By Sydney Brouillard-Coyle
The roots of Pride begin with trans people of colour challenging the reality of state-sanctioned oppression against the trans and queer community.
It began with throwing a brick into a police car after yet another violent raid against a safe space for people to be themselves. It began by fighting systems that sought to keep us from being our true, beautiful, and full selves. It began as a revolution of hope, power, love, and pride.
We must channel that same energy from our queer ancestors as we enter this season of pride. Trans and queer people continue to face an overwhelming number of challenges within our world.
Recently, we have seen vicious legislative attacks across the United States to prohibit trans children from being affirmed and supported; we have seen bills passed that prohibit the important representation of 2SLGBTQIA+ lives and identities within the classroom; we have seen trans youth being excluded from participating in sports and thus being able to link into those communities.
Across the world, we have seen an increasing number of transphobic attacks, violence, and hate crimes - already, over 200 people have died due to transphobia worldwide. In Canada, we have seen politicians build their platforms based on invalidating someone’s humanity, fighting to take away our rights, and increasing hateful rhetoric amongst the general population.
We also continue to see many institutional barriers, particularly within healthcare and education, that result in trans and queer people not receiving the support that they need and deserve.
Pride Month is an opportunity to shed light on all of these challenges that trans and queer folks continue to experience. It is an opportunity to educate society, to inspire allies to take up the call to fight for our rights and dignity. It is an opportunity for another revolution.
As Anglicans, we are called to “transform unjust structures”, to “challenge violence of every kind”, to “pursue peace and reconciliation”, and to “respond to human need with loving service”.
We are called to follow in the way of Jesus, who overturned tables at the temple, who challenged people to love one another fully, and who died on the cross to show a better way for us to live. We are called to take up our own crosses, to follow Jesus, and to stand with those who are oppressed and marginalized, so that together we can create a world where everyone can be their full, beautiful, and authentic selves and live in safety and support.
Pride is about many things. It is a time of celebration - to honour how far we have come and to highlight the diversity of our community. It is a time to educate and raise awareness about the challenges that we still continue to face. And it is a time for renewal - to renew in each of us a call-to-action, a call to a revolution.
As we enter this season of pride, let us pray:
“Lord, help us to realize that peacemaking requires division, that liberation requires disunity. Help us to understand that we can’t free the captives without pissing off captors. We can’t loosen the chains of injustice without rebelling against jailors. We can’t untie the yoke of oppression without disobeying masters. We can’t love our neighbours without working to free them from the oppressive chokehold of their enemies, and we can’t love our enemies unless we make some first. Amen.” (Prayer written by Mel Garmen).
Sydney Brouillard-Coyle (Ney/Nem/Nir) is co-chair of Proud Anglicans of Huron and music director at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Essex. Ney also serve as the Education Coordinator and Non-Binary Transition Guide at Trans Wellness Ontario.