“Lover’s Stance” by Terran McNeely, one of the original artworks for sale until July 31 at CRUSH. Photography courtesy of Xposed.
Here are ways to continue the support you cultivated throughout Pride Month, from shopping for art and making donations to watching TV (seriously).
Date June 29, 2021
Pride Month is coming to a close, but allyship and support for LGBTQ+ communities is needed all year round. Below you’ll find all sorts of ways you can continue the support you cultivated throughout Pride Month, from shopping and making donations to watching TV (seriously).
Donate directly to queer folks
One of the best things you can do to support LGBTQ+ communities is to skip the middle person and support queers directly. If you follow lots of queer folks on social media, it’s likely you’re already part of a mutual-support network and frequently see calls for donations to help individuals out when they’re going through hardships — financial and otherwise. This is what’s commonly known as mutual aid; a community-driven approach to offering folks in a tight spot goods, services, cash, and other forms of support rather than an every person for themselves mindset.
If mutual aid is new to you, GoFundMe is a great place to start. The fundraising site has a bevy of queer causes you can donate to, from a current fundraiser to keep Winnipeg’s only gay bar, Club 200, alive to ones for individual queers in precarious situations.
GoFundMe has already paid out $100,000 this year for people fundraising for gender reassignment surgeries (GrS) and has a whole section of its site with a guide to current fundraisers for GrS. Canadian provinces cover the hard costs of GrS, but feminizing procedures like breast augmentations and facial feminization are not covered by Canadian healthcare. Having surgery also means taking time to recover, which means lost wages for many trans folks. This is a particular challenge because trans people already experience poverty at disproportionate levels; a 2015 study found the median income for trans people in Canada was just $15,000 at the time.
You’ll also find groups like the Toronto Kiki Ballroom Alliance (TKBA) on GoFundMe. The organization produces balls in Toronto (think Pose and Legendary) but it also creates ample opportunities for LGBT Black and Brown youth, some of whom experience problems like homelessness and food insecurity. TKBA is a truly grassroots organization that’s on the ground supporting and uplifting BIPOC queer youth.
Support queer businesses and content
A stroll through the Pink Pages directory will prove that no matter what product or service you’re looking for, there’s likely a queer person selling it. There’s also Canada’s queer-owned and run Flamingo Market, an online marketplace for LGBTQSIA+ artists where you can pick up everything from Pride-themed Indigenous beadwork to harnesses and penis-shaped candles.
For music, cruise the queer tag on Bandcamp, where you can stream and purchase music directly from creators. Yohomo’s Spotify playlist of queer Canadian artists is another treasure trove of great queer content. My personal Pride playlist this year includes Rina Sawayama, Sofia Fly, and Tafari Anthony — loads of bops from all three.
Watching TV shows and films with queer characters is an easy, fun way to discover new viewpoints from the LBTQ+ community, but try to seek out content from queer writers, directors, and creators. Australia’s Please Like Me (streaming on Netflix), Canada’s Queens (streaming free on CBC Gem), and Lena Waithe’s show Twenties (BET) are all good examples. OutTVGo, available for $3.99 through its own site or via Amazon Prime, has a deep catalogue of queer-created content you’re not likely to find elsewhere like British show Banana and its sister series Cucumber, the trans panel show translation, and the Canadian documentary Snow Queen. It’s also got Drag Race, but if you love that show, consider supporting drag beyond RuPaul by watching drag shows on Twitch channels like The House Royale, Madelynn Hatter, and Speakeasy TV. And don’t forget to tip your digital performers!
Show your support with your ballot
One of the most effective — and free! — ways to support queer folks all year round is by holding politicians accountable for how they treat the LGBTQ+ community. This starts with looking up platforms on campaign sites during election season and checking out politicians’ approaches to LGBTQ+ issues. If you don’t see anything on their site, there might be a reason why — reach out and ask.
There’s research that shows LGBTQ+ issues don’t rank highly among Canadians’ concerns when they head to the polls. Being an ally means helping to change this by advocating for issues that impact us, like police brutality against queer people. The group ProudPolitics showcases queer candidates for office in Canada, but their platforms need double checked, too — being queer doesn’t automatically mean your actions support other queers.
If you’re looking to put your allyship into action, one of the best places to start is the “Action” section of Egale’s website, which has information about a range of issues including solidarity with Indigenous communities, safer and accepting schools, and the organization’s challenge to the constitutionality of aesthetic surgeries on interesex infants and children. Egale provides the reliable information you’ll need to write to your elected officials about queer topics — and a petition about nearly every topic you’ll see is a quick Google away.
Donate directly to an organization
The world’s longest-running queer bookstore, Toronto’s Glad Day Book Shop, is far more than a store. The business has transformed into a queer community builder and a venue for everything from drag shows to poetry readings and political events. The pandemic has put Glad Day in a difficult position financially, which makes now an excellent time to donate to Glad Day Lit. The fund both helps to keeps the business open and also supports queer folks directly through its Emergency Survival Fund, which offers grants, no-interest loans, and paid work to LGBTQ2S artists, performers and tip-based workers.
In terms of mid- and large-size organizations that support queer folks, Rainbow Railroad is one of the absolute best. The global organization helps LGTBQI+ people facing persecution based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics. According to Rainbow Railroad, the group has helped 1,600 LGBTQI+ individuals find safety through emergency relocation — often to Canada. If you’re in the market for some bright, bold pop art, XPOSED and Yorkville Village have curated an “immersive colour experience” called CRUSH featuring works by six queer Canadian artists this Pride and 100 percent of the proceeds go to Rainbow Railroad.
In the U.S., there’s The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a policy-driven group that was on the forefront of marriage equality and is now campaigning for the Equality Act to pass through congress. Beyond policy campaigns, HRC has a series of programs that support LGBTQ individuals, allies, and institutions.
And on a global level there’s amfAR, an organization with the goal of making AIDS history. This is done through research, which helped pave the way for the COVID-19 vaccines, advocating for public policy, and offering reliable, science-based information to the public.
Whatever organization you choose, remember monthly donations offer the most impact and cut down on costs for the charity, meaning more of your dollars will end up actually helping the cause.