Dear Editor,

Setting the record ‘straight’…….pardon the pun

I feel compelled to write this letter in response to a letter by a member of our community  addressed to Mayor, Council and the residents of Valemount.

A very good friend of mine told me to write this with all the passion and emotion I’m feeling. An outpouring of anger and upset on paper would serve a purpose.  But, I also wish to uphold the values, beliefs, and behaviours that the supporters of the rainbow crosswalk and myself believe in and embrace: Respect, Inclusion, Positivity, Being the bigger person.

I am quoted as saying in a council meeting that ‘I am not accepted in the Village’. I have NEVER said this. The transcript of my two speeches at the council meetings are saved and are available for anyone to view, just ask. I’m also on VCTV, easily found on YouTube. Again, ask me, I’m happy to show you. Never ever have those words come out of my mouth, nor Mandy’s for that matter.

Since myself and Mandy moved here in May 2009 I have always, and continue to feel included and accepted by the village. I love this village, it’s great community and how we embrace and help each other. This hasn’t changed. I’m the same person as I was when we moved here (although I’ve put on some weight!).

I’m extremely unhappy that this member of the community felt compelled to comment on my cancer journey and the fundraising that has taken place in the village, on mine and other womens’ behalf. At the time of the fundraising I expressed how grateful both me and Mandy were, and we still are. We felt completely humbled and accepted, and I know this still to be true. Without it, I don’t know how we would have survived. I still have cancer, I fight it every day. Anger, stress, frustration are all triggers for bringing it back to the forefront. But that’s not your problem, it’s mine.

I now feel my values and integrity have been questioned, and people may feel that I don’t appreciate everything that has been done. This is simply incorrect and not true. Words don’t really capture how thankful and grateful we both still feel, even though some time has passed.

To those of you who no longer want to associate with me and Mandy, I ask why….we are the same women you used to easily stop and chat to. To those of you that cannot bear to stand beside my wife in the IGA line-up, shame on you. The rainbow crosswalk is NOT about us, it never has been. It’s about addressing the highest suicide rate in the age group 12 to 24 years, it’s about acceptance and inclusion. It’s about the really difficult conversations our teens need to have with their families. It’s about teens being thrown out of their homes because of their sexuality.

Let’s move on, sure we all have differing opinions, but please don’t attack each other verbally or on paper. Thank you.

Respectfully, Gail Burbidge
Valemount, B.C.