Nfld. & Labrador

Fogo Island takes important step with first Pride walk

Fogo Island is taking an inclusive step forward with its first Pride walk on Friday evening.

The island's first Pride Week began Sunday

"It's a big thing for Fogo Island. It's bringing us out of the Dark Ages," said Ann Decker. (Submitted by Fogo Island Pride)

Fogo Island is taking a big, inclusive step forward with its first ever Pride Walk on Friday evening.

The island has been celebrating its first Pride Week, which began Sunday, organized by Trevor Taylor and Evan Parsons, co-directors of Fogo Island Pride.

The pair have lived all over Newfoundland. Rural communities are no strange places for them. They now call Fogo home.

"Even though we've always been accepted by communities that we've gone into, we've never really seen ourselves in those communities," Taylor told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning

Taylor and Parsons grew up on the Avalon Peninsula, but the pair have spent three years in coastal Labrador, a year on the west coast of Newfoundland and now they're going on five years in Fogo.

Fogo Island Pride organizers said they have heard only positive comments from community members. (Submitted by Evan Parsons)

"If we were going to settle down, if we were going to make roots here, we knew that we wanted to make a community for ourselves, and we knew that the community was there," Taylor said.

"It was just a matter of someone structuring it, and organizing it and putting it in place."

Creating a community

Parsons told CBC News the support from Fogo Island was there almost immediately when he and Taylor began telling people about their intentions. 

The group's first meeting in May was met with overwhelming support he said, drawing 15 to 20 attendees in a community of roughly 2,200.

For Fogo Island's first Pride meeting, Parsons said it was a successful beginning. 

As for the events so far, Parsons said the supportive crowds are far and beyond what he had imagined.

Fogo Island Pride held a drag show that 'packed the house,' according to group co-organizer Evan Parsons. (Submitted by Evan Parsons)

"We had 20 people sign on for the first day, and close to 75 or 80 showed up," he said.

"We had our drag show by the Haus of Trout at Scoff Restaurant on Monday night and we packed the house. They put on an amazing show."  

So far, so good. Parsons and Taylor both said there has been no negative feedback from the community.

In fact, Taylor said comments from attendees have been largely positive. 

"People have said, 'Thank God we have Pride on Fogo Island now,'" he said.

Fogo Island's first Pride Week and walk took place on Friday. (Submitted by Fogo Island Pride)

The duo is already beginning to plan for next year, and beyond. 

Taylor said if they ever leave Fogo Island — which they have no plans to — that Pride Week should continue and they hope to pass the torch to keep the community alive if that time were to come. 

Family support

Ann Decker is walking for her son, and she brought with her reinforcements in the form of the nurses she works with to beef up the numbers.

Decker told CBC News that there were roughly 100 people taking part in the parade, and hundreds more lining the streets to show their support for the cause.

"For a small community it certainly came together. We've got a lot of support and everyone is wearing their bright colours," Decker said, from the middle of the parade.

"It's a big thing for Fogo Island. It's bringing us out of the Dark Ages."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from CBC Newfoundland Morning