A conversation about Pride 2020

It’s Pride Week in Halifax. And while in years past we’d be getting ready to proudly participate in the parade with our employees and our bucket truck, as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, Pride celebrations are looking a little different this year.

Participating in Pride and showing our support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community is important to us as a company—but building a culture of inclusion and diversity is about more than showing up for the big events. It starts with listening and building a foundation of understanding. It’s why we asked five employees from our Diversity and Inclusion Network to share their perspectives on Pride in 2020, and how we can stand up for equality in our workplaces and communities.

 

How are you celebrating Pride this year?

Richard Stillwell, Business Analyst: The Halifax Pride Festival has done a great job of moving online. I plan on checking out some of their panels and digital events. Pride Week is a time for celebrating, but also an opportunity for education on the history of Pride, as well as the issues still impacting our community today.

Cory Annett, Customer Care Associate: I will probably be celebrating at home with my girlfriend, watching all sorts of gay movies!

Nicole Cadek, Manager, Customer Experience: As an ally, Pride is a time to give space to our 2SLGBTQ+ community members. It’s a time to listen, support, learn and celebrate.

Daniel Power, Field Support Specialist: This year, my husband and I will celebrate Pride by watching queer films and enjoying local queer artists.  

 

What does Pride Week mean to you?

Andrea McQuillin, Transmission & Distribution Supervisor: Pride Week makes me reflect on my life, my history and my future. I’m learning to be more comfortable with myself and also recognizing that other people might be struggling. This year, I’m not just reflecting on the journey of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, I’m also thinking about everyone who is fighting for equality and inclusion. In 2020, I’m looking at how I can support my 2SLGBTQ+ peers, but also how I can stand with the black community against racism. Now more than ever, we need to amplify these voices.

Richard: For me, Pride has always been about visibility and community. I know that I can pass easily—and for that reason it’s important for me to speak out at work and in social situations and be vocal about who I am. Pride is an opportunity to have space, to share our perspective, and to recognize the diversity in our communities. It’s a reminder to everyone in the 2SLGBTQ+ community that you are not alone.

Cory: Pride for me is equal parts celebration and solemn remembrance. It’s chance to reflect on how far we’ve come and celebrate the progress we’ve made toward equality, but at the same time, keep in mind those who have suffered, and those who continue to do so. Both are reasons to strive forward.

Daniel: Pride is about embracing my 2SLGBTQ+ community and acknowledging all of those who have fought for the rights I have as a gay man. Pride is an important part of continuing the conversations of equality, providing a safe platform for people to speak on queer related topics and a time to show others that they are not alone if they are feeling unsupported.

How can we make our workplaces and communities more inclusive?

Richard: I think we’re on the right track by opening up conversation and dialogue. If you don’t talk about it, then you just accept the status quo and you don’t get to hear about the experience of others. You might not realize that someone else is feeling isolated, or that they’re not being represented. These conversations don’t just have to happen during Pride Week—they should happen throughout the year.

Nicole: Hosting these conversations is so important. We can also show that our workplaces are inclusive by adding pronouns to our emails and raising 2SLGBTQ+ flags in our offices and depots.

Daniel: We can show our commitment to inclusion by shutting down jokes and sly remarks that are directed at the 2SLGBTQ+ community. We can stand up for one another and open the door to conversation.

Andrea: As a woman in field operations—and as a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community—I haven’t always felt included. We’ve made great strides, but you can still fall into the pattern of trying to fit in, and maybe even hiding who you are in an effort to make the people around you comfortable. I’d like to see our workplaces making space and time for diverse voices and perspectives to be heard—for people to hear about experiences and struggles that are different from their own. At Nova Scotia Power, our Diversity and Inclusion Network champions these conversations. Even when they’re difficult, it gives people time to listen, reflect and build understanding. That’s what Pride Week is all about.

From left: Richard Stillwell, Andrea McQuillin, Daniel Power (left) and his husband, Cory Annett


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