Please accept my letter of support in regards to Valemount considering a Rainbow crosswalk.

As I write this letter it is the start of pride week in Vancouver, a great time where the LGBTQ2 gets to celebrate the many obstacles they have overcome.

I grew up in Valemount and as a gay youth, and I struggled with the fact that it wasn’t the norm and that I was possibly the only one. I feared if anyone ever found out about me being gay that I would no longer be accepted by my community. Even still, coming home I get anxiety about whether this time someone is going to say something derogatory and if they do how am I supposed to react.

Bit by bit I am getting more comfortable coming home and going out with my peers but it shouldn’t be that way. I should always feel comfortable coming home to the place where the village help raise me and made me the young man I am today. It wasn’t until I moved away that I started to date my husband and with that came a whole lot of complications with coming out to friends and family.

In the end it was all over-thought in my head. Had I known that my peers and family would have accepted me being gay I wouldn’t have struggled as much mentally as I did in high school. There were so many times I wanted to tell someone but had no clue how people would react.

A rainbow crosswalk isn’t an ‘in your face statement.’ A rainbow crosswalk shows acceptance and for youth who struggle with their sexuality; it could literally mean saving their lives. It could show youth that the community they live in supports them and if they need to talk to someone they will feel that they can. It is also a strong visual that shows tourists that Valemount is a loving community that accepts everyone and that all are welcome.

Dakota Stone

Vancouver, B.C.