Our purpose at Community Foundations of Canada is to pursue a future where everyone belongs. Everyone includes our own staff, and the communities they live in from coast to coast to coast. For a personal take, this Pride Month we asked staff to respond to the prompt ‘what Pride means to me’. We wish all 2SLGBTQ+ in the community foundations network a safe, happy Pride.
Pride means living authentically – being able to live and love freely.
I first came out 15 years ago. ‘First’ because coming out happens again and again and again – in different workplaces, with different people, and as your own gender expression and sexuality evolves.
I came out as bisexual at a time when straight people thought it was “just a phase”, and gay people thought I wasn’t fully committed. I love how this binary thinking has begun to shift these last 15 years, and I see more and more acceptance towards people of all gender identities and expressions. It’s still hard – allies, there is still so much you can help us with – but times are changing.
I think it’s a superpower to be queer. Us queers have to do so much inner reflection, and have so much courage, to decide to go against the dominant heteronormative systems every day. It’s tiring. BUT, it’s also freeing. Because we get to be ourselves.
So this month, I’m celebrating who I am, fully and fiercely.
I can remember attending Pride with my parents for the first time when I was 11 years old. It seemed awesome, even if I didn’t fully understand everything going on around me. In the years since, Pride has continued to fill me with awe—as an opportunity to celebrate and celebrate with loved ones; as an opportunity to witness a powerful symbol of what matters and is needed most in our world (hope, love, dignity) and; as a point of resistance to systems and ideologies that are oppressive, unjust, harmful, and uphold binary thinking.
As a straight, cisgender, white person, Pride has, more and more, also prompted self-reflection and learning about the ways my privilege and actions continue to uphold those systems, and on how I can better contribute to challenging and dismantling them.
Pride means being yourself and all aspects of that. Loving fearlessly. Living boldly. Never apologizing for existing. It’s a time to remember how far we have come and to acknowledge how far we still have to go. Above all, it’s a celebration of being free and expressing ourselves. It’s a symbol of hope for those that are still in the closet or those who haven’t accepted themselves for who they are, yet.
To me, Pride is the opportunity to be radically accepting, openly vulnerable, expressive and loving. During Pride month I’m reminded of the continual efforts of 2SLGBTQ+ communities to fight oppressive systems for the future we all want despite often being pushed to the margins of society. Pride gives us the chance to celebrate the past that led us here, it reminds us that we matter and encourages us to love openly and brazenly in the face of hate.
Pride means boldly and joyfully embracing myself, others, and the personal and political implications.
As Pride Month intersects with Indigenous History Month, I’m grateful for the existence and resistance of my queer elders, and Indigenous elders who have been fighting for self-determination and sovereignty for centuries. In a Twitter thread by Joshua Whitehead, he notes that us queer Settler folk have sometimes called-on Indigenous queer history as a way to justify our status. The truth is, we are benefitting from their labour and knowledge that has existed and continues to exist, showing everyone there are other ways of being.
Pride is humility, exuberance, and community as resistance against the oppressive way things ‘should be’.
Equity. Equality. Social justice. Equal rights. Human rights. Individualism. Creativity. Self-expression. Self-definition. Pride month is always a wonderful start to the summer, as the movement encourages people to come together in the spirit of acceptance, generosity, friendship, and love. Pride offers everyone the opportunity to belong and also provides an occasion for the 2SLGBTQ+ community to educate others about a distinct sociocultural history. Pride is a celebration of connection, community, and engagement.
Pride means to me that not just my 4 year old nephew says “some people have 2 mommy’s, some people have 2 daddy’s and some have 1 mommy and 1 daddy”. I feel proud knowing that he is growing up with the awareness that a family has many forms, even beyond what he knows now. Pride also serves as a reminder of the immense privilege I carry and how much learning I still have to do. It is a time for me to commit to doing more listening than speaking; not just this month, but all year long. Now let’s celebrate being our true selves and loving who we love!
Pride is an opportunity to stand in solidarity with the 2SLGBTQI+ and celebrate their liberation, freedom while also recognizing the continued oppression that is faced today. Pride is also a time to express my love for family and friends who identify as part of the 2SLGBTQI+ community. A favourite moment during Pride month was when a colleague set up print your pride t-shirts ahead of the Pride Parade in the parking lot beside the shared space we worked at. A family member who had a child who was transgender was walking by and they said with so much excitement they needed to go home to get their child as they would not believe this was happening in our community. I remember thinking this is what a community shared space is about – bringing community together to create connection and belonging. With community love, Michelle
When I was in high school, sitting at the back of the class, one of my friends turned to me and whispered “I think I’m gay.” The quiet whisper was shrouded in shame, uncertainty and fear. When I think of Pride, it is the exact opposite. It is shameless. People boldly being who they are, loving who they love and expressing their truest selves. But it’s not just bold, to steal from Brené Brown, the opposite of shame is vulnerability. Bold colours and uncompromising self-expression are vehicles of vulnerability and openness. I learn so much about empathy and vulnerability from my LGBTQ2S friends and how they show up with Pride. I am so looking forward to expressing my gratitude for them with love, appreciation and a bit of partying this Pride Month!