PEI

P.E.I. Pride festival kicks off with $100K in federal funding

The 25th annual P.E.I. Pride festival kicked off with a gift from Ottawa on Saturday. Announced by Charlottetown MP Sean Casey, the federal government has committed $100,000 to Pride P.E.I. over the organization's fiscal year. 

'Efforts over the last 25 years have effectively been recognized by this contribution'

There are many locations across P.E.I. raising a Pride flag on Monday. (CBC)

The 25th annual P.E.I. Pride festival kicked off with a gift from Ottawa on Saturday.

Announced by Charlottetown MP Sean Casey, the federal government has committed $100,000 to Pride P.E.I. over the organization's fiscal year. 

Federal funding for pride organizations is usually given to larger centres and bigger organizations, said Casey. But Pride P.E.I. made a good case to receive funding, he said.

"There was a significant effort by Pride P.E.I. and an impressive application that went forward," he said. "Their efforts over the last 25 years have effectively been recognized by this contribution."

The funding will help the organization expand their services on P.E.I. past the festival, said John Kimmel, chair of Pride. P.E.I.

"People don't realize that it's more than just the 10-to-12 days of activities and fun that we have every summer here in July, but actually a 12-month commitment with a volunteer non-profit board encouraging reinforcing and supporting the queer community here all across P.E.I.," Kimmel said.

The money will also help the organization partner with six other organizations on P.E.I., expanding what Pride P.E.I. can offer the LGTBQ community, said Kimmel.

Weeklong celebration

The P.E.I. Pride Festival has evolved over the years from a march to a weeklong celebration.

The Pride Parade in Charlottetown won't be held until next Saturday, but Pride celebrations on the Island are as important as ever 25 years after the first march in the province's capital, says Andrea MacPherson, director of advocacy with Pride P.E.I.

"It has expanded a lot, it started with a couple parades over a couple years building rights," MacPherson said.

MacPherson said the parade has evolved from a march for rights into a more of a celebration. "We try and get around to every community that's possible to celebrate awareness that we're here," MacPherson said.

Plenty of Opportunities

There will be many more opportunities to take part in festivities until July 31.

The 2018 Pride parade showed growth from previous years. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"We have a transgender, non-binary, self-care social in the evening and I think the first showing of the Sex, Sin and 69 documentary," MacPherson said.

The documentary is an 80-minute historical, retrospective film about the 1969 legislation to decriminalize homosexuality.

Fight continues

There are many issues still affecting the LGBTQ community, MacPherson said. Many rights have been secured for the community, but the the fight goes on, MacPherson said.

Events include a church service and potluck, flag-raisings, a poetry slam, trivia night, a garden party, the Pride Parade and talks on queer history and how Pride moves forward.

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With files from John Robertson

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