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An inclusive society, a dream worth fighting for


A recent editorial in Nova Scotia’s Chronicle-Herald stated that we are in the midst of a trend to accept diversity of our citizens. The article goes on to say that we should wear rainbow coloured glasses and see the new perspective.  

Excellent idea, but that’s not the new realism. Yes, we celebrate our accomplishments and yes, we have come a long way, but that does not indicate that our dreams are fulfilled.
Many of us who have been fighting for equality for many years cannot say that “inclusion is now the new norm”, as the title of this editorial suggests. Oh, how we wish that to be so. I commend those who take the initiative to take part in and promote inclusion.
These are the folks who will be remembered and saluted for expressing the wish for all to accept diversity. Our present government has been a prime example on the world stage, along with a handful of others, in promoting better relations with LGBTQ community.
The proof is in the participation by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who has shown inclusivity towards the community by taking part in Pride celebrations across Canada. The latest one is his walk in the Halifax Pride Parade on July 22.
There are many stories that relate the fact that more acceptance is indeed the case, but let us not forget that these are pockets of change and for change to really manifest itself much more remains to be done. It will certainly not be accomplished in this lifetime and globally perhaps may take centuries.
Canada, as I have mentioned on numerous occasions, is a leader, but yet there are many wrongs in this country as well. The fact our present government is more alert on these matters than any before, problems remain in the LGBTQ community, our Indigenous society, the Muslim attacks and so much more.
We cannot claim inclusivity until these matters are rectified, and that, dear readers is where we must insist on emphasizing our efforts.
Looking through rainbow glasses gives us wonderful feelings, but not reality. We cannot lose track of our goals. Vigilance is of the utmost importance and our responsibility is to raise awareness, fight for equality in all its forms, walk the walk, talk the talk and never lose sight of the fact our work is not yet done.
Future generations will thank us for our efforts and that they may live according to what is right for each one in our society.
Over seven billion people inhabit this world, how many billions reject equality, how many are willing to harm or murder LGBTQ citizens within their nations and in our own country, bullying, beatings and other attacks are not uncommon. So, we continue to raise awareness and teach those who are willing to listen that human rights must be respected and celebrated. How can we otherwise realize equality? Realism is often a terrible and confusing word, making our efforts rather arduous to make this a better world.
We rather look through rainbow coloured glasses as a way to a safer feeling. Is that being realistic? No, but we do appreciate the gains, but by no means have we finished. I urge those who turn a deaf ear to equal rights to turn up the volume, work for change and then we will slowly, but surely realize that we all deserve equal rights.
Comments and information: lgbtconnectionsgv@gmail.com

Gerard Veldhoven is a former Amherst resident who is a longtime activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. His column appears weekly in the Amherst News. Comments and information: lgbtconnectionsgv@gmail.com.
 

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