** Posted on behalf of Nia Gillies, PSAC BC Regional Council **
June is Pride Month and marks the beginning of the Pride season: a time for LGBTQ2+ folks to celebrate, but also a time for struggle dating back decades to the Stonewall riots in June of 1969. Although there won’t be big parades or festivities this year, let’s all take the time to celebrate gender and sexual diversity, while continuing to fight for LGBTQ2+ rights.
There is a reason why we still march in Canada today.
The continued 3-month ban on blood donations. This discriminatory and anti-scientific ban excludes blood donors based on gender and sexual orientation, rather than on evidenced-based high-risk behaviours. Precluding gay/bi men and trans women regardless of behaviour perpetuates harmful stereotypes about the LGBTQ2+ community.
Transgender Canadians face some of the highest rates of poverty in Canada – the Trans PULSE survey taken in 2016 reported 34% of respondents were living in poverty, compared to 13.5% of all Canadians – and continue to face barriers to access of health care, housing and employment.
Members of the LGBTQ2+ community have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID pandemic. A study conducted by EGALE Canada reported that more than half (52%) of Canada’s LGBTQ2+ households have faced lay-offs or reduced employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 39% of overall Canadian households. Nearly 60% of LGBTQ2+ respondents said they expect their mental health will be negatively affected in the next two months.
And of course, we must continue to fight for LGBTQ2+ rights around the world.
If you have any ideas about how we can celebrate Pride, stay connected, and continue our activism during these difficult times, do not hesitate to reach out.
BC PSAC Pride Equity Coordinator