Move Over L,G,B,T,Q,I,A etc. . . . There’s Another Player In Town

To be fair to everyone, there needs to be another ‘letter’ in the mix that represents a large number of people as well. That letter is “H” which , of course, stands for heterosexual. Following the massacre in Texas it is more than clear that the time is now to have some definitive discussions around Pride community rights and freedoms and how we can ALL live in the same space without killing each other.

With that in mind I wrote down some of terms and words that need to be explained so that some debate and meaningful discussion can take place. It is essential we are clear about what this mean and what means. Without gaining an understanding of what the conversations need to be about we cannot hope to have an ongoing dialogue about any of this. Whether we like it or not, ALL of us need to be able to reconcile, at least within ourselves, what changes in our social norms means, what the difference is between tolerance and acceptance, and the ways that we describe each other (these people or those people or them). Basic communication strategies suggest that if we are not using words that we all interpret as meaning the same thing then we will have great difficulty making ourselves understood. We are, quite simply, not speaking the same language.

We often use tolerance and acceptance incorrectly thinking that they mean the same thing or close to it. I borrowed these two explanations from a site called ‘Quora’.

“Tolerance is the idea that while you may dislike or are uneasy with something different, you cannot ban, outlaw or otherwise cause it to disappear. As long as no one is forcing you to accept or otherwise incorporate that idea into your lives, you have no reason to stop it from happening in the lives of other people. In short, you may hate it but you have to deal with it.”

“Acceptance is the idea that something different can contribute to a greater understanding of the world as you see it or some other benefit. Thus, it goes beyond tolerance, where you actively work to mix and blend that concept into your lives, living with and practicing that idea.”

Since many subscribe to the idea that sexual orientation is accepted very early in many lives it also follows that many model the ‘H’ choice while others identify with the ‘L’ , ‘G’ or the ‘T. However, what bothers many, especially the ‘H’ types, is the subtle messages that go out to those who may be on the fence, especially young teens, or who may have made their choice, that it isn’t too late to consider an alternate lifestyle. We both know that that does happen and it exists. Advertising executives have been riding that rail for a long time.

So what of the people who identify with the ‘H’? Should they not be included in the conversations about acceptance and expectations and needs to be ‘normal’? Just the word ‘normal’ needs to clarified and accepted by those who will continue the discussions and conversations. Can we agree to a common meaning of the word? Yet the Pride community somehow sees ‘H’ folks as being anti–.  ‘H’ folks are as interested as anyone in voicing what they believe in and what they need to have happen to make sense of their lives and their world. Fair is hearing both sides of the story. To be truthful I think much of this animosity is about the fear of the unknown–what might happen if . . .  The Pride community lifestyle scares the hell out of the ‘H’ folks and they aren’t dealing with that very well. It rocks the ‘H’ world and challenges many long term beliefs about how life is to be lived.

So, we need to have some clear social norms so that people have a sense of ‘what is far enough’. Norms and mores simply refer to behaviour and demonstrations that support the idea of having a sense of order in society. But before we can get on to meaningful conversations with each other about the needs for equality and respect and dignity we first need to determine what those norms look like. The Pride community wants to be seen in a particular way and I don’t dispute the reasoning at all. But the other guys need to be heard as well.

The other axe to grind is how some use their sexual orientation in the work place as a hammer to make their point. Disagree with a particular point of view and someone is likely to yell ‘discrimination’. Now some poor individual finds himself/herself having to defend themselves when all they did was to state their disagreement. This does happen and quickly at times because governments are falling all over themselves trying to be seen as politically correct. 

Quite frankly I think that people need to be a bit more discerning about the messages they put out there. My or your sexual orientation is no one’s business. It is a fact of your life and mine. It is a deeply personal decision-one of the few personal decisions that we still have some personal control over. It is how we have chosen to live our lives. It makes no one more important or special than the next. It does make us different from each other-true enough. Lets talk about understanding the differences. Quite honestly I don’t want to know about someones S.O-I don’t care. I associate with people because of how they treat me and how they treat those around them. I could care less if they are L or G or anything else. I accept and support the idea that we are ALL free to live our lives in a fashion-any fashion we choose without harassment, prejudice or discrimination.

