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Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

New Year’s Revolution

In 2024, let’s focus on changing “small” things as the first steps towards a future where we won’t be afraid of our identities…

By Luis Augusto Nobre 

The end of the year is a perfect time to reflect on our attitudes and behaviours and to plan what we want to achieve in the following year. 2023 has been so intense that talking about it would require years of studies and more verbiage than this space allows, not to mention mental health support. But I want to write something other than a recap about what happened, for good and evil. I’m proud of the advancements that we experienced in Canada and worldwide related to our queer rights. I’m terrified by the legislative setbacks witnessed in this country, our neighbour to the south, and other countries. We still have a couple of weeks to see the end of 2023.

We are in 2023-2024, not in medieval times. It’s sad to deal with and have to handle these regressions after so many years of inclusion progress and improvements. The provoked division creates more social segregation, reflecting many intersectional identities and keeping the more vulnerable from constant threats and vigilantes. Because of that, I want to do an exercise about imagining a better future we can build together. You might think it’s a silly and utopian idea, but as I learned with Amélie Poulain, “Times are tough for dreamers.” Bear with me, make yourself comfortable, and try to visualize our future, with the conviction that we will make those dreams come true.

The first thing I would love to see in 2024 is a collective refusal of all anti-trans projects in Canada and worldwide, mainly those that are dressed up to say they protect children but exclude trans and queer kids. Many of us have experienced bullying directly related to our identities and sexuality, or had to be a wallflower to avoid direct violence. We see atrocities in movies and TV shows that have been inspired by real cases; each school environment will have nuances to say we are not welcome. On the other hand, some schools, classmates and teachers will be our best allies and ensure that we are safe. They support initiatives like the one that created Pink T-shirt Day.

I didn’t grow up in Canada, but being bullied was my reality, pushing me not to live authentically in school. For sure, it affected my confidence and my coming out process – two things that I don’t wish for any queer person. I want to see more friendly school environments that celebrate a sex education curriculum that is age-appropriate and teaches important topics about consent, harassment, bullying, toxic masculinity, sexual orientation, inclusion and, most importantly, respect. Those who are against it haven’t read the curriculum or want to maintain the abusive status quo.

Addressing those sex-ed topics would put us in better positions to educate future generations and ensure inclusive spaces. It would be impossible to go backwards as we are witnessing today with so many anti-2SLGBTQIA+ movements and legislation popping up. Our queer and trans communities would be protected and intentionally included in decision-making and leadership initiatives. Hopefully, many of us will occupy leadership roles in governments and the private sector, assuring access to future generations. So far, it’s a not-enough reality.

Another change I would love to see is the disassociation between politics and religion in all countries and levels. I understand and respect people’s faith, but civil rights should govern us, ensuring that no one would be prosecuted because of their sexuality, religion, ethnicity, race, or any other aspect of their identity. It’s a fact that queer prosecution in many countries is based on some religious beliefs, convicting LGBTQIA+ people to capital punishment or their own fate. Some people can afford to seek protection in other countries, like Canada; others have to hide and fight for their lives.

Talking about fights for people’s lives, one more wish is to end the housing crisis. Everyone deserves affordable housing, and there are many social groups where a lack of housing impacts them harder, not just because of a lower income. We must be aware that the housing crisis isn’t just economic but social. All too often, landlords consider other aspects of potential renters before making their decision on whether or not to rent to that person,, and their decisions could be based on the renter’s identity and background. 

I once heard from an active member of the trans communities in Toronto that many property owners deny rent to trans folks without explanation. Only two words come to mind: transphobia and prejudice. This experience isn’t exclusive to queer and trans community members. I have seen Indigenous people, Black people, non-white immigrants and people with visible disabilities sharing similar struggles to find a place to live without so many boundaries.  This feeds the housing crisis beyond the financial aspect.

My last but not least wish for next year is a combination of learning and empathy. I’m not just suggesting formal education processes, but learning about life with our own experiences and with compassion for someone else’s journey. Somehow, we lost this process of getting new knowledge by imagining ourselves in others’ shoes. It is such a simple exercise, but it could take us deep in understanding what we can change for everyone’s betterment.

The suggested combination leads us to delve into ourselves while we develop our people skills, respecting people for who they are and creating safer spaces. The sense of belonging and doing the right thing comes when we achieve that capacity of balancing individualism and collectivism. Exclusion isn’t a word that is present in collective societies, as everyone has their defined contribution to the group’s well-being in all scales. They learn with each other while they ensure and respect everyone’s identity as a welcome individual.

I could have thought bigger, asking for the end of white supremacy and the negative impacts of capitalism, and no more economic, political and social ills. But for next year, I wish to change “small” things as first steps towards a future where we won’t be afraid of our identities, with a place to live and be with our loved ones. Those steps are more tangible, and would be enough to break the machine and start the revolutionary movement for our inclusive future.


LUIS AUGUSTO NOBRE is the senior communications coordinator of Pride at Work Canada/Fierté au travail Canada, a leading national non-profit organization that promotes workplace inclusion on the grounds of gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, visit prideatwork.ca.

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