Honouring LGBTQ+ Pride Month this June
June marks Pride month in Canada. To honour the LGBTQ+ folks who work in and are served by the construction industry, CANS is taking a look at the progress of LGBTQ+ community over the past 50 years.
Why Celebrate Pride Month in June?
It’s easy to forget that just over 50 years ago, homosexuality was a crime in Canada. Now, sexual orientation and gender identity are protected against discrimination under federal law and the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act.
LGBTQ+ Pride is celebrated each June, in remembrance of the Stonewall Riots, considered the tipping point for the gay liberation movement in Canada and the United States.
Since Canada decriminalised homosexuality in 1969, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has made major strides toward mainstream acceptance and legal equality, with notable progress in health care, the right to adopt, and the right to marry. In addition, LGBTQ+ artists have risen to the forefront of contemporary culture, from literature and the visual arts to theatre and film.
Pride month is a celebration of this resilience and progress, as well as a reminder of the work that remains to be done.
Did you know? LGBTQ+ Canadians are twice as likely to experience homelessness and housing insecurity than other Canadians. (Source, reported June 2021)
Did you know? In 2019, Canadian police reported 263 hate crimes (up 41% from 2018) — the highest number of hate crimes targeting sexual orientation since 2009. (Source, reported June 2021)
History of Pride in Halifax (K’jipuktuk) —
From Halifax Pride — “Beginning in 1988 with Halifax’s very first Pride March, members of the city’s gay and lesbian community organized Pride Week without the benefit of legal protections. Amidst growing unrest about rampant prejudice and discrimination, that first Pride March was primarily a protest over the lack of legal protection from discrimination, and the all-too-common threat of homophobic violence.
“About 75 people marched through Halifax’s North End that first year. A handful wore paper bags over their heads, not out of shame, but out of the very real fear for their livelihoods and their safety. Since that time, the Halifax Pride Festival has grown into a celebration that includes numerous events that highlight the unique character of our diverse community, welcoming upwards of 120,000 participants every summer.”
Gender Diversity Rising in Nova Scotia —
Did you know? One in 300 people in Canada aged 15 and older are transgender or non-binary. This increases to just under one in 100 for those aged 20-24. The proportions of transgender and non-binary people were three to seven times higher for Generation Z and Millennials than previous generations. (Source, reported April 2022)
Did you know? “Nova Scotia has the highest gender diversity among people aged 15 to 34 among the provinces.” (Source, reported April 2022)
Labels are commonly used by LGBTQ+ people to express who they are. These labels can help others understand who that person is and how they wish to be identified.
Queer, Adjective. “In a very basic sense, anyone who is not heterosexual and/or cisgender. In the past, queer was a negative or pejorative term for people who are gay, and thus it is sometimes disliked. But the term is increasingly being used to describe all identities and politics that go against normative beliefs.”
- Asexual (“Ace”), Adjective. “Someone who experiences little or no sexual attraction, or who experiences attraction but doesn’t feel the need to act out that attraction sexually.”
- Bisexual, Adjective. “Someone who is attracted to those of their same gender as well as to those of a different gender (for example, a woman who is attracted to both women and men).”
- Pansexual, Adjective. “Someone who is attracted to people of any or all genders.
- Cisgender (“Cis”), Adjective. “A person whose gender identity matches the gender they were assigned at birth.”
- Gender Expression, Noun. “The external manifestations of gender, expressed through such things as names, pronouns, clothing, haircuts, behavior, voice, body characteristics, and more.”
- Gender Identity, Noun. “One’s internal, deeply held sense of gender.”
- Intersex, Adjective. “Someone who, due to a variety of factors, has reproductive or sexual anatomy that do not seem to fit the typical definitions for the female or male sex. Some people who are intersex may identify with the gender assigned to them at birth, while many others do not.”
- Nonbinary, Adjective. “A person whose gender identity does not conform to the gender binary, (the idea that only two distinct and opposite genders exist, male and female).”
- Transgender (“Trans”), Adjective. “Someone whose gender identity differs from the one that was assigned to them at birth.”
- Two-Spirit, Adjective. “A modern umbrella term used within Indigenous communities of North America that bridges Indigenous and Western understandings of gender and sexuality.”
For more terms and definitions, please visit this glossary from It Gets Better Project.
Upcoming Pride Events in Nova Scotia —
- Annapolis Royal Pride Day – July 7-9, 2023
- Halifax Pride Festival – July 20-30, 2023
- *Pride Parade – Saturday, July 23, starting at noon.
- Cape Breton Pride Festival – August 5-11, 2023
- Pride Cape Breton Society – https://www.pridecb.com/
- Halifax Pride – https://www.halifaxpride.com/
- Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project – https://nsrap.ca/ “The Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project (NSRAP) seeks equity, justice, and human rights for 2SLGBTQIA+ people in Nova Scotia.”
- Egale – https://egale.ca/ “Egale is Canada’s leading organization for 2SLGBTQI people and issues. We improve and save lives through research, education, awareness, and by advocating for human rights and equality in Canada and around the world. Our work helps create societies and systems that reflect the universal truth that all persons are equal and none is other.”
- It Gets Better Project – https://itgetsbetter.org/ “The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth around the globe.”