Halifax Pride includes more groups, now identifies as LGBTQ+
Halifax Pride says non-mainstream groups are recognized in its new acronym
Willem Blois knows he's fortunate.
The 24-year-old gay man living in Halifax said he doesn't encounter much discrimination as gay culture has gone mainstream. But, the chair of Halifax Pride says it's still a struggle for other groups on the queer spectrum who haven't gained widespread acknowledgement.
"I think it's important that, myself as a gay man and a part of the gay community, we recognize that we've come so far," he said.
"We have a lot of privilege where we're at right now but we do notice that there are lots of other identities out there that perhaps still are trying to move towards a state of more recognition."
With a rapidly growing list of people who are self-identifying with new terms, Halifax Pride has adopted a new acronym: LGBTQ+.
The plus symbol tries to capture the many communities who reached out to Halifax Pride for inclusion, groups such as two-spirit, intersex, flexual, asexual and aromantic.
"We wanted our acronym to not necessarily just stop with a 'T'. So we added the 'Q'. The Q has been around for quite awhile. We've also wanted to sort of expand a little bit more just to make sure that anyone who wants to be recognized and who feels comfortable recognizing themselves currently can feel recognized in our acronym," said Blois.
When the Halifax Pride Parade started 28 years ago, the gay alphabet was much shorter, and the dialogue was about discrimination. Blois isn't sure it's the same issue for the 'plus' community.
"I haven't spoken with each and every one of them personally but I do feel that, maybe not the act of discrimination, but necessarily more forefront, I think, is just the act of not being noticed, being left out," he said.
As the 11-day pride festival kicks off, he said it's a plus to include these communities, as they help to broaden an understanding of gender identity.
"Certainly, a lot of people I talk to still think of Pride as, 'Oh, gay pride's coming up.' Well, it's not quite gay pride any more. We're not focused just on the 'G' part of the acronym. We're trying to move beyond that, somewhat," Blois said.
He said though the gay community has made strong gains, many in the trans community in particular are still waging a discrimination battle.