If you get triggered by real talk about Gay stuff, please don’t read any further. You will notice I purposely did not use the Lettuce Guacamole Bacon Tomato Quinoa (two ess plus) acronym. Why not? Because I think it’s dumb. Why? Letters (and symbols) are being added to that label as quickly as another group feels excluded. What’s wrong with that? There is an infinite number of groups that could possibly be offended so the label will grow infinitely in length. If you have to ask what’s wrong with that, you must not have been around during the Y2K debacle, or when they decided on the IPV4 internet addressing scheme.
Let me hit the brakes right there for a moment and explain something. I am hating on politics here, not any individuals or their rights. I believe a person should be able to choose who they are with romantically and what they do with their own body. I don’t care what’s in between an individual’s legs, and I certainly don’t care what that individual does with that said equipment (as long as it doesn’t interfere with another person’s rights). I don’t give a shit which washroom people want to piss in, and I don’t give a piss which washroom they want to shit in, as long as they don’t do it on the toilet seat.
That being said, if the politically correct thing to do is the use the LGBTQ2S+ label, can we at least stop adding letters to it?
Same goes for the rainbow flag. Leave it alone for goodness sake. Sure, it’s a symbol, but it’s also representative of a rainbow. I mean, if you add black, then you have to add brown. If you add brown, then you should add white. If you add white, then you have to add the symbol for the artist formerly known as Prince. It just gets carried away.
For some reason, I’m reminded of the multicultural crayons my child received at kindergarten orientation. No joke. Here’s what happens when someone on the school board takes appeasing everyone too far.
Look at all those lovely colours. So much fun for a child to use in her colouring books. I bet these would piss off the LGBT community, though. I mean, a gay child couldn’t even draw the somewhat-accepted symbol of her pride with these crayons.
It’s a good thing I stopped caring about rainbows after that double-rainbow video went viral.
Wait, actually I do care, but only in specific cases. Like when the stripes are painted on the asphalt of the city’s crosswalks. When I was a kid, I had a road map that illustrated and gave meaning to some of the official road signs and road markings. I thought it was cool how society came up all these standards so that anyone who studied hard enough and passed their driving test would know the situation on the road.
The rainbow markings in place of the official white crosswalk markings fly in the face of what an official road marking is. The crosswalk is not the place to make a statement, other than, “Look out for people walking here!” I already ranted about Doug Ford trying to put his political message on our province’s license plates, in “Yours to Discover”.
I don’t care if City Hall wants to fly a rainbow flag or erect a statue in the park. A stamp or a coin? Cool. A parade or a festival is fine with me. Just don’t fuck with the official road markings. If this issue is deemed so important that the road markings must be altered, then make it official and print it in the new driver’s handbook.
I would caution against that, though, for a much more logical reason. A friend of mine who drives a city bus concurs with my assessment that the multicoloured stripes are difficult to see at night, especially if it is raining. There are reasons why stop signs are red with white, reflective type. It’s the same reason why all the school-crossing signs in my area were changed from blue to fluorescent yellow. It’s the same reason why crosswalks are painted reflective white. Visibility. Safety.
Enough about the politics around road markings, let’s talk about the politics around coinage. In Canada, our “dollar bill” is not a bill at all, it’s a coin. It’s called the loonie. Because there’s a loon on it.
Next week, The Royal Canadian mint is going to unveil a loonie with a picture and a message (and probably a rainbow flag) to commemorate fifty years of gay rights. There is a slight problem though. Even though the law making sexual activity between consenting men a crime was changed in 1969, there was still a pattern of criminalization by police and the courts for some time afterward. Not to mention more subtle forms of oppression, like not allowing gay men to donate blood.
So what do we do? Should we commemorate the modest changes to the law in 1969 on a coin or not? Some say to do so is propagating a myth about equality. Some say to do so is as disingenuous as Justin Trudeau’s teary-eyed apology to the LGBT community on November 28, 2017. Or his memorandum from January 15 of this year, where he outlined all of his government’s great accomplishments in helping the LGBT community. I would be interested in hearing some opinions from people in “the community” on where they stand on this new commemorative coin.
In related news, the City of Edmonton is cancelling their pride parade this year. In a message on the Edmonton Pride Festival website, they state:
It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that the Board of Directors has voted to cancel the 2019 Edmonton Pride Festival.
Why would the board do such a thing? Maybe the reasons are complicated, like how some people object to multicoloured crosswalks or “multicultural” crayons. Maybe it’s as complicated as which bathroom we should do a number two in, or which colours we should (or shouldn’t) prepend to the rainbow. Maybe the reasons are as varied as the letters (and symbols) we append to LGBT.
The official reason given in the article on the Edmonton Pride Festival website is, “In light of the current political and social environment, it has been determined that any attempt to host a Festival will not be successful.”
You know what, though? I think they may have made the right choice because…
…nothing ruins a festival to showcase what a proud and inclusive species we are more than teargas and riot shields.