Sharing their stories

Hannah Morton
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Inaugural Gay Pride Week in Cumberland County wraps up with panel forum

AMHERST - Corey Hunter has not had it easy. From the time he came out to friends and family in Grade 9, he has been the target of many forms of harassment and persecution because of his sexual orientation.
Hunter shared his story at a panel forum, organized by Cumberland Pride, which explored the idea of advancing the gay/straight alliance in Cumberland County.
The forum was part of Cumberland County's inaugural Gay Pride Week, which also saw the colourful pride flag be raised for the first time in an emotional ceremony at Town Hall.
Other activities included a silent auction at the Farmer's Market, a dance at the Old Warehouse Cafe and family picnic at Northport Provincial Park.
"I questioned myself on how to respond to someone harassing me. The only answer I came up with that I could bring myself to follow was to do nothing," said Hunter.
That was until one day in Grade 10, when Hunter reached the end of his line. The constant tormenting had taken its toll and Hunter decided it was time to make it clear to his classmates and teachers that things would have to change and they did.
"I began to notice that when I stood my ground I got results," said Hunter.
A year later, in 2006, a gay-straight alliance was formed at Amherst Regional High School.
The student-driven committee strives to meet the needs of its members and create a more accepting environment at the school.
Today, Hunter says he sees a difference in relations between the gay and straight communities not only at his school, but also in Amherst and surrounding areas.
"This year, I was able to attend prom with a male date. Many people requested pictures, commented on how handsome we looked and remarked about how proud of us they were," said Hunter. "It was truly a magical night that I will never forget."
Other panelists at the discussion included gay rights activist Greg Daborn, Rev. Dr. Eldon Hay, Cherie MacLeod of PFLAG Canada, Leighann Wichman of Youth Project and J. Wallace, an Ontario-based educator and activist.
"I'd like to think that the progress we've made is a foreshadow of how much further we will come in the near future. A person's sexual orientation has no place in being the cornerstone of two people's relationship," said Hunter.

Organizations: Amherst Regional High School

Geographic location: Cumberland County, AMHERST, Northport Provincial Park

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Rollie
    January 18, 2010 - 11:13

    But yet its OK for Mister hunter to get up in front of a crowd (?) and smear his former classmates?

    Don't I love these double standards.

  • LINDA
    January 18, 2010 - 11:11

    COME ON YOU GUYS,this happened years ago,the past is the past,let it be!THIS is the twenty-first century.ALL COREY was trying to explain was his experience with coming out , and it being not acceptable when he attended HIGH SCHOOL,AND because he stood up for what he believed in it had changed a lot of people's point of views on homosexuality.AND now other youths his age are more respectful to him and see him as equal.HE is not trying to get sympathy from people,he deserves respect as the straight community does.IT is like being a visable minority,and if a caucassin calls you out of your name,and stereotypes you because of your skin color,well of course the visable minority as going to react in some sort of retaliation or another.IF this is the same martin family,then I do know you,and being a visable minority,you of all people should be able to relate to what CoREY speaks of.I am a visable minority in this town,and I have suffered discrimination,and still do,but not as bad as the seventies,things have gotten a little better,but not as great as I wish,and COREY is stating the same.HAD any of you attended the FORUM,then you would have more understanding on what this young man was saying.I attended,so I am able to understand where he is coming from.WHAT does a spat in the face have to do with him being gay?IT has no barren on what he is trying to do.AND did you ever take one minute to ask why he did this ?COULD it be that she played a role in this behavior?I would say yes ,she did,and the other question DID THIS REALLY HAPPENED ?WE weren't there to see this behaviour,so we really can not judge this behavior.HE is addressing the public ,to seek equalization,not critcism,put your self in his shoes?EVEN being a visable minority,it's the exact same thing people.ANOTHER thing,I wish that whoever used the name of ROLLIE COLE,have some respect,he past away years ago,I find this type of behavior immature and very disrespectful.YOUR opinion should not matter,because it comes from a deceased name.USE your own name if you want to be heard,why hide?ARE you ashamed yourself?COREY HUNTER is not ashamed ,and personally,I am not also.I believe in equal rights for all people,rather BLACK,WHITE,GAY OR STRAIGHT.WE re all human and we need to get along.AGAIN,if only you had of taken the time to attend the FORUM.MAYBE one day all of you who made a comment will attend PRIDE WEEK.

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 11:07

    How else would you expect Mr. Hunter to speak about his time growing up in Amherst? I know what I would expect. Friction and conflict with the anti-gay attitudes of the community. Having grown up in Amherst I know exactly what he speaks about. In fact he's actually smeared us all, Mr. Cole. At least he had the tact not to name individuals.

  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:56

    You are right My 2 Cents. Mr. Hunters' message is more important than Mr. Hunter's personality (no doubt having been shaped by those around him). If your arguement is to somehow smear him with his past (as a young child...for shame) so as to take away what he has to say today then I suggest you are the one in the wrong.

  • Bertha
    January 18, 2010 - 10:55

    Corey Hunter spat in my daughter's face once after she caught him going into the girls bathroom at ARHS.

    I would suggest to you that a lot of Mr. Hunters negative experiences at high school were a result of his love of constant attention.

    Remember Corey, there are always two sides to every story. Thank you for telling us yours.

  • My 2 ¢
    January 18, 2010 - 10:42

    Spitting was wrong but it sounds like immaturity which we were all at one point in time. I don't know Mr Hunter but it sounds like he has grown up more since then? Even though I am a married heterosexual person, I think gays like himself have the right to let us know what gays face in small towns. Maybe it will help some of us understand what they experienced and maybe some gay bashing will go away. After all they are human too?

  • Snoose
    January 18, 2010 - 10:32

    Well, it seems that parents always bring it back to the past. My parents still do it & I'm over 35.
    Growing up in any conservative community can be tough on children that for one reason or another stand out. I know it was tough for me in this town back in the 80's, and I'm sure I don't stand alone...
    Speaking of 'friction & conflict', 1982 was a tough year for me in this sleepy, small, conservative hamlet. Back in the day the phrase 'date rape' hadn't been coined yet...too bad, it might have helped me through the darkest time of my young life up to that point!
    I was 14 yrs old, went to a party w/ friends, first time I'd ever touched alcohol (can't remember who supplied it), we all went to an ARHS dance which I left early w/ a young man who told me he'd walk me to my Nan's house. Needless to say I was late getting home...and my life @ ARHS turned into a nightmare. My world was shattered...and everyone blamed me. He was popular, I wasn't, I had been drinking, I left with him, I had been dancing w/ him, I led him on, I was pretty, I,I,I,I I!! it goes on & on...
    So to Mrs. Martin & others in Amherst who may feel that abuse in HS may be a direct result of a need for constant gratification, attention or some narcisstic personality issues, PLEASE give your collective heads a shake.
    Nothing ever can change unless society says ENOUGH! I tried @ 14 yrs of age, but no one cared to listen. I'm proud of Mr. Hunter & other youth who have the courage to speak up, stand up, and be heard. The adults around these young people need praise as well, for helping them find the courage to live a life full of esteem, pride,love & tolerance.
    Fear mongering will always be around, that's just life. I'm no longer afraid though...I'm proud of my history & I will NEVER again wear my 'cloak of shame' :)