Jan
30
2012

SATC Actress Gay by Choice

Lesbian and the City

SATC Actress Gay by Choice

Just when the world is coming to grips with the idea that homosexuality is innate, along comes a Sex and the City actress to throw a spanner in it.

Born this way? Apparently not, for Cynthia Nixon at least.

According to an article published in the New York Times magazine, Nixon claims to be "gay by choice" following a 15-year relationship with the father of her two children which ended in 2003.  A year ago Nixon had a child with finance/partner Christine Marinoni.

“[F]or me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me, it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me,” said Nixon. “…Why can’t it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate?”

Her stance is causing some consternation among the homosexual community who regard "her switch in sexual orientation as disingenuous." Basically: either you are or you aren't. Sexual orientation isn't a fashion; it isn't something you pick up on a whim, then ditch just as easily.

Or is it? Celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton admits it may have been a choice for Nixon but not for legions of others who were born gay.

“I don’t pull out the ‘bisexual’ word because nobody likes the bisexuals," Ms. Nixon explained to The Daily Best. Everybody likes to dump on the bisexuals.”

Is sexual orientation cut and dry? Are people are either gay or straight, or in some cases, like Nixon, a bit of both? Do such distinctions even matter today?

Jan
30
2012

Dishonourable Killings

No Place in Civilized Society

Dishonourable Killings

It was a pretty spectacular trial and will no doubt go down in Canada's notorious criminal books. But three members of an Afghan family were found guilty of drowning three teenage sisters and another woman in a version of 'honour' killings.

As Canadians we pride ourselves on our multiculturalism, but what does that mean when a culture transfers certain undesirable practices on our shores. Murder is murder, no matter what you call it.

The family in this case killed its own because the sisters were said to be "too western"—defying tradition by virtue of fashion, dating, socializing and internet use.

It may have taken 15 hours for jurors to convict Muhammad Shafia, 58, his wife Tooba Yahya, 42, and their son Hamed, 21, but they all came out with 25-year life sentences—the penalty for murder in the first.

Back in June 2009, the women's bodies were found trapped within a submerged vehicle in a Kingston, Ont., canal in what initially appeared to be an accident, a joy ride gone awry.

"It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable, more honourless crime," said Ontario superior court judge Robert Maranger. "The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your completely twisted concept of honour...that has absolutely no place in any civilised society."

In 2007 the family had left Afghanistan and settled in Canada where Shafia kept a secret polygamous marriage that, if revealed, would have seen him and his family deported.

He was caught on wire and cell phone recordings claiming his late daughters were "treacherous and whores and invoking the devil to defecate on their graves."

Honour killings have no place in this country. How, then, do we as a nation reconcile maintaining our cultural heritage while adhering to this young country's laws and values? Or are the two mutually exclusive?

Jan
30
2012

Brad Pitt's Dark Side

"I Got Really Sick of Myself"

Brad Pitt's Dark Side

He's not exactly a poster boy for misery. But the world heavyweight of sexy and sometimes superhero, Brad Pitt has a dark side. The Moneyball star spoke out recently to the Hollywood Reporter about his battle with depression throughout the '90s —a time, ironically, during which Pitt stared in some of the biggest box office films such as Fight Club, 12 Monkeys, Seven and The Devil's Own.

"I got really sick of myself at the end of the 1990s," admitted Pitt, a contender for Best Actor in the forthcoming Oscars. "I was hiding out from the celebrity thing, I was smoking way too much dope...[I was] numbing myself to sleep—the same routine: Couldn’t wait to get home and hide out. But that feeling of unease was growing and one night I just said, ‘This is a waste.’"

It just goes to show that even someone as seemingly 'together' as Brad, who on the face of it has absolutely everything in life—wealth, looks, Jen—can secretly be falling apart.

A UK-based charity known as Rethink Mental Illness commended Pitt for speaking so candidly about mental illness, an experience which he termed a "great education."

"Mental illness can happen to any of us at any time, whether famous or not, rich or poor," explained Mark Davies, director of communications at Rethink. "Sadly, it can sometimes be difficult to talk about, even though people with mental illness need as much compassion and support as people with physical health problems."

The charity hopes that having someone like Pitt admit to the illness will give others "renewed hope" of recovery.