Celebrations for Pride month grow

Pride celebrations from 2021. Submitted photo

Pride in Northern Saskatchewan continues to grow with plans for the celebration of Pride Month in June.
Requests and invitations have gone out to the three councils, the Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB), Northern Village of Air Ronge and the Town of La Ronge that a month-long proclamation be declared for the week of festivities and the the declaration of June as Pride Month.
The request is being made “so it goes officially into the Minutes and will be forever known as Pride Month,” Mayor Colin Ratushniak, of the Town of La Ronge and chair of the Pride committee, said in an interview with the Northern Advocate.
“So that’s for this year and ongoing years.”
Plans for this year’s Pride celebrations also include, on June 1 at 6 p.m. in Patterson Park a “collaborative, tri-community flag raising.
Requests in the area include that schools paint or re-paint Pride-friendly art on sidewalks, or roadway’s, that were painted in the past and the paint washed away.
Pride celebrations have grown to a week-long event beginning with a Family Friendly Amateur Drag Night Competition and Ru Paul’s Drag Race Viewing Party at the Northlands Hotel June 21 between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. It will be an alcohol-free family event.
A Pride n’ Pint Trivial Night will be held at Kosta’s Bar on June 23 between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Pride Crossfit WOD on June 25 at the Jonas Roberts Memorial Community Centre (JRMCC) between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. and also on June 25, the YXE Collective Drag show at the Northlands Hotel between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.
The Annual Pride Parade is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. at the LLRIB Band Office and it will follow a route down La Ronge Avenue to Patterson Park, where the Pride Festival will take place with a BBQ and entertainment.
“This is definitely going to be the biggest lineup that we’ve had … that’s fantastic .. it’s great,” Ratushniak said.
He said the largest change he’s seen in the community over the last few years, since the larger Pride celebrations in 2019 began is “a lot more interest and uptake in the GSAs (Gay Straight Alliance Club)/GSEs (Gender Sexual Diversity Club) in the schools.
GSAs are groups that provide opportunities for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities to come together in a safe environment.
“We have people that are a lot more comfortable at just expressing their gender and sexual diversity as well. People are just feeling a lot more comfortable to say. ‘You know what, maybe I don’t fit in the box of straight or gay, maybe I’m somewhere in the middle and I don’t know where that is, I want to be involved to continue to push for human rights and equality.’”
Ratushniak thinks that is an important reason to continue with Pride celebrations in the communities.
“You know, making kids feel safe, trying to create those safe space and ultimately make businesses and residents understand that. The visibility is important for a healthy community.”
As a leader, Ratushniak said he’s been accepted as a leader and in the community and that’s his wish for others.