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What Pride Means to Us

The CSI staff team includes Pride veterans, newcomers, and everywhere in between! This year, as we celebrated Pride in our spaces and with our member community, we turned to our staff team to learn what Pride means to them. Some experienced it for the first time this year and were awash in the joy; others delighted in the fact that Pride remains such a fun celebration decades later. Others noted the increasing corporatization, which draws our attention away from the central premise of Pride – a protest. 

As June comes to a close, we invite you to join us in exploring what Pride means to you, and how we can carry that work forward throughout the year.

"Each year Pride rolls around I'm reminded of my first - it was electric. The relentless sun and the crowd’s sweat steaming up the concrete. Glitter, glitter everywhere. Music spilling through windows and around corners. Streets expanding to include our global community. Now the celebrations begin by wondering how Pride will be coopted. Is this a symptom of getting older? Is cooption an inevitability of late stage capitalism? Nevertheless, each year I walk through crowds recognizing the familiar expressions of those attending for the first time - and each year, I find this electric. Recommendation: read anything by Scott L. Morgensen for a taste of queer theory."

"Pride is a combination of confidence and satisfaction that resides in your heart. You should always be proud of where you come from, what you look like, it is a reaffirmation of your own self worth and self esteem."

"Pride this year feels especially important due to the attacks that we're seeing around the world on LGBTQ+ people and their rights. In the past years it's begun to feel like more people see Pride as mostly just a party and have sought to pull it away from its political roots, and that does not feel possible this year. We must support and protect everyone in our community and especially trans individuals who are bearing the brunt of the attacks. Pride is a call for solidarity not only in this month but all year round. So for allies the work doesn't end on June 30th, it begins another year of accountability."

"Leading up to Pride weekend in Toronto, I had the privilege of learning from the experiences of folks in the 2SLGBTQ+ community and reflecting on the history of Pride. This event stems from a protest that occurred over 40 years ago and has since turned into a celebration, but with the recent alarming rise in homophobic and transphobic threats and reported hate crimes, this year in particular felt like a bit of a protest and a celebration. To show up was to say that hate cannot be tolerated. This was also my first time attending the parade, and I'm so glad I did! It was amazing to see such a safe, welcoming space with people of all ages and backgrounds. We must ensure that we continue supporting the community beyond one weekend, and that the momentum of this event be carried forward, especially in the face of rising homophobia and transphobia."

"The ability to be yourself, love who you love, and celebrate that! This year was my first Pride parade and it was amazing to see all the joy in Toronto; such a beautifully emotional experience. #HappyPride"

"This past Saturday was the first time I've been to Pride in 8 years. Since then I got sober, and I don't really party anymore. Last Saturday I partied like I haven't in about 7 years, and it was great. For me Pride means turning pages and possibilities."

"I appreciate the opportunity to return to Pride year after year, each time learning something new about the community, about the city, and about myself. As hateful groups attempt to erase the 2SLGBTQ+ community, it's more important than ever to stand up and fight back against them. This year, I was thrilled to see people still dancing, laughing, and loving, despite the current political climate and challenges."

"I love Pride, and it's impossible to argue with its success as a social change tactic. It's pure pathos! It's not arguing why, it's not 'God says my love is love' it is just this totally emotional experience that invites everyone to be part of the fun, or fear missing out. I wish more issues could harness the power of inclusion and joy and love and sex to change hearts and minds the way Pride has proven possible, but what better example of harnessing your super-power to make social change and have fun doing it."

"I've been attending the Pride festivities since the 80s. I brought my young daughters to share in the joy & inclusiveness. We were all made welcome & danced through the day. These days there are many more flamboyant people in all walks of life. This is worth celebrating, however I don't appreciate corporations usurping the party to promote their brand. Pride is not an advertisement."

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