Here at GenNext, we believe everyone deserves to be themselves and have the chance to be heard, included, and supported. With the help of our supporters, GenNext East Ontario is committed to fostering open, equitable, and inclusive communities, listening and learning from community leaders and members, and helping build social resilience.
Pride celebrations have been taking place across our region throughout the summer. And as August arrives, so does the Capital Pride Festival in Ottawa.
So, why does Ottawa recognize Pride in August?
On August 28, 1971, roughly 100 people from Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and the surrounding areas gathered in the pouring rain at Parliament Hill for Canada’s first gay liberation protest and march, presenting a petition to the government with a list of ten demands for equal rights and protections.
Since then, Ottawa has recognized and commemorated the history of 2SLGBTQ+ people and celebrated the resilience, strength, and pride of our region during the month of August every year.
This year, GenNext is proud to partner with Capital Pride to celebrate the local leaders, activists, and advocates who belong to or stand in solidarity with 2SLGBTQ+ communities.
This Pride month, meet some outstanding locals who shared with us their personal relationship with the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and how they found their Path to Pride.
Gina’s two-spirit journey: Finding identity through Indigenous culture
Growing up in Listuguj, a small Mi’gmaq community on the East Coast, Gina lived what was, in many senses, a simple childhood. A competitive figure skater and dancer, her life was largely consumed by sports.
Queer rhetoric wasn’t something that was often heard, and sexuality wasn’t something she ever really questioned. She knew there was something missing in her life. After seeking help from a spiritual healer, Gina realized the answers lied within her own culture.
The path to friendship: Meet Charlie and Warner
Charlie, 10, and Warner, 9, were both assigned the male gender at birth, but identify as female. They knew from an early age the gender they were assigned didn’t feel right. Both were bullied and spent some time hiding who they truly were.
They formed an incredible bond of friendship and are standing up for 2SLGBTQ+ rights by speaking out about what it’s like to be transgender.
New city, new beginning: Corey’s story
Corey was in grade four when he had his first crush. But unlike anyone else he knew, his was on another boy. During his youth in a small town, Corey says he was constantly teased and bullied by other kids and was outed before he was ready.
Now, Corey is living happily in his new home in an Ottawa neighbourhood where he can be himself. Working as a pediatric nurse, Corey is helping to make a difference in lives across the city.
Dressed in confidence: Penelope’s story
As a transgender woman, Penelope spent the majority of her youth hiding who she really was underneath clothes that didn’t express her true self.
With help from Ottawa’s Kind Space and United Way, she began to feel confident, comfortable and much more hopeful for the future.
We all have a role in creating more welcoming communities.
Together, we can support initiatives that advocate for diversity, inclusion and belonging, while combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, discrimination, and other issues that prevent people from reaching their full potential.
Join us on this mission by becoming a monthly donor in support of diversity and inclusion by joining GenNext+, and help people in our communities thrive.