Saturday, June 2, 2012
Trans Nova Scotian snubbed from Newfoundland Taavel Memorial
Two of the new members of St. John's Pride Inc Board of Directors, took the step to organize a memorial event for Ray. They put on a great event and had many well-known members of the local gay/lesbian community in attendance to deliver a speech; however, noticeably absent was the presence of Nova Scotian born Newfoundlanders, as well as the lack of presence of members of the trans community. One after one, gay/lesbian speakers - most of whom represented youth support groups, used the LGBT term, yet no evidence of any trans presence was at the event. While there has no doubt been friction between myself and supporters of the new Board members, a memorial event of this nature should have been a time to put differences aside.
As a Halifax Nova-Scotian-born Newfoundland resident, and pretty much the only out member of the trans community, I can't help but feel disappointed that this new group decided not to invite me to speak. Ray's death hit closer to home for me than it did for anyone else in attendance.
Not only did this group miss out on a chance to prove that they could do a better job at being inclusive of the 'LGBT community" than myself and former Directors were, they completely demonstrated their lack of respect for me, for the trans community, and for Nova Scotian-born Newfoundland residents.
Fast forward now 6 weeks, and unfortunately, I do not feel this new group had made any further progress to demonstrate their ability to make me and other trans people feel welcome and included. It's a shame to see St. John's appear headed in the same direction as so many other cities - that being, that the trans feel alienated from Prides from the gays and lesbians. Oh well, I knew there was this risk, but there was not much I could do. I have no regrets from leaving Pride and although it will be sad to think that there is a strong chance that I may not attend any of the Pride Week events, I can feel good about the fact that I have managed to put my time to other use in a way that will bring a much stronger and greater positive impact for the National and International Trans communities.
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