NWT Pride dissolving, handing off responsibilities to Rainbow Coalition
Societies say it didn't make sense to have 2 LGBT organizations in Yellowknife
NWT Pride says it's shutting down and LGBT advocacy and education group, the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife, is taking on its responsibilities for all Pride events in Yellowknife.
Leaders of both societies say involvement in different activities has been dwindling. They say considering how small the LGBT population is in the territory, it makes more sense for one group to take the lead on things like the annual Pride festivities.
"Let's face it: the North is only so big and we didn't feel like there was room for two organizations to be doing two separate things," said Chelsea Thacker, executive director of the Rainbow Coalition, which runs programs for LGBT youth.
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In 2018, three of NWT Pride's four board members moved away, including president Storm Larocque, who moved from Yellowknife to Hay River to continue running the society. In August of 2018, Larocque put out a call for volunteers on the group's Facebook page.
"Currently our board consists of your current president... me!" the post read.
Larocque says some people were interested in helping out, but there wasn't enough time to catch them up on how the society works and everything it needs to do.
NWT Pride also struggled to get city funding for Yellowknife events in 2018 after a paperwork issue, and turned to businesses for support.
New direction, more education at future events
Thacker says they hope to make the Pride festival a better space for introverts and members of the LGBT community who don't feel comfortable in traditional Pride activities.
"I refer to myself as a 'quiet gay,'" they said.
"I really would like to go back to our roots, honour the Indigenous LGBTQ people in our community, and really do more outreach and education."
NWT Pride didn't just create events in Yellowknife. In 2018 the society also funded an event in Hay River, bringing in drag queens from Edmonton who performed at a pub and read for kids at the local library.
Thacker says without NWT Pride, the Rainbow Coalition is "going to be responsible for the Yellowknife Pride Festival" but will continue to "support… those who wish to hold their own pride festivities," which will include helping apply for grants.