I have attended the Vancouver Pride Parade for several decades. Year after year I would see many other provincial and federal law enforcement organizations in the parade celebrating the unique spirit and culture of the LGBTQ2 community. I often wondered why CSC wasn’t a participant.
In May I contacted Mike Hanly, District Director of Community Corrections and a CSC Positive Space Champion to ask him about this. Shortly after our conversation, we completed a proposal to National Headquarters (NHQ) for us to participate at this year’s parade in our CSC uniforms. It was supported at every level of management, up to the Commissioner, without hesitation.
I believe that CSC’s attendance in pride parades across the country is important because people need to feel comfortable being themselves in order for them to effectively carry out their duties. As a female correctional officer who is openly gay, I have never felt inhibited and or held back due to discrimination; but that is not everyone’s story. We all do important work where we rely on each other for our safety and we can only be our best when we all feel supported in our work environment.
Attending this year’s Vancouver Pride Parade was one of the best experiences of my life. CSC is not often seen in public, so walking down the streets with support and cheers from the crowds brought tears to my eyes. I could see members of the public reading the side of our vehicle and then cheering even louder and saying “thank you for your service and the job you do.” Marching in the parade will remain one of my proudest moments.
I encourage all employees to stand in unity with our LGBTQ2 brothers and sisters and attend this exciting event in years to come. Thank you to everyone who made this year’s attendance possible, including members of senior management at Pacific Institution, the regional guard of honour, and uniformed/non-uniformed staff members. Together we were able to make the Pacific Region the first region in Canada to participate in a pride parade.
Correctional Officer II