BY AMAN SINGH
NDP MLA for Richmond-Queensborough
JUNE is Pride Month.
Throughout this month, we honour and celebrate the origins of Pride Month, and the 2SLGBTQ+ community’s hard-fought journey to attain the basic human rights and freedoms that so many others take for granted.
The history of the rights of 2SLGBTQ+ people in North America include significant events like in New York in 1969, where riots began at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in response to years of suppression. As a result of these riots, the first Pride marches took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco one year later.
Canada has its own rich history. Here in British Columbia, the University of Victoria hosts the largest Transgender archives in the world. These records go back over 120 years and include original documents recording the history of pioneering activists, community leaders, and researchers who have contributed to the betterment of trans, non-binary, Two-Spirit, and other gender-diverse people. These documents are in 15 languages from 23 countries, and are accessible to everyone, free of charge.
As I take a moment to remember the history of Pride, I know there is more work to do.
2SLGBTQ+ people continue to face stigma and discrimination, which puts people at risk for much higher rates of violence, poverty, mental health issues, and other complex challenges. For Indigenous people and people of colour, this stigma and discrimination is compounded. That is why our government continues to work hard to advance the rights and freedoms for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Some actions our government has taken include re-establishing the B.C. Human Rights Commissioner and updating instances of gendered language across 15 ministries’ regulations to reflect the diversity of British Columbians. We have also taken action to ensure the spectrum of gender identity is included on B.C. government ID and that people can change their gender designation without confirmation of a physician or psychologist. We have moved to ensure publicly funded, affirming lower surgeries are available in our province, and have also expanded coverage for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophyaxis (PEP) to ensure people have access to preventative treatment.
As we commemorate Pride in our communities across the province this year, it’s important for us to remember how far we’ve come and how far we must go.
For a list of Pride events in B.C., please visit: https://whatsonqueerbc.com/woq-resources/pride-celebrations-pride-parade-bc.