Mercedes Allen

Canadian Far-Right Pushes 'Homophobia Is Hate Word' Tactic

Filed By Mercedes Allen | May 30, 2012 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: anti-bullying, Canada, censorship, education policy, homophobic behavior, international

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for CanadaRainbowAvatar.jpgThe Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is taking up the "homophobia is a slur" meme, though it (sort of) stopped short of calling for the word to be banned from anti-bullying programs as "hate speech":

This label has become the contemporary slur intended to silence the voices of those in our free and democratic society who might disagree with the public policy agenda of a select group of activists. This slur is intended as an insult directed at the very nature and character of the person or organization that dares to disagree. It has no place in public discourse, dialogue or debate and certainly no place in the legislatures, public squares or public schools of our province or our nation," concludes [EFC vice-president and general legal counsel Don] Hutchinson.

In a press release that opposes Ontario's Bill 13 - which, if passed, would implement LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying education and allow for the creation of Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in Ontario - the EFC calls for Bill 13 to be scrapped and for the Province to instead pass a second bill that addresses much bullying behaviour but maintains the status quo of tacit inaction on LGBT-specific harassment and the ability of schools and districts to ban LGBT-focused support groups and GSAs.

According to Hutchinson: "we support initiatives that seek to reduce rates of bullying in Ontario schools and that are in the best interests of all children... Bill 13, as currently written, is not that initiative."

I noted before that although anti-LGBT bullying isn't the only kind of bullying that happens, biases based on real or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression stand out because they're very often socially sanctioned or at least tacitly tolerated in the don't-ask-don't-tell environment of many schools. Consequently, there is energy being made to ensure that they're specifically included in the overall anti-bullying approach.

Several LGBT-inclusive education battles have taken place across Canada, but especially in Ontario and B.C., dealing with three tangentially-related issues of bullying, GSAs and sex education content.

EFC's complaint about "homophobe" being used to silence religious speech follows a human rights complaint filed by Kari Simpson (Culture Guard, RoadKill Radio) against the Vancouver School District over the use of the words "homophobia," "heterosexism" et al in an anti-bullying program, claiming that the terms constitute anti-Christian "hate speech."

I noted previously how Simpson and RKR co-host Ron Gray (former leader, Christian Heritage Party) are far from typical of the Canadian far right, enthusiastically embracing far right wing nuts like Scott "human rights consultant" Lively and Bill "anal warts" Whatcott when even Ezra Levant, LifeSiteNews, foxnewsnorth Sun News Network and Charles McVety are careful to qualify their support or distance themselves from them.

Simpson and Gray have also had a tendency to latch onto fringe conspiracy theories and concepts. Still, Simpson has been deeply involved in the Canadian far-right's fight against anti-bullying education, and has appeared to have had some influence on some of the larger players of late.

EFC stopped short of calling for the words to be completely banned - probably because it would appear obviously hypocritical when compared to calls elsewhere for freedom of religious speech. Unsurprisingly, Hutchinson makes no mention of Simpson's call for a ban, or her human rights complaint in B.C.

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