Fort Frances LGBTQ2 group prepares for cross-border pride march
The Passport to Pride march will take place on Saturday at Smokey Bear Park at 10 a.m.
The LGBTQ2 community in Fort Frances, Ont., are joining forces this weekend with our American neighbours for the first ever cross-border Pride celebration.
"This is the first time that the Borderland community has come together as a whole to celebrate LGBTQ2 pride," said Borderland Pride co-chair Douglas Judson.
He said as a new pride organization, they are "filling that need in the borderland area," which is "the Rainy-River district in Ontario and the Koochiching County in the United States."
And as a way to mark the celebration, he said a march called Passport to Pride is scheduled to take place on Saturday, July 14 at Smokey Bear Park in International Falls at 10 a.m.
"We wanted to do something fun and we wanted to do something that helps to engage our small queer community on both sides of the border," Judson said on the CBC's Superior Morning, "and we thought what better way to build that bridge than to physically walk across the bridge and bring people together."
He said he believes this is the first event of its kind as he has not yet heard of "any other pride marches or parades that have crossed an international boundary."
The march route itself will be about a mile long, according to Judson, and they plan to walk across the bridge to the Fort Frances Civic Centre for some speeches and a flag raising ceremony.
He said events like a local cross-border tug-a-war has given them an idea on how they can organize a march across the border.
"Pride is not visible locally in small towns, unless we work to make it visible," Judson said, "so it was important to us because we feel strongly that pride is most needed where it is least present."
This week residents and other organizations in Fort Frances have collaborated with Borderland Pride to set up some family fun events leading up to Saturday's march.
"I've grown up in this area my entire life," Judson said, "but this is the first time that I have seen so much outward expression of inclusion and so much interest in learning about LGBTQ2 issues and causes and that has been really personally fulfilling."