My Defining Canadian Moment is:

Realizing that my right to marry the love of my life is a right I enjoy as a Canadian

By: Alison Carson, Mississauga, Ontario

Growing up, like many young people, I dreamed of the day that I would find someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Of course, I had other dreams, too. My family encouraged me, as a young woman, to be ambitious, to be compassionate and inquisitive. They praised my intelligence, nurtured my talents and supported me, making me believe that the world was wide open to me.

Although I grew up in small-town Ontario, we travelled, as a family, and my mind opened to the world, each place helping to shape my appreciation of diversity. This love of cultural sharing is nowhere more celebrated than here, at home. My heart is here, no matter where in the world I go.

Which brings me back to love. Here, in Canada, my incredible partner, a woman, and I don’t have to let go of the dreams we were raised with, the dream of a life together, with someone who respects, supports and loves you wholly.

It is enough that we are in love, but I am also lucky enough to be supported by my loved ones, by my colleagues at work, by my teachers, my friends and mentors; we, as a couple, are celebrated for all that we will share and for all that we bring to our community and the lives of those around us. And that should be enough, but in some places people are not so lucky.

I am proud of who I am, of Canada, and of the distance we have come, as a nation, learning and leading other nations towards a truly progressive, equitable and evolved society.

I am a teacher, and as I watch my students grow and hope, I am inspired to know that in this country, their dreams are within reach… and that their country will not shut doors on those dreams or allow intolerance and prejudice prevent them from realizing the full extent of those hopes, and all that they may accomplish – whether in a career, their community, their family or their relationships.

I am proud of the freedom they have to look forward to. I am also proud that when I push them to achieve everything they are capable of, and promise them that they can make a difference in their world – I don’t have to put a disclaimer on their goals based on their gender, where they were born, what their parents did, the colour of their skin, or the languages they speak.

We have made so much progress and recognized how much we stand to learn, from each other and from an honest look at ourselves. As a nation, we have so much more to look forward to.

Canada is a place where people of different ethnicities and backgrounds, of any gender, any faith and ability can choose love and look to the future. With a wedding in our future, with family and friends to stand beside us – tomorrow looks brighter because Canada is our home.

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