Pride Month is the month of the year when people of the LGBTQIA+ community celebrate their resilience and growth.
The LGBTQIA+ community, also known as the LGBT community or the gay community, celebrate individuality, diversity and sexuality, accepting people who do not identify with their birth gender, and those who feel attraction towards those of the same gender, such as lesbian or bisexual people.
June is Pride Month, dubbed so because of the Stonewall riots, or Stonewall uprising, that occurred on June 28, 1969. In Greenwich Village, New York, police raided a gay and lesbian hotel, the Stonewall Inn, prompting members of the LGBTQIA+ community to fight back when police became violent.
The LGBTQIA+ community has grown with the rise of social media and the communities and places of support people can find online. But it is sometimes still challenging for people to learn who they are all on their own.
Envision Counselling and Support Centre is an organization spanning all of southeast Saskatchewan, with locations in Weyburn, Carlyle, Oxbow and Estevan. They are open to any individual person in southeast Saskatchewan who is looking for support in any capacity, including members of the LGBTQIA+ community who may be struggling with their identity.
“We definitely saw new individuals for this past year, over the pandemic,” said Juli Dzuba, the outreach co-ordinator at Estevan’s Envision office.
Their counselling covers many issues, such as domestic violence and mental health. Most of their resources are generalized and everything is gender neutral, she says.
“One really good resource is our rapid access counselling,” said Dzuba. “They’re hour-long appointments for anyone who wants to talk to a trained counsellor … we do mental health counselling too, so there’s no mandate to what people can talk about.”
Envision has many places to help people struggling with who they are, mostly online this year.
“It was a lot different this year during the pandemic. It was all virtual.”
Dzuba mentions working with schools, limited this year because of the pandemic, and urges people to look at their website for more resources and options for support.
The Estevan Comprehensive School also has a place of support for LGBTQIA+ students; a club called the Gay-Straight Alliance, or the GSA. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, the club wasn’t allowed to meet this year. Students and young kids can always speak to their school counsellors if they are having struggles with their sexuality or identity.
Over the years, the LGBTQIA+ community has broadened their horizons and accepted more and more identities into their group, including people who do not identify with their birth gender, or those who feel like they’re not a part of the gender spectrum.
The term ‘Two Spirit’ is used by Indigenous people who identify as having both a masculine and feminine spirit. It is used by some Indigenous people to describe their sexuality, gender and/or spiritual identity. According to Wikipedia, Two Spirits is a modern, umbrella term used to describe Indigenous people who fulfill a traditional third gender ceremonial and social role in their cultures. Two Spirit fits into the LGBTQIA+ community as its own identity, as the term Two Spirit is not synonymous with non-binary or gender non-conforming.
Non-binary and gender non-conforming people are people who do not identify within the gender of male and female. They are also referred to as genderqueer, and fall anywhere within the spectrum of male and female, some even outside the spectrum.
Flags are a big part of the LGBTQIA+ pride. The most popular or most common flag, a rainbow flag, reflects the diversity of the community, and is widely used as the universal pride symbol. Most every sexuality and identity has its own flag, and those flags are a symbol of pride for others with similar identities or sexualities.