Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ordinary, unimportant; and undeserving of such attention, unless we all are (I think we all are)

Okay, I'm not sure how to feel about this. YELLOWKNIFE – The city of Yellowknife will be celebrating Gay Pride Day on June 10 – and Heterosexual Day the day before. A notice at Tuesday night's council meeting that the mayor was proclaiming Gay Pride Day was followed by news that Coun. Alan Woytuik had asked for an official Heterosexual Day on June 9. It has also been proclaimed. Coun. Kevin O'Reilly called the move an embarrassment to the city, and a mockery of a legitimate request. "When it comes forward from one individual councillor in direct reaction to another proclamation in such a frivilous and vexatious way I don't think it's appropriate to give it any sort of serious consideration," he told council. Woytuik defended the proclamation. "I feel that recognizing the contributions of heterosexuals is just as legitimate as recognizing the contributions of gay and lesbian communities, so I don't feel there's any reason for anyone to object to this particular proclamation. Oy. This is the kind of thing that - while it may be just done out of pique and resentment at handed-down-from-on-high multiculti-enforced-tolerance evangelism, and thus I can understand Woytuik's (and his constituents') motivation - really does reflect poorly on him. Gay Pride Day is harmless; stay inside, if you don't want to see the parade. (Does Yellowknife even have a parade?) On the other hand, I think the response from the local gay community accidentally makes the exact opposite point as was intended, and it's probably more logically valid: "We thought every day was heterosexual day," said Don Babey of OutNorth, a group that represents Yellowknife gays and lesbians and that made the initial request for Gay Pride Day. "Will the city partner Black History month in February with White Heritage month later in the year?" Babey asked. "Will the days and weeks marking physical ailments, such as heart disease and strokes, be paired with an equal number of days that will celebrate good health? Ah, there's the rub: the contrast makes it painfully aware how silly the concept of a single day (or week or month) is, to acknowledge that a certain percentage of the population is gay, or black, or suffering from heart disease. Does the fact of having a Gay Pride Day actually matter? Can one not still be gay, and happily and openly live and work in Yellowknife, regardless? Just be whatever, and don't worry about whether or not official recognition and endorsement of government exists. It doesn't diminish any group to not have a meaningless charade of an officially noted holiday enacted in their name, nor does it conversely enhance any to, in fact, have such official backing. Can't everyone involved here just be citizens of Yellowknife? Residents of the Northwest Territories? Canadian? Is it really necessary to artificially draw up artificial social borders with these kind of shenanigans, from either side?

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