I’m the mayor of Caraquet, and I’m gay.
2020-05-17 • Carquet, NB • Transcription & translation by Paul Pitre
On May 17, Kevin J. Haché released a pride-ful speech on his Facebook account. Here is a link to the Facebook video in French; this transcription and translation was done by Moncton translator Paul Pitre.
From my earliest memories, I’ve always known there was something different about me, until the day my mother asked me if in fact, I was gay. I remember back then being scared to tell her, not knowing how she would react, but when I told her I was gay, she accepted me the way I was.
I left for university. Before coming home for Christmas, my Mom called to tell me she had told my father and my brother. People might say it wasn’t her place to do so, but I think she did to protect me from possible reactions from my father and my brother.
But when I came home at Christmas, it was as if nothing had happened: I was the same Kevin as before I had gone, as well as after. Nothing had changed. The love from my father, my brother, my mother, my sister Cindy (I was young at the time), nothing had changed, everything was wonderful.
For me, it was really easy.
Today, May 17, we mark the day against homophobia, transphobia, and the theme for this year is family. It’s to tell people: “Tell your children, your brothers, your sisters, your grandparents, your cousins, that you love them, that you’re there for them, and who they choose to love will not make a difference in the way you love them because of it.”
They are proud of who they are and to talk about it, to know how to love. Because today, I am proud of who I am, and I am proud to have a family who supports me and that have never treated me differently.
But it hasn’t always been easy,
I remember buying a gay flag at the University of Ottawa that I hid here in a drawer in the house for thirty or thirty-five years. Always being scared to take it out, to know how people, how my neighbours would react, how it would affect my job, how it would affect my position as mayor.
But until the day we had a discussion about being the first to shout to invite people to the first gathering of Acadie Love, here in Caraquet, I finally took the flag out and raised it proudly in front of City Hall, and today, on this day, I’m proud to say this is MY flag, the same that was hidden for so long, still flying in front of City Hall.
If you have the chance, look at it, and think of the people surrounding you, take time to call them, take the time to tell them you love them, because in these times of confinement, we need to know we are loved, I think we need to know people are there for everyone, for us, and that we will be there for them.
Today, May 17th, the day against transphobia and homophobia, I just ask you to call, to do a small gesture. Do it today, but continue doing so always, because today, there are people who didn’t have the chance I had, to be who I am in a community that has accepted me, in a family that has accepted me unconditionally.