should the province win its appeal.

But he says the Hutchinsons will suffer the greater harm if they don't receive the money.

USA Punishes Americans in the end

Congress Cuts Anti-Terror, Development Funds to Key Allies over ICC Exemptions

It is clear to me that this action is one to punish. In the long term it will hurt US interests. The US economy and the world economy for that matter relies on trade and stable local economies no matter how small.

Many of these counties that will no longer qualify for funds are long time trouble spots or have unstable or fledgling economies. Cutting them off will not help the situation.

Take the example of HIV/AIDS in the world today. The United States to it's credit donates a fair whack of money. This money however comes with many strings. You can not use it to promote condom use or to supply condoms, you must promote only abstinance as a means of controlling the spread of HIV.

Further, the American government continues to support the big drug companies. This effort protects the profits of drug companies at the expense of saving lives and what should be evident to US lawmakers and bankers, that these third world countries economies are being crushed by the impacts of HIV. Millions are unable to work, a whole generation of workers is being lost and their children are growing up without parents.

The real impact will be felt over the next 10 years. The US will be creating a whole new crop of anti-Americans. Poverty will be much worse, leading to people to look for a way out. They will know from history what happened and they will have no shortage of leaders and groups that will point at the United States.

"The United States is punishing many in the world today, in the end they are punishing Americans."

Canada is no saint here either. Our generic drug law that would allow generic drug companies to make patented drugs for the third world is full of holes and has yet to be enacted. The biggest hole is the requirement for the generic drug maker to negotiate a deal to supply drugs to a third world country and then let the Drug company that holds the patent decide if they want to fill the contract.

This article makes the law unworkable. The noise Canada is making on being a good world citizen, needs to be backed up with a few changes, or we will see the polish on Canada start to tarnish.

see also: If you are not with the USA, You are against the USA

Victoria BC


Gays Win Canada Pension Battle

The Ontario Court of Appeal decision released today says that limitations placed on survivors' benefits under the Canada Pension Plan are unconstitutional. The ruling states that the limitations on Gay's accessing CPP benefits in 68 pieces of legislation in 2000 were unconstitutional.

The Federal Government could challenge this issue by taking the case to the Supreme court. Such an action would show the Liberals caving into the the more conservative members of its ranks.

The decision that was made in Ontario was sound and unlikely to change at the Supreme Court level. Ottawa should now do the right thing and ammend the legislation passed in 2000.

Until that occurs, Ottawa will be discriminating against the gay community. One thing to keep in mind here, the money for CPP benefits is not public money, gays like other Canadians pay into this benefit. We deserve to benefit from our contributions.

Ontario Court of Appeal

Denying retroactive CPP benefits to widowed gays unconstitutional, court rules

Ontario court upholds CPP benefits for same-sex survivors

If you are not with the USA, You are against the USA

If you are not with the USA, You are against the USA

The United States Congress is at it again. Surprised? The Republican controlled congress has added an amendment that will impose further sanctions on countries that have ratified the International Criminal Court (ICC) treaty.

The United States does not recognize this court. The US has good reason not to, given the recent invasion or war with Iraq and many other covert and less covert actions.

Now many countries will pay a big price. The message is clear, you are either with the United States or against them.

The United States Supreme Court has dealt with a similar matter concerning Microsoft and how they bundle their products, making it more difficult to choose different products other than Microsoft. Given the principles and law allowing for such action to taken against Microsoft, how can the Congress decide, you can not do it in the United Sates but the Government of the United States can do it to the World.

My ramblings end here with a backgrounder on this issue prepared by Citizens for Global Solutions

Background Brief

The measure targets democracies that uphold the rule of law and work along side the U.S. to further our foreign policy priorities. We should not be punishing them over unnecessary agreements that fail to provide any additional protection for our troops above and beyond what they already have through existing Status of Forces Agreements and Status of Mission Agreements.

Affected countries could include:

* Jordan: The amendment would withhold $250 million intended to help "promote economic growth and support healthcare, education, and governance reforms" from one of our strongest allies in the Middle East. Jordan, whose UN ambassador is also the President of the ICC's Assembly of States Parties, firmly believes that it cannot sign a bilateral immunity agreement that would put it in breach of the ICC treaty.

* Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela: The amendment would cancel $32.5 million in support for these countries intended to "pursue justice sector reform, strengthen democratic institutions, and promote the rule of law; facilitate implementation of free trade agreements; improve local governance and promote decentralization; fight corruption; and promote respect for human rights." An additional $4 million would be withheld from the Peru-Ecuador Peace initiative. These countries have already lost millions in military aid because they have chosen to uphold their legal commitment to the ICC (for FY04 military aid withheld includes $15.65 million for Ecuador, $2.7 million for Peru, and hundreds of thousands for Venezuela and Paraguay).

* Caribbean states including Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago would lose funds appropriated for the Third Border Initiative (a $9 million project), which improves immigration systems and border security and funds "disaster preparedness and coordination exercises." These three countries have also seen their military aid withheld; Trinidad and Tobago, which was instrumental in the creation of the ICC and now has a judge on the Court, has made very clear that its hands are tied legally.

* South Africa: An important strategic U.S. ally in the region, South Africa has already forfeited $7.6 million in military aid because of its strong support for the ICC. This amendment would withhold millions more from South Africa that is intended to fund anti-terrorism training, as well as "enhance trade and private sector development and promote human rights." South Africa has a judge currently serving on the Court.

* Ireland: This amendment would cancel $8.5 million to promote peace in Northern Ireland. It also deletes the $3.5 million Walsh Visa Program. Ireland also has a judge presently serving at the ICC. The European Union concluded that no European Union country could legally sign a bilateral immunity agreement as proposed by the U.S. because it would put them in breach of their legal commitments under the ICC's treaty. No EU country has publicly signed an agreement; all but one EU country (Czech Republic) are full members of the ICC and thus would be ineligible for Economic Support Fund monies under this amendment.

* Cyprus: Cyprus will lose $13.5 million intended to further its peace process. The former President of the Cypriot Supreme Court is now a judge at the ICC.

Full list of countries barred from receiving funds from the Economic Support Fund under this amendment:

Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Benin, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Mali, Malta, Namibia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Niger, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Samoa, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, United Kingdom, and Venezuela.

Click here for news and commentary on Peace Earth and Justice Issues.


Canadians set to welcome Bush

Canadians set to welcome Bush

George Bush has rejected the idea of addressing the Canadian Parliament. It is likely he has done this to avoid being heckled by Parliamentarians. It is extremely rare that a US President would avoid our Parliament and good news in this case that he has.

Canadians overwhelmingly reject the war in Iraq and they reject George Bush in his role as the world's biggest bully. Bush was soundly rejected in Chile recently and the noise you hear in Ottawa and across Canada when he arrives will be very Un-Canadian like.

It bothers many Canadians that it has come to this. We respect the American people, we enjoy may close ties and common purposes together. The largest trading relationship in the world is that which exists between our two countries.

Unfortunately many American's may view our noise next week as a rebuke of them. Let me assure Americans that this is not the case. The noise you here, the actions you see may be unpleasant, they are however being directed to and at the American President and his team of bullies.

Rick Barnes
Victoria BC

See also: apologies accepted and peace earth and justice website for more news on George Bush

Reject the Bush Agenda!
The Canadian Peace Alliance Announces Cross Canada Days of Action
During the Bush Visit
November 30th, December 1st

For Immediate Release:

Toronto: The Canadian Peace Alliance (CPA) is calling on the Martin Liberals to reject the Bush agenda and is asking its member groups to mobilize for cross-Canada days of action to coincide with the US President's visit to Ottawa, Nov. 30 - Dec 1.

Events will be organized from coast to coast to coast by people in Canada
who oppose the militarism that George W. Bush and his administration represent.

Paul Martin is being asked to sign on to the US Missile Defense (MD) plan
and to increase our involvement in Bush's wars abroad. These policies are
making the world a much more dangerous place. People in Canada are overwhelmingly
opposed to the war on Iraq and are committed to stopping any involvement in the MD scheme.

