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2SLGBTQIA+ History and Identities in Canada

Community and Protest: The Origins of Pride in Canada

Pride — gatherings of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities and allies in celebrations, marches and festivals, often held during the summer months — is a celebration as well as a form of protest and affirmation. During the 1970s and early 1980s, police carried out raids and mass arrests in nightclubs and bathhouses — key spaces in which 2SLGBTQIA+ people (particularly, during this period, gay people) could explore their gender and sexuality more freely. The raids and arrests triggered mass protests and resistance in cities such as Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver. These protests, coupled with other public gatherings and celebrations affirming the community, laid the foundation for today’s Pride movement.

Pride festivals are rooted in earlier demands for change, as well as in public celebration of the community. Social movements such as Black Lives Matter have highlighted ongoing inequality and racism within 2SLGBTQIA+ communities and organizations, while relationships between police forces and many Canadian 2SLGBTQIA+ communities remain a source of tension and debate.

Learn more about Pride in Canada by clicking on the objects below.