Pride events are empowering and joyous occasions to publicly claim space in support of the LGBTQ+ community. However, sometimes the purpose, history, and context of pride events can be a bit murky – especially if you’re not a member of the LGBTQ+ community! That’s why the TRUSU Equity Committee has put together this guide to pride to answer frequently asked questions about pride and provide links to places where you can find more information!

 

 

Who are the LGBTQ+ Community?

Please note: Sexual orientation or gender identity is based on self-identification, is very complex, and cannot be neatly categorized. These definitions are a very brief and general introduction to this topic. They certainly do not cover everything, and we’d encourage you to continue learning, exploring, and critically reflecting on the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities.

  • L – Lesbian: A woman whose physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction is to other women.
  • G – Gay: A man whose physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction is to other men (also commonly used by woman who are attracted to other women in conjunction with, or in replacement of ‘Lesbian’)
  • B – Bisexual: Someone whose physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction is to their gender and others (depending on how each individual self-defines the term, it could mean attraction to men and women, or other gender identities) 
  • T – Transgender/Trans: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term transgender is not indicative of gender expression, sexual orientation, hormonal makeup, physical anatomy, or how one is perceived in daily life. (Note that Transgender/Trans is an adjective and not a noun. Avoid grammatically incorrect terminology like referring to Transgender/Trans individuals as ‘Transgendered’ or ‘Transgenders’)[1]
  • Cisgender: The opposite of Transgender/Trans. A person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex they were assigned at birth.
  • T – Transsexual: Often (but not always) means hormonal/surgical transition from one binary sex (male or female) to the other. Unlike Transgender/Trans, transsexual is not an umbrella term because many Transgender/Trans people do not identify as Transsexual. Avoid using the word unless asked to use it by a transsexual person. 
  • Q – Queer: General term for gender and sexual minorities who are not cisgender and/or heterosexual. There is a lot of overlap between Queer and Trans identities, but not all Trans people are queer and not all queer people are Trans. The word ‘Queer’ is still sometimes used as a hateful slur, so although it has mostly been reclaimed, be careful with its use. 
  • I – Intersex: People who naturally (that is, without any medical interventions) develop primary and/or secondary sex characteristics that do not fit neatly into society’s definitions of male or female. Many visibly intersex babies/children are surgically altered by doctors to make their sex characteristics conform to societal binary male or female expectations.
  • A – Asexual:  Generally characterized by not feeling or having very low sexual attraction or desire of others. Asexuality is a spectrum where people feel some or no sexual attraction to others, and other Asexual people who only feel romantic, non-sexual, attraction to others. Asexuality is distinct from celibacy, which is the deliberate abstention from sexual activity. Some asexual people do in fact have sex.
  • P – Pansexual: Capable of being attracted to many/any gender(s). Sometimes the term Omnisexual is used in the same manner. ‘Pansexual’ is being used more and more frequently as more people acknowledge that gender is not just a ‘man’ or ‘woman’ binary. 
  • 2S – Two Spirit: An Indigenous-only umbrella term used by some Indigenous Nations and communities to describe individuals with non-cisgender gender identities and/or non-heterosexual sexual orientations and the associated traditional/spiritual/community roles that these individuals play in society. Two-Spirit people have rich, diverse roles particular to the traditional territory and Indigenous Nation that they are from.[2]
  • +  – There are too many identities and orientations to have a fully inclusive acronym, so the plus symbol is the catch-all for everyone who has an identity that doesn’t fully fit into the above categories. For example, Agender, Aromantic, Gender Fluid, Passing, Polysexual, Androgynous, etc. An exciting thing about the Queer community is that there will always be more to learn and explore! 
Why do we have Pride Parades and Activities?

Pride Commemorates Our History 

In 1969, it was illegal for LGBTQ+ people to congregate at a bar, or for bars to serve LGBT people. The Mafia-owned Stonewall Inn, located in New York’s Greenwich Village, was one of the few places LGBTQ+ people could get a drink or hang out. Even there, life wasn’t easy: Police frequently raided the bar, issuing fines and violently arresting patrons. In the early morning of June 28th, 1969, a black trans woman named Marsha Johnson struck back by throwing a shot glass at police officers. This act of resistance, known today as the “shot glass heard around the world,” kicked off days of rioting as LGBTQ+ people rose up against the police system’s brutality and bigotry. A month later, Brenda Howard, a bisexual woman, helped plan the first Christopher Street Liberation Day March near the site of the riots. And while the LGBT civil rights movement has made great strides in the decades since then, we’re still far from true freedom and equality – which is why we should never forget where and how Pride celebrations started.

