June is pride month. Hosting Pride events can be a valuable way to build community in your independent living residence, and to show 2SLGBTQ+ clients that they are seen, supported, and included. EngAge BC has come up with some ways to celebrate Pride and to mark the achievements of decades of advocacy by the Queer community.
Display a 2SLGBTQ+ timeline: Older adults have experienced a significant number of historical and socio-political events which have informed their life experiences. Display a timeline of the most significant milestones. For example:
1967: Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau introduces the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69, an omnibus bill reforming the Criminal Code, which liberalizes Canadian law around social issues such as homosexuality.
1969: Canada decriminalizes homosexual acts between consenting adults with the passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act first introduced in December 1968.
1973 –The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.
2005 -July 20: The federal Civil Marriage Act, legalizing same-sex marriage across Canada, is given royal assent.
Decorate your residence: Bring some pride into your residence by decorating.
Have a best dressed contest: Bring out residents’ competitive side by challenging them to a pride themed t-shirt decorating contest, or best dressed activity.
Host a movie night: If your residence holds regular movie nights, consider bringing in films which focus on 2SLGBTQ+ characters. Even better if they focus on older 2SLGBTQ+ characters – for example, A Secret Love.
Hold a pride themed trivia event: Did you know that Grey’s Anatomy features the longest running 2SLGBTQ+ character in TV history? We didn’t!
Make your happy hour festive: Offer rainbow cocktails (or mocktails) to your residents or offer other festive treats.
Bring the Community in: Partner with a local pride society, or 2SLGBTQ+ to bring entertainment into your residence. Drag queen brunch anyone?
While holding pride activities at your residence is an important way to build community and indicate that you support the 2SLGBTQ+ community, there are other important steps you can take to build inclusivity. For example:
- Create a task force to consider your policies and forms (e.g., are your forms limited to binary gender options?).
- Revisit your onboarding processes (e.g., does it include foundational education about working with older 2SLGBTQ+ older adults?).
- Host an inclusion workshop for staff.
- Book a speaker.
- Consider how and where symbols of allyship (i.e., the Pride flag) are used year-round. They can be an important way to communicate that your residence is striving to be a safe and inclusive space for the Queer community, and that your residence is taking action to ensure that staff are educated and informed about supporting older 2SLGBTQ+ residents. Not only can this communicate that resident can expect an inclusive environment, but it can also indicate this to family members and friends who identify at 2SLGBTQ+.
Visit BCCPA’s Aging with Pride page for more information.
Have ideas, stories or pictures to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.