Goose Bay's LGBQTI community hosts annual Pride celebration
© Submitted photo
Despite the rain, those who took part in Goose Bay's Pride event took part in a march from the Legion to the E.J. Broomfield Arena.
Happy Valley-Goose Bay's annual Pride event was another success this year, despite some weather setbacks.
The event, named 'Pride in the Park,' was supposed to take place outdoors at Kinsman Park, but had to be moved to the E.J. Broomfield Arena due to a downpour of rain. But the rain didn't stop members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Intersex (LGBTQI) community, and their supporters, from having fun and showing their pride.
Heather Jennings-Brown is a part of Happy Valley-Goose Bay's LGBTQ community and part of the Safe Alliance, which is a group that provides support and resources regarding LGBTQI issues in Labrador, and who hosts the Pride event every year. She has helped organize all four Pride events in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which began in 2010.
According to Jennings-Brown, the local event has been gaining more support each year.
"Fortunately, the rain didn't stop people from coming out to the arena," says Jennings-Brown. "We had just as good, if not better, turnout than previous years."
This year's event had a plethora of activities for all age groups including live entertainment, a barbeque, kids games, and more.
Jennings-Brown and the rest of the Safe Alliance were extremely happy to see a very distinct crowd at this years pride event, and not just the open members of the LGBTQI community. She estimates that more than 100 people in total showed up for the festivities.
"There were a lot of kids and a lot of families showed up. So that was nice," says Jennings-Brown.
Pride events are now commonplace in many communities around the world. In large cities, like Toronto or Vancouver, thousands of people participate in pride parades and enjoy the celebratory atmosphere.
Even though Goose Bay is a small town in comparison, Jennings-Brown believes that a local pride event is still vital. She points out that such an event can be used to show people who are nervous about "coming out" that a healthy LGBTQI exists for them to be a part of.
"I think it's important because it gives community members a chance to celebrate themselves," she said.
"It gives LGBTQI people an avenue to come out if they haven't yet been comfortable (enough) to come out. I've seen people who come to (Pride) events and not long after they come out."
Jennings-Brown gives a lot of credit to the residents of Happy Valley-Goose Bay for their overall acceptance of different sexual orientations. Although she admits that people have differing opinions of how accepting the town is of LGBQTI people, Brown, herself, has experienced little negativity.
"Personally, I feel like we are very accepted," she noted, who identities herself as queer. "I've been very fortunate not to have experienced any negativity based on who I am."
Now that the Pride event is over, Jennings-Brown says the Safe Alliance will be looking to do more events and programs year-round. Over the past four years the group has focused totally on the annual pride event.
The Safe Alliance will be looking to do more community outreach, to help those who may be struggling with their identity and sexual orientation.
They plan to partner with Mealy Mountain Colligiate's recently formed Gay Straight Alliance. But Jennings- Brown would also like to see a place for LGBTQI adults to come together when needed.
"We want to create a place for them to come together and see that they're not alone," she said. "To discuss any issues that they're having."