Pride Celebrates Our Accomplishments

The LGBTQ+ community has made a lot of progress over the years towards equality and acceptance in society. Some of the most visible changes are legal accomplishments like the 2005 legalization of marriage equality for same-sex couples in Canada, or the 2016 expansion of the BC Human Rights Code to include ‘gender identity or expression’ to explicitly protect Transgendered/Trans people under the law.

There have also been more subtle and gradual accomplishments in the growing societal acceptance and inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in some areas of the world. Particularly over the past 20 years, LGBTQ+ people have become increasingly visible ‘out’ in the public sphere, sharing their experiences and stories through films, music, and the arts. Becoming politicians, activists, and political leaders, leading Businesses and expanding products and services that cater to LGBTQ+ people, etc.

Pride brings the community together to celebrate these positive changes and show that progress is possible.

Pride Allows Us To Celebrate Our Sexual and Gender Identities/Expressions in Public

 The LGBTQ+ community has always been silenced, marginalized, and made invisible by non-LGBTQ+ society. People didn’t want to address LGBTQ+ people or issues and it was dangerous to be visible in the public sphere. Today it is important to exercise our democratic rights to take ownership of public space and claim visibility. LGBTQ+ issues and oppression will never be dealt with if they’re invisible and swept under the rug.

Pride reminds society that LGBTQ+ people exist, that we deserve public space, and that LGBTQ+ issues deserve attention.

Pride Reminds Us That We Still Have A Long Way To Go

The LGBTQ+ community is statistically one of the most discriminated against communities in the world today. Although this demographic has seen positive gains as of late, there is still a long way for us to go to achieve equality with the non-LGBTQ+ community.

There are many types of oppression and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in society. Here are some of the most common forms of LGBTQ+ oppression:

  • Heteronormativity: The societal systems that normalize behaviors that are linked to, and presume, heterosexuality and systems that enforce a harsh man/woman gender binary with strict gender roles. An example of heteronormativity is the presumption that when a young boy expresses interest in playing with or making fun of a young girl, he must have a crush on her.
  • Cisnormativity: A system that assumes most or all people identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. Cisnormativity erases the experience of transgender people in conversations about women’s rights, men’s health, women’s health, and other topics related to gender. An example of Cisnormativity is the belief that only women can get pregnant, this example is detrimental when it comes to healthcare for non-binary people or trans men who may receive improper care because of these assumptions.
  • Homophobia: Homophobia is a fear, disbelief, hatred, or mistrust of people who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Examples of homophobia can be being denied service at an establishment based on sexual orientation, being denied a job or housing based on sexual orientation, or experiencing physical or verbal abuse based on sexual orientation.
  • Transphobia: Transphobia is a fear, disbelief, hatred, or mistrust of transgender individuals whose gender expression deviates from traditional gender roles. Transphobia can be expressed subtly through being denied housing or healthcare or overtly through physical abuse, intentional misgendering, derogatory language and name calling.
  • Biphobia: This phobia derives from the heterosexist worldview that a person is either heterosexual or homosexual. That worldview is rooted in an “us or them” mentality that erases or forces a bisexual person to “choose” only liking one binary gender (man or woman). A bisexual person is often perceived as either straight or gay because their identity is not visible when they are publicly displaying their affections to a partner. An example of biphobia is assuming a bisexual person has not made up their mind.

Pride has always been a protest full of intersectionality; demanding human rights to be upheld no matter a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. As this conversation continues, other equity issues involving the LGBTQ+ community need to be addressed. Within every equity seeking constituency, there are those who identify somewhere within the LGBTQ+ spectrum, meaning that discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, size, socio-economic status, ability, mental health, and more all relate to this struggle. 

