Day of Pink was marked on Parliament Hill today, and NDP MP Bill Siksay not only gave a Members’ Statement in the House of Commons to mark the occasion, but also put out a release regarding the day.
“Bullying and discrimination deeply affect minority youth, young women and GLBTT youth. As a result of bullying, some youth drop out of school, others face serious depression, and some even attempt suicide. The Day of Pink is a great opportunity for us to celebrate diversity and encourage acceptance in our schools and communities. While much has been accomplished for GLBTT Canadians of all ages, there is still so much to do. New Democrats will continue to press for an end to homophobic, lesbophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic bullying and discrimination in Canada and around the world.”
I caught up with Siksay after Question Period to ask him a little more about it.
Q: It’s the Day of Pink today – you gave the Members’ Statement in the House. What does this mean for you?
A: It’s the day to mark the bullying that happens to people because they’re different, and certainly GLBT youth face that in all kinds of circumstances. I faced it as a young queer person, even though I wasn’t out, I often was bullied because of who people perceived me to be, so I have some appreciation for that. What I think is great about the Day of Pink is that it emerged out of an act of solidarity of students who stood with one of their fellow students who was bullied at a high school, and I think that’s a remarkable thing, if for no other reason, we should mark that act of courage and solidarity by those other students.
Q: I see there’s been some pick-up on the Hill today with that. Is this something you’re going to start encouraging others to be more active in next year?
A: Well we’ve marked it before, and we’ll mark it again if it continues as an annual event, because I think it is an appropriate thing. Bullying is pervasive in our society for all kinds of reason, not just because of people’s sexual orientation or gender identity, but because of race, because of their religious background, because they’re female – all kinds of reasons. I think it’s important all the time to take a strong stand against it, at any opportunity we have, like a focus-day like this is an important occasion to use.