I still can’t believe the guy phoned me.
What on earth was he thinking?
I was working at my desk late Friday afternoon, when the phone rang. Guy gave his name, it sounded familiar, I said hi, then he launched straight into telling me the name of the store at which he works, told me he doesn’t want to see the name of that store appear in the paper, but he wants to talk to me about doing a story on the province’s announcement about Boxing Day shopping hours.
And suddenly I realized who he was, and I was back in early 1999, during the anti-homophobia education plan debate at Winnipeg School Division.
And the venom that was unleashed, some from some members of the religious right, some from people who had their kids enrolled in private schools in other parts of the city, some from alleged scientific experts on homosexuality.
And every weekday, for five or six hours, there was a radio station whose two call-in hosts attacked WSD throughout those three months in 1999.
They went after me, though I was a bit player, and what they hurled at me was nothing compared to what some teachers, and some school trustees, and some parents and some very courageous students suffered.
In the end, WSD approved anti-homophobia education for its staff and for its 34,000 students.
When I realized who this guy was, I told him I hadn’t forgotten what happened in 1999, that I had no intention of ever talking to him, and hung up, and went back to work.