A reflection on #GLBT rights on Pride Month in Vancouver 2012

Vancouver Pride 2011

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Parks Commissioner Constance Barnes and GLBT Youth Advocate Ryan Clayton

Recently, I wrote on my blog asking why aren’t we hearing more stories about openly queer (gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans) athletes. Denying that having a non-heterosexual orientation (regardless of whether you are an athlete, an actor, a TV anchor, or just a simple human being) still carries a heavy amount of stigma is pure naivete. We are lucky that, for the most part, in Vancouver more specifically, but also in Canada, being gay (or lesbian, or trans) is much less of an issue and thus one can have conversations with people who won’t even blink if we have a girlfriend, a boyfriend, or both, or if we choose to cross-dress, or anything like that. I find Vancouver an extremely queer-friendly city.

This queer-friendliness is not the norm across all of Canada (Canada is very heterogeneous), although in general, any interaction I have had with any Canadian has shown respect for queer rights (I use queer as a synonym for GLBTTS folks). But at least, Canada is not one of more than 70 countries where being gay is considered a crime.

Vancouver Pride 2011

My friends Mark Robins and David Hannigan with me at Pride Vancouver 2012

Reality check: Sexual orientation matters.

The existence of a “pink ceiling” may be denied by many, but much as the reported “glass ceiling” for women’s progress in the corporate ladder, being queer may be perceived as hindering one’s career. Actors fear being typecast, journalists fear being the story rather than the storytellers, and the list goes on. And people (in general, heterosexual people, I believe) seem to think that queer people have no reason to fear for their lives, for their careers, for their welfare. Why? Because we have achieved SO MUCH in GLBT rights.

BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH. It will never be enough, until, as I said, the day when human rights across the board will be uniform. When it doesn’t matter if you are a heterosexual white male or a gay, HIV-positive, black lesbian, you will both have the same rights. The fight continues, and it is naive, and it offends me even, that folks deny how much hatred towards queer people still exists worldwide. See for but one example, Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Vancouver Pride 2011

I urge everyone to remember that not everyone has the same rights you have all been afforded. Also, please let’s not be naive: Sexual orientation still matters, as does race and gender. Canada is an amazing country where one can marry the person one loves regardless of sexual orientation, but this is not the case worldwide. Let’s not forget, and let’s keep the fight going.

Happy Pride Month, Vancouver.

Related posts:

  1. My thoughts on the Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival 2012 #VanPride @vancouverpride
  2. Pride Toronto 2012 (June 22nd-July 1st)
  3. A reflection on Canada Day, Pride Month and the upcoming summer Olympic games: Can Canadian athletes be openly gay?
  4. Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival 2011 (Pride Week in Vancouver)
  5. Proposition 8, gay rights and the movie Milk

Comments (1)

Dave MacdonaldJuly 13th, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Raul, the notion of a pink ceiling is something I was thinking about today.

Check out this interview from NHL’er Cam Janssen: http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/2012/7/12/3155651/cam-janssen-interview-video-devils

I hope he gets as fired as an NHL player can get. He’s since reached out to Brian Burke’s son, Patrick, to get connected to the “You Can Play” movement in one of me most meaningless PR stunts I’ve seen in the NHL.

Even in a place where we have our rights, we have people like this guy that exemplifies the lack of queer-friendliness on our continent. We can celebrate here, but that celebration should also be an acknowledgement that we can lead.

IMO
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