Organizers Say "Pride in Pictou a Great Success!"

Posted by Wayves Volunteer 3/09/2013

By Gerard Veldhoven

This July, the Pictou County Rainbow Community had a very successful Pride Week. Since relocating to this area I have discovered that Pictou County is not as conservative minded as some might think. But I never dreamed this first revival of Pictou Pride would be so successful.

The launch on July 8th began with a Pride Flag raising ceremony hosted by the Town of New Glasgow. Officials estimated a crowd of over 200 people gathered to help celebrate this important event. According to Kimberley Dickson, the Director of Marketing and Communications, this flag raising ceremony enjoyed the largest crowd ever for such an event in New Glasgow’s history, including Canada days. 

The Pictou County Centre for Sexual Health, the Pictou County Rainbow Community and the hard working Pride Committee got together and organized the events which boasted great support from the residents and merchants of the County as a whole. The pictureque East River was the perfect spot for the flag raising ceremony.

Guest speakers were Mayor Barrie MacMillan; Pictou Centre MLA and Justice Minister Ross Landry; Trans activist Jess MacDonald; Aboriginal lesbian Stevie Gerrior, and myself. The speeches were meaningful, celebratory and fun. Pictou County’s queer community came together along with their straight counterparts and partied in a way that was indicative of the celebration of diversity.

On July 10th, the New Glasgow Library was the scene of a Public Forum. Panelists were Darl Wood; Thekla Alltman; Jane Morrigan, the Mermaid and the Cow Campground; Jess MacDonald; Patrick Walsh and yours truly. The panelists had various backgrounds and spoke about their respective experiences. The moderator was Wayne Collette.The panelists ranged in ages from 23 to 72 and a few of us had experienced such dramatic times of utter discrimination to more modern times as we delight in equal rights, but still void to a certain extent of equal treatment.

A number of the afternoon session attendees were professionals such as, Community Health professionals and social workers. Interested citizens from the surrounding areas attended the evening session. I was very pleased with the number of people interested in this event.

July 11th, the Pride Potluck Dinner and Cabaret took place and the food selections were competitive to our local restaurants and I venture to say, superior. The Cabaret was made up of various acts and again, an evening of fun for the queer and straight community. We had drag performances, imitators ( Liberace), rock and folk music.

Saturday was the Rainbow Family Picnic and to my delight attendance was great,  despite hot and humid weather. So ended the first official Pride Week in Pictou County and the Town of New Glasgow was at the forefront of the celebrations. The support was overwhelming, beyond my wildest dreams. We celebrate and in so doing raise awareness in our communities. This was a tremendous week for the community at large. On befalf of Pictou County’s queer community, we want to wish everyone a Happy Pride!

Editor's Note: Photo shows Pride organizer Gerard Veldhoven signing the Pride Week Proclamation, along with New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan, (centre), and Trenton Mayor, Glenn MacKinnon, (left).

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