After a recent outbreak of "gay" in the small Canadian township of Craughtch Bend -- using the word "gay" in a derogatory manner, that is: "You're gay!" "That's gay!" "Don't be gay!" "What're you? Gay?" -- the Town Council mandated that all citizens of the area take and pass sensitivity training.
Now, before a citizen receives any town services, such as driver's license renewal, garbage pick-up, even shopping at the local supermarket, Craughtch Bendians must prove they've taken and passed this sensitivity training course.
"It's more than just the deplorable use of the word 'gay'," says Craughtch Bend's mayor Richard Feelwant. "The town rapist has been berated a number of times in recent weeks. And Father Fister, our defrocked priest has been called several vile names, too. We're a community and there is no place here for such vilification and prejudice."
Men playing cards at the local fire hall weren't as convinced. "I think we got bigger fish to fry than worrying about who is saying what," says Miller Indigo, a firefighter for the last 19 years.
The course will cost each citizen $213, which can be claimed on next year's income tax. Persons under the age of 16 are exempt.
The town rapist -- who declined to be identified for fear of reprisals -- had this to say, "I think this idea of sensitivity training is very good. I was among the first to take and pass the course. Being a convicted sex offender, the town paid for my course, provided a stipend while I was studying and presented me with a gift when it was learned I'd passed the exit exam."
He grew emotional, and after a moment continued: "People have to learn that you just can't go around calling a person a 'rapist' -- even if they've raped. It's very hurtful. I think this course will open a lot of people's eyes about how difficult it is being known for breaking the law. My lawyer is in the process of filing a motion with the Human Rights Tribunal to have criminals covered by the Canadians With Disabilities Act -- because having a criminal record is just like having polio or diabetes! And we don't go around calling cripples and diabetics rapists, now do we?"
A member of the Human Rights Tribunal exploratory commission -- who could not be identified -- said that criminals being designated as being disabled appears to be gaining traction.
To this point, only Craughtch Bend's criminal element has, so far, taken the sensitivity training -- paid for by the township.