Issuu on Google+

queer views, news, issues

Rebecca Swartz Raising the bar on lesbian fiction

Pride photo album

The cockiest

Fringe yet

Fashion Prints & patterns

Camp Aurora

A life-changing

experience

Outwords | July 2012 | Issue 194 | Serving the GLBT Community Since 1994


5

25

human rights

Rebecca swartz

raising the bar on lesbian fiction

It’s not just the words that hurt

34

The muzzling

of green advocacy

editorial

6

Order of Perpetual Indulgance Queen for more than a day international news

12 Camp Aurora A life-changing experience

14

Fashion A passion for prints and patterns

8 Luka Rocco Magnotta’s web of evil national news

10

2012 Pride

photo album

28 What do RuPaul and Jesus have in common?

18 31 Fringe with a rainbow hue

22

How to avoid ruining your vacation

Look After your money

32 The high

cost of discriminatory hiring


Greg Hamilton sutton group kilkenny real estate

For all things Real Estate

204.475.9130

www.greghamilton.ca

homes@greghamilton.ca

member of the LAMBDA Business Association

www.lambdabiz.com

For whose hands will Frankie’s baby reach, after Frankie leaves? David’s and Evie’s? Frankie’s brother and sisterin-law, who insist the child must stay in the family. or:

Adrian’s and Tyler’s? As the biological father, Adrian insists he should have the child; but now he lives in a new relationship.

Frankie is under intense pressure from both contenders as she strives to make a momentous decision for her child. See this new play at the Fringe:

Shades of Grey Venue 6 – MTC Warehouse July 18th to 28th, 2012


outwords

editorial

Serving the GLBT Community Since 1994 Issue 194 • July 2012 

Why human rights protection is important

Published by the outwords volunteer staff: 

Rachel Morgan editor

It was 25 years

Ksenia Prints, Jen Portillo Assistant editors

Miles McEnery Sodial media editor

editorial rachel morgan

problems but it would be an important step

the words uttered

in that direction. The government agreed.

in the Manitoba legislature on a warm

Dylan Bekkering

Human Rights Code wouldn’t solve all those

ago this month, but

During debate on July 7, 1987, one Winnipeg MLA stood up and said: “I don’t

art director & layout 

July day in 1987 still have the power to sting.

believe that this is appropriate. I don’t

Michele Buchanan

The government of the day, led by Howard

believe that gays should be lumped together

Assistant layout

Pawley, wanted to include sexual orientation

with the handicapped, with racial minorities,

Darron Field

in the Human Rights Code. The official

women or any other group that has in

Financial officer

Opposition fought against it. There was

the past, by virtue of visible differences in

Terry Wiebe, Gord McDiarmid distribution 

dissent among the government members

characteristics, been seen as a group that

and it wasn’t certain the bill would pass. And

ought to have specific protection.”

Vic Hooper

if it did pass, what would Manitobans think

web manager

Rachel Morgan, Peter Carlyle-Gordge, Alana Lajoie-O’Malley, Ray Buteau, Jefre Nicholls, Eric Plamondon, Lynne Robidoux Burndorfer, Donna Adam, Mark Schollenberg

of it? It’s instructive to read the transcript

The MLA went on to say “… rather than support the societal values of the majority of Manitobans, I believe that homosexuality

of the debate. It’s often chilling, partly

strikes at the very heart of our society, the

because it hurts to see what so many of

family … I do not believe that homosexuality

contributors to this issue 

our politicians thought, but also because

and bisexuality should be put in because I

Debbie Scarborough, Diane Ready, Kevin Hills, Barbara Bruce, Sky Bridges, Dale Oughton, Darron Field , Helen Fallding, Shayne Duguay, Gail Eckert Scott Carman, Liz Millward

it reflects the mindset of so many people

do not believe that they are equivalent to

at the time. Here’s what one MLA from

heterosexuality.”

board of directors

outwords

201-63 Albert St. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 1G4 Phone: (204) 942-4599 For office hours, please call. General Inquiries: info@outwords.ca

Editor: editor@outwords.ca Creative: creative@outwords.ca Advertising: advertise@outwords.ca Distribution: distribution@outwords.ca Accounts: billing@outwords.ca Event Submissions: calendar@outwords.ca Letters Submissions: letters@outwords.ca Website: www.outwords.ca    Outwords provides news, analysis and entertainment for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit and queer community and its allies.  GST 89671 7618RT, ISSN 1715-5606 (print) ISSN 1715-5614 (online)  Canada Post Publication Licence 416 99032, Contents copyright © 2012 Outwords Alll rights reserved. Outwords is a member of the Manitoba Magazine Publishers’ Association.  Articles are not necessarily the views of the staff, management, or board. We accept no liability for our advertisers’ claims.

Brandon said: “What used to be called

The justice minister, Roland Penner,

Christian discipline, is now called unhealthy

disagreed and guided the legislation through

repression. What used to be called

until it became law. In the early years of this

‘disgusting’ is now called ‘adult.’ … What

century, Gary Doer’s government added

used to be called ‘perversion’ is now called

adoption rights and property rights to the

‘alternate lifestyle.’”

code. Then came same-sex marriage. This

In 1987, Brian Mulroney was prime

year, Greg Selinger’s government has added

minister and a litre of gasoline cost about

gender identity and social disadvantage

50 cents. The AIDS epidemic had cast a

to the code. How necessary is this extra

cloud over the GLBT community, but it also

protection?

brought a lot of people out of the closet.

In late May, during Pride week, three

And they were fed up with being treated

members of our community, Chris Vogel,

like second-class citizens. Manitoba already

Scott Carman and Ro Mills, went on a radio

had a Human Rights Act – it became law in

talk show to discuss Pride and queer rights.

1970. The four protected characteristics, or

The host, Richard Cloutier, was respectful.

grounds, were: race, nationality, sex and

Some listeners weren’t. One e-mailed the

religion.

station and curtly stated they should get

To most Manitobans, that seemed

the three guests off the air. Another said

like plenty of protection. But the GLBT

we shouldn’t hold Pride parades. A third

community knew better. They knew that if

challenged any need for government

they stayed in the closet it was easier to get

support of transgender services.

a job, rent an apartment, get good service at

Well, well … it seems some things

a restaurant, find a doctor, get a promotion

haven’t changed since 1987. So, yes, it’s

at work or adopt children. They also couldn’t

necessary to put specific protections in the

get benefits for same-sex partners or get

Human Rights Code. O

married. Enshrining sexual orientation in the

www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012

5


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

A PARTY FIT FOR A

QUEEN EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND As tens of thousands of loyal subjects gathered on the mall in front of Buckingham Palace last month, a very different celebration to mark the diamond jubilee was held on a hill in Edinburgh. It was, in their words, “one

bunch of proud old queens saluting another”. A cluster of garishly made-up “nuns” from the Sisters and Brothers of the Order of Perpetual Indulgence gathered for a picnic with faces painted and garlanded with whistles and costume jewellery. They had Union Jack cups, homemade cake and crudités. As Queen Elizabeth celebrated 60 years on the throne, the nuns said they were celebrating six decades of gay liberation from the abolition of homosexuality as a criminal offence.

