Peter Proudly Shares His Pride

I am writing this week’s column from the only point of view which I can claim any familiarity with, that of a happily heterosexual middle aged caucasian male. Most of the people who know me in real life like me because I am a nice guy, and my Facebook friends who don’t know me personally like me mainly because of my sense of humour. Most of society likes, or at least tolerates me, because I fit in. I am a typical ” straight ” white man.

Many years ago, I remember  asking my mother why, although there was a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day, there was no Children’s Day. With the infuriatingly irrefutable logic which both she and Dad used on innumerable occasions a) riding herd on their brood, she pointed out that every day was Children’s Day. Hard to argue with that, and also it’s advice applicable to any number of situations.

For example, let’s look at the folks who wonder why, although there is a “Pride Month “, there is no “Straight Pride Month “.

While I have had the odd person try to bully or intimidate me in the past, I have never feared for my livelihood, nor for my personal safety, truth be told.

Contrast my experience with that of Matthew Shepard. He was a young university student who was picked up one night at a bar by two men, taken into the countryside and savagely beaten by his assailants. He was left tied to a fence and died a few days later in hospital. What had Matthew done to warrant this cruel treatment?

Matthew Shepard was gay. Imagine, if you can, just how horrible the events of that evening were. Did Matthew have any idea of what awaited him at the end of the ride?  Imagine him out there on his own. Did he call out for his mother? Imagine the cold and the pain ebbing his strength. He must have been absolutely terrified. I really don’t know how anyone could inflict such suffering on a fellow human being. As they beat him, did they jeer at his plight?

Matthew Shepard had his whole life ahead of him. Matthew Shepard is why we have “Pride Month “.

I remember a young man starting work at my office. I had little contact with him, but I can see his face now. He kept to himself a lot, sat in the corner of the cafeteria and knitted. I heard rumours that some of his colleagues were mocking him, but sadly, I did not investigate this any further and I now regret not saying anything the one time I heard someone say something mocking him.

One night this quiet, shy, lonely young man went home to his apartment and took his own life. While I know his full name  b), I will only use his first name. His first name was Jim. Jim was gay. Jim is why we have “Pride Month “.

I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. In the 1960s, my parents sent money every month to help support a man named John Damien. Mr Damien had worked at a racetrack in Toronto. He lost his job, because of accusations which later proved to be rather flimsy.

You may ask why John Damien was fired. John Damien was fired because he was gay. John Damien is why we have “Pride Month “.

Two U.S. Army helicopter pilots met at West Point c). They dated and, in fact, were married at “the Point “. It was not the first marriage at West Point. It was the first same sex marriage at West Point, however. I was on a discussion board and some “keyboard warrior ” posted that he was an Army veteran and if he was in the same foxhole as them, he would shoot them. I pointed out that he was advocating the murder of two U.S. soldiers. He left the discussion once I “called him ” on it. Typical Internet Bully.

These two brave pioneers are why we celebrate “Pride Month “.

We sit smugly on our couches and feel pretty good about ourselves and our own little world. However, I have been in contact with a former colleague, John Dorion. John is a tireless fighter for LBGTQ2 rights and sent me a plethora of statistics d) which should make you squirm in your chair.

Homosexuality is punishable in a surprisingly large number of countries, and the maximum penalties should give any thinking person pause.

In no less than 9 countries, Death is the maximum penalty. 7 countries are more lenient, they only have Life imprisonment as their maximum sentence. 50 other countries have penalties ranging from 20 years in prison to fines, with the majority imposing10 years as the maximum sentence.

For these injustices and their victims, we celebrate “Pride Month “.

I should add that John sent me a heartbreaking litany of hate crimes, poverty, alienation and suicide, which really opened my eyes to the plight of many members of the LGBTQ2 community.

I am proud to stand beside my friends and colleagues in this community. I  offer you all the support that I can muster for you.

I would like it if anyone reading this column gives some thought to the struggles that members of the LGBTQ2 face on a daily basis.  Together we can change our world, we can change our culture and build an all inclusive society where everyone has equal rights, equal worth. We have a lot of work to do.

See you soon.

  1. a) She didn’t even have to Google it.
  2. b) I will never forget his name.
  3. c) The U.S. Army Military Academy.
  4. d) Statistics from a British website from “

6 Responses to “Peter Proudly Shares His Pride”

  1. Nancy Green Says:

    Beautiful as usual. Thanks Peter.

  2. This column is sad but true. Thank you Peter for using examples of what goes on every day in the LGBTQ2 communities. EVERYONE should be able to be who they are, love who they want to love and not have to be afraid of what could happen to them! I am the proud mother of a wonderful, intelligent, creative and loving gay man. He has faced many obstacles from the time he was a child that almost destroyed him but he is strong. He should not have to be that strong. He should just be able to be him.

  3. Sean Strife Says:

    Love this! My Mother came out when i was 12 and i couldn’t be more proud of her!

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