This year, more than 60 BMO colleagues, friends, and family members from across the National Capital region gathered to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community by marching in the Capital Pride Parade.
BMO Pride’s participation was a significant moment as our first year marching in the Capital Pride Parade. It was a particularly special moment for BMO to participate in the parade, as this year we also commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that were the turning point in LGBTQ+ history and marked the future of pride celebrations across North America and beyond.
In honour of our participation in the Capital Pride Parade and the historic anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the importance of Pride. Pride creates community. It offers space for LGBTQ+ folks and allies to unite, to discuss, connect, and celebrate. In the midst of the fun and entertainment that Pride creates, we must also take this as a unique opportunity to reflect on how far the LGBTQ+ community has come, and how far we have left to go.
Pride is about the LGBTQ+ struggle to be visible in our communities, to create a society where we don’t have to hide our sexual or gender identities. We need to amplify LGBTQ+ voices. And we need folks to support this message all year round, not just when we put on our rainbow wigs and beads.
Participating in the Capital Pride Parade was fun. It was an opportunity to cheer, share smiles, dress up in sequins, glitter, and rainbows and dance! Amidst the fun, participation in the parade also holds political and socio-cultural significance. It’s about our commitment to boldly grow the good, to drive change for good, and to enable growth for everyone. Pride is so much fun because it’s the one day we exist in a place where people are free to be themselves. Imagine the magnificent beauty of a life where this was true every day.
This is why I am a part of BMO Pride, an enterprise-wide group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) and ally employees committed to promoting an equitable and inclusive environment for all. It’s important that our BMO team is free to be their human, authentic selves. It’s important to be reflective of the diverse community we serve. It’s important to be seen, accepted, valued, and welcomed, for our colleagues and clients. I believe diversity, representation and visibility is important and a strength. This is what BMO Pride is all about.
Abbie Sizer is a feminist, banker, mover & shaker. She is recognized as a prominent voice in Ottawa’s business community as a champion of diversity and inclusion. Beyond her role as an Associate Private Banker with BMO Private Banking, Abbie advocates for LGBTQ+ inclusion as the Regional Director of BMO Pride and is on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Business Network.