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  • Pride is More Than Parades

    June 24th, 2016

    by Janet Madsen  |  @janet_madsen


    moreguefile-pride_shotWith the June 12 mass murder in Orlando still at the top of the news, LGBTQ Pride Month has taken on a deeper meaning for many. We’re making sure we’re out, unapologetic, and challenging hate with #LoveWins as our theme.

    Pride takes its theme from the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riot (June 28), when patrons of the Stonewall Inn decided they had experienced enough police discrimination and fought back against a raid on a bar. That night is called the birth of the LGBT civil rights movement. Although we’ve come a long way since then, there are still instances where we’re not fully accepted citizens, and this is why recognizing Pride is necessary. I agree with Elio Iannacci’s words that it’s important this year more than ever.

    Many Pride marches are organized in June to reflect Stonewall beginnings. In Vancouver, East Side Pride is celebrated in June (this weekend at Grandview Park on The Drive), but the downtown parade waits until later in the summer, a switch that happened when we hosted the Gay Games. This year the date is set for July 31.

    The challenge to homophobia is more than just parades. Queer film festivals take place in Toronto and Vancouver; to Halifax on the East Coast and many cities around the world, bringing entries of love, politics, and triumphs from the globe.

    Education events and campaigns also stand strong against hate and violence. The Day of Silence  is a student-focused event to call attention to anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia is every year in May. National Coming Out Day (October 11) was created in 1988 to promote a safe world for LGBTQ individuals to live truthfully and openly.

    LGBT History Month in the US is October; Scotland makes it February. This fuller list of LGBT Awareness Days can take you through your year.

    On a personal and political front, Ellen Degeneres has welcomed many performers and personalities to her show, where they talk about coming out publicly or the importance of this social justice work. Oprah commends her on being instrumental on living authentically, President Obama on her work at “Changing hearts and minds”.

    What Orlando shows us is that work for welcome is still in process. There are still hearts and minds to change. We need to keep fighting for full rights and being ourselves with love and honour.


    Image: MorgueFile

    Peterborough poet pens “50 Radical Acts of Love” in response to Orlando

    June 17th, 2016


    This week Peterborough’s Electric City Magazine published a poem by Cathy Petch in response to the murder of people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It’s the first in a series called Queer Voices on Orlando. Visit the magazine’s website to read more responses from the queer community.

    flamenco shoes

    50 Radical Acts of Love

    I want to write the poem
    that will take 50 bodies
    fallen on a Florida
    gay dance bar floor
    and turn them into something
    other than
    bullets to be put into
    more guns

    I avoid articles
    where queer deaths are used
    to fire at Islam
    that would have us forget
    our brothers and sisters and others
    are Islamic
    are every colour
    and belief
    and body

    I want to hear the names
    the stories
    of those who found their way
    to that club
    who shook every bit of beautiful girth
    who knew themselves to be radical acts
    who wore their most flashy neon green
    crop top
    or tie
    or inch higher heels
    who tried on a bra for the first time
    or swaggered into b-boy dance off
    armed with only a grin and a binder

    there is a war on love
    the kind of love that
    helps you glue an eyelash into place
    that notices the shave cut
    that likes your 1000th selfie
    that calls you by the new name
    you hold in your open carry heart

    is any queer surprised when
    they will only call you 50
    will only call you mass murder
    and terrorist act
    your dance ready limbs
    will disappear into the mouths
    of politicians who would have never
    stopped the sneer
    at the outfit
    you wore that night

    They will turn your bodies bullet
    they will have you locked and loaded
    they will have you drone
    they will burn countries down
    before they ever take notice
    of the ways they help murder you