Each year, evils abound at Pride celebrations around the world. Sodomites hold hands, kiss, and even express the gruesome desire to wed, despite their shared chromosomal make-up. But of all the evils one could possibly fathom, no one could have expected a one-hundred-year-old cookie to take the cake. That’s right, a cookie.

Last week, as part of the Oreo’s centenary celebrations, Kraft Foods released a picture of a rainbow-coloured version of their famous cookie. Comments poured in from thousands of cookie lovers either praising the company for supporting love or blaming it for the demise of Western civilization.

In light of last week’s article in which I denounced the use of Pride to sell a product, I was left conflicted in the face of the colourful treat. Is there really anything so wrong with the Pride-cookie, as my previous article would make it seem?  No, there isn’t. The difference is in whether queer rights are being used to sell a controversial product or whether the motive is to affirm the existence of a marginalized group, as it is with Kraft.

The simultaneously overt and ambiguous nature of the ad is pitch perfect.

What could possibly be ambiguous about about a towering, rainbow-bright cookie, you say? Well, take a look at the ad and what it actually says. One giant cookie next to one boldfaced word: “Pride”.

In its simplicity, Kraft has allowed the ad to have a wide variety of meanings to many people, without actually having to directly say anything. The only message from Kraft’s spokespeople was that the poster was in line with the company’s history of “celebrating inclusiveness and diversity.”

The relative ambiguity of the ad allowed the company to appeal to a huge swath of the Western world that is generally pro-gay, while maybe not pro same sex marriage, without appearing to sidestep the issue.

Of course, there are those taking on the task of fighting this message of love, despite the odds. And yes, One Million Moms is the group leading the charge. “Moms are aware that Kraft manufactures a long list of popular products,” the group said in a (not-so-threatening) threat. “But Kraft needs to know that there are competitors that make similar products.”

“[Kraft] announced to American consumers where it stands on the controversial ‘gay’ marriage issue,” OMM went on to say. The only thing is, though, that this isn’t true. At no point did Kraft say anything about marriage, but rather that people should be proud of their love. Of course, it wouldn’t make a particularly effective campaign to attack love, so the specter of marriage was brought into the equation.

OMM stopped short of calling for a boycott, because they’ve probably realized that Kraft foods manufactures a significant amount of cheap products their members consume and won’t go without.

They’ve also undoubtedly realized that another of the other largest food manufacturers, General Mills, has taken an even more overt stance than Kraft by coming out against a same-sex marriage ban in Minnesota.

I almost feel bad for these so-called “conservative activists”. It must be difficult to wake up every morning to have the sky fall around them. But, then again, there’s something perversely enjoyable about watching world fall apart.

What’s going to happen to these people as it becomes more acceptable and less risky for companies to acknowledge their gay customers as legitimate human beings? Will they retreat into the woods to hide from the pro-gay capitalist society?

I hope not, simply because they’re so entertaining.

In any case, twenty years from now, this won’t be an issue. Companies won’t have reason to take a stance either way, because our rights will, for the most part, be fully enshrined in Western countries—at least I hope so.

Argentina became a world leader in transgender rights this week by legally giving its citizens the freedom to change their gender without having to obtain permission from a medical professional or undergo any physical changes. The landmark new “Gender Identity” law, which won congressional approval in the Argentinean senate by a staggering vote of 55-0, also stipulated that public and private health care plans must provide coverage for hormone therapy and gender-reassignment surgery.

No other country in the world has made as bold of a statement about gender autonomy.

“The fact that there are no medical requirements at all – no surgery, no hormone treatment and no diagnosis – is a real game changer and completely unique in the world. It is light years ahead of the vast majority of countries, including the US, and significantly ahead of even the most advanced countries,” said Justus Eisfeld, co-director of Global Action for Trans Equality in New York.

Under the new law, Argentineans will be able to select their gender on official documents and identification, and the government is legally required to recognize their choice. This progressive step is one of many by President Cristina Fernandez, who was the first Latin American president to legalize gay marriage two years ago.

In Canada, people can only change the sex on official documents such as their passport by providing medical proof of gender-reassignment surgery, a costly procedure that many in the transgendered community cannot afford. However, this may soon change, as La Presse reported that Passport Canada is reviewing their policies concerning gender indication on passports.

Right now, the details are unknown of exactly what changes are being considered for the new passports. Perhaps Canada will follow suit with Australia, who has three official gender designations on their passports: M, F and X. This decision prompted the United Kingdom’s Identity and Passport Service to consider not displaying the gender at all.

Or perhaps Canada will simply loosen its restrictions concerning gender identity versus expression. Last July, a series of changes to the Aeronautics Act made it seemingly impossible for transgendered people to fly, by deeming that an airline is not permitted to seat a passenger if “the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents.”

One Canadian MP is determined to put an end to this type of prejudice and judgment based on the grounds of gender identity. Randall Garrison, NDP MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca (B.C.) put forth a private member’s bill to “amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity and expression as a prohibited ground of discrimination” and would allow aggravated circumstances to be taken into consideration at the time of sentencing in crimes where gender identity is a factor. The debate on this bill will resume in the house in May.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

Not quite the case at the UN today

I’ve always kinda liked the UN. Yeah, they’re a tool of the west, but every now and then they do decide to take a stand and not back really silly wars of imperialism like Iraq or let something that actually tells the truth about what Israel’s doing in Gaza such as the Goldstone Report get published or embarrass Harper by kicking Canada off the Security Council. Now, though, they’ve gone and royally screwed the pooch.

Surprisingly, the west is not the cause at all this time, but that’s not to say that they didn’t play a part or rather not play enough of a part, to stop what amounts to a license to nations to arbitrarily execute gays and lesbians. Due largely to African, Middle Eastern and Carribean nations, the General Assembly’s Third Committee on Social, Cultural and Humanitarian issues voted to remove the term “sexual orientation” from a resolution addressing extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The US did speak out against the measure to remove protection from LGBT people, but it clearly didn’t do enough. Mark Bromley, chair of the Council on Global Equality told The New Civil Rights Movement that US support for capital punishment effectively tied their hands on this issue. While this may be true, I don’t think they cared enough to voice the type of opposition necessary to block it.

After years of flexing its economic and military muscle to get its way on areas of extreme self-interest, the States refused to be the international bully that for once was needed. The rest of the west didn’t help out much, either. It’s sad.

It’s even sadder for countless people who can and unfortunately will now be executed with impunity because of the gender of the person they choose to love. Yes, the dark ages are alive and well in the 21st century and now they’re sanctioned by the UN.

What’s happened has happened, what happens next is crucial. There’s a petition you can sign here directed at the UN which is a good start, but putting pressure on politicians in various countries, especially the states, to do something to get the UN to reverse its decision is probably more important.

To paraphrase the Godfather: “Just when you thought we were out of this black hole of ignorance, the UN pulls us back in!”