Who does Pride celebrate?
Pride celebrates the identities, achievements and resilience of people who identify as 2SLGBTQIA (2-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgeder, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual). It is called ‘Pride’ because it is meant to encourage the self-affirmation of the community, increase its visibility and honor the activists who have and continue to fight for the rights of 2SLGBTQIA folks.
Pride celebrations include parades, workshops, classes, shows, concerts and other events that often occur annually in the month of June, here in Ontario and in many other parts of the world. The month consists of both political activism and a celebration of 2SLGBTQIA culture.
What’s the history of Pride?
Pride takes place in June to pay homage to the June 1969 Stonewall Riots. In New York City, USA, police violently raided Stonewall Inn, a pub that LGBTQ+ people would often frequent, with the intent of detaining and arresting patrons.
While raids like this were frequent in places associated with LGBTQ+ folks, this time they decided to fight back. The ensuing uprising lasted several days, and became a symbol of queer resistance to discrimination and persecution. The following year, the first Pride march was organized in New York to commemorate the historic events.
Today, Pride is both a celebration and assertion of the rights of 2SLBGTQIA people as well as a time to bring attention to the discriminatino and violence still experienced by many around the world. The month of Pride reminds us that these issues have not been resolved and that there must be a commitment from all sectors of society to fight for the rights of 2SLBGTQIA people.
How is Pride celebrated in Canada?
Even though same-sex marriage was legalized in 2005 in Canada, there are many ongoing issues that 2SLBGTQIA 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.
The Ontario Human Rights Code makes it unlawful for anyone to discriminate against the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. However, despite protective laws, 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+. If you feel unsafe or unable to unable to fully express your identity openly, please see the list of resources below to access support.
There is no one right way to celebrate Pride! Many people partake in large gatherings such as the annual Pride parades (these include events like the 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.
If I don’t identify as 2SLGBTQIA, 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. Make sure you respect people’s preferred pronouns (e.g., they/them, she/her, he/him). 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: