Happy Pride everybody! I’m sure you’ve seen more and more businesses this year sporting the pride flag as part of their branding in June, and honestly, I love it. It feels so good to see businesses actually try to get me to buy their stuff by appealing to my queerness, it really does. This of course, comes as our American LGBTQ2S friends are having their basic civic freedoms stripped from them. And for our Two Spirited friends, they had their humanity stripped from them through colonization about four hundred years ago.
June is like gay Christmas for those of us who choose to celebrate it. We live our pride every June and for those of us in Ottawa, we live it again in August when the Pride celebrations happen here. It’s like double gay Christmas for us! Pride is a time when queer people get together as a family, we break bread (or share a beer), we visit each other at one another’s houses (and parties), we march in a parade that is a symbol of our resistance and visibility. It is a visual demanding of rights and freedom.
Pride celebrates its 50th year this year, with the marking of the Stonewall Inn riots in New York. If you don’t know why we celebrate Pride in June, check out this primer on Stonewall. Black trans women were a major reason why those riots happened and it’s important, particularly now, when so many black trans women are dying every day, that we remember and honour that history. They were some of the first resisters of police brutality and discrimination in New York. But there were always queer people, and the history of LGBTQ2S rights started long before the Stonewall riot in 1969. I encourage you to learn your queer history, there is so much to know.
I got an opportunity to study with the one of the great queer historians at the University of British Columbia where I did my undergrad in Sociology, Professor Becki Ross. She is a genius and being her honours student was such a privilege (and a little terrifying). Her level of excellence is unparalleled. I hope she knows just how much her expertise and guidance meant me. I learned to be queer at her high-heeled, femme and fierce feet. I hope you all enjoy Pride this month and if you’re an ally, please join us. But remember to do so in a way that is respectful and recognizes that this isn’t your space, its ours. We fought long and hard for it. xo Janet