On the Gaydar: Straight Pride in B.C., Winnipeg transphobic assault, homophobia at human-rights museum, and more

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      Here’s a roundup of recent LGBT news from across Canada.

      Winnipeg woman assaulted at mall

      A 56-year-old transgender woman from Winnipeg told CBC News that when she was in a washroom at a Portage Place shopping centre on June 15, two women yelled at and assaulted her, and called upon a man to beat her up.

      An investigation by the Winnipeg Police Service into the incident remains ongoing.

      Straight Pride backlash in B.C.

      A gym owner in Armstrong, B.C., is facing backlash after including a Straight Pride logo on his Fitness 2 Life Health Club business card.

      Straight Pride efforts, which have arisen in recent years, have sparked criticism and outrage for failing to understand that the purpose of LGBT Pride is to fight for rights, equality, visibility, and acceptance in the face of discrimination, exclusion, invisibility, and opposition.

      Homophobia at human-rights museum

      CBC News reported that former and current employees have alleged that management of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba, sometimes told them not to talk about LGBT issues at the request of visitors, such as religious school groups, diplomats, or donors.

      The museum confirmed that from January 2015 to mid-2017, schools and educational groups could make the request for SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) content to be omitted.

      The policy ended after an LGBT staff member, who was asked to physically block an alcove about same-sex weddings sparked an internal discussion.

      Justin Trudeau at the Vancouver Pride parade in 2015

      Potential progress on Canada’s blood ban

      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is “very hopeful” that his government will announce a change “very soon” to Canadian Blood Service’s policy that prohibits men who have had sex with a man in the past three months from donating blood.

      Trudeau had promised to remove the ban during his 2015 and 2019 election campaigns.

      NDP MP Randall Garrison from Vancouver Island, who is openly gay, has been fighting the policy for several years, which he argues contributes to homophobia and transphobia. He launched another motion this week to call upon the federal government to take action.

      LGBT issues at Conservative debate

      At a Conservative leadership debate conducted in French on June 17, LGBT issues became a point of contention between some of the candidates.

      Peter MacKay, who said he supports same-sex marriage, criticized Derek Sloan, who has previously questioned if being gay is a choice, for his “problematic” views.

      "Mr. Sloan, being gay isn't a choice,” MacKay stated. “It's necessary to understand that. There are many, many problems with this position. It's not the position of a modern party. It's not a position that respects human rights.”

      MacKay also said Andrew Scheer’s refusal to march in Pride parades negatively affected the party.

      Although Erin O’Toole had previously raised concerns about a federal ban on conversion therapy, he said after the debate that he respects LGBT rights. (On May 25, Calgary became one of the more recent Canadian municipalities to ban conversion therapy.)

      Tribute to late Egyptian LGBT activist

      Activists, LGBT community members, and more mourned the death of Egyptian lesbian activist Sarah Hegazy, who was found dead in Toronto on June 15. She had been seeking asylum in Canada, where she was living in exile since 2018.

      She had been arrested and imprisoned in Egypt for raising the rainbow flag at a concert in 2017.

      An online tribute to Hegazy arose with the hashtag #RaisetheFlagforSarah.

      West Enders oppose street preachers

      On June 11, a group of street preachers who assembled at the Davie and Thurlow intersection in Vancouver's LGBT–based Davie Village faced opposition for their homophobic messages.

      Vancouver police arrived after receiving calls from angry passersby, community members, and residents, who denounced the fundamentalist sermons by the group, led by Dorre Love from Toronto, as hate speech.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.