‘Heart-wrenching decision’ as plug pulled on Pride Parade

The rainbow flag flies in the Peace River downtown roundabout courtesy of Peace River Pride Society.

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

The longest running Pride celebration in the Peace region will be postponed this year due to COVID-19.

The Peace River Pride Society’s board announced on April 16 they have made the “heart-wrenching decision” to postpone the 2020 Pride Parade and events.

It would have been Peace River Pride’s 10th anniversary year. It started as a small march on the sidewalk in 2010 in Peace River and eventually grew to a full parade and other events.

Grande Prairie only started holding a large public Pride event in 2016.

Peace River Pride Society treasurer Autumn Hulme says the local parade was going to be held May 31 this year with related events stretching to the week following.

However, the board is now investigating options for possible online Pride celebrations if public health guidelines still prevent a parade.

Hulme says all of the planning to date had been focused on physical events, so transitioning online will take some effort.

“We have some ideas such as a digital art show but we are hopeful folks in the community with expertise will volunteer to help make something happen,” she says.

Hulme says “pandemic” is a word that provokes a response in a lot of LGBTQA people due to their experience of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“When the AIDS crisis ravaged the LGBTQ community in the ‘80s and ‘90s we stood tall together. We supported ourselves and our communities through one of the darkest chapters in history. AIDS was a trauma, but it birthed the modern LGBTQ rights movement. Never again would we be silent because silence equalled death,” the Pride board announcement says.

“We will survive this pandemic too and we will emerge stronger than before.”

Anyone who is struggling is encouraged by the board to contact local mental health resources, or to contact the Pride society directly for information and help finding supports, either via Facebook message or at peaceriverpridesociety@gmail.com

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