 

Facts About LGBTQ+ Oppression

  • 141 reported hate crimes targeting sexual orientation in Canada in 2015[3]
  • 11% of ALL reported Canadian hate crimes targeted a victim’s sexual orientation[4]
  • 60% of crimes motivated by hatred of a sexual orientation were violent, unlike other types of hate crimes.[5]
  • 20% of LGBTQ+ students report being physically harassed or assaulted[6]
  • 49% of Trans Students Reported Sexual Harassment[7]
  • 14 times more risk of suicide and substance abuse than non-LGBTQ+ peers[8]
  • 33% of LGB youth have attempted suicide compared to 7% of youth in general[9]
  • 6000+ LGBTQ+ homeless youth in Canada every year[10]
How can non-LGBTQ+ people be supportive?

Whether you identify as a member or a friend of the LGBTQ+ community, you may be wondering how you can be an active ally, or supporter by working to challenge harmful societal oppression and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.

Here are some steps for being an active supporter or ally:

  1. Educate yourself about the LGBTQ+ community and issues facing LGBTQ+ people. You’ve taken the first step here today but this is an ongoing lifelong process and you must continue learning. The LGBTQ+ community is rapidly changing and society’s understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people is changing along with it. The key is to be open to learning and to take active steps to understand how to support other people.[11] Don’t be afraid to ask questions! However, it would be a good idea not to ask a whole bunch of invasive questions of your LGBTQ+ friends and do a little bit of research yourself beforehand. Try starting with some internet searches or other research before asking a question that to you may think is innocent, but to someone else might be considered highly personal. Each of us has a responsibility to take ownership of our own education, and not rely on others to spoon-feed us all the answers.
  2. Stand up for LGBTQ+ people against hate. Hate speech, or other types of LGBTQ+phobia contribute to a culture of ignorance and fear that allows violence and hatred towards LGBTQ+ people to exist. Even when LGBTQ+ people are not around that type of speech has a lasting negative impact. If someone expresses a hurtful opinion on Facebook or makes a backhanded comment in a social situation, engage with them to help them understand that what they said was harmful.[12]
  3. Respecting pronouns and gender identity. In everyday life our brains unconsciously try to take shortcuts in thinking in order to make things easier. When meeting new people, we are quick to see their gender expression (what they look like) to assume what their gender identity is (man, woman, Trans, etc.). However, many people’s gender expression does not actually correspond to what their gender identity is, or they may have a non-gender specific expression. Therefore, it is important to always check in with someone when you’re meeting them to make sure that you’re using the correct pronouns (he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs, etc.) to refer to them. Using the correct pronouns when referring to someone shows them respect and acknowledges their gender identity as valid. An easy way to do this is to tell someone your name and the pronouns you use when you introduce yourself. For example: “Hello, my name is John. I use the pronouns he/him. What’s your name and the pronouns you use?” If you’ve told someone your pronouns, they are very likely to return the favor!
  4. Be conscious of your own mistakes. We are all imperfect human beings and there will be times when we do the wrong thing. Even if we do something harmful out of ignorance, that doesn’t take away the experience from the person who was harmed. If an LGBTQ+ person engages with you and explains how you did something LGBTQ+phobic or hurtful, then be open to listening and learning and doing better in the future.[13]
  5. Support LGBTQ+ voices and organizations. Whether you are able to volunteer, purchase works created by LGBTQ+ people, or financially support organizations or individuals, there are plenty of ways you can take an active role as a supporter. Be sure to ask if your help is welcome before inserting yourself into the situation; practicing consent in your everyday actions is integral not only for LGBTQ+ liberation, but for the liberation of all people.
Where can I find more information?

There are many organizations on campus and in the community who provide education about the LGBTQ+ community, support LGBTQ+ individuals, and fight for LGBTQ+ equality. If you’re looking to learn or get involved more, then please reach out to one or more of these organizations to get started!

Kamloops Pride – 

A non-for-profit organization supporting people who identify within the LGBTQ2S+ spectrum through hosting and participating in community events. Through a range of 19+ club nights to family friendly events like board games afternoons or coffee houses, Kamloops Pride works hard to provide opportunities and spaces for the Kamloops Queer community to come together! Not only are all events open to allies and community members wanting to learn, but board meetings are also open to public attendance and participation. 

