Vancouver
3 min

Where’s our press conference, Mr Mayor?

And why aren't we all pushing him to keep his promise?

I was at Second Beach resting my tootsies and savouring the people watching when along came a beefy pseudo-metrosexual, bulked up and all in white, walking one of those apartment-size dogs that normally would be tapas in an alligator farm.

Meanwhile, next to me sat a pair of stylish and curvaceously sexy women with a mini pup of their own.

As the beefy guy’s dog went to do the requisite “greet and sniff” that dogs do, he asked the women whether their dog was a boy or a girl.

“It better be a girl ’cause I don’t want my dog to be gay,” he said.

Suddenly this side of beef lost all attractiveness, and I wished for a pair of garden shears so I could cut the dog loose from this obvious throwback.

Worse, the women didn’t say a thing.

Don’t they have any gay friends? What would their gay friends think of their silent acceptance?

If you think I’m making a big deal of this, remember: saying nothing is giving permission and even empowering people to say such things.

When we don’t say anything it leads to bolder actions. Like what happened at the Fountainhead in March, remember? A 62-year-old man was gaybashed allegedly for “touching” his alleged attacker. I’d tell you to ask him but he’s still in the hospital with serious, probably irrevocable brain damage.

We do an awful lot for straight people. We cut their hair, dress them properly, style their looks, their home, and even their life. We design their cars, buildings and furnishings. We entertain them and beautify the neighbourhoods they let fall into neglect.

We’re the only group that has a longer history of persecution than the Jews, and homophobia is still sanctioned in many places around the world where people merely have to look up a tenet in their religious text to justify hating us.

We don’t even have to go abroad to find ongoing distaste and discrimination towards us. Witness the beefy guy on the beach. Or the bashing at the Fountainhead. Or the debates just a few years back over whether or not to legalize gay marriage here.

Yeah, I know many of you don’t care to marry but you are missing the point. Having the same options as our straight counterparts — even if we don’t actually use those options — is a goal worth pursuing.

So when I see blatant moments of homophobia, I get pretty pissed off. And you should too.

We had a community forum on gaybashings May 2, organized by West Enders Against Violence Everywhere (WEAVE). The turnout was pitiful.

With the thousands of us who supposedly make up this gay community, to see less than a hundred people exercise their chance to tell the mayor and heads of police what it’s like and what we need was shameful.

Such complacency is appalling. I had friends tell me they were doing a seawall walk (don’t boo-hoo next time you’re harassed or attacked there; you had your chance to ask for more protection or offer solutions).

Others told me they slept in (don’t give me any sob stories about how fearful you feel or how you had to run from homophobes; you didn’t care then so don’t start now).

Others simply couldn’t be bothered to attend (move back to the sleepy homophobic town you escaped from and tell me how things have changed).

This was our chance and we had powerful people who made time to hear us. Why should they care when we don’t?

And excuse me, Mr Mayor, but you promised us a press conference.

“Would it be a positive step for me, and anyone who wants to join me, to do a press conference calling out zero tolerance, calling out for community effort to ramp up?” Gregor Robertson asked the small crowd of people who bothered to attend the forum.

The crowd applauded.

So Robertson promised.

“Expect it very soon, as soon as I can jam it in,” he said.

Well, Anti-Homophobia Day came and went more than a month ago and I’m not waiting for your token appearance on Pride day, Mr Mayor.

When Starbucks tries to make an appearance, we know those interests only want our dollars and couldn’t care less about our rights. But your empty promise isn’t making me feel that good about the support and loyalty that got you your job in the first place.

Where is that press conference?

I need a little help here. Many of you queens and butches have no problem looking for a little something-something, spending hours on chat sites to scratch that itch. How many of you are willing to take a few minutes away from your libido to go on Twitter or Facebook to ask our mayor where that press conference is?

Something tells me that if our mayor kept his promise he would have given that muscular meathead something to think about before showing his ignorance. Not to mention a dose of courage to those women that we as a “community” clearly lack.