Packed schedule planned for Minden Pride Week
Published Aug. 21, 2018
third annual Pride Week is in full-swing this week, with fun events
and activities open to anyone in the area who is looking to celebrate
the LGBTQ2+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or
questioning, two-spirit, and others) community.
Pride events are held around the world to take a positive stand against discrimination and violence toward LGBTQ2+ people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance. The launch of Minden Pride two years ago was initiated as a response to hate crimes in Orlando and Haliburton in 2016 that targeted members of the LGBTQ2+ community. Last year's local Pride Week was immensely popular, and this year organizers have worked to plan events that further the celebration of culture, heritage and diversity within the village.
The week kicked off with a Pride flag raising at the municipal offices on Aug.20, the third in Minden's history.
“The rainbow flag is important because it's a very prominent and visible symbol that indicates that the community is an accepting and welcoming place,” said David Rankin, Minden Pride chair. “It shows individuals, residents and visitors, who come in to Minden Hills that this is a safe place to be. It also, I think very importantly, highlights to youth who can feel a little bit alone and isolated when they are part of the queer community that they aren't alone and that not only is there some acceptance, but the representatives in government support them.”
80 people attended the flag rising yesterday in Minden Hills. Minden
resident Brigitte Gall was the master of ceremonies at the event, and
musician Chris Smith provided musical accompaniment for the national
anthem. Rankin, Sinclair Russell and Councillor Jeanne Anthon
addressed the crowd. A reception at Up River Trading Co. followed the
“I was very proud and very happy to see that was
happening,” said Rankin, of his experience at last year's flag
rising. “I'm a newer resident to Minden Hills, I've been [here] for
five years, and I myself felt very welcome all along, but seeing the
flag rising was quite an awe-inspiring experience to know that in
what is a smaller community, how accepting that community can be,
because traditionally smaller communities are not seen that way and
it sort of highlighted that that stereotype may not be true.”
On Tuesday, Aug. 21, a screening of the audience-approved and multiple award-winning film Were the World Mine is planned for the Minden Hills Cultural Centre at 7 p.m.
“This film deals with the struggles of high school students, in a small town, coming to terms with having the community accept who they are,” said Rankin. “It's fun and it's magical and it's a musical which appeals to some and not to others, but really it helps again to highlight to people who see the film, in a fun way, that there can be acceptance for queer youth in a small town and that people are welcoming and open and maybe they have to give a little bit of voice to who they are, but then it can work out very favourably for them."
Rankin said when he saw the film himself at a film festival, the audience was receptive to it.
The chair's reception meet and greet event, planned for Boshkung Social on Water Street at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 22, is a busy gathering place for members of the LGBTQ2+ and allies. Rankin said the Boshkung Social team has been supportive of the event.
“It's an opportunity for people to network, to have some fun, to interact with other members of the community, all of the LGBTQ2+ ally community, so that we can sort of show that we have a presence here and we are part of the community, consumers within the community and we're good for business just having a presence within Minden,” said Rankin.
The Tea Dance on Saturday, Aug. 25 will take place at Grill on the Gull from 4 to 8 p.m., and promises to be a fun-filled time.
“The tea dance, number 1, it's just a fun event,” said Rankin. “It's a dance with good music and everyone is just in a happy mood. We've called it Mad for Plaid, we're hoping that people come out in their Haliburton dinner jackets, but it has a historical significance. Tea dances came out of the beginning of the last century when morality laws restricted same sex dance partners. Liquor establishments were threatened with losing their licences if they were found to be permitting dancing between the same sex. So what they did was, they would hold tea dances. They would be held in the afternoon and they would be serving tea so that there was no risk of losing their licence. To be honest, sometimes that tea was spiked, but that was a highly different breach of the law. Tea dances are a very traditional, historical and fun part of queer culture.”
On Sunday, Aug. 26, a Loud and Proud church service at St. Paul's Anglican Church at 12:30 p.m. will feature greetings and benediction by Barry Robb of St. Paul's Anglican Church, Reverend Max Ward of United Church as the main speaker, and music by Eric Casper.
“Traditionally, religion and queer communities don't often blend well so we're very fortunate that this is again something that is part of our celebration,” said Rankin. “They're being very warm and welcoming to us, it brings in many members from the community. It's ecumenical to show there's diversity and we're not focused on one small area, and it's open, and hopefully it will allow people to understand we're an open and welcoming community.”
Later that day, the Minden Pride Street Fest gets underway from one to four p.m. at the intersection of Water Street and Bobcaygeon Road. The Street Fest is open to everyone and features food, entertainment, games and prizes.
“Hope we're going to welcome a lot of people,” said Rankin. “Local community members, those who are permanent, seasonal residents and visitors passing through.”
Though Pride Week is met with celebration in Minden, Rankin said there is still a need to work toward equality, even locally.
“Even though it has been very accepting here, there are still instances, and that concerns me for youth who are coming out to get that push-back,” he said. “They really need to see this is a supportive community, they need to see that it's visible, and it's fun which brings people in but it gives them the feeling of safety and confidence.”
Rankin acknowledged what he called “wonderful support” from the township, and said Janet Baker and Ivan Ingram have been helpful in figuring out the intricacies of event planning. With that all done, the only thing left to do is enjoy the week.
“We just hope people can come out and join us for celebration, develop awareness, and show those in the community that we are a very strong and proud and diverse community that can have fun,” said Rankin.
For more information, visit Minden Pride on Facebook.