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Letter: Time marginalized voices stand together, vote with their heart

We have fought for equal rights. We have fought for legal same-sex marriage. We will fight to be heard because it's time
pride parade 2022 the lake float turl
The cast from the Amazon series The Lake entered this float in this month's Pride parade.

Dear Editor:

Many folks know there are elections going on throughout the province this coming October 2022. Many people never participate in these elections because they feel like it makes no difference. However, imagine if just the 2SLGBTQ+ voted for what they feel is good for the community. If just the 2SLGBTQ+ voted, they could change the outcome of the election and that would be all it takes.

The reason we bring this up is that it seems many politicians and both federal/provincial political leaders seem to think that they have all the answers and ignore the opportunities to engage with marginalized communities like the 2SLGBTQ+. It is no secret that North Bay Pride has been trying to engage with political leaders since 2018. We keep asking to meet and discuss how things could be better, yet we are ignored or talked at about what they have already done for us. The strange thing is, rarely do these leaders ask us what we need, we keep being told what we need. Covid has changed how many of us think about what we need.

North Bay Pride invited all party leaders both federally and provincially to meet with other prides which included York, Toronto, and us, with union leaders to discuss how we can do better, how we can support each other better, and how we move forward in a way that benefits everyone, not just the few. The majority of the leaders never answered or said they were too busy, even though a few rolled through town on their way to another place.

Mike Schrenier, Leader of The Ontario Green Party did show up and walked away with a wealth of knowledge from us that other parties would pay researchers for. But the question is, why do these leaders excluding Mike Schrenier not engage with marginalized communities? Why do local politicians not form advisory councils for city halls that tackle many issues that every member faces? We are not happy people when it comes to politics, as our turnout at the polls tells us this truth. Yet, some politicians depend on your not showing up. That is how Premier Ford won his bigger majority than in the last election.

We can see so many people want change. We see people that want to hold political parties accountable. Yet, many of you are not voting. We are tired of leaders that ignore requests to engage with communities, we are just plain tired.

We are asking our 2SLGBTQ+ community to get out and register and then vote. Let us tell the rest of our cities and country, that it is time that everyone has a voice and no longer just the few. It is time marginalized voices stand together, vote with their heart, and change the system that meets the needs of all communities which includes leaders who engage with us to make changes that help everyone not just the few.

We can do it.

We have fought for equal rights. We have fought for legal same-sex marriage. We will fight to be heard because it's time. Let’s do it. Let us scare the ones who called us “Fags, groomers, etc” by showing up to vote. Let us scare the ones who sit behind their computers spreading hate. Let us scare all of them by just showing up to vote.

Do you hear us Ontario NDP, Canada’s NDP, Ontario Conservatives, Canada Conservatives, Ontario Liberal Party, Canadian Liberal Party, Green Party of Canada, Bloc Quebecois, PPC, and all those in between? Do you hear us Jagmeet Singh, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Pierre Poilievre, Premier Doug Ford, Yves-François Blanchet and Amita Kuttner?

Do you hear us now?

Jason Maclennan

Communications Director

North Bay Pride