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Labrador shows its Pride!


Labrador’s Safe Alliance ended their weeklong Pride celebrations on Aug. 15 with the sixth annual “Pride in the Park,” in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

The day kicked off with a pride march down Hamilton River Road, leading to Kinsman Park. The well-attended parade was led by an RCMP escort and received lots of horn honking and waves of support from passing vehicles.

For Kevin Garneau, who only moved to Happy Valley-Goose Bay a month ago, the pride march was a big highlight to the day’s events.

“I was actually quite surprised when I just moved here to Labrador, seeing this event: the Pride taking place in Labrador and I’ve been quite impressed with the numbers at the parade,” said Garneau, who is also a member of the Safe Alliance and attended the event with his partner who was visiting from British Columbia.

Garneau has spent much of his life moving around the country. In total, he has lived in seven different towns across Canada. Despite all the changes of scenery, Garneau says he never felt discriminated against for being a gay man in the areas he has passed through.

“I’ve never had any issues … I find Canada is a very open and inclusive country and there’s cultural acceptance across Canada,” he said.

Nonetheless, Garneau feels Pride events are still important in Canada, in order to keep promoting the ideas of equality and inclusiveness.

“There’s still some work to be done for inclusiveness and diversity and equality amongst the LGBQT community,” he said. “It’s just a time to remind ourselves that it’s important to promote those values in our society.”

The day kicked off with a pride march down Hamilton River Road, leading to Kinsman Park. The well-attended parade was led by an RCMP escort and received lots of horn honking and waves of support from passing vehicles.

For Kevin Garneau, who only moved to Happy Valley-Goose Bay a month ago, the pride march was a big highlight to the day’s events.

“I was actually quite surprised when I just moved here to Labrador, seeing this event: the Pride taking place in Labrador and I’ve been quite impressed with the numbers at the parade,” said Garneau, who is also a member of the Safe Alliance and attended the event with his partner who was visiting from British Columbia.

Garneau has spent much of his life moving around the country. In total, he has lived in seven different towns across Canada. Despite all the changes of scenery, Garneau says he never felt discriminated against for being a gay man in the areas he has passed through.

“I’ve never had any issues … I find Canada is a very open and inclusive country and there’s cultural acceptance across Canada,” he said.

Nonetheless, Garneau feels Pride events are still important in Canada, in order to keep promoting the ideas of equality and inclusiveness.

“There’s still some work to be done for inclusiveness and diversity and equality amongst the LGBQT community,” he said. “It’s just a time to remind ourselves that it’s important to promote those values in our society.”

With roughly 100 people attending Pride in the park, there was no shortage of stories and experiences being shared from people who are a part of the LGBQT community.

One family of four, featuring two proud mothers — Elsie and Juanita Wolfrey —came from Rigolet to enjoy the day’s festivities. The women’s daughter, Kierden, and son Draper, got a lot of positive attention for their t-shirts, which read: “I (heart) my mommies.”

Kierden said the other children in her small community don’t treat her differently because she has two mothers in her household, rather than the ‘traditional’ mother and father.

“It’s different than a woman and a male, but I like it,” said Kierden.

Elsie echoed Kierden’s statements, saying she and Juanita are treated respectfully in Rigolet, despite having a different family makeup than most.

“As parents, our community is pretty accepting and we’ve never really had any serious issues in terms of being treated differently than anybody else,” said Elsie.

“Everything is awareness, I believe. And the more people who are seen, the more accepting you become. And this event here kind of signifies that.”

Denise Cole, a member of the Safe Alliance and one of the event’s organizers, called the day a success, and expressed gratitude to the outpouring of community support that was shown.

“Pride in the Park was a great success, we had over 100 in attendance, which is comparable to other years,” said Cole.

“This year we had guest speakers who brought powerful messages of support including Innu Nation Grand Chief Anastasia Qupee, NCC President Todd Russell, NDP federal candidate Edward Rudkowski, MHA and Minister of Labrador & Aboriginal Affairs Keith Russell, and Nunatsiavut Minister and Ordinary Member of Upper Lake Melville Patricia Kemuksigak. We also had many sponsors and supporters, volunteers, concession stands, games/prizes, and information booths.”

derek.montague@thelabradorian.ca

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