Website: https://www.kamloopspride.com/

Email: kamloopspride@gmail.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kamloopspride/

 

TRUSU Pride Club – 

Dedicated to creating a community and embracing the diversity of LGBTQ students and their allies on campus. The club meets every week providing a safe space for students to make friends, socialize, and plan events. 

Email: tru.pride.on.campus@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrusuPrideClub/

 

Safe Spaces Kamloops – 

Safe Spaces is a service for youth up to 26 years of age who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, two spirit, queer or questioning and their allies. A youth-driven, confidential, drop in group meets once a week in a space that offers resources and a feeling of community for LGBTQ+ youth. A coordinator is available for one to one appointments as required and attends all group functions. Safe Spaces also provides educational workshops and presentations in Kamloops and surrounding communities. 

Website: http://www.safespaces.info/home

Email: sspaces@interiorcommunityservices.bc.ca

 

Egale Canada – 

Egale Canada is Canada’s only national charity promoting LGBTQ+ human rights through research, education and community engagement. Egale campaigns, advocates, and provides a voice for LGBTQ+ equality at the national level.

Website: https://egale.ca

 

The TRU Library –

Here are two books you may consider borrowing from the library and reading at your leisure in order to cut through the dry statistics and hear about LGBTQ+ experiences from LGBTQ+ people themselves:

  • Anne Bishop’s Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression —This book explains Anne’s own journey into ally-ship and how others can become allies too. Anne is a Canadian lesbian with a background in anti-oppression training. This book focuses a lot on the concept of intersectionality; that LGBTQ+ oppression and phobia is connected to other issues of racism, misogyny, classism, etc.
  • Vivek Shraya’s The Boy and the Bindi—This story is excellent for families and children exploring LGBTQ+ topics. The story follows a young boy’s fascination with his mother’s bindi, the Hindu cultural significance of gender, and the child’s eventual awakening as a Transgender woman.

Website: https://www.tru.ca/library.html

How can I participate in Pride Events?

 Kamloops has two main pride events that take place annually: the TRUSU Pride Parade on campus, and Kamloops Pride’s Downtown Pride Parade.

All are welcome to participate in the TRUSU Pride Parade which takes place in September each year. All you have to do is keep an eye out for the event details which are posted on trusu.ca and the Student Unions’ social media accounts in early-September.

All are also welcome to participate in the Downtown Pride Parade which takes place in August each year. Visit Kamloops Pride’s website here for more information.

 

For more information, contact:

Sierra Rae
Vice President Equity
s.rae@trusu.ca
250.828.5289

Dylan Robinson
Equity Coordinator
equity@trusu.ca
250.825.8289

 

About the Equity Committee

The TRUSU Equity Committee is a group of eight elected and appointed students who work to raise awareness about the systemic oppression of marginalized groups in society, and to challenge that oppression on campus.


[1] Herman, Joanne. “Transgender or Transgendered?.” Huffington Post. May 11, 2010.

[2] Wedel, Jillian. “Two-Spirit: Beyond sex and gender.” Nexus Newspaper. April 2, 2014.

[3] Statistics Canada. “Police-reported hate crimes, 2015.” The Daily. June 13, 2017

[4] Statistics Canada. “Police-reported hate crimes, 2015.” The Daily. June 13, 2017

[5] Statistics Canada. “Police-reported hate crimes, 2015.” The Daily. June 13, 2017

[6] Egale Canada. “The Numbers Say It All.” Egale.ca. July 27, 2017.

[7] Egale Canada. “The Numbers Say It All.” Egale.ca. July 27, 2017.

[8] Egale Canada. “The Numbers Say It All.” Egale.ca. July 27, 2017.

[9] Egale Canada. “The Numbers Say It All.” Egale.ca. July 27, 2017.

[10] Egale Canada. “The Numbers Say It All.” Egale.ca. July 27, 2017.

[11] Bishop, Anne. “Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression.” Fernwood Publishing. September 30, 2009. Pg. 91

[12] Bishop, Anne. “Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression.” Fernwood Publishing. September 30, 2009. Pg. 94

[13] Bishop, Anne. “Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression.” Fernwood Publishing. September 30, 2009. Pg. 94