/Pride about visibility and acceptance
Melissa Alfano paints a child's face at last year's Pride Stret Fest. /File photo

Pride about visibility and acceptance

Pride about visibility and acceptance

By Sue Tiffin


Street Fest planned for the last day of Minden’s Pride Week is set to
bring together a diverse community in a culmination of celebration. 

event is being co-organized by Jeremy Blackmore and Madison Frith
through the Minden Pride community and offers an inclusive chance for
everyone throughout the Minden Hills community to celebrate Pride in
their own way.  

always feel the meaning of Pride is inclusiveness, no matter who you
are or why you’re celebrating pride, you are,” said Blackmore. “You’re
celebrating who you are and we’re all different … For me up here in a
small community that has a very strong lesbian, gay and now trans
presence, it’s really great to just celebrate that together.”

said he appreciates the Pride celebrations held in larger cities but
that they don’t represent who he is anymore, as he said they tend to be
geared toward a younger crowd, and come with more of a party atmosphere.
Minden Pride offers what he called a “real and charming and simple in a
great way,” sort of feeling. 

the community,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for me to feel like I’m
part of something bigger. I can live my life and I don’t need Pride – I
don’t need a Pride event to be a proud, gay, man – but having that
opportunity with people of like mind and similar situation is great, and
even having an opportunity to celebrate it with somebody who doesn’t
necessarily have a like mind and similar situation is great as well.”

Blackmore said it’s a good opportunity to show people who aren’t part of the community that Minden is an inclusive place. 

don’t necessarily see that in other communities in Canada,” he said.
“As liberal as we are, there’s a lot of fear and lack of understanding
and a lack of even wanting to understand from a lot of people out there.
To have this be such an accepted thing in such a small community, that
alone deserves to be celebrated.”

said while Pride acknowledges how far the LGBTQ+ community has come, it
also offers a chance to look at which communities within the broader
community might have been left behind, to ensure everyone can celebrate
progress. She noted trans rights are now getting more visibility than
previously, and that in the future she thinks there will be more
understanding of non-binary gender and pronoun preference. 

it comes down to, first of all, just being accepted and being visual,”
she said. “It’s just saying, hey, we’re here. There are LGBTQ+ people in
every community, every family, but often they get ignored. I think what
people often forget is that yes we celebrate, but we’re partially
celebrating how far we’ve come, because Pride started off as a riot.
Pride started off as a protest. It gives us a chance to think of how far
we’ve come and how much progress we still have to make.”

a bartender in Toronto, Frith met people who had been completely
disowned by their families and said that while LGBTQ+ rights in Canada
are more advanced than in many countries, it wasn’t so long ago that
being transgender was, for all intents and purposes, illegal. 

right now definitely a rise of hate going on, and we need to show that
hey, we’re OK, and the town accepts us, and the people accept us,” she
said. “To me, I think [Pride] is just important to help gain acceptance,
help bridge communities… and help gain acceptance for each other.” 

and Frith have been working on organizing Minden Pride’s Street Fest,
which will be held Aug. 25 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Water Street
in Minden and offers a wide variety of vendors, activities, outdoor
games and entertainment for adults as well as kids, and food, as well as
a chance for people to get together to celebrate. Admission is free and
the event is inclusive – everyone is welcome.