Compiled by Peter Carlyle-Gordge

93%

of English football fans oppose homophobia and would support openly gay players. LONDON A new study reveals that 93 per cent of English football fans oppose homophobia and would support openly gay players. The study, published in the British Journal of Sociology identifies conservative clubs and agents as the sport’s strongest barriers to change. The study, led by Prof. Ellis Cashmore and Dr. Jamie Cleland from Staffordshire University, sampled the views of 3,500 supporters through an anonymous online survey in the first empirical study of homophobia in fan culture. “It is commonly believed that football is not ready for openly gay players,” said Cashmore. “In 2010, the English Football Association dropped a campaign to tackle homophobia, while the Professional Footballer’s Association stated that such a campaign would be more appropriate when crowds are “a bit more civilised.”

VATICAN WILL HAVE NUN OF IT VATICAN CITY

The Vatican has criticized a popular American nun, saying her book on sexual ethics, including topics such as masturbation and homosexuality, contradicts Catholic teaching and must not be used by Catholic educators. The Vatican’s doctrinal department, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a stern “notification” about Sister Margaret A. Farley, a member of the Sisters of Mercy and a professor emeritus of Christian ethics at Yale University. The Vatican claims she shows a “defective understanding of the objective nature of natural moral law.” Farley writes that “same-sex oriented persons as well as their activities can and should be respected.” The Vatican says that while homosexual tendencies are not sinful, homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered [and] contrary to the natural law.”

6

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca


No Gay Cures A CAPITAL IDEA WASHINGTON The online travel advisor, Cheapflights has released a new list of top ten travel destinations for American gay couples who wish to marry, with the U.S. capital, Washington D.C., topping the list. Montreal comes in second place followed by Amsterdam, Madrid and Provincetown, Massachusetts. Oslo came in tenth place.

MORE AMERICANS SUPPORT

EQUAL RIGHTS WASHINGTON

A Gallup poll has found that half of the U.S. population believes that same-sex couples should have the same wedding rights and legal rights as heterosexuals, reinforcing other polls that have found a majority support for equal marriage. Recently, President Obama was obliged to get off the fence and publicly declare his own support for gay rights.

NEW YORK

Dr. Robert Spitzer has publicly apologized for his ‘fatally flawed’ study, published in 2001, which claimed gay people could be ‘cured’ if properly motivated Spitzer long claimed homosexuality was cureable but admits in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour that he was quite mistaken. This is sure to cause delight among gay civil rights groups and stir up anger among social conservatives. “Reparative therapy” is popular among Christian conservative groups, which run clinics and therapy sessions at which people try to become heterosexual through counselling. Spitzer’s original study looked at the experiences of 200 people undertaking the therapy, including subjects that had been provided by religious groups. He then asked each person the same set of questions, analysing their responses to the therapy and their feelings and sexual urges afterwards. He concluded that many of them reported feelings of changes in their sexual desires from homosexual to heterosexual. The central criticism was that he ignored the fact that subjects might lie about their feelings or be engaged in self-deception. Now he agrees.

Over The Rainbow BUDAPEST, HUNGARY A ‘gay airline’ has been launched to deliver passengers to the EuroGames 2012 in Budapest. Freshair was launched to “fill the gap left by traditional, boring airlines and to satisfy the increasing demand by all sorts of consumers – sporting a rainbow of tastes and sexual orientations – for services provided in a gay atmosphere,” claims its promotional blurb. Lufthansa will cash in and operate the flights to the gay EuroGames in Budapest from June 27 to July 1.

Orwell would like this one ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA

Gay rights campaigner Nikolai Alekseev has become the first man to be convicted under St Petersburg’s recent ‘gay propaganda’ laws. Alekseev was fined 5,000 roubles (just over $160) by a court in Russia’s second largest city for the promotion of homosexuality among minors. The law was approved in February and this is the first time a citizen has been successfully prosecuted under it. Alekseev had held up a sign reading “Homosexuality is not a perversion” outside the Smolny Institute in April.

THESE MOMS SHOULD HAVE STAYED MUM NEW YORK American retailer J.C.Penney (JCP) has been attacked by the anti-gay group, One Million Moms for the second time this year, after the retailer released a pro-gay ad for Mother’s Day featuring a lesbian couple with a child. Just four months ago, JCP hired lesbian comedienne Ellen Degeneres to be the company spokesperson, prompting an outrage from One Million Moms (OMM), which is a division of the American Family Association. But more than 20,000 people signed a petition online praising JCP for its bold moves.

204.985.9200 OUTNABOUTTRAVEL.COM

www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012

7


NATIONAL NEWS

Compiled by Peter Carlyle-Gordge

WEBSITE ON HOT SEAT OVER

SLAYING

VIDEO MONTREAL Police are investigating Best Gore, the Alberta-based website that first hosted and refused to take down the video that is believed to have shown Luka Rocco Magnotta murdering and dismembering Jun Lin, a Chinese university student in Montreal. “We are most likely going to press charges against him [the website operator], but I have no idea what these charges are going to be or how it’s going to take place for now,” says a spokeswoman for the Montreal police. Toronto Internet lawyer Gil Zvulony said he believes police have a case to lay obscenity charges in connection with the Edmonton website, adding that posting the video breached Canadian law. Magnotta, who is gay, is alleged to have murdered Jun Lin, whose torso was found in a back alley in Montreal with the hands, feet and head removed. Body parts were mailed to political parties and to two schools in Vancouver. Lin’s death prompted an international manhunt for Magnotta, who was arrested in Berlin in June and will be extradited to Canada. Magnotta is alleged to have filmed the murder, which included necrophilia and cannabilism. Magnotta’s arrest in Berlin came as he spent two hours watching Internet news of his alleged crime and subsequent flight abroad.

8

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca

WILL NEW MODERATOR OF UNITED

CHURCH BE GAY OR LESBIAN

?

OTTAWA Reverend Gary Paterson of St Andrew’s-Wesley United Church in downtown Vancouver is one of 15 nominees from across Canada being considered for the position of moderator. He is one of three openly gay or lesbian candidates. The moderator will be chosen in August by more than 350 voting delegates, or commissioners, at this year’s general council in Ottawa. The moderator is elected every three years and presides over meetings of the church’s general council and executive.

Court battle looms over gay-straight alliances TORONTO A court battle may be ahead as the Ontario government puts its foot down over the Roman Catholic Church refusing to follow its anti-bullying legislation. The Church had opposed the ability of students to name anti-bullying groups as Gay Straight Alliances, but the government has overruled them, saying all schools, religious or otherwise, will be required to host gay-straight alliances – and the students can call it a gay-straight alliance. As part of the original Bill 13, which was intended to curb bullying in schools, the province included a provision for organizations with the name “gay-straight alliance or another name.” However, the Ontario Assembly of Catholic Bishops had been working with the government to reach a compromise

that would allow Catholic schools to focus on bullying in general rather than a specific group. Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten said there would be no compromises. “Schools need to be safe places for kids to be themselves — and for some kids, that means being able to name a club a gay-straight alliance,” Broten said. “I don’t think there’s anything radical about allowing students to name a club.” Teresa Pierre, who is part of a group of Catholic parents opposed to Bill 13, said forcing gay-straight alliances into the school would erode Church teaching. “Our concern is that this anti-bullying legislation is meant to bring a change in the Catholic curriculum,” said Ms. Pierre. “We are concerned about the potential erosion of Catholic principles.


