Candidate’s sign defaced with homophobic slur
Kyle Brookings describes incident as narrow-minded
The only openly gay candidate running for elected office in the Town of Carbonear is brushing off an incident that saw one of his campaign signs defaced last week.
Kyle Brookings was checking the mail at the Canada Post street letter boxes on London Road Tuesday morning when he noticed someone had vandalized one of his homemade signs.
After the words “Kyle Brookings,” someone had written the words “is a fag” in ink.
Brookings ripped the sign down and took it home. He later posted a photo of the defaced sign to his Twitter and Facebook accounts, asking the question: “In 2013, is it really such a big deal that I’m gay. I hope it doesn’t affect your vote.”
The Compass contacted Brookings, and posted his story online at www.cbncompass.ca.
He was then contacted by various other media outlets in the province, and CBC Radio Canada.
The incident generated plenty of reader feedback, with many people offering words of support and encouragement to Brookings.
Brookings, 21, is the youngest — by far — of the 15 people looking to win a seat on the seven-member Carbonear town council during the Sept. 24 election.
It is his second foray into elected politics. He ran as an independent candidate in the 2011 provincial general election, polling just 22 votes in a race that saw incumbent Jerome Kennedy easily re-elected in the district of Carbonear-Harbour Grace.
Brookings also had problems with his signs in that campaign. He said all of his signs were stolen.
When asked how he felt about this latest incident, Brookings, a soft-spoken young man with a slight frame and dark, spiked hair, brushes it off. He wonders why someone would waste their time to do something so petty.
“I just thought, ‘wow, someone could be so narrow-minded,’” he said. “Someone has a lot of spare time.”
Brookings is a graduate of Carbonear Collegiate (Class of 2010), has a diploma in environmental science from a career college in Montreal, and works as a manager at the McDonald’s restaurant in Carbonear. He also operates an online business called Simple Pleasures and Jewelry, and his ambition is to become a meteorologist,
He said living as an openly gay young man in Carbonear has not been difficult, though he felt the usual anxiety before making the decision to no longer hide his sexual orientation at age 19. He believes a vast majority of people are accepting and understanding.
He had no intentions of making his sexual orientation an issue in the election, but felt it was important to let people know that bigotry still exists in the community.
“Maybe the person that did this doesn’t like me or gay people in general,” Brookings said.
He praised the Town of Carbonear for advancing attitudes toward the gay and lesbian community, and happily took part in a Pride event in the town recently.
As for his political ambitions, Brookings said he entered the race for councillor in a bid to inject new ideas and a fresh face around the table.
“We always see the same faces and the same kind of people. I want to give people a different option,” he said, pointing to his energy, ideas and commitment.
“I certainly can’t do any worse,” he added.
Kyle Brookings is a candidate for the Carbonear town council.