Refocus with Gerard Veldhoven
Settled into the beautiful surroundings of Pictou County is a place where campers and visitors experience a delightful existence of diversity and equality that other similar vacation spots are lacking.
The reason is that the owner decided to welcome all who respect diversity and be non-judgemental, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religious background, colour of skin, or colour of eyes.
I had the experience of visiting the Mermaid and the Cow Campground on many occasions and discovered that not only are campers occupying the place, but farm animals and pets are bountiful. I am not a camper and I have never occupied a tent, though a cabin at this campground would make it bearable for me to give it try.
I believe in comfort, but then I discovered that Jane Morrigan had thought of this possibility and had showers installed and other needs for people like-minded. I suppose you are able to rough it, or choose a more comfortable way to place one’s head.
On the property is huge building that is screened in and can be used for dances, get-togethers and meals. My impression as a non-camper is that on a social level one is able to experience a place where all may have a sense of comfort as the Mermaid and the Cow is all-inclusive.
This is the only campground in Nova Scotia that I believe is open to all, where discrimination is understood and publicly acknowledges that this place is free from discriminatory behaviour, regardless of sexual orientation and all forms of phobias.
Each of us is unique and we all deserve to be treated equally and without prejudice. Even as we like to believe we are free from hassles and bullying, much evidence exists that this is not yet a reality.
So, as we learn of a place, whether it’s a place of worship, a shopping centre, schools, playgrounds or a campground, we like to be included and take our rightful place in all that we do. Dignity, respect and to live in peace is our right and we must thrive to accomplish that and the Mermaid and the Cow is a great example of where we find peace and contentment.
Then we know we are all the same somehow. West Branch, a short drive from the Town of Pictou seems an out of the way location, but it provides a tranquil place for me, as a gay man, to be totally at ease. Comments and information: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Gerard Veldhoven is a former Amherst resident who is a long time activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. His column appears weekly in The Amherst News.