In June, the Division of Human Resources and Equity joins the University community in celebrating the achievements and experiences of the LGBTQ2S+ community.
Pride Month is celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots that occurred after police raids targeted the LGBTQ2S+ community in New York City’s Greenwich Village, at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. Members of the LGBTQ2S+ community and their allies initiated a series of demonstrations against the raids and these events served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement and LGBTQ+ activism in the US and around the world.
It is important to take time to reflect on the progress made in achieving equal rights and opportunities for members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, and how each of us plays a part in ensuring this progress continues. As our country faces unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, we are reminded of the importance of equity. Barriers faced by the LGBTQ2S+ community such as access to appropriate healthcare and services that reflect the needs of the community, inadequate housing and discrimination are heightened in times of crisis. Understanding these challenges and working to eliminate barriers is a necessary component of inclusion. Our allyship and support for our colleagues ensures that our community is inclusive, representative, and welcoming.
On the 20th Anniversary of the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office, the University will be raising the ‘More Colour; More Pride’ flag and the Trans flag on the Scarborough and Mississauga campuses on June 1 and on the St. George campus on June 4 to support U of T’s LGBTQ2S+ community. The ‘More Colour; More Pride’ flag expands the colours of the original rainbow flag to include black and brown stripes to highlight the importance of intersectionality, representation and unique experiences of Black, Indigenous and racialized LGBTQ2S+ community. This flag is a reminder that progress for LGBTQ2S+ people has been uneven, despite being instrumental in leading movements for greater inclusion, these communities often continue to be left out.
The University’s Sexual & Gender Diversity Office (SGDO) is a valuable resource for many of our community members. Throughout the month of June, the SGDO and Equity Offices and their partners on each campus will host virtual Pride events to celebrate the LGBTQ2S+ community. I encourage you to attend the Virtual Concert on June 18th, co-hosted with Hart House and the First Nations House, featuring musical performances by Indigenous artists. Details on all Pride events can be found on the SGDO website. I would like to invite all of U of T to join us in celebrating Pride Month.