If all goes well at city council, Thunder Pride would be the first inaugural weeklong event to celebrate the city’s gay and lesbian community, says the community relations chair.
The Thunder Pride 2011 committee plan to present a deputation at city council on Monday. The committee will request an endorsement from council to make June 6 to 12 Thunder Pride week.
Tom Boland, community relations chair with Thunder Pride 2011, said the committee came together with the idea on Dec. 23, 2010 to have a weeklong event that celebrated the diverse community in Thunder Bay.
After hearing some of the feedback from residents, he said he believed that Thunder Bay would be behind the idea 100 per cent.
"We just think it’s time for an event like this," Boland said in an interview with Tbnewswatch.com on Sunday. "We certainly want to show support for individuals in the community regardless of sexual orientation, regardless of chosen lifestyle. We want to provide education and we want to show Thunder Bay as a safe and welcoming city and a good place to go to school."
Some of the activities listed on the Thunder Pride Facebook page include a breakfast, family picnic, outdoor concert, pride pink day at schools, a film festival and drag queen/king show.
Boland said the event intends to highlight the city’s tolerance and openness to the gay and lesbian community. The pride event isn’t about one person or a single group but the whole community coming together to show a quality of life that’s safe and accepting, he added.
"We have kids in schools and people in workplaces who have perhaps been victims of bullying and harassment," he said. "We want to promote Thunder Bay as a place where that is not the norm."
While there is still fear for some who want to be open about their sexual orientation, Boland said society has changed.
"We can’t be blind," he said. "We know that kind of stuff exists and a big part of Thunder Pride is to reach out to those people, their families and provide that support. It really helps people to know and realize that it is OK and it gets better.
"We want, the youth in particular, to know that it is OK to be yourself, we want you to be yourself."