Pride can mean many things to many people. It can be a time to enjoy oneself and be in community with others. A time to acknowledge the progress made on issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community and to remember how much more needs to be done to make everyone feel welcomed and safe. For some, it is also a time of deep reflection and angst. With many in-person Pride events for 2021 once again being cancelled or postponed, it is hard for us to feel connected to each other, especially for those who identify as LGBTQ+.
In lieu of big public Pride celebrations, the NOW team wants to celebrate Pride month by sharing our stories. We simply asked member of the NOW Group: What does Pride mean to you? Below are our answers.
We hope that you find a way to acknowledge the spirit Pride month and see yourself in our stories. Wishing you a Happy Pride!
To me, Pride will always be about celebration. Celebrating who I am and the lived experiences that define me. It is a reminder that for so many, living life as an openly queer person isn’t an option, and we should continue to loudly work to change that.
During Pride, I often think of a popular quote from the Aboriginal Activists Group of Queensland, Australia: “If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
As a straight, cisgendered man it might not seem like Pride is ‘for’ me, but the struggle and triumphs of my friends of all genders and orientations has freed me and many others from living a life bound by dated and hurtful constraints. And that’s why I’m dedicated to defending and building on the rights that we celebrate every year at this time.
For me, Pride has meant so many things over the years. When I was younger, it was an act of defiance – a moment to be loud and brave and to love openly without fear of judgment.
As a parent, it’s healing. It’s a time to show my kids that they are loved, and will always be loved unconditionally, and to teach them that they have a role in protecting the rights and love of others.
I celebrate pride as an ally in part to honour the activism and accomplishments of the LGBTQ+ community, but also to protest for the progress that has yet to be made for full equality.
Celebrating pride as an ally means self-affirmation, dignity, and equal rights for all. It’s also a reminder that the job’s not done. We still face problems, such as LGBTQI2S+ Canadians experiencing stigma and discrimination within the healthcare system, the fact that up to 45 percent of homeless youths are LGBTQI2S+, and enormous homophobia and transphobia that in many cases can lead to job loss, violence or death. Queer liberation is liberation for everyone.
To me, Pride is political. Pride month, parades and parties are a time for celebration, both of how far we’ve come and of who we are. But sometimes in that celebration we forget our history and the current reality for so many LGBTQIA2S+ folk in Canada and around the world. Pride is and has always been celebrated in the context of systemic oppression. We should celebrate queer joy, progress and love, because that’s where the humanity lies and that’s where the protest originates.
I celebrate pride with and for the people in my chosen family. It’s an opportunity to connect and celebrate with a larger queer community, which is especially important this year when we’ve all been so isolated from one another!
Pride is a real opportunity to celebrate our community – and celebrate all the frontline workers and volunteers who serve LGBTQ+ communities every day of the year. From the tireless staff and volunteers at HIV service organizations to community-based researchers, health care providers, and decades-long activists, Pride is a chance to acknowledge their countless hours of hard work – and unending dedication. It’s also a reminder that the workers and organizations serving LGBTQ+ communities deserve a lot more support and resources – because their work truly makes life better, every day, for a lot of people.
Pride month gives the country a glimpse into the everyday lives of people who choose to live authentically, happily, and without shame for who they are. To me, Pride is both a celebration and something I don’t think much of. I’ve always felt free to love who I love, walk down the street without repercussions, and have the freedom to make choices that make me happy. But I know others before me have not had this choice and some of us still continue to live in fear. Because of this, Pride is about all of us coming together, showing compassion, and maintaining a movement that continues to fight for equality. No one should have the ability to deny someone the right to love who they love. So, I will continue to be part of a movement that celebrates individuality, happiness, and love because to me that’s what Pride is all about.
Pride, to me, is about breaking barriers so we can celebrate and express who we are. It’s about not assuming my kids will fit into a certain box just because they dress a certain way, or want to play with a certain toy. It’s about fighting to create a safe space for them – and everyone – to feel accepted, included and loved.