Better Than America at Gender Equality, Canada Can't Stop Now
Dan Savage recently put the “performing” back into the Chan Center for the Performing Arts – Bach?? No thanks!! Performing to a packed crowd he spent two hours answering questions that people from the audience had written on their way to their seats. The only time he didn’t have the audience howling was when he made references to American politicians who don’t garner much attention from Canadian media, you know, those “family-values” types who end up having extra-marital affairs and/or sex with other men.
What struck about this is how rare these types of scandals are in Canada.
The most recent sex scandal I can think of is the barely-legal porn that local MP James Moore had on the background of his laptop – or maybe it was just a picture of his girlfriend, you never can tell.
In general it seems that Canadians are more open and accepting of gender and sexuality rights than Americans.
And the audience at the Dan Savage performance was more than happy to proudly clap when Dan Savage praised our legalization of gay marriage.
But just because we’re better than another country doesn’t mean that we get to forget that we still lack a truly national system of access for abortions and that violence and discrimination against transsexual, transgender, lesbian and gay people is still a common occurrence.
PEI has no sanctioned abortion providers and a quick Google search of reported gay bashing shows that as recently as March a local man was left with brain damage after being beaten outside of the Fountainhead pub.
We also can’t seem to change the requirement for hyper-masculinity that our national sport appears to require considering no former or current NHL player has ever been openly gay. Last I checked in the scholarly journals there is no relationship between being a good athlete and the desire for mix and matching.
We have no right to be smug even when we’re a million miles away from the type of legislation that is currently being considered in Uganda to make it a crime to be gay and/or knowingly harbor a homosexual by not denouncing them to the police.
I think one of the most important points from Jarrah’s last post in the Gender Files was that even if there hasn’t been such an overt affront to gender equality as the massacre at L’École Polytechnique, we can’t ignore the personal and systemic signs that we’re still a long way away from gender and sexual equality.
Sure it feels good to know that we’re better than Americans at something--- but we can’t stop now.