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This Conversation Isn’t Over — Pride is Still Political

This statement is written on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations. We acknowledge that colonization exists, that without its violent impacts we would not be who we are and where we are today. We also recognize that Indigenous-led alternatives exist and that change is possible. This requires naming hard truths and instigating change personally, interpersonally, institutionally, and systemically.

Knowing when to take up space and knowing when to give up space for others is the kind of community engagement PeerNetBC believes in fostering. We know that Black people, alongside Indigenous peoples, are disproportionately affected by police brutality and are overrepresented in the Canadian and North American prison system. We stand in solidarity with BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour), Black Lives Matter-Vancouver (BLM-V), as well as the larger, global movement, their work around inclusion and advocacy, and specifically BLM-V’s call to remove police from marching in Vancouver’s Pride Parade.

Vancouver Pride Society (VPS), and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) have been asked to examine their roles in building trust and relationships with marginalized communities who have spoken out about their experiences of violence, harm and exclusion. VPS and VPD had an opportunity to make a decision to consider and respect the removal of expressed barriers to participation for communities, including but not limited to: Indigenous, Black, queer, trans and non-binary people, poor and low income folks, sex workers, people with disabilities, and those who are a combination of these identities and more. We understand that the VPD, alongside the RCMP and Corrections Canada, chose to disregard this request and marched in the Parade. As a result, individuals and organizations did not attend the Pride parade or Pride events, contributing to the ongoing violence of erasure of QTIBIPoC (queer, trans, intersex Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) folks in Pride.

We request VPS, VPD, RCMP, and Corrections Canada to review and change their decisions for the greater good of our community. Black and Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ communities in particular are impacted as a result of their decision to march in the pride parade. Uniting and building bridges in our communities often means taking necessary steps to ensure that our most marginalized community members, their voices, and their access needs are at the table, prioritized, centred, heard and met. Genuine allyship does not come with special recognition–we do not get awards for confronting issues people have to live with every day.

Until all members of the LGBTQ2S+ communities feel safer, heard, and included at Pride, and in the world, our work for and within these particular communities is unfinished and incomplete. We must continue to work to eliminate barriers that prevent marginalized communities from being included.

PeerNetBC is committed to and continues to root our work in peer support and anti-oppression principles. We are dedicated and open to having further conversations around the long-term work of how we can build stronger, healthier, and more connected communities. We are committed to addressing power and privilege so that we can have these conversations and do the work together. We look forward to centering Black lives in Vancouver as we celebrate our LGBTQ2S+ communities.


For a more thorough look please see our accompanying blog post:  This Conversation Isn’t Over — from Words to Work!