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Bromo of the Week: Kameron Slade

20 Jun

Kameron Slade, a grade 5 student at PS 195 in Queens, NY, won a class competition with a poignant speech in favour of gay marriage. He was meant to deliver it in front of the entire student body for the school-wide competition when his principal stepped in. Kameron was told that he was not allowed to deliver his speech because it was deemed inappropriate. Furthermore, he was told by his principle that he would be removed from the contest entirely if he did not change his topic.

“Like President Obama, I believe that all people should have the right to marry whoever they want,” his speech begins. “I believe that same-sex marriage should be accepted worldwide, and that parents and teachers should start to discuss these issues without shame to their students.”

After getting some publicity from local news channels, the school’s chancellor, Dennis Walcott, stepped in and gave Kameron permission to deliver his speech at a special assembly for 5th graders.

Kameron is our Bromo of the Week for his courage and understanding of love. Here is his speech in full, delivered to NY1:

Thank you Kameron and congratulations on a well-written speech!

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Toby’s Law Passes!

14 Jun

It was a historic day for Ontario.

Around noon on Wednesday, June 13, 2012, Queen’s Park unanimously voted in favor of amendments to the Ontario Human Rights code that would protect the rights of transgendered people in the province.

After four failed attempts in the last six years to make similar amendments, NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo was finally successful with the help of PC MPP Christine Elliott and Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi. Anyone who follows our provincial politics (or any politics at all, for that matter) knows that it’s a rare occurrence that all three parties work amicably together and even more rare that an amendment of such a magnitude is passed unanimously. Clearly, this was an important issue to all MPPs, as it should be, and our response is: it’s about motherfucking time.

Cheri DiNovo and a dog. Like a bawse.

The transgender community has been struggling with inequality, having a hard time finding jobs, rental housing, and sometimes even health services. That’s right – health services. You know there’s something wrong when someone in our country is having a hard time finding health services.

Prior to the vote, the Ontario Human Rights code guarded against prejudice for “race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability.” We are proud to say that it now includes “gender identity” and “gender expression”.

Ontario is the first Canadian province to recognize gender identity in its human rights legislation. Today I can honestly say that I’m proud to be an Ontarian. Well done, government, well done.

International Day Against Homophobia

17 May

International Day Against HomophobiaHomophobia hurts everyone. Do your best to stand up for yourself and others today. Shout out to our fellow Canadia-bros Fondation Émergence who put this movement together.

Homophobia is an insidious process that channels its effects through subtle, usually transparent ways. No one is safe from hostile manifestations to homosexuality. Quite surprisingly, many homosexual individuals themselves adopt homophobic behaviour, hoping it would protect them against prejudice from their entourage. The International Day Against Homophobia aims to reach all groups of society, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Read more about the movement on their website.

Also, a big hello to new readers coming in from our post about the Bromo Cheat Code yesterday. Grab a seat and stay a while, beer’s in the fridge.

In ‘The Real World’ Bromos Have a Cheat Code

16 May

Yesterday, Whatever published an interesting post framing the real world as a video game, and the difficulty setting as the minority status you are born. In an effort to help straight folks understand “privilege” without using the word, the author declared the easiest difficulty setting in the game as being “Straight White Male.”

Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.

This means that the default behaviors for almost all the non-player characters in the game are easier on you than they would be otherwise. The default barriers for completions of quests are lower. Your leveling-up thresholds come more quickly. You automatically gain entry to some parts of the map that others have to work for. The game is easier to play, automatically, and when you need help, by default it’s easier to get.

From a bromo perspective, this analogy holds water. While our status as a sexual and/or gender minority sometimes impacts our lives (usually when we come up against laws) being a bromo has its advantages. While we might not play on the lowest difficulty setting: a lot of us have the cheat code.

We don’t play the game as “Straight Male” – but we can if we want to. When entering dungeons, facing off with bosses, or just grinding to gain experience points, if the going gets tough we can hit pause, enter STRAIGHTGUY, and unlock the special abilities of that class of character. All abilities immediately gain +1. Right on!

Bro

10+ in Awesomeness

But of course, this trick isn’t perfect. When the code is engaged it slowly decreases your stats like Stamina and Health. Stress levels increase as you see your status levels drop, and you rush to make it through the quest. When you finally make it through and back to home base, your levels will return to nearly pre-code levels. Not much of a sacrifice, but it still takes its toll.

The post delivers another relevant kick of reality:

In The Real World, you don’t unlock any rewards or receive any benefit for playing on higher difficulty settings. The game is just harder, and potentially a lot less fun. And you say, okay, but what if I want to replay the game later on a higher difficulty setting, just to see what it’s like? Well, here’s the other thing about The Real World: You only get to play it once.

So, if you play with the cheat code on all of the time, you waste your chance at living an honest life. Safer? Easier? Probably. But surely we can use our special ability to reprogram the game for other people. Even without the cheat code many of the players will find us more relatable: so lets use that instead. By all means plug in the code if you’re in danger, but the rest of the time we have an opportunity.

Homophobia -1 to every non-playable character you encounter that reconsiders their view of what it means to be gay. Misogyny -1 when you call out your buddies for using derogatory language. Bigotry -1 when you stand up for our femmebros and tell people there is nothing wrong with being flamboyant. Transphobia -1 when your treat trans bros like bros, bro.

Our default setting may lead through a couple of difficult levels, but more importantly we can change the very fabric of the game. Get out there and play on, bromos.

Bromo of the Week: Scott Heggart

19 Mar

Scott Heggart’s public journey as a closeted teenage jock is serving as both inspiration to kids in similar situations and as a stark and emotional reminder as to why initiatives like You Can Play are so important.

“I was ‘out’ at home, in the closet at school. So I spent all my time at home,” he recalls. Every coming out story has its challenges, and being a part of a team where locker-room homophobia encouraged was not easy for Heggart.

Heggart documented an entire year of his journey on YouTube anonymously. When the time came to come out, he did so quietly, and on Facebook. The response was overwhelmingly supportive. “[His teammates] recognized how much courage it took and they recognized how much trust he was putting in them.”

Now a communications student at the University of Ottawa, Heggart’s videos focus more on political activism and drawing attention to the inequalities that gay people face. Especially moving was his commentary on the suicide of Jamie Hubley, which has garnered him some significant attention.

For having the courage to share his personal story with thousands as a teenage boy and turning into an eloquent (and attractive!) young man, Scott Heggart is this week’s Bromo of the Week.

A Young Heggart on Coming Out:

Read more at the Ottawa Citizen.

dys4ia: Experience a Trans Journey in 8-bits

13 Mar

Sometimes it is hard to understand just what some people have to go through, which is why it is great when someone take the time to make their experience accessible. That is precisely what dys4ia does for the male-to-female transition journey.

dys4ia

As a game it isn’t very exciting, but the point is to share experience. You complete some monotonous and slightly frustrating little challenges related to the author’s journey from male to female. It’s quick, and definitely recommended to anyone. The more you know, right?

IRAQ: Killed for Looking Gay

12 Mar

EmoI know a lot of the viewers to this site don’t particularly look or act “gay” – and here is a perfect example of why we are lucky that way. Kids in Iraq are actually being murdered for the way they dress or cut their hair, and it is happening right now.

Shi’ia militants are targeting youth who they perceive to be gay or emo, apparently for religious reasons.

The good folks at AllOut.org have set up an online petition calling on world leaders to intervene. It isn’t much, but every little bit helps.