More than 200 community members marched in Inuvik’s second annual Pride Parade on June 8, which was organized by East Three Secondary School’s Aurora Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club.
“A pride parade in Inuvik is a big deal. Some of the students have felt that they haven’t been supported or they’re scared to come out, or they’re struggling with who they are,” said Jill Nugent, a teacher at the school who oversees the club.
Residents from all walks of met at Ingamo Hall at around 11:30 am, where t-shirts, pins and other Pride merchandise were handed out to members of the crowd.
The parade began shortly afterwards, which featured floats from various local organizations and groups such as the Inuvik Fire department, the Inuvik Regional Hospital, Parks Canada, the Inuvik Royal Canadian Legion and more.
Also in attendance was Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, who was in town for the announcement of the Inuit Climate Action strategy on June 7.
“We are very, very thrilled and impressed with how well everything went, and with the amount of people that turned out,” said Nugent.
The group went down MacKenize Road before taking a left onto Bompas Street and looping back up to the school, where a barbecue was waiting outside for them when they arrived.
Live music was performed inside the school’s gym as community members ate. A number of figures also gave a few speeches before the crowd, praising the students’ efforts and their work in organizing the event.
“Having the Pride Parade, having the mayor speak is a huge deal and it shows all the support. A lot of teachers participated too, so it shows that there’s support inside and outside the school,” said Nugent.
Grade 12 student Katelynn Crocker, who is also one of the founding members of the Aurora GSA, said that she hopes that the Pride festivities helped residents who are members of the LGBTQ2+ community realize that there are support systems here in Inuvik.
“There’s always somebody who either knows what you’re going through, or can find the resources for you and help you get through what you’re going through,” said Crocker.
The club was formed two years ago, after Crocker and a few of her peers attended the Rainbow Conference in Yellowknife.
“The goal for that was to get students to go learn about GSAs, how to start them and go back to their communities to do that,” she said.
She added that she wanted to help form a GSA club here in Inuvik so that marginalized students had a safe space where they were free to be themselves.
“It felt like something important, just a place for students to go when they had no where else to go,” she said.
Nugent echoed Crocker’s sentiment, where she said that the club functions to help students realize that there is support from the community and the school.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or who you love. Everyone is supported and accepted,” said Nugent.