Hate exists, and it’s sad

by EVAN MATTHEWS, editor

There you have it, folks.

If you haven’t heard of an example prior to this point, you can read one in this week’s paper.

A visitor, a man raising money for breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, had a homophobic slur yelled at him in our town.

He was yelled at, not because he is gay, but because he was wearing a rainbow shirt.

The shirt displayed that he cares for, and accepts, people from the LGTBQ2 community, as they are.

He is completely heterosexual, so he’s not even a part of the community he’s supporting.

Yet, we say, we don’t need to emphasize acceptance in this Village?

I’ve heard people say, ‘we don’t need a crosswalk. For the most part, our community is accepting of the LGBTQ2 community. Why do we have to be so ‘in your face’ about it?’

Isn’t this a good example of why this topic needs to be in your face?

Fast Eddy, the man who experienced a form of bigotry, while not as much of a household name as the likes of Terry Fox, Rick Hansen or Mark Kent, is doing an amazing thing.

He is an ambassador, not only for Breast Cancer and Alzheimer’s, but also for B.C. (as he lives here), and for humanity in general. He cares about people.

People from our town, who live in this community, chose to degrade and demean him for his choice to care for others. Mind you, they didn’t know who he was. They didn’t know anything about him.

What does that say about the people who yelled at him? The people of our town?

To the people who say, ‘we’re already pretty accepting. We don’t need a crosswalk to showed unified acceptance.’

It only took one truck driving by and its passengers yelling the word, “faggot”, to show a form of blatant hatred, and give the entire Village a bad name.

So, then why is it such a problem to have a public symbol on the other end of the spectrum, to counteract some of hatred that clearly exists in this community?

This isn’t about politics, or maintenance cost, or liability, or anything else for that matter. This is about making people feel safe, and accepted.

We can’t honestly say everyone should feel safe and accepted, because if you wear a Tie Die shirt down 5th Avenue — you’re running the risk of being harassed and experiencing hatred.

I’m shocked that a community (or at least it’s mayor and council) in the developed, modern world has had such trouble grasping such a simple concept. We need leadership right now, and a symbol like a crosswalk, is a mayor and council leading by example.

What people believe and practice in the privacy of their home — it has nothing to do with you — but it doesn’t give you a reason to hate, or at least, it shouldn’t.

I know this issue may be tiresome to many of you, and I don’t disagree, having written so many pieces about it. However, as Fast Eddy experienced and shared, there is a clear and imminent need for the topic to remain in the headlines.

We need to drown out whatever hate is remaining here with love, logic, and compassion.

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