Between the LInes

Boo hoo hoo

Richard Burnett
One could not have asked for a bigger finish to Canada’s Pride season – though the big I had in mind had nothing to do with Pope John Paul II or the gay clergy who, uh, overflow the ranks of the Catholic Church. No, I’m talking about Montreal’s leading French-language daily La Presse which, after a week of sterling coverage of gay life, blew their gay-positive cover with just one lousy piece of journalism by “reporter” Laura-Julie Perreault, headlined "800,000 people at the parade?"

Divers/Cité organizers denied the controversial August 4 report that questioned the Gay Pride organization's attendance numbers. "[Divers/Cité's] evaluations defy all mathematical probability," Perreault’s story states.
Divers/Cité says a 2003 CROP survey it commissioned will settle the dispute.

An earlier CROP survey states 600,000 people attended Divers/Cité's parade in 2000, while the week-long festival drew 125,000 tourists and generated over $40-million in economic spin-offs. Last year Divers/Cité estimates it drew 1.4 million people, including 800,000 at the parade. As Divers/Cité communications director Chris Di Raddo told me for a news piece I wrote in Hour, "It's very frustrating dealing with media like La Presse because after 11 years we're still asked to justify our event and our numbers. Nobody asks these questions of St-Jean Baptiste or the St-Patrick's Day parade."

How true.
So, instead of rewarding La Presse with a pat on the back for all the good stuff they actually did write, I’m going to ignore them.

So there. Boo hoo.
Then there’s Chicago-based Cardinal Francis George who trashed the Chicago Sun Time’s August 1 headline about the Vatican's opposition to same-sex marriages, calling it an example of growing anti-Catholic bias. George had no problem with the accompanying Associated Press story, which described a Vatican statement urging Catholics and non-Catholics to unite in a campaign against gay marriages and gay adoptions. But he denounced the headline, which stated, "Pope Launches Global Campaign Vs. Gays – Vatican: Catholic pols have 'moral duty' to oppose homosexual rights."

“A major daily felt it can tell a lie about the pope on the front page," the Cardinal pouted. "I'm ashamed that this false accusation against the pope was made in our city."
Well, boo hoo.

The headline, I suppose, ranks up there with the fucking Inquisition.
When read in its entirety, the headline "accurately reflects the church's view on same-sex marriage and the role the church requires Catholic politicians to play in this issue," Sun-Times editor in chief Michael Cooke and vice- president of editorial John Cruickshank said in a statement.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.

As for the Bush administration trashing ABC reporter Jeffrey Kofman, I wrote in the July 31 issue of Hour, “I have a dream where the White House will no longer smear journalists like Kofman just because they are gay (and Canadian). George Dubya's henchmen attacked Kofman - the onetime CBC reporter who helped me and David Blair of RCI establish the Montreal chapter of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association back in 1998 — because his July 15 report interviewed members of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad who are critical of the war in Iraq.”

Let it be known that George Dubya’s henchmen have no aversion to outing. And remember that next time a White House faggot gets on his knees to serve America’s homophobic commander-in-chief.
American publications had a field day with the Kofman fiasco.

In July The Minnesotta Star-Tribune editorialized, “Put yourself in Kofman's shoes. What if he hadn't come out yet as a Canadian to his family and friends? There it was, on the Internet for everyone to see. Imagine how difficult it will be now for him at family gatherings or in the office. Awkward silences, punctuated by the occasional, ‘Boy, that William Shatner is an underrated actor.’

“It is nothing short of immoral to add to the burden that Kofman must feel as he lives his life as a Canadian. He probably realized at a young age that he was Canadian when, to his horror, it sank in that he was more attracted to hockey than baseball.”
It gets better.

“To use Kofman's Canadianness as a slur shows how ignorant and intolerant this administration is,” the Star-Tribune rants, “We know much more about being Canadian than we did just 10 years ago. For instance, many sociologists now believe that people don't choose to be Canadian, they're born that way.”
Like gay people! Yaayyy!

One of the best takes on the Kofman saga was by journalist Phil Lovits, who wrote in his hilarious essay ‘Queer Eye for the Straight G.I.’ posted July 22 piece on, “How can one trust a reporter who enjoys both hockey and Liza? How objective can a newsman be when the very troops he's interviewing have no idea that the "camouflage look" is so Nineties?”

Later, Lovits cracks, “It's an axiom in journalistic circles that there's nothing a gay Canadian journalist won't do to get a sexy by-line. Peter Jennings, Canadian by birth, and still unmarried, has seen his ratings tank since the public has become more aware of this scourge.”

Then, the big finish: “Yes, American troops are unhappy with the Iraqi mission. And yes, they have a right to vent their anger and frustration. But the Army, embarrassed and humiliated, needs to take its sexual-orientation policies and adapt them to the ruthless world of cutthroat journalism. A new motto is needed now: "Don't ask. And don't tell a gay Canadian journalist."

Lovits must be a gay Canadian.
I’d like to wind down by quoting my friend and fellow syndicated journalist, San Diego-based Rex Wockner, who wrote in his July 31 column The Wockner Wire, “Have you noticed the warnings from U.S. gay organizations that you shouldn't rush to Canada and marry your lover then come back and file a lawsuit demanding that your home state recognize your marriage?

“They're terrified that some less-than-perfect lawsuit will get filed in some less-than-optimal state and result in a less-than-flawless appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Their master plan requires that you sacrifice your integrity and the legal legitimacy of your relationship for the greater good of the perfect lawsuit somewhere down the road.”

Rex rightly tells gay folks to “go get married if you want to. Some of you have been waiting decades for this. Come back to the 50 states and file hundreds of lawsuits. Overwhelm the courts with them. Keep the story on the front page of your local paper non-stop. That is at least as effective of a strategy. And unlike the control queens' approach, it doesn't require you to deny your marriage and behave like polite little queers until they give you the green light to demand what is yours.”

Then Rex goes for the jugular and attacks pro-gay marriage activists for their top-down strategy that never fucking worked in the first place. “Who do they think they are?” Rex asks rhetorically. “The fight for gay marriage originated in the grass roots. For years, the professional queer activists continually said the time wasn't right. But many gays and lesbians who wanted to marry their lovers refused to listen and pushed onward. Now the full-time queers are playing catch-up and getting all bossy and high-horsy in the process. Shut up.”
Or, like I told La Presse, boo hoo.

Richard Burnett’s national queer-issues column Three Dollar Bill can be read locally in Hour magazine as well as on the web at