NSRAP Statement on the Halifax Pride Society AGM 2016

The Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project stands for justice. We stand opposed to straight and cisgender voices violently overpowering and excluding Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual & Aromantic, and Pansexual (2SLGBTQIA+) ones. We affirm the autonomy of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to determine itself what is acceptable at our Pride festivities. NSRAP affirms its dedication to challenging racism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, and creating safe and welcoming spaces for the diversity of our 2SLGBTQIA+ community.  Our commitment to listening and responding to the needs of our queer, two-spirit, and trans BIPOC community is unwavering.

At the Halifax Pride Society Annual General Meeting 2SLGBTQIA+ community members watched in horror as democratic process was taken over by an organized bloc vote of primarily straight cisgender people who pushed through their own views of how we should run a festival that aims to celebrate our own community. NSRAP recognizes that the diversity of our 2SLGBTQIA+ community has been impacted differently by the events of the Halifax Pride Society AGM. For some members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community this was the first time they had experienced a Halifax Pride event that was violently overtaken by outside interests. For the most marginalized members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community the experience of violence, exclusion, and silencing is an annual experience at Halifax Pride events and a daily experience living under the racist colonial state of Canada.

The Halifax Pride Board of Directors have contributed to the alienation that so many 2SLGBTQIA+ members of our community feel. The Board pushed for, and facilitated, a meeting that stripped away any self-determination 2SLGBTQIA+ people had over a festival that is supposed to be for and about us. At the meeting, members of the queer, two-spirit, and trans Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) community called attention to the fact that leadership of Halifax Pride had insisted since early summer that the only way to move forward on issues divisive to our community was to air them at the AGM, a format that pitted unequal sides against each other.

NSRAP questions the relationship of the Halifax Pride Society to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community when it remains clear that the will of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community was repeatedly ignored by straight cisgender members of the Society. The Halifax Pride AGM was pinkwashing in live action. A non-2SLGBTQIA+ group came into our Society purporting to support the cause of 2SLGBTQIA+ people with the numbers to take over the AGM and outvote 2SLGBTQIA+ members even on issues where our voices were united. Before the AGM, Halifax Pride had ostensibly been taken over by pinkwashing: allowing corporations and primarily straight organizations to dominate the parade, community fair, and festivities. After the meeting, Halifax Pride officially stands for the practice of pinkwashing in all its forms.  

In light of the above, we ask Halifax Pride to:

1.  Recognize the illegitimacy of the AGM proceedings, including the board elections, and acknowledge that this illegitimacy represents an abject failure of Halifax Pride to meet its mandate;

2. Immediately call for a Special General Meeting to facilitate changes to the Board to ensure inclusivity through the allocation of seats for BIPOC Board members.  This policy on Director appointments must see that BIPOC positions are filled before the society is able to proceed with any of its work;

3. Amend its membership criteria at this Special General Meeting so that 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals are ensured the opportunity to have their concerns heard and addressed directly by the Board of Directors.  In the event that the Board is unable to address the concerns, a non-oppositional, non-hierarchical space will be facilitated in which the concerns can be mediated by a third party.

In Solidarity,

The Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project Board of Directors

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