Pride and Remembrance

As we usher in June’s humidity and the fourth month of physical distancing in Canada, it’s natural for people to seek connection. June is a historically festive month, and many Hamiltonians look forward each year to one of the city’s most meaningful events: Hamilton Pride.

This year, Pride Hamilton has 
announced that Pride is going digital; allowing Pridegoers access to concerts and virtual events online. While the program has yet to be announced, we expect the best of Hamilton’s local talent and well-known performers to grace the virtual venue. 

Credit: John Rennison, The Hamilton Spectator

Local LGBTQ2S+ organization Speqtrum has released a stellar line up of events, organized under different themes. Take a look below:

SPEAK OUT: On THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 6-7:30 PM, join a Zoom call to write emails and call elected officials in support of Black organizers' demands.

QUEERIOSITY: Spoken word event in collaboration with Hamilton Youth Poets on FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 1:30-2:30. 

  • Free tickets here.

TRANS ID Q+A: Connect with legal experts on how to change your name and gender marker on THURSDAY, JUNE 18TH. 7-8 PM. Collaboration with Hamilton Community Legal Clinic and the Queer Justice Project

PEER SUPPORT TRAINING: Learn skills to better support your peers on THURSDAY, JUNE 25, 6-7:30 PM. 

INTERGENERATIONAL KITCHEN: Cook and connect with community on MONDAY, JUNE 29TH, 7-8:30 PM. 

If you’ve attended a Pride festival before, you might have felt at the time that you just joined a week-long street party. However, Pride festivals are strongly rooted in activism, protests against police violence, and resilience.

In the 1960s, queer and trans people attending gay bars across North America were routinely assaulted and thrown into jail for such “offenses” as dancing with a same-sex partner, or wearing three items of clothing “belonging to the opposite [gender]”. Although police-sanctioned abuse against LGBTQ2S+ people had endured for decades, it came to a head in the early hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City.

As butch lesbian Stormé DeLarverie was forcibly shoved towards the police van in her handcuffs, she shouted “why don’t you guys do something!”. When DeLarverie was lifted into the van, the crowd around her - already agitated from defending their peers - exploded in fury and desperation. The police were driven back by hundreds of the Stonewall’s patrons and neighbourhood supporters, and resorted to barricading themselves within the bar. By 4 AM, the streets had cleared, but a message resounded in the silence: queer and trans people fight back, and they’re done with taking abuse from cops.

News of the Stonewall rioters and their bravery spread quickly across the world. In 1970, the first ever gay pride marches were held in New York and Los Angeles in protest against policing and discrimination, and laws were increasingly passed, decade by decade, to protect LGBTQ2S+ people against bias and violence. 

Today, Pride festivals across the world are attended by millions of people each year, and are celebrations of queer and trans resilience. However, it is important to remember that without riots and resistance, Pride would have never come to be- and those acts of protest are still necessary today, as queer and trans people face increased discrimination and scrutiny from police.

As Hamilton Pride 2020 unfolds online this June amidst ongoing anti-Black racism protests, the Everyone Rides Initiative team encourages you to engage with Black, queer artists’ musicwriting, and art.

We wish the best for you and your loved ones as we celebrate Pride’s hopeful theme of liberation from oppression.