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Pride Matters

Why we need to stand together

Pride Week is coming up soon in Kawartha Lakes. Why is that something we care about at Women’s Resources? Well, the stark reality is that those who oppose women’s rights to reproductive choice and promote male-dominated heterosexual relationships tend to also oppose the rights of folks who are two-spirit, lesbian, gay, transgender (meaning their gender identity is different from the biological sex assigned to them at birth), intersex or asexual. The good news is that those of us who have experienced this opposition, whether it’s subtle or overt or even violent, know that when we support each other, it makes things better for all of us.

We’re not going back to the bad old days when everyone who was not cisgender (whose gender identity is the same as the sex assigned at birth), male, white, heterosexual and able in mind and body was fair game for harassment and abuse. After all, those days aren’t very far in the past, and as recent events show, they’re still with us. A female professor and two students in her gender studies class were stabbed in late June in what police described as “a hate-motivated incident related to gender expression and gender identity.”

Canada has also been the site of attacks and murders of women and men at the hands of so-called incels, typically young men aggrieved to the point of violence by their inability to attract a sexual partner. Gender, gender expression, sexuality, racialized heritage or any combination of those factors can make someone much more likely to be attacked or experience abuse. We say, “No more.”

At Women’s Resources, our services are available to all women and girls, full stop. We know that women, whether cisgender or transgender, experience violence at the hands of men, and we are here to help.

We also know how important it is to look out for each other, especially in a time when loud voices are calling for the rights of women and 2SLGBTQIA+ folks to be rolled back. When they come for one, they will come for all. Indeed, after the United States Supreme Court struck down abortion rights, at least one justice mused that gay marriage could also be revisited. But let’s always remember that although these voices may be loud, and cruel and hateful at times, they are not the majority.

The newest version of the rainbow flag is known as the Pride Progress flag because it takes the beautiful well-known multicoloured design and includes colours and symbols that specifically lift up people of colour, transgender and intersex folks. Displaying it at local businesses, homes, churches and other gathering places is a powerful statement of inclusion—that all people matter in our community.

During Pride Week and on every day of the year, let’s stand up for human rights for all people, even as we are especially aware that 2SLGBTQIA+ folks, people of colour, people with disabilities and women continue to be marginalized and abused in far too many ways. We are all in this together, and with compassion, vigilance and determination, we will make sure that we continue to make progress together.

By Nancy Payne