#DisplayYourPride 2021: Centering Resistance, Joy, and Creativity

Icon resembling communitity with the colours and designs inspired by the LGBTQ+ progress flag.

Each year the Innovation Hub joins all three U of T campuses to celebrate Pride Month and #UofTPride with the annual #DisplayYourPride event. This year, our Senior Project Assistant – Kaitlyn Corlett (she/her/hers) is reflecting on what Pride means to her this year at the Innovation Hub through the lenses of allyship, art, and resistance.

Kaitlyn looking towards the camera, wearing a black shirt and long pink beaded earrings.

This year, there seems to be a deeper pull of responsibility and reflection that many of my peers have also shared as this Pride Month approached. Growing up in Canada, Pride has always been the highlight of my summer. It wasn’t until last June – in this major virtual shift – where there was suddenly a lot of space to realize how much I didn’t know about Pride and the histories woven throughout. As an ally, it was a time to reflect and learn about the roots of Pride Month and engage with communities and spaces beyond the parades I went to that were sponsored by large corporations. In light of this, I want to take a few moments to reflect on allyship, resistance, and joy within Queer and LGBTQ2SIA+ communities – and why this is so important.   

Histories to Acknowledge 

This year’s contribution builds on our 2020 #DisplayYourPride post, which centered intersectionality and the Black queer and trans-identified folx who catalyzed LGBTQ2SIA+ movements in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, from which Pride Parades in the United States and Canada grew.1 Additionally, labour movements, the Black Civil Rights Movement, youth counterculture, and so many more moments in history interconnect with what Pride is today, and who is (or needs to be) equitably represented.2 For example, it wasn’t until 1990 in Winnipeg, Canada that the term Two-Spirit (2S) was woven into LGBTQ2SIA+ to acknowledge various gender identities and expressions of Indigenous folx. It was an important addition to acknowledge Indigenous identities and begin decolonizing facets of Pride and its history.3 

Research shows that Black LGBTQ2SIA+ communities, Transgender folx, and those with disabilities continue to experience more barriers to inclusion in political, social, economic and LGBTQ2SIA+ spaces and opportunities.4 While there’s so much to celebrate, Pride is a reminder that there is still a long way to go. It continues to evolve and shift facets of mainstream systems, structures, and cultures that are still unsafe for many individuals. We have seen this in the last year throughout the world, from Black Lives Matter, administrations actively harming LGBTQ2SIA+ rights and access to resources, and increased police brutality in BIPOC and LGBTQ2SIA+ communities worldwide.  

A Space for Joy 

Pride Progress Flag
The Progress Flag: Designed in 2018 by Graphic designer Daniel Quasar

While these histories that I’ve mentioned are heavy and complex, it’s important to remember that Pride is a powerful and celebratory space generations continue to fight for. Through joy, creativity, and artistry there’s resistance and strength. Celebrating queer love, representation, opportunity, creativity, and innovation is a radical act we can all be intentional about, and truly uplift LGBTQ2SIA+ communities. There are many ways to do this, from actively contributing to LGBTQ2SIA+ communities and spaces, holding space for conversation and opportunities, or advocating for LGBTQ2SIA+ rights. These are some of many aspects that we can all do to ensure Pride is not a performative space – it’s transformative and incredible.  

Hand holding resources and information.

With this, we’re excited to share our virtual gallery of Queer and LGBTQ2SIA+ artists and creatives that our team at the Innovation Hub has compiled. This is by no means a complete list but we hope that this gallery opens new conversations, ways of thinking and celebrating, and opportunities for you to directly support LGBTQ2SIA+ art and resistance.  

Happy Pride, all – and we look forward to many other creative contributions at #DisplayYourPride holds space for this year! To interact with the artists our team has curated and resources available this Pride Month at U of T, click the titles below.

