By SHELLYSE SZAKACS
A World of Pride is the theme of the 13th annual Pride celebration on Salt Spring Island. This year’s slogan speaks to the world within each of us, the world we live in and the world we envision. One World, One Love.
Here, we are celebrating our Pride and recognizing the tremendous privilege it is to be able to do so in a community that supports and embraces us. Thank you, Salt Spring Island!
We walk in Pride knowing that, in some parts of the world, a simple celebration such as this is not possible and/or safe. And we walk in Pride knowing that there are some members of this community who are not able to walk it themselves. We know that here too, LGBTQ2S+ people can still be harassed in our workplaces, shunned at school and still struggle because we are not fully understood and accepted by our families and by our peers.
This year we walk in Pride for ourselves and all those who cannot. We welcome you to walk in Pride as allies for your family members and friends and colleagues and neighbours. We invite you to walk in Pride for the folks around the world who are not safe to celebrate their Pride in who they are and how they love.
It has been a year of soul-searching, and pride, and change for our LGBTQ2S+ community here on Salt Spring Island. The change of our name, from GLOSSI to DAISSI — Diverse and Inclusive Salt Spring Island — is the outcome of that soul-searching. As well as the parade and public events, we are hosting LGBTQ2S+ events to nurture new understanding, and growth, and cooperation within our diverse community. We believe that if we take care of ourselves, we will have more to share with others.
Last year our Pride came on the heels of the Orlando Massacre, reminding us that while we may feel relatively safe here on Salt Spring Island, discrimination and hate still impact our LGBTQ2S+ community. We are deeply grateful to our allies who stood beside us in our horror and held us in our grief at last year’s difficult Pride. Gay marriage is not the end of our work for equality. As we continue our efforts to build a society that honours all its members, we see that trans rights, adapting to the new language and needs of our non-binary members and the issues of women and of black people, Indigenous people and people of colour, particularly as they intersect with LGBTQ2S+ are key, ongoing concerns.
This year we return to the essence of Pride as a celebration of love and a celebration of diversity. This year we hold ‘A World of Pride’ in our hearts, for the world we live in and the world we envision for all.
Come get a sticker, walk with us and tell us: Whom do you hold with Pride? For whom do you walk in Pride?
The writer is chair of Diverse and Inclusive Salt Spring Island.