Fort Frances will join other communities in the region, and across Canada, in having its own “Pride Week” this summer.
Borderland Pride has asked council to formally declare the week of July 9-15 as “Pride Week” in the Town of Fort Frances.
Since last summer, Borderland Pride has been engaging with the community through roundtables, networking events, and social media to identify specific needs for Fort Frances and the surrounding area, co-chair Doug Judson wrote in a letter to council.
“We have received significant support and encouragement from area residents, businesses, and public-sector organizations to hold a 'Pride Week' celebration in the Fort Frances area, with a view to installing it as a new annual celebration for the region,” he noted.
“This has been a task that we have been proud to take on, and we will soon be in a position to unveil the programming for Borderland's first-ever 'Pride Week,'” Judson added.
“The event line-up we are preparing will be inclusive, suitable for all ages, and open to all members of the community,” he pledged.
Celebration plans on July 14 include a flag-raising at the Civic Centre, a pedestrian “Pride” parade, and events at the new Rainy Lake Square here, which already has been reserved for this occasion.
Judson said the primary goal of “Pride Week” is to showcase the community as a welcoming, inclusive environment for LGBTQ2 young people, diverse families, and other individuals from equity-seeking groups.
“This is an important objective for any small community undergoing demographic and economic transition like we are seeing in Fort Frances and the Rainy River District,” he stressed.
Judson reiterated that the “Pride” event will be family-friendly.
“We recognize that through the media, 'Pride' in larger cities has become synonymous with ostentatious parades and parties,” he conceded.
"But people should know that the 'Pride' event you will see in most smaller communities looks a lot like any other family-oriented festival, fair, or picnic.
“Our event will be no different, and is modelled on recent successful 'Pride' celebrations in Kenora and Dryden,” Judson added.
The group has applied for a small amount of funds from this year's Moffat Family Fund allocation, but has some concerns the funding decisions won't be announced in advance of their event.
“We appreciate any assistance the town can provide to expedite this process or help us to fill the funding gap until Moffat decisions are made,” Judson remarked.
Council referred the requests from Borderland Pride to the Administration and Finance executive committee for its recommendation.
Borderland Pride is the LGBTQ2A (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, two-spirit, and ally) pride organization for Fort Frances and the surrounding municipalities and First Nations.
Its mandate is to promote LGBTQ2 inclusion and acceptance in our community, as well as to celebrate the diversity of the region.
It also aims to provide resources and supports that improve the community's understanding of LGBTQ2 identities and orientations, and some of the unique challenges facing LGBTQ2 people in society.