REFOCUS COLUMN BY GERARD VELDHOVEN
n a recent column, Peter MacKay said the following: “Crime has an enormous impact on victims, family and friends, and the community as a whole.” He is correct and indeed measures must be taken sooner, rather than later.
So far, not everyone is protected and I am referring to members of the transgender community. MacKay has voted twice against a federal bill that would give protection to Canada’s transgender citizens, which is stuck in a Conservative majority Senate. Now he suggests protection for all. Did he change his mind perhaps, or is he merely pleasing a certain segment of conservative-minded Canadians?
Of course, if we listen carefully we may hear the sounds of a 2015 election, as we are well aware the rhetoric begins well before any election. I urge Mackay to meet with transgender people, to really be aware of the discriminatory and violent existence they endure. However, having consistently voted against equal rights and protection for the trans community, I see little, or no movement.
Perhaps our MP will personally get involved with constituents and gain the trust of the LGBT community. He should take time to get to know the inner feelings of a person and come to a conclusion. Peter MacKay had a perfect opportunity to be part of a celebration where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals opened up before the general public at a Pride Flag raising ceremony attended by 200 people exposing their minds and hearts to all who were willing to listen and absorb. Get the facts from those concerned, before deciding whether to embrace those of us who don’t quite fit the mould, or simply denying them equality. Then leave them to endure the discrimination and violence that has haunted our LGBT community through the centuries.
Therefore, I invite the Central Nova Member of Parliament, Canada’s Justice Minister and Attorney General, to open up and join me in conversation with members of the LGBT community and hear our concerns. Voting against equal rights and equal treatment is a travesty and is reminiscent of countries such as Russia and Uganda. In his closing statement MacKay says, “The Federal Conservatives stand for a fair, efficient and INCLUSIVE justice system that Canadians can have confidence in.” Actions speak louder than words. For comments and information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerard Veldhoven is a longtime activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. His column appears Wednesdays in The News.