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Photo of Marsha P. Johnson. // Photo courtesy of Netflix.

We must acknowledge the Black Lives Matter movement when celebrating pride

By Jenn Gorrie, October 19 2020—

The celebration of Pride for this year has looked quite different not only in Calgary, but around the world, making most assume that COVID-19 restrictions are the culprit. Surprisingly enough, despite having to practice social distancing along with following health guidelines, the lack of celebration has to do with the bigger issue that is still being ignored — the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

A reminder that most tend to forget about is that both the LGBTQ+ community and the BLM movement go hand in hand with one another.

In 1969 during the Stonewall riots, a black transgender woman named Marsha P. Johnson became one of the best-known central figures, as she cast the first brick towards the wall.

She identified as bisexual, as well as a sex worker, and became greatly involved in the organization Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) that offered housing to both homeless and transgender youth. 

Without her being part of the movement, Pride celebrations would be nonexistent today as only one year after the riot the first parade took place. 

Why is it that despite COVID-19, we should still celebrate Pride when Black, Indigenous and people of colour’s (BIPOC) voices are still not being heard in 2020? I’m sure there are queer individuals that fit both categories and they are left to face hate for being part of both of these two groups. It didn’t seem right to celebrate Pride when BIPOC are facing hatred.

This was a viewpoint I strongly believed in, but this summer after hearing about a number of hate crimes towards the LGBTQ+ community in Calgary, I knew it was important to acknowledge the BLM movement, but to also continue the celebration of Pride. 

The Calgary Pride organization made an announcement on April 29 with regard to how people could celebrated this year. They offered virtual events, including drag shows and workshops addressing important issues.
Those interested in going out had limited options besides supporting local queer pubs as the parade was cancelled. 

Drag queen Mona Moore offered a COVID-19 friendly event, from the comfort of her backyard. Located in Lindsay park, the event Pride in the Park was open to the public and received a huge turnout.

Several drag queens wore face masks and performed amongst the audience. Despite this being a great turn out that will hopefully continue on in the next coming years, celebrating Pride along with other events has been difficult for everyone this year.

This article is part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet’s editorial board.

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