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Pride Month celebrated in Kitimat with second-ever Pride Prom

This year’s event saw 175 people party at Riverlodge Recreation Centre

The LGBTQ+ community of Kitimat came together earlier this month for the second-ever Kitimat Pride Prom.

The event was organized by the Tamitik Status of Women and the Kitimat GSA in honour of Pride Month and designed to provide an all-inclusive celebration for Kitimat’s LGBTQ+ community.

The all-ages, family-friendly event included a panel with local speakers, face painting and glitter tattoos, a full course dinner, door prizes and a dance. The panelists — Duane Grant, Northern Sentinel journalist Hunter Wild, Sonny Duncan-Green, Elliott Knight and Terrace and Kitimat RCMP Chaplain Teri Meyer — brought insight to a room that featured people that were allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community alike.

Gabby Goffinet, who was instrumental in organizing Kitimat’s first-ever Pride event, the Kitimat Pride Potluck in 2019, said over 175 people attended the event, showing substantial community support.

The event had “amazing support from local businesses,” Goffinet said.

After the Potluck’s success, Goffinet had envisioned a series of larger events, but plans were thwarted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Nevertheless, the community’s enthusiasm didn’t wane. In 2021, Tamitik Status of Women held a successful outdoor Pride Picnic. This year and last, they partnered with the Kitimat GSA for the Kitimat Pride Prom.

“People offered to volunteer to help set up and the Royal Canadian Legion donated their space for us to host,” Goffinet said. “Then COVID-19 hit in 2020 shut the whole world down,” halting their natural progression to a larger-scale event.

“Tamitik Status of Women put on a wonderful outdoor Pride Picnic in 2021, Goffinet. “In 2022, I asked them if they would be putting on another event and they asked if the Kitimat GSA would like to partner with them.”

Goffinet said she agreed and the rest is history.

“Working with them has been absolutely amazing,” Goffinet said. “Our committee itself has grown each year as well and I suspect it will continue to grow with each passing year.”

Elliott Knight, a committee member, echoed Goffinet’s sentiments and underscored the importance of visibility and acceptance for the local LGBTQ+ community, particularly the youth.

“It’s important they know they’re loved and accepted just the way they are,” Knight said.

READ MORE: Terrace to host its inaugural Pride Prom, aiming to boost inclusion in northern B.C.

The event also caught the attention of local NDP MP Taylor Bachrach, who acknowledged the role such events play in fostering inclusivity and visibility. Bachrach noted that the confidence-and-supply agreement between the Liberals and NDP is working towards advancing LGBTQ+ rights in Canada and abroad.

The MP suggested the appointment of a special envoy on LGBTQ+ rights as a method to ensure advancement in human rights worldwide, and to create a safe haven for LGBTQ+ refugees.

“One of the things that we’ve been talking about is the need for Canada’s foreign policy to reflect our country’s values around LGBTQ+ rights,” Bachrach said. “Creating a special envoy on LGBTQ+ rights is an important way that we can ensure that we’re working to advance the human rights of LGBTQ+ people who face discrimination in our relations with other countries around the world.”

“Canada should be a welcoming place for LGBTQ+ refugees and we’re certainly pushing the government in that direction,” Bachrach said.

The event included a unique religious perspective, with Terrace and Kitimat RCMP Chaplain Teri Meyer speaking on the damage caused by traditional religious denominations’ judgment and exclusion of LGBTQ+ individuals. Meyer called for a counter-narrative of acceptance, worthiness and valuable contribution from LGBTQ+ people to society.

“As a church, we’ve done so much damage — I’m talking denominations, across the board — by telling people that they weren’t good enough, that they weren’t right, that they were broken, that they were hated,” Meyer said. “I just wanted to be part of a gathering that says to young people, ‘we’re glad you’re in the world and we’re excited about what you’re going to do.’”

Meyer also tackled Biblical interpretations concerning homosexuality, arguing that homosexuality as it is understood today was not the issue in ancient texts. The Chaplain suggested the key issue was about power imbalances and the dehumanizing effect of treating men as lesser, equating them with women who were considered imperfect in the Old Testament.

“Leviticus 18:22, specifically ‘you shall not lie with a male as with a woman’ is more about power imbalances, prostitution and abuse,” Meyer said. “In the Old Testament, the issue wasn’t necessarily gayness.”

“The issue was God is a man and human men are made in the image of God, meaning men are perfect,” Meyer said. “Females are less than human. They’re not perfect because they’re not men, so if you as a man were to lay with another man, you were making that man a woman and why on earth would you make a perfect imperfect?”

“Why would you take perfection and ruin it?” Meyer said. “It wasn’t about the sex, it was about the dehumanizing — taking away their power — and that women were considered lesser.”

Viktor Elias joined the Terrace Standard in April 2023.

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