Popular Journalism, Religious Morality, and the Canadian Imaginary: Queers and Immigrants as Threats to the Public Sphere

Thumbnail Image
Mosurinjohn, Sharday
Canada , Journalism , Christianity , Islam , Queerness , Immigration , Shafia trial , Jamie Hubley , Youth suicide , Toleration
In Canada, opposition toward GLBQ identities and practices has been almost entirely religious in nature. On the other hand, antipathy toward "undesirable" immigrant profiles--ironically, often those perceived as homophobic and misogynistic--has been articulated through arguments about the supposed incompatibility of their religious values (usually Islamic) with "Canadian" mores. This paper analyzes a variety of national news media to demonstrate how the transgressive figures of the immigrant and the queer are composed in a powerful and particular way through journalistic attitudes toward and understandings of religion. In particular, I examine a discursive framework emergent in reporting on two recent tragedies--one, the 2011 suicide of the gay Ottawa teenager Jamie Hubley, and the other, the 2009 Shafia family "honour killings." I argue that this reporting disingenuously evokes a commitment to tolerance without occasioning a substantial interrogation of what is really being tolerated and why.