THUNDER BAY – Canada is a great country for so many reasons: its geography, climate, freedom and prosperity to name a few, but perhaps our greatest attribute is our commitment to diversity and culture of inclusively.
Tolerance and acceptance are truly a measure of our society’s progress.
While we continue to grow and are generally admired internationally, I would suggest that a progressive society must continue to grow in our commitments to diversity.
In the spirit of this commitment, I acknowledge that today is the International Day Against Homophobia, recognized on May 17 every year. It is a day of action and recognition offering an opportunity for people to come together and express their support and commitment to gender diversity.
Homophobia is all the negative attitudes that can lead to rejection and the direct or indirect discrimination towards members of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual, transsexual or transgender community. It is also discrimination toward anyone whose physical appearance or behaviour does not fit masculine or feminine stereotypes.
In Canada we are very lucky to have many of our rights protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 15 specifically states “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”
Unfortunately, we still hear the homophobia jokes and slurs in our schools, our workplaces and in the places where we recreate.
We must continue as a society to promote and encourage tolerance. You can make a difference. Think about it the next time you hear a homophobic remark and maybe even ask a question, why?”
Here is a quote from the wife of one of the greatest civil rights leaders ever….
“Homophobia is like Racism and Anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood… I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”
Coretta Scott King