North Peace Pride Society hold 4th Annual Pride Walk

Sarita Patel

June first marked the start of pride month across Canada - and Fort St. John kicked it off with their annual walk in support of the LGBTQ+ Community.

This year saw nearly 400 participants take in the walk through downtown FSJ, The North Peace Pride Society has seen a real growth in support throughout the four years and for those members, who have lived here their whole lives.

"As someone who's grown up here, this makes my heart just so filled with joy, I get emotional about it, cause I didn't think there was this sort of support here in Fort St. John for this,” said Sean Gravells, chairman of the North Peach Pride Society.

“Look at it - it's beautiful, it means the world to us as the LQBT community to know that we have the support of our community"

After the walk, people were invited to Centennial Park. With local businesses doing everything from button making, face-painting to giving out free pizza and cupcakes!

All the festivities were in support of those in the LQBTQ+ community, that often feel unsafe - many people believe this is a step in the right direction.

Tyler Wilkinson says, "It feels like good to be known that you're a human too, and you're accepted.”

While friend Danica Bodnar says, “It's like you know there are people in the LQBTQ community in your town but it isn't until they're, like all gathered - you're like, okay, this is happening."

"The City of Fort St. John is very supportive, of us and what we are doing here - and sending a message that Fort St. John's an inclusive community," says treasurer of the North Peace Pride Society, Don McMillan.

Pride has many meanings, and to those in the community the support doesn't go unnoticed.

"The meaning of pride to me, is kinda letting everyone be included no matter what their sexuality or what their gender is. It's just being included and making sure everyone feels safe and included." Exclaimed supporter Jorge-Jai Francis

"It's safety in your community; it's a community in itself. Even though I look around and I see a lot of people i haven't seen before, it's absolutely wonderful," says performer Paige Midema of Mystic Borealis.
Sean tells me, that without the support of local businesses this wouldn't be possible, especially because they're a safe space for those who feel lost and confused, knowing that if they go into these places as an outed member of the community - and be always welcomed and supported.

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