SPERM-DONOR LAWSUIT

A COMPLICATED WEB TORONTO Sperm donation laws will soon be on trial in the Ontario Superior Court. The focus is on a case involving two lesbian mothers and a sperm donor called Rene deBlois. DeBlois had agreed to donate sperm so that Nicole Lavigne, a former school friend, could carry a child that only she and her lesbian partner would bring up. deBlois said she had also agreed to later carry a child for him and has failed to live up to that part. He is seeking to have a contract he signed for the first child — a son, Tyler, born in 2010, overturned by the courts, thus giving him access and visitation rights. The contract did not mention the verbal agreement for Lavigne to bear a child for him. “[Ms. Lavigne] threatens and intimidates [Mr. deBlois] with the existence of the contract,” the document said. “He is no longer comfortable with the arrangement, and would like the contract voided.” Same-sex and other advocacy groups are planning to request intervenor status in the trial, expected to begin this fall. The issue is also important to single people and heterosexual couples, says Michelle Flowerday, a Toronto lawyer representing Lavigne and her partner of 15 years, Selena Kazimierski.

Vancouver, Toronto suffer most Gay-bashings VANCOUVER Vancouver remained Canada’s capital for reported gay-bashings in 2010, despite an overall 18 per cent drop in hate crimes in Canada’s biggest cities and a drop in gay-bashings of 5.6 per cent, new Statistics Canada numbers show. While Toronto had more individual gay-bashings than Vancouver - 35 compared with 30 the percentage of gay-bashings out of the total number of hate crimes in Vancouver was 26 per cent of 117 crimes compared with 11.6 per cent of 302 in Toronto. In other parts of Canada, Ottawa had 15 gay-bashings, Montreal 13, Edmonton seven, Quebec City five, Calgary five, Hamilton four and Winnipeg one.

A NEW CAREER FOR TALACKOVA EDMONTON

Shaw Media says it has picked up a reality show featuring the leggy transgender Vancouver beauty queen Jenna Talackova. Talackova made headlines around the world when she was initially prohibited from competing in the Miss Universe Canada pageant because she was born male. Pageant boss Donald Trump ultimately allowed Talackova to compete in the Toronto pageant earlier this month, where she was cut after making the top 12. Barbara Williams, senior vice-president of content, said Talackova’s show was picked up for a Canadian version of the Lifetime channel. Shaw Media expects to bring the female-focused channel north of the border in September.

www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012

9


e d i r P 2 201oto album ph

10

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca


www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 11 www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 11


Camp Aurora

a life-changing experience By Peter Carlyle-Gordge It’s billed as a queer-positive summer camping experience and is based on Edmonton’s Camp fYrefly, which has been running successfully for several years. In fact, the Edmonton camp was visited by local lesbian film maker Jennifer Davis and four Winnipeg friends. They were so impressed by how it gave GLBTT youth confidence that they came back to Winnipeg, set up a committee and began raising funds. The result was Camp Aurora, established in 2007 and now about to enter its fifth year as a place for LGBT youth to meet for fun, friendship, education, counselling — and above all, a place to feel safe and be their authentic selves with like minded people. Here they are far from the madding and often maddening crowd; away from any fear, bullying, homophobia or closeted existence. The walls, barriers and defence rings can be taken down for a time. The only one of its kind in the province, Camp Aurora is made possible through the Rainbow Resource Centre (RRC) and the hard work of

le this artic ed by s p o n or proudly s nes

nd Jo Banvilleearchants wine m

more than 40 volunteers and organizers. Financially it is supported by the contributions of individual donors, local businesses and organizations such as the Winnipeg Foundation. The camp offers a chance for youngsters ages 14 to 18 to make new friends without having to hide who they are. Socializing through various group activities, bonfires and one fierce dance party, each camper has the luxury of letting their guard down and just being themselves around one another. This year’s camp will be held Aug. 28—31 at Camp Brereton and you can find out more at the website: www.campaurora. ca. The deadline for applying is July 15. In addition, you can apply to be a peer youth leader at the camp if you’re age 21—25. The application deadline for those positions is June 1. Chad Smith, executive director of the Rainbow Resource Centre, says the camp has room for about 50 young people, be they gay, bi, lesbian, trans-

gender or simply their straight supporters. “The places fill up quickly so it’s important to register early,” he says. “We only charge $25 per person and the other costs are subsidized by fund raising. In hardship cases we even cancel the $25 fee.” He says they get applications from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario and have even had a few inquiries from the U.S., proving there is a great need for gay youth camps where participants can feel safe and have fun while being themselves. One camper travelled from Flin Flon to attend. “The feedback we get shows this fourday experience can be life changing and some deep friendships are made,” he says. “One camper told his parents he was attending just to


support a gay friend but after the Camp Aurora experience he actually decided to come out himself to his parents.” He says Day One usually has a more subdued atmosphere since participants may be a little anxious about what to expect. By the end of camp it’s much more lively and relaxed, with many people forming lasting friendships. The agenda includes time for games and relaxation, along with workshops on sexuality, homophobia and other relevant topics. Rue (or Dustin) has attended for the past four years and realized he was gay at age eight. He was also totally out at school from Grades 7 through 12. “I had a supportive sister at the same school and if anyone gave me a hard time she threatened to smash her guitar on their heads,” he laughs. “No one dared bully me.” “I didn’t know what to expect at the camp but two of the first people I saw

there were friends from school and I hadn’t known they were also gay,” he says. ”That was a pleasant surprise. It’s great to be able to be yourself and not hide.” Rue came out to his own parents at age 12 and he says the camp does help many young people feel more comfortable about who they are. It gives them more confidence if they decide to come out after they have the camping experience. “My advice for campers is to keep an open mind,” he says. “I made some amazing friends by being there. After four days you become like a family and it changes you at a deep level.” Now that he is 20 he is too old to be a camper but has applied to be a counsellor or peer youth leader at the camp. He enjoys the mental liberation and freedom of camping as well as the creative workshops. “We have made masks and dreamcatchers, so it can be quite fun,” he says. “You also get to wear whatever you like so that also helps in expressing who you are, be it a hippie or a pagan.” Melissa is 18, is bisexual and is out to her family. She was involved with the youth group at the Rainbow Resource Centre and has also been to Camp Aurora several times. She says it changed her life. “The first year I went we had a sharing circle and talked about why we had gone there and what we hoped to get out

of it. There were plenty of tears. People said they needed a place where they didn’t have to hide things and Camp Aurora provided that.” She says a lot of bonding took place and she felt she was part of a family. She has stayed in touch with many of the people she met. “When you share everything with a small group for four days you build up a good support system,” she adds. She says young GLBT people should just sign up for the camp and not worry about having a bad experience. She believes it will change their lives as it did hers. “Don’t let others hold you back or talk you out of it,’ she says. “I may have been nervous at first, but I can tell you it was a fabulous experience and everyone was so supportive. It’s also a lot of fun — you can swim, hike, sit around a camp fire or do arts and crafts. You also learn a lot in the workshops.” It’s both a chance to learn and to share, while having fun and making new friends, she says. – Peter Carlyle-Gordge is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.

www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012

13


PRINTS CHARMING BY JEFRE NICHOLLS

Mirror, mirror on the wall, may this season be the printiest of them all. From strong-statement jackets to micro-patterned plackets, print and pattern “mix-match” is the fabled next chapter in the never-ending story of the fashion-forward man. Layer them in contrasting style, go head to toe or balance bold prints with great casual solids. You don’t need to sing into a wishing well anymore – this spring, your prints have come!

