Vancouver
3 min

I believe in hope

From Gregor to Obama, hope just might be in the air

Ten reasons why all homos can be happy that Gregor Robertson is our new mayor:

1. Our new mayor’s juice company is called Happy Planet. Happy is just another word for gay. If you think about it, you could call his company Gay Planet.

I’d be happy on a gay planet. I mean, who wouldn’t be? There’d be good music, impeccable lighting, decent cocktails, fabulous snack trays. The women would be strong. The men would be pretty. No one would be expected to get up earlier than brunch.

2. Our new mayor makes organic juice with happy little names like alfalfa sprout mango energy smoothie. Everyone knows homos like to think up pet names for ordinary things, like the t-dance, the Mabel League, Grrls with Guitars, Boys R Us, Dykes with Bikes.

3. Our new mayor said last month in an interview with Xtra West that he would “not hesitate to stand up and fight for queer rights.”  I don’t think any openly heterosexual political candidate has every expressed so clearly their willingness to stand up for our community.

4. Our new mayor used the word “queer” in a sentence, comfortably and without flinching.

5. Like many lesbians, he looks good in a suit.

6. Like many gay men, he works out regularly.

7. Like many transguys, he keeps his facial hair well groomed.

8. Like many transwomen, he wears flats in day-to-day life, but if he wanted to, you just know that Gregor Robertson could pull off a walk down a runway in five-inch sequined heels and still keep smiling.

9. Somehow he managed to reunify the recently broken left-of-centre civic party, that used to be called COPE, then split into COPE Classic and COPE Light, then again into COPE and Vision Vancouver, and now ran a shared slate under the umbrella banner COPE/Vision. Personally, I can barely cope with all the name changes. But it gives me hope when the left finds a way to unify.

10. His wife Amy is a lesbian. Okay I made that up. But wouldn’t it be a bonus if she was?

“You gotta give ’em hope,” said openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978.

“Yes we can,” said US president-elect Barack Obama throughout his recent election campaign.

“I have a dream,” said Martin Luther King at the legendary March on Washington in 1963.

To the chagrin of my more cynical friends, I believe in hope.

I spend an inordinate amount of time being a panicked homosexual. This month, however, I am hopeful. You might even go so far as to say I am a happy homo.

One might imagine that our entire community has become Happy Homos. Call me an optimist if you like, but I’m confident that Mr Happy Planet can turn Vancouver into a Happy City once more.

“I have a dream,” said Martin Luther King. And his dream came to pass, 40 years later in the form of Barack Obama, who ran an optimistic, hopeful campaign that captured the imagination of his country.

And though Harvey Milk was assassinated less than a year after his famous “You gotta give ’em hope” speech by a homophobic fellow city supervisor —and though his home state of California just repealed the right so recently granted to gay and lesbian couples to marry —I think Harvey would be thrilled with how far the queer community has come since he had the courage to publicly come out at a time when you could lose your job, your home and your family for being gay.

I have to admit I was nervous about Vancouver’s civic elections.

I was worried about all the renters, many of whom have been evicted in recent months by corporate property owners looking to make bigger profits off people’s homes.

I was worried about the Davie Village and its special place in the hearts and imaginations of our community.

I was downright panicked about the Non-Partisan Association’s law and order platform in which they promised to deal with homelessness by cracking down on crime. Someone should tell them homelessness is not a crime —it’s a symptom of bad government.

And I have been especially panicked for the queer (and straight) community of Vancouver as we get closer to the expensive extravaganza known as the Olympics.

The people have spoken in the city of Vancouver. We don’t want homeless people. We don’t want people evicted from their apartments because of developer greed. We want more bike lanes, better transit, a greener city, government funding for community resources like the Pride Parade and The Centre.

We don’t want all our tax money going to the Olympics at the expense of the local community.

South of the border, the people have spoken loud and clear. They don’t want four more years of Republican incompetence, which plunged their country into an illegal war, an economic recession and a housing crisis. They voted for the intelligent candidate this time. The president who spoke of hope, equity and equality for all.

Oh sure, elections in Vancouver don’t seem as exciting as the US presidential election, but how is a house built? Brick by brick. Or in Vancouver, make that leaky condo by leaky condo.

But don’t get me started on that.

For the moment on this happy day, on this happy planet, in this happy city, in the heart of happy Davie Village, I am, at least momentarily, one happy homo.

I’m going to relax with an organic raspberry, papaya, brussel sprout smoothie and be happy to be living on the planet during such happy times.