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COLUMN: LGBTQ and other minorities remain marginalized

REFOCUS by Gerard Veldhoven

In this vast world where living creatures must share the space and work together to make a successful existence, much has to be learned. The minorities, who equally contribute to the economy, places of learning, the growing of sustenance, assisting those who cannot cope alone, and generally share whatever is available to them, are no less part of this society than the majority of citizens.

Though not recognized as such by most of our world population, the so-called minorities are to be reckoned with and, make no mistake, they are extremely capable of attaining great success, just as all others. Knowing these facts does not indicate equal respect, as we are fully aware of the discriminatory actions experienced daily around the globe. We generally accuse those who are not educated, or blame family influence in the practice of discrimination as an ongoing horrifying practice. We must remember that many of our government leaders are also very much involved in turning a blind eye to this desperate situation and indeed will promote violence.

Many of us have written and spoken about foreign heads of state who have promoted and been involved in such hatred. Among them are Vladimir Putin, other Eastern European leaders, Museveni of Uganda, and most leaders on the African continent, except for South Africa, and let’s not forget President Donald Trump of the United States. Separation of citizens from white communities and the recent attack by Trump on the Transgender community are only samples of the horrific times we endure on a constant basis.

Violence is the order of the day, and again, we only have to watch the news and read our daily newspapers and other media, to realize how badly people of minority groups are treated. Let me assure readers that this is not only in nations overseas, but also on this side of the world. Blacks attacked by white extremists, Indigenous people living in inhumane conditions, Muslims who have come to this side to escape the torturous existence in their homelands, LGBTQ people who are discriminated against – even as some progress has been realized, some of our brothers and sisters are severely affected by these actions against humanity.

Majority always seems to rule and that must be eradicated. We may well ask how we can accomplish this arduous task. The answer is that we must continue with positive education, elect our government leaders with care, and carefully listen to their platforms on how they intend to promote equality. All of us, bar none, should have the opportunity to fully develop our cultural differences and place them alongside those who seem determined to squash our equal rights.

Do we sit idly by while world leaders and millions of others practise horrific judgments and attack our equal rights, in sometimes violent ways? Police and the justice system are not always on side, to be sure. Minorities, visible or not, have historically endured, and remain the target of discrimination. We are not assured that the future will see a lessening in such attacks.

We are all the same somehow and all are entitled to equality, as it is a human right. Canada has its own problems, especially with our Indigenous population, but at least we are attempting for reconciliation. Minorities must no longer be viewed as such.

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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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