Bowen wears Ralph Lauren houndstooth doublebreasted overcoat, maroon and periwinkle polka-dot dress shirt from American Apparel; sunglasses Alfred Sung; lavender floral printed skinny jeans from Urban Planet; bag Givenchy; collar and pendant worn as a bracelet custom-designed by Jon De Porter Jewelry.

14 15

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca

14

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca


Bowtie from H&M; polka-dot skinny jeans Urban Planet; large floral printed collared dress shirt stylist’s own; boots worn throughout model’s own.

Orange and white micro print collared tee from Forever XXI; trompe l’oeil kilt - vintage Gianni Versace; houndstooth leggings Shirimiri London,; black diamond broch and glasses stylist’s own.

Sheer knit zig-zag T-shirt, oversized gold and crystal cross & ebony pendant necklaces from Forever XXI; leopard print velvet cuffed shorts Just Cavalli; braided cord tassel belt D&G; exotic skin melange folio clutch stylist’s own. www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 15 www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 15


Navaho printed belt from Forever XXI; metallic red skinny jeans from Urban Planet; Navaho snap button-up shirt and paisley bowtie stylist’s own.

16 17

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca Photo by rafy july 2012 // www.outwords.ca outwords,

16


Geo-print deep V tee and floral shorts from Urban Planet; tweed checkered blazer and vintage brooches stylist’s own. Geo-print deep V tee and floral shorts from Urban Planet; tweed checkered blazer and vintage brooches stylist’s own.V tee and floral shorts from Urban Planet; tweed checkered blazer and vintage brooches stylist’s own.

Photography and styling: Jefre Nicholls Lighting designer Darron Field Styling assistant: Lekan Tijani Hair: James Ouellette Make-up: Daniela Butcura Model: Bowen courtesy of Swish Model Management Special thanks to Rag Pickers for the fabulous vintage Gianni Versace kilt www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 17 www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 17


18 19

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca

18


No doubt about it,

this year’s

Fringe is a little queer By Eric Plamondon

It would be natural to think that the Fringe Festival (fringe def: not part of the mainstream, unconventional, peripheral) would have its fair share of queer artists (queer def: odd, strange) to contribute to the longevity and depth of Winnipeg’s (Winnipeg def: medium size city in the heart of the prairies home to numerous talented artists) version of this performance festival. So we asked the 2012 Fringe Festival organizers who are the queer artists and productions involved in this year’s milestone festival; 25 years is worth celebrating. The organizers quickly produced an impressive list that we at OutWords are proud to put forward to you. We apologize for any omissions, but we do not apologize for highlighting talented members of our community and their contributions to our artistic powerhouse city. And may I suggest: come out and enjoy the Fringe!

www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 19 www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 19


THE SHOW: Body Language

THE SHOW: Pilgrimage: Why I’m not an Indian

WHO’S INVOLVED: local sketch comedy troupe Hot Thespian Action

WHO IS INVOLVED: Written and performed by Elaine Magree, directed by Rebecca Fisher, developed with David Ford.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT: a series of three-minute vignettes has way too much content to condense into a few sentences. With no props, costumes or sets, Hot Thespian Action rely on their physicality to present various scenes that will make you react out loud… most often through laughter. Past sketches included a gay best-friend musical number, an awkward travel planning conversation between two married couples, and a recreation of Caesar’s famed assassination. WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Young and queer aside, Garth and Ryan are among Winnipeg’s best current crop of stage performers. And they are serious about being funny. The slightly less queer but equally talented girls of Hot Thespian Action (Jaquie, Shanon and Jane) should not go unmentioned, either. All have honed their acting and comedy skills to the point where they are highly marketable. Proof exists in the TV pilot they are currently writing, as well as performances alongside Allan Thicke at this year’s Winnipeg Comedy Festival. In other words… go see them now, as Canada is about to discover Winnipeg’s not so secret funny bone.

20 21

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca

20

WHAT’S IT ABOUT: A 60-year-old mixedheritage intrepid lesbian women attempts to untangle her story. Profound self examinations from this self-described turkey-baster mom, provides ironic insights on family and social dysfunctions. The process allows the audience to laugh at what life often offers us as the story is held together with sentiments of love and hope. WHY YOU SHOULD GO: The truth and reconciliation committee asked all Manitobans to understand the impact of residential schools. I’m not sure this play is what Justice Sinclair had in mind, but with a play so rich in history and politics, I’m sure it can’t hurt. THE SHOW: Fishbowl WHO IS INOLVED: Written and performed by Mark Shyzer, directed by Evalyn Parry, produced by Sarah Olmstead. WHAT’S IT ABOUT: A one-man performance showcasing four different characters that offer a slice of their existence. The four people may not meet on stage, but common threads

can be drawn between the gawky schoolgirl, the angst-filled teenager, the gin-soaked divorcee and the acerbic octogenarian. Trueto-life struggles, complicated relationships and sexual orientation feed some of the dialogue in Fishbowl. WHY YOU SHOULD GO: The show grew out of a series of one-off character monologues written and performed at Queer Cab, a monthly youth open mic, and eventually premiered at Buddies in Toronto a few years ago. This will be the first showing at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. THE SHOW: Strange Dreamz WHO IS INVOLVED: Kevin J Thornton WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Stream of consciousness standup comedy from a queer artist is bound to have a few elements that resonate with each of us. Take your pick of topics: AIDS, ‘90s hip hop groups, sexting, straight guy sex toys and Lady Gaga. WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Kevin was born in Fort Knox and raised on the Indiana/Kentucky border – this guy is bound to cross boundaries with the purpose to make you laugh. His bio states that he chose “cocks over Christ”… so some of you are bound to agree with the choices he makes in his comedy routine.


