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Beyond June: A Pride Month Retrospective

With June, and the commemoration of Pride Month having come and gone – we have found ourselves reflecting on how this celebration has grown, shifted, and expanded over time. Historically, this month has its roots planted firmly in protest – where 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals bravely and boldly demanded a more equitable future for themselves, their chosen families, and those who would come after them. But what happens when June gives way to July?


In recent years, as 2SLGBTQIA+ protections have been gradually put in place and support from mainstream outlets, institutions, and corporations has increased in tandem – the sense of public urgency has somewhat softened. We are told that tolerance is just on the horizon, if not here already. Though we want more than anything for that to come to fruition, we know that true acceptance is a delicate thing and requires ongoing, honest reflection.


Years of tireless advocacy and self-sacrifice from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community cleared the way for Pride, as we know it now: an unabashed and unapologetic display of the pure joy that comes with living your life authentically. However, a rising sentiment of intolerance poses a genuine threat to this growth – a sentiment that we would be ill-advised to overlook.


A more mainstream celebration of Pride has brought with it the rapt attention of a divided public – many of whom are advocating for increasingly draconian policies which seek to repeal progress made. Jurisdictions are taking actions to actively harm members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and, alarmingly, their actions are being met with support. Pride isn’t simply still necessary, it’s just as crucial as ever. 

 

A recent survey of Canadians and a poll coming out of the US demonstrate that support for 2SLGBTQIA+ protections is falling dramatically in both Canada and the United States. We take this information as a caution of what could be if we allow ourselves to be complacent.


It affirms to us that fostering representation, inclusion, and respect is vital work.


It tells us that our queer friends, family members, and neighbours need our vocal support year-round, not simply come June.

 

Further, it echoes that the burden of combatting hate cannot and should not fall squarely on the shoulders of those who find themselves subject to intolerance.

 

We want to reiterate that fundamental freedoms, namely, the freedoms of who you love, who you are, and how you articulate your own identity are sacrosanct. We will continue to advocate for a world in which everyone can live authentically, without fear – a world where everyone is invited to be vocal, visible, and vibrant.

 

We wish all those reading a happy Pride, today, tomorrow, and every day.

“I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. It is an act that can be met with hostility, exclusion, and violence. It can also lead to love, understanding, transcendence, and community. I hope that my being real with you will help empower you to step into who you are and encourage you to share yourself with those around you.” — Janet Mock

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