I’ve never felt foreign or unwelcome in the five years since I first arrived at Dorval Airport. I chose Quebec because of its values… because of its people. I chose Canada because of its human rights record, and I chose Montreal over more attractive economic and meteorological climates because I see a special and intimate respect and love for other people here, an empathy that is in fact extremely rare in this world. I am thrilled to have my sentiments officialized by the Government of Canada, but more importantly, I am honoured by the fact that I have never been made to feel like a foreigner here. It is my countless interactions with everyday people - people who have become friends, people I have met in passing - that make me proud to be a part of this society. Merci donc à vous tous :)
Helem Montreal invited Daniel and me to march with them in the Montreal Pride Parade! :)
A very special edition of Fuck Yeah Quebec…
1982 - Born in New Zealand. Homosexuality is illegal there. Robert Bazell of the NBC reports on a new form of “cancer” that seems to be only affecting homosexual men - the first media report of AIDS. Later that year, the term AIDS will be adopted by scientists.
1986 - “Homosexual Law Reform in New Zealand”
1987 - First treatments for HIV appear (AZT). President Reagan mentions AIDS for the first time - 20,849 Americans had already died.
1995 - Saquinavir, a new type of protease inhibitor drug, becomes available to treat HIV. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) becomes possible. Within two years, death rates due to AIDS will have plummeted in the developed world.
1995 - I think I might be interested in boys
1997 - I lose my virginity. I have unsafe sex. My father tells me that he was against the decriminalization of homosexuality. My employer turns a blind eye as I am victimized at work as a fag and I pretend it isn’t happening.
1999 - I determine that after three years of sex with men and not a single woman, I’m definitely not bisexual. I finally escape the mental and physical torture that was Tauranga Boys’ College (nothing suggests to me that they’ve done anything to combat homophobic bullying since then, but I’d love to proven wrong.) The Government of France passes the PACS civil union act, which offers limited legal recognition of gay couples for the first time. California passes its slightly better domestic partnerships legislation. Canada allows gay families to adopt.
2001 - I move to France.
2002 - I meet Daniel, who had moved to France from California several years earlier.
2003 - Daniel and I get engaged. During our engagement, Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec pass gay marriage laws. California allows gay families to adopt.
2005 - Daniel and I have a marriage ceremony in Paris and sign the paperwork under the lighthouse in Stanley Park, Vancouver, by chance just a few weeks after gay marriage is legislated across Canada. New Zealand legislates “separate but equal.”
2006 - One of my best friends diagnosed HIV, under 30 years of age. Several more friends will be diagnosed as the years roll by, all of them under 30. We work through it together.
2007 - The first case of someone being cured of HIV is reported. A San Francisco man, Timothy Ray Brown, coinfected with leukemia and HIV, is cured of HIV through a bone marrow transplant in Germany. Other similar cases are being studied to confirm similar results.
2013 - US, New Zealand and France still embroiled in saga of gay marriage legislation. 31 US states, New Zealand and France do not allow gay families to adopt. Gay men continue to die of HIV related diseases. Daniel and I are happy, healthy and glad to be able to go on with our lives. We wish the same for everybody around the world, regardless of their sexuality, gender or health status.