Top News

Pride celebrations, straight ahead

['Refocus with Gerard Veldhoven']
['Refocus with Gerard Veldhoven']

Refocus with Gerard Veldhoven

Spring is here and Pride celebrations will soon be in full swing across this nation and around the world. The yearly events are celebrated with events that include Pride flag raising ceremonies, parades and all sorts of activities that bring attention to the fact the LGBTQ2 community is well on the road to establishing a place in society equal to all others.

We stand and we demand that equality. We have come a long way and fought hard and long to have the laws changed to accommodate equality as all others. To celebrate that fact and to bring attention to what remains to be done, Pride events are held everywhere.

The latest community to be raising the Pride flag is the Nova Scotia town of Westville. A ceremony will be held on Monday, June 4th at noon. I have approached more towns in Pictou County, and so far the only other towns are New Glasgow and the Town of Pictou will also announce a date for their flag raising ceremony.

The Municipality of Pictou County has not yet made it known if they will follow suit. New Glasgow is set to have the event on July 9 at noon. Stellarton made it known that it will only fly government flags and Trenton has yet to reply.

The busy summer includes many activities, including a flag ceremony in Amherst. A special tribute to the late LGBTQ2 and human rights activist, Eldon Hay, will be held at that event. I will be presenting a tribute to this great man who for years was a strong ally, sought after speaker and advisor.

Eldon, a retired United Church minister and Professor for Religious Studies at Mount Allison University, among his countless accomplishments, was a constant supporter for the LGBTQ2 community. His devotion to this work earned him the Order of Canada, and other accolades.

This event will be held on Monday, June 11 at 4 p.m.

Then on Saturday, June 16, the Pride Parade will take place with activities beginning at 1 p.m. I am so honoured to have been chosen Parade Grand Marshall this year.

This will be the second parade. Last year’s was a tremendous success with floats and many participants. It was also the second last time that Eldon Hay appeared at a Pride event.

We travel through life and meet many people who leave a strong impression with the realization that their wisdom, positivity, a strong wish for equality for all and a lasting influence on us that enriches us forever.

We have the opportunity to say thanks to those who influence us in such a positive manner, and in turn we are able to continue that positivity and pass it on to others. In doing so, we are hopefully able to reach those who deny us equal rights, equal opportunity, equal marriage and equal treatment.

Perhaps this is too much to expect, but we must soldier on and be positive and raise awareness wherever we are able to reach those who do not share our values.

Pride celebrations do the work and provide great platforms. Sadly, this is not possible in many countries where being a member of the LGB TQ2 community is illegal, and cause for imprisonment or even death. Does this mean we give up and let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak? Emphatically no.

We cannot, and must not give in to those who would see us as not equal because of sexual orientation, or true gender identity and expression. Our work continues and we know we can make a difference. Happy Pride!

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:

Recent Stories