In a couple of weeks it will be Gay Pride Day in Toronto. Vita Community Living Services will be marching with our LGBT group in the parade. The parade is a celebration but we felt that we wanted to be there with a message. We want everyone to feel pride, no matter the difference, no matter the diversity, no matter the disability. We wanted to continue the work of creating a safe community for all. We decided that we wanted to ask a community which fights for pride, acceptance and respect to join in our fight for respectful language.
Our Words Hit cards have gone wild. Manuela and I were in New York City and were given the cards by a self advocate group. I was in Butler and had forgotten to bring some cards, Natalie got them for me from her truck. The cards are everywhere. So, building on that success we've printed thousands of the following cards:
It is our goal to hand out all of them at the parade. I wanted to put them up here on the blog should others want to reproduce them to use in Pride events all over the world. It's a day to celebrate pride and the best way to do that is to honour and respect diversity. We're here. We're weird. Get used to it.
I am so proud to be marching in the parade alongside those with both physical and intellectual disabilities. Alongside care providers and allies. Alongside all who wish for a world that welcomes!
The cards do not mention 'Gay Pride Day'. This is because we are hopeful that this card can be used anytime you hear people using words that hurt others, specifically words targetted at those from the LGBT community along with those aimed at people with intellectual disabilities. We believe it is time that we all start building bridges between minority communities. We all have much to share, including an incredible amount of power. First we need to learn to respect each other, honour each other's difference and then, once done, join hands in the fight for respect and justice.
Here's to a world where gay kids get call names like 'Jason' and 'Jasmine' and disabled kids get called names like 'Shawn' and 'Sharrisa'. Here's to the world I didn't live in but dreamed I one day would.