Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and others (LGBTQ+) community are a significant part of Canada’s diverse fabric.
According to a survey by CROP for Foundation Jasmin Roy, titled “LGBT Realities”, 13% of the Canadian population belongs to the LGBT community.
The LGBTQ+ struggle for equal rights, status, protection, decriminalization of homosexuality and liberalization has been a long and eventful journey.
In order to commemorate the struggle for and eventual celebration of the LGBTQ+ rights and resilience, June is celebrated as the Pride month. June was chosen because it is when the Stonewall Riots took place in 1969, that fuelled the activism for the LGBTQ+ rights. Different Canadian provinces host Pride celebrations in different months.
The iconic six-stripe rainbow flag, a symbol of empowerment for the LGBTQ+ community is ubiquitous during Pride celebrations across various provinces.
Every year, this month-long Pride celebrations include parades which are a prominent feature of Pride month, launch parties, street parties, community events, poetry readings, public speaking, street festivals, musical performances and educational sessions.
Millions of participants attend to support, celebrate and enjoy the Pride festivities. There’s a growing awareness and a rising sensitivity towards gender fluidity. The social media impact and the influencer cult have led to spreading awareness about and understanding of experiences of trans and gender non-conformers.
The annual Pride event is an opportunity to peacefully protest and raise political awareness of current issues facing the LGBTQ+ community and this year the fight against anti-Black racism has evolved the Pride movement to include the voices of Black LGBTQ+ people.
This year, COVID-19 has led to the cancellation or postponement of Pride events across Canada. But nevertheless, Pride celebrations have begun virtually bringing Pride directly to the screen of its audiences who can enjoy all events across Canada and beyond irrespective of their geographic location.
Physical and social distancing times have indeed led the community supporters to witness the celebrations alone, yet they are together in spirit to support and celebrate the strength and beauty of the LGBTQ+ community virtually. Some of these online events include Pride launch parties, Pride parades, showcase of beautiful performances by Black queer and trans artists, Drag queen performances, virtual workshops that cover topics such as history and current status of LGBTQ+ rights.
Many brands have partnered with the LGBTQ+ community for the virtual Pride celebrations to show their support for their rights and inclusivity, as today’s aware consumers engage with brands that celebrate uniqueness and sexual diversity.
It’s been many years since the Pride movement started, much has been achieved yet a long way to go. With year-on-year great support pouring in for this community, the end of the tunnel is not far.