12.24.2004

Make your family a little bigger

Christmas can be a tough time for many people, for some who are gay, lesbian, trans or bisexual it can be very hard especially if they are still in the closet or their family have "disowned" them. It is tough being there, unable to be who you are, feeling sad while everyone else seems to be celebrating.

I have a friend in Victoria, Garry Penny, who owns the gay bar, Prism Lounge. Garry grew up without a family, came out as a teenager and was adopted into the "gay" family. Garry has for years now, given back. The people that welcomed this kid into the group were creating his family, a place to be safe and loved.

For the last 45 years Garry has been giving back, fighting for gay rights in Toronto in the 50's and 60's. Running places where gays could gather, all of it was pretty scary back then.


Garry moved out to Vancouver some 20 or 25 years ago. He was instrumental in starting gay pride in that city. He ran a gay bar, held community events in the bar, donated thousands to the "gay family".


One event Garry has had every year since moving to Victoria, is a Christmas dinner at the bar. The dinner is always free and open to anyone. Garry is doing it for his family and his family has been getting bigger every year. This usually takes place around 2pm Christmas Day at Johnson and Broad St in Victoria.


If you are able this holiday, invite someone over who is alone or has no place to be. Make your family a little bigger.


I found these lyrics by the punk group, The Vandals. The song is about a family struggling to deal with a gay brother.


THE VANDALS LYRICS
Christmas 1994, not like the year before.
We didn't want to know.
Buried our heads in the snow...
Looking back it was obvious to everyone.
But then again he's not just anyone.
We used to laugh and call him names.
Some things I wish I could change.
Snow fell.He was burning up inside.
Tired of living a lie.
He just had to say.
We learned my brother was gay.
It came on silent night.
Mother's face went white.
She said "I have to sit".
Father had a fit.
I'm learning to deal with it.
My brother is ggg....My brother is ggg...
Looking back it was obvious to everyone.
But then again he's not just anyone.
We used to laugh and call him names.
Some things I wish I could change.
Christmas 1994, can't take it back to the store.
Like a shirt that doesn't fit.
I'm learning to deal with it.
I'm learning to deal with it.
My brother is gay.
My brother is gay.
I guess it's OK
My brother is gay.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

hello rick...

ostling here from Rainbow Country...just wonder if you could post the address for Garrys establishment...i am sure thre are people who would be greatful to spend some time with some friendly people at this time of the year

have a great holiday

Ostling
Http://groups.msn.com/rainbowcountry

Gazetteer said...

Thanks for that one Rick.

Have a great holiday.