BY AMAN SINGH, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough,
KELLY GREENE, MLA for Richmond-Steveston, &
HENRY YAO, MLA for Richmond South Centre
PRIDE Week is a chance for all of us in Richmond to honour and celebrate the resilience, spirit, and history of the LGBTQ2+ community.
Pride parades and celebrations are now common in cities around the world, but they originally began as a protest against violence and oppression. Even today, Pride is a reminder that many LGBTQ2+ people in B.C. and around the world are still fighting for equality and freedom.
As a result of discrimination and intolerance, LGBTQ2+ people experience higher rates of violence, poverty, mental health issues and homelessness. And for Indigenous, Black and People of Colour in the community, the intersections of racism, transphobia and homophobia can be even more challenging.
Nobody should face violence, harassment, or discrimination because of who they are or who they love. That is why, as your MLAs, we proudly stand in solidarity with Richmond’s LGBTQ2+ community, this week and every week. We are proud to be part of a government that has worked hard to advance the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ2+ people and build a more inclusive province.
Our government re-established the B.C. Human Rights Commission, an independent office that addresses the root causes of inequality and injustice in our province, after it was dissolved by the previous government in 2002. We improved services and care for trans and non-binary people, including increasing access to gender-affirming surgery under MSP, and making the X gender marker an option on provincial identification.
As a government, we worked with all 60 school districts to introduce SOGI-inclusive codes of conduct, so students can learn, play, and grow at school without fear of being bullied based on sexual orientation or gender identity. We included parents and families in this process so they can foster open conversations with their kids at home.
We know there is still more to do. As citizens of Richmond, we can all do our own small part to make our city more inclusive. A great way to start is by attending one of the fabulous Pride events taking place this week. After all, Pride is also about celebrating hard-won freedoms and enjoying the beauty of our community’s diversity.
On Thursday July 29, you can get active while showing your true colours at the Zumba Pride Party held at the Minoru Centre for Active Living from 5-6pm.
On Friday July 30, the Hamilton Community Centre will host a Drag Queen Story Time at 12 p.m., with a story that teaches kids about diversity presented by a local teacher and drag performer.
On Saturday, July 31, come to South Arm Park to tie-dye a rainbow t-shirt and listen to music by local artist Jason Qiu. You can get all the details and register for these and many more Pride Week events at: www.richmond.ca/services/communitysocialdev/inclusion/prideweek.htm
We hope you have a chance to get out and show your pride this week. Happy Pride, Richmond!