Borderland residents are invited to take part in a brainstorming roundtable to explore the feasibility of holding a “Pride” celebration in the Fort Frances and International Falls area in 2018.
It is slated for Wednesday, July 12 at 7 p.m. at Knox United Church in Fort Frances.
All are welcome to attend and light refreshments will be provided.
Residents also are encouraged to write the committee with any questions or suggestions via e-mail at email@example.com,
“June is 'Pride' month, with celebrations recognizing the unique identities and struggles of the LGBTQ2 community taking place across Canada and the United States,” said Peter Howie, a Fort Frances lawyer and one of the organizers of the roundtable.
“We know that the Rainy River District and Koochiching County are progressive, forward-thinking communities, but there continues to be a need for improved visibility and understanding of LGBTQ2 individuals,” he noted.
LGBTQ2 stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirited.
The rainbow flag is the symbol for “Pride”-its colour bands reflecting the diversity of the LGBTQ2 community.
The steering committee behind the initiative consists of LGBTQ2 individuals and allies from across the region and area First Nations.
The committee is open to new members and hopes to recruit more at the upcoming roundtable.
“Canada, in particular, has come a long way in the advancement of rights of LGBTQ2 individuals,” said Howie.
“Same-sex marriage was not the final frontier to full inclusion and equality for LGBTQ2 individuals and families-on either side of the border,” he added.
“Showing our openness as a community is important for our growth, and for supporting and retaining our young people.”
“Pride” celebrations often include a parade or march, pub night, musical performances, picnics, educational sessions at schools or libraries, and/or rainbow-themed events-but they can be tailored to reflect the needs of the local community.
A Borderland area “Pride" would not be the first in the region-Kenora "Pride" was celebrated on Friday (June 23) while Dryden held its first-ever "Pride” back on June 8.
Thunder Bay's “Thunder Pride” and Elliot Lake Pride are some of the more established festivals in the Northern Ontario Pride Network.
“Celebrating 'Pride' is often a much bigger, bolder accomplishment in the smallest of places,” said Howie.
“We are really excited about the possibility to work with community partners to bring an inclusive, family-oriented event to Borderland,” he enthused.
This article originally appeared in the Fort Frances Times.