"We cannot allow our government to sign on to the policies of this US
administration." says, Sid Lacombe, coordinator of the Canadian Peace Alliance.
"Bush's policies have brought misery and destruction to millions around
the world. His agenda is not welcome here"

The CPA is asking all those who can come to Ottawa for Nov. 30 - Dec 1 to
begin organizing immediately. Those who cannot make the trip are urged to
plan actions in their regions.

For more information click on: The Canadian Peace Alliance


Gay Hero Movie opens to praise!

Gay Hero Movie opens to praise!

This is amazing. I will be going to the show this weekend. It will be good to see a gay man portrayed in such a leadership role. Watch for American opinion to state he wasn't that great a leader. Am I being too cynical?

Gay Alexander Film Draws Praise

Oliver Stone's big budget biopic about the life and loves of Alexander the Great is drawing high praise for its inclusion of the legendary leader's historically documented relationships with men as well as women.
"For a big-budget Hollywood movie about historical figures, 'Alexander' breaks new ground," says Joan M. Garry, Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

GLAAD is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Movies like Oliver Stone's biopic Alexander, according to GLAAD, help to increase the visibility and acceptance of GLBT people by portraying positive gay relationships on film.

"Not only are there sexually charged moments between Alexander [Colin Farrell] and Bagoas [Francisco Bosch], but Hephaistion [Jared Leto] is clearly portrayed as the true love of Alexander's life -- and their romance is one of the central themes of the movie," says Garry.

"Colin Farrell himself has said that, in an ideal world, two men this passionate about each other would have been depicted having a loving sexual relationship. He's absolutely right. And Oliver Stone's willingness to explore the love between these two characters moves us one important step closer to that ideal world."

However, while praising Oliver Stone and his film Alexander, Garry notes that there is still much work left to be done in battling discrimination against gays both in film and in the real world.

"It's important to note that big-budget Hollywood films have barely begun to scratch the surface in terms of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender portrayals. There's a lot of work ahead. Public opinion does not change overnight, and our visibility continues to be one of our most vital tools in creating understanding and acceptance of our lives. And making sure we are a part of Hollywood's storytelling -- from independent films to big-budget studio epics -- serves an important role in reminding people that we are an enduring, integral part of American society."

Source and Copyright: GayWired

see also: My Queer Thoughts on Alexander and Greeks Sue Over Gay Alexander


On a daily basis as a straight person…

A friend sent this to me. I don't know where she got it but it is so "true" - Rick

Daily effects of straight privilege

This article is based on Peggy McIntosh’s article on white privilege and was written by a number of straight-identified students at Earlham College who got together to look at some examples of straight privilege. These dynamics are but a few examples of the privilege which straight people have. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer-identified folk have a range of different experiences, but cannot count on most of these conditions in their lives.

