By Chris Marchand
Local organizers hope an upcoming Pride celebration in Dryden will raise awareness, acceptance and improve the lives of those who identify as part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer and Two-Spirited, (LGBTQ2S+) community.
Partnering with the Northwestern Health Unit, local organizers have set aside Saturday, June 10 for a day of family-friendly events.
Organizer BJ Maggrah says the day begins at City Hall with a rally and speeches, a walk through Dryden’s downtown and riverfront to Cooper Park where they will stage live music, activities for kids, information booths and more.
With neighbouring communities like Sioux Lookout and Kenora staging their first Pride events in recent years, organizer Mari Thibault says a Dryden event seems overdue.
“It’s an important topic,” says Thibault. “We do it for the people who need that feeling of community and need that sense of safety. It’s great that we have people involved, there’s been a great turnout at the meetings.”
The Northwestern Health Unit has been an active player in Pride events across the region for several years, says Catherine Kiewning of NWHU.
“There have been two already in Kenora and one in Sioux Lookout, so we’re hoping to branch out into other communites,” said Kiewning. “This is becoming more of an accepted and normal thing in small towns which is really amazing. We need this support for LGBTQ2S+ people here and we need to show them that this is a safe place to be who you are, a fun place where you are accepted and celebrated. We want to let people know they can shine here.”