Recently Brad Trost and Jason Kenney made some troubling comments about the whole gay thing and the progressives just won’t let it go.
Trost, a “full spectrum” conservative, believes in all three conservative values: social conservatism, fiscal conservatism, and democratic populist conservatism. He recently shared his views on “the whole gay thing” in a campaign video.
Let’s consider what Brad’s campaign manager said on Brad’s behalf.
The whole gay thing
“Brad is not a big fan of the gay lifestyle but what you do in private is your business.”
This is offensive. Being gay is not a lifestyle choice, it’s a state of being that is protected from discrimination under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which incidentally also protects people from discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age and physical and mental disability. Following Brad’s logic, he’s not a big fan of the Charter either.
“But what you literally do in the middle of the street needs to conform to some basic community standards. Brad’s concern is that parts of the Gay Pride parade have become so overly sexualized; behavior which is so inappropriate for public viewing that it’s unbelievable.”
People attend Pride parades to show support for the LBGTQ community. Complaining about “what goes on in the middle of the street” is as silly as planning a vacation in Provincetown and complaining you’re surrounded by gay guys in speedos when you get there.
If you don’t support the cause, don’t go to the parade. If you do support the cause and see something that shocks your sensibilities, there are laws against public indecency. Find a policeman and lodge a complaint the way you would if you caught a drunken sports fan urinating on a lamppost after a hockey game.
“If you want to have a parade, have a parade, but don’t ask taxpayers to subsidize it. The fact that we’re going out and borrowing money that future generations are going to have to pay back to subsidize a parade makes no sense to Brad.”
Not subsidizing the Pride parade while continuing to subsidize other parades is discriminatory and a violation of the Charter (see above) and the amount of money Brad would save for future generations by not subsidizing a Pride parade is minuscule.
Trost is running for the leadership of the federal Conservative party. This is a campaign video. It reflects Trost’s social conservatism while at the same time highlighting his appalling lack of understanding of basic human rights.
Outing gay students
Jason Kenney is a guarded and reticent about the whole gay thing.
Periodically he makes statements that sound like he’s catching up to the 21st century. For example, he criticized the Conservative’s opposition to same-sex marriage as being obsolete and failing to reflect the law or social custom.
However, his response to the NDP government’s legislation supporting a student’s right to create a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding and support.
Kenney says teachers, principals, and counsellors should use their discretion to decide whether to tell parents their kids joined a GSA. He says this is okay because “most parents are loving and caring, seeking only what is best for their children.”
Researchers for the Family Acceptance Project identified more than 100 ways families react to their LBGTQ children; roughly half of these behaviors were not accepting. They include physical and mental abuse, banishing LBGTQ kids from family events, making them keep their identity a secret, saying God will punish them and blocking their access to LBGTQ friends, events, and resources.
Unless Kenney is prepared to send teachers home with the kids they’ve outed to protect them from rejecting behavior he’s significantly increased the risk that outed kids will attempt suicide, suffer from depression, or turn to illegal drugs.
He’s also increased the risk that teachers and school boards will find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit because there’s no way to predict how the families of outed kids will react.
Conservative social values
Nineteen years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a Christian college could not fire a teacher simply because he was gay.
Some Alberta politicians toyed with the idea of invoking the Constitutional “notwithstanding clause” to allow Alberta to continue to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
Jason Kenney, then a federal MP, railed against the decision in Parliament. He made a prediction: protecting the rights of LGBTQ people would open the door for a far right, populist party with conservative values and an anti-LBGTQ ideology.*
Sadly, it appears that he was right, both on the provincial and federal levels.
And that’s why progressives won’t let go of this whole gay thing.
*Alberta Hansard, April 3, 2017, p 482