THE SHOW: Lulu: A Monster Tragedy WHO IS INVOLVED: Little Echo Theatre WHAT’S IT ABOUT: This is an adaptation that maintains all the “racy German stuff” from the original script. Which is good, because Lulu is a prostitute who climbs the social ladder by keeping the company of men who are easily infatuated with her. But it’s not only men who are infatuated with Lulu… and these relationships are amply tackled as well. WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Classics exist for a reason. Drama classics with a lesbian twist are rare. A good combo to motivate you not to miss out. THE SHOW: Pretending Things are a Cock WHO IS INVOLVED: Jon Bennett WHAT’S IT ABOUT: The title says it ll. It’s a photographic journey, so if you want more, Google it, or walk around your neighbourhood spotting things that could become your cock. Aussie accented Jon does provide the narrative to his walk about and in such, this comedy is somewhat framed. WHY YOU SHOULD GO: The show has been performed in Melbourne, Adelaide, Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton to positive reviews, proving that people everywhere have a boyish fascination with their cocks. Or, as Jon hinted … for some strange reason gay men really seem to enjoy the subject of this play. Duh! THE SHOW: Redhead Stepchild WHO IS INVOLVED: Written and performed by Johnie Walker, directed by Morgan Norwich

THE SHOW: Threads: The True Story of an Indiana Farm Girl in Vietnam

THE SHOW: The Distance Between Trees

WHO IS INVOLVED: Written and performed by bisexual artist Tonya Jone Miller

WHO IS INVOLVED: Written by Harry Rintoul and Chantele Fry

WHAT’S IT ABOUT: A true story about the parents of the author. The play highlights risks associated with an American women and a Vietnamese man sharing a life while these countries were at war. Taking a unique perspective of an American women travelling to Vietnam alone and facing scenarios most fictional writers aren’t capable of imagining.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Human struggle, human triumph. Set in Riding Mountain Park, it’s a dialogue-rich play that seeks to examine different ways we deal with trauma and positive events in our lives.

WHY YOU SHOULD GO: This will be the first performance of Threads at a Canadian festival. It creates an argument that true stories are more dramatic than fiction.

WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Commissioned to mark the 25th anniversary of the Fringe, and the 10th anniversary of the Rintoul award, it will be featured by the festival. – Eric Plamondon is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.

THE SHOW: Against the Wall WHO IS INVOLVED: Prairie Q Productions WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Themes such as bullying and gay males coming of age will be part of the many stories presented in this piece that is inspired by real events. A collective work in writing and performance, this small group offers up a Greek approach to theatre story telling. WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Prairie Q Productions is a project from Adam Jennings that seeks to tell the stories from the LGBT community. And utilizing playwright Primrose Madayag Knazan guarantees solid content.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT: A contemporary take on Anne of Green Gables. A student is bullied at school for having red hair… but this time it’s a boy and it’s set in contemporary times. This means themes such as same-sex crushes on your English/theatre teacher can be explored. The play can also utilize references to Facebook, X-Men action figures, juice boxes and many other contemporary cultural staples for teenagers. WHY YOU SHOULD GO: As part of an ongoing dialogue on gay bullying, this play gives a voice to the redheaded teenager. If people around the world still read about Anne of Green Gables, why can’t Canada offer a queer red-headed boy with something worthwhile to hear in 2012? www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 21 www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 21


travel

How to prepare for your

Lynne Robidoux Burndorfer

“Take along some trip guides and maps to read on the airplane. Become familiar with where you are going.”

Is travel all that relax-

ahead of time, plan your rail, bus or car route

p.m. when you’re tired will only end up in you

ing? That’s up to you

and reserve ahead of time. Scout out the must

spending way too much money because you’re

and how you prepare

see’s and purchase tickets in advance to avoid

too tired to care.

for your holiday. What

long line-ups when you get there. Research

is it that you want to

restaurant guides to see where the locals eat

and pre booking will save you a lot of time and

see or explore? Do

not where the tourist traps are.

a lot of money. Once you have your itinerary

you want to sit on a

If you are planning a backpacking hike up

Preparing your itinerary ahead of time

planned and all your documentation in place

beach or climb Mount

Kilimanjaro make sure you do the research

start packing ahead of time. Don’t leave it until

Kilimanjaro, or maybe

before hand. Don’t just show up and expect to

the last minute and pack accordingly. No need

it’s all the above.

climb. You need to book well in advance with a

to pack a steamer trunk full of clothes, chances

Either way, the relaxation part seems to

reputable outfitter, you need to get into shape,

are you’ll end up wearing those same pair of

get overlooked when you’re trying to pack,

and you need to have the proper gear. You also

short more than twice.

feeling rushed to get to the airport, having

need to make sure you pick the right time of

forgot important documents. By the time

year to avoid bad weather.

you get to your destination you are even more frazzled because you haven’t taken the time to get prepared, not the way you want to start your relaxing holiday. Take the time to be prepared. First plan your itinerary; you do want to leave some

Make sure you contact your credit card companies to advise them what countries

…make sure your house is well secured, that your family is aware of your itinerary and have contact numbers. All this saves you time and money. You

you are visiting and when, this will avoid the

don’t want to arrive at the Vatican in high

embarrassing “I’m sorry ma’am your credit

a trip to a few countries, say in Europe, then

season only to see the line up is three miles

card has been declined”. Take along some trip

you’re best to have the majority of your trip

long. Purchase the tickets online and avoid the

guides and maps to read on the airplane. Be-

planned. Have your hotel reservations made

queue. Spending time trying to find a hotel at 9

come familiar with where you are going. And

Passports

things to spontaneity but if you’re planning

22

A passport is the only reliable and

Requirements vary from country

Remember to:

universally accepted identification

to country. Canadian citizens in

Carry a passport for all trips

Be sure that your passport

document, and it proves that you

Canada must submit passport

outside Canada.

is still valid. Some countries

have a right to return to Canada.

requests to Passport Canada,

Some countries do not require a

whereas Canadians travelling

passport for entry but do require

or living in other countries must

photographic identification (such

contact the nearest Canadian

as a driver’s licence) as well as

government office abroad.

proof of Canadian citizenship (such as a birth certificate or citizenship card).

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca

Complete the emergency contact information on page 4 when you receive your new passport. Provide the name of someone who would not normally accompany you when travelling.

require that your passport be valid for six months beyond your date of entry. Check the Travel Report for your destination to establish whether the six-month rule applies.


vacation remember to pack that electrical converter if your destination requires it. Once you have the itinerary planned, you’re all packed, guides and maps in tow, now make sure your house is well secured, that your family is aware of your itinerary and have contact numbers for you in case of an emergency. Make your way to the airport in plenty of time so you are not rushed. Starting your vacation organized, planned and ready will allow you the time to relax and enjoy and not feel frenzied. Now it’s time to enjoy your holiday because you are prepared! – Linda Robidoux Burndorfer is a travel expert with Out ‘N About Travel Inc. of Winnipeg.

Photocopy the identification page

Selling, altering, or allowing an-

of your passport and carry this

other person to use your passport

separate from your passport while

is a criminal offence. It could lead

abroad. Also leave one photocopy

to the laying of charges and impris-

at home.

onment if convicted. It could also

To avoid delays and other problems that will hinder your return

lead to the denial of future passport services.

to Canada, obtain a Canadian

For more information visit

passport prior to initiating interna-

http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

tional travel.

www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012

23


June 15–September 2 Fairy Tales, Monsters, and the Genetic Imagination has been organized by the Frist Center for Visual Arts and travels to the WAG from Nashville, Tennessee.

Amy Stein. Watering Hole (detail), 2005. C-print. Courtesy of the artist and ClampArt, New York City.

