Pride, a feeling of honour, self-respect and appreciation. A sense of personal worth and the active expression of one’s self. This is what it means to be prideful. For the 2SLGBTQ+ community, the idea of self-expression has been something that many have had to strenuously advocate for. Years of fighting and sacrifice ensued for folks of this community to be able to live comfortably today. Although, it is important to acknowledge that society and culture can still be huge barriers for some 2SLGBTQ+ people and their ability to express themselves. Pride can mean different things for a lot of folks within the community, but when speaking on how pride can affect people specifically, it’s only appropriate for me to speak on my own experiences rather than assume the experiences of others.
Pride can be complicated and difficult at times. Within my own intersectional identity, I’m faced with a multitude of barriers built up by society and my culture around me that I feel I truly need to work on breaking through to be able to feel prideful of my intersectionality. As a queer Muslim, I felt pressured to understand homosexuality within Islam to feel validated by either identity. I grew up despising both of these aspects of my identity instead of learning to embrace them as I realized what they were. A big portion of this being the reality of my upbringing was not only the Islamic culture I was surrounded by but also the society I grew up in. There wasn’t a lot of representation (and there still isn’t) with regards to queer Muslims and not until I started university and expanding my social media networks did I start to see queer Muslim folks around me. While that provided me with some comfort in knowing that I wasn’t alone in my journey to understanding my identity, it also showed that there was a clear gap in the representation of queer Muslim folk in society. As I did more research and familiarized myself with aspects of my identity, I started to feel a sense of responsibility in providing some type of representation for those who find themselves in similar situations and are lacking that same representation I yearned for when I was younger. I joined social justice movements, progressive student unions and sat on boards that advocated for a larger queer societal movement. These not only gave me the opportunity to learn about myself, but I had the opportunity to learn about others and see that sometimes even from separate identities, we can have similar experiences.
When it comes to 2SLGBTQ+ pride, there is a lot to be thankful for, but it’s these experiences that can show that there is still more work to be done. Not only is it important to acknowledge the intersectional issues within the 2SLGBTQ+ community, but there are also numerous other problem areas within our society. An example of that could be the fact that Canada’s blood donation policies discriminate against members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, specifically against men and trans women who have not had gender affirmation surgery who have sex with men from donating blood over a specific time period. This includes plasma as well, which has been recently proven useful in aiding in COVID-19 treatments. These policies have already been proven unnecessary and fueled by stigma. At the Canadian Federation of Students, there is support for a standing campaign fighting these discriminatory policies called the End the Blood Ban campaign. This campaign focuses on education and advocacy to end these discriminatory policies that impact not only 2SLGBTQ+ folks but also other folks who require blood and plasma donations. Unifor and a campaign called All Blood is Equal are promoting petitions to help aid in the fight against this discriminatory practice. While there’s more than the blood policies to fight for, it’s essential for folks to learn about how to advocate against 2SLGBTQ+ discrimination.
I’ve attached a couple of links below for some more information on this campaign and other related information.
- End the Ban – Canadian Federation of Students:
- All Blood is Equal – Toronto-based campaign:
- End the Blood Ban – Unifor petition:
National Queer Constituency of the Canadian Federation of Students
Ahmed Abdallah (he/him)
2Spirit and Queer Constituency Representative