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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Editorial: Regarding rants about rainbows
The Lake Report's weekly editorial. File

The Lake Report isn’t shy about its advocacy for human rights or its support of Pride month and the LGBTQ+ community.

Every year we transform our masthead into rainbow colours in June. We also turn it purple for International Women’s Day and have included banners to honour Indigenous month.

They are simple gestures, but mean a lot to marginalized groups who, to this day, are still fighting to be equally accepted.

In recent weeks, various letters have arrived that have been filled with misguided, ignorant and outdated views on Pride and what the month represents.

Arguments such as, “We shouldn’t honour Pride month when veterans only get Remembrance Day,” or “Gay people are already accepted,” or perhaps the strangest argument, that “NOTL is accepting to gays because the Shaw Festival exists.”

The letter writers aren’t being satirical, they really believe what they are saying. And they care enough about what happens in someone else’s bedroom or how the community recognizes marginalized groups that they write to us.

And in a few cases we have published their comments to shine a light on some of the viewpoints from our community. (To be clear, we are not pointing the finger at every letter writer, so please don’t misconstrue this.)

Unfortunately, many of these views fail to take into consideration the historical, religion-based and ongoing prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community — and women, people of colour and Indigenous Peoples, for that matter.

So, let’s set the record straight: It was never illegal to be a veteran. It isn’t a choice to be gay. And for those who argue LGBTQ+ people are accepted, remember military veterans, for whom we have great respect, don’t face condemnation from people who believe their “god” will condemn them to an eternity in hell … for the way they were born.

It’s a wild world.

While The Lake Report prides itself on printing a variety of opinions — often ones our editorial team strongly disagrees with — going forward, we will be even more selective about what views on these issues we publish.

If they simply don’t add to the conversation, are short-sighted and serve to fuel further hatred against an already marginalized group, we will avoid publishing them.

It is our responsibility as the most-read newspaper in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the most-awarded community newspaper in Canada for the last three years, to further the conversation — but not to give a platform to views that only take us back in time.

So, going forward, if letters are based on tired arguments that can be easily disproved, we will not publish them.

If letters are filled with hatred disguised as an intellectual viewpoint, we will not publish them.

While we understand some people are of the mindset that LGBTQ+ people already are accepted and have rights in Canada, we need look no further than the immediate vandalism of NOTL’s Pride crosswalk or those religion-inspired and hate-fuelled letters we mentioned. To us, these show there is a long way to go before a Pride month is not needed.

We simply do not accept hatred for people based on their sexuality or gender or skin colour, or any other “difference.”

However, we also are torn: Despite the cheerleading, rah-rah approach that some in our community prefer, a newspaper has an obligation to show the reality of a situation. Even if it’s negative.

And the unfortunate reality is that there is a clear dislike, in some cases possibly a hatred, for the LGBTQ+ community by some in NOTL. Many others just seem tired of hearing about LGBTQ folks.

To suggest this isn’t the case shows a lack of critical thinking or a wilful ignorance of acts we regularly witness.

And we don’t want to perpetuate hate against marginalized groups.

The Lake Report celebrates all types of people for their perceived differences. We embrace things we might not understand as long as people are happy and nobody is getting hurt. We applaud marginalized groups for making it known that they’re here and they’re proud to be who they are.

Because at the end of the day, everyone deserves to feel good about themselves.

And we simply will not be party to attitudes that only serve to degrade others.

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