This month, we celebrate Pride to pay homage to those who came before us and worked to make our neighbourhoods a safe haven for individuals who identify as 2SLGBTQ+. Events such as parades and festivals are popular ways for people to express their sense of pride. In spite of this, Pride was not always a rainbow-filled celebration of equality.
People frequently think of the Stonewall Riots, a violent raid on a homosexual bar in the United States that served as a spark for the LGBT rights movement, when asked about the history of pride. There is a rich history and watershed moments in Canada’s own battle for and celebration of 2SLGBTQ+ rights.
Edmonton’s inaugural Pride event took place in 1980, and it grew into a week-long extravaganza in 1983. The event began as a protest after a police raid on the Pisces Spa, a gay bathhouse, on May 30, 1981. The parade did not become a regular element of the festival until the early 1990s. On June 7, 2013, the rainbow flag was raised at CFB Edmonton for the first time in Canadian history, marking the first time the flag has been flown at a military installation.
However, 2SLGBTQ+ liberation is still not universal. Pride serves as a reminder each year that all people deserve respect, safety, and the right to live a loving, fulfilling life – because 2SLGBTQ+ communities are still at risk of danger due simply to their identity. This is a time to celebrate identities, and an opportunity to continue to demand equal rights and protection under the law, as well as cultural acceptance. We still need Pride, because not all people feel proud to live in their own skin.
To continue the tradition of celebrating this month with Pride, please see the following Parent and Youth resources to learn more about how to be an ally during this important month.