This Pride Month, what’s first and foremost in our minds and hearts at the Alliance for Healthier Communities is the safety and security of each and every 2SLGBTQ+ person’s life, and the peace of every community across the planet. We’ve seen that around the world, across Canada, and in many places here in Ontario, simply flying the Pride flag openly is making people targets for violence

As we gather this month to celebrate inclusion and belonging with 2SLGBGTQ+ communities across Canada, we acknowledge that people are engaged in, as always, an act of courage, protest and solidarity in the face of intolerance, hate, ideologically-driven populist homophobia. The ignorant and noxious propaganda of 2SLGBTQ+ hate often takes the form of anti-trans hate, thinly veiled behind fear-mongering and stigmatization. It is the same hate and systemic discrimination that 2SLGBTQ+ communities have fought against for survival over many decades, stretching back centuries. We can see clearly that this hate is resurgent, finding new strength in numbers among people that are often intolerant of other marginalized people, include Black, Indigenous, other racialized people, newcomers, women, and people with disabilities.

We cannot and will not stand idly by.

Canada needs leaders NOW who will stand up against anti-trans and anti-2SLGBTQ+ hate, not cower and make excuses for “differing views.” 

We need political parties and leaders in every community who are UNIVERSALLY committed and who support the human rights of ALL 2SLGBTQ+ people, of ALL ages. 

We need governments across every province and every municipality who understand the increased risk – of homelessness, of mental health issues, of violence – that 2SLGBTQ+ youth face, and who make culturally safe primary health care accessible to everyone who needs it.

We need to stand by 2SLBTQ+ people and communities that are under attack. We need to do it because lives are at stake. It is possible to build a true society of inclusion and equity that go beyond tolerance and acceptance. There’s a lot of work to do to maintain and advance the progress made in the decades since homosexuality was removed from the Criminal Code of Canada.

At the Alliance’s 2024 conference, Co-Designing the Future of Primary Health Care, our Community Health Champion Award was presented to Rainbow Health Ontario, the groundbreaking program created at Sherbourne Health Centre that has been a literal life-saver for thousands of 2SLBTQ+ people and their loved ones. Rainbow Health Ontario has also taught and is teaching other organizations (including Alliance members) how to provide care and become life-affirming places for all 2SLGBTQ+ people.

Here’s where you can learn more about accessing these trainings for yourself and your organization.

Each and every Alliance member is committed to this vision of inclusive health care for 2SLGBTQ+ people across the entire health system. In 2022, members passed a resolution that “all Alliance members, in order to provide safe and affirming care for 2SLGBTQ+ clients & community members, commit to provide training for their Boards and staff, at the appropriate levels for governance and operations/service delivery respectively, ensuring that the training reflects the needs and experiences of BIPOC 2SLGBTQ+ communities.” In addition, the Alliance and its members continue to advocate for, and be leaders in the field of collecting sociodemographic data in culturally safe ways, in help inform the gaps and needs emerging for 2SLGBTQ+ populations, including across intersecting identities.

The Alliance and its members will continue to learn about, to advocate for, and to stand in solidarity with 2SLGBTQ+ communities. As we stand this month against hate and intolerance in all its forms, we highlight the importance as well of speaking out and acting against racism, against stigma faced by people who use drugs, and people with mental health issues. We stand with newcomers and with people living on low incomes. We know that 2SLGBTQ+ identity is itself intersectional, and we know the discrimination and hate directed at people disproportionately impacts some more than others.

This Pride, as we take a stand – in parades, at parties and in other public places – we stand in protest, alongside every other 2SLGBTQ+ person and ally – in calling for an end to all violence against people for who they are, who they love, how they live and express their gender. And we call on our leaders to strengthen policies, programs and services that help Two-Spirited, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Trans, Queer (questioning, and other gender identities and orientations) people be safe, healthy and well in our province and country.

We wish everyone a safe and happy Pride.

Monday, June 24, 2024