Everyone is allowed to have an opinion and I very much respect that concept. I also have an opinion, which after reading Herman Boersma’s recent letter, I felt compelled to express.
In his letter, Mr, Boersma refers to one of the organizers of the Kemptville Pride Parade, Holly Brown and how she was “met with unexpected enthusiasm by NG council and staff and left with a promise of support”. I was there at that council meeting and the support appeared to be no different than that received by People First after their deputation to council about “burying the R word” or Community Living for their flag raising in May. I don’t understand the reference to “unexpected”, as if the support shouldn’t have happened and was perhaps somewhat shocking. Was shock also felt at the reception afforded to Community Living and People First?
Mr. Boersma also states that “North Grenville council and staff have overstepped their governing responsibility in the way they showed their (our?) support for the Pride event”. I believe that council clearly demonstrated their willingness to govern responsibly by supporting members of our community that have not always felt supported in the past. Again, this willingness has been extended to other groups in our community. A responsible government should always take steps to ensure that all members of their community feel safe and accepted. There were numerous stories and comments shared online during and after the Pride Parade from current and former residents who were bullied and rejected for being LGBTQ2, so they left or withdrew. This event was clearly very cathartic for them and they expressed their heartfelt gratitude in seeing this event take place and how strongly the community supported it.
In the final paragraph, one part reads “the residents of North Grenville entrusted the mayor and council with the POWER to govern this municipality. Don’t give it away. Defend it for all of us”. I don’t recall witnessing or hearing about any bylaws passed, or policies created to relinquish any control or power to anyone. Perhaps what is meant is that by allowing groups in our community to fly flags or organize events, this somehow lessens the influence of the rest of the community. Support and goodwill are not finite, support for one group doesn’t mean a lack of support for others. By empowering certain members of the community to feel as important and accepted as everyone else (where in the past they have not), this will not only strengthen the community itself, but also the people chosen to govern it. Inclusivity is a very powerful binding agent. We are stronger together.
Overall, I’m going to chalk the situation up to a lack of understanding about both the negative social environments faced by the LGBTQ community and how the community grows stronger when an inclusive municipal government makes all members of our community feel safe and accepted. Otherwise, the letter could appear to be a veiled display of intolerance against the LGBTQ2 community and their quest for true equality in a world that still bullies, rejects and considers loving the wrong person a crime. I always choose to look for the light in people.