Ottawa approves construction of LGBTQ2+ monument
The National Capital Commission passed a vote Thursday which gives the green light for a national monument to the LGBTQ2+ community in Ottawa.
The monument is planned to be located on the south shore of the Ottawa River by the Fleet Street Pumping Station next to the Portage Bridge near the Royal Canadian Navy Monument.
The monument is being built to acknowledge public servants who were purged from their positions in the 1950s all the way out into the 1960s.
The monument will be covered by the LGBT Purge Fund, a not-for-profit corporation that was established in Canada in October 2018 to manage a $15–25 million fund.
The money for the fund was provided from a settlement of a class-action lawsuit between the Government of Canada and the LGBTQ2+ community once employed by the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, and the Canadian federal public service.
“LGBT members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, and the federal public service were systemically discriminated against, harassed and often fired as a matter of policy and sanctioned practice. They were followed, interrogated and abused. This shameful period is known as the “LGBT purge” and it generally took place in Canada from the 1950’s to the mid-1990’s,” reads the Purge Fund’s website.
LGBT Purge Fund Executive Director Michelle Douglas told CTV News Ottawa that “more than a symbol, building a permanent monument to mark the discrimination experienced by LGBTQ2+ Canadians will create opportunities to educate and inspire its visitors.”
There will be a two-stage competition to determine the design of the monument.
A lesbian event has been removed from Sydney, Australia’s LGBT Pride after a vocal minority protested the participation of a popular lesbian YouTuber with critical views towards transgender self-ID.
Arielle Scarcella runs an LGBT-centred YouTube channel with over 630,000 subscribers.
She has also spoken out against self-ID laws which have enabled biological males to be transferred to women’s prisons after the commission of serious offences, such as sexual assaults. In 2018, Scarcella collaborated on a video with Blaire White discussing how lesbian sexual preferences that do not include an attraction to biological males who transition to female were not “transphobic.”
Les-Talk was originally planned to be one of the events featured at Sydney Mardi Gras, the local Pride parade and festival. A panel-style discussion also featuring Tania Safi of Buzzfeed, the event began to draw ire from trans rights activists for including Scarcella. A petition was launched on February 15 demanding Scarcella be removed and replaced “preferably by someone of intersectionality.”
The petition was launched by Johnny Valkyrie, a transman and drag performer most notorious for a January incident at the Brisbane National Library. Valkyrie hosted Drag Storytime at the library, and was one of the two performers confronted by demonstrators from the University of Queensland National Liberal Club chanting “drag queens are not for kids.” The protestors were filmed and doxed.
The doxing resulted in one of the protestors, an openly gay student named Wilson Gavin, committing suicide the next day. Valkyrie used the opportunity at the library to raise funds for his “top surgery,” including a post on the day-of Gavin’s death—later updating the post to claim it was made prior to knowledge of his passing.
According to Valkyrie’s petition, Tania Safi of Buzzfeed has already dropped out of Les-Talk stating “I do not agree with Arielle’s transphobic and biphobic beliefs.”
10 Hours ago, Valkyrie uploaded an update to the petition, celebrating the “deplatforming” of Scarcella and Les-Talk.
Les-Talk was not officially cancelled, but was disassociated from Mardi Gras, according to a Facebook post made on the event’s official page. According to the post, the event is going forward being “privately held” by the “POC Queer women” organizing it.
Scarcella has not been disinvited from the event, and the event will proceed at another venue, separate from the LGBT Pride festivities.
Les-Talk’s Facebook page was littered with offers of support posted to the page’s wall by individuals outraged by Scarcella’s treatment.
Even multiple transpeople defended Scarcella’s beliefs, asserting she was not transphobic. One transwoman pleaded with the community to give Scarcella a “second chance,” while a transman praised Scarcella for “saying things no one else talks about.”
Scarcella is dismissive of the claims of transphobia, asserting she is anything but. “People have labeled me transphobic for being critical of trans ideas. I have no issues with being transgender. I’ve had more trans people in my videos than any other YouTuber to date,” she told The Post Millennial, noting that her only issue is with self-identification laws which might put women in danger.
“To those who truly believe I’m transphobic, I hope you change your hive-mind mentality and see how much you’re hurting your own community by acting so hateful.”
Anti-pipeline protestors took to the streets in both downtown Toronto and Ottawa this afternoon, bringing traffic to a halt. In Toronto, the major artery of Bloor Street was blocked. While in Ottawa, protestors stopped traffic in Byward Market.
Protests and blockades opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline have entered their 12th day, bringing traffic and the nation’s economy to a standstill.
The scene in Toronto is intense, with thousands marching.
“Obviously we’re a country of the rule of law and we need to make sure that those laws are followed,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said about the protests on Monday. “We are going to continue to focus on resolving this situation quickly and peacefully.”
