August 9, 2020
This statement is to let our community members know that there was an unwelcome RCMP presence at Yukon Pride Flag raising ceremony on July 31, 2020.
We personally told the RCMP that uniforms and other symbols of the RCMP were not welcome at the Yukon Pride Festival on July 15, 2020. The officers we spoke with included the Chief Superintendent of the RCMP “M” Division.
On July 31, 2020, the same officers we spoke to at length broke our agreement and attended the Progress Pride Flag Raising Ceremony at the Yukon Legislative Assembly in uniform.
This visible police presence at the event caused confusion, anxiety and a sense of intimidation for some community members who were there. Queer Yukon Society sincerely apologizes to our community for not taking immediate action. It is our responsibility to create safer spaces at our events by clearly communicating our policies and implementing them. We have made a plan to respond immediately to any future police presence at our events.
Following the incident, we took the following actions to express our concerns:
In response to the second letter, the Chief Superintendent finally offered an apology and took some responsibility on August 5.
However, the other high-ranking RCMP officer involved in this matter also responded to Queer Yukon in an email. He apologized at first and then justified his presence at the flag raising ceremony, clearly demonstrating that he did not respect or understand why we have a policy on police participation in Pride. He also accused Queer Yukon of “practicing an ‘eye for an eye’ approach” and “discriminating” against police before adding that we should “show more tolerance.” The officer also insisted that Queer Yukon help the RCMP without mention of financial compensation.
Neither officer explained why they did not attend the event in plain clothes.
We call on the RCMP to reflect on what happened, the impact it had on community members, and why we, like many Prides, do not allow their symbols at our events. We are deeply disappointed with the RCMP’s commanding officers, who chose to disrespect our clearly stated wishes, and felt entitled to attend our events in uniforms and with other symbols of their police force without the consent of our community.
To our community members, we welcome your thoughts and concerns regarding this issue as we continue to work to keep our community safe for everyone. Comments can be sent to email@example.com or made anonymously at: https://www.queeryukon.com/community-safety.html
July 31, 2020
The murder of George Floyd by police, caught on camera, was the catalyst for protests against police brutality around the world. But police have a long history of violence against Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, in Canada and elsewhere. In recent months, Indigenous, Black and Persons of Colour who have died during interactions with the police include Chantel Moore, Rodney Levi and Ejaz Ahmed Choudry.
We also remember the violent and discriminatory history of police in dealing with queer and trans people. Too often, we have been disproportionately targeted for enforcement activities, and our experiences of homophobic and transphobic harassment and violence ignored or downplayed. Police continue to overpolice and under-protect many segments of Canadian society, including Indigenous and Black people, People of Colour, trans people, sex workers, people who use drugs and others.
In solidarity with Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, and members of the LGBTQ2S+ community who are protesting police brutality and systemic racism, we are joining other Pride festivals across Canada by announcing that any visible police presence is not welcome at the Yukon Pride festival. This means:
Although there is no planned police involvement in the 2020 Yukon Pride Festival to this point, this decision will stand for future years. As an organization, Queer Yukon Society prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. We will continue to listen to, and take direction from, our community members on this issue, and in particular queer and trans Indigenous, Black and people of colour. We have communicated this decision to the RCMP. We continue to call for police accountability on these issues, as well as comprehensive reforms to end violent and discriminatory police practices and institutionalized racism in Canada and around the world.
In Pride & Solidarity,
Queer Yukon Society Board of Directors
Queer Yukon Society is offering funding to Black, Indigenous, People of Colour* who want to organize QTBIPOC-focused events for the 2020 Yukon Pride Festival happening from August 1 – 9. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than July 9, 2020 to tell us you’re interested and a brief idea of the event you would like to organize!
*We recognize that the labels we have listed here do not work for everyone.
Who: We are seeking Queer and Trans folks who are Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (QTBIPOC) who are living in (or recently left) the Yukon to help organize events for the 2020 Yukon Pride Festival.
What: QTBIPOC people are invited to plan and organize the events they would like to see for Yukon Pride 2020. Organizers will receive event planning support from the Pride Planning Committee. Our goal is to make space for the QTBIPOC community to create the events they want to see. Queer Yukon has up to $5,000 available for this initiative which can include honoraria of up to $500 for event organizers. While we seek to fund as many projects as possible, we cannot guarantee that every project idea will be funded
Where: Events can be held online or, if held in-person, must follow the Yukon health’s COVID-19-related guidelines. Both online and in-person events should focus on the Yukon community. In-person events must be held in Yukon, but do not have to take place in Whitehorse.
When: Events will ideally take place between August 1 – 9, 2020 as part of Yukon Pride Festival. Potential event organizers are asked to express interest before July 9, 2020.
Why: Community members have helped Queer Yukon Society see the gaps in our 2020 Yukon Pride Festival line-up and that we need to improve the way we engage QTBIPOC community members. We are working to ensure QTBIPOC people feel safe, heard and well-represented in our organization. We are committed to continuing to identify ways our organization can support QTBIPOC community members.
How: Send an email to Emily Tredger at: email@example.com to say you’re interested in organizing an event and your general idea. No experience as an event organizer required. Our Pride Planning team will support you in developping your event.
