Toronto – June 12, 2013 – Every year Pride is celebrated across the country as one of Canada’s biggest and most colourful annual festivals. It features exciting street fairs, marches, parades, picnics, and concerts. Each event provides an inclusive experience, which is why Pride is a popular attraction among Canadians and thousands of visitors from around the world.
While Pride events are filled with enjoyment and enthusiasm, the festival also highlights human rights issues that affect the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Queer (LGBTQ) community. These include homophobia, bullying, and transphobia. Messages of hope, optimism, and change are expressed through placards, costumes, props, and banners during the various marches and parades. Community agencies, labour organizations, and human rights activists visibly support and work alongside our LGBTQ sisters and brothers during the festival. The collective energy put forward by the LGBTQ community and their supporters is quite evident throughout the Pride season.
Pride is a perfect opportunity for UFCW Canada members and officers to show our support and solidarity to our LGBTQ sisters and brothers. At least ten percent of our membership is part of the LGBTQ community and we need to provide them with a safe space to join this event. Pride is also an ideal avenue to show our appreciation to our LGBTQ sisters and brothers for their valuable contributions to our organization. When we participate in Pride, we ensure that the voices of our LGBTQ sisters and brothers are heard in their Union and that UFCW Canada's voice is heard in their community.
Last year UFCW Canada attended Pride Toronto for the first time. This year several of our Local Unions will be involved with Pride activities in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Hamilton, Quebec City, and Montreal. Our ultimate goal is to increase our presence at Pride and be committed each year to participate in events across Canada.
Eliminating homophobia, bullying, and transphobia is an enormous challenge but change begins with us. In solidarity with our LGBTQ sisters and brothers, I am encouraging all UFCW Canada members, staff, and officers to engage and work collaboratively with our national partner, Egale Canada, in initiatives that advance equality, diversity, and LGBTQ rights. Let's make the most of Pride 2013 and work toward a Canada that is inclusive of everyone.