Today is that day
All of us with PFLAG Vancouver are deeply shocked and saddened by what happened in Orlando, Florida. There aren’t many words one can use to really describe the horrifying feeling one has when reading about an attack against innocent people, be they LGBTQ or not. That said, there is an even more frightening feeling when the people attacked are so closely associated to people you know and love.
15 years ago there was a terrible event in Vancouver that brought the community together in an instant: The murder of Aaron Webster on November 17, 2001. The next day, I remember distinctly being told that we should all gather by Little Sister’s Bookstore, as we would be marching in solidarity down Davie Street to English Bay. Within an hour, 2000 of us were marching down that street. It’s a moment I will never forget.
As someone who was fairly new then to the LGBTQ community, I was afraid, but I knew we needed to stand up and be heard. This was my introduction to a drag queen named Joan-E: A towering figure who bellowed at the police that it was time for them to protect us; time for them to listen to us; time for them to know that we were people who needed to be respected. She put the fire in my heart to do what we continue to do today: Educate others and advocate for those who need support.
Today is that day: It’s time for our community to come together again; it’s time for us to educate the world about the fact that we will not stop kissing each other, because we have the right to do so as people who love other people, regardless of sexuality or gender; it’s time for us to advocate for those who don’t have a voice, and need us to speak; it’s time for us to teach the newest generation that the fight isn’t over, and that it’s up to every LGBTQ individual and ally to be the voice that speaks tolerance, love and acceptance.
Please join us tonight at 8pm at the Vancouver Art Gallery, (W. Georgia St side). We will be silent, but then we will be loud, so that no one can drown out our many voices.
President, PFLAG Vancouver
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