“In hounour of Pride Month 2021, the UVAE reached out to Sean Williams, a Veterans Affairs Canada employee and Positive Space Ambassador, to write an article for our social media. Please see Sean’s article below. Happy Pride everyone J”
Pride and Privileged
By Sean Williams
When I was asked to write this article, the phone call began with the customary “how are you?”
In a pre-Covid world, I would normally answer this seemingly mundane question with an equally mundane response, however given the current state of the world this once routine greeting has taken on a whole new weight.
My response to the question was somewhere along the lines of “I am doing ok. I am still gainfully employed, safely working from home, and all my loved ones are safe”. One could say that I am “lucky” but I would argue that I am not lucky, rather as a white cis-man, I am privileged to be able to say the aforementioned response when asked “how are you?”
When the Pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, we were all scared. There were just so many unknowns and we didn’t know how it would affect us but quickly we began to see the divisions in society and how the already marginalized groups would bear the brunt of this disease. We have seen how Canadians already facing social and economic hardships have been affected disproportionately by the Covid crisis.
But this isn’t an article about Covid, this is an article about Pride Month, however I feel that we can’t observe Pride Month without acknowledging the social inequities that the pandemic has laid bare. Before the parades, the people in booty shorts and drag shows, Pride was a protest and now more than ever we need to remember that. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr famously said “no one is free until we are all free”. If you are a person of privilege in this society, use your power to support those who are oppressed. Speak up, hold space, do the work to create a just and equitable society for all people.
The word pride is the antonym of the word shame and according to Brené Brown, an author and psychology researcher, shame is an “intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” So many in our LGBTQ2S+ community have been made to feel ashamed, to feel that they are unworthy, that they are not enough. If you have privilege in any realm of your life, I ask that you use Pride month to break down the walls of shame and use your power to amplify the marginalized voices that for so long have been silenced by racism, transphobia, homophobia and misogyny.
Check out Egale Canada to find out more about how you can get involved and make a difference.