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Pride 2023 Quesnel BC
Saturday June 10, 2023

Say My [Chosen] Name is the theme for Quesnel Pride 2023.

Pride parades are not only a celebration of how far we’ve come and symbolic of our communities’ resilience in times of hardship. They are also a protest in support of other LGBTQ2S+ people around the world who are bullied, oppressed, jailed, threatened, beaten or even murdered for being who they are. They are a protest against people who deliberately use dead names for our trans community members, or deliberately misuse pronouns. Pride parades are a protest against all regimes who refuse to acknowledge LGBTQ2S+ people as human beings. The theme of “Say My [Chosen] Name” here, is to support those here and elsewhere who face micro and macro aggression when people call them by their dead names or incorrect pronouns.

We will announce when ticket sales are available!

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The Future

2022 was a tough year for the queer community. Headline after headline in Canada about physical or verbal attacks on the community, or threats of physical violence. Or legislation such as in Quebec that intends to out trans people.  Or the headlines of school trustee elections in the fall of 2022 with slates (not just one, but slates) of candidates who want to roll back protections for trans students - including 30 candidates who ran in BC. And let's not even begin to talk about our neighbors where they implemented the highest number of anti-queer legislation in history (whether it be banning trans athletes, or banning books, or any number of anti-LGBTQ measures).

It is for these reasons that Pride parades continue to be protests. Or that Pride Societies exist. So that we can stand up against violence and stand up against the normalization of hatred of our community. We invite you to stand with us and if you see something, say something.  I'm hopeful we can stem this avalanche of bigotry if we all work together.

Go Quesnel Pride 2023! We hope you call us by our [chosen] name

Alison Prentice               
President Quesnel Pride Society

History of Pride

Stonewall

Many people point to the Stonewall Riots in 1969 as the beginning of the Pride protests. It is for sure the most recognizable name associated with Pride activism. The riots came after police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City on June 28, 1969. This was the third raid in a very short time and people had had enough. Instead of running away or retreating as they had in the past, LGBTQ+ members started to jeer and jostle the police, and then started throwing bottles and debris. It was a galvanizing time for the LGBTQ+ community as they felt the benefit of uniting behind a common cause – resistance to social and political discrimination and lack of civil rights for gays and lesbians.

The Lavender Scare

Lesser known is the period known as the Lavender Scare – 15 years before Stonewall. In 1953 President Eisenhower declared gay men and lesbians to be a threat to national security and unfit for government service.  For the next 40 years tens of thousands of government workers lost their jobs for no reason other than their sexual orientation. Frank Kameny was a Harvard-trained astronomer who became the first person to fight his dismissal.  That was in 1957 after thousands of others had already lost their jobs and led to his lifelong fight for the rights of LGBTQ+ people.

The Canadian Military

This happened in Canada too!  The Canadian military has had a policy of punishing or purging LGBTQ+ members among its ranks for much of its history. This effort was stepped up during the Cold War when LGBTQ+ servicemen and women were identified as national security risks (due to potential blackmail).  They were labeled as deviate, psychopathic, and worse.  Although a reversal of this discrimination was achieved in 1992, and apology from the federal government did not come until 2017. 2017!

Bill C-150

In the 1960’s and 70’s in Canada, LGBTQ+ persons were losing their jobs, being kicked out of their churches, having children taken away from them, and assaulted in the streets.  Bill C-150 (passed in 1969) was supposed to address that, by decriminalizing consensual homosexual acts between adults 21 years and older. August 28, 1971 was the anniversary of Bill C-150 and was Canada’s first major gay-rights protest march. It was the first time the LGBTQ+ community essentially said, “We are demanding our rights as equal citizens on our own terms!” On the same day in Vancouver, 20 people protested on the city courthouse steps. 

Ten years later, the bath house raids took place in Toronto.

LGBTQ+ Murders

It has been a long hard road for equal rights for the LGBTQ2S+ community worldwide. There have been many notable murders by homophobes. One of the most horrific being the murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming in 1998. One of the most prolific being the Orlando shootings where 49 people were gunned down and killed at a gay night club in 2016. I was in Orlando not long after and was moved to tears at the memorials and the atmosphere near the site of the shooting. 

Other notorious murders and attacks of LGBTQ+ communities worldwide include:

  • San Francisco 1978 - Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician gunned down and killed.

  • Jerusalem 2015 – 6 people stabbed, 1 killed at a Gay Pride Parade.

  • Moscow 2014 – a large gay nightclub was forced to close after being sprayed with bullets and gassed.

  • Armenia 2012 – the DIY Club was fire-bombed, and spray painted with swastikas.

  • Roanoke Virginia 2000 – a gunman who told police he was on a mission to kill gay people killed one man and wounded 6 others. 

  • Atlanta 1997 – a lesbian bar was hit by a nail bomb, 5 people wounded. The attacker wanted to send a message to protest Washington’s “continued tolerance and support for the homosexual political agenda”. 

  • New Orleans 1973 – 32 people dead after a fire was intentionally set at a gay nightclub. Not only was this crime never solved, but jokes were also made about the tragedy on the radio, and many churches refused to hold a memorial.

 

Support Your Local Monarch – Hire a Queen!

Orlando 2016 Pulse shootings
Orlando 2016