On June 28, 1969, police raided Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn, a meeting place for LGBTQ2+ people. When they demanded to conduct sex verification checks on trans women, a spontaneous protest broke out.
This protest started the conversation about LGBTQ2+ issues and the battle for acceptance and inclusion. It was also the start of what today we celebrate as Pride.
Fifty years later, Pride celebrations happen throughout the world and here in Canada during the summer. They include parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts. Memorials are also held for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.
Pride is an opportunity to recognize the impact of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two spirit people in our communities.
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As a community of more than 21,000 employees throughout B.C.’s interior, Interior Health’s people hold stories of both the painful past and the hopeful future of Pride.
….. Renee’s story:
“This month is a sombre time for me to remember some of the more painful experiences in my life. I think back on when my cousin’s teenage child committed suicide after coming out gay to an unaccepting family and was unable to get supportive health services. I remember when my friend’s child descended into depression, poverty and addiction after being fired from their job after coming out as trans. I also think of my friend who has been left permanently disabled after being stalked and savagely attacked while walking home from work, for no other reason than being visibly trans,” says environmental health officer, Renee Ansel.
“It’s important for organizations like IH to acknowledge Pride. We need to stand up – and not be complacent about cruel cultural values that ruin lives and tears families apart.”
… Allen’s story:
“I’m the ‘minority of the minority’ because I’m not white and not straight – a double whammy you might say. To take this even further, I’m a gay man working in a women-dominated workplace in health care – so perhaps that constitutes a triple whammy,” says medical laboratory technologist, Allen Lee.
“For a person of colour, and a person of the LGBTQ2+ community; diversity and inclusion is paramount to my career growth. It gives me a great pleasure and power to be myself in showing my creativity and passion in my work, which is an extension of my personal life. It’s important that minority voices like my own, are heard despite our skin colour, gender, culture differences, and abilities.”
… Lannon’s story:
“I’ve identified with the LGTBQ2+ community since my late teenage years. I have been blessed throughout my life to be supported by family and friends and to have very rarely experienced discrimination,” says Lannon De Best, clinical operations director for the North Okanagan.
“Differences are important in our communities and in our workplaces. Difference is what creates space for us to find the best solutions.”
“In my life, I’ve learned a small degree of change can take you down a new path, to a new place and that’s what I hope for.”
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For support and information, explore local resources in your community or visit these links:
- What Does Two-Spirit Mean? (video)
- Trans Care BC
- PFLAG Canada
- Egale Canada
- What’s ON Queer BC
- AMSSA: Resources to Support LGBTQ2 Newcomers