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It’s been an emotional day for a lot of people across North America. I’m once again pulled back to this pivotal moment in my life (and the life of every gay person in Canada).
Why is hate so deadly. What causes a human being to fear another so deeply that they have this need to end them.
August 21st, 1989 is my “Cuban Missile Crisis” moment. We all have one.
As a gay man, I’ve been assaulted. I’ve been discriminated against. I’ve been marginalized.
I like to think that I’ve risen above all that over the years.
The fact remains, though, that I still feel the deep emotional scars throb every now and then. I guess you cannot escape your past, you can only learn from it, and move forward.
Now I’ve posted about Alain Brosseau many times over the years. And to be blunt, I will until the end of my life.
It took a heterosexual being mistaken for a gay man and brutally murdered before Mr. and Mrs. Canadian finally started to wake up to our community’s reality. Up until then I’d hear things like “if my son turns out gay, I’ll beat him to death”, or “AIDS fuckers”. I’d hear, when a person was murdered, and it was discovered they were gay (make no mistake, a LOT of gay men vanished in Ottawa during the eighties, and like the police have done with the Highway of Tears missing Native women’s plight; they ignored the “dirty faggots that had it coming”, and focused on “important” crimes). All of these quotes, by the way, they’re direct quotes from persons in positions to make a difference, but wouldn’t.
I never ever thought I’d be on equal footing with my sisters. Never. I assumed my entire life I’d need to fight for respect, and to be that angry Dave that always looked over his shoulder.
Well, I’m less angry now, but I still feel a bit of that rage come to the surface, especially when it involves a minority being fucked over.
We’ve come a LOOOONG way, but we still have a lot of hill to climb here in Canada.
How many of us go to bed each night worrying about who they’ll have to defend themselves against when they wake up. Now, not as many, back in 89, I did. I saw friends beaten up, brutally, in their homes. A person I knew that lived in Centertown Place apartments brutally hacked to death with an axe by a queer basher he mistook for a night of pleasure. He was found almost decapitated in his sunken living room. The police never pursued his murderer.
Another acquaintance of mine was shocked when one day he discovered a foul smell coming from beneath his porch on King Edward. Imagine his surprise when a trunk was discovered underneath it, containing the rotting corpse of a friend of the prior tenant. The residence was once a “common bawdy house”, and the landlord had assumed when the police raided and arrested the residents that everyone had just moved on, and he re-rented the property. When it was learned the victim was gay, his killer was never brought to justice.
This is the city I grew up in as a man. This was what I woke up to each and every day. I wondered constantly if I’d be picked out and clobbered, or worse, just for walking down the street.
I was bashed by some men going into my apartment I shared with a friend on Gladstone Avenue. I got out of a cab, heard “Faggot” and then felt the first of many punches to my head. Fortunately, I had a pocket knife, and stabbed one of them (these guys were out to seriously hurt me or worse). They ran off, realizing I wasn’t exactly defenseless. Cowards. I walked with brass knuckles and pepper spray after that, and stopped wearing dressy clothes from that day forward. Took me years to finally relax enough to finally throw the knuckles down the garbage chute.
I always said, and continue to say “I may die trying, but you’re going to the hospital with me”. I guess Mama made me tougher than even I realized. I do know that when I go into mad dog mode like Ma would, I blanked out, and didn’t know what I was doing. I certainly am capable of the worst if provoked.
As a man of fifty, I’ve had my ups and downs. I’ve loved, been loved, and have watched the world change before my very eyes. Sometimes it’s for the better, but far too often, it’s for the worst.
I don’t know how many years I have left on this earth, but I do know one thing; I won’t ever live in fear again. Not ever. Nor will I stand idly by while someone victimizes another human being, just because they happen to be of a different religion, or colour, or because she was once a he.
Hate is hate, and it’s got nothing to do with being a Christian, a man, or a parent.
Start teaching your kids to love, to respect, and to ask questions when they don’t understand. If we can all do this, within a generation, we’ll start to see real change; a community of individuals that all bring a certain beauty to each and every one of our lives.
Black, red, yellow, pink, furry, hairless, gay, straight, female, male, identified as, Muslim, Christian, Agnostic, Atheist, whomever you are, we’re all born into this world through the same method. Most of us came into this world innocent, and surrounded with love. ALL of us will leave this life one day.
I think it’s high time we all shared some of that love. Not like a hippie on pot would, but as equal human beings should.
God bless and cheerz folks!