It’s time for PRIDE! This week is London’s turn to celebrate pride in a series of Ontario pride parades which can be found here: https://www.ontariotravel.net/en/play/lgbt/pride. Instead of having just one day to celebrate the amazing LGBTQ+ community that we have here. The Pride London Festival is a “volunteer non-profit organization that works to organize an annual opportunity to bring together the LGBTQ+ communities and our allies, through events and activities, which promote unity, inclusion and awareness of sexual and gender diversity.”
Why only have one day of amazing pride events when you can have 10 days of fabulous events that celebrate our LGBTQ+ community. London’s pride festival is running from July 20th through to July 30th! There are a ton of free and paid events which include a roller derby, pride film night, open mic night, drag bingo night, yoga in the park and many other great events which can be found here: www.pridelondon.ca.
As many people may know, identifying as a person on the LGBTQ+ spectrum can be particularly hard if you are from a rural community. This year the Pride London Festival partnered with Ontario150, to offer free bussing to members of these communities rides to the London pride parade! If you are from Dorchester, Goderich, Ingersoll, Kincardine, St.Thomas, Strathroy, West Lorne or Woodstock, there are bussing options available to you and the schedules can be found here: www.pridelondon.ca/buses. There’s not enough words to describe how amazing it is that there are free busses available from so many rural communities, but I know that it will only help those from these communities feel even more connected and prideful of their identities!
You may be thinking “but I don’t identify as a person on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. How can I also participate in these pride events?” Know that pride is about including everyone and anyone who wants to, and if you want to better support this community you should consider becoming an ally. “Allies are people who recognize the unearned privilege they receive from society’s patterns of injustice and take responsibility for changing these patterns” read more about what allies do and how to become one here: http://www.diversitydufferin.com/how-to-be.html. You can also check out our interactive game Aerin the Ally.
If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community who also struggles with mental health challenges, please know that you are not alone and don’t hesitate to reach out, get help and give help. There are a ton of resources available through the internet and there are likely supports in your local community as well! A great resource which is available both online and in local communities is the Canadian Mental Health Association (CHMA), check out this informative article: https://ontario.cmha.ca/documents/lesbian-gay-bisexual-trans-queer-identified-people-and-mental-health
Happy Pride London!