In addition to be being National Indigenous History Month, June is also Pride Month, celebrating 40 years of the diversity and resilience of the LGBTQ+ community. The LGBTQ+ community is now symbolized with more than 30 different flags. The one picture here is the “Progress” version including the well-known six rainbow colours along with the five-colour chevron to signify greater inclusion for those in the black, brown and trans communities.
The ability to celebrate Pride in Canada has become a great symbol for queer people around the world who live in fear of imprisonment, violence and even death based solely on their sexuality and gender identity. More than 70 countries in the world have anti-LGBTQ laws. Penalties can be as severe as life in prison, and in some cases death (possible in 11 countries).
The stigma associated with those in the LGBTQ+ community goes beyond national laws. Members of the community are targets for violence and hate. Often, this comes from members of their own families. Honour killings are not uncommon, as recently demonstrated by the execution of a young, gay man in Iran by members of his own family. Queer people are openly assaulted in the street for not conforming to accepted standards of dress.
This has resulted in the need for many to hide or abandon their homes and seek refuge in more accepting and welcoming countries, like Canada. But the route to safety is long and arduous. The process takes years and the flight from immediate danger at home is only the first step in a series of steps that also present challenges and dangers.
We are proud to support those seeking to find refuge and safety in Canada. We recognize that not every queer person will be able to come to Canada. There are millions of queer people around the world who will never have the chance. Nonetheless, we are happy to make a contribution by helping those that we can, through Canada’s private sponsorship program, for those who arrive through government sponsorship, and for those who make their own way to Canada and claim asylum.
BMG wishes to send congratulations to Grand Chief, Francis Kavanaugh, of the Ogichidaa Grand Council Treaty #3 who announced last week the decision to create an LGBTQ2S council to its traditional governance structure.
“Sometimes a governance system, no matter how sacred or functional, must be changed if it excludes those that are most vulnerable,” said Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh.
“This council is of critical importance to me as I seek guidance on how to ensure that LGBTQ2S individuals are never again left feeling as though they do not have a place within the nation that loves them.”
Lastly, BMG is pleased to be certified by Canada’s Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce as a diverse-owned business. BMG has met all the criteria of a diverse-owned business, and had been approved as a Certified LGBT+ business enterprise, and can thus use the LGBTBE designation as authorized by Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce. “
Happy Pride Month!
Article by: Bill Croson and Marion Roberts, members of the BMG Leadership Team.