It's great to see a groundswell of support for the inaugural “Pride Week” here, as indicated by the people who turned out for an open air art studio on Monday to kick off the festivities and the number of local businesses that have decorated their store windows with colourful displays and messages.
Hopefully that support continues with good attendance at the wide variety of events planned all week, including film screenings, a “Fort Fabulous Friday" reception, a community "BBQueer," and, of course, the "Passport to Pride” march followed by a flag ceremony at the Civic Centre.
Not everyone thinks “Pride Week” is a cause for celebration. And certainly there are those who remain staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage, not to mention the other strides that have been made to recognize further same-sex rights since 2005 here in Canada.
As well, the LGBTQ2 community continues to face discrimination on many levels, whether through bullying at school or online, obstacles in the workplace, or just being unable to show public signs of affection out of fear for their safety. Symbols of Pride still are vandalized to this day in communities across the country and homes of same-sex couples targeted by hateful graffiti.
All this is precisely why events like “Pride Week" are needed: to combat the discrimination while promoting diversity and inclusion. As the local Borderland Pride group put it, "Celebrating Pride isn't about putting gay people on a pedestal but about levelling the playing field.”
Kudos to those who showed the courage and foresight to form Borderland Pride last year; not only to foster the LGBTQ2 community through “Pride Week” and other ways but also provide an important support network to local residents struggling with their own sexual orientation or gender identity.
Fort Frances council and other ones in the district also should be saluted for getting on board by formally recognizing “Pride Week.”
This isn't about agreeing with a particular lifestyle; it's about treating people with the same respect and rights as everyone else. That's the real message “Pride Week” conveys and that is worthy of all our support.