Wednesday July 14, 2021
International NonBinary People's Day
As someone who identifies as non-binary, International Non-Binary People's Day is important to me because I grew up during the 90s and at that time there was very little, if any, awareness about non-binary folx. Growing up I knew that I was different but I didn't know that there was more to gender than the binary. My parents were quite traditional when it came to gender roles/expressions, and my family members all seemed to identify with their assigned gender at birth. Because of this, there was a lot of pressure for me to look and behave a certain way, but I found it extremely uncomfortable, and it became quite isolating. I was AFAB and no matter what I did, either I wasn't being feminine enough or everyone made a big deal when I did express myself as fem. It got to the point where I resented not only my own femininity, but femininity in general.
This followed me well into my adult life. I came out as a lesbian, but still didn't really know much about gender or how I wanted to express myself authentically. I was lucky at the time that I was able to explore that, and I also started learning more and more about non-binary identities. I only came out recently as genderfluid, and for me that feels like the most authentic way to describe myself. I use they/she pronouns, and I also chose to change my name to better align with my identity.
Had I known more when I was younger, I think it would have changed how I identified much earlier in life. I have a better relationship with my femininity now, but I still struggle at times, and that's ok. I like to think of it as my "gender journey", and I don't really have a destination, I just want to keep learning more about myself and make sure I stay true to me.
Ashton O'Brien (she/them)
We are a non-profit organization supporting people who identify on the gender and sexuality spectra. This includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+) individuals living in the Kamloops region.
Our mission statement is to promote a more flourishing LGBTQ2S+ community and support gay culture in Kamloops. Regardless of how you identify on the gender, identity or sexuality spectrum - we welcome you! We are here to serve the diverse community within Kamloops and strive to advocate on behalf of people who experience discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. Through our work, we hope to promote equity for all.
We, Kamloops Pride, acknowledge that our events and work is held on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded territory lands of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc. We take this opportunity to thank them for their stewardship of these lands and to convey our respect for the relationship that they have maintained and cherished with their territory.
Canada Day 2021
This "Canada" Day, Kamloops Pride would like to continue to bring visibility to the recent news about the many unmarked "burial" sites on the grounds of residential schools across the nation, and the continuing systemic oppression faced by Indigenous communities in this country.
To celebrate Multiculturalism without knowing that Indigenous people were excluded from that policy suggests that we need to educate ourselves about Indigenous history in a way that includes Indigenous voices. Take today to reflect on what the meaning of "Canada" Day should be; perhaps not what is has been.
Canada's history is rooted in colonization, and there are still systems in place that continue to actively harm Indigenous people. The genocide of Indigenous people is still happening, it did not end with the closure of residential schools.
Those of us who are non-Indigenous need to listen to Indigenous communities, and advocate for real, meaningful reconciliation. Uphold and celebrate Indigenous voices!
We can start by advocating for the 94 calls to action published by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. So far, only 9 of these have been completed since it was published in 2015. You can find the report here.
We must continually educate ourselves as it is no longer enough to say, "Well I didn't know." Accept the fact we all have a role and responsibility in decolonizing the spaces that we share, where we make our policies, the classrooms where we learn, but most of all our deep-rooted belief systems. We must unlearn what we were taught as "truth" without being defensive, and work towards building real, respectful relationships with Indigenous people.
Kamloops Pride challenges all non-Indigenous folks to sit with this discomfort, educate yourself, and share in the collective generational trauma Indigenous people have been enduring for decades. It is now our burden, as non-Indigenous people, to carry.
Folks have suggested that instead of spending money on fireworks this year, consider donating to and Indigenous organization or residential school survivors.
Below are some important organizations, but there are many more!
Indian Residential School Survivor Society
Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society
Secwépemc Child and Family Services
Pride Week 2021
Kamloops Pride will be hosting Pride Week 2021 from Thursday August 26 through until Sunday August 29. These events will he held online again.
Visit the Pride Week page for additional information