On Monday January 30, The Xaverian had the pleasure of meeting town councillor Andrew Murray, who is the first openly gay man elected to town council.
The meeting and subsequent interview was to shed light on the town’s outlook concerning the LGBTQ+ of both StFX and the town.
The urge to include a town perspective was in part an effort to follow up on Mayor Boucher’s successful run to office in late 2016, whose LGBTQ+ friendly platform helped snare victory. Although Boucher was unavailable for full interview, The Xaverian was put in touch with Murray, who expressed deep support for future initiatives surrounding LGBTQ+ awareness and equality.
Murray, 53, remembers back to when The Xaverian published one of it’s earlier Pride issues and the resistance it had from the student body when one feature included two men appearing romantic with one another. According to Murray who dated that issue to ten years ago, students voiced their concern with the then Chair of the LGBTQ+ group on campus and expressed severe anger with the feature. The students who came forward claimed The Xaverian was going too far in showing LGBTQ+ content.
In contrast, Murray expressed that the present university community has made huge strides in improving the conditions and environment for gay and lesbian individuals. However, he did mention that there was far more work to be done to include the entire community.
“It’s funny,” Murray exclaimed. “It’s gone from tolerance, to acceptance...People used to simply tolerate those who identified as homosexual but now it’s an entirely different story,” he finished off.
Murray reflected to when he was in Toronto during a Pride parade and revealed the minimal numbers of participants and that the events popularity was in it’s infancy. Yet according to Murray, the event grew in a small span of ten years and thought that it was incredible to see and subsequently began participating in the parade.
When asked about his successful and historical run to town council in October, Murray answered that being a part of the LGBTQ+ community did not affect his decision to run in any way:
“It had nothing to do with me entering the race, I had my own specific platform,”
Murray’s campaign consisted of improving by-law implementation and assisting in the beautification of the town – riding on the idea of “if we build it, they will come.”
As for any events promoting or supporting the LGBTQ+ community there is nothing on the future agenda but Murray did admit if there was any such thing, he would be interested in leading the initiative.
Murray alluded to Prime Minster Trudeau’s “Because it’s 2015” quote to add effect to his message, explaining that society has come to a point where it is getting less taboo when it comes to social progressivism.
Mayor Boucher in accordance with Murray released a statement to the Xaverian describing her outlook on the matter describing that “there is no better time than now to support the LGBTQ community by standing up against discriminatory legislation and behavior.”
Boucher continued to say that “Although we have made great strides as a country there is still much work to be done.”
The Mayor explained that being Canadian as about having the right to be who you are.
Murray enjoyed that right when running for town councillor but incidentally ended up with the unique result of being the first openly gay councillor in a predominantly Roman Catholic electorate.
According to Murray, he was told by an official from the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities that he was in fact the first openly gay councillor to be elected in the entire province. When told that, Murray admitted he was first “shocked, then proud, then astonished” about being the first.