It’s finally Pride season! Here in Anishanaabe, Ininiw, Metis, Dakota, and Dene territory (Winnipeg MB) Pride festivities begin Friday May 25, 2018, with the Rally and Parade taking place June 3. Is this your first Pride? We have answers to 9 questions you may have had about Pride to help you get ready!
- Do I belong at Pride? Are you Two-Spirit, Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, Bisexual, Pansexual, Asexual, Intersex, Lesbian, Gay, Queer and/or the many, many other identities not covered by an acronym? Do you avoid labelling your gender or sexuality, or not know what fits for you? Do you come from a 2STLGBQ+ family? Do you support 2STLGBQ+ people and our rights? If you answered yes or even maybe to any of these questions, you are welcome at Pride!
- Why do we celebrate Pride? Pride is fun celebration, but it’s also a deeply rooted tradition with important histories that can often be forgotten in the rainbow glitter sea of modern pride festivities. The first pride was a riot led by Trans Women of Colour * to protest Police violence against the 2STLGBTQ+ community. (Content Warning: videos in the previous link may contain direct or indirect depictions or discussions of violence and sexual assault) Closer to home, the first Pride in Winnipeg was controversial, and some chose to march with paper bags covering their faces to hide their identities. We are celebrating Pride on Indigenous land, which means we need to recognize, celebrate and honour the Two-Spirit people who have always existed here, and have always been leaders in our 2STLGBQ+ movements.
- What will I wear? Every kind of body deserves to be celebrated at Pride, so wear whatever you feel the best in! Come as you are, or dress extravagantly! There is no one “Pride Look”- we are a diverse community, you do you.
- Who should I go with? You could ask some friends or a family member you trust or go with a school, community, or faith group you are part of. If you feel like you truly don’t have anyone to go with, check out the Peer Project for Youth at Rainbow Resource Centre and go with them! No matter who you go with, it’s a good plan to let someone you trust know where you will be for your safety. It also gets super busy at Pride, so make sure you have a charged phone and a meeting spot in case you get separated from your people.
- What if I drink or use drugs? The laws still apply at Pride- you have to be 18 to drink at the Festival, in designated areas only. If choosing to drink or use other substances at Pride know the law and your rights and be as safe as you can.
- What if I want to hook up with someone? There are free sexual health supplies at Pride, help yourself! Make sure you feel good about any potential hook ups by asking yourself (and your partner!) if you feel ready and can consent– it might not be the time if you are drinking or using other substances, or if there are age of consent concerns between you and a potential partner. Be sure to talk with them about your comfort and boundaries, using protection, and STI/HIV testing.
- What if my parent(s)/ family/ guardian(s) find out I went to Pride? If the people you live with are not supportive of you attending Pride or if you are not out to them, you may need to make some safety plans. This can include having a friend you trust with you at Pride, knowing the area and having a safe way out in case you need to leave quickly. You might want to avoid posting pictures, and contact Pride to ask them how to avoid having pictures of you taken or posted. It might also help to practice what you would say or do if the people you live with find out (they may be more supportive than you think) or ask a friend to come to help you talk to them. Some people use Pride as a way to start a coming out conversation. If you are concerned about your safety at all, you might want to line up a safe place like a friend’s house or youth shelter to go quickly if you need it- and we would also encourage you to get help.
- What if I need help while I am at Pride? Pride can be a wonderful and beautiful experience, and it can also feel intense or overwhelming for a variety of reasons. Ask a volunteer if you need help during the Pride Rally and March. If you need help at the Festival at the Forks, you can ask a volunteer or visit the Safer Space offered by the Red Tent in the Pride Festival grounds. If you have a bad experience, make sure to talk to someone about it whenever you feel ready.
- How can I get the most out of Pride? The Pride Rally and March are often considered the main event, but there are SO MANY great community celebrations and events leading up to Pride! These are great opportunities to meet new people and learn more about the 2SLGBTQ+ community in Winnipeg. Some of our favourite all ages events are the FREE Pride Youth Dance Party, the Two-Spirit Pow Wow, the Winnipeg Trans March, and the QTPOC Mental Health Conversation (Bring a trusted adult with you to this one if you can, also note this is a QTBIPOC- Queer/ Trans Black, Indigenous or People of Colour- only event see link for more info). See the full list of Pride events here.
Whether this is your 1st or 31st Pride, we hope it is an amazing experience. Happy Pride everyone!
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