LGBTQ ac­tivist El­don Hay re­mem­bered

The Amherst News - - COMMUNITY - Ger­ard Veld­hoven Ger­ard Veld­hoven is a for­mer Amherst res­i­dent who is a long­time ac­tivist for the les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der com­mu­nity. His col­umn ap­pears weekly in the Amherst News. Com­ments and in­for­ma­tion: lgbt­con­nec­tion­

Re­fo­cus a gay son!” he said. “So all those fears of telling him came true, and thank god they did.”

El­don’s pas­sion for equal treat­ment goes far be­yond the needs of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity, such as the rights for any in­di­vid­ual or group of peo­ple. This is pre­cisely the rea­son he has won the re­spect and love of so many.

In 1997, he re­ceived the New Brunswick Hu­man Rights Award and in 2003, El­don Hay re­ceived the Or­der of Canada in recog­ni­tion of his work re­gard­ing LGBTQ rights. The fol­low­ing is how El­don was de­scribed in re­ceiv­ing the or­der.

“With in­tel­li­gence, in­tegrity and com­pas­sion, this hu­man rights ac­tivist has cham­pi­oned a more tol­er­ant, in­clu­sive so­ci­ety.”

El­don founded the Monc­ton and Sackville/Amherst chap­ters of PFLAG Canada and was the first Na­tional pres­i­dent.

On May 31 past, Amherst raised the Pride flag and as I drove to the site I no­ticed El­don walk­ing slowly down Church Street, hands clasped be­hind his back. He ap­peared tired and gladly ac­cepted the drive.

A week later, Amherst had the first ever Pride Pa­rade in that town. El­don, in true form, would not be de­terred and joined me and Sherri Briand as part of the pa­rade. We were asked to bring up the rear and felt some­what out of tune.

A po­lice of­fi­cer, Scott White, smiled and said, “You may be the last, but we saved the best for last.”

El­don’s last ap­pear­ance in a pa­rade was in Monc­ton in Au­gust. I vis­ited with El­don a few weeks ago in his home and both of us were aware this would be the last time we would meet.

I salute El­don Hay, hus­band, fa­ther, grand­fa­ther, au­thor, ed­u­ca­tor, true to his re­li­gion, chal­lenger, hu­man rights ac­tivist and a cham­pion for all. You were and will re­main “A man for all Sea­sons”. Com­ments and in­for­ma­tion: lgbt­con­nec­tion­

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