June is Pride Month. My two minute statement celebrates the powerful advocates who have fought to ensure that everyone can be unapologetically themselves.
June is Pride Month. To celebrate, I want to start by looking back. The month of June was chosen to celebrate Pride in commemoration of the Stonewall uprising in June of 1969, where advocates like Marsha P. Johnson and Stormé DeLarverie stood for equal rights and liberation. They were unapologetic in their identities in the face of violence, discrimination and hate.
We have our own history in Canada and British Columbia, too. In 1973, Vancouver saw its first Pride celebration with a picnic and art celebration in Ceperley Park as part of the first national Pride Week celebrated in several cities across the country. Vancouver’s first Pride Parade followed five years later. In 1988, Svend Robinson became the first openly gay member of the Canadian parliament. In 1995, Jamie Lee Hamilton became the first trans person to run for public office anywhere in Canada.
Those mentioned and so many others that have paved the way stood up not only for themselves but also for the community at the time and also for the freedom of those who had come after them. As I think about the future of Pride, I imagine a community of radical acceptance, supported by both those who identify as LGBTQ2IA+ and those who do not. We need to ensure that anywhere in British Columbia, one could find this community.
In the words of Audre Lorde: “It’s not our differences that divide us. It’s our inability recognize, accept and celebrate those differences.” I celebrate those who have come before, those who are here now and those who will make our future even brighter and more vibrant. And I thank those who are doing the work to keep our queer and trans youth safe, supported and, like those who came before them, unapologetically themselves.
I encourage everyone to participate in this work of creating a safe and accepting world, and I’d like to thank Abby Koning for helping me with these words and helping our caucus as our intern over this spring session. Thank you, Abby, and thank you to all of those who have stood up and have been unapologetically themselves.