The recent United States election has many of you in the Leather community looking northward. Many have proclaimed, "I am going to immigrate to Canada!" Having recently immigrated to Canada, I can vouch for the expense and the difficulty in moving to this beautiful country. I can also attest to the fact that Canada is not the United States; this country has its own culture and its own values. Whereas the principles of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" guide the compass of America, "Peace, Order, and Good Government" are the foundational values of all Canadians. In the United States, an individual's freedom is held aloft as the ethical measure, but in Canada, "The Charter of Rights and Freedoms" emphasizes the importance of living together in harmony and peace.
Sadly, I am overwhelmed by the intolerance within my community. Many people seem so focused on defining themselves, their titles, and their rights, that they forget how to be part of a social group. Often, their selfish statements are reserved for social media posts where the electronic device, like a mask, can hide the faces of these individuals. Emboldened by the mask, they berate others for not using the right words, the correct terms, the latest phrases, or proper titles. By doing so, these people undermine any sense of community.
Some suggestions regarding how to catalyze change. Kinder words will always hold sway over harsh ones. Showing patience and understanding will encourage better communication, whether in person or on social media. Anger will never convince others to change their opinions. And humility, that near absent virtue in contemporary society, will always introduce future dialogue.
My American friends, before you debate immigrating north, I would recommend that you understand the basic principles of the Canadian "Charter of Rights and Freedoms." Begin the immigration process by seeing yourselves as part of a greater community. Explore ways to encourage peace within that community, that is, our Leather community. And stop worrying so much about how you are labeled, defined, or addressed.
And to my non-American readers, the same principles apply. Support the Leather community by being less defensive about yourselves.
SIR Hugh, an Ex-Pat Pollyanna!