It's officially Pride Month, and Stratford Perth Pride will be hosting a Rural Pride Summit on Intersectionality.
AJ Adams, the President and Board Chair of Stratford Perth Pride, says the goal is to bring all the rural pride organizations together in August for one day focus on intersectionality.
"Which is the concept that different identity factors, such as race, gender, sexuality and social class, they don't sit alone in a person. So when we look at rural Pride specifically, a lot of the programming and events are very white centred, cis-gendered centred, so it's starting some conversations and some knowledge sharing for rural Pride organizers around how we can make Pride more accessible to black queer folks, and neurodivergent folks and trans and gender diverse people," Adams explained.
With so many different local Pride organizations spread across Midwestern Ontario, Adams says it's critical to bring everyone together and show strength for and with one another.
"Bringing Prides together, we can talk about those challenges we're facing, and I know from conversations I've had of late, we're all experiencing the same kind of things around hate, and municipal conversations about raising the Pride flag. So just having different rural Pride organizations in a room together is going to be such a valuable experience and something that rarely occurs," added Adams. "Again, we're really hoping that folks who attend the summit can walk away with some foundational knowledge on how to make Pride more equitable to different intersections of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community."
Every year, people are more aware of the larger Pride celebrations in urban centres like Toronto, but Adams points out that it's important to realize that queer people are part of the fabric of small rural areas.
"There is this kind of myth or concept, if you will, that queer people only live in the big cities, but the reality is we're in every corner of this province, country and globe. So having things like Pride exist is just a starting point to at least get conversations going in our rural communities and small towns, and hopefully that can move to a place where we're creating inclusive workplaces and health services and social services so folks don't have to travel all the way to the cities," Adams concluded.
More information can be found on the http://www.StratfordPerthPride.com website, including the lengthy list of events they have planned this year to celebrate Pride Month.