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Happy Pride from the Arran-Elderslie Youth Council!

By Fianna McKnight

On June 18, 2022, the Arran-Elderslie Youth Council hosted a fun–and wildly successful– event at Owen Sound Pride! Finding Your Place: Proud Grey-Bruce was an uplifting and engaging event, attracting the attention of queer youth, youth allies, and adult allies alike. If you weren’t aware, we hosted an event back in October for women and girls in rural areas called Finding Your Place: Empowering Women in Grey-Bruce– today’s event was a sort of sequel to that!

Proud Grey-Bruce was an event led by our volunteers dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ youth to feel more accepted and welcome in this rural community. We aimed to educate and welcome other LGBTQ+ youth and highlight a queer youth perspective on the community to allies and stakeholders. We had an amazing speaker, Karen Houle from the M’Wikwedong Friendship Center give an amazing workshop on decolonizing gender and the importance of youth perspective on the growing efforts toward LGBTQ+ acceptance in the Grey-Bruce area. Youth from the Council and onlookers at Pride joined in the discussion, and it was followed by a wonderful Challenge Wall activity led by one of our volunteers, Ezra. All participants were encouraged to write out ways the community could be improved, which later will be used to develop new initiatives and endeavours to bring their ideas to fruition!

After the challenge wall, the event took a turn as we headed into trivia– categories included LGBTQ+ history, LGBTQ+ celebrities, music, classic movies and slogans! Participants competed for AEYC prizes such as tote bags, mugs and fidget toys. This segment of the event also had an awesome turnout with two groups of approximately 15 youth each, and most were able to take home a prize!

This event was a wonderful opportunity to connect with youth from all over Grey-Bruce looking to make positive change in their community. The Youth Council received over a dozen potential new recruits today, and a great deal of positive support from the community members and stakeholders. We want to thank everybody who came out, our amazing speaker Karen, and our outstanding volunteers for putting together such an incredible event! We can’t wait to host another Finding Your Place event soon.

That’s all we have for now, so stay safe, stay tuned, and happy pride! We’ll see you next month.

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