Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Brison tells his familiar story

Despite being Canada's first openly gay cabinet minister, leadership candidate, Progressive Conservative, and Liberal MP, Scott Brison has been mum about his sexual orientation, especially when compared with, say, Svend Robinson. It's refreshing that he's so non-challant about it, but it's also good to hear him talk about his experiences as a gay man in Linda Diebel's profile of him.

I don't want to say he (and other gay MPs and public figures) have an obligation to talk about these things, but certainly it falls to them first and foremost to act as representatives of their particular constituency. Just like it falls to Muslim figures first and foremost to denounce extremism in the name of Islam, so too does it fall to gay MPs and public figures to speak about their experiences, fight for gay rights, and try to make the world a better place for people like themselves.

Identity politics may be unwholesome, unproductive and unfair, but in a world where not everything is fair, they are sometimes necessary. Barack Obama is the only black member of the US Senate. By no means should that be what defines him, but he most certainly is the leading voice for the concerns of black people in that body, and it's just naive to say otherwise.

So it's good to hear Brison talking about these issues. Incidentally, despite the fact that I will no longer be voting for him next month, I still wish him well in this race. If he wins, I won't be disappointed.


At 8/31/2006 1:38 a.m., Blogger HisHighness said...

I don't want to offend my good friend Ryan here, but I have a slightly different take.

Now first let me say Ryan that you know me pretty well and you know I'm no bigot. just in case you might have thought I went nuts or something.

But my take on it is the less I hear him, or anyone else talk about it the better. Not because I don't think it's an important issue, and not because I think it's all "icky" and such. But because the more people talk about them being gay I feel the more it makes it a story. Being gay is normal just like being strait is normal, being white is normal, being black is normal etc.

Now I know that view is naive because there are evils out there in the world that are trying to tell you all you're second class citizens. But at least afford me the ability to wish for a perfect world if I can't ever live in one. I'd like to live in a world where someone talking about themselves being gay would be as weird as if I did a speech about being strait. I'd like to live in that world where people'd be like "Big deal, you're gay. And?"

That's just my view on it, hope I didn't piss mah buddy off. :D

At 8/31/2006 3:31 a.m., Anonymous Simon said...

Your excellency...

I am sure you are not a bigot. And you have every right to hope for a perfect world where being gay is no big deal. But we haven't arrived at that happy station yet,and if gay people don't talk about their lives and their struggle for human dignity, I'm afraid we never will.So as the ReformCons prepare to try to strip our equality rights you and everyone else better get ready for a lot of gay blah blah blah.Sorry...

At 8/31/2006 10:16 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've given up any direction to Brison, not because he's gay, but because of his double-standard. His critisms of Ignatieff made me choke considering his long history of "serious gaffes", i.e. emais and income trust.

He actually shows he's getting desparate.

At 8/31/2006 11:59 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott's not a gay MP. He's an MP who happens to be gay.

From what I've seen. He doesn't shy away from it, nor does it put it out front and centre. He's upfront about who he is and what he stands for. It's a charter issue. I have similar views to clear grit. Scott should be a loud voice for Charter Issues.

And as for Iggy...what kind of Liberal Leadership candidate WON'T say he would continue to be an MP if he loses...sad. That's not leadership, that's disgusting power politics, which is what the Liberal party DOES NOT need right now.

Retraction after retraction...maybe Iggy needs to go back to the US or Europe, where he's been the last 30 years. The man is smart and a good addition to the Liberal Caucus, but in no way should he be leader.

At 8/31/2006 3:28 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

With respect, hh, you and I both want the same thing. I would prefer to live in a world where talking about sexual orientation (or race, or gender, or any other variation of identity politics) was unnecessary, but unfortunately, we don't live in that world. We live in a world full of homophobes, racists and sexists.

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when people never spoke of sexual orientation. Gays were expected to remain in the closet, and any discussion of the issue of sodomites being thrown into jail was deemed pointless at best and ghastly and disgusting at worst. Gay people didn't get to where we are today by pretending to be straight. In the 1960's and 1970's, gay men and women finally said "enough is enough" and came out, thus FORCING society to deal with the issue. One day we'll get to a point where we won't have to talk about it anymore. But not in our lifetimes. Unfair? Yes. True? Unfortunately.

At 9/01/2006 12:55 p.m., Anonymous Hishighness said...

Yeah, I think I kind of misrepresented myself. I didn't mean to say that I thought people shouldn't talk about it in the world we currently live in, I just meant to say I wish we lived in a world where people didn't have to talk about it because it would be a non issue.

I tried to type that out in a way where that was clear, but I can see now I failed. That's what I get for taking on a sensitive topic I guess.

I really hope I didn't offend you Ryan, or anyone else.

At 9/02/2006 11:05 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

You're too kind; you didn't offend me. There was nothing to be offended by.

At 9/08/2006 11:26 a.m., Blogger DPW said...

Roy MacGregor covered the gay angle on Brison even better, IMHO, in his Sept 7, 2006 piece:


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