Winnipeg Art Gallery 300 Memorial Blvd • Winnipeg, MB • wag.ca

25

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca


Making it real

By Peter Carlyle-Gordge

Swartz creates lesbian fiction with an authentic touch. Probably the majority of people believe they have a book in them and they just have to sit down and write it. Easy peasy. But they never do. Life gets in the way. Besides, writing – or writing well – is not easy. It may take a little inspiration, but it also takes mountains of discipline, self denial, determination, passion and a spirit that never quits. Enter Winnipegger Rebecca Swartz, who has just published her first lesbian-themed novel, Everything Pales In Comparison (Bella Books). Passion and music are key elements in the fast-moving plot, which features Const. Emma Kirby, who is assigned to protect singer/songwriter Daina Buchanan – the target of a murderous stalker.

www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 25 www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 25


B

orn and raised in Winnipeg, Swartz attributes her love of words and writing to her stepfather, Harry Swartz, who passed away last year at age 82. He had also written a novel, a sort of Adam and Eve story for our times, though it was never published. “He was an electrical engineer who worked for MTS for many years,” she says. “He was a low-key but very intelligent and motivated man, very loving and thoughtful. I was a ferocious reader as a child and growing up, and my father encouraged this, often bringing home books for me to read.” She says she frequently asked him the meaning of certain words and it never surprised her when he was able to provide the definition for any word brought to him. “As I said, he was very intelligent, and his knowledge of words was impressed upon me, so that I eventually emulated him with my own word knowledge.” Swartz has written stories since early school days. In Grade 8 she wrote one story that a teacher entered in a competition and she won a prize. She admits to having a restless spirit which has seen her travel in most of western Canada as well as the North. Anola and Portage la Prairie have also been places of living and discovery for her. She has been something of a Jill of All Trades, working as a disc jockey, dental assistant, dog obedience instructor and pool maintenance person. Being a disc jockey had been one of life’s ambitions and she did it in clubs and at gay weddings. Therein is a contradiction, since she is usually a quiet thinker and observer, someone who chooses words carefully, is quite private and takes pains to be truthful, precise and is generally guarded in her comments. Interviews make her a bit nervous. Being a DJ is a very public and much more extrovert role. “I am a bit of a contradiction, in that I am a mix of introvert and extrovert, the latter certainly taking a bit more effort, but not effort I’m always reluctant to spend. Deejaying became something I truly loved to do…not because I enjoyed being out in front of people, but because what I was doing was presenting what I loved (music) to an audience, in a way that reflected my personal style. So really, it was just another extension of my art, if you will. “It was sometimes a bit nerve-wracking, but never a strain, and was often great fun. When I’m doing something I love, in front of people, I’m certainly nervous, but even so, I’m almost always having fun. Writing is more personal and private than playing music, but even so, I always look forward to sharing it and seeing people’s reaction to it.” Several years ago she decided to write full time so she decluttered and simplified her life, lowering her material needs and selling some possessions. She also lowered her responsibility levels. Besides focusing life on writing she keeps body and soul together with a few seasonal, temporary jobs. Besides writing — she is working on a second novel due in January — she is also focused on her North Carolina girlfriend, Melanie, and eventually hopes to move to the U.S. to live with her. She often spends three months in North Carolina, alternating it with three months back in Winnipeg.

26

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca

26

She is also a firm believer in taking risks, trying new things, though she says firmly she will never jump out of a perfectly airworthy plane. Quitting is not in her nature. “Quitting, for me, in anything, was never an option, simply because if I quit, what was I going to do then? This applies to my character(s) as well. “I’ve always been told I’m very strong, friends and acquaintances have said I am one of the strongest people they know. Which may be why my characters are so strong. I know of no other way to be, and quitting is just simply not an option.” Swartz says the bottom line is that she writes novels that she would want to read. She thinks lesbian novels of a few years ago were of poor quality, with weak characters, dialogue and pacing. “I think for many, many years lesbians had very few books to choose from, to read. I am not a great reader of lesbian fiction, so I can only go on what I’ve heard: many of those earlier books were downright depressing. “I believe that lesbians simply started writing their own stories, due to that dearth, in an effort to fill a void not only on the bookshelves, but also within themselves. Reading fills you up, and reading your own story, or someone’s else’s similar story, fills you up as well.” For many years she thinks standards were low in lesbian fiction and so were expectations. “It’s not precisely that I’m not a huge fan of the genre, it’s more that I’m simply not a fan of poor-quality writing,” she explains” I do not enjoy coming out stories, nor the often re-worked stories of supposedly “straight women” discovering their sexuality in the company of a more “experienced” lesbian. “This is still going on today, trust me. Bad writing is still very prevalent, in any genre, but in the last, say, 15 years, some amazing


talent has surfaced: Emma Donoghue, Nicola Griffith, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Jill Malone and others. These women, these lesbians, represent to me the golden ring, writing strong characters, strong plots, excellent pacing, believable dialogue. “It’s not just a matter of less sex, because in my opinion, a “love scene” does work, if it’s tastefully written and not overdone. Some books do not require it, however, and it’s the author’s job to recognize that. It would appear many do not.” Swartz was touched that her editor, Katherine V. Forrest, an iconic author herself, said the love scene in her book was “beautifully written, tasteful, yet passionate and romantic.” “She did not edit a single word of it, saying it was basically perfect. I’m very proud of that.” She began working on her novel in 1996 and a first draft was ready in 2005 after she had worked on it full time for a couple of years. She works methodically and doesn’t believe in writer’s block.

“It’s not precisely that I’m not a huge fan of the genre, it’s more that I’m simply not a fan of poor-quality writing,” She is grateful to former police Winnipeg police chief David Cassels, who assigned a member of the police service to work with her on getting the details for the cop character as precise as possible. Initially the policewoman character was meant to be a secondary character but as the book progressed the officer took over and became the main protagonist. Simply stated, the book is about two strong, independent women. One is saved by the other after a bomb detonates. They are forced by circumstances to be together, but eventually fall in love. Interestingly, the story is set in Winnipeg, which was not Swartz’s original plan. She wanted a generic setting but an editor had an idea that Winnipeg was an exotic place and so the story opens in a Winnipeg concert hall. One of Swartz’ childhood ambitions was to become a policewoman, but she didn’t meet the physical criteria required back then. So it is no surprise that a chief character in her second novel will be an ex-cop. They make for good, strong characters as is clearly evident in her first novel. Swartz’s advice to would be novelists is simple: read a lot of good books and stick with it, realizing that writing is hard work. It needs inspiration, but also a lot of mental perspiration and discipline. Getting writer’s block is simply not an acceptable excuse for her. – Peter Carlyle-Gordge is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.

