This Thursday, May 17th, marks the 22nd anniversary of the removal of homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organization (WHO). On this day in 1990, the WHO removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses, ending over a century of homophobia in the medical field. May 17th commemorates this monumental day in LGBTQ history as the International Day Against Homophobia. World wide LGBTQ community members and their heterosexual allies come together to celebrate the contribution of LGBTQ citizens to our society and to raise awareness on LGBTQ issues.
Here in Corner Brook the Grenfell Campus’ Gay-Straight Alliance (a group I am a proud member of) is organizing a march from Grenfell Campus to City Hall to recognize the day within our city.
The group will be meeting in the GCSU food court at Grenfell Campus at 3:30pm on Thursday, May 17. Lead by the head of the Grenfell Campus Gay-Straight Alliance, Kirk Quilty, along with representatives of the CBRH Queer-Straight Alliance, the group of community supporters, Grenfell faculty and staff, Corner Brook students, LGBTQ members, and local pride supporters will head downtown toward the City Hall. Much like similar events in Corner Brook in the past, marchers are invited to dress in bright colours and to bring signs and other forms of visual support along on the march. Your presence alone, regardless of clothing choice speaks greatly in our favour. The event is expected to be clued up around 5pm. If you can spare even as much as 10 minutes to join in the march or meet the group at City Hall, your presence and support would be greatly appreciated.
More information on the event can be found in the CornerBrooker.com events calendar and on the Grenfell Campus homepage. Also, more information on the international day you can find that here homophobiaday.org
Now, I’m sure at least one of you out there reading this is thinking something along these lines: “Why are they doing this? This is Canada after all, we’re already equals are we not? Gay people can even get married in this country.” Well curious Sir and/or Madame, allow me to enlighten you. Yes, there have been major breakthroughs and LGBT community members are stepping out of the shadows all over.
However, although all might seem well around here, with the media being sympathetic, public personalities coming out, and television shows featuring lesbian and gay characters in scenes of everyday life, this is not the whole reality of the state of homosexual acceptance in our and other countries. The reality is quite different. Many individuals are unable to live their sexual orientation, encounter difficulties if they do, or end up role-playing to protect themselves. Events like this one, and this day as a whole, are meant to bring forth LGBTQ issues and to educate the public on homophobia. Although as time goes on the LGBT community is coming closer and closer to equality with breakthroughs like the Civil Marriage Act (the Canadian act allowing same sex marriage nation wide) and having our rights become first and foremost a judicial acceptance brought about by the adoption of the Charter of Human Rights, we are not quite there yet.
Please come out and help us spread the word and end homophobia once and for all. Don’t you want your children and grand children to go up in a country, or better yet, world, where we are all equal? These sorts of events are a step in that direction.
See you at 3:30 on Thursday, May 17 at the Grenfell Campus cafeteria! Note that details about Pride celebrations this year will be available soon!