By Gerard Veldhoven
We just realized the end of another year and we have now entered 2019. Upon thinking what we have accomplished and what remains to be done, we must understand the reasons for the ups and the downs that occurred in the previous 12 months.
Hopefully we learn from our mistakes and build on the positives that have improved our existence as human kind. Decidedly not an easy task. So, let us ponder where we went wrong, and understand the situations that led us to this point. Canada’s LGBTQ+ citizens are part of the whole human existence, not just a community onto its own.
We refer to the LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY, but only as a description as part of the human society as a whole. As such, we identify each person as a special being, living life, as we see it, as a means to contribute to the so-called betterment of our world. Did we succeed? Some gains have been realized, but the struggles continue, make no mistake about it, and only time will reveal the end results.
During the past year, more countries have introduced equal marriage, and also have given equal rights to LGBTQ+ citizens. Countries such as South Africa, The Netherlands, France and Canada have same-sex marriage written into law over the past years, 27 in all, with Austria being the latest country to join the fray. As we scan the world we realize more than 100 nations have either banned the marriage, or have not yet addressed the issue.
As far as equal treatment is concerned, we are in the midst of what many consider a crisis. Discrimination is on the rise around the globe, with the United States having the distinction of being one of the leaders in this predicament, in part thanks to Donald Trump and his cohorts. They continually attack minorities in a fashion that promotes acts against them, and it creeps into Canada, as well as other countries.
2018 was a year of challenges for us all – some positive and others were viewed as disparaging in not just North America, but around the world. Each year, we are encouraged to make new resolutions, think of the positives we wish for to improve our way of life, deepening the efforts for equality directed towards each of us, bar none. Where are we going from here? How do we approach the challenges that were before us in 2018, and do we know all the facts? Yes, we are very aware of the majority of incidents that lead us to the challenges that must be faced head-on by all who desire a world free of discrimination. If we do not challenge the mishaps, the bullying, the killings, the suicides and countless other forms of so-called punishment, a term that fits the world order today, the increase of such attitudes will no doubt continue as a reality in 2019.
People are punished for simply being who they are, all of us members of human kind. The LGBTQ+ citizens of this world are constantly chastised by conservative elements that are heavily influenced by right-wing religious ideologies, which are adamantly against the very existence of LGBTQ+ citizens, which presents a constant threat to our well-being.
In order to find peace with those who deny us equality, we must make efforts to somehow reach the religious community and others, to embrace mutual respect. That is of the essence. Why must we be enemies, why can we not live together in harmony, why are we unable to reach some sort of positive conclusion, and why can we not respect the fact that we are all part of this world, regardless of our differences and beliefs, our sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other uniqueness we may possess?
All of us matter, be kind and love.
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Gerard Veldhoven is an area resident and long-time gay rights activist.