In June, we welcome Pride season in Canada, and around the world. This is a time to celebrate the resilience, spirit and presence of the LGBTQ2 people in communities like Newmarket-Aurora, and across the country.
It is also a time to reflect on hard-fought human rights, and the work that remains to be done. This is even more important now as so many communities continue to face oppression, violence, racism and discrimination for who they are, who they love, and the color of their skin.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has had a particular impact on LGBTQ2 communities, who in far too many cases face heightened challenges due to unwelcoming or unsafe home settings, precarious employment, and barriers to accessing mental and physical health services.
In 2017, we introduced the LGBTQ2 Secretariat, which works across the federal government and with LGBTQ2 communities to ensure inclusion is being built-in to government activities. We are in the process of developing the first-ever federal LGBTQ2 Action Plan and made further investments through Budget 2021 by committing up to $7.1 million to support the work of the LGBTQ2 Secretariat and $15 million for a new LGBTQ2 Projects Fund.
This year, although it won’t be raining confetti on Newmarket’s Main Street for York Pride Fest’s parade, there are many virtual events available for us to proudly celebrate as allies to our local LGBTQ2 communities. On the 25th of June you can celebrate the Digital Pride Parade, and throughout the month there are many events I encourage you to attend.
Let’s honor and reflect upon the contributions and visibility of LGBTQ2 communities in all aspects of Canadian society, and recognize that diversity and inclusion strengthen our country, making it more vibrant and compassionate.
If you need support, I encourage you to visit:
- Lesbian, Gay, Bi & Trans Youthline – free peer support for youth aged 26 and under (1-800-268-9688).
- Parents, Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) – PFLAG (www.pflagcanada.ca) resource for LGBT people and their families.
Tony Van Bynen
Member of Parliament