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Alliance Pride Statement 2021

Happy Pride 2021 with image of Pride flags including inclusive flag, Trans flag

At a time like the present, when we see starkly the trauma and impacts of colonization, of racism and hate, and homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, the Alliance for Healthier Communities stands together with all people who identify as 2SLGBTQ+ in defiance of hate and oppression in all its forms.

After a year like no other, we also look forward this weekend to a celebration of Pride like no other. In many ways, this will be a joyous time as people re-connect to celebrate and mark solidarity around action for the lives, safety, health and rights of 2SLGBTQ+ people and communities.

Pride is also a key moment to highlight the history of this movement as deeply rooted in actions organized, taken and led by Black Trans and BIPOC women against police violence, and for recognition and honouring of human rights. This history ranges from the early days in New York at Stonewall, and elsewhere, such as in Toronto with protests and actions against police violence that began in the 1970s and in actions and resistance that continue today across Canada and the world. Check out this compendium for other Pride histories from across the country, and you’ll notice a common theme of resistance to police violence, systemic oppression and hate.

We also want to take a moment to focus on the health and especially the disproportionate mental health effects the pandemic has had and continues to have for many 2SLGBTQ+ people and communities. The Alliance and our members are committed to accessible and diverse offerings of programs, supports and services serving Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, non-binary and asexual folks in Ontario.

With so many of the usual safe public spaces closed or restricted for so long, with so many people stuck or restrained within unsafe family settings or other isolated situations, with heightened violence risk, and instances of homophobic violence occurring in spaces where people had previously felt safe, this Pride is one that also calls on governments and health system leaders alike to do more to support health and wellbeing of 2SLGBTQ+ people. Accessible programs and services, available within all communities across Ontario, are essential to meeting specific needs of these populations. Accessible and timely mental health care is a key piece, as well as supports for people and youth living with trauma or the risk of violence. The 2SLGBTQ+ population – historically marginalized within the health system and excluded in systems ranging from education to employment to social supports and others – requires additional support by and from the communities themselves to ensure pandemic-related inequities are not further exacerbated.

There are many examples of community health organizations who provide inclusive, safe and accessible services vital for 2SLGBTQ+ populations’ wellbeing, in big cities, smaller rural communities and everywhere in between across the province: one of the leading clinics for Trans care in Canada, offered through Quest CHC’s Rainbow Niagara 2SLGBTQ+ Services in St. Catharines; Centretown CHC’s LGBTQ+ and Trans Health program in Ottawa; Planned Parenthood in Toronto for its services supporting youth around sexual orientation and gender identity; Trans Health care at London Intercommunity Health; in East Mississauga through LAMP CHC; NorWest CHCs in Thunder Bay; or connection points for services offered by centres such as South East Grey CHC in Markdale, Ontario, are just a few examples.

So with PRIDE, we stand strongly with 2SLGBTQ+ people and communities against hate in all its forms, and against systemic oppression and exclusion. We stand with PRIDE for love in all its forms, for celebrating gender and sexual identities in all their forms, for inclusive systems and policies that support the health and wellbeing of 2SLGBTQ+ populations, and we stand in intersectional solidarity with Black, Indigenous and racialized communities against colonization and racism. Happy Pride!

Friday, June 25, 2021