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    (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Jamie Rogerson and Ainslie MacLeod gave out cutout rainbows at the Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County booth. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Kaleb Wagner and Jase Fabian showed their support. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    City of Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay (back row on right) joined in the festivities (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)



Pride Week 2019 in Pembroke

By Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post

Posted on Thursday August 8, 2019

Pembroke Pride Week brought together members of the LBTQ+ community and their allies to show the area that love will always win against hate.

From June 7 to June 15, special events were held every day in various locations throughout the city. These activities included a huge Pride Walk, a flag raising, game night, many different parties, a documentary viewing, a Pulse Nightclub Candlelight Memorial and a wrap up with a family-friendly festival at the Champlain Trail Museum.

“It’s just about bringing the community together,” said Jamie Hawes, a director of Pembroke Pride.

It is the second year that a festival has been held, and despite the pouring rain, hundreds of people came out to celebrate diversity, freedom and love. People of all ages and sexualities banded together in solidarity.

“Pride celebrates sexual diversity,” said Mayor Mike LeMay. “Your activities help increase society’s awareness of the issues you face. Flying the flag and painting the crosswalk in Pride colours as symbols that as a community we are inclusive and respectful of all residents and visitors.

“We should not, we will not tolerate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said LeMay. “We are taught not to judge people because of their race or origin. Let’s make sure we do the same for our LGBTQ community.”

The show of support and pride in oneself has not always been part of the cultural fabric. Pembroke Pride was only created six years ago, and when Hawes first moved to the area as a teenager, he felt isolated and lonely.

“I struggled a lot with coming out because I was like, ‘There are no gay people here,’” said Hawes. “But there are. It is just kind of in hiding. So what better way to bring them out and bring that support out so nobody ever has to feel that way again.”

2019 has been an immensely successful time for Pride, as rainbow flags have flown in five communities that had never done before within Renfrew County. The Pembroke Pride Walk on June 9 saw record attendance with 200 people marching in the streets.

“It is tremendous to see the community support that we have seen up and down Renfrew County,” said Emcee Chris Kyte.

At the festival the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) also showcased their pride in diversity in a variety of ways.

In addition to the Petawawa Military Family Ressource Centre (PMFRC) sharing information on their services and showing their support of military families of all shapes and sizes, the Petawawa Diversity and Employment Equity Advisory Group (PDEEAG) was on location, celebrating Pride.

PDEEAG believes that diversity is one of the CAF’s greatest strengths, said Charlene Chubbs, PDEEAG Civilian co-chaiperson.

Raising the Pride and Transgender Flags reflects the Government of Canada’s commitment to diversity and Inclusion and represents a celebration of identity and acceptance.

“We were pleased to take part in the Pembroke Pride Festival,” said Chubbs.