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Pride to ambush Emo!

It's an Emo Ambush! Borderland Pride is taking truckloads of queer cheer to a community in need of some rainbows this Pride Month.

On Saturday, June 27, we are taking LGBTQ2 Pride to Emo, Ontario for the very first time in the town's 123-year history! All LGBTQ2 people and their allies are invited to join us for a peaceful protest of pandemic proportions.

Pride supporters are invited to rainbow-up and assemble their vehicles at the Emo Arena parking lot at 11 AM (backup spot: Adelaide Street, next to the arena). Just like the birthday car parades you’ve seen on social media, starting at NOON, our protest-procession of colourful trucks, cars, and queens will sashay through a route that covers most of the community.

This is going to be a 5-kilometre COVID-cavalcade – an expression of our solidarity and support for our LGBTQ2 young people and other groups who continue to experience injustice, violence, hardship, and systemic discrimination because of who they are.

We’re calling all queers and their loved ones to join in, loudly and proudly. Are you the ‘Handiest Handmaid’? A ‘Modern Family’? Or drag royalty fit to be crowned Emo Fair Queen? Prizes will be awarded in several categories between 11 AM and 12 PM, so set your queer eyes to stun and be creative! Check out our list of prize categories.

We encourage participants to bring trucks that their group can ride in the box of. Free Pride flags will be given to each participating vehicle (while supplies last).

Participants are asked to register online in advance if possible.

Please note that social distancing protocols will be followed throughout the event:

  • By covering a large portion of the municipality, most residents will be able to observe from their homes or by walking little more than a block;

  • Video will be live-streamed (or recorded and uploaded) to Facebook so that others can watch online;

  • Participants are asked to participate in or on motor vehicles only (no pedestrians or bicycles, please);

  • Participants with each entry should be families or groups who are isolating together; and

  • At all times, participants must remain in, on, or near their vehicle.

Questions can be directed to In the event of inclement weather, the event will take place on Sunday, June 28. Updates to that effect will be posted on our Facebook event page.



“People across Northwestern Ontario have answered the call of our ‘Pride Lives Here’ campaign, many in direct response to community leaders that have refused to stand with LGBTQ2 people. But Pride continues to be most needed where it faces the greatest opposition or neglect. This event is about showing that Pride will always conquer bigotry, intolerance, and hate. Together, we are sending a message that Pride lives here, even in Emo, and that diversity and inclusion must be nurtured in northern communities of all sizes.” - Douglas W. Judson, Co-Chair, Borderland Pride

Background Information:

  • Borderland Pride is the LGBTQ2 Pride organization for the Rainy River District in Northwestern Ontario and Koochiching County in Northern Minnesota.

  • On May 12, Emo Mayor Harold McQuaker, Councillor Harrold Boven, and Councillor Warren Toles voted to defeat a resolution requested by Borderland Pride to express the municipality’s support for the LGBTQ2 community and to recognize Pride Month. There is an audio recording of the meeting.

  • The same resolution was sent to all area municipalities. Emo is the only one to refuse to adopt Borderland Pride’s resolution. In the previous year, Emo’s council adopted the resolution but stripped it of all references to LGBTQ2 people.

  • On May 19, Borderland Pride launched the “Pride Lives Here!” campaign, to give local communities a chance to show visible support for Pride, LGBTQ2 diversity, and inclusion in their communities during this time of social isolation. Since then, the campaign has spread across Ontario. Over 1,500 campaign signs have been distributed in the Northwest alone.

  • On May 21, Borderland Pride sent the municipality a petition of over 1,500 signatures (it now has over 1,800) asking the town council to reverse its decision, and setting out the discriminatory nature of refusing the resolution after adopting support resolutions for numerous other community events.

  • On May 26, Emo town council received Borderland Pride’s letter, but McQuaker, Boven, and Toles once again refused to vote in support of recognizing Pride. There is an audio recording of that meeting too.

  • Following the May 26 meeting, Emo’s refusal to recognize Pride received national media attention.

  • Council’s refusal to recognize Pride has never been explained by any municipal official, other than vague statements about there being no “straight Pride” and the fact that the municipality is a Christian community. Several human rights tribunal decisions in Canada have found that the refusal to adopt a municipal resolution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity constitutes discrimination in the provision of a service.

  • An online town hall meeting next week with federal ministers will be hosted by Borderland Pride and Thunder Pride. It is expected to touch on the challenge of bringing Pride to rural communities and supporting the LGBTQ2 people who live there.


Borderland Pride Email:



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