Borderland Pride has a full roster of events for Pride Week 2018, the first time the week has been recognized by the local organization and local communities.
Events will be held in Fort Frances and International Falls July 9-15.
“Today is a big day for Borderland’s LGBTQ2A community and LGBTQ2A people who call this place their home,” said Douglas Judson, co-chair of Borderland Pride. “It’s a turning point for local LGBTQ2 acceptance.”
LGBTQ2A stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and two-spirit community and their straight allies.
The week also offers a chance for the community as a whole to showcase its support for LGBTQ2 diversity and inclusion.
“The goal this year is visibility," said Judson in a news release. "We want to show that there is widespread community support here for LGBTQ2 young people and queer families, and to give area residents and organizations an opportunity to demonstrate that they stand with us as allies."
Highlights of Pride Week 2018 include:
A screening and discussion of the award-winning film "Fire Song," at 6 p.m. at the Fort Frances Public Library. The film tells the story of a gay Anishinaabe youth in Northern Ontario.
Fort Fabulous Friday – a reception featuring appearances by drag stars Prairie Sky, Pharaoh Moans, and Cake at 8 p.m. at From the Grind Up in Fort Frances. Sky has ties to Couchiching First Nation.
Passport to Pride March and flag ceremony, marking the local celebration as one of the first Pride marches to cross an international border. To take part, gather at 10 a.m. at Smokey Bear Park in International Falls.
Community BBQueer – a free community lunch with performances by local talent from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the Rainy Lake Square, Fort Frances.
A community church service on the themes of LGBTQ2 Pride, inclusion, and diversity at 10:30 a.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Fort Frances.
A family movie night, showing "Love, Simon" – a touching story for the GSA-era (gay straight alliance) at 6:30 p.m. in the Backus Auditorium in the Falls.
The full listing of events is available on Borderland Pride’s website (www.borderlandpride.org) and Facebook page (facebook.com/BorderlandPride).
“Many people see footage on TV of very ostentatious Pride parades and celebrations in larger cities, but they should know that the Pride event you'll see in a smaller community looks like any other family-oriented festival, fair, or picnic,” said Judson. “Our Pride Week events are all free to attend and open to all ages. There are numerous ways for local organizations to get in on the spirit.”
All downtown businesses in the Fort and Falls were also given a rainbow Pride flag in May and asked to display it or decorate their storefronts during Pride Week.
“In small towns, we support the businesses and organizations who support the things we care about. We applaud those who fly our flag, and we would like to give a huge thank you to the organizations which have offered other support and assistance with this project,” said Judson. “Their enthusiasm has helped drive and inspire the planning process.”
Individuals or organizations interested in sponsoring or helping out during Pride Week can contact Borderland Pride at firstname.lastname@example.org or (807) 861-3684.
Borderland Pride was formed after a series of community consultations and roundtables spearheaded by local organizers last summer.
Pride Week was officially proclaimed by the town of Fort Frances and the city of International Falls earlier this year, and civic leaders on both sides of the border have been invited to deliver remarks as part of the flag ceremony and Pride March on July 14.
This article originally appeared in the International Falls Journal.