REFOCUS BY GERARD VELDHOVEN
The recent meeting in Trenton to do with setting up a safe haven for men who wish to turn their lives around has many people see red.
One incident that stirred some people was the admission by organizer Joshua Gober that gay men will not be accepted at this proposed establishment. To blatantly exclude gay men for being who they are is discriminatory and that needs to be addressed. This without doubt one of the most damaging proposals I have encountered in this province.
Gober is quoted as saying his organization does not specialize in mental illness and homosexuality. This seems to indicate he is of the belief that being gay is a mental illness and curable! Perhaps he believes a straight person can also be cured. We are born with our sexual orientation intact.
I am rather surprised that a person from Alabama arrives in Nova Scotia to establish a centre for Bible training and then has the audacity to reject gay men in the centre, this in a nation where gay rights are protected under the law and in the Human Rights Act.
Trenton Mayor Glen MacKinnon seems rather taken with the proposed centre, regardless of the discriminatory tone taken by Mr. Gober. The mayor indicates he may support this project, knowing full well of the group’s homophobic and intent to be non-inclusive.
Gober feels the people of this town have much hurt and pain. Good work will not be the end result if certain groups are not welcome and in addition, because of Canaan Land Ministries and similar discriminatory people, the fires of intolerance keep burning. The LGBT citizens of Nova Scotia are being discriminated against by an American person who is determined to minimize our existence. Any organization that blatantly attacks the gay community or any other marginalized group should not be sanctioned by Trenton town council, or any other council.
There is sufficient evidence that this sort of operation will indeed be a setback to equal treatment. This fact alone should deter town council from approving this request. If Joshua Gober’s homophobic statements are detrimental to the well-being of a healthy all- inclusive society then he must not be eligible to set up his Canaan Land Ministries. If approved this will be a step backward for what I consider a progressive province. Comments and information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerard Veldhoven is a longtime activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.