Jan. 17, 2013 - Issue #900: The ongoing musical evolution of Hannah Georgas
This year do’s
Edmonton offers a lot of queer support; let's make it more
Here we are, halfway through January. If you're like many people, you're about to fall off the wagon on the New Year's resolutions you've made (unless your resolutions are similar to a friend of mine, who declared she wanted to drink more in 2013) just in time to meet the coldest days of winter. I say this because I recently read a report that claimed most January resolutions only last three weeks. However, the report also went on to say that successful resolutions are often grounded in community support, which got me thinking about how individuals also contribute to a community's goals. What are our goals as a community and how can we work to make them happen?
I've listed mine below and I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with them. I do, however, want everyone to think of at least one thing they want to see changed in this city and then work towards making it happen. Big or small, get in touch with a queer organization in town (or start your own) and let's see what we can do as a community. In December I'll compile a list of what we've done, so be sure to keep in touch (@ashdryburgh on Twitter).
1) Get more youth involved: despite the supports for queer youth already in place, there could absolutely be more. We can also do a better job of reaching out to youth. I rarely see youth at the queer functions I attend. Queer youth today are coming of age in an era unlike anything we have ever seen before and have questions, concerns and ideas that reflect this.
2) Increase mentorship: we need more successful queers mentoring other queers. By "successful" I don't only mean upwardly mobile, suburban-dwelling white gays and lesbians. Are you happily practicing polyamory? Have survival tips for negotiating the name-change form? Dealt with immigration? Survived the bathhouse raids in the 70s? This is knowledge that our community needs. I am sure these conversations are happening already, but I really want to encourage us to create spaces to talk to one another more.
3) Continue to acknowledge diversity: this last year has seen some great conversations happen about the intersections between queerness and disability, and we need to keep it up. Those of us with more privilege—white, able-bodied, cis-gender, etc—especially need to get better at this.
4) Believe that Edmonton is a queer place: if I have to hear one more person claim that they are moving to Toronto, Vancouver or Montréal because that's where the queers are, I am going to scream. Having lived in two of those cities, I can assure everyone that those queer communities have as much in-fighting and gate keeping as we do and that there are as many problems and bigots (hello, mayor of a certain major city) as anywhere else. The only difference is we imagine those places as somehow being more culturally queer than here, and I don't think it's true. Did you know that Edmonton was one of the earliest sites of gay and lesbian organizing in Canada? We have so much going on here: Exposure, I Dig Your Girlfriend, qmunity league, GayWire, Buddy's and Flash, the various institutes, GSAs, and groups associated with educational institutions, Camp Fyrefly, the Pride Centre and dozens more. Can there be more? Of course! But the only way we're going to drown out every lake-of-fire dinosaur who comes along is to be louder (and, dare I say it, prouder?) and to stop being so damned ashamed of this city. V
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