Saskatchewan

Thanksgiving at Q an opportunity for LGBTQ community to come together

When Mirtha Rivera came to Canada from Chile in 1975, she said people were very generous to her. After connecting with some of the LGBTQ community members here in Regina, she realized some of her friends weren't so lucky.

'It's like a big family': organizer

Q Nightclub and Lounge has been offering Thanksgiving supper for the last few years. (Emily Pasiuk/CBC)

When Mirtha Rivera came to Canada from Chile in 1975, she said people were very generous to her. However, after connecting with some of the LGBTQ community members in Regina, she realized some of her friends weren't so lucky. 

"[Some of them] don't have families because their families disowned them or they're not able to have a circle of friends or family that will celebrate all these holidays," she said. 

Rivera liked to cook and she saw a need. After the original organizer moved away, she invited a few people at Q Nightclub to dinner a few years ago and the rest is history: Thanksgiving dinner has been been served at the club ever since.

"Feeding people to me is like a big hug to celebrate and recognize that you're there," Rivera said.

The group often plays card games too — another staple of Thanksgiving get-togethers.

"It's like a big family."

"Feeding people to me is like a big hug to celebrate and recognize that you're there," Rivera said. (Emily Pasiuk/CBC)

Chosen family 

Rivera said the idea of chosen family is something she can relate to.

"They will support you and give you that little bit of strength to continue to be yourself," she said. 

"I still relate and I still see that [there is] a lot of discrimination out there and it's not easy to live your life. It's just constantly hiding who you are and who is the person that you love and what is your family."

Rivera said she likes organizing the event because it gives her a chance to say thank you to her "second family."

"I go there, everybody knows me, everybody says hello," she said. 

"It means a lot because it's a time to sit up and relax and visit and share a meal because to me, that's how people get to know each other."

The dinner is Monday night at Q Nightclub and Lounge at 5:30 p.m. CST. 

About the Author

Emily Pasiuk is a reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatchewan and an associate producer for The Morning Edition. She has also reported at CTV Saskatoon and written for Global Regina. Reach her at emily.pasiuk@cbc.ca.

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