People are beginning to gather again, and Minto Pride is excited to host in-person events for the first time since its inaugural Pride celebrations in 2019.
Events returned to Minto with the Big Gay Hike held in partnership with Guelph-based HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Healthcare (ARCH) on May 15.
“They work on creating education and support to help people live healthy stigma-free lives, and they do all types of fantastic programming,” said Minto Pride Committee Chair Rosie Krul.
The Big Gay Hike Nature in Transition series of events was started with trans and non-binary people in mind. It aimed to cultivate emotional wellness, positive well-being, confidence, and connection through mindfulness-based nature hikes.
“It has expanded to LGBTQ2S+ and allies for some of the events, so this one will be all-welcomed, and it’s going to have some talks and community advocating,” she said.
The first event of Pride month will be a drag show by Lavender Promotions at the Crown in Harriston on June 11.
Even though things are a lot better now, there is a lot of persecution of them locally, and globally especially trans rights, in particular, have been under attack lately. We want to show everyone, especially youth, that they can be who they are in a small town and don’t have to leave to find an accepting community.Minto Pride Committee Chair Rosie Krul
“In very exciting news, the venue is licensed this year,” said Krul. “In our inaugural year, the Crown wasn’t licensed yet. It is an all-ages event, so it wouldn’t be inappropriate for teenagers or older kids to come, and they would be more than welcome.”
Pride in The Park on June 12 from noon until 2 pm will have many of the same family-friendly activities that attendees enjoyed in 2019, such as face painting, a photo booth with instant photos people can take home and free train rides with Mayor George Bridge as the engineer but they are also adding vendors to the event.
“Birdie’s Holy Guacamole from Listowel will be coming to sell delicious tacos, a Beaver Tails Mobile, and craft vendors,” said Krul. “It will be more of a feel of a celebration plus a small market to give people things to have fun walking around checking out, and then we’re heading out for the march around the park is at 1:30 pm, and then we’ll hang the flag at the end.”
She said installing a rainbow crosswalk in Harriston has been going well.
Minto Pride had brought the idea to the cultural roundtable, and it received a majority vote of approval from Town of Minto Council.
“(It received) some very vocal support from Mayor Bridge and COA Derrick Thompson,” said Krul. “It was approved March 1, and it will be going at the intersection of Elora and Young St. in Harriston, which needed a new crosswalk anyway, so it combined two requests. They had a request from a community group about creating a crosswalk there because it did warrant the crosswalk, and we came in and said, ‘hey, let’s make it a rainbow crosswalk.”
There is hope to get rainbow crosswalks in Palmerston and Clifford as well.
“We’re happy to be back in person again,” she said. “In 2021, we did come back with quite a few virtual things like trivia. We sold t-shirts and yard signs and had an #OutandProud series on our social media, where we featured different local queer folks. 2020 though, we were like everyone else, not really on the ball.”
Krul said Minto Pride started to demonstrate commitment to the community and let people know that the municipality won’t tolerate discrimination of any kind.
“Members of the Pride committee do know people who chose to move away from Minto because they didn’t find it a welcoming place for them because of either their gender identity or their sexuality,” she said. “Even though things are a lot better now, there is a lot of persecution of them locally, and globally especially trans rights, in particular, have been under attack lately. We want to show everyone, especially youth, that they can be who they are in a small town and don’t have to leave to find an accepting community. We want to celebrate our differences and have the right to exist and have happy lives like everyone else.”
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