Friday, 3 June 2011

A Few Thoughts And Articles

Well, there's no one topic I'm going to address today, and in light of the weight of recent posts, I think I'll hit a lighter vein, just for this post. More hard-hitting Nimbostratus-style journalism to come, worry not.

First of all, wanna see something cool?

Yup, that lobster is blue.
You can read the whole story about this neat-o blue lobster here.

TW for homophobia

Next up, I have a story that has ended seemingly well, but illustrates the amount of hetero-normative privilege that still exists in all levels of society.  Alvaro Orozco, who is now 25, left his home in Nicaragua at age 12 due to the fact that homosexuality was outlawed. In fact, the country only legalized homosexuality in 2008, roughly four years after Orozco fled. Fled the oppressive country that denied him the right to publicly express his sexuality. Fled the shaming and violence his community would have most certainly wrought upon him had he made his sexuality public. Fled the beatings and death threats his own father inflicted on him, while still just a child. His story is not unique, not, I'm sure, in Nicaragua, not here in Canada, where we are supposedly more tolerant, more accepting of those who are not "hetero-normative" as if that should even be a description of a human being.

To get back to the story, Orozco left his home with only a grade school education, hitchhiked across Central America and then entered the United States by swimming across the Rio Grande. Upon entering the United States, he was quickly arrested and detained, released only upon promising to return to Nicaragua. The United States, land of the free, home of the brave would not grant this brave young person his freedom, they would only send him back to his doom.

Orozco would not return. He found asylum in a church, then fled to Canada to apply for refugee status in 2005. His claim was denied however, due to the fact that his sexuality was called into question as he never pursued any homosexual relationships while in the United States. That's right, I mean, even though you're being detained and forced back to the country that would most certainly see you dead just for being you, shouldn't you at least have time to head down to the local gay bar and gay it up so that we can see you're truly gay? I mean if you want to stay up here in the "True North Strong and Free", you'd had better show us that you really need to be here. Isn't that what being a refugee is all about? Once again, it seems that this strong young person, who faced overwhelming odds to get here, would be denied his freedom.

Supporters for Orozco rallied on his behalf as he stayed illegally in Canada, hoping and begging for his freedom. He was finally granted it. Citizenship and Immigration Canada bestowed unto him his permanent resident status on "humanitarian" grounds. Now, this is great news for Orozco, who may now stay in Canada and pursue his dreams. He says he will go to high school, then university to pursue his dreams of architecture. I wish him well. But the length of time apparently required to make this decision and the grounds on which the delay were based are utterly ludicrous. Orozco fled Nicaragua's oppressive homophobic atmosphere, to come to Canada and be greeted with a more "civilized" version of that same homophobia. Asking a refugee, a person on the run, a person under the threat of being returned to a place that would see him dead for his sexuality to prove that very sexuality to save his life is unacceptable. If we are to be as tolerant as we claim to be up here in Canada, this kind of garbage must be stopped. Which is not to say that false refugee claims are never made, but how can one be expected to prove their sexuality while on the lamb? One's mind is on escaping capture and deportment, not on finding ones' soul mate! Amidst the triumph of one individual, the whole system should learn a lesson so that the lives of all LGBT peoples can be improved. The Conservative government should take notes... as if.

And finally, the government is back to work, with the Throne Speech today and the election of a new Speaker yesterday. So, our whitebread Conservative Governor General can say his little speech and our brand-new white male Conservative Speaker of the House can take his seat for the first time. Hoorah. The deck is stacked completely in Herr Harpers' favor now. I can't be the only one that sees this. As a matter of fact, I know I'm not the only one that see this. I'm bracing myself for what this new term will deliver upon the populace. Since I'm not a rich Albertan oil baron, I'm not expecting much personally, but I'm even more frightened at what's in store for the non-white, non-male, non hetero portions of the populace. Let's all hope for the best.

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