Rainbow Registered

Year One of the Covid_19 pandemic was, well, it was a year. One good thing that happened was the tourism industry (amongst others) began producing free, on-line webinars and trainings. I was able to sit in on a variety them.

Then I came upon a course entitled “Navigating LGBT+ Diversity & Inclusion in the Tourism Industry”.

I grew up in a time when the phrase “politically correct” did not exist.  I shrugged off the derogatory things said about other cultures, religions, abilities, and sexual orientations. Honestly, I said things too. Part of me always felt uncomfortable about it but I just supressed it.

 I was 19 years old standing at the edge of a field having a conversation with my Grandfather. When I said to him “…when you are ready, I would like to take over the farm.” his response was, “Well, you’ll have to find a good man to run it for you.” I realized in that moment that I was a feminist or a “not go with the flow” kind of person. (A man once said to me “… you’re one of those independent women”, but that is a story for another day.)

Standing there with my Grandfather I knew that peoples’ attitudes and behaviours needed to change. Not just about women, but about everybody. And so it began, my slow and ongoing journey to “enlightenment”. Forty years later and I am still trying to get it right.

Back to the course. I have never understood homophobia and always felt sad for those whose friends and family rejected them. My attitude was always, “As long as you are kind, I don’t care.” This course taught me that in some ways not acknowledging sexual and gender diversity is no better than denigrating it. *

Now I have a learning curve and a long journey. When our paths cross, please know that it is okay to tell me your pronouns if you would like, and to remind me to use gender-neutral words, and to educate me.

I still want you to be kind, but I am now beginning to understand why it is important for me to see you the way you want to be seen.

~Terri (she/her)

*Note: I had help with the wording of that sentence. I had to “phone a friend”.

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