It’s never a good thing to start a post with a disclaimer, but I have to do it for this one. Lately, when I’ve been posting, people have been getting all riled up really over sarcasm and my (obvious) poor attempt at humour: whatever. The fact is that this is MY opinion; you can agree with it or you can disagree with it- I don’t care. All I ask is that you respect it.
This post will be one which, I’m sure, will cause a bit of a controversy. It’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows! Just a heads up…
I’m a bit torn people. I have got feelings of joy, happiness, pride, togetherness. On the flip side, I’m a bit annoyed, kind of over it, getting a bit aggravated- I’m feeling a little helpless. I’m not that surprised though, rallies do bring up a lot of emotions in people that’s for sure- yesterday was a perfect example. I’ll bring you up to speed if you don’t know what I’m talking about.
Yesterday was a rally to take back our West End. It was set up in response to the latest known-attack on a man named RITCHIE DOWREY. You all know this story if you’ve been paying any attention to us here on homorazzi, or reading any gay publication in Canada. He is the elderly gentleman currently fighting for his life in the hospital, after some douche bag (remember: my post, I can say whatever I want) allegedly hit him at The Fountainhead. He was punched in the head, and fell to the ground and hit his head on the tile floor. He is now in a coma in the hospital.
This story is one that has hit way too close to home, because it happened in one of OUR homes. As Joan-E put it, the Fountainhead was Ritchie’s home.
So what do we do about it?
Yesterday at 2pm, we all gathered at Nelson Park. The VMC (Vancouver Men’s Choir) in the lead, singing a beautifully harmonized song (which, I ain’t gonna lie, made me tear up the whole march), and the reported 2000 people walking from Nelson Park, down Davie, to English Bay. I, of course, was in the front. Because I liked the singing; because I don’t like standing behind people who walk slowly; because I wanted to SEE the sea of people walking down the hill, which was pretty fucking unreal; but, mainly because I wanted to get a front row stand at the rally point.
The march was nice, we were SO Queer as Folk, all we were missing was Cindy Lauper and we would’ve been the TV show… right? We got to the rendez-vous point probably around 3 ish. Everyone gathered, and Spencer Herbert took the mic when we started.
He started off with a Harvey Milk quote, which honestly I knew SOMEONE would use: “I am here to recruit you.” Oh honey, we’re recruited.
Spencer spoke: applause, whistles, cheers, the standard for a rally.
And, this is where it’s going to get controversial. You don’t have to like it, but I ask that you respect it.
It’s the same old song and dance. We’re pissed, we’re angry, we need a plan! Yes, I know that, but what IS that plan? I’m not going to pretend that I have the answers because I don’t. I’m looking to my community leaders for help in this situation. Yes, I’ve had enough… but what are we going to do? PLEASE I need some direction?
Apparently, if I vote the NDP into government, this won’t happen anymore. OH YEAH, someone went there. I think that’s where it all started to turn a bit sour in my mouth. MLA Jenn McGinn said that if the NDP is in office, they will make sure that all gay bashings will be tried as hate crimes… I swear to god I actually HEARD the collective eye-roll from the crowd at that moment. I know my eyes rolled so hard I saw the inside of my skull. Spencer got back on the mic to try and do damage control, saying it was a non-partisan rally, but the damage was done. With all due respect, Jenn McGinn, that was kind of tacky.
We heard from a cop, we heard from the labour workers’ guy, we heard from gay council members. It’s just that I have heard ALL of this before. What are we going to do?
Well, leave it to Joan-E to break it down. After a long list of speakers, Joan spoke near the end and revitalized the remaining crowd, which had dwindled substantially.
We need “to infiltrate from within and by that I mean winning over the minds of the children of British Columbia.”
Good start. There are programs that do that: Out in School is one of them. There were also two speakers yesterday… god I can’t remember their names. I’ll update when I get them, but they go into schools and educate the students about the LGBT community. These people are the heroes of our community right now. I completely agree.
But, what are we going to do now?
I know, this post is not as happy and optimistic as most would hope for. Believe me, before I sat down to write this, I had a clear vision of how I wanted this to end up. But, after a lot of reflection yesterday night, it wasn’t as positive as I had originally planned.
I have a couple of questions, where were all the 20-30 year olds? These are the guys that are getting beaten up after they leave the bars, they are the next generation, and they were nowhere to be seen. Sure, there were a few, but I was a bit disappointed they didn’t come out in force. Yes, I get that it was on a Sunday, and everyone was probably nursing a hangover, but really, it’s 2 hours of your life in the afternoon. You could’ve even gone to Milestones and gotten a cocktail afterward.
I just… I want to see more! I’m looking to the community leaders to help me find a solution. Rallies are fine, but other than give people a little morale boost, they really are all the same. I will keep attending because I care, and maybe one day we will get our next Harvey Milk, but for now, it’s the same thing every time.
Yes, I’ve had enough of all the violence, but I’ve had enough of all this talk as well. Can we do something? Is there anything we can do? Hell, I almost think we should all wear pink hoodies on the weekends and have street teams walking around called the PINK LADIES to help patrol the streets! It would help, and you get a lovely jacket! I can’t take full credit for that idea… I did get it from somewhere, I just can’t remember where ;)
All the rallies and the forums and the meetings are fine. But, we keep having them over and over and over, and I need more. I need direction: I need someone to have a plan in place. I need people to care- I WANT people to care… but I don’t always get what I want.
But, let’s look at yesterday for what it was. It was a time when a lot of us came together and marched for a man who is fighting for his life. A man who was beaten in a place that was supposed to be safe for us. We all put aside our own differences, and came together in support of this man, and right now all I want is for that man- Ritchie Dowrey- to get better.