COLUMN: All the glory of the rainbow

When I came to work last year and saw the rainbow crosswalk outside the library I felt elated, delighted and proud.

When I came to work last year and saw the rainbow crosswalk outside the library I felt elated, delighted and proud.

When I discovered that the crosswalk had been painted by a group of young people, I was even more proud. For all of our societal warts our intolerances, mistrust, and our sometimes-inability to embrace diversity these young millennials got it.

“Nelson rainbow crosswalk organizers Sadie and Hopi Glockner and Rose Shine, along with their volunteer painting crew Kyra and Julia Burkart and Petra Hartley made history Sunday morning as they added permanent colour to the previously white crosswalk spanning Stanley St. at Victoria,” reporter Bill Metcalfe wrote in the Star.

History, because it was the first crosswalk in Nelson to celebrate and honour the LGBTQ community. Timely, because it appeared just before the Gay Pride festival and parade last September. Unfortunate only in that the non-road-appropriate paint quickly faded, but as I write this I am told that efforts are being made to source the kind of paint that’ll stick—along with those wonderfully inclusive sentiments—in time for Pride 2016.

The Nelson Library celebrates Pride with our own rainbow-flag-waving, most often in the form of book displays that showcase our collection of LGBTQ fiction and nonfiction.

This year, we’re thrilled to offer a pre-Pride event: author Liz Millward presents her book Making a Scene: Lesbian Community in Canada 1964 1984 (published last fall by UBC Press), on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Library.

Most millennials, like our lovely crosswalk-painters, are aware of the discrimination and even violence faced by members of the LGBTQ community. But many of us today don’t fully fathom how completely closed the closet door was relatively recently in North America.

The author looks at the airing-out of that closet, beginning during the heady years of social change in the 1960s and moving into the building of a community. Millward is an associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Manitoba; the presentation promises to be fascinating.

Elise Chenier, SFU professor and director of the Archive of Lesbian Oral Testimony (which is the sponsor of Millward’s book presentation), will also launch the Nelson portion of a study entitled Bridging the Gap: Connecting Community and University in Online Digital Archives Research Project Description on the same evening. The study will ask participants to film their stories using supplied camcorders. Local filmmaker Amy Bohigian is assisting Chenier with this aspect of the study, taking place in October and May. Chenier can be reached at echenier@sfu.ca.

At the Nelson Library we try to keep our collection relevant. A fiction-lover personally, a list of my favourite Canadian LGBTQ authors must certainly include Ann-Marie Macdonald (Fall on Your Knees), Timothy Findley (The Wars), Tomson Highway (Kiss of the Fur Queen), and Zoe Whittall (her new, ravingly reviewed novel is called The Best Kind of People). That’s barely a scratch; there are so many.

Some of our more recent acquisitions include Persistence: all ways butch and femme, edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman; The essential guide to gay & lesbian weddings by Tess Ayers and Paul Brown; Queers were here: heroes & icons of queer Canada, edited by Robin Ganev and R.J. Gilmour, and It’s not over: getting beyond tolerance, defeating homophobia, and winning true equality by Michelangelo Signorile.

Winning true equality, as referenced in that last title, won’t happen by the next Gay Pride weekend, or the one after that. But small steps can, cumulatively, make a difference.

Like painting a sidewalk. Like taking a stand. Like loving your neighbour.

Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Co-ordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Her column runs every other week. For more information go to nelsonlibrary.ca.

Just Posted

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

Voters pack Nelson mayoral forum

Candidates answered questions from journalist Glenn Hicks

EDITORIAL: Nelson mayor’s race uninspiring

An incumbent mayor, a former mayor and a clown walk into a forum

Nelson downtown holiday lighting by mid November, city says

But for this year, only on the 400 block of Baker Street

COLUMN: What Wayne Stetski did on his summer vacation

The Kootenay-Columbia MP talks cimate change, farmers markets and Bill C-281

VIDEO: Monday Roundup!

Elections stuff, youth homelessness, WEED!

Private marijuana stores should shut down, Mike Farnworth says

B.C. has approved 62 licences, but they still need local approval

HPV vaccine does not lead to riskier sex among teen girls: UBC

Girls are less likely to have sex now than they were a decade ago

Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

The rival Koreas are holding high-level talks Monday to discuss further engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Flash floods kill at least 7 people in southwest France

Flash floods have left several people dead in southwest France, with roads swept away and streams become raging torrents as the equivalent of several months of rain fell overnight, authorities said Monday.

Trump to visit Florida, Georgia; search ongoing for missing

The death toll from Michael’s destructive march from Florida to Virginia stood at 17.

Canadians widely unaware of accomplishments of famous women, poll suggests

A new poll suggests Canadians have a lot to learn about the accomplishments of some of the country’s most famous women.

Temporary access allowed for residents of landslide-threatened B.C. community

The district says areas of access to the community of about 54 homes could be expanded, depending on advice from a geotechnical engineer.

Joint inspection planned for missing journalist at Saudi Consulate

Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Washington Potst reporter Jamal Khashoggi

Most Read