One if the more common reactions I get when I come out to someone is how lucky I am to live in Vancouver. I do consider myself lucky to live in this city. It is far more friendly to the LGBT community as a whole than anywhere else I have lived. Still though, couldn’t it be better?
Sometimes I think that by being better than most, people are lulled into a sense of complacency. As long as we are better, there is no need to arrive for true equality. Of course, most people who are not part of a marginalized community don’t think that way, exactly. I personally believe that they feel good that their city is more open and accepting than most. They should feel good about that, too.
I don’t think there is any place for complacency or thinking it is good or good enough as long as there is still violence and discrimination based on gender or orientation. Vancouver being better than most does not make it good. Good would be no worries about sexual assaults, especially on the public transit system. Good would mean support workers would never have to ask someone if their housing or employment was in jeopardy because they are coming out. Good would also mean less of a need for those support workers and specialized healthcare. Any doctor I go to should be familiar with the special care I need.
While Vancouver is an accepting city, I think the standards for good should be set at equality and integration, not tolerance. Yes, I am happy I am coming out here, but safety is still a concern. If Vancouver could make the leap from better to good, maybe the model could be duplicated in other cities around the world.