|Photo: YVRBCbro, via Flickr. Creative Commons license|
Pride in Vancouver has become our Mardi Gras. It's now pretty mainstream, the parade full of politicians of all stripes & city officials. I've heard it criticized as being too commercialized or 'watered down' somehow, but really, isn't that great? It's a big celebration of LGBTQ people & culture, a far cry from its beginnings as a risky political move to come together publicly to declare, "We're here, we're queer, get used to it!".
This weekend, let's raise a glass to our American friends who saw DOMA repealed not long ago. Let's celebrate with all the same-sex couples married here in BC who are toasting ten years of legal marriage.
But. Before you call me a Pollyanna, I'm not saying we're done yet. As we remember how far we've come since Stonewall, let's not forget the LGBTQ people who are still struggling for basic human rights in the rest of the world. Or facing execution for being homosexual in countries like Sudan, Iran, Yemen. Let's keep up the discussion about the Olympics in Sochi & how best to fight the repression in Russia. Let's remember that for the majority of our neighbours to the south, marriage equality is still a dream. Let's keep in mind the horrifying suicide statistics of queer youth in North America & the gay bashings that are still happening.
& when I say let's, I mean ALL of us. This isn't just an LGBTQ issue. Marriage equality (including all the same rules around children & partner benefits) & the right to simply be out & open about our sexuality or gender without fearing bullying, physical violence, or even death at the hands of your own government--these are HUMAN RIGHTS.
So go give your LGBTQ neighbour/sister/cousin/grandpa/coworker a hug or a smile. Slap a rainbow sticker on something. Speak up when you hear someone saying something anti-gay. Add a few books to your kids collection that include same-sex parents. See you at the parade?
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