“When you hear of Gay Pride, remember, it was not born out of a need to celebrate being gay. It evolved out of our need as human beings to break free of oppression and to exist without being criminalized, pathologized or persecuted. Depending on a number of factors, particularly religion, freeing ourselves from gay shame and coming to self-love and acceptance, can not only be an agonizing journey, it can take years.Tragically some don’t make it.Instead of wondering why there isn’t a straight pride be grateful you have never needed one.Celebrate with us.”
June is Pride month; it is a month dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ communities all around the world. Pride is usually celebrated with lots of parades and marches but with Covid -19 and social distancing still in place, things will be a little different this year. A lot of events have been cancelled, but the celebrations will continue on social media platforms, keeping people connected and celebrating, but more than a celebration PRIDE is a demonstration for equality and human rights.
June is the month chosen to celebrate PRIDE as it was the month of the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969 the protests that changed LGBTQ+ rights for a lot of people in America and beyond.
PRIDE is about people coming together to show how far LGBTQ+ rights have come, even if in some places there’s still a lot of work to be done. We still need a Pride celebration because homophobia is sadly alive, here in Ontario and in many parts of the world where you can still be imprisoned or beaten for being gay, lesbian or transgender.
There are lesbian, gay, bi, trans or intersex people in every community. They are your colleagues and acquaintances, friends and family members. Even if you think that you have never met a single member of the LGBTQ+ community, it is more than likely that you have. But some – or maybe all – of them have been forced to stay silent because they will face stigma, discrimination or even violence if they are open about who they are. It does not have to be this way.
LGBTQ+ individuals are an integral, though often invisible, part of immigrant and refugee communities. Immigrant and refugee serving organizations have an obligation and responsibility to provide relevant, effective and appropriate services for these immigrants and refugees who are often marginalized within multiple communities.
It is our responsibility and obligation to be informed, educated and trained about how to create positive spaces for everyone. Positivespaces are welcoming environments whereLesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer (LGBTQ+) newcomers are able to access culturally inclusive services with dignity and respect and service providers can work free from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
By helping to create inclusive spaces we are demonstrating our commitment to human rights and diversity. We are also ensuring that everyone has the chance to access services in a safe and welcoming environment.
Together we can create a community where it is safe to be yourself.
It’s Pride Month. Here’s what you need to know
A brief history of Pride in Canada
Positive Spaces Initiative – OCASI
The 519. Community Centre
Free and Equal – United Nations
LGBTI Rights in Canada