February 6, 2023

Thanks to two progressive citizens, the City of Waterloo will have a gay bar.

The brainchild of business partners Rami Said and Devon McKenzie, the Order at 56 King St. N. could be open this week, depending on how long it takes to put the final touches on the building. According to a Nov. 20 article in the Waterloo Region Record, the club will feature a rotation of themes, a variety of music and an inclusive attitude for all those in the LGBTQ community.

Personally, I’m surprised there isn’t a gay bar in Waterloo now. In a world where inclusivity of all races, religions and sexual preferences is the norm, logic would dictate that there would be a gathering place for people involved in the LGBTQ community in our region. However, according to the Record article, the only other gay bar in the region is in Cambridge. There was a gay bar in Kitchener called Renaissance, but, according to the article, it closed last year.

With most of society still fairly intimidated by alternative sexuality, it is important for these people to have a safe environment.

Considering that most other groups have their own venues to safely express themselves, it’s abhorrent that the LGBTQ community doesn’t have a place to call their own.

It’s also a little terrifying. According to a June 26 article in the Globe and Mail, police reported a drastic rise in hate crimes. A 2012 Statistics Canada report found there were 1,414 hate-related crimes, 82 more than the previous year. Of those crimes, 13 per cent were committed based on sexual orientation. Troublingly, two-thirds of the crimes committed based on sexual orientation involved violence.

There are also far too many people using homophobic language casually, making it uncomfortable for LGBTQ members, if not downright unsafe.

A club just for them is great, but even better would be a life free of harassment and fear.

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