I come from a place of privilege that I can be my true and authentic self with very little fear or repercussions. I recognize that my ability to do that comes from the hard work of people before me who stood up and fought for the idea that a person- is a person – is a person, and some of them fought knowing that they might not live long enough to see their vision of equality be realized. I think the most important fight in my lifetime is unfolding right now, with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. When we as a society dehumanize (or allow to be dehumanized) one group of people, we open the door to a dark future – one where there is a hierarchy of qualities that defines the worth of a person, with some qualities that we decide exclude them from being human at all. Once we agree that this is acceptable, then the list of qualities or attributes that exclude one from “personhood” is at the whim of the charismatic speaker, the affluent lobbyist, the radical politician or any number of bad actors that have no right to hold that kind of power.
I have to believe that there are so many people being quiet because they believe like I do, that the overwhelming majority of people truly do see members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community as equal peers deserving of all the rights and freedoms that are afforded to everyone else. The idea that it needs to be said out loud that they are human and are entitled to the basic human decency we enjoy feels like needing to announce that the sky is blue or that rain is wet – isn’t this a commonly held opinion? Are there really people on the “other side” of this issue? There are. There are, and they are being made bold by the silence of otherwise good people who thought that the majority of people were good people too. We need to stand up, we need to show the members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community that they are not alone in fighting for their right to express their true and authentic selves. We need to show the people who would otherwise try to convince us that there are members of our communities, workplaces, friend groups and families that are less than human, broken, needing to be “fixed” or change, or be eradicated – that there is no place for that kind of hateful rhetoric and way of thinking.
Education, representation, inclusion, acceptance and advocacy are all part of the solution – and I am proud to work for a company that is striving towards a better future through initiatives that utilize all those tools.
For me, Pride means supporting the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in tangible ways while taking pride in who I am and have grown to be. Stepping out of my comfort zone, acknowledging my privilege, and striving for daily and ongoing learning are key priorities for me because I know that there is so much that I still need to understand. I aim to keep the importance of diversity and inclusivity in mind both inside and outside of the workplace. Celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion and respect is not only important for me, but also for my daughter and family. As a father, I am optimistic about an inclusive world for my daughter to learn and grow in, without the prejudices of previous generations. It's vital that she recognizes the value of inclusivity, and I am committed to actively setting an example of continual growth and education in diversity and inclusivity. Everyone deserves to be heard, respected, and included.
My husband and I recently moved to a beautiful country property in Southwestern Ontario. This decision has proven to be a great one for our family, and we have loved the opportunity to connect with our diverse neighbors, representing various backgrounds and experiences. Regrettably, our new community garnered negative attention in the media this year. Norwich Township made the disheartening decision to reject the display of Pride flags and thwarted a local politician's effort to declare June as Pride month. Consequently, Pride Oxford County has taken the matter to the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
This unjust hurdle sparked a range of emotions within me, predominantly anger, sadness, and resentment. It is disheartening to witness a lack of inclusivity within our new community, and I firmly believe in embracing every individual by extending a warm welcome to everyone who visits my home. I take immense joy in displaying the Pride flag not only during the month of June but throughout the entire year, as I seek to actively learn more about the ways in which I can support the diverse community. By educating ourselves about the challenges that the 2SLGBTQIA+ community faces and taking an active stand against discrimination, my hope is that we can continue to create a more compassionate and diverse society. Showing support through both small and large acts of kindness is one way we can start to make a meaningful difference in a world where love and diversity are wholeheartedly celebrated and embraced.
I grew up in a small town in northern Ontario, where the 2SLGBTQIA+ community at the time was often discreet and not celebrated. Relocating to Toronto unveiled a kaleidoscope of unique perspectives, expanding my understanding of diversity and openness.
Experiencing Toronto’s vibrant and inclusive community was an eye-opening experience. Diversity was not just celebrated; it was embraced with open arms. Witnessing friends and family bloom into their true selves filled me with an overwhelming sense of joy and pride. This shift also ignited a change within me – a commitment to being an ally and constantly expanding my knowledge. I recognized that true support comes from understanding and respecting each individual's unique journey. For me, the key has been open and honest conversations. It is easy to be empathetic and supportive when you gain a better understanding of someone’s lived experiences.
My ongoing education surrounding Pride has taught me that that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to being an ally.
Everyone has their own preferences and needs when it comes to support, and being attuned to those nuances is essential. My experience has taught me that genuine allyship is a journey of continuous education and growth, one that I'm wholeheartedly dedicated to.