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The LGBT pride flag

Pride Month, Giving Back, The LGBT Community in Canada

Post by Sebastian the Editor on June 3, 2021

It’s the 3rd of June, which means Pride month has already kicked off! For the staff here at Nascent Naturals, LGBT rights and acceptance are a cause that personally we care about greatly. We are proud to employ members of the LGBT community. Personally (as Sebastian the Editor), I’m proud to be a transgender man.

 

We want to celebrate and give back this month. Use code PRIDE10 to save 10%, AND we’ll give 10% to Fierté Simcoe Pride, a grassroots pride organization located in Simcoe County.

*This code is valid until June 30th, 2021 at 11:59pm. It CAN be combined with sales/other offers! This code entitles you to saving 10% on the subtotal (before discounts, taxes and shipping) of your order, AND 10% from the subtotal of your order will be donated to Fierté Simcoe Pride(1) by Nascent Naturals.

 

I have written this article on the history of Pride month, and some key LGBT history events in Canada for your reading enjoyment. Later this month we will be posting an in-depth article on the interesting history of Lavender and the LGBT community.

Newspaper Article about the Stonewall Riots. Image from gettyimages

The Meaning of Pride Month, and Where it Came From

This month is dedicated to both celebrating the LGBT community in how far we have come and fighting for how much further we need to go. To me, it is a celebration and a protest, fighting for our right to live dignified lives free from oppression and discrimination.

Pride month and Global Pride Day (June 28th) are credited with being sparked by the Stonewall Riots(2). On June 28th, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a Gay bar in New York City was raided by the police. Patrons were roughed up and arrested, because being gay was illegal, as was wearing more than 3 articles of clothing from the ‘opposite sex’. The bar patrons and residents of the neighborhood, Greenwich Village, were fed up with the constant harassment and persecution. Rather than dispersing when ordered, they began throwing bottles and pennies at the police. The riot lasted for 5 days, at points reaching crowds of over 1000 people.

On the one year anniversary of the Stonewall Riot, thousands returned to Greenwich village and marched to Central park for America’s first gay pride parade, known as “Christopher Street Liberation Day”. The years following pride parades spread throughout the rest of the United States.

 

Canada’s LGBT History

While America and the Stonewall riots are often focused on in June, Canada has its own rich LGBT history. Here are a few key events, but I highly encourage checking out the full timeline(3) I have included in the Sources section.

 

Pride Week – August 1973

Pride Week was a national LGBT rights event held in cities across Canada, including Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. The activates included art festivals, a dance, picnics and a rally for gay rights.  5 years later, Canada’s first Pride parade followed.

An image from the Bath House Raids. Photo by Frank Lennon, Toronto Star File Photo

‘Operation Soap’ Police Raids – 1981

In what is known as ‘Canada’s Stonewall’ on February 5th, the Toronto Police started ‘Operation Soap’, and raided four gay bathhouses. Almost 300 men were arrested in one of the largest mass arrest’s in our country’s history. The next day, over 3000 protestors flooded the streets. They marched down Yonge street and then headed to the provincial legislature and almost broke the doors of the legislature down. This event was a major turning point for the LGBT community in Canada and the fight against persecution and police harassment.

“Chris Bearchell recalls a collective shock that resonated through the queer movement and broader “progressive” community following the raids. The shock, she argues, “gave way to fury; women and men in the community went from disbelief to just rage.… Rather than letting that anger weigh us down—debilitate and demobilize us—we were able to channel it into a collective statement”.” (From ‘The Tipping Point’ by QueerEvents.ca (4)).

First Openly Gay Member of Parliment – 1988

On February 29th, Svend Robinson, a British Columbia MP came out during a CBC interview and became the first openly gay member of Canadian parliament.

Gay Marriage is Legalized Federally – 2005

On July 20th, 2005, Bill C-38 passed legalizing gay marriage throughout the country. Canada was the fourth country to legalize same-sex marriage.

“‘This enactment extends the legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes to same-sex couples in order to reflect values of tolerance, respect and equality, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It also makes consequential amendments to other Acts to ensure equal access for same-sex couples to the civil effects of marriage and divorce'”. (Official legislative summary from QueerEvents.ca).

 

As a business with holistic values, we believe that these values extend to treating everyone with dignity and respect. Something we understand is that no matter your sexuality and gender, your experiences, morals and qualities are what matters.

I remember when Sandy hired me, I was early in my transition and I was nervous to tell her I was trans. I gave her my usual coming out speech, and she said “I know, and I don’t care” then paused “Wait, let me rephrase that, that sounds bad. Your gender isn’t what I care about. Your character and qualifications and skills are what matters to me”.

 

Sources and More Reading:

  1. Fierte Simcoe Pride’s About Statement and Website – https://www.simcoepride.com/about.html

2. 1969 Stonewall Riots – Origins, Timelines and Leaders by History.com – https://www.history.com/topics/gay-rights/the-stonewall-riots

3. History of Canadian Pride by QueerEvents.ca – https://www.queerevents.ca/canada/pride/history

4. The Tipping Point by QueerEvents.ca – https://www.queerevents.ca/queer-history/articles/tipping-points/key-protest-lgbt-history

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