On Tuesday, July 9, my husband and I attended the rally in downtown Chilliwack in support of the proposed rainbow crosswalk on Mill Street and Wellington Avenue. We are both advocates of the use of rainbow crosswalks, and feel that their simple yet powerful message of inclusion and acceptance make them an important symbol in our communities.
My sister is a lesbian. I witnessed firsthand the discrimination that she was subjected to as a young adult growing up in a conservative Maritime city. I felt anger and despair when I heard of the torment she was subjected to as a woman in her 20s attempting to live her life with dignity with her female partner. Now as a middle-aged woman and mother living in Berlin, she and her family must continue to be vigilant due to the ever-present dangers of deep-seated intolerance.
Contrary to naysayers, human sexuality is not an ideology; LGBTQ citizens are not a special interest group and make up a significant part of our society. Sadly, in many instances they continue to be discriminated against. For members of this often maligned group, Pride parades and rainbow crosswalks are deeply meaningful and empowering symbols.
We are all stronger when we openly support those who are misrepresented and vilified by others. It is time for Chilliwack, a city of almost 100,000, to join over 40 other communities in our province and joyfully celebrate inclusion and diversity through the painting of a rainbow crosswalk in our city centre.