People across Ottawa will be wearing pink on Wednesday to show their support for an end to homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny and all forms of bullying. But one local group is also using the opportunity to team with municipal politicians to create a dialogue about LGBTQ issues at the city level.
“We organized with about 20 mayors across the country,” said Jeremy Dias, the director of the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity.
“They’re going to meet with youth. Provincial and federal politicians have done a really great job of consulting youth around bullying. But we don’t have much in the way of municipal legislation. Our goal is to have municipal politicians having those conversations and taking a view point on these issues.”
In Ottawa, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has taken on this role. Politicians aren’t the only ones showing their support. Comedian Rick Mercer released a YouTube video encouraging people to participate, and the Ottawa police have tweeted their support for the Wear Pink campaign.
But it won’t just be a visual show of support. In Ottawa, a Stonewall veteran who participated in the historic New York City riot that started the gay rights movement will speak to classes at Bell High School about bullying and homophobia.
Dias says he hopes this campaign eventually leads to the kind of societal change that came from other movements, such as the women’s movement and the civil rights movement.
“As we near a point where we get equal rights for LGBT people across the country, it isn’t enough,” said Diaz. “We haven’t achieved respect equality. Changing the social consciousness of people, changing people’s behaviour’s and people’s attitudes – I think that change is just as critical as a piece of paper of legislature. One might argue it’s more important.”