Monday, September 22, 2008

In case you didn't see this yet . . . a little bit surprising.

School cuts gay, lesbian issues from elective

Canwest News ServicePublished: Monday, September 22, 2008
VANCOUVER --Abbotsford high schools have been prevented from teaching the controversial new Social Justice 12 course because the local school board wants to review its content.
The elective course, which deals with issues ranging from homophobia to animal rights, has caused controversy among religious groups that worry it's too malleable to the individual beliefs of teachers.
One school -- W.J. Mouat Secondary -- scrambled to modify the course, removing content about homosexuality, after the board said it couldn't be offered this semester. Mouat began promoting the course early this year during course planning, said social studies department head Leanne Abrey. Ninety students had signed up for it.
It wasn't until the beginning of the summer, she said, that the board told the school the course couldn't be offered until the final version was approved.
The school rushed to take out parts of the course and expand on others, creating a new course called "Global Studies and Active Citizenship," Abrey said. She said the course no longer contains sections on homosexuality and gay and lesbian rights.
Abrey said she's been saddened and frustrated by the board's intervention.
"I kind of questioned why a ministry-approved course would need to have board approval," she said.
"I don't think it reflects well on our community. It sort of defeats the purpose of a social justice course when it can't be offered."
Abbotsford school district superintendent Des McKay said the board has put Social Justice 12 on hold because it has not yet had a chance to review the final version of the course.
"We're just trying to follow good process," he said.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


I watched the speeches of the Democratic National Convention. All were quite moving in some way. Hillary and Barack both made gratuitous mention of GLBT issues. As Barack spoke, I knew that whether he is the perfect choice for President or not, he is the only choice for a chance for the US to take some power back from the Decider and his regime. McCain seems like a foot soldier for the same government that has been in power for the last 8 years.

I have read the criticism that US to Canada immigrants are cowards. In moments of self doubt, it occurs to me that maybe I was a coward. It didn’t feel very cowardly at the time. We left the best jobs we have ever had to move to a new country with no means of employment and the expectation that when we did find employment it would be at about half the amount we had been paid in the States. We left the friends and connections one makes after 50 plus years of life. That is perhaps the hardest thing. We left our comfort zone. We left everything we knew to be true for the complete unknown. Cowardice?

Every person who knew us and our plans as we were in the process of leaving the States to move to Canada remarked on what a brave a thing it was to do. I didn’t feel brave, I felt like it was the only reasonable thing we could do. We are in our fifties. We didn’t feel like fighting for the rest of our lives to be recognized as equal citizens. We wanted a quality of life that we could only have by leaving. We wanted to know for sure that if either of us was in the hospital we could make decisions together or for one another. We wanted to know for sure that if either of us died it would not leave the one remaining destitute. Some of our family members are not supportive, nice people. We didn’t want to leave each other an unwinnable legal war in the event of one of ours demise. It didn’t feel cowardly or brave. It felt like the only reasonable alternative we had.

As I watched the speeches and felt my twinges of cowardice, I knew that we did the only reasonable thing we could. We stepped out on the precipice and jumped into the void. Depending on your motivation I guess that could be interpreted as either bravery or cowardice.

To totally change the subject –

Last Christmas Diane and I gave each other a gift of a donation to the Pacific Northwest Raptors. I have an irrational fear of birds, even a sparrow (thanks Alfred Hitchcock?). We went to visit the centre in Duncan BC and were able to go out on a hawk walk with a Harris Hawk named Annikin. I’m including some pictures because for me this was the ultimate bravery.