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Subject of an apology from the National Post, transphobic ad makes its way into the Toronto Sun

Posted by Derek Flack / October 2, 2011

Toronto Sun Transphobic AdOnly two days after the National Post issued an apology for running what was widely considered to be a transphobic advertisement from an organization that calls itself the Institute for Canadian Values, a similar version has appeared in today's Toronto Sun. Although not identical, the features of the ad that the Post characterized as unacceptable in its apology remain in place.

"Where the ads exceeded the bounds of civil discourse was in their tone and manipulative use of a picture of a young girl; in the suggestion that such teaching "corrupts" children, with everything that such a charge implies; and in their singling out of groups of people with whose sexuality the group disagrees," the Post's editors wrote in a note first published online on Friday afternoon.

Obviously the Sun doesn't take its cues from the Post, but the decision to go ahead and run this ad after the controversy the initial version caused seems rather brazen. And, to be honest, the slight modifications don't really change its message at all. Thoughts? Are you surprised that the Sun would run this ad? Disappointed?

Update (Monday 4:30 p.m.)

Xtra's Rob Salerno got in touch with the Sun regarding the ad, and although the paper won't apologize for running it in the first place, the publisher says it will not reappear in the paper. "We feel that they've made their point and we've chosen not to run it again," Mike Power told the publication earlier today.



scott / October 2, 2011 at 04:45 pm
No one can possibly be surprised. It's repulsive. Kudos to the National Post at least.
PepsiAddict / October 2, 2011 at 05:09 pm
Surprised? Hell no! Disappointed? Hell no! One could expect nothing less from the Sun.
srdgarg replying to a comment from scott / October 2, 2011 at 05:10 pm
Agreed, it's the Sun. What do you expect?
lyrica / October 2, 2011 at 06:06 pm
It is truly disappointing to see that some groups continue to demonize and misrepresent other groups and encourge intolerance and ignorance. I support their right to believe as they wish, and live as they wish, but that right ends where other peoples lives begin. Their religion tells them they are right and that is all there is to it. Perhaps that is why there is so much hate in the world. It's hard to get along when everyone is right and has God on their side and everyone else is wrong and is going to hell.
mike in parkdale / October 2, 2011 at 06:11 pm
Is it just me.... or does it seem like The Sun has gotten even trashier since the launch of Sun News?

I've always known them to be a rag, but has it always been this bad?
shana / October 2, 2011 at 06:11 pm
I'm not surprised at all. The Sun is one very offensive paper.
Darcy McGee / October 2, 2011 at 07:24 pm
That sucks ass. Trans ass.
Jad / October 2, 2011 at 07:28 pm
The last time I picked up a a sun(on the subway), it was nothing but ads...who knew they still wrote articles.

It's not always religious, some parents just don't want their kids to learn about sex when they're in grade 2. Let kids be kids...sometimes it is that simple.

With that being said, I wonder if they teach this is curriculum outside major urban centres? I live downtown, so I have no doubt its being taught here but you have to wonder if its being taught in places with much less diversity. Now that I think of it, what about places like Thorncliffe Park, where they allow muslim prayer in school.
buffer2 / October 2, 2011 at 07:31 pm
so a girl saying she a girl is now anti something? what is society coming too?
Hurrrrrrr replying to a comment from buffer2 / October 2, 2011 at 07:35 pm
Mad Hiddy replying to a comment from buffer2 / October 2, 2011 at 07:39 pm
it basically states that being gay or transgendered is wrong or "weird", which confuses kids enough.
Dee replying to a comment from buffer2 / October 2, 2011 at 07:43 pm
...Did you carry on reading the entire add or would that be too many words to digest at once? Also, you may want to have someone proof read your partial sentence next time you post; 16 words and 2 errors?!
LS / October 2, 2011 at 07:56 pm
I agree with Buffer2. I am by no means a religious extremist, and many of the people that I am close to are of all walks of life (transgendered/transexual included), however I have to say that I agree with the message in this ad. I do not want my children learning about this in school, it's completely unnecessary. What I DO want is for my children to grow up and thrive in an accepting environment, where everyone is treated with equal respect and understanding. But to have my daughter be taught to question whether or not she is, in fact, a girl? Please - that is absurd. Life is confusing enough without adding something like that to the mix. That is something that an individual will figure out on their own, as they grow and develop into an adult. As long as the people around them are supportive if they do decide to make a change - that is all that matters.

And Dee - speaking of being understanding, why are you pointing out someone's grammatical errors? Is that the most clever thing you have to say here? Did you consider that maybe English is not their first language?
scott replying to a comment from LS / October 2, 2011 at 08:05 pm
"As long as the people around them are supportive if they do decide to make a change - that is all that matters."

LS - this is the key problem. People generally are not supportive. Teaching about things like this in school, if done correctly (maybe a big if) is a counterbalance to the messages of fear and hatred the kids might tend to get everywhere else.

Also, read the National Post's apology and you'll see exactly what they were apologizing for in relation to the ad. Those concerns are not addressed by the Sun, which is the issue here.

In other words, with respect, your post here is a straw man argument.
John replying to a comment from LS / October 2, 2011 at 08:23 pm
@LS: If you truly support an accepting environment where everyone is treated with equal respect and understanding, then you should support the curriculum that this ad opposes. It is an anti-bullying curriculum that says no one should be tormented by homophobic insults in the schoolyard. It recognizes that some kids may have two mommies or daddies, or that some boys may prefer Dora to Spider Man, and that this is fine. No one, and I mean NO ONE AT ALL, is taught to "question" whether they are a boy or a girl. As everyone except Charles McVety knows full well, most kids already have a pretty good idea about such things. However, there are some kids who are <i>already wondering</i> why they don't have the same feelings as other boys or girls, and they are indeed taught that these sorts of questions are OK. The idea that there exists a curriculum that is confusing and corrupting children is a flat out lie. The main goal of the curriculum is to fight homophobic bullying, and the fact that this ad appears less than two weeks after the suicide of bullied gay teen Jamey Rodermeyer is hateful and disgusting.
Jason / October 2, 2011 at 08:32 pm
This supposed "Institute for Canadian Values" has "United States of America" as the default country on their donation form. HERP DERP DERP.
Antony / October 2, 2011 at 08:41 pm
Anyone in Brampton get this flyer in their mailbox?

