Pride Month 2022

Working toward being a better supporter and advocate every day

Illustration of woman holding megaphone

From the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Collaborative

During Pride Month this year, we’re shining a light on some important ways each of us can try to be a better ally to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

It’s important as an ally to stand beside the queer community, not in front – 2SLGBTQIA+ folx don’t need saving, so one of the best things an ally can do is to listen. Listen to firsthand lived experiences, listen when they communicate their needs and amplify their voices, and listen when someone tells you how they identify, e.g. what their pronouns are.

Take the time to learn, including about 2SLGBTQIA+ history within Canada, the discrimination and violence they continue to face, as well as the barriers, such as economic barriers and healthcare barriers, that are still in place.

Being an ally can involve a period of unlearning, such as the notion that everyone is heterosexual and cisgender unless you are explicitly told otherwise. Not assuming everyone is straight and cis can make you more aware of how you interact with others. For instance, if you spot a wedding ring on a colleague’s finger, would your first instinct be to ask how she and her husband met?

Recognizing your privilege is another powerful way to unlearn the idea that the playing field is equal for everyone. Most people have some form of privilege, whether that is racial, education, class, being cis-gendered or able-bodied, etc.

Having one or more kinds of privilege (such as coming from an upper-class family) does not mean you have not had your fair share of hardships. Rather, it means that because of some of your particular circumstances (such as being able-bodied), you have had the privilege to not face certain situations. These can include:

- A straight couple can show public displays of affection without worrying about being bullied or assaulted.

- A cisgender woman can walk into any public restroom labelled ‘woman’ without feeling unsafe or ostracized.

- An able-bodied person doesn’t have to deal with the frustration of waiting for the accessibility stall to become unoccupied – especially when the person using it doesn’t need it.

Shut it down
If someone in your personal life or at work makes a derogatory, offensive comment and no one says anything, that person will feel safe and comfortable to continue making those comments – even if everyone else in the room is upset.

It can be difficult to speak up at first, but it’s so important to ensure these comments or “jokes” aren’t normalized, as they are deeply hurtful and harmful. When you speak up, it lets the individual know their comments aren’t acceptable, and it may give others the courage to speak up as well.

Affect change
Get involved! Join community groups or a workplace committee to focus on action-based steps toward equality. For instance, the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Collaborative was founded at West Park Healthcare Centre in 2020 with the hopes of affecting change in the workplace through education, solidarity, and reform to ensure fair treatment and inclusivity for all.