This month was Pride month, a month to celebrate and recognize the challenges and triumphs of the LGBTQIA+ community. There is still more work to do, and we can’t deny the hard-fought battles of the past and the current injustice that many in the community still face – LGBTQIA+ youth continue to be made homeless by their families and trans people continue to be targeted and injured or killed at disproportionate rates. We should always remind ourselves that justice is a journey, not a destination. 

We are dedicated as an organization to continuing to seek out justice and equality for the LGBTQIA+ community both broadly and within our programs and locations.  

Here is what Pride means to us. 

“To me, pride month celebrates all of the efforts made by the LGBTQIA+ community to not just be “accepted” or “tolerated” but to be included and validated. It represents all of the amazing advocacy and political activism that has only grown since the Stonewall Riots of 1969.  I remember tears streaming down my face as I was driving to work in June 2015, and I learned that same-sex marriage would be the law of the land in our country.  It was an emotional moment as I felt so relieved for all of the couples whose love and commitment was not being validated until that moment. Pride is a CELEBRATION.” 

Tawnie Fransen, Deputy Director of Asset Management 

“My first non-profit job was with an organization serving young people ages 13 to 24 who did not have homes. It was disheartening to learn that 30% to 40% of these young people had left or been forced away from home because they identified as LGBTQIA+. I got to know many of these young people and delighted in their energy, their creativity, and their willingness to challenge convention. To me, Pride will always be about celebrating these young people and pushing society to recognize and accept them so that they can thrive in a community that cares about their growth. My dream is that no young person will ever need to leave home to find acceptance.” 

Mary Steele, Executive Director 

“It is hard to put into words what Pride means when I think of my friends and family members who have lived their truths in different decades of this movement. From heartache, anger, joy, and elation to fear for them losing rights, to fighting again. It is a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts for sure. 

As someone who was a young adult in the ’80s watching the horrific treatment of the LGBTQIA+ community was devastating to my heart.  In the 90’s I lived in Vancouver BC on Davie Street.  It was here I learned the most about the community. I was able to witness Pride parades and develop true lasting friendships. For me Pride is about human rights, it is about people living their true, authentic self, 100% fully expressed. Love is love.  We as humans have the capacity to love in huge powerful ways. Pride encourages and empowers us all to live out loud, to join together to stand up for our fellow humans in love.” 

Teena Ellison, Director of Housing Services 

“Pride is about defiance in the face of bigotry, hope for a more inclusive future, and the recognition of the fight that continues. It is self-expression, creativity, and a stubborn self-assurance that every person is valuable just the way they are and just the way they see themselves.” 

Nathan Jackson, Communications Manager 

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