In its third year, about 100 people walked and drove the streets of Kuujjuaq as part of the community’s Pride parade, which was larger than its previous two iterations.
Organizers are happy with the growing parade, saying it’s a mark of positive change and acceptance toward Nunavik’s LGBTQ+ community.
“There’s a lot of people in the smaller communities that are not Kuujjuaq that we wanted to have come to Pride because in their towns they might have no representation, they have no celebration of who they are,” said Tobi Nashak, one of the organizers.
“When you don’t have any representation of someone like you, you feel like there’s something wrong with you.”
Floats made up of trucks, cars and ATVs followed marchers decked out in rainbow apparel. The parade ended at the Kativik Town Hall before a series of concerts kicked off.
“Every year, we have more and more youth participating,” said artist and Pride co-organizer Niivi Snowball.
“They learn that it’s OK to be who they are. I think it’s a nice experience for them and for us. I believe it can change lives,” they said.
Connecting with community
In addition to the parade and live shows, this year’s event also featured workshops open to all community members.
Les 3 Sex and GRIS-Montreal, organizations dedicated to LGBTQ+ awareness, as well as McGill Professor Bill Ryan led discussions around sexual diversity and gender identity.
“We got here thinking: ‘Well maybe we’ll get three people and we can just chat among ourselves.’ But there were actually 20 or so people,” said Mylène de Repentigny-Corbeil, executive director of Les 3 Sex.
She added the workshops were also an opportunity for facilitators from the south to learn about the realities of LGBTQ+ youth in Nunavik.
“Everyone that came from Montreal for the event, we all had a moment where we realized the youth were incredibly open,” she said.
New fundraising following budget cut
Organizers had to make due despite a budget cut to this year’s event.
The original plan was to fly in youth from other Nunavik communities to participate in the event. But following a funding cut from the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, that wasn’t possible.
The board told La Presse that it redistributed the funding to other communities rather than focus solely on Kuujjuaq.
Organizers ultimately turned to an online fundraiser, which brought in little over $2,600.
Next year they hope to fundraise sooner and find new partnerships.
The goal, once again, would be to bring in community members from across the region to Kuujjuaq to celebrate Pride, and maybe even send a group down to strut their stuff in Montreal’s parade.