LGBTQ ac­cep­tance in Cana­dian so­ci­ety

The Amherst News - - NEWS - Ger­ard Veld­hoven lgbt­con­nec­tion­

Cana­di­ans who make it known that they are fully aware and in­deed ac­cept that LGBTQ cit­i­zens are a re­al­ity and are not go­ing any­where, re­mains an is­sue to be dealt with, es­pe­cially in cer­tain sec­tions of our Cana­dian so­ci­ety.

We hear of stud­ies that in­di­cate that about 80 per cent of Cana­di­ans ac­cept equal­ity may not be re­al­is­tic. Sur­veys on LGBTQ ac­cep­tance in Cana­dian so­ci­ety are not al­ways reliable and the truth some­what ex­ag­ger­ated. Pride cel­e­bra­tions tend to draw thou­sands to the streets to watch a Pride Pa­rade and dur­ing that process we ob­serve folks ap­plaud­ing, laugh­ing, chant­ing and other means of ex­press­ing the joy of a pa­rade.

Many will ac­knowl­edge they at­tend be­cause of cu­rios­ity and oth­ers are there to ex­press their sup­port for equal­ity and yet some will ex­press their dis­ap­proval. Gen­er­ally, the sup­port is gen­uine and by all ac­counts a suc­cess story. We tend to crit­i­cize rather than pub­licly sup­port equal rights and for some rea­son ex­press the ru­ina­tion of so­ci­ety be­cause, as many still be­lieve this com­mu­nity is af­ter spe­cial rights.

The truth is we all de­serve equal rights, op­por­tu­nity and re­spect. Ac­cept­ing some­thing we know very lit­tle about breeds con­tempt, as a lack of un­der­stand­ing and un­will­ing­ness to broaden one’s thoughts is of for­eign na­ture for some.

A re­cent sur­vey, con­ducted by polling firm CROP, in­di­cates that while LGBTQ cit­i­zens feel that they are gen­er­ally ac­cepted in our so­ci­ety, about 75 per cent re­port they have been bul­lied at some point in their lives. The study was com­mis­sioned by Fon­da­tion Jas­min Roy, a Que­bec-based an­tibul­ly­ing, anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion and anti-vi­o­lence group.

The study con­cluded that so­ci­ety is not as open about this is­sue as gen­er­ally be­lieved. I con­cur with that state­ment. Less than 10 per cent of LGBTQ re­spon­dents feel Cana­dian so­ci­ety is to­tally open to sex­ual and gen­der diver­sity, while 45 per cent said they view Cana­dian so­ci­ety as not very, or not at all open.

Eighty-one per cent feel so­ci­ety in this coun­try has shown a will­ing­ness to try to in­te­grate peo­ple from the LGBTQ com­mu­nity. That num­ber is de­cid­edly ex­ces­sive and I feel that 60 per cent is closer to re­al­ity.

We re­main op­pressed by many re­li­gious fac­tions, even in Canada. We like to view our­selves as open to change and ac­cept­ing of oth­ers who are “dif­fer­ent” in sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der iden­tity, colour of skin, other re­li­gious be­liefs, so­cial back­ground, or cultural ori­gins.

Those LGBTQ peo­ple who are from non-ac­cept­ing na­tions such as, In­dia, Rus­sian African coun­tries, have ma­jor con­cerns about be­ing em­braced by their par­ents, friends, or re­li­gious be­liefs.

As men­tioned in pre­vi­ous col­umns, Uganda was set to pass the LGBT Anti- Ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity bill a few years ago and it was in­ter­cepted by that coun­try’s Supreme Court. How­ever, politi­cians are in­di­cat­ing a retry. We also must take into ac­count that pos­i­tive changes are some­times met by re­sis­tance and de­pends greatly on po­lit­i­cal views ex­pressed by the var­i­ous par­ties.

We can­not take for granted that we are on the road to to­tal ac­cep­tance of LGBTQ cit­i­zens, yes, even in Canada. Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, 54 per cent of re­spon­dents from the LGBTQ com­mu­nity said their life will be or has been more dif­fi­cult than that of a per­son not part of a sex or gen­der mi­nor­ity. An­other 81 per cent feel dis­tress, lone­li­ness, iso­la­tion or dis­cour­age­ment re­lated to their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or gen­der iden­tity. So our work con­tin­ues.

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