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What does Pride mean to me – Liz

Pride to me means using my privilege as a cis, hetero ally to amplify the voices and campaign for the right of my queer friends and family.

I grew up in a small-ish town with little to no exposure to gay culture, but somehow I ended up consuming a lot of TV, music and movies which I later learnt are iconic in the queer community. I would play ABBA on repeat as a kid, dancing around the living room to “Dancing Queen” and as a teenager loved old Hollywood actresses like Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich for their sexy confidence and their androgynous style.

At University I got super involved in the queer community through two of my best friends in High School, who came out to me just after we graduated. I participated in Queer Theatre productions (getting in drag a few times), helped organized queer parties and fundraisers for local LGBTQI health services.

I majored in Gender and Cultural Studies in my Bachelor of Arts, which opened my mind even more. I learnt how biological sex and gender identity are two very different things and about how society tragically often punishes people who do not fit within certain gender or sexual norms.

Usually when I am in a queer space or event, I immediately feel at home. In LGBTQI bars, clubs, events there is such an incredible diversity of experiences and opinions, everyone is free to be who they are without judgment.

Pride event Toronto 2017

As I get older, I am also become more conscious of the privilege I have as a white, cis woman – I can enter these queer spaces and receive love and support, but I can also go into the “straight world” without receiving criticism, because I blend in there too. I want to take part in queer spaces without taking them over. As an ally, I will keep working to ensure that all spaces become safe spaces for LGBTQI people.

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