Hundreds attend Minto’s Pride in the Park picnic

PALMERSTON – For the fourth year, the Town of Minto showed its support for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community by holding Pride in the Park.

The picnic in Palmerston’s Heritage Lions Park on June 9 was well-attended and went off without a hitch.

“Think of the whys,” said Minto Pride Committee chair Brayden Scott in his opening remarks.

“Why this matters, why this is important, and why we can’t give up.”

Dignity, safety, self-affirmation, equality – this is what’s at stake, Scott said, when people in the queer community are not welcomed in the communities where they live.

And being an ally “is the most important job in the world,” he continued.

“I hope you’ll join us, because we need you.”

Councillor Paul Zimmerman welcomed the crowd on behalf of the mayor and council and noted the day is a celebration of accomplishments and recognition of the historical fight for equality.

Recognizing diversity, equity and inclusion is part of Minto’s strategic plan, Zimmerman noted.

“It’s our guiding blueprint and shows we are a forward-thinking, progressive community that welcomes everyone,” he said.

Ground Cover, a queer band from Guelph, entertained visitors at the picnic and in its opening remarks suggested that while there is suffering, horror and trauma in the world, there is also beauty.

“Everything is suffering and beauty at the same time,” they said. “And freedom of speech does not include hate speech. Dignity and respect does not infringe on anyone’s lives.”

Fay and Fluffy, stars of The Fabulous Show with Fay and Fluffy, hosted storytime and read stories with the message that while people might look different from each other, they all have feelings and we need to consider people’s feeling, even when we don’t agree with them.

There were games, vendors, food, music and a rousing Pride march through the park.

The celebration was coloured by recent events at Minto council, where a delegation asked council to ban all flags and banners except the Canadian flag and Remembrance banners in favour of “neutral” public spaces.

The Pride committee had a display asking people to write letters of support for the Pride community and the importance of symbols of Pride in the town.

“Council has heard some negative comments,” explained Caitlin Hall, a founding member of Minto Pride. 

“We want council to hear positive messages too.”