Group organizes more LGBT gatherings on P.E.I.
'We want everybody to have a welcoming, free environment that they can come'
A new business on P.E.I. is mounting events for the Island's LGBT community.
5 Point Event Productions — run by business partners Kyle McCallum of Tignish and Wayne Matheson of Charlottetown — had its first event in Summerside last month.
You could feel like there was love.— Kyle McCallum
"We're both members in the [LGBT] community, so we thought we would like to start events for the people of Prince Edward Island," said Matheson.
'Meet new people'
The company's first event in Summerside was a Mardi Gras-themed party called Mardi Gay that "went very well," McCallum said.
They hired drag queen Demona Deville to perform and held a gathering at Local 311 restaurant and bar in Summerside.
"A lot of people of all ages came. Very good feedback, they all seemed to really enjoy themselves, and got to meet new people and got to meet us," Matheson said.
Staff at the eatery were "very supportive and very welcoming to everyone in the community," Matheson added.
They estimate 45 to 50 people attended which they call a success, especially for an inaugural event.
"You could feel like there was love — and everybody was coming together. Everybody was talking to everybody," McCallum said. "It wasn't clique-y."
Attitudes on P.E.I. toward gay, lesbian and others in the LGBT rainbow have changed a lot, said McCallum. He moved away from his home in Tignish a decade ago and returned a couple of years ago.
"I used to get called faggot, I used to get called — you name it, any slur toward gay," McCallum said, but since he's returned to P.E.I. he said he's heard none of that.
"I think people have just become more accepting," said Matheson. "I've noticed, big time. I've been in the community of Prince Edward Island 18 to 20 years. When I first came out, it was starting to become more accepting, but now every single person knows at least five gay people that they are good friends with. It's just come a long way."
The two are already promoting their next event at the same venue, a 2018 send-off bash on Dec. 29, once again with Demona Devillle.
'In need of some entertainment'
Pride P.E.I. was in the process of restructuring the last few months and hadn't been staging events, so the pair stepped into what they saw as a void.
We're super proud that members of our community have stepped up.— Irshaad Bijan Adatia, Pride P.E.I.
"The community is really wanting something right now and is in need of some entertainment," Matheson said.
The men are looking to put on events in Charlottetown and if that goes well, expand to other Canadian cities too. They said they're more interested in creating fun events than making a lot of money, for now.
"It's more so giving back to the community." said Matheson. "We want everybody to have a welcoming, free environment that they can come, feel that they can be themselves and enjoy the nightlife — basically just have a place that they can be themselves and call their own."
What about the regular patrons at the bar?
"At first they were a little surprised that we were there," said Matheson. "But then they were like, 'Oh well we don't care, we'll come in and join in' and they had a great time!"
"We had glitter everywhere, they kind of just looked at us twice," McCallum said. The regulars had a few drinks and "next thing you know they're up dancing with us. And I was like wow, this is crazy."
"It's a place for everybody, not just the LGBT community," said Matheson.
"As long as you're accepting," added McCallum.
Working with Pride P.E.I.
The two met recently with Pride P.E.I.'s new chair, Irshaad Bijan Adatia, and said they plan to work with the advocacy organization on some future events.
"We're super proud that members of our community have stepped up where they felt there was a lack of events," Adatia said.
With Pride P.E.I.'s 25th anniversary approaching, Adatia said his organization is hoping to partner with 5 Point Event Productions on many occasions.
Pride has big plans for "building the community back up," Adatia said, including quarterly town hall meetings across P.E.I., more inter-generational and youth events and, he hopes, a dedicated space.
'They don't want to be hassled'
The company is now looking for somewhere in Charlottetown to hold its events, preferably a few blocks away from main bar areas.
"A lot of the community is concerned about it being a discreet location," Matheson said. "Interaction from other bars is a big concern — leaving, they don't want to be hassled, they don't want to be threatened."
Local 311 in Summerside is a great location because it's in a hotel and away from other bars, they said.
"We don't want to put people in our events in that type of a situation." said McCallum. "I've been in that situation before ... walking home from work at 11 p.m. I wouldn't want anybody to go through that."
More P.E.I. news
- Since publication of the story, the company has changed its name. The story has been updated to reflect the name change.Dec 10, 2018 12:21 PM AT