Last night was one of the most haunting nights of my life.

On June 22nd 2012 a young lesbian couple, Mollie Olgin and Kristene Chapa were shot execution style in the head in a small park in Portland Texas. When they were found hours later Mollie had died at the scene and Kristene was rushed to hospital in critical condition. Portland officials were quick to remind everyone they had no evidence to lead them to the conclusion that the shooting was in any way a hate crime, though they couldnt provide any other reason the two lesbians would be shot in a texas town of 16, 000 either.

It didn’t matter to Cleve Jones, noted gay activist and founder of the AIDS memorial quilt, who immediately sent a message out through Facebook for people to begin organizing vigils in honour of Mollie and Kristene.

And the effect of that call was immediate. Vigils sprang up from Anchorage to Portland, Seattle to New York. I myself  began organizing one in Nanaimo B.C. my hometown. Eagerly I watched the vigil website to see all the new vigils springing up daily, but the one I most wanted to see never appeared. Vancouver, the supposedly number one gay friendly travel destination apparently couldn’t field on gay rights activist with enough ambition to organize a simple candlelit vigil.

So I shook my head, enlisted a friend, and organized the damn thing myself.

Myself and my co-organizer did the usual mountain of emails, calls on Facebook and personal requests for support from friends. In other words everything I had just done in Nanaimo that netted a (relatively) large turnout of 50 people a gay vigil in a redneck town of 80, 000.

But not in Vancouver apparently. Hell, Little Sisters Bookstore, the organization that spent years  and countless thousands of  donated dollars fighting Canada Customs to be allowed to bring smut magazines into the country couldn’t even be bothered to return an email. Vancouver City Council, an apparently gay-friendly group, fell far below their far less experienced Nanaimo counterparts when they failed to even send an acknowledgement of the invitation. Activists who have spent years inviting people to event after event were mysteriously silent on the issue of gay teenage death.

To all the above mentioned parties and the others who could not be bothered I say “Fuck You”

Sure, we can’t yet state a definitive motive for the shootings in Portland Texas. Sure, we can’t be certain of the effect our gathering together to remember two young lesbian women whose lives were torn apart. Sure, if we work at the issue of gay teen bullying it will be a long hard fight, but is it not a fight worth undertaking?

Apparently not to Vancouver British Columbia Canada who set the record for apathy with a vigil turnout of exactly one person. Me

So let this be a wake up call Vancouver, because Canada is not immune to homophobia simply because you have laws for gay marriage. Your transsexual citizens still have no human rights, landlords still refuse rent to LGBT persons, and yes, Canada Customs still seizes your smut mags.

So get the fuck up all of you! Stand up, Support your local causes, listen to the stories from at home and abroad, stop being afraid to care about something simply because the gratification isn’t instant. Remember who the fuck you are and be proud of it. Because Pride can’t just be shown at a parade one day a year, or on the dance floor of some idiot nightclub. It has to be earned, earned by living each and every day to its fullest, earned by supporting your community and not forgetting the past, earned by being active in your world and not just another apathetic sack of crap on a couch somewhere.

The hope of universal acceptance for LGBT peoples world-wide isn’t gone you idiots, it’s standing in front of you waiting for some fucking help.

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Comments
  1. Tenisha Weiman says:

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  2. Tatiana Mendonsa says:

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  3. Theresa says:

    Raymond Taavel was a former chairman of Gay Pride week events and a well-known editor for Wayves magazine. He was beaten to death outside of a pub in Halifax in April. I didn’t hear of any vigils out here on the west coast to mark his death. Mind you I don’t have my ear to the news nor have I been connected to the GLBT community. Was there any vigils out here for him?

    How many other deaths or acts of violence have gone unmarked by the larger community? Could we do more? Definitely. I don’t call myself an activist. I do what I can at my place of work. I’m learning to find my voice.

    Thank goodness there are people with the energy and motivation to stand up to closed minds.

    Be angry but then let it go. Be offended but then let the feeling go and take the action you need to take. Be motivated by someone else’s angry, don’t wear guilt.

    May The Great Kindness touch us all.

    • erichblayde says:

      Theresa,

      I heard of Taavel’s death but I don’t know of any vigils on the west coast.Considering the extremely high rate of teen suicides and assualts in the first 6 months of the year I would have to say the the majority of gay deaths do not cause people to blink anymore. Sad I know. And you do not have to call yourself an activist or any other label, my point in writing this was to remind people that even something as simple as attempting to make a friendlier work enviroment is at least better than lip service.

      As to letting the anger and the offense go, I am not sure if I could live with myself for that. The apathy infecting our community is an utter affront to the countless thousands of hours activists across our country put in every year. And it is a slap in the faces of people like Mollie Olgin and her family who must suffer with their loss the rest of their life.

      So although feeling anger and taking offense isn’t the healthiest state I would much rather that than the apathy infecting the majority.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I devoutedly hope to see your amazingly open minded views on many more posts in the future

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