Pride events taking place throughout the summer collectively celebrate the power of love and the freedom for people to be who they are. While these events originated from a sobering history of violence and persecution for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and Two-Spirit communities (LGBTQ2S+); the Pride festivals, marches and parades of today provide an opportunity to connect with community members, share information and resources about services, and raise awareness of the need to improve human rights for all people across the gender and sexuality spectrum.
Respect through inclusion is at the core of everything we do at PHSA, and a number of programs and services are strong supporters of LGBTQ2S+ staff, patients and communities in the following ways:
Trans Care BC
has been actively hosting information booths and sharing resources at 11 Pride events this year across the province ranging from communities in Vancouver Island and in the North by providing information and resources to support people in being who they are.
Upcoming events for Trans Care in the Lower Mainland include the first ever Burnaby Pride on August 11. Although many surrounding areas, including New Westminster and Vancouver, have hosted annual Pride events for many years, Burnaby hasn’t yet had an event of its own. Trans Care BC is hoping that this event will be an opportunity to connect both with trans community members in Burnaby and also local health care providers who might be interested in learning more about trans health care.
Trans Care BC also organizes events during Pride season. This year saw Prince George Pride’s first ever trans specific event, CommuniT, which was organized by Trans Care BC and local community partners. The family friendly event was a way for local trans people and their families to meet up, which is an important experience for those who otherwise might not have the opportunity to meet other trans community members. Trans Care will also be attending the following Pride events:
- August 4 – Vancouver (Dyke March)
- August 5 – Vancouver Pride
- August 11 – Burnaby Pride
- August 18 – New West Pride
- August 18 – Kelowna Pride
BC Emergency Health Services
(BCEHS) is embracing Pride
this year with a new symbol to be worn on paramedic’s uniforms. The Pride Pin is available to any BCEHS employee who wants to wear it on their uniform to communicate inclusiveness. The pin fuses the colours of the pride rainbow flag with the well-recognized Star of Life symbol (used all over the world by ambulances, paramedics and emergency response personnel). It symbolizes inclusion for BCEHS and respect for diversity and support of LGBTQ2S+ staff, patients and communities we serve. BCEHS is the first paramedic service in Canada to wear these pins.
The BCEHS Pride ambulance is also in service for community events during the summer. The special ambulance, decked in rainbow, will be bringing lights and sirens to the Vancouver Pride Parade on August 5. The ambulance recently debuted in Victoria’s pride parade earlier this month.
The BC Centre for Disease Control
has supported LGBTQ2S+ communities as a past partner with the Vancouver Pride Society. Staff from GetCheckedOnline
have also participated in Vancouver’s Sunset Beach Pride Festival in the past, encouraging attendees to make use of online testing for sexually transmitted infections.
These are just a few examples of the many activities supporting LGBTQ2S+ staff, patients and communities across the corners of our organization. Keep your eyes on future stories from our programs and services supporting LGBTQ2S+ people.