Aug 16, 2023
Capital Pride is almost here, a week dedicated to the 2SLGBTQIA+ people of Ottawa that spans August 19-27. The theme of this year’s Capital Pride, “Get Proud!”, is both an invitation and an appeal. Capital Pride is a time for celebration and a time to gather with friends, family, and community. But it is also a time to remember that the pursuit of equality is still ongoing.
Ottawans celebrate Capital Pride in August in commemoration of the ‘We Demand Rally’, which took place in Ottawa on August 28th, 1971, and was the first large scale Canadian demonstration opposing discrimination based on sexuality. Ten demands were raised, such as removing and replacing terms from the Criminal Code that targeted homosexual acts, amending the Immigration Act of 1952 to allow homosexual people to enter and immigrate to Canada, and ending the RCMP's practice of seeking out and firing gay and lesbian employees within the federal government. This rally was a starting point for legal reform and further assembly of 2SLGBTQIA+ people.
While these original demands have now been met, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community continues to face challenges. In recent years, there has been an increase in hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation and gender reported to Canadian police, and Toronto Metropolitan University's Centre for Free Expression has records of 91 challenges to Canadian public library collections and programs since 2022 due to being “Pro 2SLGBTQIA+”.
With core values including community, inclusion, and intellectual freedom, Ottawa Public Library remains committed to serving all people of Ottawa regardless of gender, gender expression, or sexuality. We invite you to join us at programs this August and beyond to share and learn. We will continue to provide access to diverse stories and voices, and we encourage you to browse the booklists below for new titles by and about the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Ottawa Public Library is for everyone, and we are so excited to celebrate Capital Pride with all of you.