On a daily basis as a straight person…

1. I can be pretty sure that my roomate, hallmates and classmates will be comfortable with my sexual orientation.
2. If I pick up a magazine, watch TV, or play music, I can be certain my sexual orientation will be represented.
3. When I talk about my heterosexuality (such as in a joke or talking about my relationships), I will not be accused of pushing my sexual orientation onto others.
4. I do not have to fear that if my family or friends find out about my sexual orientation there will be economic, emotional, physical or psychological consequences.
5. I did not grow up with games that attack my sexual orientation (IE fag tag or smear the queer).
6. I am not accused of being abused, warped or psychologically confused because of my sexual orientation.
7. I can go home from most meetings, classes, and conversations without feeling excluded, fearful, attacked, isolated, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, stereotyped or feared because of my sexual orientation.
8. I am never asked to speak for everyone who is heterosexual.
9. I can be sure that my classes will require curricular materials that testify to the existence of people with my sexual orientation.
10. People don't ask why I made my choice of sexual orientation.
11. People don't ask why I made my choice to be public about my sexual orientation.
12. I do not have to fear revealing my sexual orientation to friends or family. It's assumed.
13. My sexual orientation was never associated with a closet.
14. People of my gender do not try to convince me to change my sexual orientation.
15. I don't have to defend my heterosexuality.
16. I can easily find a religious community that will not exclude me for being heterosexual.
17. I can count on finding a therapist or doctor willing and able to talk about my sexuality.
18. I am guaranteed to find sex education literature for couples with my sexual orientation.
19. Because of my sexual orientation, I do not need to worry that people will harass me.
20. I have no need to qualify my straight identity.
21. My masculinity/femininity is not challenged because of my sexual orientation.
22. I am not identified by my sexual orientation.
23. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my sexual orientation will not work against me.
24. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has sexual orientation overtones.
25. Whether I rent or I go to a theater, Blockbuster, an EFS or TOFS movie, I can be sure I will not have trouble finding my sexual orientation represented.
26. I am guaranteed to find people of my sexual orientation represented in the Earlham curriculum, faculty, and administration.
27. I can walk in public with my significant other and not have people double-take or stare.
28. I can choose to not think politically about my sexual orientation.
29. I do not have to worry about telling my roommate about my sexuality. It is assumed I am a heterosexual.
30. I can remain oblivious of the language and culture of LGBTQ folk without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
31. I can go for months without being called straight.
32. I'm not grouped because of my sexual orientation.
33. My individual behavior does not reflect on people who identity as heterosexual.
34. In everyday conversation, the language my friends and I use generally assumes my sexual orientation. For example, sex inappropriately referring to only heterosexual sex or family meaning heterosexual relationships with kids.
35. People do not assume I am experienced in sex (or that I even have it!) merely because of my sexual orientation.
36. I can kiss a person of the opposite gender on the heart or in the cafeteria without being watched and stared at.
37. Nobody calls me straight with maliciousness.
38. People can use terms that describe my sexual orientation and mean positive things (IE "straight as an arrow", "standing up straight" or "straightened out") instead of demeaning terms (IE "ewww, that's gay" or being "queer").
39. I am not asked to think about why I am straight.
40. I can be open about my sexual orientation without worrying about my job.


I worked with Michael when I was at BC Persons With AIDS Society. Michael was very dedicated to helping address the needs of HIV+ people in and out our prison system. It was not easy for Michael as he was dealing with the sometimes serious effects of HIV and AIDS. I have lost a friend and we all have lost a dedicated man that did his best to make a difference.



It is with sadness that the Canadian AIDS Society informs you of the death of Michael Linhart on October 27, 2004, one of Canada’s finest advocates for the rights and dignity of people living with HIV/AIDS.

For the past several years, Michael had been a member of the Board of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. Michael fought for the right of prisoners living with HIV/AIDS to proper care and for the right of all prisoners to protect their health.

At the time of his death, he was in Ottawa to participate in a press conference launching the Legal Network's report providing a comprehensive worldwide review of prison needle exchange programs. Michael wished to join his voice to the call for federal and provincial/territorial governments to implement pilot needle exchange programs in Canadian prisons.

Michael learned he was HIV-positive in 1991 while incarcerated in a federal institution. His diagnosis sparked the birth of an AIDS and prisoners’ rights activist, one of the first inmates in Canada to speak out publicly on HIV in prisons. While incarcerated, he presented at the BC HIV/AIDS Conferences of 1992 and 1994, and the International Conference on HIV/AIDS in Vancouver in 1996. He also contributed to the drafting of the report of the 1992 Expert Committee on AIDS in Prison.

In 1993, Michael helped found the BCPWA Prison Outreach Program and, after being granted parole, went on to become its first coordinator in 1998, continuing the struggle for the rights and dignity of prisoners living with HIV/AIDS. In 2002, he received the Canadian AIDS Society's Leadership Award. Michael’s dedication to the fight against HIV/AIDS was deepened by his own experiences as a former sex trade worker, drug user, gay man and prisoner, and as someone also co-infected with hepatitis C.

We mourn the loss of a passionate activist, a person of great integrity, and a very dear friend.

- With thanks to the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

prison needle exchange programs
Canadian AIDS Society
BC Persons With AIDS Society (BCPWA)
BCPWA Prison Outreach Program

Alexander The Great

Alexander The Great

Some Greek guys are fuming. It appears the greatest Greek of all is gay. Oliver Stone has suggested Alexander was bisexual in thenew movie coming out this holiday.

Alexander was a military leader who married princesses of former Persian territories including Roxana of Bactria,the daughter of Parysatis,Ochus and the daughter of Darius III, Statira.

