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Advocating for Inclusive Politics: The Importance of 2SLGBTQIA+ Politicians Choosing Supportive Parties

Blocks with the words belonging, diversity, equity, and inclusion with a hand putting a ballot into a box.

Joint Statement from Advocacy Canada and Kelowna Pride Society

Kelowna, BC, June 4, 2024 – As organizations dedicated to promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, we emphasize the critical importance of politicians who identify as members of our community aligning themselves with political parties that wholeheartedly support these values.

It is imperative that our elected representatives champion policies and initiatives that advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for all Canadians, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. By joining a political party that embodies these principles, 2SLGBTQIA+ politicians can amplify our voices and advocate for meaningful change from within the system.

Conversely, the decision to align with a political party that does not prioritize these values can have profoundly negative consequences for our community. It legitimizes discrimination, erodes progress towards equality, and undermines the well-being of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals across the country.

We urge 2SLGBTQIA+ politicians to consider the impact of their affiliations on our community and to choose political parties that are committed to fostering a society where everyone feels safe, respected, and valued. Together, let us continue to work towards a future where diversity is celebrated, equity is upheld, and inclusion is the norm. 

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Pride 2024: A Clarion Call for Activism and Intersectional Solidarity

Pride 2024: A Clarion Call for Activism. Image of a Pride march with a sign that says Queer Rights not Rainbow Capitalism

Pride. It’s a word that evokes celebration, community, and a fierce determination to live authentically in the face of those who would deny us. The Pride movement, born of the Stonewall uprising and countless other struggles for 2SLGBTQIA+ liberation, has seen significant victories. But in the wake of increasing mainstream acceptance, has something been lost?

For many, Pride has become synonymous with parades, corporate sponsorships, and rainbow-themed merchandise – the commodification of something once radical. While visibility is important, it’s imperative that in 2024 and beyond, we reclaim Pride not just as a festival, but as a powerful act of protest against the systems that continue to oppress and marginalize 2SLGBTQIA+ people.

The Urgency of Action

Across North America and the globe, we’re witnessing a terrifying escalation in anti-transgender legislation and rhetoric. Trans and non-binary individuals, especially youth, are targeted in a desperate attempt to deny their existence and erase their rights. Healthcare access, participation in sports, and even the simple act of using a bathroom that aligns with one’s gender identity have become political battlegrounds.

And while the current wave of attacks targets trans people most directly, the insidious threat this poses to the entire 2SLGBTQIA+ community is dire. History teaches us that those who aim to strip rights from one marginalized group will not stop there. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and other 2SLGBTQIA+ people remain vulnerable to discrimination and violence. Our struggles are inherently connected.

Beyond Pinkwashing and Rainbow Capitalism

Too often, Pride parades feel less like spaces of radical inclusion and more like advertisements for corporations looking to exploit a lucrative market. “Pinkwashing,” the attempt to present a falsely progressive image, obscures the complicity of many businesses in upholding harmful political and economic systems.

We see your logos at Pride, but where are your voices when our community faces real threats?

It is understandable that Pride organizations need funding, yet we must remain vigilant to avoid prioritizing spectacle and commercialization over the fundamental need for activism and the ongoing fight for justice.

Intersectionality at the Core

Pride must be centered around the most marginalized members of our community. This means actively confronting racism, ableism, classism, and all forms of oppression within LGBTQ+ spaces. Black and Indigenous 2SLGBTQIA+ people continue to experience disproportionate levels of violence and discrimination. Our commitment to pride must be a commitment to intersectional justice.

A Call for Pride 2024

Here’s a vision of what Pride could be in 2024 and the years to come:

  • Center Trans Voices: Trans people must be at the forefront of Pride events: leading, speaking, and having their demands heard.
  • Prioritize Activism: Marches, protests, and workshops focused on concrete political action must be given equal, if not greater, prominence within Pride celebrations.
  • Support Community Organizations: Uplift the work of grassroots movements addressing homelessness, HIV/AIDS support, mental health, and other vital issues facing 2SLGBTQIA+ people.
  • Demand Systemic Change: Pride events should be platforms for calling out corporations and politicians who uphold oppressive systems.
  • Confront Intolerance Within Our Community: It is vital we address and challenge those within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community who do not support trans rights. Division only weakens our collective fight for liberation.

There is no gay pride without trans pride. There are no gay rights without trans rights.

Let’s make Pride 2024 not just a celebration, but a renewed commitment to the revolutionary spirit that gave birth to this movement. Our continued liberation depends on it.

Wilbur Turner

President, Advocacy Canada

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Your donation and membership goes beyond a simple transaction. It becomes a powerful tool for change, helping Advocacy Canada ensure every person in Canada can live authentically and free from discrimination. Join the movement for trans rights, donate today, and be a part of the solution.

Donate to advocate for trans rights

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Kelowna 2SLGBTQIA+ community takes loud stand against hate for Pride Month

KELOWNA, BC—Aiming to combat a “disturbing” rise in visible hate against the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in Kelowna and beyond, a local advocacy organization is spearheading a colourful initiative.

The Kelowna Billboard Project is a positive messaging campaign aimed at the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, via a series of billboards with art and uplifting messages.

While the project is a positive one, its motivation isn’t, says Wilbur Turner, chairperson of Advocacy Canada, the Kelowna-based organization spearheading the initiative. 

“Just this year in Kelowna, numerous protests have been held outside of queer events, an anti-2SLGBTQIA+ billboard was put up, and hate-filled comments on any local news story involving the queer community number in the thousands. It’s disturbing,” said Turner.

“Many in our community struggle to be accepted for who they are. This increase in hate makes that struggle so much worse. That’s why we’re creating this campaign. To show those struggling they’re far from alone.”

For the billboard project, a focus group of diverse members from the local 2SLGBTQIA+ community is working to develop a theme and messaging. This will then be passed on to local Indigenous queer artist, Sarah Jones who has been commissioned to create the design for the billboards. 

“I want to take part in this project to give back to the Syilx territory & community that has been my home for all of my 24 years. It burdens my heart to see hate existing in the Okanagan,” says artist Sarah Jones. She adds, “I feel it is my duty to use my art to provide healing and hope to anyone who drives by and sees it.”

“This is a full-community effort,” said Turner, adding that banding together is needed now more than ever.

“Drag spaces are under protest. Visible community leaders are being targeted online. There are efforts to roll back inclusion in our schools, and attacks on essential gender-affirming healthcare have become far too common,” said Turner.

The most recent statistics support what Turner has witnessed. The most recent statistics from Statistics Canada report a 64% year-over-year increase in police-reported hate crimes against the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. 

In fundraising for the project, Advocacy Canada is giving businesses, organizations, and individuals an opportunity to help sponsor the campaign. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for donations and interested sponsors may reach out to Advocacy Canada for a sponsorship package. 

Turner says he hopes to get the billboards up in Kelowna and Lake Country during June, which is Pride Month.

More information on the billboard project can be found here.

About the Artist

@honeycubpokes is owned by Sarah Jones, an Ojibwe and Indigiqueer artist. born and raised in Syilx Territory, away from her Nation of Shoal Lake 40, Sarah created honeycub to soothe her soul. In her work, she is striving to reconnect with her lost culture and hopes to use her art as a tool to further explore Indigenous practices and methodologies. Using practices such as digital art, as well as traditional and mixed media art like watercolour, gouache, lino printing, and even tattooing, Sarah is working to create a successful brand that shares her vision, her ideas, her culture, and her passions with the rest of the world. Chi Miigwech