With contributions from Ryan Bazeley.

For many, both within the LGBTQ+ community as well as with allies, 2020 has posed a big question. Can and should you still celebrate Pride when in-person parades are cancelled and our collective focus is rightfully on so many other social injustices?

Our take is this: In the absence of flashy floats and corporate sponsorships, this year’s Pride gives us all an opportunity to reflect, reassess and take action.

The roots of Pride will always lie in political struggle and resistance, and learning about its history is something all would-be participants should do. There are plenty of articles, videos and other resources online to help everyone quickly become better informed. 

We decided to put together a few ideas and resources to help us all become a little more aware of our history, how to use our privilege more thoughtfully and how to continue these actions well beyond the month of June.

Happy reading and happy Pride!

1. Help fight injustice and work for the dismantling of systemic racism

As we enter Pride month, we should remember Emma Lazarus’ quote “Until we are all free, we are none of us free”. The devastating effects of systemic racism continue to be felt in the tragic killings of Black and Indigenous people of colour (BIPOC) in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. They are also disproportionately felt by those intersecting multiple communities, in particular Black Trans Women. As an ally, there are several ways you can join and support the movement for racial justice in your community.  Here are some resources to help you contribute and begin doing the necessary work:

2. Study your history: learn the names and stories of those who paved the way

Celebrating Canadian Pride means recognizing the historic struggles of our LGBTQ+ communities and learning the names of those who stood up to make Canada a safer place for LGBTQ+ folks. The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) has a great downloadable exhibit on Trailblazers. The CBC Arts project Superqueeroes, which traces Canada’s LGBTQ+ liberation movement through the lives of the artists is also a great place to start.

3. Diversify your news feeds and sources

Learning more about the lives and often undocumented struggles of LGBTQ+ communities in Canada requires diversifying the daily news we consume. The good news is it’s really not hard to do, and can be as simple as adding accounts from progressive LGBTQ+ media outlets voices to your feeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Lez Spread the Word – Montreal organization producing content by and for queer women
  • Jarry – Biannual print magazine exploring the intersection of food and queer culture
  • Vivek Shraya – Musician, writer, and visual artist
  • Syrus Marcus Ware – Visual artist, activist, Black Lives Matter Toronto core team member
  • Brooke Lynn Hytes – Judge on Canada’s Drag Race, former ballet dancer

4. Watch and read stories from those with different perspectives

If you believe the TED talks, human beings are “hard wired” to understand the world through stories. But always consuming stories about the same kinds of people, or people who look, think and sound like you can lead to a narrow perspective.

Broaden your outlook by switching things up a bit (and no, just watching RuPaul’s Drag Race is not enough). It can be as simple as visiting a new bookshop (Toronto’s Glad Day or Vancouver’s Little Sisters are good places to start) or simply head to your preferred streaming service and try one of these.   

5. Donate to causes that support LGBTQ+ communities at home and abroad

Donating money can help advance the cause of social justice and help you express solidarity with those in the LGBTQ+ community experiencing oppression, discrimination and health issues. Take the dollars you might have spent on a Pride party or beer garden and consider some of these worthy Canadian charities:

  • Rainbow Railroad – Helping LGBTQ+ people escape state-sponsored violence around the world
  • Egale – Helping improve the lives of LGBTQI2S people by promoting human rights and inclusion
  • The 519 – Working to promote inclusion, understanding and respect of Toronto’s LGBTQ2S communities through programs like Meal Trans
  • GRIS – Montreal volunteers who demystify sexual orientation and gender identity by sharing testimonies of lived experiences, primarily in schools

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