While June is globally recognized as Pride Month – a time to celebrate the 2SLGBTQAI+ community and advocate for equality – Pride is a year-round commitment.
The Power of Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords, but fundamental elements that enrich our society. Embracing diversity means acknowledging, understanding and celebrating the differences among people. Inclusion ensures everyone feels valued and respected, which is especially important for the 2SLGBTQAI+ community, which often faces unique challenges and barriers.
But how do we champion diversity and inclusion?
- Educate ourselves
Understanding the experiences, challenges and history of the 2SLGBTQAI+ community is valuable. Seek out resources, listen to 2SLGBTQAI+ voices and engage in conversations.
- Promote representation
Encourage and support 2SLGBTQAI+ representation in all spheres of life, including workplaces, media and politics.
- Create inclusive spaces
Make sure environments are welcoming and safe for the 2SLGBTQAI+ community. This could be anything from implementing inclusive workplace policies to creating spaces for 2SLGBTQAI+ voices in your social circles.
The Role of Allyship
Allyship is a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency and accountability with marginalized individuals or groups. Here are some ways to practice allyship on a daily basis:
- Listen and learn
Understand that everyone’s experiences are different. Take the time to listen to the experiences of 2SLGBTQAI+ individuals and educate yourself on the issues they face.
- Speak up
Use your voice to stand up against discrimination, bullying or unfair treatment of 2SLGBTQAI+ individuals.
Show your support by attending Pride events, advocating for 2SLGBTQAI+ rights and contributing to 2SLGBTQAI+ causes.
- Respect identity
Respect people’s identities, including their pronouns and self-identifications.
Celebrating Pride around Canada
Niagara Falls has become a vibrant hub for Pride festivities. The Niagara Pride Festival will run from May 27 to June 4. The week-long celebration includes the annual Pride Flag Ceremonies, the 10th annual 2023 Niagara UNITY Awards, the “Speaking with Pride” event, the annual ALL Ages Pride Prom at Robertson Hall, the 10th annual Pride In the Park and the Pride Services with Silver Spire United Church. The festival wraps up with the Pride Niagara Hieeee Tea at Robertson Hall on June 4.
For more information on programming for all events in Niagara Falls, please visit: https://www.prideniagara.com/
Pride Toronto, one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world, is set to return in late June 2023, attracting over a million attendees. This annual 2SLGBTQAI+ festival will kick off with a full month of programming, culminating with the festival weekend from June 23 to 25. The festival features several stages with live concerts and DJs, and the Toronto Pride Parade.
The festival takes place in downtown Toronto, with most activities centred around Church Street and Wellesley Village. The parade and marches will pass along nearby Yonge Street, Gerrard Street and Bloor Street, with 22 city blocks closed to traffic for the occasion. The Gay Pride Parade will be held on June 25, starting at Church and Bloor Streets, going south on Yonge Street, and ending at Yonge-Dundas Square.
For more information on programming for all events in Toronto, please visit: https://www.pridetoronto.com/
The 17th edition of the Montreal Pride Festival will take place from August 3 to 15, 2023, featuring more than 150 artists performing at 15 free shows. The festival will begin with an opening ceremony at Jardins Gamelin featuring Indigenous artists, followed by a free dance party and a comedy show showcasing local queer comedians at the National, in the Village. Security personnel will be hired this year to ensure the smooth running of the event.
The festival’s main site is the Olympic Park’s Esplanade, where performances begin on August 9. Over 200,000 attendees are expected, making this year’s event more critical than ever. The Montreal Pride Parade will take place on August 13, starting at St. Mathieu and René-Lévesque and ending at Sanguinet.
For more information on programming for all events in Montreal, please visit: https://fiertemontreal.com/en
Vancouver Pride Society will celebrate its 45th anniversary of The Vancouver Pride Parade on August 6, 2023, with an expanded festival from August 5-6. The parade will feature a new route, starting at Davie and Denman Streets and ending at Concord Community Park. A key focus for this year is increasing accessibility and inclusivity, with changes to the parade route and festival location. Vancouver Pride is also making strides towards an emissions-free Pride Parade for Canada Pride in 2024.
For more information and programming for all events in Vancouver, please visit: https://www.vancouverpride.ca/
Resources to Support the 2SLGBTQAI+ Community
- QMUNITY: BC’s Queer Resource Centre (www.qmunity.ca) provides information, education, support groups, advocacy and referrals for 2SLGBTQAI+ youth, adults and older adults and allies.
- Prideline BC (1-800-566-1170) provides peer support, information and referrals for anyone in BC.
- PFLAG Canada (www.pflagcanada.ca) provides information and support for parents, families, friends, co-workers and others.
- Rainbow Health Ontario (www.rainbowhealthontario.ca) has developed a fact sheet about 2SLGBTQAI+ Mental Health.
- It Gets Better Campaign (www.itgetsbetter.org) in response to publicized suicides by 2SLGBTQAI+ youth, author Dan Savage initiated the It Gets Better campaign through which supportive 2SLGBTQAI+ people and allies share supportive messages through online videos.
- Transgender Niagara (www.transgenderniagara.com) provides the Trans community in the Niagara region with access to information, resources and the companionship of others.
- PFLAG Montreal (www.pflagcanada.ca/helpful-resources) is a national charitable organization founded by parents who wish to help themselves and their family members understand and accept their 2SLGBTQAI+ children.
- Project 10 (www.p10.qc.ca/) promotes the personal, social, sexual and mental well-being of 2SLGBTQAI+ youth and adults offering services free of charge, confidential and anonymous in English and French.