By Tammy Schneider
The third annual Kincardine Pride parade is scheduled for June 22 at 11 a.m. Beginning at Connaught Park, the parade will make its way east on Broadway, turn south on Queen Street and continue on to Victoria Park, where an afterparade party is planned. In July of 2016, two street preachers spouting messages of hate and intolerance against the LGBTQ community, women and atheists, raised the ire of many Kincardine residents. In response to their rant, a group of local residents started talking about organizing a local Pride committee, and Kincardine Pride (KP) began to take shape. The group had no funding and was unsure of the support it would garner, but was unflinching in its desire to help create an inclusive, understanding community. Kincardine Pride officially registered as a not-for-profit group in February of 2017 and the first Pride parade followed shortly after in June. “The goal of KP Inc. is to promote Kincardine as an LGBTQ-supportive community and to increase awareness and discussions around LGBTQ issues,” said president and treasurer Fort Papalia. Papalia says that Kincardine Pride is not a spokesperson for the gay community, but instead a group of people committed to equality for all LGBTQ people. The first parade was a grassroots effort, and organizers weren’t sure how the event would be accepted until approximately a week before the parade date. Momentum started building, and before long people from local government, union locals, the police, Bruce Power, medical professionals and many other were on board and ready to show their rainbow colours. Papalia notes too that the crowd along the parade route was comprised of people of all ages, including families with young children. Feedback he received from those who thought a Pride parade would never happen in Kincardine was positive, and gave them the opportunity to show their love and support for LGBTQ friends, family and coworkers. “They were proud to be ‘out’ and felt safe to identify and celebrate as LGBTQ residents,” said Papalia. After the parade, everyone is invited to take part in a rain-or-shine party in the park that will include activities for children, bubbles, crafts, a line dancing demonstration and live music featuring the Kate Channer band. Refreshments and cupcakes will be on sale, as well as a selection of Pride-themed merchandise. Vendors will be available to offer information on a variety of health and community topics. Besides coordinating the parade, the small but ambitious organization is involved with increasing awareness and acceptance for LGBTQ people in the community. Kincardine Pride is supported by the Municipality of Kincardine, and recently hosted flag- raising ceremonies for the gay and transgender communities. They have also supported the creation of the local chapter of Kincardine Pflag, a national organization that supports parents and family members of LGBTQ children as they come out. It gives parents and friends the opportunity to talk about their situations, feelings and experiences in a safe environment. Kincardine Pride has partnered with the library and a local school in an effort to bring more information to the community. KP made a donation to the Bruce County Library Kincardine branch to help cover the costs of guest speaker Dr. Loren Olson on May 21 and recently participated in an Information Night at the Library. In June, KP will provide sponsorship for a program for junior and senior students at Elgin Market School featuring high-energy entertainer Saidat. Like many non-profit organizations, KP runs on the strength and energy of a handful of people. The committee would like to organize more events, such as a monthly social, but needs more volunteers to lend a hand with planning and executing the events. Anyone interested is invited to contact the group through the Facebook account, Kincardine Pride.