A history shared
Thank you for your article "Before the parade" by Rebecca Rose (Cover story, July 21). As a founding member of the Gay Alliance for Equality and its first chairperson, I would like to say a few things.
Our organization started in 1972 as a direct result of the Stonewall Movement in New York—not 15 or 20 years later, but two years later. GAE started out as an information and education movement, and as such started a gay phone line to reach out to the gay community. We submitted a brief to the Human Rights Commission to include Sexual Orientation in the Human Rights Code, only to be told that we had to wait as they had more important issues to deal with.
We confronted psychiatrists of Nova Scotia who thought the aversion therapy and electric shock treatment for homosexuals were the greatest things since paved roads, where we could not find one case in which it ever helped. All it was doing was making people crazy and forcing them back into the closet, at best.
We did a lot of groundbreaking work in our few years and I would like to think that we paved the way for the brave people who confronted the establishments in the late seventies. Considering that right-wing religions are teaching the lie that sexual orientation is taught and can be untaught, it seems we still have a lot of educating to do. —Tom "Tommy" Burns, former GAE member
Great to see that Chris Shepherd is still amongst us, even if in another city. Though perhaps we would not have thought kindly of him at times, back when he would sometimes keep us waiting outside for what seemed like hours in the freezing cold in front of the Piccadilly. And us just wanting to get inside, quaff some brews, get warmed up, dance our feet off and shake our buns.
Our crew used to enjoy him so much more as a DJ at the Turret than as a bouncer at the Pic. Cheers to ya Chris. —posted by dartguy at thecoast.ca
Rebecca, this is an incredible effort. I'm a queer woman in my mid-20s who grew up closeted in Halifax. Having moved away, come out and moved back, stories like these are helping me to love the city and find context for my experiences. Thank you! —posted by Beth C. Enman
Thanks for holding our story! So grateful for the risk-takers and thankful for the storytellers.The other event that happened that influenced lesbians was the UN naming 1975 as International Women's Year. Not to mention feminism, womens' centres and, of course, the publication of books like Our Bodies, Ourselves, Patience & Sarah, Desert of the Heart and The Journey. —posted by by Alex Keir
Sharing the road
OK, Halifax drivers. I've been a cyclist for years in Vancouver, and now that I'm here we need to talk a bit about driving.
When you have the right of way while you're driving, stop fucking stopping to let me on my bike go when I don't have the right of way. I know you are trying to be nice, but what I want you to do is just obey the traffic laws.
A bicycle is like any other vehicle. When I'm stopped at a stop sign on a cross-street, do not stop in the middle of the road to let me cross when it's not my turn. When I'm making a left turn, stop stopping to let me go.
You idiots! In your attempt to make yourself feel good, all you have really done is screw up traffic flow, risked getting rear-ended and, when some stupid cyclist accepts your gesture, put them at risk of getting clobbered by a vehicle in lane two whose driver isn't stupidly stopping at the intersection when there is no reason for stopping. Legally the fault will be on the cyclist for failure to yield, but truthfully the fault should be on your dumb ass for stopping for no reason.
Here's the deal: When I'm on my bike and I'm waiting for my turn to go, and you stop needlessly to let me cross, I'm going to sit there staring at your bad driving face until you get fed up and start driving properly. And I'll be laughing at how you just wasted your time with your mindless gesture as you pass.
You obey your laws, and I'll obey mine. Simple enough, even for you. —Rhett Tolmie, Halifax