North

'We don't believe in baby steps': Students plan 1st Pride parade in Inuvik, N.W.T.

Students are planning a school Pride week and a community Pride parade for the first time.

'Everybody's sexual orientation or background needs to be shown in a community,' says Gabriela Prieto

Teacher Jill Nugent (left) is pictured alongside students Jasmine Keogak (centre) and Gabriela Prieto. Nugent supervises the club. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

A group of students in Inuvik, N.W.T., is planning a pride week for their school, as well as a pride parade for the whole community — all for the first time.

"We don't believe in baby steps, apparently," said Jill Nugent, a teacher at East Three Secondary School who oversees the Aurora Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club. 

The parade will be held on April 21 and will be the GSA's first major event. The only other event the group has held was a bake sale. 

"Our objective is to get a 100 youth out to this event," Nugent said. 

The GSA club was formed last spring after students attended a five-day Rainbow Conference in Yellowknife

"I feel like the LGBTQ+ hasn't been shown that much in Inuvik, and they need to have equal representation," club co-founder Gabriela Prieto said.

"Everybody's sexual orientation or background needs to be shown in a community."

The group has applied for funding, and also secured some money for the events already.

Students want youth to embrace identity 

The students hope that having a stronger LGBTQ+ presence in town will make it easier for people to accept themselves.

"I have a couple of friends who were scared of coming out to their families because they were afraid they wouldn't be accepted," said Jasmine Keogak, a member of the Aurora GSA club.

Jill Nugent (left) Katelynn Crocker and Jasmine Keogak, a member of the Aurora GSA club, are pictured. The club was formed last spring. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

She said they were afraid of getting kicked out of the house — or disowned completely. 

I think it's about time that we show that same type of support in Inuvik .- Councillor Alana  Mero  

But Keogak added that some of her friends who came out to their families had "surprisingly good feedback." 

On Monday, some group members went to town council to present their idea of a parade to council and ask for support.

"They were a little more open than I thought they would be about why we are doing this, what it's for and the impact it will have on the community," Keogak said, adding she was happy with the positive reaction from councillors. 

"I think it's about time that we show that same type of support in Inuvik," said Coun. Alana Mero.

Students in Tuktoyaktuk will also be holding first ever pride event Feb. 9 –10 in the hamlet.