OPSEU at Pride
Members of the Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel will be attending various Pride events and festivals this summer. They are scheduled to take place at various locations across the province. The Alliance is energized, empowered and inspired by members, locals and communities who have joined in the ongoing fight for equal rights for all.
OPSEU members, Executive Board Members, staff, family, friends and allies are encouraged to come out and show their support. For individuals interested in volunteering and/or would like further information on how to become involved, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Schedule of Events
St. Thomas, Aylmer and West Lorne (Flag Raising and Pride Day)
1st Annual CK Gay Pride Family Event w/Parade
April 28-May 14
tri-Pride (Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo)
May 22-June 6 (tri-Pride Week)
June 10 (Pride Parade)
June 16 (Pride Parade)
July 30-August 12
June 15-24 (Pride Week)
North Bay Pride
Sault Ste Marie
Aug 18 & 19
What is Pride?
To the LGBTTIAPQQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, asexual, pansexual, queer, questioning, two-spirited) community and their allies, Pride is a reaffirmation that discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression will not be tolerated. A cornerstone in gay rights social movements, Pride also calls for an end to violence against the LGBTTIAPQQ2S community. It is about preserving one’s dignity and ensuring that access to the same rights and services is fair and just. In addition, it is a celebration of sexual, gender and family diversity.
June is Pride month
June was chosen as Pride month to commemorate the Stonewall riots that were a series of spontaneous demonstrations initiated by the gay community. They were a response to an early morning police raid that took place on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, in New York City. Prior to the riots, police raids on gay bars were quite frequent and often involved violence and physical force. The Stonewall riots are widely considered to be one of the single most important events in the gay rights movement in the United States.
This movement started to make its way to Canada in August 1971 when protests and demonstrations took place in Ottawa and Vancouver. In 1981, the police raids of Toronto’s bathhouses pushed tensions between the gay community and the police over the edge. Over 300 men were arrested but most of the charges were later dropped. These raids established Lesbian and Gay Pride Day in Toronto and would later be known as Toronto Pride. Today, it is one of the largest gay festivals in the world.
This month also serves as an important time to reflect upon the many achievements of the LGBTTIAQQ2S community. Throughout the years, such accomplishments have included:
- in 1969, the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada with the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act (1968-1969);
- in 1986, the addition of sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination to the Ontario Human Rights Code. When the Code first took effect in 1962, it was the first of its kind in Canada because it dealt with different kinds of discrimination;
- in 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality, listed as a mental illness, from the International Classification of Diseases. This paved the way for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). Today, it is commemorated annually on May 17;
- in 1996, sexual orientation was included as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act;
- in 2005, Canada became the first country in the Americas and the fourth in the world, to legalize same sex marriage with the passage of the Civil Marriage Act;
- in 2012, discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression were incorporated into the Ontario Human Rights Code as prohibited grounds of discrimination;
- in 2013, Kathleen Wynne, Canada’s first openly gay First Minister, was sworn in as Premier of Ontario;
- in 2014, Toronto hosted WorldPride which marked the first time it was held in North America. Overall, it was the fourth time such an event was held in the world;
- in March of 2017, Ontario introduced a new gender ‘X’ option in efforts to advance gender inclusivity with changes to official documents, starting with drivers licenses.
- in June, 2017, Bill C-16, which will protect the rights of transgender people from discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, became law. In addition, hate crime provisions under the Criminal Code would also protect gender identity and expression.
Pride also recognizes the hard work and sacrifices which were made in attaining these achievements. The individuals, at the forefront and behind the scenes, have been instrumental in paving the road to where the LGBTTIAPQQ2S community finds itself today. Yet, the fight for equal rights continues to be a work in progress because homosexuality is still considered illegal in many parts of the world. The hope is that this struggle for fairness will not last forever. Happy Pride!
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