If You Can't Lick 'em, Join 'em
Story by Gordon Bowness
gordonbowness.com, June 25, 2014
As part of a series recognizing great Canadian country artists, Canada Post releases a stamp in July honouring lesbian singer kd lang. Only a miniscule number of LGBT Canadians have been so honoured before: actors Marie Dressler, Raymond Burr and William Hutt were all I could find (I don't know if bachelor prime minister Mackenzie King counts). Seems really thin to me, especially given Canada's world leadership in LGBT rights. Moreover, this year the US postal service recognized slain gay activist and politician Harvey Milk, and the Finns created a racy series of stamps featuring the work of gay erotic artist Tom of Finland. Canada really needs to up our game, philately speaking.
Other than the Queen and some hockey players, living Canadians started appearing on stamps beginning in 2005 (Oscar Peterson inaugurated that change in policy). Only Order of Canada recipients or Governor General's Award-winners are considered. "We just don't have the capacity to vet folks like those organizations do," says Waite. And while diversity is one of the themes Canada Post aims to celebrate, no LGBT-specific stamp has ever been issued. "It's been discussed at some length. We're still looking for the best way to promote diversity in all its forms," he says.
"We have dialogued wth members of the community," says Waite. "There's actually quite a mixed view as how we might do that from their perspective. I was a bit surprised to learn that some folks were not all that excited by the rainbow flag. That was an education for us. So, again, any suggestion that comes in, we welcome."
LGBT stamp contest
Who or what do you think should be honoured with a queer stamp? Post a comment below or email me your own mock-up and I'll append it to this post.
Drag queen Mama Dominatrix
submitted by Daniel Paquette
Singer Carole Pope and art trio General Idea
submitted by Mary Dickie
Former New Brunwick premier Richard Hatfield
submitted by RM Vaughan