“Telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act.”
The words of Janet Mock, a pioneering American trans activist, ring especially true when one considers the significance of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots. Marked by acts of resistance that lasted several days, Stonewall was a watershed moment in the United States, which sparked activism and grassroots movements across the globe.
In Canada, the Bathhouse Raids of the 1980s led to our own uprising as Toronto’s gay community fought back against police discrimination, and those actions rippled across the country. Both here and abroad, an increasingly angry and well-organized queer community resisted and responded to these acts, which served as a catalyst for the ongoing fight for human rights and for the voices of the LGBTQ+ community to finally be heard.
These courageous acts paved the way for the generations to come and made space for the lives of marginalized communities to take shape outside of the shadows, with LGBTQ+ people taking control of their own narrative. While telling these stories is something that 50 years ago might have seemed impossible, today we are beginning to see a meaningful increase in the inclusion of our most underrepresented identities on screen, on the field and in public office.
But, the fight is not over. There is much more work to be done. LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education is under attack, our voices are still not being taken seriously by police, as seen by the problematic response and details surrounging the Bruce McArthur case in Toronto, and by attempts across the globe to claw-back the hardwon human rights that protect the LGBTQ+ community.
HuffPost Canada is proud to celebrate the voices of this inspiring generation of LGBTQ+ change-makers. To share their stories; stories that go beyond our borders. These change-makers are on the front lines, they are leaders who champion social justice and are the architects of a new frontier of sexuality. We are proud to stand alongside them, to help amplify those voices and their message at this critical time, and during this month of dissent and celebration.