As another Pride Month comes to a close, and throughout the month the question of why it’s necessary or needed has been asked numerous times.
To begin with, Pride Month celebrates how far we’ve come as a society since homosexuality was decriminalized 50 years ago. Since then, the LGBTQ+ community has made major strides in terms of recognition and acceptance. While several provinces already had sexual orientation protected under their own human rights laws, in 1996 sexual orientation was added to Canadian Human Rights Act. This meant sexual orientation could not be considered grounds for discrimination. Four years later in 2000, with the passing of Bill C-23, same-sex couples were given the same social and tax benefits as heterosexuals in common-law relationships. With the passing of the Civil Marriage Act in 2005, same-sex couples were granted the right to marry in every province.
Pride Month also marks the struggles the LGBTQ+ community has faced over the decades. Violence is one of the issues that first comes to mind. According to Statistics Canada, in 2017 (the most recent data available on the subject) the number of hate crimes that targeted sexual orientation accounted for 10 per cent of all police-reported hate crimes, an increase from 176 in 2016 to 204 in 2017. This marked a second consecutive annual increase. Conversion therapy is another struggle. The so-called therapy claims to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual. However, there is clear evidence that not only does conversion therapy not work, it’s also very damaging to those in the LGBTQ+ community. The so-called therapy isn’t practised on PEI, but over the last year there have been calls to have it officially banned, which has received much support.
Pride Month gives members of the LGBTQ+ community a chance to celebrate who we are, whether that be in the closet or out in the open. If a person doesn’t like that, as the saying goes “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.”
For the last time this year, Happy Pride Month