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Visibly Celebrating and Affirming 2SLGBTQIA+ Community Members

By Arig al Shaibah, Associate Vice-President Equity and Inclusion

June is PRIDE month – a month to affirm the right to dignity and equality of 2SLGBTQIA+ community members in all our diversity. We need Pride Month as a reminder that, while there have been many gains in the human rights of sexual orientation and gender identity minoritized (or marginalized) people, there is still much work to be done within Canada and globally.

Although human rights legislation in Canada is among the most robust across nations, with sexual orientation having been legally codified as a ground federally protected from discrimination in Canada since the mid nineties, gender identity or expression only became federally protected grounds in 2017. Moreover, it was just at the beginning of this year (2022) that Canada formally banned conversion therapy, making the discredited practice illegal. So, this Pride month, we celebrate another milestone in Canadian human rights while continuing to work towards ever more dignified and equitable treatment of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.

For those of us belonging to communities and countries of origin where legal protections and social norms have yet to progress towards unconditional human rights and acceptance, Pride month can be especially powerful. While I have journeyed a long way to get to a place where I can deflect social stigma and reject internalized shame (most days), I am still profoundly moved by the very overt affirmation of my existence and worth as a queer Yemeni-born cultural Muslim that becomes very salient during Pride celebrations.

Thus, visibility is an essential part of the affirmation goals of not just Pride Month but of Queer Movements, and the range of celebratory activities are often a lifeline for queer and questioning community members.

“…no person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended.” ~ Alice Walker

For information about supports and resources, contact or the Gender and Sexuality Working Group of the President’s Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Community (

The Pride flag will be raised outside University Hall.

The History of Pride