The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles Sings ‘True Colors’ for the ‘It Gets Better’ Project

via Towleroad.com This gave me chills and made me weep. This is what my 15 year-old self needed to hear. But back then we didn’t have YouTube and Facebook. Share it and the kids that need the message today will find it. This is how social technolo…

via Towleroad.com

This gave me chills and made me weep. This is what my 15 year-old self needed to hear. But back then we didn’t have YouTube and Facebook. Share it and the kids that need the message today will find it. This is how social technology makes real impact in individual lives. Amazing.

A response to @chadandy on #PrideTO and the Mammoliti motion

Toronto City councillor Giorgio Mammoliti’s motion to defund Pride Toronto (PT) as punishment for its decision to rescind its ban on the words “Israeli apartheid” in Toronto’s Pride parade passed at city council today after a vote of 36-1. But the…

Toronto City councillor Giorgio Mammoliti’s motion to defund Pride Toronto (PT) as punishment for its decision to rescind its ban on the words “Israeli apartheid” in Toronto’s Pride parade passed at city council today after a vote of 36-1. But the motion was changed significantly before it came to a vote. ??

In response to this news, I tweeted:

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I was compelled to respond to a question from @chadandy on Twitter:

11219254-Twitter_Chad_A._Craig_@remarkk_Cuz_the_only_way_...

 

11219235-Twitter_Chad_A._Craig_@remarkk_So_you_think_the_...

 

Because I like and respect Chad, I thought I would put my thoughts down in a fuller form and invite him and others who share his feelings into a conversation.

My concern is not with the City’s right to enforce its policies, it is about Mammoliti’s motivations behind his original motion.

Continue reading “A response to @chadandy on #PrideTO and the Mammoliti motion”

More speech, not less, is needed at Pride Toronto

via xtra.ca Pride Toronto’s board and executive appear hapless in the face of threats to their organization’s funding that come with even greater threats to the community’s core values. The ironic attempt to spin censorship as a form of inclusion …

Pride Toronto’s board and executive appear hapless in the face of threats to their organization’s funding that come with even greater threats to the community’s core values. The ironic attempt to spin censorship as a form of inclusion is baffling and Orwellian, especially considering the history of Pride and the struggle for LGBT rights in Toronto and elsewhere. This crisis has the potential to tear Pride Toronto apart at the seams and is a caution to all of us about the state of free speech.

I wanted to add background relevant to the specific use of the words “Israeli apartheid” by QuAIA. Many see these words as inflammatory, which they no doubt are. But are they hate speech? Is there a truth within these words? How can we know unless we have free speech and open discourse?

You don’t have to do much Googling to find factual, intelligent and hate-free analyses that show very effectively and clearly that Israel finds itself at a very difficult crossroads in its history. Perhaps the best recent example of this kind of analysis is that presented recently by John J Mearscheimer: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/mearsheimer300410.html

http://blip.tv/play/AYHapjUC

To summarize the argument: due to demographic factors, the ongoing rejection of a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine and a policy aimed at establishing so-called Greater Israel, Israel faces what appears to be an impossible existential dilemma. Either it will continue to be a democratic state or a Jewish state, but it will no longer be able to be both. Israel risks, according to Mearscheimer, becoming an “apartheid state”. It is a grim, but very sober analysis.

The accretion of land in the occupied territories to Israel proper and settler communities along with the buffer zones and control points required for Israeli security create pockets of Bantustans across the West Bank. The lines between Israel and the occupied territories are being intentionally blurred by settlement activity, creating new “facts on the ground” which some Israelis see as important to increase bargaining leverage but are in fact disabling their ability to bargain.

If this “Greater Israel” is a de facto reality now or in the forseeable future, then the nature of that state should be seen plainly for what it is or might become. It is very reasonable to look to apartheid-era South Africa as a comparable kind of state.

This Greater Israel scenario is completely reasonable given an analysis of the available facts and a sober assessment of the probability of a final peace settlement based on the principle of two independent states living side by side. Even many who are defenders of Israel are (or should be) rightly concerned about its slide towards this Greater Israel future as a threat to the vision of modern Israel and an affront to both Jewish and liberal democratic values.

Stating this point of view and using the word apartheid has become a lightening rod for those who would banish this speech as unacceptable or hateful speech. It is clearly political speech. It is definitely aimed at influencing attitudes and opinions on issues of human rights and global politics. But hateful? Most definitely not.

