LGBTIQ Pride: The Importance of Celebrating Diversity
By Dion Carter, Manager of Diversity and Equity at CAMH
The ability to celebrate Pride in a public forum, to me, reflects an acceptance of who I am by members of the broader community. I remember my very first Pride event in Chicago many years ago. I was in awe and felt empowered to be in the presence of so many other LGBT+ people and allies. There was a great sense of liberation and safety that I had never felt before. It was an excellent display of courage and there was a presence that said: “we’re here and we’re not going to hide anymore.”
Today, Pride continues to promote a mutual respect for self and for others, encouraging people to appreciate one another for their personhood, not to judge them based on their sexuality. It is an event that I feel is equally important for both LGBT+ individuals and allies to celebrate.
Like anyone, members of the LGBT+ community want to be validated, not only by loved ones, but also through the communities in which they live and work. We also want to feel comfortable in raising issues or concerns through activism and promoting social justice on many levels. I feel a great sense of hope that there will be a time when everyone is treated more equitably.
I feel fortunate to be at CAMH; an award-winning environment where I’m comfortable being who I am. I feel a sense of security being part of a workplace culture that supports and encourages inclusion on many levels. I see our Pride celebrations at CAMH as an opportunity to garner respect for the LGBT+ employees and our supporters. This contributes, in many ways, to our efforts towards improving equality moving forward.
We’re all unique individuals, and being part of an inclusive organization like CAMH further promotes awareness and understanding. A house that’s divided is a house that falls, so by incorporating the celebration of diversity into the work environment, we are collectively working towards a stronger and brighter future.