Although Pride Month has ended, our opportunities to support, empower, and celebrate 2SLGBTQIA+ communities are far from over. Pride is more than one month, one collection of colours, or the letters 2SLGBTQIA+. It’s about freedom, equity, and the fundamental right to live openly and safely every day.
Our pro bono partnership with The 519
Pride Summer began with great excitement, as our Toronto team joined hands with The 519 to promote its impactful initiatives, invite media and influencers to its annual pride fundraiser, and elevate the charity’s profile.
Committed to the health, happiness, and safety of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities in Toronto and beyond, The 519 has been a leading advocate for queer rights, offering programs to overcome systemic barriers and thrive in a safe and inclusive environment.
Work with The 519 began by promoting the organization’s “Enough is Enough!” panel, which addressed the rise in hate crimes towards queer communities and shared strategies to promote safety. Headlined by notable activists, community leaders and drag artists, the event was well-received and publicized by the media.
The former offers guidance for 2SLGBTQIA+ refugees and newcomers to Canada, including guest workshops, referrals, and staff-led programs. Recipients of the New to Canada Program shared their moving stories and the profound impacts of this program with Global News and CTV News.
We also helped amplify The 519’s impactful work with unhoused 2SLGBTQIA+ communities in Toronto. To meet the needs of this cohort, The 519, together with Homes First, opened doors to 2SLGBTQIA+ adults, providing them with a safe shelter. Over 30 residents have benefited from the housing services, particularly refugees, trans women, and non-binary folks.
Finally, we had the opportunity to support The 519 with media relations for its epic pride fundraiser, the Green Space Festival. Since 2008, the festival has been one of Toronto’s favourite pride celebrations, raising funds to support 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. To date, it has generated over $4.5 million for The 519’s programs and services. Several prominent media, including Global News, CTV, CP24, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and Newstalk 1010, partook in the celebration by attending or covering the reception, lending their voices to the worthy cause.
Promoting allyship through education
With the help of The 519, we also established internal initiatives focused on education, allyship, and community building to promote a safe and inclusive environment for the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities throughout the year.
On June 21, a representative from The 519 presented a workshop called “Authentic 2SLGBTQIA+ Allyship: Creating Meaningful Connection’’. This workshop focused on building tangible skills for actionable allyship with 2 spirit, queer and trans friends, coworkers, family, and community members.
Participants learned that allyship is about more than just standing with a member of a marginalized community, it is also about amplifying their voices and being attentive to their experiences and needs.
To continue our team’s education, The 519 will host a second workshop, ‘’Queering the Media: Highlighting 2SLGBTQIA+ Joy in Storytelling’’, which will offer strategies to tell affirming stories that truly reflect 2-Spirit, queer, and trans realities.
In addition to the workshops with The 519, our offices across Canada have been raising money for the organization by distributing our Pride Plus pins, designed by our creative team. As of today, we have collected several hundred dollars for The 519 and will accept donations throughout the summer.
Extending the purpose past Pride Month
We are grateful to The 519 for allowing us to support its impactful initiatives within the community. Collaborating with them served as a valuable reminder to pursue ongoing education and embrace diversity and inclusion in both our professional and personal lives.
While Pride Month in Toronto draws to a close, our teams across the network are left with fond memories and renewed motivation to carry on our efforts to support and empower the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities beyond #PrideSummer.
Note: All activities were developed and implemented in consultation with members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, who also contributed to the content of this article.