We know however that Alexander's greatest emotional attachment was too his companion, cavalry commander and likely lover, Hephaestion. Hephaestion and Alexander were friends from childhood. We know that Hephaestion was educated at Alexander's father's court. Hephaestion is first referred to when Alexander reaches Troy.

We also know that Hephaestion and Alexander made sacrifices at the shrines of the legendary lovers Achilles and Patroclus.

Alexander had also become involved with another man, Bagoas. This was well known among his men. It is recorded that on a trip back from India, Alexander's men called on him to kiss Bagoas during a feast. Alexander treated Bagoas well. He was appointed to oversee and fund the construction of Alexander's fleet.

Historians and others suggesting Alexander was "straight" hang their arguments on his marriages and the birth of his son, six months after his death. In the time of Alexander, many marriages of convenience were entered into by leaders. These marriages shored up alliances. It was seen as a means to securing peace and provided additional allies.

Ancient sources describe Alexander's relationships with Bagoas and Hephaestion as sexual. As with all our sources about the life of Alexander, they were written many hundred years after his death. This has many claiming it can not be established what the 'real' relationship between Alexander and his male companions was.

What is missed by some modern historians and those Greeks that are in denial of Alexander's sexuality is that the concept of homosexuality did not exist in Alexander's time. Sexual orientation as we know it today was not defined. Sex between males was seen as a normal. It was part of one's human nature since it was believed that men were attracted to the beauty of youth, regardless of gender.

Me, I believe, Alexander was gay.

Salut and In Pride
Rick Barnes

See also: Alexander and Greek guys are fuming


Interesting stories I posted at Peace, Earth and Justice

Below are links to several interesting stories I posted to another web site called; Peace, Earth and Justice. This is a progressive site.

A Challenge To the LGBT Communities in the Aftermath of the U.S. Elections

A Challenge To the LGBT - Communities in the Aftermath of the U.S. Elections
Communities in the Aftermath of the U.S. Elections
Be A Queer for Four More Years by the Rev. Dr. Penny Nixon

Here we are. Many of us are disappointed, depressed, even devastated by the outcome of the election. We cannot imagine four more years and where we will be at the end of the four years. We look back, but o­nly long enough to learn from our mistakes. We may be discouraged for the moment, but we live o­n hope.

Comic book Green Arrow adds HIV Positive Sidekick

LOS ANGELES - Green Arrow comic to feature HIV-positive sidekick

In addition to fighting evil villains, o­ne comic book heroine will now have to battle her personal struggle against HIV.
Dispirited U.S. gays choosing Canada

They're calling it the gay drain. Hundreds of well-heeled gay and lesbian lawyers, professors, educators and film directors from the U.S. are immigrating to Canada, drawn by the country's recognition of same-sex rights, unions and benefits.
Fiddler eyes gay Alberta wedding

CALGARY -- Ashley MacIsaac, the outspoken, frequently controversial fiddler from Cape Breton, says he wants to get married in Alberta to protest the Conservative government's opposition to gay marriage.

Sex Change not covered

TORONTO -- o­ntario's Liberal government has "chickened out" of reinstating medicare coverage for sex change operations for fear of a public backlash, deputy NDP leader Marilyn Churley charged Thursday.

Poverty Contributes to HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS Contributes to Poverty

OTTAWA, o­n, October 15, 2004 – In 1987 the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty was born when thousands of people gathered at the Human Rights Plaza in Paris, France.

The day, October 17, was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 1992. This year’s Canadian theme is, “Together, We Go Further”, which aims to bring together people from different walks of life to express our shared commitment to end poverty and to honour the efforts and accomplishments of those who struggle with poverty daily. The Canadian AIDS Society (CAS) is encouraging people to come together in the same spirit as those who gathered at the Human Rights Plaza in France and make it known that the HIV epidemic in Canada is also an epidemic of poverty.


Pattison Company Rejects AIDS Ads
VANCOUVER - Vancouver businessman Jimmy Pattison's billboard company has refused to run Canada's first national AIDS ad campaign targeting gay men.

