Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pride 2013

I have been celebrating Pride for about 14 years now.
I officially came out approximately 12 years ago during Pride, and then I had a second coming out 3 years ago during Pride. Needless to say, Pride has always held a very sentimental meaning for me.

Every year I go to the parade on Sunday just to cheer on the marching parents and families of PFLAG and every year I cry when I see those proud parents and families.

Pride is about so much more than the naked people, sex, and partying that the media portrays it to be. Pride is not just about commercialism and tourism. There is so much more to Pride that is rarely portrayed in the media. It is a time to come together, stand tall and be proud of who we are. Pride is about making space for all the queer and trans folks who are silenced, made invisible, and pushed to the margins on a daily basis. It is about celebrating our rights and accomplishments, and focusing on how far we have come. Pride is also a time to reflect on all we have been through to be able to be fully authentic, which for many can be a painful reflection.

People often talk about how “safe” Toronto is for LGBTQ people and how homophobia and transphobia no longer exists. While Toronto may be safer than many other cities for queer and trans people, homophobia and transphobia are definitely alive and well in this city.

25-40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ, however, Toronto does not offer the necessary services to provide safety and support to our youth. Sadly, homophobia and transphobia are rampant in Toronto’s shelter system.

Even though Pride is a time to celebrate and be proud, I think it is important to think about and raise awareness to the issues around LGBTQ youth homelessness because a large proportion of queer and trans youth will be struggling to find a safe place to sleep and a hot meal to eat, not just at Pride, but all year round.

My hope is that by Pride 2014, Toronto will provide support to LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and my Pride reflection will be very different.

On that note, I wish you all a safe, reflective, and fun Pride weekend!

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