by EVAN MATTHEWS, editor

Every week, The Goat’s staff and contributors attach their respective names to articles and columns.
We attach our names to these pieces because, as a team, we feel it’s important people hear about topics that impact their community, interest them, and affect their lives.
The rainbow crosswalk has been of clear interest to the community, and in some ways, it has seemingly become a pretty divisive issue.
Council’s rationale for rejecting the crosswalk was annual cost and liability, Council said. The public can speculate about council’s decision and if there was more to it, but on public record, that’s all we’ve got.
What I’ve seen publicly via social media, and even some opinions expressed to me in person, suggests there are people in the community who have found the rainbow crosswalk — and in the subsequent weeks, the community supporting it — polarizing.
Some people have expressed while they don’t feel passionately about either side of this divisive issue, yet they have been forced to take a side.
I think it’s important at this point to recognize there is such a thing as nuance, and not everybody sees the rainbow crosswalk issue (and others like it) as being black or white, or with a right or wrong answer.
Although, I think if it is a little more black and white than these people, personally.
Regardless, what is arguably one of the most important things for any community is to be able to sustain its ability to work together — even after these types of decisions are made.
Part of working together is being properly informed.
I saw a Letter to the Editor published in another local paper regarding Valemount’s rainbow crosswalk.
The letter made a lot of claims about the LGBTQ2 community, and it was grossly inaccurate, and showed unsubstantiated data — or at least — data not accepted as fact for a very long time.
The letter starts by stating, “The average life expectancy of homosexuals is 43 years, which is approx. 20 years less the general population.”
Among a couple of issues, this would imply the average life expectancy of a Canadian citizen is 63 years. Well, according to Stats Canada, the average life expectancy of a Canadian citizen hasn’t been that low since 1942, and is currently 81 years.

We encourage our readers to question everything — questioning details should be one of the main principles of good journalism.
– Evan Matthews, editor of The Rocky Mountain Goat Newspaper

Further disproving the letter’s first claim, recent studies in Norway have suggested since the country legalized same-sex marriage, men in same-sex couples now have lower mortality rates than unmarried or divorced men, according to, with only men in opposite-sex marriages living longer.
Well, that’s interesting.
The letter then states two per cent of the population is homosexual and they get credit for 61 per cent of new aids and HIV cases, and “they are a drain on the health care system.”
The Centre of Disease Control in the United States does estimate gay and bisexual men as making up two per cent of the population, and that they do make up 55 per cent of people living with HIV.
But can’t women be homosexual too? And isn’t HIV in homosexual women less common? The answer is yes to both.
Keep in mind, too, the above data is American, from the CDC. We haven’t had census data available to us in Canada since 2011, thanks to the Conservative Government.
Also — you don’t get to decide who is a “drain on the healthcare system”.
Then this beauty of a letter goes on to say that 33 per cent of pedophiles are homosexual, like even if it were true, the two are correlated — they aren’t.
But in keeping with the theme, while Stats Canada had no information The Goat could find, we found an American study done in 1992 showing the ratio of heterosexual to homosexual pedophiles was calculated to be approximately 11:1.
If you want to make blanket statements about entire groups, the Catholic Church had/has a problem with pedophilia, the LGBTQ2 community, does not.
The letter makes one more absurd claim regarding higher rates of substance abuse, but, I’m not going to bother.
The Goat do not censor its readers, however, we do our best to make sure any information that appears in our paper (presented as fact) is accurate, and at the very least, properly attributed.
As we all know, mistakes happen. It’s a fine line, and sometimes things fall through the cracks.
The Goat, too, is sometimes questioned on the details we choose to publish.
We encourage our readers to question everything — questioning details should be one of the main principles of good journalism.
This is the reason we check accuracy of information published in our stories, columns, and yes, letters to the editor.
I encourage all other local publications to do the same.