In continuation of our Pride Month celebrations, we’re spotlighting influential voices in the LGBTQ+ community to gain insight on how they’re honouring pride during these unprecedented times.
Here, a photographer, Joe Bulawan, model Christian Thompson, and actress Sophie Blumenthal share their personal journeys and how they’re giving back to their communities.
Christian Thompson, Style Expert and Model
“For me, Pride signifies a journey of self-love and acceptance. It’s more than just a month-long celebration, it’s a life-long commitment that one makes to bettering themselves and their community.
“Coming out and living my life as a black gay man wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I was fearful of the effects that embracing my sexuality would have on both my career and personal life.
“Although my most important relationship changed drastically from coming out, my life in many ways got significantly better. I was met with love, support and most importantly, I felt free to live in my truth. It was very important for me to do a lot of unlearning, self-healing and accepting myself for the various layers that I represent.
“Pride month is a moment within the year when I get to see how far I’ve come on my personal journey and how much work we still need to do as a collective in the fight for equality and LGBTQ+ rights!
“In this unprecedented time, I’m honouring Pride month by educating myself in greater depths about the history of our community. I’m continuing to use my platform to spread awareness about inequality and the lack of protection of LGBTQ+ rights, as well as having those uncomfortable conversations with my peers in regards to anti-black racism within our own community.”
Joe Bulawan, Photographer
Photography by Ray Tran
“Pride cannot be constrained to just one month of the year—Pride is celebrated everyday!
“It’s exemplified through the simplest of acts, like confidently holding hands with my partner while walking down the street—it’s about being proud of my identity and celebrating queerness. While we can celebrate the achievements of the LGBTQIA2+ civil rights movement, we must not forget that we owe everything to black and BIPOC trans folks. Pride is a never-ending protest and there is still so much work that we must do for our community, especially for our BIPOC members.
“In the spirit of Pride this year, I wanted to give back to my community through my platform of photography. I decided to sell a limited run of prints and donate 100% of the proceeds to The Marsha P. Johnson Institute (MPJI). The MPJI protects and defends the human rights of black transgendered people. They do this by organizing, advocating and creating an intentional community to heal. My plan is to continue fundraising and continue to support The MPJI.”
Sophie Blumenthal, Actress and Model
“Pride, for me, is about appreciating the activism that has contributed to how I fit in as a queer person in society. This pride I will be learning, listening and giving space to amplify BIPOC voices. We must continue to push forward for more change.”
Here are are resources and organizations supporting the LGBTQ+ community:
- Rainbow Railroad
- Casey House
- Egale Canada
- LGBTQ Freedom Fund
- Rainbow Refugee Committee (RRC)
- Project 10
- Gris Montreal
- Martha P. Johnson Institute
- Will Munro Fund for Queer and Trans People Living with Cancer
- TGI Justice
- Black Visions Collective
- A Loving Spoonful
- Out In Schools
- Center For Black Equity
- National Black Justice Collective
- Trans Women of Color Collective
- Transgender District
- Glad Day Lit
- Trans Justice Funding Project
- The 519
- House Lives Matter
- Hetrick-Martin Institute
- Black Women in Motion
- Black Youth Helpline
- Black Legal Action Centre
- The Flamingo Market
- Queer Songbook Orchestra
- Pflag Canada
- Immigration Equality