Let's shine some light on dark places
The days when marginalized people in this country don't have a voice are rapidly coming to a close.
And that bothers some people.
In fact, a few weeks ago it bothered Canby's mayor and his supporters.
By now you've heard, or heard rumors of, a botched proclamation attempt that has grown into a nice grassroots "thing."
Councilor Sarah Spoon was approached about a city proclamation regarding the International Transgender Day of Visibility. The mayor declined to exercise that option and in the city council meeting, a modest gathering of people applauded vigorously.
Apparently, the idea of "visibility" for a legitimate community in Canby made these folks uncomfortable. It also demonstrated that keeping LGBTQ folks in Canby back behind the curtain was their preference. It was a boorish display of closed-mindedness that, frankly, isn't worthy of Canby.
But perhaps it is indicative of a hidden part of Canby's cultural DNA, which I find somewhat disappointing.
The days of pushing the marginalized or uncomfortable elements of our communities into the floorboards is coming to an end.
Those people are finding their voice and starting to exercise it. So are those (parents, friends, etc.) who support them.
That's the reality of life today and it's a better life for this country. If "all men are created equal" in this country then they all should be treated equally – regardless of anyone's comfort with that. That's just the way it's supposed to be here – and hasn't for most of this nation's lifetime. Times are a'changin.'
Look, I like Mayor Brian Hodson as both mayor and a person, and given his contrition at the most recent city council meeting, my faith in him is well-placed.
It feels like this decision, and the subsequent attempts to keep it on the "down low" were the result of political expediency and a desire to keep his conservative bonafides intact with supporters while trying to keep the decision from leaking out to more liberal elements – should the mayor attempt to step up the political ladder in the future.
It was a bad move on all fronts and now that bad move is coming back to roost. As it should.
If you've listened to our Canby Vibe podcast, you know the whole idea of these proclamations isn't one we're big fans of in general, and now you know why.
Sooner or later a request was going to come in that was going to require a decision that was going to cast some light in dark places.
And the decision on a Canby proclamation for International Transgender Day of Visibility was that dark place. And now it's coming into the light, which is good because it's a Canby issue that needs to have some love shed upon it.
Last week's council meeting provided a small glimpse into just how deep and wide the LGBTQ experience is in Canby, something very few would have guessed before - and something that makes far too many uncomfortable.
These folks, from younger children to teens and beyond (and their support system), have spent the good part of their life in the shadows and behind the curtains, afraid to come out because it simply wasn't done or, as time has gone on, simply wasn't accepted. And, it's dangerous.
Hello, 1965 called and they'd like their ignorant intolerance back, please.
The LBGTQ community is alive and not so well in Canby, and that's all of our faults. From the ignorant folks who clapped three weeks ago at the council meeting, to Canby's mayor, to myself.
These are our friends and neighbors in a community that positions itself as close-knit and accepting. Well, are we or aren't we?
Canby is a gem of a community, but it's also got some dark corners that need some attention. This is one of them.
Screw the proclamation issue, I don't really care whether one was issued or not. The current system puts Mayor Hodson in a bad spot and in this case, that spot became problematic. What I do care about is that a portion of this community, my American brothers and sisters, are struggling with threats, bullying and the undeniable sense that there's no comfortable place for them.
And that cannot stand. Not in Canby, not anywhere.
If you think I'm taking a shot at Canby as a whole or Mayor Hodson or those poor souls who clapped about keeping these folks invisible, you're wrong.
I'm taking a shot at myself. I can't apologize for anyone else nor shed any more light on this than my lone little personal flashlight. But I can say this to the LGBTQ community – I'm sorry for what you've gone through. I hope you can forgive me.