My name is Rhianne, and I am a Senior Consultant at Argyle where I work on engagement projects that help our clients hear from the people they serve. As someone who is also heavily involved in queer organizations, I want to emphasize the significance of decolonizing Pride initiatives and share some steps we can take to make our celebrations more inclusive.
As a person who is white, I need to recognize and confront the historical and ongoing impact of colonization on Indigenous peoples and communities. Decolonization is an ongoing process of undoing the impacts and legacies of colonization. This means questioning and changing the stories, beliefs, and images that have been shaped by colonization. It also means listening to and honouring the experiences of those who have suffered from the injustices, violence, and exploitation caused by colonial systems.
For those of us with marginalized identities, we cannot separate the parts of ourselves that are systemically oppressed, from the work we do. Although reconciling these identities in a corporate space may present challenges, continuous effort and dialogue with our teams can foster incremental change. By sharing our experiences, educating our colleagues, and advocating for inclusive policies and practices, we contribute to creating an environment where everyone feels valued and supported.
Decolonizing and thoughtful
For Pride initiatives, part of the work involves understanding the harm caused by colonization that still exists today. This involves understanding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action and the role that non-Indigenous peoples have in reconciliation work.
Indigenous peoples continue to face systemic barriers, including unequal access to resources, healthcare, education, and social services, which further marginalizes and disproportionately affects Indigenous 2SLGBTQ+ individuals. By engaging in meaningful partnerships and collaborations with Indigenous communities and organizations, Pride initiatives can foster dialogue, understanding, and solidarity. This includes supporting Indigenous-led initiatives, amplifying Indigenous voices, and actively challenging and dismantling systems of oppression within 2SLGBTQ+ spaces.
As an organizing member of two queer community advocacy organizations, some of the ways we do this is by:
Resources and reflection
There are so many articles and blog posts that offer practical ways to be more inclusive, both in your personal life and in your work life, for Pride Month and Indigenous History Month. Take the time to explore resources such as Why decolonizing sexuality is important for the future of BIPOC LGBTQIA+ communities or Challenging the whiteness of queer organizations. Educate yourself and your peers to deepen understanding and become better allies. While doing this, I encourage you to ask yourself a few questions:
- How are you translating your values into action? Reflect on whether your behavior aligns with the principles you believe in. Consider how you can actively demonstrate your support for 2SLGBTQ+ and Indigenous communities.
- When was the last time you challenged your own opinions and critically evaluated your thought patterns? It’s important to examine our biases and preconceived notions. By doing so, we create opportunities for personal growth and development.
- How can you uplift communities that you are not a part of, in a tangible way? Reflect on the ways you can support and amplify equity-seeking voices. This could involve actively seeking out diverse perspectives, engaging in allyship, or supporting organizations that champion the rights and well-being of equity-seeking communities.
Pride Month and Indigenous History Month offer us a chance to celebrate diversity, challenge our assumptions, and champion the causes we are passionate about. Let’s strive to be active allies, learn from one another, and collaborate to build a world where everyone can live authentically and thrive.
Together we have the power to make a difference. Happy Pride Month!