Submitted to both Cochrane Eagle and Cochrane Times on 2020-08-23
I have always been amazed at what Cochrane’s volunteer groups can accomplish. You are part of what makes me so proud to call Cochrane my home!
Last week was our inaugural Pride Week. Congratulations to the Kindred Cochrane Pride Society, the groups supporting this event and Town Council for making this event become a reality.
I realize that some people might wonder why this event is a big deal or even be against it. The subject of inclusion and/or the inaugural Pride Week and how it relates to the LGBTQ2S+ community is far too complex to have an adequate discussion in one letter so I will limit my comments accordingly.
I was struck by Mayor Genung’s comments that he was ‘surprised’ that supporters of this event were as ‘emotional’ as they were. My reaction to Mr. Genung’s surprise was surprise. I have met and am personal friends with people who identify themselves as gay and lesbian. Without exception these people have given heart wrenching accounts of exclusion and even abuse from their own friends/family! I can only imagine what an event like this could mean to the LGBTQS2+ community and/or how impactful feeling acknowledged or included would mean to people who do not always experience these emotions.
I’m NOT pointing out Mr. Genung’s response to point out something negative. I’m only using Mr. Genung’s comment because I believe he would not be alone. It is never easy to truly look beyond yourself and be truly present to the emotions that come from a person’s life experiences. Even as a trained social worker who should know better, I have too often been humbled by my lack of comprehension/understanding/sensitivity to another’s experiences.
I am proud that we as a community have chosen to use actions, not just words, to promote the value of inclusivity in Cochrane, again, well done.