June 14, 2022

Points of Pride

Written by Sara Ferguson

Whether you’re part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community or an ally, we wish you a very happy Pride Month spent celebrating in a way that matters to you. 

Everyone experiences Pride differently. This month can be a joyful time for some, while others may connect more deeply to the roots of Pride, such as the Stonewall riots in 1969. Some people wear rainbows and openly express support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community, while others may not feel comfortable and choose not to engage at all. When you factor in race, culture, gender, age, and more, your experience of Pride can be completely unique depending on your identity.

At Top Draw, we recognize that everyone’s connection to Pride is valid and needs to be respected. To be truly inclusive, we need to make space for all experiences, so long as they’re not harming others. This month, a few of our team members were kind enough to speak about their perspectives of Pride, and we’d like to share them with you.

What does Pride mean to you?

“Accepting and celebrating people from all walks of life.”

Anonymous

“I typically do not celebrate or participate in Pride festivals, but it makes me happy to see the people that do really enjoy it. I also understand that much like other historically significant battles (racism, women’s rights), some take Pride more seriously and reflect on the hard path fought (and that we’re still fighting) to get to the point we’re at now.”

Anonymous

“Pride is a celebration of diversity and progress toward equity for all 2SLGBTQ+ people, and a reminder to leverage our privileges as allies who advocate for and support those less privileged than ourselves.”

Anonymous

“Pride is important to me because it’s a time of year when those in the 2SLGBTQ+ community feel seen and represented. It celebrates the progress we have made in fostering belonging for those whose voices have been silenced throughout history. As society evolves, the meaning of Pride becomes more multi-faceted each year. It makes me hopeful to see the acceptance and love that continues to grow in the community, despite the darkness and difficulties we confront.”

Rachel

“I have a complicated connection to Pride. Growing up in a Chinese Christian conservative family where homosexuality was stigmatized and mental health was swept under the rug, I struggled with self-acceptance and microaggressions within the queer community. Despite my deep-rooted traumas, I still take time to listen to the stories of people who have fought for our civil rights as queer people—rights that we often take for granted. I value the freedom that I have, if I choose, to marry a man that I love. I value that I can share my life experiences with my coworkers and be cherished for who I am. I value that there are spaces in Canada where I can proudly express my identity without fear of being harmed.

While we have come a long way as a nation, there is always more work to be done to achieve equity and acceptance for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. It was disappointing to learn that the Pride Parade was cancelled back in 2019 because the Edmonton Pride Festival Society couldn’t meet the demands of members in the community advocating for marginalized people and people of colour. However, now that restrictions have eased, it’s good to see that there is a Pride Festival this year at Churchill Square, and hopefully we can see a more inclusive parade return for 2023.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how big or small your efforts may be, and you don’t have to be an outspoken ally or advocate to support queer people. Let’s leave our biases at the door and simply get to know and respect each other as individuals.”

Chris

“It means the expression of your true authentic self without feeling apologetic or inadequate against conventional social norms.”

Anonymous

Do you do anything to recognize or celebrate Pride Month? 

“I attend events around the city, such as fundraisers, parades, etc.”

Anonymous

“No, I do not.”

Anonymous

“During Pride Month, I take time to listen to the voices of others and their experiences, reflect to acknowledge injustices and room for growth, then develop and action a plan to actively advocate for positive change and equity.

Progress towards equity can take many forms. For example: developing active listening skills, learning to safely support others, donating to charities and initiatives, using your platforms to elevate others, sharing resources, calling in others, and practicing active allyship.”

Anonymous

“I view Pride as more of an opportunity to appreciate the progress we have achieved and reflect on what we can do even better next year. I don’t typically do anything specific, but I love to see the events and campaigns that come out this time of year.”

Rachel

“I usually play video games with my friends, but for me, the focus isn’t about spending time with gay/queer people, it’s about spending quality time with friends who just happen to be gay.”

Chris

“The last two and a half years have been gripped by the pandemic so I haven’t had the opportunity to meaningfully engage with the Pride organization. In my own little way, I watch videos of the Pride marches over the years to regain some self-confidence to live my truth.”

Anonymous

5 inclusive ways for organizations to honour Pride Month

  1. Consider the demographics of your company: Factors outside of sexuality and gender impact Pride, such as race, cultural background and upbringing, age and generational differences, religious beliefs and faith, nationality, finances, class, and individual life experiences.
  2. Reflect on the history of Pride: Take a moment to examine the history of Pride, including past and present successes and struggles. Listen to the stories and lived experiences from the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
  3. Avoid “rainbow washing”: Joining the yearly campaigns is a great way to get involved. However, Pride isn’t the moment for shameless self-promotion—especially if you’re not backing it with real support for 2SLGBTQ+ folks. Focus more on activities that will have the most impact for your organization and community, and less on marketing yourself.
  4. It’s okay to remain quiet as a company: Not everyone has to outwardly support Pride on their social media channels. What is more important is making sure that your employees feel cared for and safe at work. Support them in the unique ways that they need. One Pride does not fit all.
  5. Donate to grassroots organizations: Want to make real actionable change but don’t feel equipped to do it yourself? Donate to a non-profit that’s on the ground in the right places and ready to work. The LGBTQ+ Wellness Centre, CHEW Project, Shades of Colour, Edmonton 2 Spirit Society, and Outloud St. Albert are great examples of local organizations that are making a difference.

Celebrate Pride your way

Whatever your experience is with Pride, you should feel supported. You can feel excited and go to events and celebrate how far we’ve come. You can also feel solemn and introspective while navigating Pride in a private way. It’s okay to feel angry or frustrated about all the work still required to progress towards true equity. It’s also okay to buy the rainbow shirt if you want to share your support. Or, maybe you don’t want to celebrate Pride at all. This month and beyond, let’s embrace what makes us different, because there’s a lot more that connects us than you think. 

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from Top Draw