Our #DisplayYourPride Virtual Gallery

Visual Artists:

A person standing in a brightly lit and colourful studio

Mando (Amanda Wand) https://www.mandoandtheworld.com/abouttheartist

Mando (Amanda Wand) is a Toronto-based abstract intuitive painter that uses painting to process her lived experiences and emotions. She does not plan her pieces, instead, she allows her vulnerability to lead the way. As a prolific painter, this process creates multiple authentic works representing the full spectrum of human emotion. Every piece is an extension of her subconscious and they all hold a certain energy and message. Her work is influenced by how people treat others and themselves. It explores concepts of connectivity, identity, and self-worth. Mando has exhibited her work in group shows in Toronto (Twist Gallery, Arta Gallery) and New York City (Agora Gallery). She is currently represented by Kefi Art Gallery and Esperanto Gallery. Website: https://prod.virtualagent.utoronto.ca/

Redwood Bead by Talitha Tolles

A floral logo that says 'Redwood Bead'Talitha Tolles (she/her) is an Indigiqueer facilitator, storyteller, artist, and above all else, a strong, resilient, Métis woman. Talitha comes from the Vasseur-Longlade family line who were Drummond Island Voyageurs that fought to create what is known today as the Georgian Bay Métis Community. Today Talitha lives, works and plays in Prince Edward County…. All of this lived experience this has led Talitha to her true passion, Redwood Bead. Redwood Bead is a small business focusing on traditional and contemporary jewelry design. All techniques have been learned from incredible artists around Turtle Island but her most patient and loving teacher has been her Mother. Website: https://www.redwoodbead.com/

Marisa Fulper

Marisa Fulper Estrada is a non-binary Colombian-American designer / artist / writer / thinker who keeps a book in one hand and a piece of chocolate in the other. They are from Ann Arbor, Michigan, have lived in Copenhagen, Mexico City, Detroit, Berlin, and call Toronto home. Website: http://marisafulper.com/


  • Billy-Ray Belcourt: is a writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation. His work spans from award winning poetry, books, creative and more that navigate queerness, life experiences, and more. Learn more at: https://billy-raybelcourt.com/

  • Dionne Brand: is a renowned poet, novelist, and essayist. Her writing is notable for the beauty of its language, and for its intense engagement with issues of social justice, including particularly issues of gender and race. Learn more at: https://www.uoguelph.ca/arts/sets/people/dionne-brand

  • Kai Cheng Thom: is a writer, performer, cultural worker and speaker. Their core message in all of their work is “we need to discover a revolutionary love” through poetry, song and movement, and in words delivered straight from their soul. Learn more at: https://kaichengthom.com/
  • Leanne Simpson: is a “Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist, who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Her work breaks open the intersections between politics,  story and song—bringing audiences into a rich and layered world of sound, light, and sovereign creativity.” Learn more at: https://www.leannesimpson.ca/about
  • Rita Wong: is an author of five books of poetry. “Building from her doctoral dissertation which examined labour in Asian North American literature, her work investigates the relationships between contemporary poetics, social justice, ecology, and decolonization.” Learn more: http://blogs.eciad.ca/ritawong/

Authors: In addition to these incredible artists and creatives, we invite you to also visit this article by CNN on 20 books that are essential to reading this Pride Month

Resources Available and Additional Notes

Additional Notes

  • LGBTQ2SIA+: This acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, two-spirit, Intersexed, Asexual and + is for anywhere on this spectrum and intersections along that spectrum. 
  • Folx: This term is a gender-neutral way to refer to everyone and acknowledge the significance of the LGBTQ2SIA plus communities. 
  • Queer: While the word “queer” is not unproblematic in its history, it is widely accepted within university contexts as an umbrella term for all identities that deviate from heterosexual and cisgender norms. We recognize that many LGBTQ+ individuals are not comfortable with the term, but we support the efforts of the university’s queer community to reclaim the term. 
  • BIPOC: This term stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. We recognize that this general term to acknowledge these groups. In anti-racist and intersectional dialogues we must also acknowledge specific groups, races, and identities to ensure that anti-racist dialogues are not generalized.
  • Two-Spirit: The term Two Spirit has existed in indigenous communities for countless generations prior to LGBTQ+ terminology. This was coined 1990 In Winnipeg, Canada as a means of unifying various gender identities and expressions of Indigenous individuals, and it a broad term that not all Indigenous communities necessarily identify with.

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