Anyways, that’s how I see it–

All the best, Jim

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Does Anybody Know What It Is? . . . Does Anybody Care?

As much as I try to get away from this topic it continues to edge it’s way back into the public conversation and I feel compelled to add my two cents. For me, however, this is not about immigrants and the mixed feelings concerning that issue. This is about what we were told multiculturalism was about, what it represented and how Canada would benefit greatly. I am speaking about the grand experiment that was championed by Pierre Elliot Trudeau (still my favourite PM) back in the early-mid twentieth century. I am always amazed at the spin that is put on programs and ideologies when certain groups want to have their way as was the case here. The timing for this ideology to be introduced to us was perfect. The ideas around Peace , Love and Brotherhood were running at a feverish level especially among the ‘flower children’ so debate or opposition was near none. The ideology is about allowing large numbers of immigrants into the country to add people power to a faltering economy. It was also about introducing a variety of cultures and different ways of living into this dual-culture country of Canada so that French and Anglo ideals and culture would not be all that defined the country on the world stage.

I don’t have any problem with the concept of multiculturalism nor do I have a problem with offering people from different walks of life the opportunity to come and share the bounty of this great land. As I have said before–there is more than enough to go around for all of us. My problem is what we have given up to host these folks and what we continue to give up to this day. In 25 years and perhaps less the true settlers and founders of Canada–those whose blood lines are connected to those brave souls who carved out  an existence and created a formula for living here–will become the minority in our own country. Our culture, our ideology and our way of life will all but be a blip on the big screen. What will be the reality created by those seers who believe that they are the enlightened ones and the true thinkers among us? So many questions abound such as:

Is the cost of having a multicultural society worth the loss of our cultural assets, our freedoms and our uniqueness in the world?

–Other cultural groups come to Canada from a variety of global villages and they bring their customs and culture with them of course. However, our leaders seem to think it is OK for us to give up some of our customs and culture to allow our new guests an opportunity to enjoy their customs and culture in the process. Instead of each  group sharing their cultures and customs with each other to learn more about each other it has become an ‘either or’ scenario. We have become accustomed to giving up our identity as a nation so that others who come to us can enjoy more of theirs whether we like it or not. How do we feel about that?  What price do we pay for our generosity, tolerance and acceptance?

–Back then we were told that by allowing a huge number of folks to come to Canada that would bolster our economy because we could produce more from our resource base and therefore become much more prosperous as a nation. Our standard of living would certainly be increased. Apparently that has not happened and yet we continue to increase that labour pool each year even when there aren’t enough jobs for our own citizens. So that argument doesn’t fly. Why are we still being told that the opposite is true? Apparently new Canadians or those who are set to enter the country-legally-are receiving or will receive more benefit by being here and accessing our social systems than they are giving back to the country through taxation and so on. Why are we not addressing this issue?

–One great concern of mine is that gender equality will soon become a major issue or concern. When we consider that the majority of new comers to Canada are coming from countries where women are not respected or considered equal to men, how long might it be before that notion of inequality begins to find traction here? It is certainly likely that women who are arriving from those foreign lands would oppose any strength or movement that has developed here in the last 50 years.

–The unfortunate part of all this is: the people who stand up to pose legitimate questions about process and ideology, culture, heritage and the economy are branded racists and all rational, healthy and necessary debate is halted before it can receive a fair and public hearing.

I am not suggesting that we shelve the idea of multiculturalism-not at all. What I am suggesting is that we take another look at the ideology, vision and philosophy of the program and make adjustments to it that are at least as favourable to all those who participate and not just those who are coming here for a better life.


