On Wednesday, you may have seen people walking around wearing pink. It’s not just a fashion choice; April 12 marks the International Day of Pink, a day against bullying, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of discrimination across the world.
In Yellowknife, we’re making a week out of it.
The Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife is holding a week-long outreach festival coinciding with the day, holding events targeting the city’s LGBTQ+ community and allies.
The festival kicked off on Sunday.
Throughout the week, the coalition is holding a range of activities, from luncheons to panel discussions, movie screenings, open mic’s and even a body-inclusive swim.
On the International Day of Pink, the coalition held a workshop at Sir John Franklin School to start a conversation with students.
“Really what Day of Pink is about is coming up with opportunities for conversations and discussions about how we can reduce homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and transmisogyny in our communities,” said the coalition’s executive director Jacq Brasseur.
“The International Day of Pink is really important in my mind because bullying and violence due to somebody’s sexual orientation, gender identity or romantic orientation is so different than other forms of violence, and I think it’s really important to talk about that and to target it specifically.”
Local youth to weigh in
The coalition isn’t the only one joining the conversation. On Saturday, the last day of the festival, a dialogue session will be held at the Explorer Hotel to give voice to the city’s youth.
Who will be listening? Local politicians from all three branches of government.
The event will allow LGBTQ+ youth and allies to share their perspectives, Brasseur says, and give input to leaders about how to make Yellowknife a safer place for its LGBTQ+ community.
“Often what happens is that adults and non-youth speak about their own experience from when they were young or how they kind of perceive the reality for young people in their community,” Brasseur explained.
“It’s really important to allow young people to speak for themselves, and giving young people the autonomy and the self-determination to share and decide for themselves what supports need to be in place.
“Being an organization governed by young people, we kind of hold that really close to our hearts, the idea that young people need to be in control of their own life and their own destinies, and part of that means that they are the people that are speaking for themselves.”
The week’s events will end with a gala at the Explorer hotel Saturday night. You can find a full schedule of events on the coalition’s website.