June is Pride month to the TLGBTIAPQQ2S+ (Trans, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual, Queer, Questioning, 2-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 TLGBTIAPQQ2S+ 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 the diversity of sex, sexuality, attraction, gender and family diversity.
Let this be a time to remember that while Pride is now synonymous with festive celebrations and has become a staple of mainstream and corporate culture, it began as a series of riots led by racialized Trans women against police brutality and racial, gender, and sexual orientation discrimination.
For over a year now, TLGBTIAPQQ2S+ communities have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to highlight discrimination in all aspects of life; barriers to accessing health care and mental health services, higher rates of homelessness, poverty and social isolation. It would come as no surprise that this year’s Pride festivities in Ontario have once again been canceled or moved to virtual platforms as the pandemic continues in the third wave.
With many symbolic efforts taking over due to the pandemic, we need to stay creative in our solidarity. A great place to start is by getting local authorities to paint Rainbow crossings in your area. This might not seem effective, but street crossings are a powerful symbol: they are a symbol of public authority, and they evoke security and safety. A rainbow street crossing means that public authorities want their city to be a safe space for sexual and gender minorities, and everyone must respect that.
Show solidarity by updating your social media profile picture to the Pride flag (below) or by adding a Pride frame. You can also download and share the Pride Flags poster below.
To stay tuned for Pride updates and events, click here.
Warren ‘Smokey’ Thomas, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Eduardo ‘Eddy’ Almeida, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer
Morgen Veres, OPSEU/SEFPO Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel Co-Chair