June is Pride Month
June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate Nova Scotians from the two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities and reflect on the important work of activists and advocates who champion and fight for equity, dignity and respect for all.
This year marks 10 years since gender identity and gender expression were added as protected characteristics under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act. While milestones like this are cause for celebration, they are also opportunities to reflect on how exclusionary policies and systemic inequities oppress and act as barriers to inclusion for Nova Scotians.
We do not have to look far to see how members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community continue to face oppression, exclusion and discrimination. The politicization of identity and culture fuel deep divides across communities and we must be vigilant and vocal in order to ensure the protection, and advancement of the rights of all Nova Scotians.
It is illegal under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act to discriminate against anyone based on their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. To protect these rights the Commission encourages all employers and institutions to enshrine their support in policies, and that all Nova Scotians stand up in support of their 2SLGBTQ+ family members, friends, colleagues, and neighbours.
We look to governments to advance equity through programs, policy, and law, building on the grassroots advocacy of communities in response to experiences of discriminatory barriers, exclusion, and harassment.
Throughout June (and into July for some regions of our province) Pride events offer educational opportunities for each of us to engage in and learn from. Attending flag-raisings, joining in parades, sharing messages of support on social media and encouraging participation in ally groups in your workplace are a few ways that you can support and amplify the important work of 2SLGBTQ+ community members and allies.
The preceding is a statement from Joseph Fraser, Director & CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.