REFOCUS BY GERARD VELDHOVEN
It hardly matters if one lives in Cumberland County, Pictou County, elsewhere in Nova Scotia or the rest of Canada. We seem to stand together much of the time and look at our families, friends and our neighbours, feeling a definite bond that is not equalled in much of the world.
One of the most recent examples of how Nova Scotians react to a situation is the support towards a young gay man from New Glasgow who was brutally attacked last October. Scott Jones, an energetic, exuberant and determined young gay man is paralyzed from the waist down, but enjoying the overwhelming support of his peers, family, friends and others who stand with him, and as a group bring attention to the need of eliminating, or at the very least, lessen the homophobic attitudes and discrimination that remains a dominant and serious situation across Canada.
This is in spite of the acceptance of the queer community in our country.
Scott Jones is a prime example of encountering such a horrific attack on his person yet exuding passion and forgiveness following a gay hate crime. He told a gathering recently that the attacker is a human being and therefore must still be loved. This illustrates that we should all have those caring and loving feelings necessary to bring about change to the human condition. Feelings of hate and intolerance would be minimized to a great extent.
The question remains, how do we begin to instil these feelings in members of our society? Raymond Taavel was murdered in Halifax by a person who is mentally challenged, but that is not always the case. In this instance we will never discover why the attacker killed Mr. Taavel. It may not have been because of his sexual orientation.
Mr. Jones’s attacker will face a court in April and it will be determined if this was a hate crime. I believe it to be hate crime committed against a gay man. These attacks are not uncommon in Canada, even as acceptance of the LGBT community is very high and is estimated at 80 per cent. This is true of most Western European nations.
How do we address these centuries-old feelings of hatred towards human kind? In this case, I am referring to members of the LGBT community, however, this also applies to other conditions in a world where power, greed and many other negatives stand in the way of world peace. In peace we find acceptance and dignity, so consequently our lives may be lived as they are meant to be lived. 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.