Celebrating Pride in a Meaningful, and Sustainable way

Since 2016 the entire month of June has been filled with a program of events leading up to the Parade. It honours the 1969 Stonewall riots and works to achieve equal justice and opportunities for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning LGBTQ Americans.

For pride month, we interviewed team members who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, here is what they said about how pride month and sustainability go hand in hand and how we can be an ally to people from the LGBTQ+ community.

What does Pride mean to you?

Picture by Marta Branco

“Pride means expressing yourself and owning who you are in the fullest form. Growing up, I was raised in a conservative immigrant household where being gay was looked down upon and not even an option. My parents still don’t know that I am gay to this day, and I will have to open up to them eventually. I am closeted only Infront of them but everyone else. I am proud of my identity, and I am happy about the country we live in, where it is so normal to be part of the LGBTQ community. Pride also means freedom of expression and not hiding from anyone. Where I was born and raised, for a chunk of my life, being gay was not accepted, and the precautions can be very heavy. Pride month is a reminder of something many individuals from the LGBTQ community struggled with, and it symbolizes us finally being recognized for our rights and people.”
Mo, Lead Tech

“Pride is many things to me; primarily, it is about celebrating our progress and sharing that celebration in a way that helps us feel seen and supported. This is especially important if we are not supported in our personal lives. We get to spend this time with our chosen family, spreading joy and feeling uplifted. It’s also important to remember that Pride started as a protest, and I participate in the Trans and Dyke Marches each year to continue to demand better for those more marginalized in our community.”
Samantha, Inwit’s Accountant

Pride for me is a little peculiar; I identify as a bisexual woman, but I feel no one realizes it because I am in a cis heterosexual relationship. When I share it in conversations, especially about gender issues, I always receive big eyes and “wow, I never imagined it!”. Pride for me is always that chance to feel proud and embrace my bisexuality.
Erika, Co-founder & CEO

How do you like to celebrate your Pride?

Photo by Frans

“I love to go to the Pride Marches, surrounded by my friends and allies, and I also enjoy going to Glad Day for their Drag Brunch.”
Samantha, Inwit’s accountant

“This month I want to go downtown to take part in the Pride parade, and I want to show my appreciation and gratitude to be able to live in a country where something as such takes place and even exists. I celebrate it by continuing to lead myself with my identity in a proud way and by educating others who are unaware of the LGBTQ community. I want to break gay stereotypes in the world, workforce, relationships, etc. I want to continue showing the world that we are real people with feelings and love to offer.” Mohammad, Lead Tech

“I love engaging with more people in the community, I love going to the pride marches and feel energized and inspired by other peers ­čÖé Now, at work, I like to raise awareness that you may be sounder by more people from the community than you believe!”
Erika, Co-founder & CEO

How can people be better allies?

“I love learning from Trans and other LGBTQ creators on TikTok, Insta, and Youtube because they share their perspectives and life experiences that may help deepen my understanding of the community. I think it’s important for allies to educate themselves and actively seek to answer their questions with existing resources before asking LGBTQ+ people to answer questions. Asking about personal experiences is fine, but asking to explain what bisexuality or pansexuality is not allyship when Google exists. It’s also important for allies to defend us when we aren’t in the room. If someone says something behind our backs, a good ally will have our back even if we won’t know about it.”
Samantha, Inwit’s Accountant

“I believe people from the LGBTQ+ community want the most is just acceptance and support from the world around them. We are still a minority, and the best thing people can do is spread awareness. If they see any bullying happen to anyone, stop it immediately. I have seen that happen way too much. Another great way is to participate in more LGBTQ+ events like the pride parade and other events that can help us feel safer being part of the world. Overall, I have to say I love the direction that Toronto is going in.” Mo, Inwit’s Lead Tech

‘Trying to be more curious, we often jump into our judging mindset. Think that we are all different, and that is fine. Get comfortable meeting more people from the LGBTQ+ community, hear their stories and ask questions with interest about the soul and human being behind a label. I have never opened up with my parents or family, which makes me feel sad, especially when I hear comments from my family members about the community; I am afraid they won’t accept me. I guess they will never know my whole self.”.
Erika, Co-founder & CEO

How do you embrace sustainability during Pride?

“I’m happy that the world is finally becoming more aware of climate change and how living a sustainable life is a necessity at this point. This also includes people from the LGBTQ community, and I’m not saying we are very sustainable or responsible in that way. The pride parade I have seen first-hand requires a lot of paper, plastic and cardboard, all things that do not need to be there. So my advice would be to become more aware of any event that is taking place and make sure we don’t include unnecessary paper or plastic.”
Mo, Lead Tech

“As a business owner, I love the visibility other LGBTQ businesses have during this time, and if I can switch my patronage to those companies, I do. I find that LGBTQ-run businesses already incorporate sustainability principles into their businesses and understand the importance of sustainability. I also like to embrace the ‘refuse’ part of the ‘refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle,” so I often refrain from accepting stickers, swag, and other Pride-themed giveaways unless I know I’ll use them throughout the year.”
Samantha, Inwit’s Accountant

“I reuse all I have, I refuse any merch and disposable items, I carry my reusable cup with me and I support LGBTQ+ businesses that are choosing to reuse. Specially Inwit’s partners like Bacan Toronto, and Kuptfert & Kim.”
Erika, Co-founder & CEO

Photo by Anete Lusina

The pride parade is taking place on June 27th in Toronto. What about you? What does Pride mean to you, what are you doing to become better allies, and how will you be more sustainable for this Parade?

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