Gay asylum-seeker rejected as too butch

A gay Mexican man plans to appeal for the second time a decision made by Canada's immigration body that said he could not get asylum because he was not "visibly effeminate."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Peace, Earth and Justice

A Challenge To the LGBT Communities in the Aftermath of the U.S. Elections

A Challenge To the LGBT Communities in the Aftermath of the U.S. Elections

I have been receiving a lot of email from my American friends and colleagues. Quite frakly they are not happy with what happened down there. Some friends are seriously ooking at moving to Canada. Come on up guys! Yet, it seems a little rough hearing that people are fed up or giving up on America. You have a great country, and we do need as many of you as possible to prepare for the next four years to defeat Bush and his gang.

I found this article on the web and thought some would find it interesting and would restir the pot as they say.

Check it out guys. A Challenge To the LGBT - Communities in the Aftermath of the U.S. Elections

Communities in the Aftermath of the U.S. Elections
Be A Queer for Four More Years by the Rev. Dr. Penny Nixon

Here we are. Many of us are disappointed, depressed, even devastated by the outcome of the election. We cannot imagine four more years and where we will be at the end of the four years. We look back, but o­nly long enough to learn from our mistakes. We may be discouraged for the moment, but we live o­n hope.

A Challenge To the LGBT


Coming Out for one of their Own

This is latest of five articles about growing up Gay in the United States. They are well written and give a good picture of what it is like. Link to Coming Out for one of their Own

Please share this series with others. They are educational and inspiring. The Washington Post did a great job here.

Coming Out for one of their Own

The fliers arrived three weeks ago. Some came over the fax machines of local churches, and others appeared mysteriously around town. Printed in bold was the heading "Westboro Baptist Church." No seeming cause for alarm. Sand Springs, population 18,500, is a Christian stronghold in the gently rolling hills of eastern Oklahoma.

But the message that followed was a rant against a 17-year-old Sand Springs resident named Michael Shackelford and his mother, Janice, the subjects of a recent Washington Post series examining Michael's struggles as a young gay man in the Bible Belt. The fliers posted a photo of Michael, called him a "doomed teenage fag" and announced that followers of Westboro Baptist in Topeka were o­n their way from Kansas to stage antigay protests in Sand Springs.

Public theater is the specialty of Westboro Baptist and its minister, Fred Phelps, whose place o­n the extreme fringe of the antigay movement is symbolized by his Web site, www.godhatesfags.com. But this time, Phelps picked a formidable target.

Oklahoma could never be mistaken for a liberal blue state. President Bush grabbed the seven electoral votes here like a sack of candy, winning 60 percent of the popular vote. A state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage passed by a 3-to-1 margin.

Sand Springs is the essence of pious Oklahoma. Downtown, a veterinary clinic with loudspeakers o­n its roof plays a taped carillon of hymns and patriotic songs. Michael and Janice Shackelford attend a large evangelical church where lots of worshipers bring their own Bibles.

In the eyes of Phelps, any church that allows an openly gay person to attend Sunday worship is weak. "Was there no Gospel preacher in Sand Springs or Broken Arrow to tell Michael . . . that sodomy is a monstrous sin against God that will destroy the life and damn the soul?" the fliers asked.

Click here for the rest of Coming Out for one of their Own

You will find the First four articles here: Gay in Real America

In the Bible Belt, Acceptance Is Hard-Won (The Washington Post, Sep 26, 2004)
A Slow Journey From Isolation (The Washington Post, Sep 27, 2004)
Braving the Streets Her Way (The Washington Post, Oct 3, 2004)
Using Her Voice to Rise Above (The Washington Post, Oct 4, 2004)

Apologies Accepted

Apologies accepted. Now how can I help?

So many Americans feel so bad about the last election, they have apologiesed to the rest of the world. The last election was more than an internal American issue. The United States is the one super power and how they view the world affects all of us.

The war on terror, the Iraq war, Access to Cheaper drugs, Gay rights, HIV/AIDS treatment and support, fair trade, the war on Drugs and a host of other issues.

Former Canadian Prime Minister, PIERRE ELLIOTT TRUDEAU once said, "Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt."

