Ceremony to mark International Day Against Homophobia (Stephenville, NL)

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love-emoticonChantal Drake would like to see a community that’s more open and accepting of people no matter their sexual orientation.

Untitled-1That’s why she’ll be in attendance at a flag-raising ceremony at Stephenville town hall today as part of Western Pride NL’s celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). May 17, 1990 was the date the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.

Drake said the level of discrimination against people who are homosexual still exists, so the importance of a town that’s more accepting of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community matters a lot to her.

She said if she had to put a label on herself, she’s queer, but that through the years she hasn’t had dealt with many issues of discrimination.

“The most I’ve experienced was getting certain looks during “the first Pride Parade held here in Stephenville” last year,” she said.

heartGrowing up in Stephenville, Drake said her brother — who is five years her junior and homosexual — experienced a lot of bullying and discrimination in school,“It seems that homosexual men get a lot harder time than women,” she said.

While Drake, 32, grew up in West Bay, she moved with her family to Stephenville when she was 14. She’s only been “out” since 25, and said it was a little easier for her when she went to university and worked away from home.

While it’s a little easier for people to “come out” in a bigger urban centre, she said, it’s still tough for people in a town the size of Stephenville.

“I understand people that are still ‘in the closet,’” she said. “I remember how long I held on to that and kept it a secret.”

Drake is concerned about the amount of bullying and related suicides that take place among young people because of discrimination based on sexual orientation. She hopes Thursday’s event will create the opportunity for people to engage in dialogue to address the issue of homophobia.

Today’s event will involve Stephenville Mayor Tom O’Brien signing a proclamation at 3:30 p.m. affirming the town’s commitment to recognize International Day Against Homophobia and help combat the issue.

Drake is pleased to see the town’s involvement.

SVILLEFollowing the proclamation ceremony, Western Pride NL in partnership with the Town of Stephenville will raise the pride flag to commemorate this occasion and it will stay raised until the following Tuesday. There will be a reception in the town hall following the flag-raising.


The Western Star Article by Frank Gale – Published on May 14, 2015


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4 thoughts on “Ceremony to mark International Day Against Homophobia (Stephenville, NL)

  1. I want to personally say Thank You to madame Drake for her Bravery, the Town of Stephenville & Mayor Tom O’Brien for stepping up to the plate, even though I can’t be there but would love nothing more right now, I celebrate and honor The Town of Stephenville and it’s people…Peace&Love to one and all.

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