Who does Pride celebrate?
People of 2SLGBTQIA (2-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgeder, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual) identities and any gender or sexual orientation celebrate Pride for social and self-acceptance and achievements.
Pride celebrations such as parades and other events often occur annually in the month of June in Ontario and the rest of the world.
What’s the history of Pride?
Pride was created out of resistance and uprising to a police raid in New York City, USA in 1969. In June of that year, police raided Stonewall Inn, a pub that LGBTQ+ people would often frequent, and had massive arrests and detentions.
In response, members of the queer community, enraged and agitated, responded by fighting back against the police the next few days. Since then, there has been a march to commemorate the lives of queer people and it quickly grew to cities across the world to be what we know as Pride today.
Today, Pride is both a celebration and assertion of rights of the lives of 2SLBGTQIA people as well as a time to mourn the lives lost due to ongoing homophobic discrimination and violence still experienced by people around the world. The month of Pride reminds society that these issues have not been resolved and that there must be a renewed commitment from all sectors of society to fight for the rights of queer and trans people.
How is Pride celebrated in Canada?
Even though same-sex marriage was legalized in 2005 in Canada, there are many ongoing issues that queer people face to this day. For example, many queer and trans youth face increased rates of homelessness due to unsafe and unaccepting home environments that force them out or have them be disowned. In addition, many queer and trans immigrants, refugees and people without status are targeted by police at higher rates because of their gender and sexual identities.
Despite marriage equality being legalized in Ontario and the proliferation of Pride events and celebrations in June annually, there is still a social stigma that is associated with being 2SLGBTQIA+. Many queer and trans youth in Ontario still feel unsafe and are unable to fully express their identities openly.
There is no one right way to celebrate Pride! Often people like to partake in large gatherings such as the annual Pride parades (could include trans march and dyke march). Some others prefer smaller community events such as workshops, parties and drag shows. For others, it might be poetry slams, concerts or art displays. Though most events are held in June, some queer organizations might host events throughout the year. Check out your local community organizations to stay updated about possible upcoming events.
How can I be an ally to the 2SLGBTQIA community?
To support the queer and trans community, read and learn about the ongoing issues that still affect 2SLGBTQIA people. There are also many organizations that focus directly on the issues faced by the queer community that you can support or volunteer at.
For further readings and resources, check out the links below:
- GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)
- LGBT Youthline
- The ArQuives - Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Archives
- Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
To get support for yourself or a friend, check out these queer-focused organizations:
- The 519
- Support Our Youth
- Rainbow Railroad
- Umbrella Mental Health Network
- ASAAP (Alliance for South Asian Aids Prevention)