Cahoon: We won’t take Pride for granted

Royal Roads University President Cahoon’s opinion-editorial in the August 3 Globe and Mail underscores the importance of celebrating Pride.

Here is an excerpt from the Globe and Mail:

With Pride season in full swing across the country, it can be tempting to take inclusion and an appreciation for diversity for granted as important values in Canadian culture. Since fledgling Gay Pride Week events were held in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Winnipeg in 1973, the LGBTQ2 community has developed Pride events and the movement for inclusion to levels unimaginable in decades past. 

At the same time, increasing forces of intolerance give not only the LGBTQ2 community, but all of us, reasons to celebrate diversity even more loudly and proudly in 2017.

As a gay man, father and grandfather, I am troubled by the bigotry demonstrated by the Trump administration and xenophobic populist movements around the world. Last week’s statement to ban transgender people in the U.S. Armed Forces is the latest in a relentless series of moves designed to normalize homophobia and transphobia in the U.S. and elsewhere.  

The entrapment and rounding up of gay people in Russia and Chechnya, gay “prevention” contests in Malaysia and the murder of queer teen Oliver Zamarripa in Vancouver are among recent chilling events worldwide that remind us just how dangerous bigotry is.

Like so many members of the LGBTQ2 community, I have experienced the effect of intolerance justified in the name of religion. And like so many members of the LGBTQ2 community, I know first-hand the effect of such intolerance on my own sense of self-worth and self-confidence.

As an educator, I care deeply about how all levels of education can be an antidote to bigotry and how important education is in fostering a positive sense of self-worth.

Education is empowerment. And empowerment begins with knowing not only who we are, but also who we might become if we are free to explore our full, authentic potential. 

Read the entire opinion-editorial in the Globe and Mail.