GR EAT GREAT SSHOWS HOWS AT GREAT PRICES PRIC ES 18 JUNE 5 55 5

8 - J U LY

5 55 5

5

k

5 5 k

k k

5

55

5

5

5

5

A U G U S T 9 -3 1


First time at a gay bar

28 29

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca

28


The young man approaches the front door of a gay bar for the first time. He’s Spirituality Ray buteau nervous and thinks to himself, so this is it! What if I recognize someone in here? My first legal-age drink in a gay bar. He steels himself and opens the door. Here goes, he says to himself. That went easy enough. Holy shit, this place is crowded. A drink should help calm me down. One stool left at the bar and it’s next to an old troll. If he talks to me, I’ll leave, he’ll find me rude, but beats telling him to F-off. The older man thinks to himself, cute kid, he has a long adventure ahead of him. Instead of starting off with, the weather is perfect tonight, and him thinking, for what? I’ll say, “Hi there, have you been watching RuPaul’s Drag Race?” “You watch RuPaul,” the young man replies sarcastically. “Yeah, I really like the way he ends each show with ‘If you can’t love yourself, who can you love’, followed by, ‘and can I have an Amen to that’.” “I don’t get this, ‘you-have-to-love-yourself’ crap,” the young man responds. “There’s tons of things I hate about myself. My parents for starters. And my best friend, a girl who keeps hitting on me. It’s hard to love yourself as a fag with all that cyber-bullying going on.” “These make loving ourselves challenging,” the older man says gently. “I think Jesus would have really liked RuPaul”. Holy, shit, the old man’s a Jesus freak, the young man says to himself. His expression grows cold and he’s ready to run, so the older man quickly adds, “I’m not a religious person, myself, but RuPaul and Jesus were both into self-love, which today we speak of as selfacceptance.” The young man, with a sardonic smile adds, “and it didn’t seem to work out too well for Jesus, did it!” The older man responds calmly, “No matter what comes along, Jesus and RuPaul are both right, it all starts with each of us loving ourselves first, before we can love anyone else.”

The young man thinking, I can only imagine how the old guy will respond to this, says: “And I suppose that you love yourself, now that you’re, you know, getting on and losing out.” “It’s like being a good golfer” the old man responds. “Yeah, I can see you being into golf” comes the quick retort.

“No matter what comes along, Jesus and RuPaul are both right, it all starts with each of us loving ourselves first, before we can love anyone else.” “It’s said that golf, like any sport or skill, is 60 per cent attitude and 40 per cent skill. RuPaul and Jesus would say that having all the smarts and great abs, which comes to 40 per cent but being without a positive attitude, each day – which counts for the 60 per cent – makes having self-love or self-acceptance very difficult. To answer your question, yes, I love myself.” The older man looks right at the young man and says, “Do you want to hear the saddest thing I’ve ever heard?” “Let me guess, you’re going to need a walker?” “A young gay man was asked by an OUT TV interviewer who was questioning men in a gay area of town, what he’ll do when he becomes 30 and the response was, I’m going to kill myself.” The older man was almost in tears. “Just imagine a young man without the skills and unaware of how to live one day at a time, and no idea of how to love himself. He had the 40 per cent down, but without the 60 per cent to live with pride, one day at a time, loving yourself, respecting others and being grateful to a higher power, this young man didn’t have the skills to survive. That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.” That’s it, the young man says to himself, I knew I should have told the troll to F-off, as he gets up and looking at the man says, “yeah, whatever,” and walks away. – Ray Buteau is a former Catholic priest and author of the book No Longer Lonely.

www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 29 www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012 29


forever YOUR EDUCATION IS IMPORTANT TO US Many people choose UCN because of our many degree, diploma, and certificate programs offered in five diverse faculties - Arts and Science, Business, Education, Health, and Trades and Technology. Students can also study close to home at either of our campuses or one of our 12 regional centres. At UCN, your success as a student is our top priority. We understand that being a student is about more than lectures and exams, and we have many student services that will help you both succeed and feel a part of our community. For more information or to register, visit www.ucn.ca

OWN YOUR FUTURE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF THE NORTH 30

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca


YOUR MONEY Donna Adam

Protect yourself against identity theft

Most of us have read or heard about incidents of identity theft in the news – some of us may even have family or friends who have been victimized. While banks, law enforcement officers and governments are doing their part to clamp down on this type of crime, Canadians have an important role to play, too. “Criminals have found clever ways to steal identities – that is, to illegally obtain and use someone’s personal information – in order to conduct activities in that person’s name,” says Stacy Bennett, fraud management, RBC Royal Bank. “However, there are many things consumers can do to protect themselves.” The best line of defence? Get informed, and stay informed. In other words, know what to look for, and be diligent with your personal information. Here are five common misconceptions related to identity theft. Understanding the truth behind these misconceptions may help you to become a more fraud-savvy consumer. Misconception No. 1: Law enforcement officers and employees of your financial institution are allowed to request your PIN. No. Law-abiding individuals or institutions will never ask you for your PIN – this includes merchants, law enforcement officers, and employees of your financial institution. In fact, you should never disclose your PIN to anyone, even family and friends. It is for your eyes only. Safeguarding your PIN is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself against identity theft and the scams of unscrupulous people.

“... be wary of any e-mail that asks for personal information, even if it claims to represent your financial institution.”

Other things you can do to keep your PIN safe: Memorize it and avoid writing it down, especially on something in your wallet; try to avoid picking obvious words and numbers for your PIN, such as your name, telephone number, birthdate, or address; and shield the keypad when you enter your PIN at an ATM or point-of-sale device at retail locations. Misconception No. 2: Disposing of receipts, bills, bank or credit card statements and other documents containing personal information in the garbage is good enough. No. Thieves have been known to rummage through garbage and recycling bins for personal information. To protect yourself, shred or otherwise thoroughly destroy all documents that contain personal or confidential information, including bank statements, transaction records, insurance forms and credit card offers. Another tip: familiarize yourself with your billing and statement cycles and be sure to follow-up if your bills or statements don’t arrive on time. Also, ensure that you promptly clear your mailbox after delivery. Misconception No. 3: Online scams trying to steal personal and confidential information are easy to spot. Not always. Fraudsters have been able to create very official-looking and convincing e-mail messages and web pages that appear to come from legitimate businesses. Some even incorporate slogans, images, logos, and other key pieces of identifying information from well-trusted sites. Using these, fraudsters will often try to lure unsuspecting victims into submitting passwords and sensitive financial information (a process often referred to as “phishing”.) Many scams employed by fraudsters, such as “phishing” e-mails, can be distributed to very large groups of people. Use

common sense and be wary of any e-mail that asks for personal information, even if it claims to represent your financial institution. If you receive a suspicious-looking e-mail, report it to the organization that appears to be contacting you. Misconception No. 4: Fraudsters usually only target seniors and wealthy individuals for identity theft. The truth is anyone can be a target. Fraudsters will look for ways to steal from anyone whose personal information is vulnerable, irrespective of age or financial assets. Prevention efforts can make a big difference as to whether or not they succeed. Misconception No. 5: Identity thieves can’t do much harm… can they? Identity thieves can do a lot of harm. Thieves have been known to use personal information to access an individual’s financial accounts, to open new credit cards and to charge purchases to existing ones, to open new bank accounts, and to obtain false loans and mortgages. In some cases, thieves have obtained government benefits or documents in the victim’s name. At least once a year, request a copy of your credit report from both TransUnion and Equifax. Review it carefully and report any inaccuracies. For more information about protecting yourself against identify theft, please visit www.rbcroyalbank.com/products/fraud. html. – Donna Adam is a financial planner with RBC.

