Where is Pontiac’s PRIDE?

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Darlene Pashak
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) PRIDE month
originated in the United States and June was chosen to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement.

Darlene Pashak
Éditorialiste Invitée
Guest Editorialist

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) PRIDE month
originated in the United States and June was chosen to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement.
LGBT is a short form that refers to non-heterosexual and/or non-cisgender (cisgender refers to people whose gender identity matches the sex that they
were assigned at birth) individuals, topics and communities. Over time the term
has evolved, and includes a ‘2’, representing Two-Spirit identity used
by some Indigenous peoples, a ‘Q’ for Queer and a ‘+’  in order to be more
inclusive and acknowledge there are varying identities.
Canada has not been far behind, and in 1977, Québec achieved distinction when it became the second jurisdiction in the world, second to Denmark, to ban
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Québec paved the way for other provinces and the country to enact gay civil rights laws by adding sexual
orientation to its Human Rights Code.
Over the intervening years, the LGBT2Q+ community has celebrated its diversity and human rights with Pride marches, Pride parades and other activities that affirm their history and belonging.
Nearby in Pembroke, the city painted a crosswalk with the PRIDE flag colours, a strong show of support for the LGBT2Q+ community and a welcoming sight for
visitors. Many communities in the Ottawa Valley flew the PRIDE flag in honour of PRIDE month, along with larger cities and even Parliament proudly waving it.
So where is Pontiac’s PRIDE?
It’s tempting to think that since this is a rural area with a small population, diversity is not as important a topic as it is in cities. But according to the 2016 census, the province of Québec ties only British Columbia for the most same-sex couples per capita and Canada-wide same-sex couples account for 0.9% of all couples in Canada. The census doesn’t currently inquire about gender identity, so it’s unclear how many people identify as non-cisgender. Regardless, statistically speaking, there are a significant number of non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people living in the MRC Pontiac.
How does our community show its support for non-heterosexual or non-
cisgender people, telling them they are welcome and safe here, permanent
residents and valued visitors alike?
Everyone who wants to end oppression based on sexual orientation can be an
ally. It’s truly up to the community. It’s time to wave our PRIDE flags, organize events and celebrate Pontiac’s LGBT2Q+ community. It’s not too late, we are only half way through June.
Who will take up the challenge?