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COLUMN: Humanity and the right to be human

Over the centuries, we, as human beings, have travelled the roads before us in various directions.

Accomplishments have been great and our scientific research has given us medical assistance that has given us the chance for a longer life and less suffering in many instances.

The fact we are able to converse in ways that our grandparents and those before them could not, is in itself a phenomenal part of our existence. The telephone, the Internet, television are a few examples of how far we have come in technology. We marvel at the immediate newscasts as we learn of what is happening around the world in seconds. The way in which we fly around to all locations in a matter of hours is indicative of how any country in the world is only hours away.

Our paved highways and the latest model vehicles take us to places previously viewed as impossible to reach. We buy on the Internet instead of personally visiting stores, do our banking and pay our bills online.

Yes, all the conveniences of a so-called modern existence, yet, with all those advances we still remain in a society that is not able to unite in a common bond where respect for others is simply ignored.

One would think that with the improvements in technology, human beings are able to recognize diversity and welcome the unique qualities we possess.

The media has the perfect tool to bring people together, to educate us to the various types of humans that occupy our world.

We are women, men, blacks, indigenous, Chinese, Korean, short, tall, and guess what other folks live within our families, circle of friends, our schools, at work, churches: yes, LGBTQ folks. The list is endless, but we are miles apart in our treatment of those who do not fit traditional thinking, do not adhere to “proper” dress codes, those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or any other sexuality and the ones who do not quite fit the “norm.”

According to what writings, thinking or language?

The LGBTQ community citizens around the globe are constantly bombarded with accusations of abnormality. How do we end discrimination against each other and embrace the countless differences we may possess? Not one individual must be punished for being who they are. We live in a violent world where the colour of one’s skin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender equality are reason for rejection and punishment. All are members of humanity and all count as individuals with unique qualities, each one of us.

In my over 40 years of advocating equality I am grateful for advances made, but that is in a handful of nations in the Western world. In most countries, and this is where most of humanity lives, rights are violated daily and in great numbers. We are rather fortunate that Canadians are generally more tolerant. However, Muslims seem to be latest group of world citizens to suffer discrimination, especially under the Trump administration.

The work is not yet completed and it will take centuries, if ever, to erase inequality.

“I am what I am, my own special creation.” (La Cage Aux Folles). We are all part of humanity and must be given the right to be human.

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Gerard Veldhoven is a longtime activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. His column appears Wednesdays in The News.

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