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Vancouver Hotel Adds LGBT Pride To City Skyline, Permanently

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Just in time for Vancouver's pride events in late July and Early August, the city's skyline now features a permanent display of LGBT pride. The Sandman Suites Hotel on Davie Street in Vancouver's gayborhood (Davie Village) has painted a 55-foot wide rainbow on to the very top of their roof.

Vancity Buzz has a quote from Valentina Tang, General Manager of the hotel. She says:

We are proud to call this community our home and want to illustrate our pride by painting the iconic rainbow crowned on-top of our hotel...The concept behind the painting was: A heart of gold is where the rainbow begins. We are an inclusive organization and always like supporting our local communities.

Next time you're flying over Vancouver, keep your eyes peeled!

[Thanks to Lucas for the tip! Image via The Vancouver Sun — Wayne Leidenfrost , PNG]


British Columbia Premier Shuts Vancouver Hospital Ward That Once Served Those Dying from AIDS: VIDEO

Clark

Premier Christy Clark along with UN under-secretary and executive director for UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, and Dr. Julio Montaner, director for the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and Health Minister Terry Lake closed the AIDS ward at St. Paul's hospital in Vancouver yesterday at a major press conference:

“This is a proud day for British Columbians as we mark another milestone in our leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Premier Clark. “Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the community, those at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and health professionals across the province, a ward that once served those dying from AIDS, now supports those living with HIV.”

Ward 10C at St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver was originally opened as an AIDS ward in February 1997 during the peak of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the city, when approximately one person was dying of AIDS every day. Earlier diagnosis of HIV, along with advances in treatment and care, has resulted in a significant decrease of AIDS. Patients living with HIV will continue to receive world-leading treatment and care. The focus of the ward will include treatment related to addictions such as various bacterial and viral infections like chronic hepatitis.

“British Columbia’s dedication to the fight against HIV/AIDS has meant that we have reduced AIDS cases in Vancouver by over 80% since 1996,” said Lake. “With continued focus on providing care, treatment and support for those living with HIV and related diseases, more British Columbians will live longer, healthier lives.”

Watch Clark make the announcement, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "British Columbia Premier Shuts Vancouver Hospital Ward That Once Served Those Dying from AIDS: VIDEO" »


Vancouver Man Denied Housing For Being Gay: VIDEO

Jonathan Pretty Ted Salatellis

25-year-old Jonathan Pretty found a great suite in a house in Kitsilano that met all of his housing needs. He spoke with the landlord Ted Salatellis, got all of the paperwork signed, and even paid the damage deposit to prepare to move in. Then he received a call from Salatellis later that day: because Pretty is gay, he felt that Pretty's boyfriend being around would upset his wife and the families with children next door and upstairs, and therefore could not rent to him. When Pretty asked, explicitly, that he was being denied housing because he was gay, Salatellis said "yes."

Global News interviewed Salatellis himself as a follow up to Pretty's claims to get his side of the story. The man provided a bevy of contradictions, saying that he has no problem with gay people and did not deny Pretty because he was gay, but then also saying:

He say he has a boyfriend, and he come in, well you know boyfriend come in and they kiss each other and people live upstairs and downstairs and I no like that.

He also exposed his ignorance of HIV, fearing that Pretty might have it and that he was scared after having been around guests with HIV at a hotel he used to work at, apparently unaware that HIV is not transmissible via kissing, sharing drinking glasses, or failing to wash one's hands after using the restroom.

Pretty has filed a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal for violation of Section 10 of The Human Rights Code, which prohibits discrimination based upon race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability and gender or sexual orientation. An unembeddable video interview can be seen on Global News' webpage.


Vancouver's Gay Deputy Mayor Tim Stevenson To Visit Sochi Olympics Via Private Fundraiser: VIDEO

Stevenson

Tim Stevenson, the deputy mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia will be making a visit to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where he will petition the IOC to add a non-discrimination clause for LGBT persons to the charter. Stevenson, an openly gay man, has received the financial and ideological support of real estate magnate Bob Rennie and developer Peter Wall. The two have each pledged $25,000 to the trip fund, which Stevenson has estimated will amount to $100,000. Ethical concerns have risen, however, and some question the validity of the trip and its donors.

The Province reports:

Simon Fraser University political science professor Patrick Smith said the project seems noble, but could put Stevenson and Vision in conflict-of-interest danger.

Rennie, known as Vancouver's "Condo King," runs Vancouver's biggest real-estate firm. Also, Rennie Marketing Systems has earned millions selling condos at Vancouver's troubled Olympic Village project.

"It's not like there is a conflict, but there is the appearance or potential for a conflict, and both of those are real," Smith said on Wednesday.

"There is an ethical consideration here. This is one of the biggest developers in the city, and a developer that does business with the city. So what will happen the next time something with Bob Rennie comes up? Will Coun. Stevenson recuse himself?"

Smith said he believes the city could make a strong case to publicly fund Stevenson's official trip to Russia: "If the city wants this, the high road is putting your money where your mouth is."

Stevenson has maintained that the trip is not a conflict of interest for any of the parties involved, but rather an important statement about the rights of all humans.

"I just really believe that if they came for you last night, they're coming for me in the morning, and let's just make sure that these things aren't happening on the earth," he said.

Robertson said that at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, "Regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation, everyone was included, everyone was welcome here.

"Sadly, as we are learning, this does not appear to be the case with the 2014 Sochi Winter Games."

What do you think of Stevenson's proposed trip? Would you help fund his endeavor?  


Dolphin 'Superpod' Accompanies Ferry Near Vancouver: VIDEO

Superpod

Passengers aboard a BC Ferries vessel in the Strait of Georgia outside of Vancouver were treated to a Halloween visit from thousands of dolphins.

Checkout the beautiful video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Dolphin 'Superpod' Accompanies Ferry Near Vancouver: VIDEO" »


Canadian Olympians to March in Vancouver LGBT Pride Parade in Sochi Solidarity Statement

Janyk

Canadian alpine skier Mike Janyk and snowboarder Mercedes Nicoll, who were on the Canadian Olympic team in 2006 and 2010 will march in this weekend's Vancouver Pride Parade to make a statement of solidarity with the LGBT community against Russia's anti-gay laws, Reuters reports:

"Seeing what's going on in Russia it does feel really cool to at least stand up and hopefully have a few people take notice of that," Janyk told Reuters. "The opportunity came up to go in the Pride parade as an Olympian and I thought, oh that's a great idea and then all this other stuff came up and it is even more important now."

Even before the Russian controversy the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) had taken steps to raise its profile among the gay/lesbian community by taking part in a number of Pride events across the country.

Canada, winner of a Winter Games record 14 gold medals at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, is expected to send one of its biggest-ever contingents to Sochi with the COC expressing its disappointment in the Russian anti-gay position.

"Playing sports is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation," COC spokesman Dimitri Soudas told Reuters in an email. "Since London 2012, the COC has been involved in more than 100 events, with approximately 800 Olympians.

Nicoll


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