Finding Strength in Allies: The Power of Support in Pride Movements

Jai tait

By Jai Tait

Jai Tait is DiversiPro’s results-driven Project Coordinator. With a tech-savvy mindset and a wealth of experience working in research, Jai holds an honours degree in Social Service Work from Sheridan College and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Social and Community Development.

Today, I am proud to be who I am. But I also have fear…

Pride. What does it mean for me? It may sound simple, but it means I am free to be me. 

I remember the first time I went to the Pride Parade in Toronto. Coincidentally it was World Pride as well—the first-time World Pride was held in North America. I was wandering around the different merchants and booths before the parade and ran into a group of people who were looking for volunteers to march at the head of the parade, carrying the flags of the world. I jumped at the chance. 

I was given a flag, Western Samoa, and got to walk the parade route. It was a hot day. I remember volunteers handing out bottled water along the way. I took one and dumped half of it over my head to cool down, and saw the myriad of folks on either side watching and cheering. 

I often recall, over the years, seeing police officers, in uniform, holding hands with their partners. It brought such a feeling of pride in this city, and our country to see the love and support from all walks of life coming together to celebrate our freedom to be ourselves—a freedom that we may have taken for granted. That was 2014. 

Today, well, things are a little different. Today, I am proud to be who I am, but I also have fear. Things south of the border are changing, and not for the better. So much so, I recall that there was either a change, or it was clarified that 2SLGBTQI+ folks south of the border are able to apply for refugee status here in Canada due to risk of persecution. Another thing that brought me pride.

Unfortunately, more and more, I am seeing that persecution bleed up here. I read about protests at Drag events in St. Catherines. I read about protests against recognizing Pride Month and displaying the Pride flag in Edmonton. I read about a bylaw being implemented to only allow flags representing municipal, provincial, and federal governments to fly on township property (translation: no pride flags, or BLM, etc.) in Norwich. Why am I talking about this when I am meant to be celebrating? Because we can’t fight the hate alone. We need allies. We need the support of anyone and everyone.

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