There are many times and seasons to celebrate LGBTI pride on campus. In October, we celebrate Queer History Month. In May, we marked Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and in June, many countries around the world, including Canada, mark Pride Month. In Quebec, however, most pride month festivities actually take place in August instead of June, so those living here have an extra month to enjoy pride festivities!
The first Pride Month took place in June 1970 to commemorate the success of the Stonewall Riots in New York City on June 28, 1969, a day often used to mark beginning of modern gay liberation efforts in North America. The first protests in Canada during this movement started in 1971 in Ottawa and Vancouver. Since this period, LGBTI Canadians have had many victories, rights and protections gained.
While religious traditions have historically most often been used to justify the exclusion of LGBTI individuals from both religious and civil rights, tides are turning as faith increasingly becomes a source of motivation to join the movement toward LGBTI social justice. One example of this is the Toronto-based non-profit, Rainbow Faith and Freedom, founded by Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes in 2015, which specializes in confronting religious-based LGBTI discrimination and seeks to liberate LGBTI individuals across the globe. They facilitate learning-centered community discussions you'll find at Rainbow Faith and Freedom's Facebook page.
Sometimes, people of faith are involved in public protests. This January, 125 Catholic workers in Germany requested greater inclusion and policy changes from their leaders during a staged public coming out. Others work for greater visibility and inclusion through their writing and art, such as Samra Habib, who created a collection of portraits of Queer Muslim individuals called Just Me and Allah, and wrote a memoir centered on Queer Muslim identity.
Others reach out to educate about build bridges in their local communities, such as leaders at The Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, who invited McGill students earlier in May to come learn about recently increased inclusion for LGBTI members of their community at an event we shared. Many other faith groups are growing support networks that educate parents and empower and protect LGBTI children and adults; you will find many such groups in our list of Queer Faith Resources. MORSL is invested in the cross section of faith, building equity, and LGBTI individuals and experiences, and we hope our resources will support you in your personal desires to learn, grow, connect, and build community.
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