2017—2018 · Vol. 45 No. 7



Why Celebrate Pride 2018?

Populist politics: politicians promoting a simple and straightforward message that caters to the emotions of people. It’s a type of politics that promises simple solutions to incredibly complex challenges in our society. Slogans like “clean up the swamp” and declarations that “I represent the common man” are simplistic and without much substance, but they resonate in people’s minds. People are generally worried about their social status and security, and are often threatened by changes to their environments.

Toronto Star columnist Sabrina Nanji recently wrote, “Populism doesn’t just grow on a tree like apples or pears. It has to be produced...you have to have messengers go out who are stoking fears and divisions because one of the crucial aspects of populism is it is turning people against some out-group.” Given that this sentiment is on the rise in Ontario, it is no surprise that racism, anti-Semitism, Islamphobia and anti-LGBTQ2SI have reared their ugly and despicable heads again in 2018.

Every year, across the province, communities come together to celebrate Pride. Toronto has one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world. It’s an event that honours the history of, and empowers people of, diverse sexual orientation, gender identities, and gender expression. From the raising of the Pride Flag on June 1, to Family Pride, the Dyke March, Trans Pride and finally, the Pride Parade, Pride events are symbols of unity, equity, inclusion and diversity.

The theme for PrideToronto 2018 is 35 years of AIDS Activism, which reflects the deep impact the community has faced both in the past and in the present. More than ever, Ontarians require politicians who have a message that is multi-faceted—one that advocates for multiple identities and reflects the complexity of our society. Celebrating Pride in 2018 is more important than it has ever been, as it affirms a place in society for people with diverse histories, needs and identities. And it is inexcusable, if not insulting, that in 2018, some Ontarian politicians do not want to be a part of Pride Celebrations. Please support your local celebrations.

/Vanessa Stoby is a teacher in District 16, York Region and a member of the OSSTF/FEESO Equity Advisory Work Group.

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