Sechelt and Gibsons have proclaimed June as Pride Month on the Sunshine Coast, but this year’s celebrations will have to be a lot different than the big public events of recent years.
This year’s proclamation, like it has in the past, emphasizes connection and inclusion.
“Social, emotional and cognitive isolation are key factors in the disproportionate risk for suicide, substance abuse and addiction within the LGBTQ2+ youth population,” the proclamation reads. “Sunshine Coast Pride Month provides vital opportunities for LGBTQ2+ youth to identify and connect with their peers and LGBTQ2+ elders, which enables a sense of belonging.”
Laurie Lesk, one of the organizers of this year’s pride events, was on hand – via Zoom – to hear the proclamations read in both Gibsons and Sechelt last week and said there’s been a lot of behind-the-scenes work to find ways to make events fit with the restrictions from health officials.
“The various organizers from Sunshine Coast pride events that go on during the year all got together to come up with some solutions,” Lesk told Sechelt council. “Not being a community to allow a virus to keep us down, we are going online.”
Lesk said a lot of event details are still being finalized, but in keeping with the shift to holding most events online, Sunday in the Park with Pride, scheduled for June 28, will become Sunday on the Porch with Pride.
The annual dance is also going online.
However, with the Arts Centre in Sechelt now reopened to the public, the LGBTQ2+ exhibit planned to open in mid-June will still take place in the Doris Crowston Gallery.