June is internationally recognized as Pride Month!
June is Pride Month, and while celebrations will likely look like a hybrid of the past and the virtual nature of our present, the sentiment remains the same: celebrating the beauty and diversity of the LGBTQAI2S+* community and acknowledging the work still to be done. Pride is a celebration that is no stranger to change - learn more about the history of Pride in Canada here.
Community and connection have been a central theme for everyone this past year. So, in the spirit of Pride Month, we encourage all British Columbians to visit their local Pride Society website to learn how to get involved. BCAA is proud to be an ally of the LGBTQAI2S+ community, showcasing our belief in putting people first by updating storefront signage in some Service Locations in celebration of Pride, and actively supporting the Vancouver Pride Society.
Why is it important for BCAA & Evo Car Share to be involved in Pride?
BCAA is a Member-based organization helping British Columbians from all corners of our province stay protected and keep moving forward. That means we believe in putting people first, and treating people with care and respect. This shows up in how we serve our Members and embrace diverse perspectives internally with our employees. For the past five years, Evo Car Share has partnered with the Vancouver Pride Society to outwardly demonstrate support for the Vancouver communities in which Evo operates, and to stand up for freedom, dignity and equality for all.Vancouver Pride 2019
For BCAA & Evo, celebrating Pride each year reminds us of the power of community in creating a vibrant and connected province. It reminds us to acknowledge where we can continue to evolve and transform and celebrate the diverse voices of our employees, Members and communities.
To get a deeper understanding of Pride at BCAA & Evo, we asked some of our team members what Pride means to them:
Peter – Member Contact Centre, BCAA, Pronouns He/Him
“When I think of what Pride means to me, I can boil it down to 3 words: CELEBRATION OF LOVE! It’s about inclusion, acceptance, friends, family, strength and equality of rights. It’s a chance to come together and forgive and heal from the past. Pride has become a family event – my mom comes every year from Alberta and my sister joins in the March alongside other friends and co-workers. It’s one of the highlights of my year.”
Natalie – Learning & Development, BCAA, Pronouns She/Her
“Being a part of the Pride Parade and advocating for equality is very important to me. There are many reasons for biased motivated crimes (hate crimes) in both Canada and the United States, unfortunately race, religion and sexual orientation continue to be prevalent for these types of crimes. For me the Pride Parade represents a concerted effort to move away from these negative archetypes, it means accepting people for who they are, showing my solidarity in the face of adversity and having a great time with like-minded people. It is an opportunity to stand and support my friends and family who have been judged for being and loving who they chose. At the end of the day we all want to be loved for who we are, and we should be able to do so safely and freely.”
Dave – Customer Operations, Evo Car Share, Pronouns He/Him
“Pride is important to me because all groups need avenues to be seen and heard… this is especially true these days. Acceptance and visibility go hand in hand. As a father I want my daughter to be able to see examples of all people being free to be who they truly are, this will encourage her to be her genuine self as she grows up and teach her to be accepting of others.”
Crystal – Real Estate & Facilities, BCAA, Pronouns She/Her
“As a person who has endured childhood bullying. Seclusion as an adult. A mother of a pan who has struggled with his identity and is now in a long-term happy and loving relationship. I want to show support. Pride is important to me because it keeps the heart beating with love!”
Sarah – Community Impact, BCAA, Pronouns She/Her
“Pride is a visible and named moment in time dedicated to creating space for those in the LGBTQAI2S+ community. I love that it serves as both a celebration of love in any form, and a reminder of the importance of inclusion!”
What can you do?
We all play a role in creating safe public spaces for our fellow British Columbians, so here are some steps you can take to learn how to celebrate and support the LGBTQAI2S+ community:
- Check out your local Pride Society for their calendar of virtual or physically distanced events coming up over the next few months.
- Volunteer your time or contribute donations to LGBTQAI2S+ organizations.
- Support LGBTQAI2S+ arts and culture – take in an event at the Queer Arts Festival.
- Host a movie night with friends. Some great viewing ideas are:
- Go Fish
- Boys Don't Cry
- It's a Sin (series)
- Support businesses owned and operated by LGBTQAI2S+ folks. You can find a great directory at loudbusiness.com.
- Learn more so that you can be an ally**
- During your everyday meetings and discussions, consider who is at the table and whose voices might be missing: diverse perspectives can add so much value to any conversation.
- Diversify your social media feed and follow influencers from the Queer community – you’ll learn about issues they face and how you can be an ally.
- @kendallgender is a Vancouver-based performer, host, model and LGBTQIA2S+ activist, Kendall Gender is a bonafide Canadian drag sensation.
- @spencer2thewest is a Toronto-based advocate for disability justice and the LGBTQIA2S+ community.
- @pattiegonia is a Queer environmentalist, building a diverse community in the outdoors and for our climate.
- @qmunity is BC's Queer, Trans and Two-Spirit Resource Centre.
- @queerfmvan is Canada’s longest running #Queer Radio show!
- @cmmngrndyvr is a Fitness and Social Wellness collective fuelled by gender and body neutrality, located in Vancouver.
*Definition of LGBTQAI2S+
Acronym used to refer to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Asexual (or sometimes Ally), Intersex and Two-Spirit (2S) people. Additional letters, or a + sign, are sometimes added to this acronym (i.e. LGBTQ+, LGBTQI2S, etc.).
**Definition of an Ally:
A person who supports and celebrates LGBTQAI2S+ identities, interrupts and challenges oppressive remarks and actions of others, and willingly explores heterosexist and ciscentric biases within themselves. Being an ally requires action: telling colleagues that their jokes are inappropriate; advocating for the health, wellness and acceptance of LGBTQAI2S+ family members, etc.