Mike Uncorked: International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
By Mike Butler
The beautiful Wolfville Waterfront Park is beginning to blossom as the weather gets warmer and the tourists start arriving. When I was down there for a coffee the other day the picnic tables were full and the trail was alive with walkers and their dogs. It’s such a nice place to take a minute to unwind.
The waterfront is going to get a lot brighter on May 16 at 6pm when the Town of Wolfville will raise the pride flag for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). This is a hugely important event for the town and the surrounding area as it provides a gathering as well as a visual statement to recognize awareness against homophobia and transphobia, which are sadly still a persistent problem in the world. I am so proud to not only be an open, accepted member of the gay community (and the community in general) here in the Valley, but also honoured to be emceeing the flag raising event this year.
The raising of the iconic pride flag is not the only thing happening at this event. Besides hearing a history of the pride flag and a proclamation acknowledging the day, the audience will be treated to greetings and comments from Wolfville Mayor Jeff Cantwell, as well as a few words from Master Chef Canada Contestant Felix Fudge. Felix is originally from Kentville and Felix is the first openly transgender contestant on Master Chef Canada. He’s also just a really nice and funny guy who I happen to have gone to high school with.
Felix and I had an email reunion and he observed that a particular thing to recognize about events like IDAHOT “is that there is an important need for them that people may not realize, especially in communities like Wolfville, Kentville, and Windsor. Where populations are sparse [LGBTQ2+ people], and especially youth, in that area, can feel isolated and out of place. These events show that in fact they are not alone and there are resources out there. I wish there were events like this when I was young and struggling with my identity.”
Beyond the flag raising event, there are other resources available in our community that address this need, like the Valley Youth Project, Acadia Pride, and the Valley Vixen Adult Book and Toy Shop (which holds many wonderful seminars and product demonstration sessions). We also have the Rainbow Chorus.
A special note about the Rainbow Chorus: the inspiration came from realizing how important community and a sense of belonging and pride are in addressing minority stress and building resiliency, and the role that singing together can play in fostering that sense of belonging and healing. This is the third year of gathering and singing together! Who can join? Well, EVERYONE! The Rainbow Chorus is an all-ages, Wolfville-based group of members of the LGBTQ2+ and Allies community who have sung together for the past 2 years. They sing songs that say something about their lives and the challenges that they and others face. It is a place to explore their voices as they grow, change, age, transition, deal with illness and loss, heal, celebrate, protest, gather – as they live their lives.
This is such a special part of the world we live in and I hope you come out on May 16 at 6pm to the Waterfront Park in Wolfville to show your support for this event, and for the vibrant diversity of our community. Adults, families, and kids of all ages welcome!