How did we get to this point where freedom of speech and thought can be so threatened within the heart of a community’s celebration of the very ideas of equality and freedom of expression? In the West, in Canada, in Toronto – the most diverse city on the planet?

We should all be concerned about the threat to free and open dialogue this case demonstrates, not only those of us who are queer or have an opinion about the future of Israel and Palestine.

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Toronto queers use Twitter to organize for social change

Reposted from Xtra.ca. Queers and beers has been an age-old model for social events in the gay community, but now, it’s also a group phenomenon sweeping Toronto Twitter users. Born in June 2009, Twitter group Queers and Beers started as a way to b…

Reposted from Xtra.ca.

Queers and beers has been an age-old model for social events in the gay community, but now, it’s also a group phenomenon sweeping Toronto Twitter users.

Born in June 2009, Twitter group Queers and Beers started as a way to bring together tech-savvy queer folk and their supporters to discuss social issues.

Local public relations entrepreneur Jaime Woo conceived the group in order to harness the power of social media to unite a community.

“It’s about finding people with the same passion as you do and using technology so the queer community can get their message out and define their role in the tech world,” says Woo.

With the fast-paced lifestyle of many Torontonians, it can be difficult to set aside a moment to consider social issues facing the world.

“I think this is a fun way for people to come together and think about good causes,” says Woo.

The group has already had three real-life meet-ups and will hold its fourth this coming Tue, Sep 29 at a backyard barbecue.

Each event takes place in a different space in order to spur different states of mind. The goal of the get-togethers is to stimulate different conversations, connections and to draw out different types of people.

 

Justin Stayshyn, a Queers and Beers member and emerging social media consultant, says that the group is as important online as offline.

“Twitter is about relationships and conversations. It’s revolutionary to share information with people and knowing them in real life strengthens that connection,” a link, Stayshyn says, that was missing before within the gay community.
The next meet-up will focus on issues surrounding queer homeless youth, a topic that may inspire some members to be proactive and pick a new pet cause, says Woo.
The group is now approximately 25 members strong and gains momentum through word of mouth and wireless waves. Woo says the crowd grows after each event through the flurry of social media messaging.
“There are definite benefits and obstacles to using social media, but in this case it was the fastest way to bring together a group of 20 people who were all passionate about the same thing,” says Woo.
He says he came up with the idea and within a week, the first meet-up was held thanks to the viral nature of Twitter.
As much as people say the internet is killing real-life interaction, others still disagree.
“I often have to battle against this notion that Twitter is about technology for technology’s sake, but it really isn’t,” says Mark Kuznicki, a Toronto-based social media expert and self-proclaimed change agent. “It’s about how technology can be used to make us human again.”
People now have a platform to connect in a way that spans beyond being categorized by their superficial attributes, and they are redefined through shared interests, he says.
While the bar scene continues to thrive, it is not necessarily the easiest place for gay people to find kindred spirits since it is often the luck of the draw.
“The traditional bar scene contains really coarse broad categories that we get slotted within in the community and people are more complicated than that,” says Kuznicki.
Social media, Kuznicki says, helps to break down limiting barriers and allows people to connect around things that they are passionate about, which takes some of the guesswork out of meeting new people.
Twitter is an arena that embraces an open network concept, whereas other social media sites such as Facebook, focus on a pre-existing network of friends. It’s “more about people that you should meet in the future,” says Kuznicki.
A future that Queers and Beers is changing, in 140 characters or less at a time.

For more info, follow the
#queersandbeers discussion on Twitter or join the group’s Facebook Page. The next event is Tue, Sep 29.

The Bike Rally Savannah – A Nature Mockumentary

via picasaweb.google.com What follows is the full narrated text of the award-winning nature mockumentary performed by team Lions and Tigers and Bears (oh my!) for the 2009 Friends for Life Bike Rally annual talent night. Developed from an original…


via picasaweb.google.com

What follows is the full narrated text of the award-winning nature mockumentary performed by team Lions and Tigers and Bears (oh my!) for the 2009 Friends for Life Bike Rally annual talent night.

Developed from an original concept created by Wade Borges, Jed Kilbourn and Greg Manuel. Play written and narrated by Mark Kuznicki. Performed by the Lions and Tigers and Bears Players.

The Bike Rally Savannah – Dry-run from SpinTO on Vimeo.

Continue reading “The Bike Rally Savannah – A Nature Mockumentary”