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Northwestern Ontario Prides to host townhall with federal ministers on rural 2SLGBTIQ+ issues

Thunder Pride Association and Borderland Pride will host a virtual townhall meeting on issues facing 2SLGBTIQ+ people in rural and northern communities, such as those in Northwestern Ontario.

The event, to be held online, will take place on Thursday, June 18, 2020 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM ET (6:00 to 7:30 PM CT). The speakers on this virtual panel will include:

  • Hon. Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth;

  • Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health and M.P. for Thunder Bay—Superior North; and

  • Dr. Marcus Powlowski, M.P. for Thunder Bay—Rainy River.

The discussion will be moderated by and include participants from Pride organizations in the region, including Jason Veltri (Thunder Pride), Douglas Judson (Borderland Pride), and Catherine Kiewning (Rainbow Alliance Dryden).

The townhall comes with an important intersection in mind. Visibility for 2SLGBTIQ+ communities is crucial especially in rural and semi-rural communities. Further, rights for 2SLGBTIQ+ communities are human rights, and these should not continue to be up for debate in any jurisdiction or at any level of government. This is why Borderland Pride’s ‘Pride Lives Here’ campaign found widespread support, and has now enlisted thousands of supporters from communities across Northwestern Ontario and elsewhere in the province, including Thunder Bay, Fort Frances, Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout and beyond.

Members of the community are invited to register for the webinar or to watch the live-streamed video, which will be available on the Facebook pages for Thunder Pride and Borderland Pride. To submit questions ahead of time, please email: or

Registration and log-in details for the event is available on Facebook at



“The role of Pride in smaller communities is top of mind right now because the pandemic has reminded many of us what isolation can feel like – and that is a feeling that is all too familiar to 2SLGBTIQ+ kids in many of the smaller communities across our region. This discussion is about how we can bring Pride to all of the small places where it continues to be invisible – often where 2SLGBTIQ+ people continue to experience extreme homophobia, transphobia and a lot of misunderstanding.” - Jason Veltri, Chair, Thunder Pride Association

“Pride Month is as much about celebrating diversity as it is about building awareness of some of the challenges facing queer and trans people in our communities. Canada positions itself as a forward-thinking and inclusive country, but many of our smaller communities are still playing catch-up. We appreciate federal leaders coming together to acknowledge that we need to do more to build supportive environments for 2SLGBTIQ+ people outside of major centres, where the resources, role models, and rainbows are harder to find.” - Douglas Judson, Co-Chair, Borderland Pride


Douglas Judson Co-Chair, Borderland Pride Email:

Jason Veltri Chair, Thunder Pride Email:



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