“Different or not, we all deserve diginity and respect”: My Streets of Canada feature

This is a copy of my feature from the Streets of Canada project, to which the official link can be found here. If you are planning on sharing this story, I would ask that you share it from their site, linked above. Thanks!

“As a black, queer, and non-gender-conforming person, I’m terrified. With the political situation in the US, it’s a scary time for anyone to be different. I don’t have any religious beliefs, but we have to fight tooth and nail for anyone facing Islamophobia. Islam is not my religion but it’s absolutely integral to work in solidarity with other marginalized groups to support each other. Different or not, we all deserve dignity and respect. This is the culture I’m trying to build. As an activist and educator, I focus on how we, as a society, can become equitable and respectful of different communities. I was 15 when I realized that I was more attracted to men than women, but I was too scared to tell anyone. I was going through a very emotional and chaotic time in my life. My mom was getting a divorce and we were moving to another province. On top of that, I had this burden on my shoulders, weighing me down, that I couldn’t admit to. I remember finally telling my mom how I felt. She asked me openly if I was gay and all I said was ‘yes’ . I was crying so hard, I couldn’t control it, my truth was finally out there. We were driving at the time and all she said was, ‘you know I love you no matter what, I’ll always be here for you, and you can talk to me about anything’ . I mean, this was something that I’d barely admitted to anyone else but there I was, sharing it with the person who mattered the most. My mom accepted me unconditionally and showed so much love. It was the happiest moment of my life. That’s what has inspired me to do the work that I am doing now; it’s what keeps me going. The workshops that I facilitate and the community organizing that I do puts me in the privileged position of being a voice to the voiceless, to those who are marginalized in different ways. I guess I just want to become the person that I needed when I was coming to terms with myself; that voice that says, ‘I respect you for who you are, and I will be there for you when you need me’ . And I want to have a part in making sure that, eventually, my role is not needed.”

-Vincent Mousseau, Activist and Educator

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