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City lends support to Pride event

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
The Dryden Gay Pride Committee’s (from left) BJ Maggrah, Tori Hutchison, Sabrina Desaulniers, and Nancy Arnold joined with Dryden City Councillor Mary Trist to hoist the rainbow flag — emblematic of the gay rights movement — after city council passed a proclamation in support of a Pride celebration scheduled for June 27-28, 2012. Photo by Chris Marchand

By Chris Marchand

City Council has lent its support for the Dryden Gay Pride Committee’s plans for a two-day event June 27-28, 2012.
The item passed before council without discussion at the Oct. 17 regular meeting and was passed unanimously.
Councillor Mary Trist says the event, while politically charged, has its share of friends among city council.
“Myself, and I think Mike Wood too is quite supportive as well,” said Trist. “I think it’s a wonderful thing and it’s about time. Why should we stand in the way? To me it would make no sense to say ‘no’.”
Dryden Gay Pride Committee’s BJ Maggrah says having the blessing of the city is symbolically important to the group who have been planning next year’s celebration for the past few months.
“It makes me very proud that in a small, conservative town like this, that council has offered their full support,” said Maggrah. “It’s tremendous.”
Dryden’s Pride event will number among a rising tide of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) -related events in the region. Both Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout hosted their first Pride events over the summer of 2010.
Maggrah says it’s an important time for LGBT issues in the nation, with high profile discussions happening around teen suicide and bullying.
Maggrah says the formation of the Dryden Gay Pride Committee has led to inquiries over the past several months from local institutions eager to extend their support and services to the LGBT community.
The high school has stepped forward with interest in forming a support group. The Northwestern Health Unit and Firefly (formerly Patricia Centre For Children and Youth) has also approached the Committee in the interest of getting involved in the event.
“Wearing two hats as a teacher as well, you tell kids all the time, ‘be proud of who you are’,” said Trist. “This is a way of a specific group taking pride in who they are, but it’s also a celebration of everyone being okay with who they are and not feeling like they have to hide it. And not just saying it, but showing it. Maybe that sends people out of their comfort zone, but at the same time, maybe that’s a good thing — we grow from that.”

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