Whether you identify as LGBTI or as an ally, you can help bring Amnesty’s human rights message to a Pride festival near you this Summer. Pride is an excellent opportunity to show your solidarity with LGBTI communities in Canada and around the world, and take action towards creating a world where people of all sexual orientations and gender identities can live in dignity and safety.
Here are just a few ways to get involved in Pride activities in your community this Summer.
- MARCH WITH AMNESTY IN YOUR LOCAL PRIDE PARADE
Reach out to other Amnesty supporters in your community and organize a Pride marching contingent. Contact Amnesty’s LGBTI coordinators for information on swag to distribute, resources to use, and support in registering to march. To have maximum impact, try to have at least 5 people march with you.
Come prepared with chants, bring noise makers, whistles, drums, and other instruments to help make your group loud and proud, and don’t forget to bring sunscreen, water, snacks, and comfortable shoes.
- TABLE AT A PRIDE STREET FESTIVAL
Many Pride festivals have a street festival along or at the end of the Pride parade route, and Amnesty often tables at these festivals. Street festivals are a great chance to chat with people about Amnesty’s work on LGBTI rights issues, and they’re a prime opportunity to gather thousands of petition signatures. Make sure to have a 30 second ‘elevator pitch’ about LGBTI rights issues, and remember to get out from behind the table and work the crowd!
- INCLUDE AMNESTY’S HUMAN RIGHTS MESSAGE IN YOUR LOCAL PRIDE FESTIVAL
No strong Amnesty presence in your community? Are you part of your local Pride organizing committee or active with another organization promoting LGBTI rights? No problem!
Consider honouring an LGBTI rights activist by being a Marshal in your local Pride parade. Invite local two-spirit community members to march at the front of the parade. Organize a multi-organization ‘human rights’ float or marching group at the front of the parade, focused on demonstrating solidarity with activists around the world who can’t safely take to the streets and march like we can in many parts of Canada. Collect signatures on Amnesty petitions at activities throughout your local Pride festival.
- ORGANIZE A FILM SCREENING, PANEL DISCUSSION, OR HUMAN RIGHTS VIGIL
Organize a screening of Intersexion, a film about intersex rights. Invite local intersex rights activists to participate in a Q&A after the film. Not connected with intersex activists in your community? Reach out to Amnesty’s LGBTI rights coordinators, who may be able to connect you with local activists, or video conference into a Q&A at your event.
Work with your local Pride organizing committee and local organizations to organize a human rights vigil to honour all those who have lost their lives to homophobic and transphobic persecution. Get together with local partners to organize a panel discussion on LGBTI rights. Make sure that all activities are in the program of Pride festival activities for maximum publicity and exposure.
Reach out to your local Pride organizing committee to explore ways to bring Pride’s human rights calls to action to the fore during Pride festivities this summer. Many Pride organizing committees are part of Fierté Pride Canada.
- Be a stellar ally!
You don’t have to identify as LGBTI to get involved with Pride. There are many ways for allies to take action during Pride. Allyship is about continuous work and lifelong learning. Start by doing your homework. Learn about the diversity of gender and sexuality, LGBTI history, culture, and policy issues. In particular, learn about the activism that is already going on in your community. Listen to the experiences and voices of LGBTI people. Sometimes, this means listening without commenting. Reflect on what you learn and hear.
Don’t make assumptions about anyone’s gender, sexuality, or identity. Don’t assume that your friends, family, colleagues, classmates, or other members of your community are straight or identify as male or female.
Think about your own identity. How do you identify your own gender and sexuality? What does your identity mean about how you interact with the world? How might your identity and experiences be different from someone else’s?
Understand your privilege. Having privilege does not mean that your life has been easy, that you are wealthy, or that you’ve never struggled or worked hard. Privilege means that there are issues and struggles that you will never have to experience or think about just because of who you are. If you are a straight and/or cisgender person, you have rights and privileges that LGBTI people do not. How can you use that privilege to act in solidarity?
Step up: speak up about LGBTI rights! Those rights aren’t limited to marriage equality; they include youth homelessness, workplace discrimination, healthcare access, high rates of violence against trans women of colour, intersex genital mutilation, and many more. Speak out against statements and jokes that attack LGBTI people. Have conversations about prejudices. Challenge ideas about gender roles and behaviours.
Step back: when LGBTI people are speaking and sharing their experiences and stories, listen! Don’t speak over LGBTI voices, and make sure that you are not taking credit for what LGBTI communities are saying or the work they have done.
You will make mistakes – it’s okay! Being an ally is a learning process. Don’t get defensive – listen, be accountable, apologise, and keep working.
- Looking for actions to promote during Pride?