Maureen Campbell: Arnprior
I recently had an insightful conversation, and it came to my attention that the term “ally” can be fraught with challenges and performative actions that don’t create meaningful change.
Being an ally means action, not just words. I want to be an ally and need to recognise that my social location as a heterosexual person means that I must collaborate and listen to 2SLGTBQIA+ and diverse voices in an effort to promote and support equality and queer rights and experiences. I respect the fact that to do so, it must be something that other people would say about me rather than a claim I can make.
That said, I will call myself a proud supporter of the 2SLGTBQIA+ community. I always have been, I always will be.
My values and beliefs as a supporter were created as part of my upbringing. Every person has the right to be who they are meant to be—without judgement or discrimination.
I will always support Arnprior’s Pride initiatives. I believe we should do more to celebrate and recognise 2SLGTBQIA+ History Month (can we start now, it is this month after all!), Pride, and Trans Day of Visibility. This will help people learn more about 2SLGTBQIA+ rights and make everyone feel included.
There’s a variety of ways to do this and collaboration and working partnerships are the foundation of positive movement. All ideas do need buy in from Arnprior Pride before jumping in to accomplish anything. Here are a few ideas to consider:
• Raising the flag is important. I believe that this is an event that should be celebrated. I would love to see this as the kick off to Pride month in Arnprior—and have the raising at a time when more people can attend—it’s an occasion to be celebrated. During this ceremony it will be important to hear from local 2SLGBTQIA+ voices and experiences.
• Who doesn’t love a parade? Let’s work on getting Arnprior its own Pride parade—it allows everyone to show respect to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. It also helps raise awareness so that people can break free from the stigma and biases—especially in small towns.
• Education and training provide a whole new level of understanding and sensitivity that I believe is missing in leadership and public facing positions here in Arnprior. It’s beyond time to start. Again, the best way to learn is through 2SLGBTQIA+ for their expertise and life experience.
I am a proud supporter of the 2SLGTBQIA+ community.
I recognise that that homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and other types of discrimination exist and have a negative effect on the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. I know that opposing and getting rid of cis-heteronormativity requires continuous learning and purposeful action— it’s easy to stay quiet and not speak up—the right thing to do is to call it out when need be. I will continue to act by:
• Challenging heteronormativity
• Recognizing and stopping microaggressions
• Confronting stereotypes
The bottom line is that I want to help create a culture that does not accept homophobia, transphobia or biphobia.
I can commit to my continual learning, I recognise that I will not always get it right but that queer rights and voices need to be heard in areas of policy and leadership. As a supporter, I can promise I will always be open and transparent. What I will specifically do is listen to what it is that needs to be done. And I can and will champion those needs.
I will be a champion and a voice at the local, provincial and federal level for you.
There are so many things that can be done to create safe, inclusive, equitable communities. Here’s a start of what we can do:
• Listen to what 2SLGBTQIA+ youth have to say and follow through on actions
• Work with Arnprior Pride to see how we can work together to strengthen community support and how we can partner to support a 2SLGBTQIA+ youth group
• Seek 2SLGTBQIA+ representation in both leadership and community bodies
• Call into question current practices that are not inclusive
• Be a good example of someone who is kind and inclusive—for example, I’m committed to educating myself and others around inclusive language like the use of personal pronouns
• Stay informed about what is happening and get involved in the fights ahead
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