THE IS­LAND SPREAD­ING PRIDE

An­nual P.E.I. fes­ti­val to cel­e­brate LGBTQ cul­ture grow­ing strong

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JIM DAY

An­nual P.E.I. fes­ti­val to cel­e­brate LGBTQ cul­ture grow­ing strong

Pride will be burst­ing more than ever across Prince Ed­ward Is­land next week.

The 2017 P.E.I. Pride Fes­ti­val, run­ning July 23-29, is set to be the largest ever.

Pride P.E.I. com­mu­ni­ca­tions co-or­di­na­tor Chelsey Roger­son says sup­port con­tin­ues to grow for the an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der and queer (LGBTQ) cul­ture and pride.

“It’s grown a lot,’’ says Roger­son. “We have a lot of sup­port from lo­cal busi­nesses and that has helped quite a bit.’’

Up­street Craft Brew­ing in Char­lot­te­town will launch a new beer dur­ing Pride Week called Rain­brew with in­gre­di­ents that rep­re­sent the colours in the rain­bow.

Lo­cal law firm Ste­wart McKelvey is team­ing up with AIDS P.E.I. and Pride P.E.I. to present a panel dis­cus­sion on LGBTQ21 le­gal and so­cial jus­tice his­tory in P.E.I.

A pride pa­rade on Satur­day, July 29, will start at 1 p.m. at Rochford Square and weave back to the park for a cel­e­bra­tion.

Vic­to­ria-by-the-Sea will also be hold­ing a pride pa­rade for the first time on Mon­day, July 24.

“It’s go­ing to be a packed week,’’ says Roger­son.

Sev­eral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties will fly the pride flag dur­ing Pride Week. Souris, Strat­ford, Corn­wall, Char­lot­te­town, Bor­denCar­leton and Summerside have con­firmed their par­tic­i­pa­tion, while Pride P.E.I. is await­ing word from a few other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Mon­tague will not be par­tic­i­pat­ing.

That town was crit­i­cized in 2016 for re­ject­ing for the sec­ond straight year a re­quest by Pride P.E.I. to fly the rain­bow-coloured flag to mark Pride Week.

Betty Woodgate, owner­op­er­a­tor of Awak­en­ings Inn & Es­thet­ics in Mon­tague, was among sev­eral busi­nesses that dis­played a sign sport­ing the pride flag im­age with the cap­tion ‘Mon­tague Pride: My P.E.I. in­cludes EV­ERY­ONE.’’

She plans to once again dis­play her sup­port.

“I think it’s im­por­tant to show that we in­clude ev­ery­one and we are not go­ing to judge peo­ple on their sex­u­al­ity,’’ says Woodgate.

“We need to be wel­com­ing.’’ Mon­tague Mayor Richard Collins told The Guardian Fri­day his mu­nic­i­pal­ity will not for­mally rec­og­nize Pride Week.

“We have the same pol­icy that we’ve had in other years,’’ he says.

“The pol­icy is that we don’t fly any flags ex­cept the Canadian flag, the P.E.I. flag and the Town of Mon­tague flag.’’

Collins adds his town open to one and all at times.’’

Roger­son says there is “no ill will’’ be­tween Pride P.E.I. and the Town of Mon­tague.

She adds that Pride P.E.I. had been in­vited to take part in this year’s Mon­tague Sum­mer Days Cul­tural Fes­ti­val.

“I think the big theme is al­ways di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion,’’ she says.

“We want peo­ple to feel safe and we want peo­ple to feel cel­e­brated.’’ “is all

JIM DAY/THE GUARDIAN

Chelsey Roger­son, com­mu­ni­ca­tions co-or­di­na­tor for Pride P.E.I., says the 2017 P.E.I. Pride Fes­ti­val is go­ing to be “a packed week.’’

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