Recent Comments

    A Lesson in Humanism from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

    By Michele Karlsberg

    Michele Karlsberg: For this issue of the San Francisco Bay Times, I present a guest article written by  author and television producer Stefani Deoul.

    For the oppression of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit communities, we apologize. On behalf of the government, Parliament, and the people of Canada: We were wrong. We are sorry. And we will never let this happen again.”

    – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

    An apology. Not a defense. Nope. Just a flat-out, stem-to-stern apology. And in giving it, Justin Trudeau walked into Parliament and walked out my hero.

    Now, I don’t profess to know if he will be the “best economic guy” for Canada or the “best” this or that. But I do know, in this day and age, rather than obfuscating or doubling down or finger pointing, he just said, “I’m sorry. It was wrong. We were wrong.”

    As someone who has proudly held “landed status” and lived and worked in Canada, and yet remains a proud New Yawker and American, this moment could not have been starker for me.

    It was at once so incredibly uplifting, and yet so emotionally demoralizing. How can our neighbors to the north move forward with such grace and joy, while we seem intent on blaming the victims in so many walks of life? In light of this, when asked why I chose to write my young adult (YA) book On A LARP, I realized I wanted to envision a young woman in the New York City I always believe will be.

    I developed Sidonie “Sid” Rubin to be a child of tangible wish fulfillment, a young woman of a post-hatred world—not in a StarTrek (thank you, Gene Roddenberry) distant-future-looks-good kind of way, but in a more palpable, contemporary sense.

    I asked Sid to be this brainiac, funny, occasionally awkward, slightly nerdy—but in a cool way—lesbian because that’s, well, exactly who she is. She doesn’t need to “come out” or “hide her smarts.” It’s important that she have the same ups and downs as everyone else, with no apology needed.

    Why YA? Because messages, particularly those of equality, start young. And if we’re lucky, while we are raising children to know better and to become empowered, we deliver that same message to ourselves.

    And it’s funny. When I began writing On A LARP, I was working on a television series, living in a magical place called Chester, Nova Scotia. The setting of the novel was a small love letter to a city I missed, but it was being formed by living in a place where people are who they are, and that’s just how it is. A bit humanistic, eh?

    Which now, after both watching and reading Justin Trudeau’s speech, I realize humanism is everything. In knowing that, I hope “Sid” is a portent of women to come; that she joins a literary canon of strong, smart, fierce, funny, coming-of-age women, each one made stronger, smarter and braver when they no longer wait to be asked, but rather just assume their place at the table.

    As Prime Minister Trudeau said, “For all our differences, for all our diversity, we can find love and support in our common humanity … . We are all worthy of love, and deserving of respect.”

    Sid and I agree; ’tis the season.

    Stefani Deoul is a columnist and the author of the new young adult mystery “On A LARP,” as well as the award-winning women’s fiction book “The Carousel.” She is also a television producer whose series credits include SyFy’s “Haven.”

    Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management specializes in publicity for the LGBT community. This year, Karlsberg celebrates twenty-nine years of successful book campaigns.