School board election ‘a good beginning’

But more still needs to be done, writer says

Re: A Mother’s PerspectiveChilliwack Progress, Oct 26, 2018

It is lamentable that in the year 2018, mothers such at Laura Keeley should feel the need to write such a painful plea in defense of her gay son. When my husband and I moved to Chilliwack over 30 years ago we knew little of the community. We had read about its rural charm and its beauty nestled in a valley beneath the majestic mountains. What we were not cognizant of at the time, was the substantial influence that numerous churches held over the community.

This deeply conservative outlook became alarmingly clear to us in 1990, the year that Vancouver hosted the third ever Gay Games. August 1990 was an exciting summer as my lesbian sister was coming to BC to participate in this international sporting event. The Gay Games were designed to promote the spirit of inclusion and participation and celebrated thousands of competitors, many from nations where sexual diversity remained illegal and hidden.

You can imagine our profound dismay when we discovered that a number of Fraser Valley churches had paid for full page ads in the Vancouver Sun, The Province and our local newspapers condemning the event, warning of an “impending sodomite invasion.” The Premier at the time, Bill Vander Zalm refused to assist with funding.

Judging from the recent school board election and the diatribe regarding SOGI educational resources, I have to ask myself, what has really changed in the past three decades? What will it take to bring Chilliwack into the 21st century with respect to basic human rights? When will the Laura Keeley’s of our community be able to rest assured that their sons and daughters feel safe, included and respected?

We have elected four progressive trustees on to our school board; this is an important beginning but we have long ways to go. It is incumbent on every citizen in this City to bring about the paramount changes in social justice from which we all benefit as an honourable society.

Jennifer Douglas

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