This is true not only for Canada, but also the rest of the world. In Canada, 80% of Canadians expressed support for John Kerry over George W. Bush. Its no mystery Canadians prefered Kerry over Bush. Traditionally we have always leaned toward the Democratic ticket up here. The Democrats tend to lean a little more our way of thinking, though the democrat would be more like our right wing Conservative party.

It was a Canadian that defined the Axis of Evil, David Frum, a noted speech writer for George Bush. David could not make it in Canadian politics, he was just too right wing for our system. The Canadian people let our Government know we did not want any part of the war on Iraq. We have a strong and growing anti-war movement in Canada.

George Bush then attempted to charge either you are with us or against us. Canadians still decided not to join the Americans in the Iraq invasion. The decsion not to support the war created the frostiest relationship between Canada and the US since the war of 1812.

On other issues like the War on Drugs and the creation of a Safe Injection Site for users of illegal drugs in Vancouver BC, the American government has been very forceful in expressing their disapproval, threatening tighter border controls and possible sanctions.

Canadians wish there could have been another result in your country, a result that may have led eventually down the road of working together on international issues, from a place where No one country can or does use its size to get what it wants.

Good luck and if I can help from here, let me know, I am sure many Canadians will offer the same.

Check out Peace, Earth and Justice website in Victoria BC.


Rick - XMAS Party

ANTI- Equal Marriage Bill is Coming to Parliament

This message is largely for Canadians. Our Parliament will be voting on a motion put forward by a Conservative MP to restrict marriage to a man and a woman. Use link below to contact your MP and tell them to vote against the motion.

Conservative and some Federal Liberal politicians are working to bring an end to Same-sex marriage in Canada. Seven Provinces and one Territory provide for equal marriage today. The Supreme Court will rule some time this fall on proposed legislation put forward by the federal government.

If gay marriage is important to you, you need to act now. If your MP is a Conservative or Liberal against same sex marriage, they still need to hear from you.

Remember, Democracy is not a spectator sport.

Rick Barnes

An ANTI- Equal Marriage Bill is Coming to Parliament on Nov. 26th

An ANTI- Equal Marriage Bill is Coming to Parliament o­n Nov. 26th !

Parliament will soon vote o­n legislation to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples. Rob Moore, (Con) for Fundy, NB, has introduced Bill C-268. This Private Members Bill would define marriage as “the lawful union of o­ne man and o­ne woman to the exclusion of all other persons”.

Click here to read full article

Send e-mail message to your MP

Oil and Water - Hiv Positive and Negative

This guy Steven I came to know has HIV. He tried meeting other guys, to be straight with them and his HIV. He said he always was, always told the guy he was positive. One day Steven decided to date only men who were positive. He didn't want to face rejection, he couldn’t take another “oh, sorry, see you later,” response. And He also didn't want to fall for someone and risk infecting the guy he loved. This guy I just met had been living with HIV for eight years. Eight years of being rejected.

Like oil and water, he thought negative and positive would not mix. When I saw him, I did not see a positive guy, I saw his smile, a charming handsome guy, who said hi. So how did he end up with an HIV-negative lover? His heart couldn't tell a negative guy from a positive one, and he fell in love with someone who was negative.

Some guys are just too worried about the possibility of infection to get involved with someone who is HIV+. And guys wanting to take cum inside them are generally going to need to stick with someone of the same HIV status. For others like me, HIV isn't a make-or-break issue when it comes to dating and relating.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared when Steven told me he was positive. I went home that night and told my mother, tried talking it out. I was in love with this guy. We did the traditional thing, dated, went to movies, picnics at the beach of Okanagan Lake, coffee at the Bean Scene. He was falling for me too, yet he was trapped, he was thinking what if he gets HIV from me?

After that sleepless night, I awoke with a new life. I was in love and my guy had HIV. Did not matter somehow. What was all the fuss about?

I will relate the rest of our story soon. Now more about negative and positive relationships.

HIV to many gay men was a death sentence ten years ago. Today many are living longer, healthier lives able to enjoy a relatively normal life. That means more opportunities to engage in relationships. Unlike years past, nowadays the distinction between positive and negative doesn't seem so great to many gay men.

Our community has few role models of healthy relationships. We have not done a great job of teaching and mentoring ourselves. Mixed HIV status couples have even fewer role models.

