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    Posted on Jun. 23, 2017

    6 Reasons To Celebrate The Colours Of Pride

    Happy Pride Month, Canada!

    by ,

    Each colour of the rainbow pride flag corresponds to a particular meaning — like life, nature, and spirit. Take a stroll through LGBTQI history in Canada with the rainbow as your guide.

    Red: Life

    JUNIORSKEPTIC/BuzzFeed Canada

    On July 20, 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage after the Civil Marriage Act was passed. Once passed it recognized that “marriage, for civil purposes, is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others,” not as a union exclusively between a man and a woman.

    After legalization, between 2006 and 2011, the number of same-sex married couples nearly tripled.

    Orange: Healing

    JUNIORSKEPTIC/BuzzFeed Canada

    “Operation Soap” was a raid led by Toronto Police on Feb. 4, 1981, when police officers raided four of the city’s bathhouses armed with sledgehammers and crowbars. More than 250 gay men were arrested during this raid, and many were summoned to court. During the arrests and court appearances, numerous closeted gay men were outed to their family and friends.

    The following night, 3,000 people marched and protested the police in solidarity. That march evolved into the annual Toronto Pride parade.

    Yellow: Sunlight

    JUNIORSKEPTIC/BuzzFeed Canada

    During the 2016 Toronto Pride parade, the Black Lives Matter movement halted the parade with a list of demands for organizers, including greater support for events for people of colour. But the most talked about demand was the removal of uniformed police officers from the parade itself — a discussion that has spread across the country.

    There’s a long history of people of colour, trans folks, and others from LGBT communities being targeted by police, including the very roots of Toronto’s Pride festivities.

    Green: Nature

    JUNIORSKEPTIC/BuzzFeed Canada

    On June 15, 2017, Bill C-16 was passed by the Senate, officially adding gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act. It was a 12-year long battle to get those rights enshrined, but the fight isn’t over.

    Transgender, nonbinary, and gender-diverse Canadians still face difficulty seeking healthcare services, travelling with legal documentation that matches their gender identity, higher rates of incarceration, and higher rates of poverty and unemployment. The bill protects these individuals from hate propaganda, or offences motivated by bias, prejudice or hate.

    Blue: Serenity

    JUNIORSKEPTIC/BuzzFeed Canada

    In November 1971, the first issue of The Body Politic was published, it was Canada’s first wide-release gay publication. Over the years it acted as a platform for LGBTQI art, culture, and sociopolitical issues. In the LGBTQI community, art is a form of expression which allows voices that might be quieted or silenced to be heard.

    Other Canadian LBGTQI art representation includes TV sketch comedy series CODCO and The Kids in the Hall; musicians such as KD Lang, Tegan & Sara, Diamond Rings, Peaches, and Coeur de Pirate; visual artists such as Kent Monkman; and movies including Outrageous!, When Night is Falling, C.R.A.Z.Y., and I Killed My Mother. In cities across the country, drag queen and king performances and voguing continue to entertain and empower in bars and clubs.

    Purple: Spirit

    JUNIORSKEPTIC/BuzzFeed Canada

    At the 1990 Inter-tribal First Nations Gay and Lesbian American Conference in Winnipeg, Albert McLeod proposed the use of Two-Spirited, based on an Anishinaabemowin term.

    Two spirit now widely refers to LBGTQI Indigenous people who carry both a male and female spirit, and describe various sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions. Historically, in Indigenous communities, two-spirited individuals were visionaries or healers and a fundamental component of society due to their ability to understand both female and male perspectives.

    After European colonization, these individuals have faced racism, sexism, and homophobia. Now the two-spirit community is working toward reconnecting to their roots, and sharing knowledge of customs lost or forgotten.

    Story and illustration by Chris Hull AKA JUNIORSKEPTIC. Cowritten by Spencer Finch-Coursey.

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