CBC's Rick Mercer furious about homophobic bullying, wants more Canadian LGBT role models
How many Canadian LGBT celebrities or role models can you name (besides k.d. lang)?
There aren't enough, according to funnyman Rick Mercer.
Mercer may seem like he never takes himself, or his subjects, too serious. But a death has changed that. The quick-witted Newfoundland native became abruptly intense on CBC's The Rick Mercer Report on Tuesday (October 25). In Rick's Rant, he eschewed going for the laughs, and instead spoke passionately about homophobic bullying and the death of 15-year-old Jamie Hubley, a gay teenager who committed suicide on October 15.
Mercer is an out gay man. But many Canadians remain unaware of that fact.
In an interview with Anna-Maria Tremonti on CBC Radio's The Current today, Mercers said he realized that although he is out socially, he doesn't include his gay identity in his work for professional reasons.
Visibility and invisibility is one that is somewhat unique to LGBT people, as most other minority groups, such as visible minorities, cannot hide their identity.
Mercer pointed out that LGBT youth are coming out at younger ages than ever before, thus highlighting the need for them to have role models. Mercer hopes that many other Canadian celebrities and public figures will come out of the closet as a means for helping LGBT teens.
After the death of Hubley, several Canadian MPs participated in this It Gets Better video.
Getting back to the original question at the start of this post, here's just a sample of some Canadian LGBT celebrities, public figures, and role models:
Anne Cameron, author
Spencer Chandra Herbert, politician
Wayson Choy, author
Douglas Coupland, author
Toller Cranston, figure skater
Libby Davies, politician
Xavier Dolan, director and actor
Timonthy Findley, writer
Rex Harrington, dancer
Claude Jutra, director
Elvira Kurt, comedian
k.d. lang, singer
Anne-Marie MacDonald, writer
Ashley MacIsaac, musician
Brian Orser, figure skater
Carole Pope, rock singer
Luke MacFarlane, Brothers & Sisters actor
Jay Manuel, reality TV show personality
Svend Robinson, politician
Patricia Rozema, I've Heard the Mermaids Singing director
Jane Rule, author
Shyam Selvadurai, author
Bill Siksay, politician
Mark Tewksbury, Olympic athlete
Scott Thompson, Kids in the Hall star
Rufus Wainwright, musician
Let's hope many more Canadians help lists like these to grow.
Here is a video of Jamie Hubley performing the Canadian national anthem with the A.Y. Jackson Glee Club on October 12.
Rest in peace, Jamie Hubley.
Online crisis chat service for B.C. youth is available at Youth in B.C., a program of B.C.'s Crisis Centre. A 24-hour distress line (7 days a week) can be reached at 604-872-3311, or toll-free at 1-866-661-3311.