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Red Head Cove couple sees bright future for gay community

Shawn Hyde (left) and Brian Nolan celebrated their marriage during a surprise celebration set off by the community of Red Head Cove.
Shawn Hyde (left) and Brian Nolan celebrated their marriage during a surprise celebration set off by the community of Red Head Cove.

RED HEAD COVE, NL — Brian Nolan and Shawn Hyde recently celebrated their new status as a married couple in Red Head Cove.

The couple, who have been together for the past 35 years, got married in St. John’s on the 21st of June. When they returned home to Red Head Cove, however, they were greeted by a surprise celebration in the town’s community centre.

Nolan and Hyde did not originally intend to have such a celebration, but felt as though something along the lines was coming up when they were told to wear their suits to the community centre.

Nolan described the celebration as overwhelming, saying that the support from his family and friends from within the community is something he’ll never take for granted.

The Red Head Cove community centre was decorated for a celebration of Hyde and Nolan, with live music, cake, food, and wine.

“It was beautiful. There were people there both young and old to celebrate us, and our marriage,” said Nolan. “I think that’s an amazing thing, especially as I think back and remember all the times when something like this would have been frowned on, or looked at as something bad.”

Hyde, Nolan’s husband, added that he couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate, noting the cake, food, and entertainment, all provided by the community.

“We both appreciated it so much. It’s something we won’t forget, and certainly didn’t see coming. We loved it,” Hyde added.

On July 20th, 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Following this, Nolan told The Compass that marriage was always something the couple had thought about, but only recently decided to act on.

“I think the marriage was a big step for us as a couple. It legitimizes our relationship, and I think it helps affirm who we are to our family and friends,” Nolan said.

“It’s still hard to get used to having the ring on my hand, but it’s something I’ll gladly get used to,” added Hyde.

The couple both agreed that marriage was an important move to make, not only emotionally, but legally as well.

Nolan said that being able to write down on paper that the two are married, rather than a civil partnership, makes life a lot easier when it comes to day-to-day life.

A brighter future

Above all, both Nolan and Hyde said that the marriage confirmed to them that things are quickly getting better and better for the gay community in Canada.

Nolan told The Compass that throughout his life, he’s dealt with gay bashing issues from a number of places, including members of communities he’s lived in as well as police.

Now, in 2017, Nolan was happy to note the level of acceptance and love he’s seen from people all over toward not only himself and Hyde, but the gay community in general.

“Years ago, this would never have happened, I don’t think. Not here, anyway,” said Nolan. “But now, it’s almost become completely normal to be openly gay, as it should be. That’s something I’m very happy to see – the love and acceptance, especially here in Red Head Cove, is overpowering. People are starting to come to terms with the fact that gay people exist, and we’re just like anyone else.”

Nolan says he’s seen a lot of changes over the last 35 years, and Hyde noted that Red Head Cove in particular has been a very welcoming community for the couple.

Both Hyde and Nolan played an active role in gay pride parades that ran through the community in the past two years, something they say the community received very well, and look forward to joining in again in the following years.

Nolan said that although things aren’t perfect for the gay community on a worldwide scale, he feels as though things have taken a very positive turn for young gay people in the country over the past 35 years, noting that although the youth may still have to deal with some prejudice, he expects they will be met with even more love.

“I think this sets an example to younger people in the gay community. It shows them that things aren’t always going to be bad, despite the bad days they may have. There’s a bright future ahead for them, and it’s getting better and better in this country every single day,” said Nolan.

Nolan added that he hopes gay people look at their marriage with pride and hope, and that he and his husband can set a good example for anyone going through what they have gone through in the past.

“Don’t be afraid,” Nolan said. “You can’t be afraid. Be who you are, and stay true to yourself. That’s the most important thing anyone can take away from this.”

chris.lewis@cbncompass.ca

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