by Margaret Hageman, Member-at-Large, Urban Alliance on Race Relations
Showing off a world of pride, June 30
Even the weather was perfect, an actual rainbow graced the village just after the World Pride festivities came to a close. Toronto hosted World Pride with panache, holding court over an international conference on human rights, a mass wedding celebration and, the mother of all parties, the Pride Parade, with a record of 2 million people hitting the streets. Toronto was at its best — happy, peaceful, strong.
I remember when Pride was called Gay Pride, and in the mid 1980s it was a rag-tag group of misfits who created both self-acceptance and challenged the prevailing narrow definitions of acceptable sexuality through fabulous outrage. There were no corporate sponsors, no official endorsement from the City. But Pride knew they were on the right side of history. Fast forward 25 years, and who doesn’t want to be under the big umbrella of LGBTTQQ2SA?
I’ll let you look up the rest of the acronym if you don’t already know it, but the A stands for Ally. This is the most gracious aspect of the Pride movement: inviting non-queer people to support the full equality of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, working toward social acceptance and safety for sexual minorities in our schools, workplaces and communities. The reward? We’re changing our world, and we’re all invited to the party.
Just as Pride illustrates, there’s room for everyone in every movement. You don’t have to be black to protest racial profiling policies; you don’t have to be a woman to support Violence Against Women organizations. Neighbours can reach out to isolated newcomers or elderly folks living nearby. Workers can support each other when one of you may be bullied and disabled people would be better integrated in society if we all removed barriers.
We are linked by our common humanity. Being an ally strengthens those links, makes our communities safer and enriches our lives. Thank you Pride!
Source: Opinions/Letters to the Editor: Toronto Star July 7, 2014