‘This is why Minden Pride is needed’
Organizers reaffirm purpose behind LGBTQ+ celebration
By Chad Ingram
the kickoff to this year’s Minden Pride was a jubilant celebration, it
also came with an unfortunate reminder of why the event is held in the
Minden Hills municipal building was festooned with rainbows, its
parking lot packed with people, the songs of Queen drifting through the
air as the rainbow flag was raised to mark the start of the fourth
annual Minden Pride on the morning of Monday, Aug. 19.
people, many decked out in bright colours or waving flags of their own,
gathered to hear speeches from Minden Pride organizers.
Pride chairman David Rankin welcomed and thanked attendees, recognizing
event co-founders Bob Baynton-Smith and Sinclair Russell, “who, a few
years ago, answered a senseless act of homophobic vandalism with a very
positive community response and created Minden Pride.”
Pride could not exist without the tremendous support of donors and our
sponsors,” Rankin continued. “This financial and in-kind aid allows us
to stage a fabulous, weeklong program of events.” He also thanked the
event’s volunteer organizers.
year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York
City, an uprising by the LGBTQ+ community against the New York Police
Department in retaliation for years of raids on gay bars. The riots are
considered to have essentially given birth to the gay rights movement in
is why Minden Pride is needed,” Rankin said, recalling the
discrimination that was faced by homosexuals at the time. “Becoming
frustrated by being legally restricted from drinking alcohol when
wearing non-gender-conforming attire, and from dancing with same-sex
partners, patrons of the Stonewall Inn began a movement of resistance,
following a police raid in the early morning hours of June 28. Although
many protests had happened prior to Stonewall, these riots, which lasted
six nights, are largely seen as the beginning of the gay rights
Rankin noted their timing at the end of June is the reason why many Pride events take place around that time of year.
“But Pride is ongoing,” he said, “and many communities celebrate at different times throughout the year.”
Ottawa Pride is also taking place this week.
Also in 1969, the Criminal Law Amendment Act was passed by the Canadian government.
omnibus bill formed the legal foundations for the Canadian gay rights
movement, and the beginning of equality in Canada for the queer
community. This amendment effectively decriminalized homosexual acts
between consenting adults over the age of 21. While this was a major
change from the then-recent incarceration of men who were gay, it still
did not create equality for the LGBTQ+ community. Even to this day, the
criminal code is not equal for people who engage in same-sex expressions
of love. We still have to work to do. This is why Minden Pride is
noted that this year, just days prior to the start of the event,
someone cut a Minden Pride banner off the Loggers’ Crossing footbridge.
do not why this occurred, nor the motive behind it,” Rankin said. “What
we do know, is that following the sharing of this information, more
than 12,000 people and counting have read about this online, and
hundreds have sent written support for Minden Pride. A very small, but
nonetheless concerning group of people, have chosen to send messages
expressing their ignorance and bigotry. This is why we need Minden
and this week, Minden, we come together as an inclusive and diverse
community, to celebrate who we are and to show that we are proud of
ourselves, our friends, and our family members,” Rankin said.
Minden Hills Councillor Jennifer Hughey brought a message of inclusiveness on behalf of the township.
quoted Russell from a 2017 Minden Times story. In that story, Russell
said, “It’s not really all that much about being gay. It’s about being
inclusive to everybody. We don’t expect the world to turn gay, we just
want everybody to be accepted.”
“And I think that’s what all of us here want, am I right?” Hughey said to a round of applause.
thanked Minden Pride organizers, and referencing the situation with the
banner, said, “We rally around ourselves. We are a very caring
community and I think that’s something we should all be proud of.
Certainly, I think we’re just looking for the practice of including
people who might otherwise be excluded, or marginalized, and working
hard as a group, as a township, as a county, and world . . . to promote
inclusion. I think this community does a really good job at doing that,
and I’m very proud to be part of it.”
gave a talk about the significance of the colours on the Pride flag,
and The Minden Pride Players, directed by Daniel Manley, provided a
musical backdrop that included renditions of songs by Queen, the Village
People, and Respect, the Otis Redding song made famous by Aretha
Craden, accompanied by guitarist Rob Muir, sang Somewhere Over the
Rainbow as the Pride flag was raised outside the township office.