Vancouver
2 min

Queer cinema: a threat to our border?

Where are these border guards when I'm being bombarded by images of Hugh Grant?

The Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) mandate is: “to facilitate the movement of legitimate travellers and goods and to intercept those travellers and goods that pose a threat to Canada.”
 
Fair enough. I’m happy that border guards are in place to intercept travellers or goods that pose a threat. 
 
Is that why in early December the CBSA seized an award-winning film by an Alberta filmmaker on its way back into Canada from an international film festival? The film is about a gay man who reminisces about his childhood — sounds really threatening to me.
 
A week earlier, the CBSA detained three films on their way to Ottawa’s Inside Out Festival, leaving organizers scrambling to find alternate prints. The strange thing was, all three films had entered Canada before, and one was rated PG.
 
After a decade of watching Little Sister’s battle Canada Customs, I don’t think I have to point out how unfair and homophobic our border system can be. 
 
In theory, the border agency should protect all Canadians, not just the homophobic variety. What poses a threat to a homophobic Canadian might constitute a great date movie for me. And vice versa.
 
I’ve watched countless films and TV shows that posed a threat to me and nobody stopped these at the border. Every time I watch heterosexual male actors like Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon or Hugh Grant get the girl, that poses a threat to me.
 
And now on top of that, tax-paying, law-abiding, respectable queers across Canada have to watch Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker together in opposite-sex marriage? I’ll admit I wouldn’t kick Sarah out of bed, given the chance. I don’t think I’m alone here. And yet, we have to watch Hugh Grant get the Sex and the City Girl?
 
What’s CBSA got to say about that? I pay my taxes. I deserve to be protected too.
 
And let’s not even mention all the episodes of The L Word we had to suffer through because it was the only lesbian content on TV for years. That posed a threat to me and all Canadian lesbians.
 
Where were Stephen Harper’s border guards when Showcase TV was airing The L Word on so-called Canadian television when it could have been producing homegrown queer content?
 
Having to watch Mia Kirshner as Jenny whine her way through yet another poorly written episode was a bigger threat than any Canadian lesbian should ever have had to endure. 
 
And what about every time I’m standing in line at Shoppers Drug Mart and I’m forced to read a People Magazine to pass the time, and I’m barraged with articles about a certain promiscuous heterosexual golf pro and his many mistresses?
 
As a law-abiding queer citizen, I feel threatened by such a bombastic bombardment of blatant heterosexuality right out in the open. A naked hetero display at the front doors of a great Canadian drugstore conglomerate. Even with my Shoppers Drug Mart Optimium card at my disposal, I feel threatened. Where are Harper’s border guards then?
 
What I want from CBSA is simple. I want our border guards to protect us from the very real threat of terrorists, guns and suicide bombers. Don’t you?