“I spoke at the convention because standing up for equality and human rights is never an option – it’s our duty as human beings.”
By Goldie Ghamari
At the Conservative Party of Canada’s recent convention in Vancouver, Ottawa delegate Goldie Ghamari (pictured above) spoke at the plenary session social policy debate and delivered a moving defense of equal marriage (see video below). LGBTory Canada asked Goldie to write about her experience.
Decorating the gate of the United Nations building entrance is a particular poem that was written over 800 years ago, entitled “Bani Adam”, or “The Children of Adam”. Its author is the famous Persian medieval poet Sa’adi, who is well known in the literary world for the quality and spiritual depth of his writings.
Translated in English, “The Children of Adam” reads as follows:
Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you've no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.
For me, this is more than just a poem. This is a way of life. Growing up, my parents instilled in me the importance of empathy, the importance of helping others, the importance of fighting against oppression, and the importance of standing up and being vocal in the face of wrongdoing.
In many parts of the world, the LGBTQ community faces violence, hatred and intolerance. In the Middle East, they are systematically persecuted and murdered in horrific ways. Very recently, news broke that Uganda might soon implement another anti-LGBTQ legislation.
In this day and age, any violence or intolerance against the LGBTQ community is 100% unacceptable. This is even more so the case where such violence or intolerance takes place in a country such as Canada, where the 2005 Civil Marriage Act recognized that two consenting adults, regardless of their gender, have the right to get married under Canadian Law.
Many people in the LGBTQ community find refuge and safety in Canada – they immigrate here because Canada is known as a land of freedom, opportunity and equality. A place where church and state do not mix, where they are free to live their private lives as they see fit. I have many friends in the LGBTQ community, comprised of those who have lived in Canada their entire lives, but also those who came here to escape persecution from countries such as those in the Middle East.
I was not planning on getting up and speaking at the 2016 Conservative Convention plenary in Vancouver. I was not involved in all of the hard work involved in bringing the issue of same-sex marriage to the forefront, and I can take no credit for that. I was just one person with one vote. But when I found out what was happening, I immediately knew that I had to make sure I attended and voted. When people were speaking against efforts to recognize same-sex marriage, against efforts to bring equality and human rights to our party, I spoke up because it was the right thing to do. I wanted those intolerant of the LGBTQ community to understand the implications of their actions. I pointed out that the LGBTQ community is persecuted in other parts of the world, that people come here for freedom and equality, and that I support my LGBTQ friends, family and community because marrying who you love is a fundamental human right. Government has no place in our bedrooms.
As Canadians, we pride ourselves on our equality, diversity, and inclusiveness. We as a society have a duty and responsibility to stand up for those who are being oppressed. The day that we turn away and ignore the suffering and oppression of others is the day that we lose our humanity.
I spoke at the convention because standing up for equality and human rights is never an option – it’s our duty as human beings.
Goldie Ghamari, BA, JD
Goldie is seeking the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party nomination in the riding of Carleton. Please consider helping her campaign; you can find more information at “Goldie for Carleton Nomination Campaign”, www.votegoldie.ca