Capital PRIDE is a time to celebrate equality!
Sunday August 22 kicks off this year’s capital Pride week in Ottawa! Many people associate Pride with a parade but it is so much more than this. Although this is a fun way to celebrate with the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, pride is about not being afraid of stating your sexuality and no longer having to hide it. It is a time to celebrate the right to equality. The mental anxiety of not being able to express your true identity can be painful. We need to recognize diversity and celebrate!
To celebrate Capital Pride’s Virtual Summer Festival this year and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the “We Demand” protests on Parliament Hill—Canada’s first-ever protest for LGBT rights, the theme is, “We Still Demand”.
It takes a lot of courage to show up, masks off, in the world—to speak and live your truth. It requires vulnerability and it’s a journey to authentic living without stigma and shame.
I am so proud of the work that the City and the Women and Gender Equity group that I lead, are doing to break down barriers to make Ottawa an inclusive community.
As part of the City of Ottawa’s 2018–2022 Governance Report, Council approved the development of a Women and Gender Equity Strategy and the hiring of a full-time Women and Gender Specialist A Council Sponsors Group for Women and Gender Equity was established in March 2019 chaired by myself as the Council Liaison for Women and Gender Equity.
The City’s first Women and Gender Equity Strategy was approved by City Council in April 2021. It aims to integrate a women and gender equity lens in City processes, services, strategies, and policies, and improve access to City services for the intersectional groups of women and gender diverse persons.
Last year, the City announced corporate support for affinity groups—employee-driven support networks for people from designated employment equity groups or other diverse groups who wish to meet each other, connect, share information and support one another.
We still have a long way to go. As we continue to advance reconciliation, equity, diversity, and inclusion, we are aware that discrimination and barriers to services and opportunities still persist for women and gender diverse persons. Indigenous women, older women, racialized women, women with disabilities, and all gender diverse persons face multiple layers of discrimination. To change this reality, a women and gender analysis needs to become an integral part of how we design and evaluate our services so they can be safely accessed by all.
I do hope you’ll join the community in celebrating 2021 Virtual Capital Pride and show your support for our city’s diverse 2SLGBTQQIA+ community.