Last year, Team Knix celebrated Pride by lacing up and heading out to Toronto’s Pride & Remembrance 5K run. Some of us finished in record time, while others (perhaps the author of this article) barely made it across the finish line. All of us however, had an amazing time celebrating our wonderfully colorful community.
And while there are no runs or parades to attend this year, the energy of Pride 2020 flows just like it did when the movement was initiated 51 years ago.
On June 28, 1969, police violently raided the Stonewall Inn— a gay bar in the West Village of New York City. This sparked rioting and protests over the next few nights from members of the LGBTQ community who were tired of constantly being mistreated, neglected and abused by anti-gay laws.
No one knows exactly who started the riots, but it's largely believed that Black lesbian Stormé Delarverie kicked it off, with the riots led and sustained by activists Marsha P. Johnson, Silvia Rivera and Zazu Nova— all trans women of color.
Marsha P. Johnson (left) and Silvia Rivera (right)
This Pride (and beyond), it’s important to remember that Black Lives are at the cornerstone of the LGBTQ+ community’s freedoms. It’s important to remember that when you’re celebrating Pride, you are also standing in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter. Knix is proud to do both.
Here’s how some members of Team Knix are celebrating Pride during this important year.
Steven Hudson, COO
I just celebrated my one year anniversary with Knix, and I’m currently feeling so proud of our organization. In a time of such uncertainty, I’m consistently floored by the way people show up. So proud and so lucky!
This year I’m accidentally celebrating Pride quarantined with my family in the desert. My family is currently split between the US and Canada. Long story short our oldest son had a bit of an accident back in the States. Thankfully he’s going to be fine.... And with everything going on in the world, I’m grateful to be able to be here with my family knowing they are safe and sound.
As a gay adoptive father of three children of colour including a gay Black son, I am feeling conflicted this Pride. In some ways we have seen progress, and in others we have so much work to do. I am grateful to everyone who is helping to fight that fight. If you are looking for a way to pitch in this Pride season, consider a donation to a group like thetrevorproject.org – who give all LGBTQ youth a safe place to turn in times of crisis.
Hannah Sinclair, Customer Empowerment Coordinator
This picture is from Pride last year. I was all set to join my Knix pals for the parade in Toronto when I got a call at 9 AM that this little babe was about to come into the world. So I abandoned my plans and jumped in a cab. It would have been hard for Pride to beat this moment. I’m going to school to be a midwife and this was the first ever birth that I got to attend. Her mom is a close family member and I have rarely felt more proud than when I was asked to be her doula and witnessed this birth.
Pride feels different this year, not only because of COVID, but also because of the pandemic of anti-Black racial violence. I’m celebrating this year by remembering that the first pride was a riot and that I have BIPOC trans women to thank for so many of my freedoms. I’m donating to a fund to help support more Black student midwives here in Ontario and making myself a summer reading list of Black women authors.
This year I’m also trying to remember that special moment from last year and celebrate that Pride doesn’t have to be one weekend a year. My (future) work makes me proud. Supporting people having babies and forming new families and helping to foster a more inclusive community within birth work makes me feel proud all year round.
Julia Friesen, E-Commerce Product Manager
I’m most proud of how much LGBTQ representation we have a Knix! I feel like this is an office where I really can bring my whole self to work. Chatting over the lunch hour about who is dating who without pronouns being a focus in the convo is a small but important difference to other workplaces.
This year I’m taking time to educate myself on Black and POC issues. I want to do my part to make all minority groups feel the way I do, able to show up wholly themselves without fear of judgement. I know how liberating it felt for me to get to that place, and I have a responsibility to use my privilege to work so that everyone gets to experience that. I recommend following Sandy Hudson, who has been an amazing resource.
Elizabeth Patti, Customer Empowerment Coordinator
I’m most proud of my improvement in cooking! My dad has always been an amazing cook and I’ve learned a lot from him. I’ve always enjoyed cooking for myself, but now that I have a lot more time in quarantine, I’m able to test out recipes and trust my instincts to develop new ones! I’ve also had to get super creative with leftovers.
I had grand ambitions of throwing a huge Pride garden party in my backyard (seriously, I’d made recipes for punch in every colour of the rainbow) but since that’s not happening, we’ve moved the party to a Zoom hang out with my partner and my friends! It's also important for us all to reflect on the history of Pride and how BIPOC (and specifically trans people of colour) are included in the conversations we have today. This year, I've taken the money that I probably would have spent going to Pride events and donating it to Regis Korchinski-Paquet's memorial fund and Reclaim The Block.
Emily Skublics, Digital Marketing Designer
I’m proud of myself for finally getting to a place where I feel happy with who I am and with how I identify. Living in Toronto, finding supportive friends, and working at Knix have been huge pieces of my self-love puzzle.
This was going to be the first year I went to the parade and celebrated pride openly with my queer friends. Although we’re still celebrating together with a bi girls night over FaceTime, we’ve also been spending our socially distanced time reading up on LGBTQ+ history, learning that our queer rights would not be where they are today without the work of Black trans activists like Marsha P. Johnson. I’ve been learning so much on Twitter - if you gave up on Twitter you’re missing out! Not only do I get the news in real time but I also understand the context and impact from community members. I’d recommend dusting off your old account and following incredibly intelligent, queer, Black educators Dr. Sami Schalk and Blair Imani.
Isabella Torchia, Content Specialist
I am so, so proud of being queer! The music I listen to is queer! The shows I watch are queer! The people I follow on social media are queer! My friends are queer! Even the content I help create at Knix is queer too! I’m so proud to help share stories like Sophia’s that highlight all the wonderfulness in our own community.
This Pride I’m donating to the Emergency Release Fund that helps post bail for anyone who identifies as LGBTQ in New York City jails. Prisons are already incredibly dangerous for trans people (specifically Black trans women), and the threat of the pandemic certainly does not help—with an estimated 1 in 10 people testing positive for COVID-19. This Pride I'm also making sure that my actions and learnings over the last few weeks transcend just this month!
From our proud family to yours, Happy Pride! Feel free to check out all the links to donate above, but also these resources as well:
Click here for a list of anti-racist resources. It includes articles to read, podcasts to listen to, documentaries to watch and organizations to support.
Click here for a list of what you can do to help. It includes petitions to sign, organizations to donate to, phone numbers to call, templates for contacting your local government, and information for protestors.