June is a big awareness month, with both Pride Month and Indigenous History Month occurring. Now that June has come to an end and the rainbow logos are disappearing (hey wordpress… my app literally changed back from rainbow to blue on the 30th, it wasn’t even July yet) and the spots on TV about Indigenous History disappear it is crucial that we don’t let the momentum these months give the fights for equality and equity for the various groups of people that are in need of awareness months due to colonialism, racism, capitalism, ableism, etc. This piece will be focusing on actions to support Indigenous and LGBTQQ2S+ peoples as June is the month that just ended, but these suggestions could easily be expanded to support Black people, immigrants, small businesses, and Asian and Pacific Islander peoples.
Also this is being posted on July 2, as I don’t want to take away from the focus on Indigenous mourning on July 1 (aka Canada Day) in Canada.
- Support Queer-owned and Indigenous businesses; bonus points if they are local to your community.
- Put your pronouns in your Zoom name, social media bios, on your nametags, include them when introducing yourself (i.e. “My name is Laura Duncan, I use she/her pronouns.) This normalizes it for people and will help us to break the assumption train that happens in our brains when we meet someone new. It is completely normal to make judgements and assumptions about people and situations when we encounter them, this is how we evolved and survived for thousands of years. However, this can lead to hurting someone.
- On the pronouns note, practice using them. Practice talking about someone who uses they/them pronouns with yourself in the mirror or in your head, make an effort to use their pronouns the way you would someone who uses he/she pronouns and not always refer to them by their name.
- And on another similar note, if someone tells you that they would like you to call them by a different name than you formerly did, use that name. It is called a deadname for a reason, do not use it anymore. Practice it in the mirror, in your head, and if you do mess up, catch it, apologize, resay your sentence with their name and move on. And then go home and practice again so that you don’t do it again.
- If you live in anywhere on Turtle Island (what is now called North America), Central America, South America, New Zealand Artearoa, Australia, or basically any country that got colonized look up whose land you live on and learn about those people. Go beyond the land acknowledgement and learn about the people, the culture, the traditions, the language, learn what white people did to them for you to be living here now.
- Read the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls to Action at a bare minimum, read the full reports if you can. The Calls to Action is a short document that can be easily read.
- Sign the Canadian Common’s Petition to create a National Day of Mourning for Victims and Survivors of Residential Schools and put pressure on the Canadian government to enact more of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls to Action.
- Donate to the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society.
- Learn about the Land Back movement (this is a big one for me!) The Yellowhead Institute has great resources that you can access.
- Educate yourself about Pride in Canada. I have found that much of my Pride knowledge is about Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera and Stonewall, but I know very little about the Toronto Bathhouse Raids (and even less about the fight for LGBT+ Rights outside of Toronto).
- Educate yourself about the ban on blood donations for men who have sex with men and encourage Canadian Blood Services and HemaQuebec to shift to behaviour-based screening rather than discriminating against sexually active gay men.
This is not an exhaustive list, and also I am a straight, white woman, so if there is a list from LGBT+ and/or Indigenous person that you have come across, go read and follow that one instead!
I hope you took some time to reflect yesterday if you live in the land now called Canada,