www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012

31


Rainbow Biz Mark Schollenberg

Smart companies know the value of hiring LGBT employees

Most businesses agree that protecting the rights of LGBT employees is the socially responsible thing to do. But by embracing diversity, businesses can also add to their bottom line. A recent study by the Center for American Progress pegs the cost of workplace discrimination at $64 billion annually in the U.S. That’s about the size of the entire Saskatchewan economy. Discrimination impacts a variety of areas in the business. The most obvious areas are that of employee recruitment and retention. Employment discrimination impairs an organization’s ability to recruit top talent. When a business excludes 8-10 per cent of candidates without regard for their skills and experience, it leaves that business with a substandard workforce. This is compounded by the fact that a candidate who identifies as LGBT is twice as likely to have a post-secondary degree and four times more likely to have a post-graduate degree. Two-thirds of LGBT employees feel it is important to work for a company that has explicit non-discrimination policies (only 49 per cent of straight employees feel the same). Retaining skilled workers is also compromised by discrimination. This applies not only to LGBT employees, but a culture of discrimination poisons the morale of all employees. In fact, 80 per cent of straight and non-transgender adults agree or strongly agree that how an employee does his or her job should be the standard for judging

32

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca

32

an employee, not their sexual orientation. And the cost of this employee turnover is high. It costs $5,000 to $10,000 to replace an hourly worker. Higher-level positions are even costlier to replace (an executive making $100,000 salary costs about $211,000 to replace). When LGBT employees are welcome on the job, they are more productive, trusting, loyal, entrepreneurial and satisfied with their career. They are also physically and mentally healthier. In addition, businesses that discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity open themselves to potentially costly lawsuits – particularly in Manitoba, where gender identity is protected by the Human Rights Code. So you see that embracing diversity in the workplace is not just good for your image, it’s good for your bottom line. Take a look at your workplace. Is it making the most of diversity? If not, two great places to look to for help are LAMBDA: Manitoba’s LGBT Business Chamber and Pride at Work Canada (a national network of corporate and governmental partners with the goal of improving the inclusion of LGBT employees in the workplace). These two organizations are made up of businesses that strive for full inclusion of the LGBT community in the workforce. – Mark Schollenberg is chair of LAMBDA: Manitoba’s LGBT Business Chamber. He works as a Commercial Account Manager with RBC Royal Bank.


Knock 1/2 % off your home equity credit line.

TM

Switch and drop 1/2% instantly. We’ll even cover your switching costs*. Switch to an RBC Homeline Plan® credit line at 3.5% ( prime + 1/2% ). You could save as much as $5,000 in interest payments†. Get your rate in shape today. Contact an RBC mobile mortgage specialist today to find out more: 1-800 ROYAL® 7-0 (769-2570)

*We will pay the basic title insurance fee, processing fee and one discharge fee (up to $300 maximum). Offer excludes mortgage prepayment charges that you may have to pay. Minimum advance $50,000. †Savings based on $100,000 secured line of credit with interest being paid over 10 years comparing a 3.5% and a 4.0% annual interest rate. The interest rate will fluctuate with the Prime Rate and is subject to change at any time without notice. Rate is effective as of February 10, 2012. This product is provided by Royal Bank of Canada and is subject to its standard lending criteria. ®/ TM Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada.

www.outwords.ca // outwords, july 2012

33


Silencing advocacy The conflict between politics and the environment Green Planet The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act is being overhauled to “simplify” the environmental review process of major industrial projects like mines and pipelines (read: Northern Gateway). Fair enough – a simplified process could create clearer and more direct avenues for public discussion and debate about the future of resource development in Canada. That is, it could if civil society were supported in having the capacity it needs to engage in this kind of debate. Yet, on the heels of Natural Resources Alana LajoieO’Malley

“...devices that polarize and over-simplify important discussions will have long-term, lasting impact on Canada’s communities”

Among the Foundation’s alleged offences: David Suzuki’s personal endorsement of Dalton McGuinty’s record, “Persistent calls to political action” and “Frequent condemnation of government policy.” Similarly, Forest Ethics has divided itself into two separate groups, one focusing on advocacy and one focusing on solutions. Upon hearing the news, a Government Info Alert was issued that read “Canadian law has long restricted the generous tax advantages associated with charitable status to organizations that focus their energies on charitable activities – not politics. Unfortunately, some organizations have been using taxpayers’ generosity for their own political purposes. […] Forest Ethics may be the first radical group

David Suzuki has resigned from the board of his foundation out of fear that his public comments jeopardize the foundation’s charitable status… Minister Joe Oliver’s “open letter to Canadians” alleging that “environmental and other radical groups … threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda,” the federal government has committed $8 million to increase supervision of charities and stated that non-profit organizations must provide information regarding political activities. David Suzuki has resigned from the board of his foundation out of fear that his public comments jeopardize the foundation’s charitable status – and apparently for good reason. EthicalOil.org, an advocacy group that promotes the tar sands, wrote to the CRA asking that the David Suzuki Foundation’s charitable status be reviewed.

34

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca

to admit that their activities, for which they have collected tremendous financial advantages at the expense of Canadian taxpayers, were not charitable at all.” Meanwhile, the Government of Canada recently warned dozens of Environment Canada scientists attending a conference on Polar issues that they would have to seek permission before speaking to reporters and that their conversations would be recorded. The key concern, according to Environment Minister Peter Kent, “is when journalists try to lead scientists away from science and into policy matters.” In Kent’s words, “when it comes to policy, ministers address those issues.”

It can be easy to see nothing but red when confronted with this convergence of tactical intimidation, weakening of assessment and emergency response capacity, and rhetorical devices that polarize and over-simplifying important discussions that will have long-term, lasting impact on Canada’s communities and the ecosystems they live in. The thing is that getting lost in a haze of frustration and anger would play right into the spirit of division and rhetoric that is already poisoning our public space. We might all be better served by asking for some very decisive answers to some very specific questions: where is the line between charity and advocacy? What makes a project national in scope? Who counts as being ‘directly affected’ by major resource development projects? When precisely does a question about the implications of science cease being science and enter the realm of policy? I suspect that answers to these questions would bring us into grey areas that might just provide the leverage we (or some really good lawyers) need. – Alana Lajoie-O’Malley is the manager of Campus Sustainability at The University of Winnipeg.


“ As Allies, we play an integral role in the support network available to students.” Shaun Scrymgeour, Program Director, RRC Students’ Association

Embracing the Community Red River College’s LGBTT Initiative fosters the development of a safe campus environment, in which everyone has the chance to work, learn and access services in an inclusive, welcoming manner. RRC’s Ally Project supports LGBTT staff, students and faculty by identifying campus Allies who can provide a safe and inclusive space. For more information: Nora Sobel, LGBTT Initiative Staff Lead nsobel@rrc.mb.ca or 204-632-2404. www.rrc.ca/LGBTTInitiative

36

outwords, july 2012 // www.outwords.ca


Outwords Julay 2012 Issue 194