Happy Pride Month to the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirited community. I was very happy to see that in Kirkland Lake recently the Mayor and Council celebrated Pride Day with a ceremony announcing a rainbow colour sidewalk in the downtown core. There are also many other celebrations of Pride Day and Pride Month being held in Northern Ontario which is a great thing to see.
Myself and my friends are either gay, bisexual, LGBTQ+, Two Spirited or supportive of these groups and that makes me feel safe and confident of who I am and where I am. Many Indigenous gay people refer to themselves as Two Spirited and Indigenous people, especially before colonization, have a long history of being open and tolerant of sexual identities. It is good to see that the world is moving to a more open, less hateful mindset when it comes to sexual preferences.
Many of my older friends talk about the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s and the struggle they had to go through being gay or being part of the LGBTQ+ community. Those were the days when racism, bigotry and homophobia were more or less normal. You also have to remember that homosexuality was decriminalized in Canada in 1969. Thank goodness things have changed to a great degree. However, there are still some fundamental religious groups that are being used by powerful interests to move our democracies and our beliefs in fascist, right wing directions and using homophobia as a tool works for them.
Most Christians I know are big believers in being open and loving and they do not have hate in their hearts. However, there is a core group of people who are being manipulated to the right with the use of hatred in terms of sexual preferences, race, environmental and conservation ideals as well as a democracy more interested in sharing the wealth. It is up to us to rise against all of this hate and including the idea that any kind of war and violence in this world. We all should realize by now that war is just about sacrificing our young people for the benefit of those who make money on conflict.
Congratulations to all those who support Pride Day and Pride Month as they are standing up for people and being supportive with love and care rather than hate and intolerance. People have been killed, discredited and marginalized because they were gay and part of the LGBTQ+ identity. Finally there is hope that love and sanity will prevail and our world and it’s people will become more loving and open. However, that is not a guarantee as things could change quickly with right wing governments getting elected and deciding on how things develop. That is why I am so excited about so many people standing up against hate and supporting Pride Day and Pride Month. We need to keep doing this and to make sure that those who preach hate and intolerance do not prevail.
If you are Indigenous, gay and part of the LGBTQ+ identity, you really understand what it is to be in a minority and oppressed. We certainly know what homophobia, racism and bigotry is all about having experienced it first hand. I urge all my brothers and sisters to stand up to the hate and promote love and peace as much as possible. You can do this by attending pro LGBTQ+ Two Spirited events and ceremonies, communicate your feelings and ideas to those in your circle at work, in your family and everywhere you live.
Do not let fear stop you because we have to remember the poetic writings of German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller recalling the growth of intolerant language and ideas in Germany during the war years when they persecuted Jewish people. “First they came for the Communists and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Communist; Then they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out - Because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out - Because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
The lesson in this quote is that wherever you see hate being promoted never go along with it and fight it as much as you can because if you do not, your own safety will be at risk in a world where fascist and right wing ideals prevail. If you do not push back on hate and anti-democratic ideas you and the generations to come will pay for it in a world that is dark and oppressive.
Happy Pride Month to everyone.