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


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


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


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.


The Story Of The Vancouver Queer Film Festival: VIDEO

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In honor of the upcoming 25th Vancouver Queer Film Festival, a stop-motion video has been released to celebrate 25 years of memorable queer cinema: from But I'm a Cheerleader to Hedwig and the Angry Inch and everything in-between. The festival takes place August 15-25.  

Watch the adorable pop-up book trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "The Story Of The Vancouver Queer Film Festival: VIDEO" »

Students Protest Canadian Christian University's Law School Application Over Rules Forbidding Gay Sex, Relationships

Trinity Western University in Vancouver has applied to join the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and establish a law school in 2015, a request that is being met with protest over its discriminatory 'Biblical' policies, the Toronto Star reports:

TwuTWU has all its students sign a community covenant agreement that they will “cultivate Christian values” and in keeping with biblical values will abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

The law students who signed the petition are urging the Federation of Canadian Law Societies, the body that grants law school status to universities, not to allow TWU to become a law school because it forbids students from being in gay relationships.

Osgoode Hall law student Douglas Judson said Tuesday that more than 1,000 students signed the petition in less than a week because they wanted the federation to know their concerns about granting approval to allow TWU to begin accepting law students.

“There must be some duty to propagate Canadian Charter values,” said Judson. Because of the covenant all students at the university must sign or risk expulsion, Judson said TWU’s policies discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals.

B.C. Civil Liberties Association meanwhile, is backing TWU, saying the school is being discriminated against because of its religious beliefs.

XTRA adds:

“Law school is already incredibly stressful, highly competitive, intense, and we don’t need the added stress of being discriminated against by the institution, says Allison Vanek, who is an executive member of OUTLaw, a group for LGBT students and faculty at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law. “Here at the University of Ottawa we receive nothing but acceptance from faculty, staff and students at our school, and having that support is directly related to our success in law school and that would be helpful and relevant to any law student.

"How is a school with such a convenant supposed to educate a student in law school on these subjects of same-sex marriage and cases about queer families, same-sex adoption, assisted human reproduction?" Vanek asks. "Those are all going to be relevant in the coming years.”

Vancouver High School Apologizes to Man Taunted for 42 Years by 'Fag' Slur in His Yearbook: VIDEO


A Vancouver-area high school has sent a letter of apology and promised a face-to-face one to a man taunted by a printed anti-gay slur for 42 years, the CBC reports:

“I am writing to formally provide you with a sincere apology on behalf of the entire North Vancouver School District,” says a letter sent to Robin Tomlin on Oct. 4 and signed by John Lewis, the district’s superintendent of schools.

Tomlin says he's been haunted for years after his high school yearbook committee printed the word "fag" next to his picture in the 1970 Argyle Secondary School yearbook.

Tomlin isn't gay, but he says the slur stuck and he was badly bullied in school. He says he was even too afraid to go to his school prom for fear of being beaten up and eventually moved out of the area to start a new life.

"Well it made me feel like the whole school thought that," he said.

Watch the CBC's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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