Warren Kinsella says it's more 'lavender panic' flyering targeted at social conservatives...
Gordon / October 2, 2011 at 08:55 pm
American fanatics trying to stir things up in Canada for their own warped means. "Focus on Families" or "Institute for Canadian Values", it's all the same hateful crap. Go home.
Kieren / October 2, 2011 at 09:14 pm
Ahhh, "freedom of expression" at its best.
Adam replying to a comment from Jad / October 2, 2011 at 09:24 pm
"It's not always religious, some parents just don't want their kids to learn about sex when they're in grade 2. Let kids be kids...sometimes it is that simple."

... why do people act like the TDSB is teaching kids about explicit sex acts?! we're talking about sexual orientations here, which is NOT the same thing as sex. (duh.) obviously a school board is going to present the topic in an age-appropriate way. there's way more to GLBTQ people than the sex they have... and i'm preeeetty sure no TDSB teacher is using gay porn to explain what gays and lesbians are.... juss sayin.
AntiPalinAlaskan / October 2, 2011 at 10:44 pm
If they're going to keep running things like this, they should change their name to "The Supernova"-since this kind of lucrative hate speech will cause them to flame out, torching their ideological allies along with them.

That, and, really, Ezra Levant is ALREADY confused.
AntiPalinAlaskan / October 2, 2011 at 10:46 pm
What this ad is really saying is "Please Make Sure I Grow Up To Be Just As Much Of A Bigoted, Paranoid Idiot As Mommy & Daddy".
Jolly Roger / October 3, 2011 at 04:33 am
I encourage people to complain to the Advertising Standards Canada....
John replying to a comment from Antony / October 3, 2011 at 09:55 am
That Tory pamphlet is shocking (at the bottom is says 'authorized by the Ontario P.C. party'). I would never have believed that a political party would try to win votes by adopting an objectively pro-bullying policy. This homophobe-baiting needs to stop. Someone is going to get hurt.
John replying to a comment from Antony / October 3, 2011 at 10:06 am
Here's an example of the Tory pamphlet's lies: It claims the curriculum suggests "kissing booths." That's true, except the actual curriculum (for grades 7 and up, not primary school children) then says "In the booth, students and staff are greeted by students who place a stamp of a kiss on their cheek and a few chocolate kisses in their hand."
SM / October 3, 2011 at 11:22 am
I don't get the big argument. This group paid for the ad space, they should be able to say whatever they want in that space. It shouldn't matter what the paper thinks or what society thinks or even the opinions of the readers. Freedom of speech is all it is. A paper shouldn't need to apologize for accepting thousands of dollars for an ad page in their paper. It's how they make money. Any paper that apologizes is just keeping the peace so you buy more of their papers.
The National Post not only got money for running the ad, but they will continue to get your money for apologizing for it!
sulu / October 3, 2011 at 11:47 am
The world's greatest minds have always said to question everything.

It would be kind to say that this ad is about people who underestimate children's ability to understand things. The reality is, they want to mold their children in their own limited belief systems. Some of the above comments prove that many in our society are already indoctrinated by arbitrary rules created thousands of years ago to govern and control the masses like sheep.
sulu / October 3, 2011 at 11:51 am
Lily Allen said it best .... Dear SUN "newspaper" ...

Mark Dowling / October 3, 2011 at 12:56 pm
Gotta hand it to McVety - he's a complete nutjob BUT he played this brilliantly.

1. Give the ad to the Post.
2. Get free media from the ensuing furore
3. Give the ad to the Sun and get even more free media.

The Post would likely have rejected the ad if it was in the Sun first.
Fantomex replying to a comment from Jolly Roger / October 3, 2011 at 01:43 pm
I've already have done so-thanks for the info.
Alex replying to a comment from SM / October 3, 2011 at 04:39 pm
Uh, by that argument I could run a pro-nazi ad calling for the extermination of an entire race, or an ad advertising a huge bounty on someone's head. I hope you see the problem now with letting people put whatever they want in an ad, a newspaper has a responsibility for what is inside it.

I understand parents that think this stuff is too complicated for their kids, but I'm pretty sure they start teaching sex-ed around grade 7, so what's wrong if in grade 2 or 3 they read some stories about kids having two moms or dads? I don't get the big upset about all this. If you're religious and this upsets you just put your kids in a religious school.
Erin / October 3, 2011 at 06:52 pm
I think it's worth pointing out that students pretend to be things they're not every single day in classrooms - from pretending to be a dog in the class production of Click, Clack, Moo, to pretending to be Rosa Parks in a Reader's Theatre production of The Montgomery Bus Boycott, to pretending to be of the opposite gender. Anyone who thinks kids are going to be confused by being asked to play a role has a pretty low opinion of kids. What the role-play is really doing is developing empathy by asking them to make connections.
Jennifer / October 5, 2011 at 02:12 am
What confuses me here is that they included intersex. Do they really not understand that intersex refers to the biological sex being ambiguous, not comparable to their belief of a choice of gender or sexuality? Nobody chooses to be born with a micropenis, an enlarge clitoris, both sets, or whatever combination. Nobody choose to be transsexual/transgender/hated, either, but you know what I mean.
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