Calgary Pride runs from August 27 to September 4, with the festival celebrating equality and diversity. The vision of Pride Calgary is to create a city free from discrimination against gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation.
Pride Calgary recently opened an office in Calgary Housing Company’s (CHC) East Village Place. CHC reached out to learn more about Pride Calgary and how organizations like CHC can be more inclusive and supportive.
Among the goals for the Pride Calgary office is a vision for a range of resources and an inclusive space with an open door policy including a rotating retail option to sell merchandise from local 2SLGBTQ+ business.
When asked about the importance of language — as there are variations in the acronyms used to refer to the 2SLGBTQ+ community— Pride Calgary put the 2S first to honour the two-spirited people of Turtle Island (an Indigenous name for North America). They also share that the acronym changes over time to reflect our increasing knowledge and understanding of gender.
Tying into that, Pride Calgary highlight the importance of using pronouns in emails. They share that misgendering of trans-gendered individuals can happen on a daily basis and the less that happens the better.
To learn more about Calgary’s 2SLGBTQ+ history, Pride Calgary recommends the local historian Kevin Allen. The Glenbow Museum has published a conversation with Kevin as a part of its Glenbow from Home collection. You can find that interview here.
Pride Calgary was founded in the late 1980s. The Calgary Pride Parade, scheduled for Sept 4 this year, boasted an attendance of over 100,000 people in 2019. You can find the Pride Calgary calendar of events here.
Some figures on 2SLGBTQ+ individuals and housing
2SLGBTQ+ Canadians account for an overrepresented number of people experiencing homelessness. One in three homeless youth identify as 2SLGBTQ+. Pride Calgary says many 2SLGBTQ+ youth may wait to come out until they leave home.
“For example, far too many 2SLGBTQIA+ youth are forced to leave home after ‘coming out’ to their families,” says a 2022 CMHC Report. “Once alone and on the streets, they face additional discrimination finding work, accessing education, and securing a safe place to live.”
A 2016 study by the Homeless Hub found that 75 per cent of homeless youth had experienced multiple episodes of homelessness, putting 2SLGBTQ+ youth at particular risk of chronic homelessness.
A 2017 report by the Calgary Homeless Foundation indicated that one of the barriers to 2SLGBTQ+ individuals accessing housing is location, as there is not enough centrally located affordable housing offering connections to supports and to the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
In a June, 2022 post, CMHC recommends housing providers choose safe and welcoming neighbourhoods when developing 2SLGBTQ+ housing. The federal housing agency also recommends a focus on creating communities, rather than isolated buildings, with access to support services. It also advocates for the involvement of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals throughout the development process.