Published Aug. 21 2018
Minden'sthird annual Pride Week is in full-swing this week with fun eventsand activities open to anyone in the area who is looking to celebratethe LGBTQ2+ (lesbian gay bisexual transgender queer orquestioning two-spirit and others) community.
Prideevents are held around the world to take a positive stand againstdiscrimination and violence toward LGBTQ2+ people to promote theirself-affirmation dignity equality rights increase their visibilityas a social group build community and celebrate sexual diversity andgender variance. The launch of Minden Pride twoyears ago was initiated as a response to hate crimes in Orlando andHaliburton in 2016 that targeted members of the LGBTQ2+ community.Last year's local Pride Week was immensely popular and this yearorganizers have worked to plan events that further the celebration ofculture heritage and diversity within the village.
Theweek kicked off with a Pride flag raising at the municipal offices onAug.20 the third in Minden's history.
“Therainbow flag is important because it's a very prominent and visiblesymbol that indicates that the community is an accepting andwelcoming place” said David Rankin Minden Pride chair. “Itshows individuals residents and visitors who come in to MindenHills that this is a safe place to be. It also I think veryimportantly highlights to youth who can feel a little bit alone andisolated when they are part of the queer community that they aren'talone and that not only is there some acceptance but therepresentatives in government support them.”
About80 people attended the flag rising yesterday in Minden Hills. Mindenresident Brigitte Gall was the master of ceremonies at the event andmusician Chris Smith provided musical accompaniment for the nationalanthem. Rankin Sinclair Russell and Councillor Jeanne Anthonaddressed the crowd. A reception at Up River Trading Co. followed theevent.
“I was very proud and very happy to see that washappening” said Rankin of his experience at last year's flagrising. “I'm a newer resident to Minden Hills I've been [here] forfive years and I myself felt very welcome all along but seeing theflag rising was quite an awe-inspiring experience to know that inwhat is a smaller community how accepting that community can bebecause traditionally smaller communities are not seen that way andit sort of highlighted that that stereotype may not be true.”
OnTuesday Aug. 21 a screening of the audience-approved and multipleaward-winning film Were the World Mine is planned for the MindenHills Cultural Centre at 7 p.m.
“Thisfilm deals with the struggles of high school students in a smalltown coming to terms with having the community accept who they are”said Rankin. “It's fun and it's magical and it's a musical whichappeals to some and not to others but really it helps again tohighlight to people who see the film in a fun way that there can beacceptance for queer youth in a small town and that people arewelcoming and open and maybe they have to give a little bit of voiceto who they are but then it can work out very favourably for them."
Rankinsaid when he saw the film himself at a film festival the audiencewas receptive to it.
Thechair's reception meet and greet event planned for Boshkung Socialon Water Street at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday Aug. 22 is a busygathering place for members of the LGBTQ2+ and allies. Rankin saidthe Boshkung Social team has been supportive of the event.
“It'san opportunity for people to network to have some fun to interactwith other members of the community all of the LGBTQ2+ally community so that we can sort ofshow that we have a presence here and we are part of the communityconsumers within the community and we're good for business justhaving a presence within Minden” said Rankin.
TheTea Dance on Saturday Aug. 25 will take place at Grill on the Gullfrom 4 to 8 p.m. and promises to be a fun-filled time.
“Thetea dance number 1 it's just a fun event” said Rankin. “It's adance with good music and everyone is just in a happy mood. We'vecalled it Mad for Plaid we're hoping that people come out in theirHaliburton dinner jackets but it has a historical significance. Teadances came out of the beginning of the last century when moralitylaws restricted same sex dance partners. Liquor establishments werethreatened with losing their licences if they were found to bepermitting dancing between the same sex. So what they did was theywould hold tea dances. They would be held in the afternoon and theywould be serving tea so that there was no risk of losing theirlicence. To be honest sometimes that tea was spiked but that was ahighly different breach of the law. Tea dances are a verytraditional historical and fun part of queer culture.”
OnSunday Aug. 26 a Loud and Proud church service at St. Paul'sAnglican Church at 12:30 p.m. will feature greetings and benedictionby Barry Robb of St. Paul's Anglican Church Reverend Max Ward ofUnited Church as the main speaker and music by Eric Casper.
“Traditionallyreligion and queer communities don't often blend well so we're veryfortunate that this is again something that is part of ourcelebration” said Rankin. “They're being very warm and welcomingto us it brings in many members from the community. It's ecumenicalto show there's diversity and we're not focused on one small areaand it's open and hopefully it will allow people to understand we'rean open and welcoming community.”
Laterthat day the Minden Pride Street Fest gets underway from one to fourp.m. at the intersection of Water Street and Bobcaygeon Road. TheStreet Fest is open to everyone and features food entertainmentgames and prizes.
“Hopewe're going to welcome a lot of people” said Rankin. “Localcommunity members those who are permanent seasonal residents andvisitors passing through.”
ThoughPride Week is met with celebration in Minden Rankin said there isstill a need to work toward equality even locally.
“Eventhough it has been very accepting here there are still instancesand that concerns me for youth who are coming out to get thatpush-back” he said. “They really need to see this is asupportive community they need to see that it's visible and it'sfun which brings people in but it gives them the feeling of safetyand confidence.”
Rankinacknowledged what he called “wonderful support” from thetownship and said Janet Baker and Ivan Ingram have been helpful infiguring out the intricacies of event planning. With that all donethe only thing left to do is enjoy the week.
“Wejust hope people can come out and join us for celebration developawareness and show those in the community that we are a very strongand proud and diverse community that can have fun” said Rankin.
Formore information visit Minden Pride on Facebook.