This article originally appeared in the July 18, 2016 edition of The Gulf News.
By Chantelle MacIsaac
The Gulf News
The newly painted rainbow crosswalk in Port aux Basques caused a buzz within town, for all the right reasons.
Chantell Anderson, who has openly identified herself as a pansexual and as a feminist, was thrilled to see the new crosswalk, which is near her family home off Main Street.
“I was surprised, but I am a very big fan of where they put it,” she said.
Anderson is heading into her third year of gender studies at Memorial University but just happened to be home for a few days while the crosswalk was being put in.
She believes a big part of changing society’s view on sexuality will come from continuing education and she is excited to see the town has come on board and identifies their support.
“I have seen a lot a growth in terms of acceptance here, especially in the school,” she said.
Society as a whole has made a lot of changes as well.
“It’s now acceptable to see a boy playing with dolls, or figure skating, and for a girl to be playing hockey – it removes the automatic labeling,” said Anderson.
Growing up, she knew it was next to impossible to come out.
And being pansexual simply means she identifies more with a person’s personality then their sexuality or gender.
Her partner is male and it is his personality, not his biology that attracts her to him.
Gender studies has opened her eyes and her knowledge of understanding human anatomy and psychology.
“There is a whole world beyond being gay or being a lesbian,” she said. “It’s a lot about education, and I love to educate as much as possible.”
Living in St. John’s has really helped her as well.
“I find in St. John’s, you have the ability to be who you are in comparison to living in a small town,” said Anderson. “I do feel more comfortable living in St. John’s, however – I will always feel more safe at home.”
Anderson considers herself to be an ally of the St. John’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Question (LGBTQ) community, and doesn’t want to give a representation of that community, however – she supports it and feels thankful that she can use her education and knowledge to help be an ally and to be a part of the change society needs.
“Everyday people of the community are having problems and to know the town cares, it’s great,” she said. “The more they show their support, the more this town becomes a safe place.”
Her only hope is the town expands its crosswalks to down near the schools, to where the younger generations are learning.