On this International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

To Head Teacher/Principal wannabe C.G., who rarely missed an opportunity to taunt me, terrify me, pit me against his son and my other classmates;

To the kids who teased me for the friends I chose;

To those who often made the forty minute bus ride to and from high school each day so frightening;

To the older men who exploited my youthful sexual curiosity, leaving me with the impression that this was what “gay” is;

To the “Bible-believing” evangelical church which took me under its wing in college when I was bent on crushing my sexual orientation;

To the bottles which I sought to quell pain, only to find more;

To the internalized mindset which had convinced me that I deserved AIDS;

To anyone who has ever yelled “Faggot!”, whether at me directly or in a crowd;

To you, and many more who do not come to mind immediately, I say you cannot have me, you cannot defeat me, and there is nothing wrong with who I am!

May 17th was chosen to celebrate this International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia to commemorate the World Health Organisation’s decision on this date to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.

This morning Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, whose son Brendan had recently come out before being killed in a tragic car accident earlier this year, helped launch (cbc.ca, CP24, Sun, Globe and Mail) an EGALE Gay-Straight Alliance web site aimed at promoting positive peer pressure among students against homophobia and transphobia.

There can’t be too much understanding and support and Brian Burke, who will be an honoured participant in this year’s Toronto Pride parade, is a parent like many would love to have.