kd lang Attacks Prime Minister For Ignoring World Outgames

Gay SportsMONTREAL, CANADAPrime Minister Stephen Harper has chosen to “support intolerance” by refusing to attend the first World Outgames for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered athletes, singer k.d. lang said Friday.
Lang will be the headline performer when the games open Saturday, with the participation of more than 13,000 athletes from around the world.
“It’s a sad statement that the national leader of one of the most progressive countries in the world chooses to support intolerance rather than all-inclusiveness,” she told a news conference at the Olympic Stadium.
“It’s a very, very important moment in the GBLT [gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgendered] community’s history, as well as Canadian history,” she said.
“It’s momentous for Canada.”
Other leaders to appear
Lang said the GBLT (usually referred to as LGBT) community shouldn’t take Harper’s absence personally.
“It’s our job to see that as an unfortunate ignorance, rather than as a statement against us,” she said. “It’s just that he hasn’t got there in his heart.”
Quebec Premier Jean Charest, interim Liberal leader Bill Graham and Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe will all make appearances at the games, so Harper’s absence is likely to be noticed.
But a spokesman for the prime minister said there is nothing political in Harper’s decision to skip the Outgames. “The prime minister receives hundred of invitations to attend several events at the same time,” Dimitri Soudas told the Canadian Press in a telephone interview. “He simply can’t be everywhere at the same time.”
Soudas said Public Works Minister Michael Fortier will represent the government at the games along with several Conservative MPs, although he didn’t specify which ones.
UN human rights official to speak
Soudas wouldn’t respond to Lang’s criticisms. “She’s not the first celebrity to comment on the activities of the prime minister,” he said.
According to Louise Roy, CEO of the organizing committee, “The first World Outgames will be the largest LGBT event ever held, encompassing sports, culture and human rights.”
The guest speaker at the opening dinner will be Louise Arbour, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights.
“Because of the stigma attached to issues surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity, violence against LGBT persons is frequently unreported, undocumented and goes ultimately unpunished. This shameful silence is the definitive rejection of the fundamental principle of universality of rights. For this reason I am honoured to participate in this vital event,” Arbour is quoted as saying on the Outgames website.
from CBC News

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