In Ottawa, reaction to the growing AIDS epidemic seemed to dominate the late summer months. In mid-August, Gary Guzzo, president of the Central Canada Exhibition, ordered two graphic pamphlets banned from a stand set yup by Planned Parenthood Ottawa.
The pamphlets, entitled “News for Gay Men” showed naked homosexuals engaged in oral and anal sex and used “explicit street language” to get the Planned Parenthood message across. A 13-year-old picked up a couple of the pamphlets and showed them to her mother, who immediately complained to Exhibition officials who turned them over to Mr. Guzzo.
Planned Parenthood’s reaction to Guzzo’s call for the pamphlets to be removed from the Exhibition was predictable. Cindy Manson, president of the organization in Ottawa, defended PP’s action on the usual grounds that it was “needed” to explain “safe sex” to homosexuals and others who might not yet know about AIDS. Quoted in the Ottawa Citizen, Manson stated that Planned Parenthood is “not advocating homosexuality,” but performing a social service by providing “complete and accurate information.”
Her position was supported by Ken Gallagher of the Carleton University Gay and Lesbian Alliance, as well as the Ottawa Citizen, which in recent months has published a number of columns and editorials in support of homosexual “rights.” On one particular occasion regarding a Gay Pride Day controversy, the Ottawa Citizen went so far as to give a homosexual activist column space to defend a magazine which published an article defending pedophilia. The editorialists for the paper also recently described as “courageous” the decision of the United Church to ordain practicing homosexuals.
Although Planned Parenthood has always claimed to be a much-needed and appreciated organization within the community, its executives clearly feel no need to pay heed to honest expressions of outrage and disgust coming from individuals or the community at large.
The Ottawa Citizen surveyed 30 parents attending the Exhibition and found that 27, when shown the pamphlets, supported a ban on the material. Some who had originally supported Planned Parenthood expressed shock when shown what was being made available to everyone, including children.
Although Planned Parenthood removed the offensive material, they may yet succeed in getting their pamphlets into the hands of children at next year’s Exhibition. The Interim has learned that Gary Guzzo, who is a well-respected retired family court judge, will be replaced as president in December of this year. An Exhibition official told The Interim that Mr. Guzzo was elected for a two-year term and he must step down as his mandate is almost expired.