Every June, people across North America come together to celebrate, honour, and show support for 2SLGBTQIA+ communities (Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex, asexual), and the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify).
While celebrating the diversity of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, we acknowledge their histories, hardships they have endured, their resilience, and the progress that has been made towards social justice and equity.
Pride Month commemorates the uprising following the Stonewall Riots, a direct response to police raids of the Stonewall Inn in New York City in June 1969. The riots were led, in part, by transgender women of colour and united many 2SLGBTQIA+ people against prior violence and persecution from the New York Police Department (NYPD).
The Stonewall Riots are regarded by many in North America as one of history's first major protests on behalf of equal rights for 2SLGBTQIA+ people. Marches were held every subsequent year and grew internationally into pride events that continue to bring awareness to the progress, as well as the ongoing inequity and social injustices faced by 2SLGBTQIA+ people. The 50th anniversary of Pride was commemorated in 2020.
Canada also has a unique Pride history. Pride Week was first celebrated in August 1973 in several Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.
As a provincial health authority, we have an ongoing responsibility to create a welcoming and positive space for all 2SLGBTQIA+ people; we want our workforce and the patients we serve to feel respected, supported, and celebrated.
At PHSA, Pride Month is an opportunity for all of us to acknowledge and celebrate our 2SLGBTQIA+ colleagues and patients/clients and continue to educate ourselves on practicing allyship.
“It’s important for me and us, as queer people, to be ourselves and bring ourselves into our work and not separate ourselves from the work we do. I think it is important to be yourself. What I found is that when I’m comfortable, people take that lead.” - Dr. Eva Moore, adolescent medicine pediatrician, BC Children’s Hospital
We strive to build a workplace that celebrates all employees and is an inclusive and supportive workplace for people of all gender expressions, gender identities, and sexual orientations.
“When workplaces are respectful, inclusive, affirming and free of racism, staff are able to bring their authentic selves to work. Teams are strengthened by having greater diversity and this leads to greater innovation and the delivery of higher quality, people-centered health care." – David Byres, president & CEO, PHSA
A lack of education and an unwillingness to learn with humility can lead to disrespectful behaviour, misgendering colleagues and patients, the usage of incorrect terminology and harmful phrases, whether on purpose or not.
Lorraine Grieves (left) at Trans Care BC’s booth at the Vancouver Pride Festival in August 2019.
“Pride is an opportunity for our teams to connect with community members and raise awareness about the resources and services available to trans, gender diverse and Two-Spirit people in our province.” - Lorraine Grieves, provincial director, Trans Care BC.
This Pride season, take some time to reflect on what this means to you and what you can do to learn more about, celebrate and better support 2SLGBTQIA2+ colleagues, patients, community and family members. To help you begin, we've assembled a suite of resources and links and encourage you to explore these resources throughout the month:
- Take Trans Care BC's free online training courses that are available to everyone with topics including: Introduction to Gender Diversity, Indigenous Gender Diversity, and Supporting gender creative children and their families.
- Check out our support tools. They offer practical strategies for creating welcoming, accessible, and gender-affirming environments, places, and services:
- Read Speaking up about coming out: A pediatrician's story about being queer in medicine.
- Resources for health professionals:
- Attend a local pride event and support 2SLGBTQIA+-owned businesses and events.
- Learn about the work that Trans Care BC does to raise care provider knowledge, capacity, and cultural safety in order to improve access to gender-affirming care across BC, and to meet the needs of trans individuals across their lifespan.
- History of Pride in Canada
- Pride resources curated by CBC Saskatchewan (books, music, shows, podcasts)
- CampOUT: Summer camp for queer, trans, Two-Spirit, questioning, and allied youth from BC & the Yukon.
- If you're an LGBTQ2IA+ person in BC looking for local resources:
- Mind Map BC: Database of outpatient mental health services focusing on services for 2SLGBTQ+ people.
- Unya - centre of Indigenous youth excellence
- Pflag Canada, Pflag Vancouver - founded by parents who wished to help themselves and their family members understand and accept their LGBTQ2S children
- The 200 most iconic queers in cultural history
- Queeries, a weekly CBC column that queries LGBTQ+ art, culture and/or identity
- Stonewall then and now: history and legacy of the Stonewall Riots
- What do all of the letters mean? Learn more here.