June is Pride Month
There might not be any large-scale events this June to mark Canada’s annual Pride Month, but we at Sunlite Mortgage support and celebrate our LGBTQ+ community, this year and every year. Below, we acknowledge their struggles, successes, and losses throughout history, as well as provide some resources so you can still celebrate and support your LGBTQ+ community.
A Brief History
The origins of Pride have a long, entangled, complicated history, dating back as far as the 1600s. While we won’t give you a centuries-long play-by-play, there are several advancements and achievements to note about the gradual embracing of the LGBTQ+ community in Canada.
In the 1960’s, Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau introduced the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which reformed the Criminal Code around issues such as homosexuality and contraception. According to Trudeau, there was “no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” On May 14, 1969, Canada passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which decriminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults.
Around the same time, several LGB and gay liberation groups were forming, organizing, and becoming actively engaged in the politicization of sexual identity and orientation. Among the most notable early organizations were the Front de libération homosexual in Montreal, the Gay Alliance Toward Equality, the Community Homophile Association of Toronto, the Vancouver Gay Liberation Front (GLF), and Gays of Ottawa.
By the 1970s, Canadian groups were actively protesting the omission of sexual orientation from the Ontario Human Rights Code, and between August 17–26 1973, the first national Pride Week took place simultaneously in several Canadian cities. This would be followed up by the first national conference of LGBT organizations, hosted in Quebec.
Unfortunately, despite these major galvanized efforts for equality, the LGBTQ+ community continues to face obstacles to basic human rights and freedoms; they are still made victims of violence, abuse, persecution, and social injustice. In short, even in 2021, there’s a long way to go.
So what can you do to celebrate Pride this June?
There are all sorts of ways to show your support as an LGBTQ+ ally. We’ve compiled a shortlist of things you can watch, read and even (virtually) attend during this month’s Pride.
What to watch
The following is a selection of documentaries and films from CBC Gem.
- Fire Song is the award-winning story of a bisexual aboriginal teenager at a crossroads that could see him either build a life for himself or remain where he is and face an uncertain future.
- Drag Kids is an amazing Canadian documentary featuring four children who perform as drag entertainers and end up working together at Fierté Montréal for the first time in 2018.
- Take me to the Prom is a documentary that traces the evolution of LGBTQ acceptance in society by asking a selection of LGBTQ people to recount a story from their high school prom.
- Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story shows transgender musical genius Beverly Glenn-Copeland emerge from years of isolation to display his life and music for the first time – a tale of pain, prejudice, hope, and joy.
What to read
- Angry Queer Somali Boy is a memoir by Mohamed Abdulkarim Ali, a young man from Somalia who ended up homeless in Canada.
- Award-winning poet and novelist Dionne Brand writes about the past, present and future of art, culture, race, gender, class and politics in her novel Theory.
- Stories of love lost, friendship and community fill the pages of Jillian Christmas’s book The Gospel of Breaking, a spoken word-like dissertation of queer lineage.
- Ivan Coyote‘s Rebent Sinner is an essay collection from various aspects of the author’s life, particularly the ways in which he has helped the younger LGBTQ community.
- Samra Habib’s memoir We Have Always Been Here is an exploration of the ways she has had to hide herself for the sake of survival. An honest look at being a queer Muslim woman coming to Canada as a refugee.
- Equality Institute Virtual Pride 2.0 Programming: The webinar may have taken place in April, but you can watch a replay of the entire webinar here.
- Saskatoon Pride Festival: (Saturday, June 19, 1:00 p.m. CST) Saskatoon Pride Festival’s slogan “Still Here, Still Queer!” is reverberating all over the internet. This year, they’re taking the Pride Parade online once again, from global discussions on trans rights and responses to the virtual pride parade, here are all of the opportunities to join in on the celebration.
- UR Pride’s Positive Space Network: This program has two webinars in June. The first is an introductory topic (June 3 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. CST) on identity and privilege. The second webinar (June 4 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. CST) covers the subject of diverse families. Learn more here.
- Proud to Be: A Variety Show: (Thursday, June 17, 2021, 7:00 p.m.) Join THEMUSEUM for a virtual Pride event. From performances and activities, to cocktail demonstrations, there will be something for everyone at this inclusive, online community event.
- Pride Run Toronto: (June 15 – 29, 2021) Registration is now open for this annual event, now taking place in a virtual run time frame. The largest Pride Run in Canada, this race is the only annual athletic event during Toronto’s Pride Week, aimed at promoting community spirit, goodwill and sportsmanship in the Canadian LGBTQ+ community.