1 min

Government has no role as gatekeeper of decency

Gays need to speak up against C-10

Ontario queer filmmakers remember quite vividly the last time a conservative monster became the gatekeeper of decency.

Her name was Mary Brown and she was head of the Ontario Censor Board (now known as the Ontario Film Review Board), an institution infamous for its censorship practices.

Guess who got the brunt of censorship? You guessed it: gays.

In 2000, the OFRB charged the Glad Day Bookstore in Toronto for selling a gay porn video that had not been reviewed by the government agency.

Today, we are faced with an attack from the Conservatives, again in the name of “decency” and “morality”.

Charles McVety, president of the nutbar religious group Canada Family Action Coalition, is said to have significant influence over the Harper government. He argued that “films promoting homosexuality, graphic sex or violence should not receive tax dollars”, and indicated that several Conservative MPs supported this position.

Now Bill C-10 is on the table, and guidelines are being drawn up to revoke tax credits from “offensive” film and video productions.

As the director of programming for Inside Out, Toronto’s Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival, I am worried. We have come to assume that freedom of expression is protected in this democracy, but neo-cons would rather act as morality police than see queer people express their sexuality on screen.

If we don’t speak up now, we’re doomed to seeing ourselves disappear on screen. And if we don’t vote the Conservatives out in the next election, we won’t recognize our country anymore.