Robbie Watt is taking the fight against homophobia in Canada's North to social media.
On March 6, the 46-year-old from Kuujjuaq, Que. started a Facebook page for the LGBT community in Nunavik — and it already has more than 250 followers.
Watt finds himself in this newfound role of online activist after a series of controversial remarks about homosexuals by elected officials in Nunavut. The first was on February 11, when Iqaluit city councillor Simon Nattaq questioned Iqaluit city hall's decision to raise a pride flag in support of gay athletes at the Sochi Olympic Games, saying that it was "not an Inuit custom to be gay."
Then last week, at a meeting of Baffin Island mayors in Iqaluit, Nunavut Tunngaviik President Cathy Towtongie voiced her support for Nattaq's comments.
Watt was propelled into action as a result, attempting to eradicate what he sees as a culture of homophobia that persists in the North.
"We're fellow Inuit,” Watt said. “We're family here. I am not a mockery. I am no less. I am equal to every one of you guys who are listening out there.”
Watt, who works for the northern development company Makivik, came out 18 years ago, while attending an AIDS conference in Iqaluit. It wasn't easy for him immediately — and he acknowledges that acceptance for LGBT people in the North can be a difficult proposition. But he believes it's crucial, not just from a human rights perspective, but for the future of the region.
“We’re losing a lot of good people to this ignorance,” Watt told Nunatsiaq Online. “There are many individuals who have ended their lives because they felt different, they felt ashamed, they had no support. As Inuit say — taima. Enough is enough.”
Via CBC North