In recognition of Calgary Pride, our community is gathering this week to celebrate the diversity of our city and create a space where everyone feels safe and welcome to be themselves.

Transgender advocate and actress, Laverne Cox said, “I’ve never been interested in being invisible and erased”. When she talks about being ‘invisible’ and ‘erased’ she is alluding to the need to not hide one’s identity to satisfy others. This is a simple concept at first glance – however, the topic of inclusion and identity in LGBTQ2S+ communities is at the forefront of discussion across the world.

One way that this conversation has come to life is in the revisions to the Pride flag – one of most universal symbols of the Pride movement. Gilbert Baker, at the request of gay rights activist Harvey Milk created the flag in 1978. Since then, the flag has been a symbol of LGBTQ2S+ communities world-wide. In response to calls for greater inclusion of transgender, black and racialized LBGTQ2S+ communities, Daniel Quasar created a revised Pride flag. The black chevron-stripe represents black communities; the brown chevron-stripe represents racialized persons; and the white, pink and light blue chevron-stripes represent transgender communities.

Using symbols like flags to represent and include ideas, or political views is a powerful tool to influencing social norms and ultimately create the change you wish to see.

As an intersectional organization, YW strives to recognize and include the multitude of racial, gender, ability and sexual identities present in the Calgary community.  We continue to work towards enhancing our inclusion efforts so members of LGBTQ2S+ communities feel seen, heard and included in a meaningful way.

We fundamentally believe our practice must reflect a commitment to reducing systemic barriers through our frontline work and advocacy. We proudly support and provide service to members of the LGBTQ2S+ communities through a variety of programming including, but not limited to crisis shelter, housing programs, counselling programs, employment programs, parenting programs and childcare programs. We provide supports and services to anyone who identifies as a woman, no questions asked.

This week, YW Calgary is proud to be participating in the Pride Parade and showing up as an ally, and supporter of LGBTQ2S+ communities in Calgary. We are ready to celebrate diversity, reflect on how far we have come and inspire hope for how much further we have to go to achieve true inclusion.