Pride month can be a complicated time for queer communities – particularly for trans, Two-Spirit, non-binary, Black and queer People of Colour.
In Canada, we must continually confront our collective history of genocide commited against Indigenous people and the ongoing colonial erasure of Indigenous lives, cultures, language and experience. Recent events are a reminder that racism, transphobia, homophobia, and queerphobia exist in Canada and that racism and hate have deadly consequences.
These reminders come in many forms including but not limited to the recent uncovering of mass graves containing the remains of Indigenous children in various locations across Canada, the ongoing genocide of Indigenous women and girls, the recent murder of a Muslim family, and the ongoing violence comitted against queer People of Colour, particularly Black, trans, and Two-Spirit folks.
Even as restrictions ease in parts of Canada, many Pride events for 2021 have been cancelled or moved online because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many organizations, labour unions, and political parties are looking for ways to show their support for Two-Spirit, Queer and trans communities online and through digital means.
At Metric, our advice is twofold:
- Work at being an ally
- Identify local organizations, leaders, and groups that are working to undo systems of oppression in Canada and in your own community and amplify their message.
- Hire experts who can help you make sure your organization is welcoming and safe for Two-Spirit and QTBIPoC* people.
- Learn, apologize, and learn
- Take it upon yourself to learn about the histories, cultures, battles, and victories of Two-Spirit and QTBIPoC people.
- Hire experts to teach you if you run out of resources online or in libraries.
- If you make a misstep (and you might), apologize and learn from the experience.
*Queer-Transgender spectrum Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (QTBIPoC)
The Metric team took some time to collect and share some resources available throughout Canada that contribute to the cause of advancing rights for Two-Spirit and QTBIPoC people and undoing systems of oppression that continue to harm, and in some cases kill Two-Spirit and QTBIPoC people who live in Canada.
Maureen (she/her) is Metric’s Content Manager.
Maureen wants to highlight Dr. James A Makokis, a Cree Two-Spirit physician who helps trans and Two-Spirit people in rural Alberta using traditional Indigenous teachings. Dr. Makokis provides medical services and guidance to trans and Two-Spirit people who often face persecution within their own communities as a result of the historical and ongoing colonization of Indigenous people in Canada.
This 12 minute video features the story of Alec, a Two-Spirit teen who is learning to accept himself with the help of Dr. Makokis.
Savanna (she/her) is Metric’s Digital Manager.
Savanna wants to share an Ologies podcast that features an interview with Riley Kucheran, Assistant Professor at Ryerson University who describes himself as an Indigenous Fashionologist. Riley talks about properly paying Indigenous artists for their work, and your responsibilities when it comes to wearing cultural pieces. He also does a deep dive on why Indigenous fashion is the most sustainable way to create clothing and how not to commit cultural appropriation.
***Note: this episode was recorded in 2020 so the brief mention of Residential Schools predates the discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of 215 children located on the traditional territory of the Secwepemc at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. It similarly does not address the subsequent discovery of additional mass graves in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Leah (she/her) is Metric’s Director of Campaigns.
Leah wants to share resources available through the Queer Events website that features event listings in Southern Ontario as well as educational resources, workshops, Queer literature, films, blogs, and history. Among the many events and resources available, the site lists a series of Two-Spirit Writers Clubs hosted by spoken word artist Jennifer Alicia Murrin throughout June.
The site also features a blog post WE’VE BEEN HERE: NOTABLE QBIPOC that articulates the ways in which Queer BIPoC folks often experience a form of double erasure. That is to say erasure from mainstream Queer communities – often dominated by homonormativity and Whiteness – and erasure from their own cultural communities. The blog highlights a number of notable, fascinating, and powerful QTBIPoC folks and showcases people whose contributions are rarely recognized.
D’Anita (she/her) is Metric’s Associate Account and Project Manager.
D’Anita read Butter Honey Pig Bread and was captivated by the author’s seamless writing style and dynamic topics weaved throughout the book relating to culture, food, queer love, identity, family, mysticism, truth and authenticity.
You can hear more about the author, Francesca Ekwuyasi, a Black queer writer and artist who was featured on Weird Era – a podcast run from a local indie bookstore in Montreal, Quebec (Librairie Saint-Henri Books).
Caitlin (she/her) is Metric’s Account and Project Manager.
Caitlin wants to share TWO SPIRITS, a powerful documentary about a person named Fred Martinez who was nádleehí. The film tells the heartbreaking story of a woman dealing with the violent loss of her child while teaching us about Navajo traditions that embraced Two-Spirit people and honoured them in a time before colonial power.
***Note: this documentary contains graphic depictions of racism, hate and violence.
Lucy (she/her) is Metric’s Senior Account and Project Manager.
Lucy wanted to share some additional Two-Spirit resources available through Out Saskatoon. The site offers a number of resources including information on historical roles of Two Spirit people, the effect of colonization on Two Spirit people through the introduction of gender roles and heteronormative behaviour, and the resurgence of Two Spirit people in the public.
Queer Black people, Two-Spirit people, and trans and non-binary People of Colour continue to experience violence and oppression in Canada. Pride is an opportunity to continue the fight to undo systems of oppression and to ensure better health services, legal and workplace protections, and safer, more inclusive spaces for all gender and sexually diverse people who live in Canada.
As members of these communities, and as allies to these communities, we strive to practice anti-racism, anti-transphobia, anti-queerphobia and anti-homophobia. Part of that work is learning how we contribute to systemic oppression and taking it upon ourselves to learn to do better.
At Metric, we are anti-racist but we are not experts in anti-racism. If you’re looking to learn more about anti-racism work and how to embed that into your organization, we recommend hiring an anti-racist organization that specializes in that kind of work. We are also anti-transphobia, anti-queerphobia, and anti-homophobia but again, we are not experts in those fights and recommend you hire experts to help you with additional support on those fronts.