The team at Vesta wanted to use this Pride Month as an opportunity to educate ourselves and others, advocate and celebrate queer joy within the *2SLGBTQIA+ community.
*2SLGBTQIA+ = Abbreviation stands for Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and ‘+’ aims to include those who identify as non-binary, gender fluid, pansexual, polyamorous, demisexual, and many more.
Today, many of us recognize Pride Month as a big celebration, but let’s begin with a brief history lesson on how Pride Month came to be and what exactly it is that we are celebrating.
Each year we celebrate Pride Month throughout June to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising, which was a catalyst for the Gay Liberation Movement to repeal discriminatory laws and policies against *LGBTQ+ individuals in the United States. It began when a popular gay bar in New York City, the Stonewall Inn, had been raided by police on June 28, 1969. Then, police raids of gay bars were quite common, but this time the individuals at the Stonewall Inn fought back in protest of police harassment and persecution of LGBTQ+ individuals. It is essential to recognize that the individuals at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and who paved the way for today all began with queer people of colour. To name a couple – Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman, sex worker and activist who spent her entire life fighting for equality, was the first person to protest at the Stonewall Inn. Alongside Marsha P. Johnson was Sylvia Rivera, a queer, Latina, self-identified drag-queen, who fought tirelessly for transgender rights.
Pride Month is dedicated to uplifting queer voices, celebrating queer culture, and supporting the rights of queer individuals. It is a combination of political activism and a celebration of all that the 2SLGBTQIA+ community has achieved over the years.
Throughout Pride Month, some common occurrences include Pride Parades, marches, protests, art and culture performances, memorials, and celebrations of life for community members who have lost their lives, especially in the fight for justice.
As we make our way through Pride Month, it is essential to acknowledge the violence and unjust circumstances that the 2SLGBTQUIA+ community faces have not disappeared. Though we see sexual violence occurring in all communities, 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals are disproportionally at higher risk of experiencing violence and receiving less aid post-trauma.
- 2SLGBTQIA+ people are nearly three times more likely to experience sexual or physical assault.
- 2SLGBTQIA+ Canadians are more than twice as likely as cis heterosexuals to endure inappropriate sexual behaviour in public, including the workplace.
- 11% of 2SLGBTQIA+ Canadians said they had been sexually or physically assaulted in the previous 12 months.
- 59% of 2SLGBTQIA+ people said they had been assaulted at some point since the age of 15 (The study did not include assaults committed by an intimate partner.)
Quick tips on how to be an ally to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community:
- Learn Queer terminology
- Learn the meaning/representation of the various Pride Flags
- Respect people’s pronouns and normalize using one’s pronouns (including your own) on social media platforms (i.e., Instagram, Twitter) and professional/business platforms (i.e., Linkedin, Email)
- Educate yourself about the history of Pride and learn about the 2SLGBTQIA+ community’s role in the history
- Support businesses, brands, and organizations that are founded by queer people of colour
- If you have the means, donate to organizations that support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and specifically queer people of colour
- Center, recognize and celebrate queer joy instead of only seeing individuals’ traumas and struggles
- To Read – Book Ideas:
- Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon (they/them)
- Unicorn: The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen by Amrou Al-Kadhi (they/them)
- High School by Sara Quinn (she/her) & Tegan Quin (she/her)
- Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary by Morty Diamond (he/him)
- To Watch – Movie Ideas:
- Paris is Burning
- Happy Birthday Marsha
- To Watch – TV Show Ideas:
- Please Like Me
- To Follow – Instagram:
- @alokvmenon (they/them) – Author, performer, speaker, fashion-icon
- @blairimani (she/her) – Educator, historian, author, influencer
- @pinkmantaray (he/him) – Educator, life coach, 1st trans D1 NCAA men’s athlete
- @iamjarijones (she/her) – Actress, model, creative, activist
- @yallaroza (she/her) – Illustrator and storyteller
- @thejeffreymarsh (they/them) – Teacher, healer, life coach, author
- @themilajam (she/her) – Musician, model, activist
This is a non-exhaustive list. Everyone deserves to celebrate their pride in whatever means they wish. Remember to share your pride not only during Pride Month but 365 days a year every year because queer lives deserve to be seen, uplifted, and celebrated always.
Stay safe, and happy Pride Month!