In the wake of the massacre in Orlando Florida on June 12th, Brampton Focus reached out to our LGBT Peel Community and others across the Province for insight on their perspective and how we can stand with our brothers and sisters with PRIDE. We have captured a small sampling of their thoughts below.
As a reminder, June is PRIDE Month in Ontario and Peel Pride will be holding a vigil on Monday, June 20th at 8pm in Gage Park/Brampton. Please confirm details with Peel Pride. We all deserve to be respected, loved and provided with the liberty to live and be who were are without judgement.
Sonya Shorter, Chairperson of Peel Pride says that “this is by far the most upsetting tragedy that I have experienced since I have been active in the LGBTQ+ community.” Sonya joined The Pride Committee of Peel in 2008. Since joining the committee Sonya has seen changes in the committee and in the needs in Peel Region for the LGBT community. In an official statement from PEEL PRIDE, Sonya says…
“All the members of the LGBTQ+ community want is to have access to a normal life. We want to love the person we love. We want to have families and careers and acceptance. We want to be able to say my wife or my husband and not worry about who might be offended or overhear it. We just want what every heterosexual person takes for granted. What could these people possibly have done to have someone hate them. Love.”
“I never realized how much I was impacted by the incident until I observed my emotions one way or the other was seemingly non-existent. I was rather apathetic to the whole situation from feeling overwhelmed by the idea that we have taken several steps forward, yet one HUGE giant-step backwards on tolerance for our varied differences as humanity.” Eva Simone, a Trans Activist
“I’ve received several calls and people are shaken up by what’s happen. People use these spaces as who they are and it’s really shaken up our community and LGBTQ2S+ communities. So many members of our broader community have lost their lives affecting their communities and families and those that were injured will be reliving this tragedy. It’s my belief that there’s going to be a need for a lot of healing.” Blu, a 2-spirit Elder at the Peel Aboriginal Network
“There are media outlets, politicians, and people’s who are bound to use this to further violence against Muslim folks. We must challenge this violence and stand in solidarity with Muslim people and the LGBTQ people who have been affected by this hate crime. This massacre that has targeted LGBTQ peoples shouldn’t be simplified, a hashtag isn’t going to solve this. Let’s do more outreach to LGBTQ communities and work with LGBTQ peoples to identify new strategies to challenge ‘hate’ in all of it’s forms. LGBTQ peoples continue to demand changes to the MSM policy that continues to bar Queer folks from donating blood. Queer folks are being told that they have little value and that they can’t do anything to help, when they are turned away because of an MSM policy on Queer blood. When Allies donate because Queer folks aren’t able to, they are standing in solidarity with LGBTQ people’s, speaking out against this policy and demanding regulators to change this to help LGBTQ people’s save more lives.” Christopher Karas, Ontario Human Rights Advocate and Social Entrepreneur.