Vern Faulkner who was a former candidate for the NB Green Party nomination in the riding of Saint Croix, N.B is shining a light on something he found “staggering to digest”.
On Wednesday October 11th 2017, St. Stephen city council failed to approve a suggestion from St. Stephen Middle School to engage in a rainbow crosswalk project.
Many areas in the province, Rogersville, Moncton, Fredericton, etc have all put rainbow crosswalks in place to show inclusiveness. While Miramichi put in place rainbow flags spray painted on the ground.
These types of projects have always sparked controversy, as many disagree, and other have been vandalized and made news. Some members of communities across the province have even spread hate speech after the installation of the rainbow flags/crosswalks.
Faulkner took to Facebook to say “no such message from St. Stephen: municipal leaders” when it comes to acceptance, and inclusiveness. He says that a message is going to
“go out to those who are contemplating moving to Southwest New Brunswick that St. Stephen does not welcome those who do not identify as CIS-gender (i.e.: straight).”
In the post he stated he believes that is message that the city is sending to the people who are LGBTQ+, who Faulkner said “already sees a dramatically higher chance of suicide or mental health issues due to the intolerance of the mainstream community.”
Which is true, the mental health issues that members of the LGBTQ+ community face is much higher than straight/cis-gender individuals.
Near the ending of the lengthy post Faulker stated St. Stephen is “where politicians are too afraid, or too stuck in the past, to give school kids permission to paint a rainbow crosswalk.”
St. Stephen city council is making a final decision about the rainbow crosswalk project in November. As they have asked for more information in the form of a presentation.
The full statement by Ver Faulkner
“It is staggering to digest the implications of a decision St. Stephen council made Wednesday night.
The town’s politicians failed to approve a suggestion from St. Stephen Middle School to engage in a rainbow crosswalk project.
It ought not to have been a big issue. Many other other municipalities have forged ahead with these colourful, yet quietly political messages of inclusion, of welcome, of openness and compassion.
But no such message from St. Stephen: municipal leaders evoked a bygone era of intolerance and misunderstanding, and balked at the project put forward by the tireless and praiseworthy Bronwyn Tanner.
A message will now go out to those who are contemplating moving to Southwest New Brunswick that St. Stephen does not welcome those who do not identify as CIS-gender (i.e.: straight).
Gay? Not welcome. Queer? Please take your business and your money and your family somewhere else. Transgender? Egad, please, no.
That’s the message St. Stephen is sending a rather large portion of our population, a portion of our population that already sees a dramatically higher chance of suicide or mental health issues due to the intolerance of the mainstream community.
Rather than dwell on St. Stephen’s decision, it is better to dwell on a message of what real, courageous leadership looks like, and what a community of inclusion and of hope looks like: and one does not have to go far to find it.
Earlier this summer, a lesbian couple in McAdam were married: it was a much talked-about event in the village. Apparently, some individual of less than polite intentions learned of the same-gender marriage, and brought a vehicle into town that bore messages of hatred and intolerance, and parked that vehicle in a prominent location.
But not for long.
The people of McAdam – and to hear tell, that included some of its elected officials – approached the protesting individual and explained in clear terms that McAdam is tolerant, that its citizens have a right to be who they are. The individual was encouraged to depart, and take their hatred and bigotry with them, because that spirit of exclusion, hatred and intolerance is not what the people and politicians of McAdam want their village to represent. The Village motto, “Discover our history, delight in our nature” aims to reinforce a welcoming, community atmosphere, after all. McAdam, in short, gets it.
It’s fair to presume the above tale of a community standing up for its lesbian hairdressers has already made the circuit in the queer community, and that’s worth pondering. If you’re queer, or trans, or gender fluid, or the parent of a LGBTQ child and looking to settle down in a quiet country environment, which community would you choose: one like McAdam that takes real action to promote inclusion, or St. Stephen, where politicians are too afraid, or too stuck in the past, to give school kids permission to paint a rainbow crosswalk?
Forget “St. Stephen, Middle of Everywhere.” Try “St. Stephen, mired in the past.”
Categories: Maritime News