Can­di­date’s sign de­faced with ho­mo­pho­bic slur

Kyle Brook­ings de­scribes in­ci­dent as nar­row-minded

The Compass - - OPINION - BY TERRY ROBERTS edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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.

Youngest can­di­date

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.

Photo by Terry Roberts/The Com­pass

Kyle Brook­ings is a can­di­date for the Car­bon­ear town coun­cil.

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