By Gerard Veldhoven
This world: this place where people exist, where people have families, where people work and speak countless languages, and a place where we have various colours of skin, citizenship that lives in poverty and squalor, where we fall in love with the person of choice, and where gender should be respected and embraced.
This list is partial and is non-ending.
Around this globe, wars are fought by those who seek power and attempt to conquer regardless of hurting others. Discrimination rears its ugly head around us, and this discrimination against minorities is rampant, increasing as time moves forward.
Statistics indicate bullying, attacks and killings, plus suicides brought on by these horrific actions, are evident on a daily basis. Should we be concerned about the growing negativity, or do we just idly sit in our comfortable chairs, should all be so fortunate, and pretend all will be well in short order?
Discrimination is widespread, causing heartache, separates, confusion, discontentment, mental illness, deaths, and all sorts of horrific consequences. The minorities are too many to list, but we must think about our future with positivity and we must identify ourselves, regardless of the minority because we are all attempting to reach the other side, meaning that as a world where all of us matter, where all live with equal rights and exist in peace.
The question we must ask is, how do we accomplish this arduous undertaking? Each of us must self-identify, not be afraid to speak, but believe each of us is as important as the person next to us. This venture is attainable and with determination to squash discrimination, we will surely make progress. We are very aware of the causes, and the continuing world religious and other influences on those who are approached as sinners, unworthy because of sexual orientation, same-sex marriage, not recognized as a transgender person, those who live in poverty, the black community, our Indigenous peoples, and all who are at the blunt end of the stick.
The media constantly bombards us with the latest attacks on our population who are considered “different.” We know, we care, and we must combine our efforts to erase the world of discrimination.
What is stopping us?
Each group believes that they alone must fight back, must educate and must seek ways to eradicate this curse that exists around the globe. This is a world concern and therefore I call out to everyone who belongs to a minority that feels the sting of discrimination, and those who are allies, to unite as a world force. Many believe each group must raise awareness alone, fight the forces that profoundly express hate and intolerance. I suggest that while this has merit and many have, and continue on that path, with positive results, I maintain, and indeed recommend that we join forces, all those who are threatened by discrimination, step up and be heard as one powerful voice, one unified part of the population, a strong and determined call for equality.
I am not suggesting that we should change direction, on the contrary, as each individual and each section of society must continue to stand proud, and do what we are supposed to do, and that is to accomplish our desire and our aim to be free of discrimination. As a unified force we increase our chances, stand side by side, face the discriminators, not in a militant manner, but as a multitude of individuals demanding equal treatment as all others. This is a human right, approaching others with pride and taking our place in this world society.
Often, I look for the day when we may live in peace and harmony. At my age of 78, it is but a dream, and therefore I suggest that we move ahead, anticipating a positive conclusion for all.
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Gerard Veldhoven is a former area resident and long-time gay rights activist.