Living with HIV is different for each couple, but I have found some advantages for me.

HIV was a positive thing in our relationship. It made Steven and I concentrate on what was most important in our life. It pushed me to live in the present moment - not because there is no future, but because the future may be uncertain. Other than his love for me, this was one of the greater gifts I received from Steven.

Being a mixed couple we had to be creative when it came to sex. We were. Condoms became a regular feature, but have say we did mess up a few times. That’s human. HIV rather than being a limiting factor allowed us to experiment, to become more creative. I am here to tell you the sex can be safer and still be HOT!

It is was important for couples like Steven and I to not let HIV become a barrier to everyday life, you can’t change it, so no point in letting it run everything in your lives. The positive guy may need to let go of anxieties or guilt about being a burden or victim and the negative guy needs to stay away from thoughts of being a savior. As a couple you need to be sure you find ways to express hopes and fears with each other in a way that lowers barriers and builds intimacy. Talking about things helps.

Do I have more to say on this, you bet I do, you will find out more about life with Steven and how Oil and Water DID mix!

Steven Hennessy, July 22, 1958 - June 9, 2002 Posted by Hello

Sunrise in Victoria Posted by Hello

I am thinking! Posted by Hello

Queers Won In Surrey (This Time)

A victory for the queer community happened in o­ne of the most unlikely places in BC. Mary Polak, the Liberal candidate for the Surrey by-election was defeated in her effort to become the MLA.

You may recall her as the Chairperson of the Surrey School Board, where she spent 0ne Million Dollars to keep books that described gay families in a positive light, out of the school system.She lost the fight in court and then had to lay off 160 teachers in the fastest growing city in Canada.

Mary Polak did manage to keep YouthCO (Youth AIDS Awareness and Support group) out of many class rooms as well. YouthCO was too positive o­n sexual orientation for the Surrey School Board. Polak also banned Planned Parenthood and condom machines from Surrey schools.

Ms Polak’s whole political career has been built o­n denying Queer kids a safe place to learn. Gay Straight Alliances were forbidden, being gay bashed was compared to having “sticky-outy ears.” AIDS Awareness plays were banned. Teachers were supposed to keep quiet because if kids didn’t know about sexual orientation, they would grow up straight.

The Surrey School Board has not only been fighting against queer kids in their own district, they have been quietly doing it to the whole provincial education system. The lobbying of Surrey School board in the context of vital provincial seats in Surrey gave them a lot of clout in their fight.

Resources such as the banned books in Surrey could have been made available to teachers if the Ministry of Education made it policy. Surrey used its political muscle to ensure the Province did not list the books as a resource.

There was a ray of hope last year when the Minister of Education convened The Safe Schools Task Force made up of MLA’s to address bullying in schools. This came at a good time as thirty percent of students in the Surrey School District in a survey conducted by the District rated homophobia as a serious issue in Surrey schools.

The Safe Schools Task Force was headed up by Lorne Mayencourt, a gay MLA from Vancouver. The gay community felt finally someone will address homophobia provincially and recommend changes. It did not happen. Despite submission after submission calling for an emphasis on protecting gay kids, the report focused o­n “sticky-outy ears.”

Mayencourt’s report made no recommendations o­n homophobia. The Surrey School Board had scored another win in unabashedly enshrining homophobia in our school system. Suicide rates of young gay people are six times higher than their straight counterparts. Gay youth are more likely to marginalized, to quit school, to smoke and use drugs and to suffer from depression and stress than their straight classmates. Thirty percent of homeless youth are gay.

Mary Polak’s views are intolerant and harmful to our gay children. It was amazing to see the Liberals pick such a controversial candidate. Obviously they did not see her in that light or worse they did and they condoned her views by selecting her. It was reported o­n Global TV News Hour that several Liberal MLA’s were not happy with Polak’s selection.

According to Global, Ted Nebbling stormed out of a Government Caucus meeting in which Polak attended, seeing the other gay MLA, Lorne Mayencourt remaining, he called him “gutless”. Watching the television news last night, who was out front of the crowd cheering the early results at Polak’s headquarters, non other than gay MLA, “sticky-outy ears” Mayencourt.