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FORTIN: Why I feel a rainbow crosswalk is important

Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Cindy Fortin
July 26, 2019 - 12:00 PM

Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin recently posted the following to her Facebook account. She gave us permission to share it here as well. 

Editor,

Recently, I brought forward to Council the idea of creating a rainbow crosswalk in Peachland. I expected some push-back, as I'm fully aware that we live in a very conservative region, but was actually pleased by the number of positive comments I've received, and the initial support by some members of Council.

I would like to tell you why I feel this symbol of inclusivity and acceptance is important.

While I can't speak for the LGBTQ community, this is how I see it...

The rainbow flag, crosswalk, parade, or other symbol, is not about a person's sexual preference, as it is about feeling comfortable in one's own skin, and not feeling pressured or despised by society because you may not fit in the "norms" that have been imposed on people for decades and centuries.

Please read on:

I was recently asked why not a crosswalk that paid tribute to our history, pioneers, or first nations? Why do this because it is the new craze?

Without revealing the letter writer, here was my response:

I have never been one to do something because it's the new craze, and I don't believe this is that. The Rainbow Crosswalk is one of acceptance and inclusivity. It is about letting those people who don't fit into the "norms" that society has imposed on them over the decades and centuries, feel welcome and comfortable in their own skin, and in their community.

I also love history, and believe it's important to know the roots from which we came, and our community has grown. And we do have that, and celebrate it in Peachland. The District supports the Historical Society and museum, we have two historic schools, numerous historic signs to read on some pathways and along the Centennial Walkway, and a street sign naming policy that reflects and pays honour to pioneer families, using their family names. Also, each year I attend the Elementary School Grad in June and hand out the historical "Story of Peachland" (now in its second edition), produced and published the Peachland Historical Society.

(Ironically, there was bound to have been many people from the past who weren't comfortable in the established norms of the time, but were too afraid to say so, and unable to live a life that reflected how they truly felt inside. So they lived in pretend relationships, heterosexual marriages, and uncomfortable gender identities, so as not to be ostracized. They lived their entire lives suffering silently.)

With regard to First Nations, if you haven't had a chance to drop by the Visitor Centre there is an amazing display set up there, called: "The Interpretive Centre", that details the Legends of the Lake and First Nations. I would love to do more with First Nations, and a couple years ago the District signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding with Westbank First Nation, in order to strengthen and build our relationship with our First Nation neighbours.

I view a rainbow crosswalk, not as a craze, but as a progressive step forward in the acceptance of all people, no matter what gender they identify with, who they love, or how they appear on the outside.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
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