Nova Scotia

LGBTQ activist with autism plans Pride parade for Port Hawkesbury

Taylor Linloff describes herself as a non-binary queer Cape Bretoner with autism, and is organizing what she believes could be the first Pride parade in the Strait area of Nova Scotia.

Decision to hold parade was prompted by complaint after town flew Pride flag

Taylor Linloff, who identifies as LGBTQ and on the autism spectrum, is organizing the June 29 Pride parade in Port Hawkesbury, N.S. (Submitted by Taylor Linloff)

Taylor Linloff describes herself as a non-binary queer Cape Bretoner with autism, and is organizing what she believes could be the first Pride parade in the Strait area of Nova Scotia.

Linloff, is a Port Hawkesbury, N.S., resident and member of the LGBTQ community and was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum two years ago.

Linloff, 25, said before the diagnosis it was hard trying to relate to people socially. 

"I got my diagnosis and I learned that all of my struggles were not a fatal flaw and I wasn't doing anything wrong, it was just that my hero type and my neurology is just different to other people," Linloff said in an interview on CBC's Information Morning Cape Breton.

Linloff said her diagnosis has led to her become an advocate for the LGBTQ community and for those on the autism spectrum.

"I knew as a teenager that I was gay or queer and it was actually after receiving my diagnosis that I've really come into my own and found my voice," said Linloff. "Getting my diagnosis has been a huge factor in gaining my self-esteem and advocacy has really helped that cause."

Linloff said she has been thinking of organizing a Pride parade for the community for a while, but a recent incident spurred her to take action.

Complaint about pride flag

After the Town of Port Hawkesbury raised the Pride flag at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre to celebrate Pride month, a community member called the municipal office to complain.

"I realize now is the time for action to give some representation, some respect, love and support to the LGBTQ community within the Strait area," said Linloff.

Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton took to social media after the complaint about the flag, posting a photo of herself wearing a Pride pin, and offering the town's support for members of the LGBTQ community.

"I think that it's very important that we lead by example and that we continue to create spaces where everyone feels welcome and belongs," said Chisholm-Beaton.

She said she hopes to see a big turnout at the parade.

"Showing up, being there in person is a huge indication and testament to our LGBTQ community that we have their backs," said Chisholm-Beaton.

The parade is scheduled for June 29 at 7 p.m. AT, starting at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre.

Linloff said participants are asked to wear a mask, maintain physical distancing and dress "as flamboyantly" as they want.

Public health guidelines currently restrict gatherings to a limit of 50 people with physical distancing being practised.

With files from Cape Breton's Information Morning

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