Anyways, that’s how I see it, Jim

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It’s Not Much Fun Being Us . . .

Sitting On The Edge Of The World

“The world has become a very lonely place for many men these days”–(photographer unknown to me)

When I first saw this photo I instantly identified with how difficult it is to find our place in the world. On the surface of it it looks rather tranquil and peaceful but it could easily be lonely and empty.

Having said that the one thing that I believe we, as men, need to do is stop listening to everybody who has an idea of what and who we should be. The changing world has become a place that is increasingly more difficult to understand for men these days and the speed or the rate of change is very difficult to cope with. A man’s world, for many, is a place where there is confusion, frustration, fear, judgement, emptiness, loneliness and anger. We have gone from a place of being dominant and dominating to a place where we are basically a shadow of who we used to be and, for many, ineffectual in terms of providing true leadership. I’d be among the first to agree that we needed to back off the dominating place we had assumed and also among the first to agree that we have become mere shells of who we were. Instead of being leaders and decision makers and strong family oriented people we have become disconnected, displaced and found guilty of what I’m not sure by those who have no idea what it means to be male and won’t be happy until men are subjugated. How sad. How sad that we cannot find a middle ground that promotes and encourages women to strive for the success they deserve and, at the same time, allow men to be men-to be who they really are in the world. I, for one, am tired of the whining and the threatening and the posturing and the manipulating on both sides of this struggle. There can be no clear winner. If there were a winner that would mean that someone would be a loser. The only thing that might happen then is a change in social structure but not disposition.

We are supposed to be adults, whatever that means, so how do we navigate these treacherous waters and have both men and women feel as though they each won the day. Men need to allow women the freedom and the support and the respect they deserve so that they can pursue their dreams just like men want to pursue their dreams and feel that their gifts are appreciated and recognized. Some might say that it is all about feeding the ego and frankly I don’t care what it’s called. We are destroying ourselves, as a society, and we don’t seem to recognize it or care. The folks on either end of the spectrum in this fight are so stubborn that they would rather go down in flames than to wave the flag and negotiate a meaningful peace that suits and serves us all. It’s doable but only if both sides want it and are willing to work for it. That means give and take on BOTH sides.

I can only speak to the men’s side of things but we, men, need to wake up and accept that this is a new world and it will not go back to the ways and days of old. Good. But this new world must see us and accept as viable, important, meaningful, creative, intelligent, an equal partner. We are natural hunters, warriors, care takers, protectors and the one who takes the bullet for the village and for the family. Those who try to mess with this set up will be confronted with anger, resentment and aggression if need be. We are not much different now than we were hundreds perhaps thousands of years ago. Men will only hear this message from other MEN. Why is this so hard to grasp? Men need to be sure that they have the backing and the acceptance of other men before they will begin to feel OK about being seen as other than who they think/feel they are. We ask: Is concession the same as weakness? Is granting women an equal part of respect and acceptance the same as caving in and giving up? Why is it so difficult for women to accept that men are who they are? STOP trying to change us into something we are not and won’t be. This doesn’t mean that we can’t coexist and be accepting partners in the world. Besides respect, opportunity and freedom what is it women want? Why is it so difficult for men to drop their opposition to changing some of the ‘rules’ and recognize that there are many women out there who are intelligent, very capable, creative, driven and just want what other human beings want. That is a chance to demonstrate they have a rightful place in society and that they can be and are, rightfully so, key players in how the world spins.

If we don’t come to some actual agreements as to how we will choose to live our lives for the betterment of ALL, the big losers, of course, will be our children. They are the next generation of soldiers in this unnecessary struggle for?????

My hope is that we teach our children about human rights and leave the gender issue out of the conversation. No one gender is more deserving than the other. I believe that many more people would get on board if the changes were about treating each other with the same degree of respect and dignity. We all need to be provided with every opportunity to succeed as human beings.

That’s how I see it anyways–Jim

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