Community Safety: We understand that QTBIPOC community members experience racism and homo/bi/transphobia within broader society as well as within the LGBTQ2S+ community. Queer Yukon Society will not tolerate racism, homo/bi/transphobia, harassment or discrimination of any kind at our events and will not hesitate to remove people from our community spaces and online events. To ensure the basic safety of our QTBIPOC organizers and performers, we are developing a clear anti-harassment policy, a code of conduct, complaint procedures, and an online moderation plan for this year's Pride events.
Queer Yukon Society and All Genders Yukon Society condemn racism in all its forms. We condemn police brutality and murder, and we condemn quiet complacency with the racist status quo. We stand with the protestors who are putting their bodies on the line to create change. We know that as queer and trans people, we have the rights we have today because of the work of activists—many of whom have been Black, Indigenous, and of colour. We know it is time to repay that debt.
Queer Yukon Society and All Genders Yukon Society will not stay silent – we are adding our voices to those calling for change and an end to systemic violence in our community and across the world. As individuals, we are committed to doing this work by examining our privilege and biases, unlearning racism, and standing alongside racialized people in the fight for rights and equality. In addition to our individual efforts, our boards commit to being accountable, learning and growing from our mistakes, engaging in anti-racism training, and to actively listening to Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour.
We commit to looking at our boards, committees and events and ensure that Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour are increasingly represented and feel safe, and respected. We commit to consulting with Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour in the development of the Yukon Pride Centre, with the goal of creating an anti-racist space that responds to the needs of queer and trans Black people, Indigenous people and people of colour.
This is not the end of our conversation on racism. We want to hear from our community and take direction from queer and trans Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour.
Queer Yukon Society and All Genders Yukon Society will be making a donation to Black Health Alliance, a community-led registered charity working to improve the health and well-being of Black communities in Canada. We commit to this being one of many steps towards being an actively anti-racist organization.
We hope all our members and allies will also commit to unlearning racism and we have included a few resources for those wanting to get started. If you can contribute financially to support anti-racist work, some suggested links are included below as well.
Queer Yukon Society & All Genders Yukon Society
To contact Queer Yukon: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact All Genders Yukon Society: AGYSboard@gmail.com
10 Steps to Non-Optical Allyship
12 (Mostly) Canadian Books about Racism, Anti-Blackness, and Anti-Racism, Plus Places to Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
An Essential Reading Guide For Fighting Racism
Guide to Allyship
How to Ally: Do’s and Don’ts
Places to Donate
Black Health Alliance
Black Lives Matter - Toronto
Black Lives Matter – Vancouver
Black Youth Helpline
Calgary Black Empowerment Fund
Federation of Black Canadians
Justice for Regis
Minnesota Freedom Fund
Official George Floyd Memorial Fund
Queer Yukon Society (QYS) was launched in 2013 as a small group of dedicated volunteers with the goal of providing opportunities for the LGBTQ2S+ community to gather, socialize and support one another – primarily through social gatherings and the establishment of a Pride Festival in the Yukon.
All Genders Yukon Society (AGYS) is focused on providing services to members of the Trans, Two-Spirit, Non-binary and questioning community, as well as their primary supports (significant others and family). AGYS helps community members by facilitating the funding of mental health services for members of the community (including single, couples, and group sessions), supporting outreach so community members can connect with other members one-on-one and get individualized support, and connecting folks with information about how to access trans-friendly medical services.
Together, our organizations are working together to develop capacity within our community and to establish the Yukon Pride Centre.
Earlier this month, Queer Yukon Society’s pride committee announced that the 2020 Yukon Pride Festival: 24 Hours of Gaylight, scheduled for June would be postponed.
Well, we have news!
Even if we can’t celebrate pride in-person this year, we can still celebrate together! We are now pleased to announce that Yukon Pride 2020 will be happening virtually (with some maybe-not-so-virtual events, too!), during the first two weeks of August 2020!
The event line-up will be announced soon, so stay tuned!
As we are entering Pride Month, this postponement also gives us time to think about the history and meaning of Pride Parades and Celebrations. It gives us time to reflect on the communities Queer Yukon and Yukon Pride are serving and reflect on how we are moving forward. Our theme this year, “Remote Connections” invites Yukoners from across the Territory to be part of the Pride celebrations.
In the lead up to Yukon Pride 2020, there will be many ways to stay connected, to celebrate, and to show your pride! In the coming weeks, we will announce some of our community events, contests and calls for performers. We are also inviting LGBTQ2S+ community members to contact us if they are interested in hosting their own events.
Throughout the month of June 2020, we also invite you to share with us what Yukon Pride means to you and how you would like to see the festival grow as we serve Yukon’s 2SLGBTQ+ communities at: email@example.com
We know that Pride is a life-giving moment for our community and we want to honour that with our celebrations this year. We hope you can join us as we come together in new ways to celebrate Pride across the Yukon!
Find Queer Yukon online at:
About queer yukon society
Queer Yukon Society supports, promotes, and organizes events for the LGBTQ2S+ community and our allies in Whitehorse, Yukon. Officially incorporated in 2018, Queer Yukon has been organizing Yukon Pride since 2013, as well as many other events to bring together LGBTQ2S+ and allied Yukoners to build a strong and vibrant community.