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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday 13 December 2012

Is Ontario In the Closet about Stigma?

It's a sad fact, but homophobia still plays a role in politics; so do racism and gender-bias, among other stigmas.  Sheila Copps was regularly dismissed in a way she never would have been if she were male.  There are still plenty of folk in the United States who simply refuse to accept the notion of a black president and try to confabulate reasons why  Obama can't be legit.  

At the same time, Sheila Copps was an elected politician; POTUS Obama was just elected for a second term.  There was a time when women weren't allowed to vote and black men were enslaved.  In the Ontario Liberal leadership race, there are candidates who are gay, who are women, who are visible minorities - there's even one with a physical disability.  These accomplishments are significant victories that have been hard-won and need to be vigorously maintained, but we're headed in the right direction. 

I have enormous respect for trailblazers who refuse to believe there are certain positions that are simply off-limits to some and choose not to accept that some blatantly stigmatic attitudes aren't worth challenging.  In changing society's perceptions, these outliers enrich us all by forcing us to think more broadly.  Some of them make excellent leaders, given the opportunity.

Discrimination is like wine (easy to consume but leaves a nasty hangover) but with time, in iterations, it's being watered down by experience and understanding.  Stigmas are the same as any phobia - they can be overcome, but only when confronted.  

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