Pride Month: A look at How Influential LGBTQ+ Canadians Are Celebrating Pride This Year

To conclude our Pride Month series, we’re honoured to spotlight our final group of influential voices in the LGBTQ+ community.

Here, writer Najma Eno, musician Inez Genereux, and Artist Marc Ranger speak to highlight the importance of bettering the world by creating a safe space for all.

Najma Eno, Community Engagement Coordinator, Writer and Model

Photography by William Ukoh

“Even though capitalism has transformed Pride into a corporate-sponsored parade accompanied by cops, in its inception, Pride was an uprising against police brutality, capitalism, and white supremacy. Pride exists because Black and Brown trans activists imagined a better world and dared to confront the oppressive forces which stood in their way of realizing it. So, to me, the only way to truly honour the spirit of Pride is to carry on this legacy of resistance.

“Pride should seek to dismantle white supremacy, colonialism, and capitalism, both systemically and interpersonally. Pride should strive toward a world free of anti-Black racism, transphobia, ableism, misogyny, and fatphobia. Pride should include solidarity with Indigenous peoples, people of colour, refugees, and immigrants.

“Pride should always have at its centre the struggles of those among us who are most mistreated, dehumanized, and neglected by our world. It should create safety, love, joy, and rest for those of us whose identities comprise multiple oppressions. In this regard, Pride transcends a month-long party and is rather a yearlong event.

“More than anything, Pride is our responsibility. It is our duty to our ancestors, to our communities, and to future generations to imagine a better world and to take action in confronting the oppressive forces that stand in our way of realizing it.”

Inez Genereux, Stylist and Musician

Photography by Kirk Lisaj

“My voice is only here today because of the queer and trans people that have come before me. To celebrate pride is to seek out, listen to, learn from, and retell the stories of queer and trans people that have risked their lives so I can exist today. Those voices and lives cannot be forgotten or else we who exist now would be forgotten too. I owe my existence as a proud non-binary person to the trans women, specifically Black Femmes, who existed and fought for the queering of sexuality that I get to experience today. I celebrate pride by acknowledging the differences in all of us that exist, and that the fight for respect and recognition is not over. To honour pride, I ask myself, ‘where internally and externally do I still have work to do?’ “

Marc Ranger, Artist & Stylist

Photography by Ted Belton

“This year, I am honouring pride by taking ownership of my privileged position within the LGBTQIA+ community by donating 100% of my art sales to BIPOC focused Pride organizations, various bail funds, and Black Lives Matter initiatives. I think that art is a beautiful and subversive tool in that it inspires curiosity. This year, I aim to assert my community’s brilliance to those who don’t believe they deserve a seat at the table.

“At first glance, you may think that I make art for queer people, and while that’s not entirely false, I am actually creating for ignorant people. I want to trigger introspection and discomfort within them to challenge their current perceptions of our community.

“By itself, art is merely a decoration. The context of art is crucial for change; where people see it and who they associate it to means everything. Placing queer art in a home is transforming a space into an active area of change. I want my work to land in the homes of queer people and in the way of people that need to be reminded of the importance of queer people. The space that queer art occupies is often shared with or frequented by the buyer’s bigoted friends and/or family members. This is no coincidence. These visitors are then forced to confront queer imagery and think about the way it relates to people they love. Seeing that someone dear to them is allocating some of their personal space to queer symbolism might help to bring them closer to wanting to understand LGBTQIA+ folk, or better yet, to make a change. This is how I plan to make a change from a distance.

“Pride to me is the refinement of a community through the rawness of its individuals. It’s about living fiercely so that the entire community can live freely.  This applies to every aspect of your life; from your decision to lead to the way you present yourself, to how you advocate for others. Pride is a daily commitment to proving that our community’s right to living authentically and equally is not a trivial fantasy—it is a necessary reality. We are vibrant, unrelenting, and we will continue to refuse compromise.”

Here are resources and organizations supporting the LGBTQ+ community: