A word or two on Ottawa Pride

Gender Freedom

With the annual Ottawa Pride festivities on the horizon, I feel it is incumbent upon me to add some words to the meaning of Pride – specifically in reference to the way the Pride concept relates to the TG community.

This is a story of deep human tragedy. During the 1950 and 1960s most gays were deeply closeted, and when confronted usually left quietly. With no means of redress, they accepted their fate. We know of at least 400 resignations were forced through the threat of exposure. There are records also of suicides and ruined careers.

Even Brian Mulroney stated, “…this would appear to be one of the great outrages and violations of fundamental liberties…” Without doubt, the victims of the various purges are owed an apology by the government. The government must acknowledge the wrong doing.

Although the witch-hunts died out in the early 1970s the impact on our community and collective psyche was powerful and long lasting.

The Transgendered are also a hidden target. Back in the day, to be transgendered was the same as being labeled ‘Gay’ and we to had to hide.

This improved a bit in the 70s and 80s and in the late 80s I took a stand and started Ottawas 1st lasting Transgender support group.

The seeds of understanding and acceptance I planted 25 years ago have taken root in this rather barren soil, but the organization I founded has often been viewed as a radical fringe group.

Now, however, we hide no more. And, with the strong connections we and other Ottawa TG groups now have to the GLBT, we are being seen and heard.

Pride is now seen as being  for all of us and we walk tall.

Gender Freedom is still in its infancy and, as a result, we will not be represented separately in the Pride parade this year. But watch out for us next year. We will be there! Some of the original members will be there, representing a number of organizations. But all be there for the same reason.

Thank you all for allowing me to rail a bit. I feel better now…



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