It’s a mad mad world
by Dale Burgos
Dale, Elizabeth and the Burgos brood at Nanaimo’s inaugural
I contemplated writing about the upcoming summer plans for the Burgos brood. What craziness will we get into this year? But instead, I chose to write about the many atrocities I have witnessed as of late.
It pains me to write about tragedy. It makes me tremendously sad to write about senseless acts of violence. At times, I want to scream at the top of lungs out of anger. Other times, I want to shake the heads of these people who commit such unspeakable acts.
Shooting sprees, massacres – whatever you want to call them – are violence at its most pure and gruesome form. If you are like me, I am not surprised anymore when I hear about gunmen loose in a city killing handfuls of innocent people. How sad is it that we as a society are no longer surprised when something like this happens? I’ve asked myself if I’ve become blind or numb when things like this happen. Does that make me a bad person?
I deliberately stayed quiet on social media after Orlando, the largest massacre by a single person in America’s history. I don’t need to tell you what happened, you all know. We simply refer to it as “Orlando.”
After this incident, I quickly realized that I was not numb, nor was I blind. I was sad – incredibly sad. How do you express sadness in words?
You see, that morning, we were getting ready to walk in Nanaimo’s inaugural Pride Parade. Then my wife tells me about what happened.
Orlando is known as a tourist mecca – Disneyworld, Universal Studios, and countless of other tourist traps. The only bad thing I ever hear about Orlando is that it makes families poor from the enormous costs of visiting there.
Now, unfortunately, Orlando is known for an act of violence that was laced with racism and homophobia. I was sad.
As we left for the Pride Parade, dressed in our best colourful rainbow gear, I stil couldn’t help but think of all the families and friends of those killed in Orlando. As we gathered in the parade staging area, I could hear people chatting about what unfolded in Florida. Shock would be the best word to describe everyone’s emotion.
Once the parade began, the cheers were deafening. People lined the streets waving their pride flags, music blaring and smiles all around.
Yet, in the back of our minds, our thoughts were with the people of Orlando.
Closer to home, as you might know, my family recently completed a lengthy Human Rights process where we sought proper education and training for staff and students, and the development of policies and guidelines in the River East Transcona School Division. Thankfully, we completed the process, getting what we fought for, for so long: equality and a safe place for transgender and gender non-conforming students and staff.
We thought that all school divisions would follow suit, as now, the Manitoba Human Rights Commission has made it clear that the rights of all individuals must be respected.
To my dismay, Hanover School Division has taken a step back in civilization and metaphorically spit in the face of all advances the LGBTQ+ community has made these past years.
School Trustees who were voted in, and who did not spend years as educators in the classroom, decided that they knew best. They decided that the safety and well-being of all children are not a priority.
The lack of caring was evident when schools trustees were quoted using terms like “lifestyle.” Nobody chooses to be gay, lesbian or transgender. They are born that way. It’s very simple. Now, let’s be adults and put our differences aside. Let’s forget about religion and focus on our kids – our future.
No one should be ashamed or scared to share with their friends, teachers or parents who they are. It should be applauded and accepted, and most importantly, taught. You see, the ignorance or apparent lack of caring comes down to not understanding what the other person has or is living through.
If you have students and families begging for further education in an education setting, what harm would there be in doing so? Other school divisions do it, so I ask you Hanover, why not you? I am proud to have a transgender daughter and a gay son. Guess what, God still loves me. I haven’t been hit with lightning. In fact, I feel more loved now, than ever before.
We must embrace everyone’s individuality and accept our differences. We must learn from each other. Listen to your kids, your students or your friends – they’ve got something important to tell you.
Dale is the director of communications for a school district in BC and continues to write articles from afar.