Clea Roddick and Maizie Newnes look at an exhibit created by Karmen Krahn at the PRIDE Exhibition at the Salmon Arm Art Gallery on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020 during Salmon Arm’s first PRIDE Project Arts Awareness Festival, held Oct. 14 through 17. (File photo)

Clea Roddick and Maizie Newnes look at an exhibit created by Karmen Krahn at the PRIDE Exhibition at the Salmon Arm Art Gallery on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020 during Salmon Arm’s first PRIDE Project Arts Awareness Festival, held Oct. 14 through 17. (File photo)

Column: Festival just the beginning to pride Salmon Arm can display

The View from Here by Martha Wickett

Safety. This is a word that has arisen many times at city council meetings.

But the topic more recently hasn’t just been about dangerous highway intersections or deadly poison in drugs.

The topic has been about growing up or living in this town as an LBGTQ2S+ (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transexual, queer or questioning, two-spirit plus) person and not feeling safe.

Particularly not feeling safe in school, sometimes not feeling safe with other residents, not feeling safe in particular parts of town and, for some, not feeling safe at home. These are realities young people have made public.

It takes a moment, I think, for that to sink in. To realize how many children have grown up in Salmon Arm over the years who did not feel safe in this town because of homophobia and accompanying ridicule, bullying, violence. This is not to downplay the effects of racism and poverty and other oppressions that affect children, but this particular one seems to have largely gone unchallenged by the community in general. Not completely, good things have been done, but largely.

This harsh reality emphasizes the beauty of Salmon Arm’s first Pride Project Arts & Awareness Festival, which was held in October.

Read more: 2019 – Student raises council’s awareness of ways Salmon Arm can support LGBTQ+ people

Read more: First Salmon Arm Pride Festival evokes gratitude, emotion from city council

Read more: First Pride Project festival in Salmon Arm met with enthusiasm

Read more: Tri-rainbow crosswalk and Progress flag requested to help make Salmon Arm safe

The brilliance and courage of the people who worked so hard on this festival, which turned out to be perfectly timed and presented, was a huge step forward in understanding.

Here is one of the things that Tracey Kutschker, a festival organizer, reported to city council after the event.

“I know that young people came from Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops and Vancouver who grew up here and didn’t feel safe here, had traumatic things happen in high school, and found out we were doing a Pride anything – and had to come and see it. They had to come and see what Salmon Arm was doing because they didn’t think it was possible here.”

I think, as the organizers have said, that this was a life-changing festival. It provided hope and the recognition that allies exist in this town. And, lest we forget, the battle is not just for LBGTQ2S+ people. This oppression affects everyone in some way. It forces people to narrow their lives, to set unnecessary limits on everything from clothing to affection, to self-censor and disconnect from each other.

Thanks are due to those who put on this amazing festival, which will return next year. May we all live more open, understanding and loving lives.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

#Salmon ArmPride

Just Posted

Felix Haase and Jayme Saretzky staff a pop-up booth to support the Salmon Arm Pride Project on the patio of the newly reopened Wild Craft Mercantile at 121 Shuswap St. on Saturday, June 12, 2021. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Wild Craft Mercantile in Salmon Arm holds grand reopening, celebrates Pride month

Store moves from Lakeshore to Shuswap, demonstrates support for Pride project

A City of Salmon Arm vacuum truck cleans out the city storm drain on Hudson Avenue in Salmon Arm Monday morning, June 14 after a crane truck blew a hydraulic line, spewing oil onto the road. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Fire trucks called to small oil spill in Salmon Arm

Traffic delayed on Hudson Avenue Monday morning after crane truck blows hydraulic line

Tim Gibson joined the Shuswap Children’s Association on June 14, 2021. He is taking over the executive director position as June Stewart is retiring on June 30, 2021. (File photo)
New executive director joins Shuswap Children’s Association

Outgoing executive director June Stewart to retire on June 30, 2021

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Cody Bandsma practises kiting with his new paraglider wing at Blackburn Park on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
VIDEO: Cody Bandsma reaching new heights over Salmon Arm

Former 100 Mile resident discovers Shuswap by air with powered paraglider

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

Most Read