Members of the union family,
As the National Equity Rep for LGBTQ2+, I ask that we take some time to bring focus to and ask for support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
June is Pride Month, a time were people from within the community get together to celebrate the rights we have gain and fight for those we have not or bring focus to those who have yet to have the same rights. The community works to build the strength to be their authentic self in public, with family, friends and more so to themselves. Not everyone sees pride the same way. For some it is a Pride Parade, or social activities that bring people together, it is being with close friends, or going to a bar, doing karaoke, spoken word or live entertainment, or it is going online and learning about who they are. The list of activities varies and is very personal.
In this time of COVID, a large portion of the events have been cancelled or postponed. It makes for a very difficult time for people as this could be or have been their only time to be their authentic selves in a safe accepting environment. When you look at the news and you see oppression of marginalized groups everywhere, you see Straight Pride movement and town after town saying they will not support pride. It makes it very hard to draw on the strength needed to be who you really are with the lack of community or the feeling of support and acceptance. For some people being with their union family is the first and only time they are safe enough to be their authentic selves and now they are alone and needing more then ever support of there community.
We all know and are living a very difficult 2020 so far. With COVID, being asked to isolate, practice social distancing and work from home or in smaller isolated working groups, we need to take time and reach out and be active in our social communities. There are members in the 2SLGBTQ+ community that had to give up their social and family circles to live as their authentic selves. Their only support is their work community or union family and might in this difficult time, be very alone and need for someone to reach out and see how they are doing. Let them know that they are still apart of a community, they are missed and not alone.
This is also a time when you can learn about and how to support the community. Learn about the 2SLGBTQ+ acronym, about the letters and the umbrella terms that fall from those. Watch a 2SLGBTQ+ documentary or movie. Check out resources from your 2SLGBTQ+ community resource centre. Support and attend a Two-Spirit Pow-Wow. Be an activist, reach out, learn and support how ever you can.
As we are all family, sometimes we need our family members to just be there and be supportive until we are ready and feel safe before we can be our authentic selves.
National Equity Representative for LGBTQ2+
Union of National Employees