Thursday, November 8, 2012

Leather and Love: How Romance Helps Stamp Out Hate

In September, a big batch of "Charity Sips" were released by Torquere Press.  This year, proceeds from their sales are going to NOH8.

As a queer woman, and an author of queer fiction, any cause that supports the LGBTQ population is aces in my books.

As a Canadian, I've got to admit, there are certain things I take for granted.  Same-sex marriage is a big one.

If I were a generation older, I might feel differently.  I might have been more involved, whether personally or politically, in establishing this right for gay and lesbian Canadians.  But I'm only in my thirties, so marriage wasn't much on my mind the first time I saw an queer wedding.

Rev Brent Hawkes: Rock Star!
If I'm not mistaken, the first gay AND lesbian wedding (there were two couples involved) here in Toronto in 2001 was on the TV news.  The ceremony was performed by Rev. Brent Hawkes, who is like a rock star to me.  Whenever I see him at Pride or such occasions, my knees go all wobbly.  He's super-cool.

Those two marriages were put through the legal wringer, and not registered until 2003, after an Ontario Court of Appeals ruling.  It was finally determined that, by restricting legal marriage to hetero couples, Canadian laws violated citizens' equality provisions under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That needed to change, and it did change.

Ontario was the first Canadian province to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but the rest of the country wasn't far behind.  By the time the Federal government enacted Bill C-38 in 2005, formally legalizing same sex marriage throughout the country, only 2 provinces and 2 territories had NOT already started allowing gay men and lesbians to marry legally.

This all feels like another lifetime, to me, even though 2001 was scarcely a dozen years ago.  The battles have been fought and won here in Canada.  Of course, there's always more to be done.  At the moment, Ontario is leading the way in formal rights for trans people like my girlfriend.  This year, it was deemed that a trans man or trans woman did NOT have to undergo "bottom surgery" in order to have their gender changed on legal documentation.  That's an incredible feat.

But it would be stupid to rest on our laurels when so much of the world still denies rights and freedoms to queers like me.  I'm not saying that Canada is some kind of promised land--not at all! It tears me up inside when I hear about our Canadian government denying refugee status to persons fleeing their countries of origin on the grounds that their sexual or gender identity makes them a target of extreme hatred and violence.  Threats against them are real and life-threatening, and it's like we in Canada want to hide our heads in the sand and pretend the world is a pretty place for everyone.

I've never been married and I've never been much of a "yay marriage" sort of person, but I still recognize that the right ought not be denied any couple (or more, but that's another matter altogether) on the basis of gender.  The denial of rights to LGBTQ people is a clear indication of the "secret" marriage of church and state, particularly in America.  Okay, it's no secret, is it?

Well, that was a bit more of a history lesson than I intended it to be, but it's been on my mind throughout the American electoral season.  It's impossible to ignore American politics when you live next door.  You can close the windows, but damn it's loud over there! LOL

As I mentioned at the head of this post, Torquere's Charity Sips are benefitting NOH8 this year.  The topic across the board was "leather" so I'm sure you'll find lots of BDSM titles in the bunch.  My story is a little different.  It's a lesbian historical/legend about an Englishwoman new to the New World and fallen star who comes to Earth as a First Nations woman.  They couldn't be more different, but they've got a thing or two to learn from one another.

My Charity Sip is called "To Dream of Her True Love's Face" and you can find it at Torquere Press and Rainbow Ebooks.

Oh, and did I mention this post is part of a Charity blog hop?  Check out Torquere's blog for participating authors and chances to win cool prizes, including a $50 gift certificate for Torquere Press!



  1. Thank you so much for sharing, Giselle. Although we've had a few more victories in our fight for equality during this election, there is still so much more to do. I hope that someday very soon, America will catch up to Canada, and marriage inequality will be a thing of the past.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I love learning about how the rest of the world handles these issues

  3. Hi, Giselle! I agree that Canada's decision to grant marriage rights to its citizens puts it light-years ahead of the rest of the world. I wish here in the states we'd get our butts in gear, and am glad that we have the Canadians as an example of better behavior.

    Thanks for participating in the Hop!