Nationwide protests that claim to be in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en have exploded after RCMP arrested pipeline protestors on Wet’suwet’en territory. Protests have already effectively shut down VIA Rail and CN Rail and at least two US border crossings.
The Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council supports the pipeline project.
The Ontario teachers strike has been going on for a while, and the teachers’ unions continue to escalate the situation.
Ontario’s four largest teachers’ unions will be staging a one-day strike across the province on Feb. 21 if there is not an agreement reached with the provincial government. The four teachers unions involved in the strike are the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, and the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens.
Rotating strikes have been going on in my neighbourhood in the past few weeks. I have driven by these demonstrations.
Some people honk their horns or cheer to show support for the teachers. I do not honk my horn or cheer. I roll down the window of the vehicle I am in and make some blunt comments.
“Quit complaining!” I shout at the crowds of teachers. “You have the best part-time jobs in the world!”
Ontario’s teachers should not be striking, because they already have amazing jobs.
Ontario’s teachers receive fantastic health and dental insurance. This health and dental insurance allows teachers to avoid paying certain health care costs.
The ETFO Benefits Plan Guide says Ontario’s public elementary school teachers receive health insurance that includes up to $12,000 for fertility drugs per lifetime, two pairs of custom orthopedic shoes per benefit year, and up to $1,000 for massage therapy if a doctor’s note is provided. Their dental insurance covers 100 percent of dental check ups, x-rays, and fillings, 100 percent of root canals and related services, and 50 percent of child and adult orthodontics.
Vacation time is abundant for Ontario’s teachers. They have eight weeks off for summer vacation, two weeks for winter break, and one week for March break.
This vacation time applies to new employees. Can you name any other jobs that receive 11 weeks of vacation time when employees first start?
One reason why Ontario’s teachers are striking is salary. The Ontario government hopes to provide a one percent pay raise per year for the next three years, but teachers want two percent. Teachers should not be complaining, because they already make a substantive amount of money.
The Toronto District School Board’s salary grid shows that effective August 31, 2019, more experienced teachers can make $73,071 to $100,034 per year.
A poll done by Campaign Research found that the majority of Ontarians are opposed to giving teachers a two percent pay raise.
Ontario’s teachers have a pension. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) said that teachers are eligible to retire with an unreduced pension when their age and qualifying years equal 85 years old or when they turn 65 years old. This means that a teacher who started working at 25 could retire by 55 if they work for 30 years.
Statistics Canada reported that the average age of retirees in Canada in 2019 was 64.3 years old, so teachers can afford to retire earlier than most people.
Their pensions are cushiony. The OTPP said that until a teacher turns 65 years old, his or her pension is calculated by multiplying two percent, the amount of years worked, and the average salary of their best five years. A teacher who worked for 30 years and earned an average of $85,000 in their best five years would earn a pension of $51,000 per year.
There are teachers who claim that they are striking to help students. However, if these teachers are passionate about supporting students, why were they not striking during the summer?
Premier Doug Ford was right when he said that there is a pattern when the teachers go on strike.
“They went on strike under Bob Rae, they went on strike under Mike Harris, they went on strike under Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne,” said Ford at a press conference in April 2019. “They strike under every single government that’s in there.”
Ontario’s teachers and students belong in the classroom. Striking is unproductive and selfish–it’s not for the kids.
Disturbing allegations are floating around the internet about “Desmond is Amazing,” the famed 12-year-old drag queen. Described as a “trailblazer” by Good Morning America, Desmond is popular amongst LGBT circles, but many both in and out of the community are becoming concerned for the safety and health of Desmond.
The first moment of controversy for the tween came when he performed in an adult gay club. Many found the performance too sexual to be appropriate for a child, and the adults throwing him dollar bills as though he were a stripper did not make the situation any better. His mother defended the performance, blasting criticism as “blatant homophobia.”
However, darker allegations surround Desmond. In a disturbing livestream with an adult livestream, he is seen joking about ketamine use and displays a “snorting” notion, indicating he knows how to use it. See below.
Furthermore, he is seen doing an interview with notorious convicted murderer Michael Alig, who served 17 years in prison for the killing of Angel Melendez. Alig and his roommate killed Angel during a heated argument, dismembered his body, and disposed of him in the Hudson River. Not exactly a character that any mother of sane mind would allow around their child alone. See below, circled is Alig.
It’s clear that surface-level issues people have with Desmond such as inappropriate outfits and performances are only the tip of the iceberg. At best, he is experiencing severe neglect. At worst, abuse.
I chronicled all of these allegations and more in the video below. I hope people can begin focusing on these far more urgent aspects of Desmond’s story rather than just the fact that he is a drag kid.