Letter to the editor: The sickening response to Chipman’s atrocity waving in the wind

Mayor Atkinson, Deputy Mayor West, and Councillors Fraser, Frenette, and Ward,

I’ve read your statement – which is the kindest, most generous word I can find to describe it – on your compliance in the flying of the hate – that is, “straight” – flag. Is it intended as an apology? Because it sounds like an excuse: an attempt at pacification, without any recognition of the bigotry and prejudice clearly inherent in those who drafted and endorsed the said statement. You cry that “cyberbullying” resulted from the raising of the flag; would you care to consider the overwhelming quantity of incidents of cyberbullying against anyone because of their non-cis/non-heterosexual identity? In comparison, the outrage expressed at your hatred is negligible, and to call it “cyberbullying” at all is appallingly ignorant and just plain ridiculous. And what on earth does “the flag distraction” mean? What exactly is your agenda, if this was only a distraction?

What will it take for you, as a council of supposedly compassionate individuals with the best interests of their community at heart, to admit how wrong you were in allowing such a banner of violence and hatred to be flown in your village? Your continued evasion suggests that you know you’ve made a mistake. What must the world do to squeeze a sincere apology from your bigoted lips? Or do you truly feel no remorse for your attack on the freedoms and existences of non-heterosexual people in Chipman, in New Brunswick, in Canada, and in the world?

Since I was a child, my parents and my faith have always taught me that when you make a mistake or a bad decision – especially one that hurts people – you apologize. Councillors of Chipman, are you really so weak that you cannot take responsibility for your actions? And, if you cannot display that basic integrity, taught to us by our parents even before we begin school, why should the people whom you represent continue to support you? Why should they trust you at all?

I have mentioned these concerns and questions via telephone and the village council’s website, with no response. I brought them to the public eye by sharing my thoughts as comments on the village social media accounts: my comments were repeatedly deleted, and I was soon blocked from commenting at all. The administrators’ attempts to ignore, silence and erase the issue all point to their knowing that what they have done was wrong, but being too truly spineless to face it, much less admit it.

Whom would it hurt if the council were to simply say sorry? As long as you continue to evade and hide, and as long as you continue support your misguided actions, you will be a painful embarrassment to yourselves, to New Brunswick, and to all of Canada.

To end on a message of hope, I would like to address our LGBTQ siblings in Chipman, and throughout the world:

No matter your gender identity, identities, or lack thereof, no matter to whom you’re attracted, or if you’re not attracted to anyone at all, no matter how many flags try to smother you, no matter how many governments try to erase you: we are here. You are not alone. And we will fight for your right to exist.